Invented in 1937 to control cannibalism among chickens. Apparently chickens have a natural instinct to peck each other, but the sight of blood intensifies this instinct. So much so that if one chicken has blood on its feathers, all the others in the flock will peck it to death. This was a real problem for farmers until these rose-colored chicken sunglasses came along, which made it hard for the chickens to see the sight of blood. Nowadays, farmers must have other solutions to the problem of chicken cannibalism, because these glasses are no longer manufactured and are considered collector's items. (National Band and Tag via Feathered Forager)
If you're ever at a dinner party where the host has a set of forks that look like these, you might want to consider leaving, quickly.
These are Fijian "cannibal forks" used for eating human flesh. The iron dance blog offers this description of them:
The cannibal fork, or iculanibokola, was used by attendants during ritual feasts to feed individuals considered too holy to touch food. These forks arose for several reasons. First is a cultural taboo that prohibits chiefs and priests from touching food with their hands. Common Fijians generally did not use utensils until Europeanization. One of the most important ceremonies a chieftain participated in was the devouring of their or the tribes enemy. Combining the significance of the event and the inability to use their hands the chiefs needed a way to participate-hence the development of the cannibal fork. Forks became a way to show power and influence. The fancier more elaborate the fork, the higher status the owner had.
Fijian cannibal forks are still made, to sell to tourists. What the tourists use them for... I guess that's their own business.
Here are two commercials to watch. I believe that you will see a startling similarity emerge that will shake you to the core (or maybe just halfway to the core).
So far, so good. It's your basic ad for cosmetics, showing a heavily airbrushed woman who looks somewhat like an android (gynoid?), poncing around in an empty, black, out-of-focus room, interspersed with product shots against a stark white background. (I'm always a little saddened when the real product doesn't create lines of light in contour around my wife's face.) I don't know to much about the product's specific properties.
What I know for sure is that it bares a startling similarity to a fictional product I have seen before. More >>
Ever wondered what human flesh would taste like but you've never been trapped in the Andes due to a horrific plane crash? Then this cute little robot has the answer. Designed by researchers in Japan, the Winebot is supposed to be for sorting different types of wine, cheese and hors d'oeuvres. But when a reporter placed his hand against the sensor, he was declared to be "bacon". Anyone care to confirm?
Sprehe Foods has decided to call its new line of frozen chicken strips "Obama Fingers." The name doesn't sound appetizing to me, but then these will be sold in Germany, the land of Armin Meiwes, so I figure Sprehe must know its market. And they come with a curry dip! [Spiegel]
A group of fanatical religious terrorists, holed up in their mountain redoubts and battling an occupying government. Surely this description must apply to some modern-day group and situation, such as in Afghanistan, or perhaps Africa...? And the terrorists will in all likelihood be Islamic, right?
I learned about this historical incident from reading Robert Louis Stevenson's Travels with a Donkey. (You can find the entire text of the book here.) Stevenson traveled through the region once ruled by the Camisards, and evoked the romance of their rebellion.
There, a hundred and eighty years ago, was the chivalrous Roland, "Count and Lord Roland, generalissimo of the Protestants in France," grave, silent, imperious, pock-marked ex-dragoon, whom a lady followed in his wanderings out of love. There was Cavalier, a baker's apprentice with a genius for war, elected brigadier of Camisards at seventeen, to die at fifty-five the English governor of Jersey. There again was Castanet, a partisan in a voluminous peruke and with a taste for divinity. Strange generals who moved apart to take counsel with the God of Hosts, and fled or offered battle, set sentinels or slept in an unguarded camp, as the Spirit whispered to their hearts! And to follow these and other leaders was the rank file of prophets and disciples, bold, patient, hardy to run upon the mountains, cheering their rough life with psalms, eager to fight, eager to pray, listening devoutly to the oracles of brainsick children, and mystically putting a grain of wheat among the pewter balls with which they charged their muskets.
Pretty weird, huh? And right in Europe, not all that long ago.
The last sentence from Stevenson is particularly intriguing, since it conjures up comparisons to the Mai-Mai rebels in the Congo today, who believe that certain magical charms protect them against bullets; that their own bullets are invulnerable to counter charms; and that ritual cannibalism of their enemies is still a grand idea.
Once Europe had its own Mai-Mai's. Perhaps someday Africa will be rid of theirs.
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Weird Universe explores every aspect of a human and natural cosmos that is not only "stranger than we imagine, but stranger than we can imagine."