Weird Universe Archive

September 2015

September 23, 2015

Unfit Bits

Tega Brain and Surya Mattu have come up with an "art project" (Unfit Bits) that gives people practical tips on how to cheat fitness trackers, such as the Fitbit. Why would you want to cheat a fitness tracker? Perhaps because your employer is offering a financial incentive to wear the tracker and is then monitoring your data and sharing that data with an insurance company. So screw them. Take their money and supply them with a stream of bogus data.

The cheat methods are as easy as tying the tracker to a pendulum or to the branch of a tree, to make it think you're walking around when you're really slouching in front of the TV. Notes Mattu, "We’re putting this kind of trust into devices that are very simple. Unfit Bits shows how silly the data is from these kinds of sensors." More info at Observer.com.

Unfit Bits from Surya Mattu on Vimeo.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Sep 23, 2015 - Comments (9)
Category: Art, Exercise and Fitness, Technology

Nobel Prize Perk:  Breakfast in Bed

With the Nobel Prize announcements due soon, I think it's time we spoke of a little-known perk for the winners: receiving breakfast in bed from Saint Lucia.

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Original article here.

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Posted By: Paul - Wed Sep 23, 2015 - Comments (6)
Category: Contests, Races and Other Competitions, Domestic, Food, Europe

September 22, 2015

Do You See It?

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Do you see an image of a person, place or thing on this brain scan? If so what do you see? If not tell that too. No cheating, only go to the link after you tell us what you see if you see anything at all.

Posted By: patty - Tue Sep 22, 2015 - Comments (22)
Category: Ambiguity, Uncertainty and Deliberate Obscurity, Medicine, Brain

Putin painted by boob

The latest in boob art. Russian artist Irina Romanovskaya says she's been painting portraits of Russian political leaders, including Vladimir Putin, using her boobs. She notes that "Paintings painted with breasts sell well and for a lot."

However, this isn't easy money. "Using your breasts to paint is more complicated, it's labor intensive and slow," she says. "Any mistake can mean you have to start all over again."

In the video below, she demonstrates the process, and it's not how I imagined it would be, being that it's surprisingly safe for work. Actually, I'm not really sure what she's doing in the video, because she's talking in Russian, but I assume she's demonstrating the process.

More info at Moscow Times and The Art Newspaper. Also check out Romanovskaya's blog for more examples of her work.



Posted By: Alex - Tue Sep 22, 2015 - Comments (6)
Category: Art

The Life Cycle of the Pin Mould



"If a ripe head is squeezed, an enormous number of little things fastened together in a sticky mess are jerked out."

They teach this filth in our schools!?!

Posted By: Paul - Tue Sep 22, 2015 - Comments (3)
Category: Boredom, Hygiene, Innuendo, Double Entendres, Symbolism, Nudge-Nudge-Wink-Wink and Subliminal Messages, Nature, 1940s

September 21, 2015

SPIDERWOMAN

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Mom of the year saw a spider on her shoulder so she jumped out of her moving car (yes she was driving) with her 9 year old son in the back seat. The boy climbed over the seat and tried to get the vehicle stopped. Unfortunately he hit the gas by mistake and rammed a school bus.

Posted By: patty - Mon Sep 21, 2015 - Comments (3)
Category: Accidents, Goofs and Screw-ups, Insects, Can’t Possibly Be True

MacLevy Leg Massager

Image source: Time magazine - April 19, 1948


Displayed at a Beauty Shop trade convention in Manhattan's Grand Central Palace, April 1948.

The machine (the MacLevy Leg Massager) was marketed to beauty shop owners. The introduction of home permanent wave kits in the mid-1940s had caused a steep decline in business for beauty shops, so the inventors of machines such as the leg massager were promising the shop owners that they could lure customers back by installing gadgets such as this, which would allow them to offer new services without having to hire trained masseuses.

The leg massager was invented by Monte MacLevy, who filed a patent application for it in July 1939. From the patent:

[It is] the contemplation of my invention to provide mechanical means for massaging a persons legs and thighs in a manner that has heretofore been possible only by a well-executed manual massage. And in this aspect of my invention it is a further objective to effect a simultaneous massage of the calf and thigh so as to produce most efiective results in a minimum of time. It is also within the contemplation of my invention to enable the massaging operation to be effectuated while the legs are relieved of practically all strain, an objective that I attain by providing such supporting means for the subject as to enable him to recline in a position where the legs and thighs are conveniently supported in natural angular relation with respect to each other so that they may be completely relaxed during the massaging operation. And in this aspect of my invention it is a further object to provide mechanical massaging implements simultaneously and operably movable in different directions so as to be engageable with various portions of both legs and thighs.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Sep 21, 2015 - Comments (6)
Category: Inventions, 1940s

