And in 1974 it inspired 13-year-old Danny Kleiner of Philadelphia to wonder what the effect of gamma rays on marigolds would be. So he made that his school science project. He used cobalt radiation to produce the gamma rays. Unfortunately, I don't know what the results of his experiment were.
I haven't read or seen Zindel's play so I don't know if a similar experiment is featured in the book. I'm guessing it must be. I wonder how many high school students were inspired by Zindel's play to do similar experiments?
Back in 1975, Federal Administrative Judge Edward McCarthy briefly tried to promote the idea of granting statehood to Lake Michigan. He figured that if the lake itself was a state, then all the surrounding states wouldn't be able to exploit its resources as easily. As for the oddness of a lake being a state, he reasoned, why not? "After all," he noted, "it's a piece of real estate on which a body of water rests."
1975: Rather than installing expensive signs or speed bumps, Napa, California experimented with using chickens to slow down motorists on one of its streets — Streblow Drive, bordering Kennedy Park. They simply let 85 chickens roam the park and street at will. Said park superintendent Bob Pelusi, "Only occasionally does an errant driver charge through the flock. In the nine months we've had the chickens on the job, we've lost 12 of them — gone in the line of duty, so to speak."
I'm encroaching on Paul's territory here, but I just learned a weird factoid about Rhode Island geography so I thought I'd share. And I'm sure many of you will also know this, but if it was new to me I'm hoping it may be new to a few of you as well.
The factoid: Most of Rhode Island is not Rhode Island. It's the Providence Plantations.
Rhode Island's full name is "The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations," which makes it the longest state name in the U.S. But technically, Rhode Island is just a single island in Narragansett Bay. The island is also known as Aquidneck Island. The mainland part of the state is the Providence Plantations.
In 1975, State Sen. Ambrose Campbell introduced a bill to officially shorten the name to "The State of Rhode Island," but the bill didn't pass. So the full, long name remains.
1976: Drs. William Johnson and Robert Truax of Louisiana State University raised and studied featherless chickens.
Aside from the physical problems, the chickens have social problems and psychological hangups, Johnson said.
"I guess 'embarrassed' is as good a word for it as any. You put one of them in with a flock of normal birds, and it huddles off in a corner by itself. The other birds won't have anything to do with it until they get used to it," he said.
"And then they're just not as active sexually. They will court and strut much more than the normal bird, but they don't mate as readily."
The story reminds me of the old urban legend about KFC raising mutant, featherless chickens. Maybe this is where the story started.
Created in the late 1960s by Hollywood auto customizer George Barris, who's best known as the designer of the original Batmobile.
The Love Machine featured velvet upholstery, a revolving circular bed, psychedelic lights, entertainment console, mirrored ceiling, and a crystal chandelier. It did the rounds at auto shows until the mid-1970s, where it was promoted as the "world's first x-rated car."
In the late '70s, the Love Machine was rebranded and it went on to have a career in Hollywood. From Hemmings Daily:
Barris, ever the opportunist, managed to get the Love Machine cast as the lead vehicle in the 1977 vansploitation flick SuperVan. To do so, he simply gave the Love Machine a repaint and redid the interior with even deeper plush carpeting. Though technically known as Vandora in the movie, the Super Van moniker stuck, thanks to Barris’s promotional efforts.
Nor would SuperVan be the van’s only screen appearance. It also showed up in the 1986 made-for-TV movie Condor, repainted gold and black; then in 1989’s Back to the Future II as a Hill Valley Transit bus, painted green; in the 1990 movie Solar Crisis, painted white; and then on an episode of the 1990s TV show SeaQuest DSV, still painted white. Then, in about 2003, the Guild of Automotive Restorers began a restoration on the van that brought it back to its Super Van configuration.
May 1978: Random House issued a recall of a cookbook, Woman's Day Crockery Cuisine, after realizing that one of the recipes "could cause a serious explosion."
The recipe in question was for "Silky Caramel Slices." The problem was that it instructed people to heat an unopened can of condensed milk in a crockpot for four hours. A statement from Random House noted, "If the recipe is followed, the condensed milk can could explode and shatter the lid and liner of the crockery cooker."
What the recipe neglected to mention was that you should add water into the crockpot surrounding the can. Initially I thought you should open the can also, but my wife (who's heard of this technique of cooking condensed milk on a stove top) corrected me. You keep the can closed so that the milk doesn't boil out of the can.
Marilynn Marter, writing in the Chicago Tribune (May 25, 1978) explains:
The recipe in question was for Silky Caramel Slices and called for heating a can of sweetened condensed milk in a crockpot. Because of an unfortunately elusive line that should have instructed folks to fill the pot with water, following the recipe appears to have resulted in some unintentional pop-top cans and badly damaged crockpots...
The conditions that have made this underground recipe successful and therefore popular, especially with children, are water and temperature. By being heated in boiling water, the temperature of the can and milk do not exceed the boiling point. After a few hours of this, the sugared milk turns to a caramel pudding. In the Crockpot, however, especially without water, the temperature can build up rather like a pressure cooker. That was the most immediate cause of the problem.
Back cover The 'exploding' recipe (Silky Caramel Slices) is listed third from bottom, right-hand column.
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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.
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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