Back in 1921, the chemist Arthur D. Little took it upon himself to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Or rather, he figured out a way to produce a silk-like thread out of sows' ears and wove a purse from this.
Actually, he made two purses. The Smithsonian has one of them. MIT now has the other. (Little was an MIT grad).
The picture of the purse (below) looks nothing like the illustration of it. I wonder what happened. Did the dye fade, or something?
As reported by Israeli scientists Dr. Menahem Ram and Aladar Schwartz at a 1971 joint meeting of the Society for Cryobiology and the International Conference of Refrigeration:
Sudden temporary chilling of the big toes almost immediately brings about a lowering of the normal body temperature within the nose because, they said, the big toes and the nose are nervous system "reflectors" of one another in their response to external stress. And this nasal temperature-lowering—along with humidity-lowering—"dries up the nostrils," thereby "curing" the cold, they said.
In 1980, Canfield's natural seltzer launched a campaign to promote its product as being great for watering house plants. It printed on its labels: "We recommend our natural seltzer for house plants."
Could there have been any truth to this claim? Is seltzer water actually good for plants? Well, the only vaguely scientific study I can find addressing this claim (after, admittedly, only a brief search) was a student project conducted at the University of Colorado Boulder in 2002. The student researchers concluded, "Plants given carbonated water not only grew faster but also developed a healthier shade of green in comparison to plants given tap water."
So, maybe Canfield's was onto something. However, if you're thinking of treating your plants to some seltzer water, I imagine you'd want to use water at room temperature, not refrigerated. Cold water might shock their systems.
Fashion student Alice Potts has hit on the idea of adding some bling to clothes by embellishing them with crystals formed from bodily excretions such as sweat and urine. She says, "Instead of using plastic accessories to maybe embellish garments ... we can start like growing onto our garments these new materials and more natural materials."
"Circulatory Effects of Trumpet Playing" (British Medical Journal - 1959) details a self-experiment by a professional trumpet player to determine the best position in which to play the trumpet to avoid blacking out while playing high loud notes. He determines that laying down flat offers the most blackout protection.
Another curious detail from the article: his suggestion that trumpeters in orchestras could avoid blackout by wearing pressure suits "which could be surreptitiously inflated by a switch on the conductor's desk."
It is well known among professional trumpeters that playing high loud notes for more than a few seconds may cause dizziness or occasionally 'black-out.' Indeed, many leading orchestras carry an assistant or 'mate' to take over from the first trumpet in prolonged difficult passages...
Apart from the discomfort of occasional dizzy sensations or black-outs, trumpet players are not likely to come to any harm. Vasodilation from heat or previous hyperventilation will exaggerate the effects of a given intrathoracic pressure. It is better to sit than stand, but the strict supine posture, which would be better still, seems hardly feasible. For orchestras in severe financial difficulties it might be possible to dispense with the assistant or 'mate' if the trumpeter wore a pilot's pressure-suit, which could be surreptitiously inflated by a switch on the conductor's desk.
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.
Books Selected and endorsed for Pure Weirdness by Your WU Team
Who We Are
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.
Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.