Weird Universe Archive

August 2022

August 26, 2022

Atomic-Powered Vacuum Cleaners

Alex Lewyt, owner of the Lewyt Vacuum Corporation, has been mocked for his 1955 prediction that vacuum cleaners would one day be atomic-powered.

But he also predicted self-guided, robotic vacuums, and he was right about that.

Louisville Courier Journal - May 19, 1955



Albuquerque Tribune - Jun 7, 1955



Below: a 1950 ad for Lord Calvert whiskey that, for some reason, featured Alex Lewyt. Note the vacuum cleaner in the glass case behind him.

Life - Nov 27, 1950

Posted By: Alex - Fri Aug 26, 2022 - Comments (4)
Category: Atomic Power and Other Nuclear Matters, Appliances, 1950s, Yesterday’s Tomorrows

August 25, 2022

Another Miss Psy War

I looked through an online newspaper archive to see if I could find out anything about those "Miss Psywar" photos Paul posted two days ago. I didn't. But I did come across another Miss Psywar.

Bonnie Halpin was chosen as "Miss Psy War of 1962" by the 349th Psychological Warfare Company.

Arlington Heights Herald - July 12, 1962



Halpin, it turns out, is a minor celebrity. She had the distinction of being the very first Playboy bunny ever. She also appeared on the cover of the Oct 1962 issue of Playboy magazine. Unfortunately she died in 2004 at the relatively young age of 65.

More info about Halpin: FindAGrave.com



Hackensack Record - Apr 30, 2004

Posted By: Alex - Thu Aug 25, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Psychology, 1960s, Armed Forces

Kings Dethroned

Did you know our Sun was only 13,000 miles distant?

Read it here.





Posted By: Paul - Thu Aug 25, 2022 - Comments (1)
Category: Eccentrics, Spaceflight, Astronautics, and Astronomy, Books

August 24, 2022

Giganticus Headicus

I recently had the chance to visit this roadside oddity in Arizona. It's located about 20 miles east of Kingman on Route 66. Artist Gregg Arnold created it in 2004, modeling it after the giant heads on Easter Island. He created it, he said, "because the place looked like it needed something like this."

More info: Roadside America

Posted By: Alex - Wed Aug 24, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Art, Landmarks, Sightseeing

August 23, 2022

The Traffic Cone Preservation Society

The purpose of the Traffic Cone Preservation Society is to preserve and study these "Helpers of Humanity" in order to allow future generations "the opportunity to enjoy these magnificent creatures in their natural habitats."



The society (and website) was created by Amy Winfrey back in the late 1990s. So in Internet years it's ancient. It's nice that she's kept the website up all these years.

When she created it she was a student at UCLA. She's now a professional animator who's worked on shows such as South Park and BoJack Horseman.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Aug 23, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations, Strange Websites

Miss Psywar

Alas, no info on this contest seems to have survived.



Posted By: Paul - Tue Aug 23, 2022 - Comments (4)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, War

August 22, 2022

Meat Homogenate

For a mere $1,064 one can buy four cans of something called "meat homogenate" from the U.S. government's National Institute of Standards and Technology.



The stuff is edible. The NIST website describes it as "a mixture of pork and chicken products blended together in a commercial process." However, it's not actually supposed to be eaten. It's sold as "standard reference material." All the nutrients in it (fatty acids, cholesterol, calories, vitamins, etc.) have been carefully measured. So companies can buy it and use it to calibrate their own equipment used to measure the nutrients in the food they sell. The high cost of the meat homogenate reflects the work done to measure the nutrients. Not the food itself.

However, I think the NIST should sell 'meat homogenate' labels as a gag gift, and people could put them on their own cans. I wouldn't mind having a few cans of meat homogenate in the pantry to impress guests.

The NIST also sells three jars of peanut butter for $1,069.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Aug 22, 2022 - Comments (5)
Category: Food, Nutrition, Government

Faking Someone Else’s Death

Modern life is full of stories about 1) people who fake their own death; and 2) people who fake having an illness (usually cancer) in order to get money. But this episode seems unique in that the scammers faked the death of someone else to get money.

Source: North Mail Newcastle Daily Chronicle (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Tyne and Wear, England) 28 Apr 1926, Wed Page 11

Posted By: Paul - Mon Aug 22, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Death, Scams, Cons, Rip-offs, and General Larceny, 1920s, United Kingdom

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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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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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