Kaywoodie Chinrester

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Posted By: Paul - Mon Sep 21, 2015 - Comments (4)
Category: Tobacco and Smoking, Chindogu, 1950s

September 20, 2015

News of the Weird (September 20, 2015)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M441, September 20, 2015
Copyright 2015 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Lead Story

Your English Teacher Was Right: In September, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery concluded that records of an investigation need not be released to the Memphis city council--because there was no comma. The law requires the records’ release “only in compliance with a subpoena or an order of a court”; Slatery said if there had been a comma after “subpoena,” a council subpoena would get the records, but without the comma, only court subpoenas. And in July, Andrea Cammelleri prevailed on her parking ticket challenge because there was no comma. A West Jefferson, Ohio, ordinance banned parking of any “motor vehicle camper, trailer”; a state appeals judge ruled that, with a comma after “vehicle,” Cammelleri’s truck would have been banned, but without it, only campers and trailers were. [The Tennessean, 9-3-2015] [WSYX-TV (Columbus), 7-3-2015]

Great Moments in Gerrymandering

In April the City Council of Columbia, Mo., rigged a specially-drawn “Community Improvement District” to pass a sales tax increase. Under the law, if the District had no “residents” to vote, the “election” would be decided by the tax-friendly business owners. However, the Council somehow missed that college student Jen Henderson, 24, actually lived there and registered to vote, meaning the business owners could not vote and that the tax increase would be decided by . . Henderson. (In late August the Council “postponed” the election and at press time were in a quandary, as Henderson said she’s against higher taxes.) [Columbia Tribune, 8-25-2015, 8-31-2015]

The Entrepreneurial Spirit!

Spike’s Tactical of Apopka, Fla., introduced its version of the AR-15 assault rifle this summer “designed to never be used by Muslim terrorists.” Laser-etched on one side is a symbol of the Christian Crusades and on the other, language from Psalm 144. Spike’s Tactical CEO Angela Register predicted brisk sales: “Men like to accessorize their guns more than women like to accessorize their outfits.” [Orlando Sentinel, 9-2-2015]

A teenage girl in Wyandotte, Mich., using $9.95 tools from a website called FakeABaby.com, pretended for months to be pregnant (with abdomen extenders and ultrasound photos of her “triplets”). She received gifts, had a baby shower, joined expectant-mother groups, and even frightened her 16-year-old boyfriend enough that he began looking for full-time work to feed the soon-due “baby.” However (obviously), the ruse fell apart in the 10th month (in August), drawing community outrage, but according to the sheriff, none of the “victims” who were fooled has come forward to press fraud charges. [WJBK-TV (Detroit), 9-1-2015]

Cultural Diversity

While “Deep South” states’ courts are notorious for death sentences, the “epicenter” of capital punishment in recent years has shifted to southern California, according to a September Slate.com analysis. While neither Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, nor Virginia has issued a death sentence this year, Riverside County, Calif., has recorded seven, and since 2010, Riverside and Los Angeles County have led the nation in death-row assignments. (Ironically, of course, California rarely actually executes anyone; its death row has 748 residents, and no one has walked the last mile since 2006.) [Slate.com, 9-7-2015]

Egypt’s notorious corruption apparently reached a new level of victims in the summer as Mariam Malak, one of the top-performing high school students in the entire country, not only failed all six of her final exams but received scores of “zero” in each. Her family, and a legion of supporters on social media, have demanded that the prime minister investigate, especially whether another student had paid to acquire Mariam’s scores or whether Mariam was failed intentionally because she is of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority. [BBC News, 9-6-2015]

Bright Ideas

The Cambridge, Mass., company AOBiome believes we have dangerously stripped “good bacteria” from our skins via “excessive cleaning” and has introduced for sale “Mother Dirt” spray to add it back. Chemical engineer and co-founder Dave Whitlock told WBZ-TV in September that he personally has “not taken a shower in over 12 years” but instead uses his odorless bacteria-restoring mist, twice a day, to cover himself with helpful “dirt” that activates the “good” bacteria. The company will soon begin clinical trials to demonstrate whether Mother Dirt (which also comes in shampoo form) can additionally improve certain skin conditions. [WBZ-TV (Boston), 9-4-2015]

Latest Religious Messages

Georgia’s Carroll County School District said in September it was looking into a reported “mass baptism” of football players (and the coach) just before a practice of the Villa Rica High School team. The ceremony likely was performed by First Baptist Villa Rica and is captioned on the YouTube video, “[S]ee how God is STILL in our schools!” [WXIA-TV (Atlanta), 9-2-2015]

