Weird Universe Archive

September 2008

September 26, 2008

Airbag for People

A Japanese company has invented an airbag for people that deploys in the case of an accidental fall. It explains that it is designed particularly for elderly people with epilepsy, but of course it would also be very useful for drunks and klutzes.

I imagine it could also be used for recreational purposes -- like the game of trust. Do you dare to fall backwards and trust that the airbag will deploy?

The BBC has video of the people's airbag in action.

Update: Oops, hadn't noticed that Chuck had already posted this in his "more things to worry about." We need an airbag to protect against accidental double-posting!

Posted By: Alex - Fri Sep 26, 2008 - Comments (17)
Category: Inventions

Chuck’s Hand-Picked Overnight Weird News for Friday

Mother of middle-schooler insists: A main reason why "school" exists is to enable my son to express his style
It's his right to wear makeup, lipstick, and nail polish (if not black then pink). Well, one thing it does teach the other kids at Garfield Middle is forbearance because it takes character for them to refrain from regularly ass-kicking the kid. WCPO-TV (Cincinnati)
Comments 'lipstick_boy'

Homeland Security tests mind-reading technology
They tried out the face-recognition software on 140 volunteers in Maryland and claim a 75-80 percent hit rate for ID'ing people who were supposedly trying to be deceptive or thinking dangerous thoughts. Sensors remotely scan a person's temperature, pulse, respiration, and gestures, even to the point (they say) of being able to distinguish ordinary, stressed-out airline passengers from those up to no good. Daily Telegraph (London)
Comments 'mind_reading'

Sheffield (England) Council rubs its forehead on the floor, to the god of political correctness
Ya can't have a funeral in Sheffield on a Saturday unless you're Muslim because all the parlors have to be on standby for those speedy burials required by Islam. One infidel family that had out-of-towners available only on Saturday found out the policy the hard way. Daily Telegraph (London)
Comments 'saturday_funerals'

Gerontological tragedies: Alzheimer's, osteoporosis, brake failure
All of a sudden, an SUV came barreling up the hill at 50 mph (up the hill, not down) on a fairway at Cloverleaf Golf Course near Pittsburgh, stopping only after it had careened into two trees, spun around, and burst into flames. The five seniors aboard were rescued, including the 82-yr-old driver, who insisted that he'd just "lost his brakes." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Comments 'brake_failure'

What a country!
China's space technology is obviously years ahead of the U.S.'s, in that its mission control had the ability, on September 25th, to quote in-flight dialogue among Shenzhou 7 astronauts . . who hadn't even launched yet . . and, according to its official news agency, wouldn't actually have the quoted conversation until September 27th. Associated Press via Yahoo
Comments 'china_astronauts'

Readers' choice
I didn't do a good job with the news yesterday, and some reader contributions piled up. Many thanks to many people for these tips. (1) Kentucky man went in for circumcision, woke up minus his stuff (Doctor: Umm, I happened to see a cancer, and I couldn't imagine you'd want a second opinion, so I sliced it off. You're welcome.) (2) Jose Cruz, 21, arrested for DUI in South Charleston, W.Va., had a "battery" charge tacked on when he allegedly lifted his leg several times and gassed the arresting officer (but the prosecutor said he's only doing the DUI). (3) A Wisconsin man was cited for disorderly conduct for buying a beer for his sons, ages 4 and 2, at the county fair (Bonus: It's not illegal for kids to hoist a few with their parents in Wisconsin). WLKY-TV (Louisville) /// Associated Press via Yahoo /// Post-Crescent (Appleton)
Comments 'readers_080926'

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
According to the police, when her live-in boyfriend popped the question, Celeste Lagrant, 39, declined, via a knife-and-fist attack. WTSP-TV (St. Petersburg-Tampa)
Comments 'celeste_lagrant'

Eyewitness News
[news videos goin' around]
I can't find this slide show on a U.S. source, so beware of this, but it says here that recently in Houston (and irrespective of Hurricane Ike), a landlord happened to wander into one of his apartments to discover a new high in disgustingness. I mean, really. Daily Telegraph (Sydney) [click link inside the story for the slide show]
Comments 'houston_apartment'

