Weird Universe


Paleo Diet of 1916

The idea that we'd all be healthier if we lived and ate like the cave man did has been around a long time. It long predates the current "paleo diet" trend.

For instance, back in 1916, the makers of Nujol wanted everyone to believe that if you pooped a lot, like the cave man did, you'd be a model of health. Nujol was basically raw petroleum, which is why it was sold by the Standard Oil company. It's name meant "New Oil." Read more of Nujol's history here.

Source: Oregon Daily Journal - Sep 21, 1916

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Dec 12, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Medicine, 1910's

Groovy Dentist

"Groovy people should wear groovy clothes," said San Francisco dentist Rodney Pain in 1971. "That way we turn on the whole world."

Pain embodied this ideal by doing away with the white tunic typically worn by dentists and always wearing groovy clothes instead.

Dr. Pain sounded familiar, and then I realized that I've posted about him before. He's the same guy who made the news in 1966 because he played bagpipes for his patients while waiting for their fillings to set.

Well, I assume it's the same guy. How many dentists named Rodney Pain could there be in San Francisco?

Note that in the 1966 photo, he isn't yet wearing groovy clothes.

Colorado Springs Gazette - Mar 5, 1971

Dr. Rodney Pain in 1966, playing bagpipes

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Sep 27, 2015 | Comments (5)
Category: Medicine, 1970's

Do You See It?

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 | Date: Tue Sep 22, 2015 | Comments (22)
Category: Ambiguity, Uncertainty and Deliberate Obscurity, Medicine, Brain

Kidney stone-removing bed

Zhu Qinghua, a Chinese rice farmer, has invented a "kidney stone-removing bed." A person is strapped into the bed and hung upside down. Then the entire device vibrates intensely thanks to some kind of tractor engine attached to it.

Zhu has been strapping his wife into this thing and claims it's completely cured her kidney stones. []

Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Apr 14, 2015 | Comments (8)
Category: Inventions, Medicine


A lion getting a CAT scan!
Posted By: patty | Date: Sat Mar 21, 2015 | Comments (1)
Category: Animals, Hospitals, Medicine


What were you doing when you were 16? Not much? 16-year-old Mallory Kievman has invented a cure for hiccups (one that apparently actually works) and set up a business to manufacture it. She's also been invited to the White House Science Fair in a few days. From

Kievman invented "hiccupops" after her own bout with the hiccups around the seventh grade. She researched cures and found three things that helped cure them (and were backed up by some scientific research) — apple cider, sugar and sucking on lollipops. She decided to combine all three into one product... Kievman then started setting up a business to manufacture it. Right now, she’s on the brink of getting it distributed and ready for sale.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Fri Mar 20, 2015 | Comments (2)
Category: Inventions, Medicine

Violet Rays

Good thing they clarified that this was NOT a vibrator. Otherwise someone might have gotten hurt.

Source: Illustrated World, March 1920.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Wed Mar 18, 2015 | Comments (5)
Category: Medicine, 1920's

Woodward’s Gripe Water

Gripe water is what people used to give to kids to calm them down if they had colic, teething pains, etc. But what exactly was in the stuff? According to wikipedia, the main ingredients were alcohol, dill oil, sodium bicarbonate, sugar, and water. But this ad makes me think there must have been a little something extra in the Indian formulation of the stuff.

via reddit
Posted By: Alex | Date: Fri Mar 06, 2015 | Comments (11)
Category: Medicine, 1930's


Picture one is a child with measles. Picture two is a child with smallpox. The only study to vilify vaccines has been completely debunked and yet supposedly loving and intelligent parents are denying their children the protection of vaccinations. These people also put others at risk with this irresponsible choice. The scientific community is at a loss as to how to reverse this dangerous trend. Meanwhile pop culture icons weigh in on a subject they have no expertise about and influence decisions that damage society as a whole and children especially.
Government needs to step in for public safety before these diseases take hold in the general population unnecessarily. Parents are being threatened with having their children taken away for letting them walk to the park unaccompanied yet refusing the protection of vaccinations is being allowed. We are down the rabbit hole on this issue.

Young’s Rectal Dilators

These things were widely advertised in newspapers during the early 20th Century, promoted as a "guaranteed cure" for just about everything, but particularly for piles and constipation. As the American Journal of Gastroenterology notes, they do actually have some legitimate medical uses. But in 1940 the federal government sued the Dr. Young company for making misleading claims, and after that the ads stopped appearing in newspapers. Read more about the history of these dilators at The Quack Doctor.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Wed Jan 14, 2015 | Comments (13)
Category: Medicine
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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.