Fine Points of the Law

Cormega Copening, 17, and his girlfriend Brianna Denson, 16, of Fayetteville, N.C., are old enough to have sex (“adults,” according to state law) but apparently too young to exchange nude photos. Copening was charged with five counts of “sexual exploitation”--for receiving “sexts” from Denson and having nude photos of himself on his phone (i.e., “exploiting” himself). Olson accepted a lesser sentence and is serving a tedious, restrictive probation; she had also been charged with self-exploiting. After much criticism for threatening felony charges and sex-offender registration, prosecutors offered Copening a similar tedious, restrictive probation in September. [Fayetteville Observer, 9-12-2015; WRAL-TV, 9-11-2015]

Perspective

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina left tens of thousands homeless in New Orleans and neighboring Gulf states, many of the 120,000 hastily-constructed box-type trailers ordered up--and later condemned for concentrations of carcinogenic formaldehyde--by the Federal Emergency Management Agency are still being used in the U.S. though most living in them have no clue about the risk. The most recent users were oilfield workers in North Dakota boomtowns, but shady entrepreneurs had also bought trailers at FEMA auctions and sold them for tornado and flood victims--after removing FEMA’s “Not For Human Habitation” stickers, according to a major investigation by Grist.org, released in August. [Grist.org, 8-27-2015]

Least Competent Criminals

Failed to Keep a Low Profile: (1) Maurice Stewart, 22, on the lam since November while wanted for armed robbery in Cleveland, Ohio, was arrested in August when police spotted a man matching his description--notably, his one-of-a-kind tattoo of a semiautomatic rifle just below his right eye. (2) Nearly every courthouse forces visitors to walk through a metal detector after leaving pocket contents (wallets, keys, etc.) in bins. Isaac Phillips, 24, faced several charges from a courthouse visit in August in Cincinnati because, among the items he had to remove from his pocket were a drug scale and a razor blade. After a short chase (and a Tasering), he was arrested. [New York Daily News, 9-1-2015] [Cincinnati Enquirer, 8-7-2015]

People With Issues

According to a divorce petition filed by Carole Mundy (and reported in the New York Post in August), her estranged husband Jeffrey Stein (a “top administrator” for New York’s Nassau County District Attorney) drove her to post-traumatic stress disorder with his “lifestyle.” According to the petition, Stein sometimes wore a chastity belt to work and, during sex, diapers and “a horse tail” (with an anal plug) and “gallop[ed]” around their home, used a litter box, had his wife “walk” him on a leash, dressed like a “sissy maid” named “Jessica,” and wanted to be fed and diapered like a baby. Said Mundy’s lawyer, it was “a bedroom nightmare.” [New York Post, 8-31-2015]

A News of the Weird Classic (May 2009)

The New Waterboarding: In April, the district attorney in Vilas County, Wis., announced that he was seeking volunteers for a forensic test to help his case against Douglas Plude, 42, who is scheduled to stand trial [in 2009] for the death of his wife. The volunteers must be female, about five-feet-eight and 140 pounds, and will have to stick their heads into a toilet bowl and flush. Plude is charged with drowning his wife in a commode, but his version (which the prosecutor believes improbable) is that his wife committed suicide by flushing herself. (Plude ultimately pleaded guilty to reckless homicide.) [USA Today-AP, 4-12-2009; WSAW-TV (Wausau, Wis.), 9-17-2010]

Thanks This Week to Rich Heiden, Jane Skeene, Dan Bohlen, and Michelle Jensen, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Sun Sep 20, 2015 - Comments (3)
Category:

RIP Adam Purple

American eccentric Adam Purple died last week, at the age of 84. The NY Times says he collapsed on the walkway of the Williamsburg Bridge. We've previously noted some of his achievements here on WU. He's most famous as the "original hipster" and a "Guerrilla Gardener" who created a "Garden of Eden" on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Some of his other life details, from the NY Times obit:

  • He used many aliases throughout his life, including Rev. Les Ego, John Peter Zenger 2nd, and General Zen of the Headquarters Intergalactic of Psychic Police of Uranus.
  • He produced hundreds of copies of a tiny book called “Zentences!” that was meant to encourage meditation.
  • He "renounced the internal combustion engine."
  • "Because of his abhorrence of waste, he salvaged and repurposed everything he could, including empty glass bottles, rusty nails and even buckets of lost tennis balls found on the street."

Posted By: Alex - Sun Sep 20, 2015 - Comments (1)
Category: Eccentrics, Bohemians, Beatniks, Hippies and Slackers, Obituaries

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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.

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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.

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