More Things to Worry About on Friday
A female F State firefighter is being investigated for stealing a traffic-accident victim's foot from the scene (Seriously) . . . . . We've heard of dentists who use their tools to extort overdue bills from patients, but only when the patients return for subsequent treatment, but this German dentist didn't wait; he went to the deadbeat's house and yanked out the dentures . . . . . A Utah mother, driving her Ford Expedition, let her little tykes ride on the running board while she drove slowly around (only this time she went over a speed bump, and one kid's in critical condition) . . . . . Another one of those loco Japanese inventions: a personal, wearable airbag, in case you fall [Ed.: Oh, wait; this is a great invention, as anyone with elderly parents will recognize] . . . . . Update: A Nebraska man abandoned his nine children (ages 1 to 17) at a hospital, under the state's baby-drop-off law (no penalty for parents who give up their infants, except that Nebraska's law applies to all "minors"). Today's Newsrangers: Larry Ellis Reed, Candy Clouston, Emory Kimbrough, Bruce Alter, Mark Svevar, Pete Randall (and a slew of "Readers' Choice" finders)
Comments 'worry_080926'

Posted By: Chuck - Fri Sep 26, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category:

September 25, 2008

Follies of the Mad Men #30

image
[From Life magazine for June 9 1952.]

This ad was part of a long campaign for the product, which depicted men and boys doing common tasks in public in their underwear. Kinda the male equivalent of the famous "I dreamed I went to work in my Maidenform bra" series of ads. No matter the possible plausible logic of the creators, this series conjures up nothing so much as a kind of weird nation solely populated by mentally challenged males, where outer clothing has yet to be invented.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Sep 25, 2008 - Comments (17)
Category: Business, Advertising, Fashion, Stupidity, 1950s, Men

Fecal Scoring System

Don't you wish that the Purina pet food company would issue a handy chart by which to grade your dog's poop? Well, your wish has come true!

Visit the hidden portion of this post, if you have a high tolerance for pictures of dog poop.



More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Thu Sep 25, 2008 - Comments (21)
Category: Animals, Pets, Dogs, Scatology, Excrement

Unsolved Mystery: Lumps from the sea

Mystery lumps are washing ashore in New Zealand. What they are: large, barrel-shaped lumps of grease ("like rancid fat or lard") covered in barnacles. Where they come from: nobody knows. The theory that they could be ambergris from whales was quickly disproven. Some entrepreneurs are carving them up and selling the stuff as moisturizing sunblock. Link: stuff.co.nz.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Sep 25, 2008 - Comments (10)
Category: Nature, Unsolved Mysteries

Chuck’s Hand-Picked Overnight Weird News for Thursday

Editor's Note
Regret the brevity. Busy last night and this morning. Catch-up by tomorrow.

Worst idea of 2008
The Clown Conservatory in San Francisco announced it has become the latest outfit to try to raise money by selling its own fancy themed calendar . . of clowns . . naked clowns. Contra Costa Times /// NakedClownCalendar.com [not exactly a surprise that that domain was available!]
Comments 'naked_clowns'

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
Schoolteacher Alyson Perry-Jarvis has been accused of having sex with a kid, but the thing is, isn't she enough of a babe that she could pretty much have sex with any grown-up she wants? St. Petersburg Times
Comments 'alyson_perryjarvis'

More Things to Worry About on Thursday
Woman sued Vibe magazine for publishing photos of her topless, in a mermaid outfit, at a big P.Diddy party, but the judge ruled by popping open a can of common sense (Bonus: Her day job is hedge-fund money manager) . . . . . Least competent traveler: A Buenos Aires woman, buying a plane ticket on the Internet for Sydney, Australia, wound up in Canada, on a puddle-jumper in Halifax that was taxiing for take-off to Sydney, Nova Scotia . . . . . Police sketch-artist technology gives way to a "composite image" of the perp (and what a perp!).
Comments 'worry_080925'

Posted By: Chuck - Thu Sep 25, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category:

Slime Molds and Techno Music

After watching this, I've developed a sudden fear of being eaten alive by fungi.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Sep 25, 2008 - Comments (3)
Category: Nature, Video

September 24, 2008

Pig Farms

image
Still on the bacon thread!

Sure, we all love bacon! But who wants to live next to a pig farm? Not these folks in Massachusetts, who, according to today's Boston Globe (registration required), suffer smells like those "at the bottom of a dumpster." But this new Congressional report finds the EPA ready to relax their rules for such farms.

Here's an article about a manure lagoon spill in 2005 that released 3 million gallons of pig poop!





