Weird Universe Archive

April 2021

April 17, 2021

Why the man of the future may have only one eye

1927: Scientist W.E. Bailey predicted that, in the far future, our descendants may have only "one large, central, cyclopean eye".

Of course, who knows what humans may look like in a million years (if there are even any of us still around), but his argument sounds plausible enough to me (with my limited knowledge of neuroscience). Basically he argued that, over the past several million years, our brains have devoted more space to speech, and less to vision. Extrapolating that trend into the future, he concluded that the eventual merging of our eyes into one would be a more efficient use of the brain's resources, and so will probably happen.

Minneapolis Star Tribune - Dec 4, 1927



The gradual merging of man's two eyes into one may come about through the process of evolution, according to the predictions which W.E. Bailey makes in the Scientific American.

"Man's field of view," writes Mr. Bailey, "will become smaller and smaller. This, because his need of a wide field is growing less and less. This I say with full realization that we live in an age of automobiles, and that these vehicles render desirable a wide field of view. The automobile is probably a very transitory phenomenon. I even believe that, in the course of countless ages, the two human eyes will come closer together, the bridge of the nose will further diminish and sink (just as the animal snout, in man's line of descent, has been doing for vast aeons of time) and, finally, man's two eyes will again become one—just one large, central, cyclopean eye.

"It is likely that the merely servient (left) eye will shrink away (as the pineal eye has already done) so that the right eye will become the cyclopean. Certain it is that the left eye, even today, is being used less and less continually. Man's binocular and stereoscopic visions are being destroyed. That is the price he pays for his speech center.

"The great cyclopean eye, however, will regain stereoscopic vision by developing two maculae in the one eye, just in the fashion in which many birds have stereoscopic vision in each eye now. Although the field of view will then be narrower than now, the eye will probably be microscopic and telescopic; it will be exceedingly acute for colors, for motion, and for form; and finally, most important of all, it will probably be able to perceive as light many forms of energy which now produce in human eyes no sort or kind of perception.

"Because of the development of a speech center in man, there has come about what is called dominancy and serviency in human eyes, a phenomenon not found in other mammals. This means that, in the human, the brain does most of the seeing through one eye, even when both eyes are open. Dr. Thomas Hall Shastid, ophthalmologist of St. Luke's Hospital, Duluth, has found that from 95 to 100 per cent of the detail of any object comes through the right eye if the person be right-handed; while if the person be left-handed the left eye as a rule, but not always, takes up the major part of the detail. This condition, which he has been unable to observe in any other animal, may eventually result in consequences of vast importance to humanity."


Posted By: Alex - Sat Apr 17, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Science, Anthropology, 1920s, Eyes and Vision

April 16, 2021

Arnulf Rainer

An experimental film from 1960 about flicker effect. Or, as one commenter on YouTube puts it, "One of the most horrible things ever in the history of the cinema."

The film is named after the artist Arnulf Rainer but it's by director Peter Kubelka. Some more info from wikipedia:

Arnulf Rainer premiered May 1960 in Vienna, where most of the audience walked out of the screening. Kubelka has stated that after the premiere, he "lost most of [his] friends because of Arnulf Rainer".

Wikipedia also notes that Kubelka refused to digitize the film because "cinema is a completely different medium which cannot be imitated by the digital medium." But it's on YouTube, so someone digitized it.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Apr 16, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Art, Movies, 1960s

The Jiger

My 2 favorite parts of this video: when they launch off a ramp into water; and the vaguely retro-porn-style musical score that someone added.

Wikipedia says this was the very first ATV.




Posted By: Paul - Fri Apr 16, 2021 - Comments (6)
Category: Motor Vehicles, 1960s

April 15, 2021

Fancy Feast Recipes for Humans

Another odd cookbook: Cat-food maker Fancy Feast has released a book of recipes for humans. As explained in the book's introduction:

each of the recipes in this cookbook gives a nod to the dishes you'll be serving your cat, yet made for humans. Using palate-pleasing ingredients like chicken, salmon, and whitefish, these dishes complement Fancy Feast's entrée options so you can have what they're having—an elegant and delicious meal.

Apparently anticipating that few people would be willing to buy this cookbook, they've posted it online as a free downoad.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Apr 15, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Food, Cookbooks, Cats

The Twilight Sleep Association

Rendering a pregnant woman unconscious in the delivery room is pretty much frowned upon nowadays, except for emergencies. But at one point, it was regarded as the newest sophistication of the birthing process.

Article from 1915 here.

Modern essay here.



Source.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Apr 15, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Babies, Medicine, Twentieth Century

April 14, 2021

The American Airlines Recipe Book

We recently posted about the American Airlines Wine Club, which allows people to enjoy wines served inflight at home. Turns out that in 1994 the company did something similar with its airline food, publishing a recipe book so that people could "prepare their inflight favorites at home". It was titled A Taste of Something Special.

The book was given to frequent fliers, rather than being sold to the public. But you can now download a pdf of the entire thing via Michigan State University Library.





Yonkers Herald Statesman - Feb 8, 1996

Posted By: Alex - Wed Apr 14, 2021 - Comments (8)
Category: Food, Cookbooks, Air Travel and Airlines, 1990s

Dancing on the Moon

Posted By: Paul - Wed Apr 14, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Anthropomorphism, Babies, Cartoons, 1930s, Sex Lives Worse Than Yours

April 13, 2021

Anti-Pollution Ventilators

1996: French engineer Yves Lecoffre proposed installing 70,000 "anti-pollution ventilators" (aka fans) around the streets of Paris to blow away the exhaust fumes from cars.

Was he joking about this? Was it some kind of April Fool joke? Not as far as I can tell. Though I can't imagine how his scheme would have made the slightest difference to Paris's air quality.

Calgary Herald - May 4, 1996



Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Posted By: Alex - Tue Apr 13, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Engineering and Construction, Really Bad Ideas, Urban Life, 1990s

Wild Party, 1905 Style

After the article, you can view one of Madame Gabrielle Réjane's silent films.

Her Wikipedia page, with some great photos.

Source of article: The Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois) 05 Feb 1905, Sun Page 3





Posted By: Paul - Tue Apr 13, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Dinners, Banquets, Parties, Tributes, Roasts and Other Celebrations, Movies, Publicity Stunts, Public Indecency, 1900s, Dance

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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.

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