Posted By: Paul - Wed Sep 24, 2008 - Comments (12)
Category: Agriculture, Animals, Bathrooms, Disasters, Food, Scatology, Lawsuits, Excrement

Survival Under Atomic Attack

A reader named John, commenting on the WHY STUDY SCIENCE? thread, asked to see a film about surviving atomic attack. Here it is, John!

(There's no static image on the screen, but just click the PLAY button on the bottom of the viewing window.)

Posted By: Paul - Wed Sep 24, 2008 - Comments (8)
Category: Armageddon and Apocalypses, Disasters, History, Military, Movies, Patriotism, Technology, War, Weapons, Reader Recommendation, 1950s, Yesterday’s Tomorrows

Chuck’s Hand-Picked Overnight Weird News for Wednesday

Mom helped arm a Columbine wannabe
Dillon Cossey, 14, has, as they say, "a weight problem," which provoked bullying, which he dropped out of school to get away from, but that apparently didn't end his revenge fantasies. He's going to juvy until age 21, but it turns out his mom had bought him gunpowder and a rifle with a laser scope, but, she said, only to "improve his self-esteem," as she had no idea what was bubbling in Big Dillon's mind. Associated Press via Charlotte Observer
Comments 'dillon_cossey'

Chimps can recognize friends by their butts
If you're a primatologist (Emory Univ., Atlanta), this is probably a major piece of work. Actually, chimps don't just acknowledge a butt they've seen before; they recall a mental image of the entire chimp whose butt is in front of them. New Scientist
Comments 'chimps_butts'

Roundup of new reports of old news
If you've been keeping up with your News of the Weird reading, you don't need to click these links, since there's nothing here I haven't already told you about. But if you've been bad . . lazy(!) . . disrespectful of the hard work I put in here(!), you can catch up on these recent stories and (better late than never) achieve the Total Consciousness that comes with reading NOTW regularly: (1) It's now surgically viable to remove gall bladders and kidneys not through cuts in the skin but via "natural orifices" (mouth, vagina, anus). (2) There's a kid in Washington state with a genetic anomaly that makes him so far almost as tall as Yao Ming. (3) More women are opting for designer vaginas despite the actual medical literature's being really thin on the subject. (4) The chaste-daughter movement is supposedly growing, where fathers step in and show the girls how to have fun (dancing, dining) without fooling around. Washington Post /// Seattle Times /// BBC News /// The Times (London)
Comments 'newold_updates'

Your Daily Loser
You're a loser if you're 21 years old and haven't learned how to spell your own name yet. (If you just started trying when you were, say, age 7, you'd have 7 yrs to practice your first name, then 7 more years to practice your last name, and there you go.) But Brandon Bethea, 21, Smithfield, N.C., was arrested when he didn't know how to spell whatever names he was trying to tell the cops were his. WTSB-AM (Smithfield) [click Local News, scroll down; link expires soon]
Comments 'brandon_bethea'

Your Daily Jury Duty
[no fair examining the evidence; verdict must be based on mugshot only]
Kathy Wilcox, 51, might possibly have driven through a locked, barbed-wire gate of a Tampa airport, right down the runway. But then again, maybe it's all a mistake. Up to you. WTSP-TV (St. Petersburg-Tampa)
Comments 'kathy_wilcox'

More Things to Worry About on Wednesday
If your surgeon stapled your rectum shut, there's a good chance you'll have "bowel problems," as alleged by this 64-yr-old man's lawsuit against a doctor in western Maryland . . . . . After the head of an industrial plant in India announced layoffs of hundreds of workers, at least 60 of 'em beat him up and killed him . . . . . That iron-fisted Myanmar military junta (that refused almost all Western aid to their cyclone victims in May) turned all "loving" and emptied the prisons (but not the "political" prisoners, which the junta says they don't have, anyway) . . . . . An Australian woman reported being trapped in her house by a pig "the size of a Shetland pony," which neighbors have named Bruce . . . . . As part of the nightly Ramadan carnival in Kano, Nigeria, the town has a "bachelor catcher," whose job it is to shame men (aka "dogs") into tying the knot. Today's Newsrangers: Bruce Townley, Candy Clouston, Steve Passen, Mickey Lamm, Kathryn Wood, Jonathan Fox
Comments 'worry_080924'

Posted By: Chuck - Wed Sep 24, 2008 - Comments (0)
Category:

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Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

Chuck Shepherd
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.

Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.

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