News of the Weird (April 24, 2016)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M472, April 24, 2016
Copyright 2016 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Lead Story

The Internet’s Promise Fulfilled (for Men, Anyway): Japan’s Tenga toy company appears to be first on the market with a virtual-reality bodysuit (for use with the Oculus Rift “Sexy Beach Premium Resort” 3-D game) containing a genital stimulator and the sensation of “groping” breasts--sending “impulses all over the wearer’s body to make it feel like another human being is touching them,” according to one reviewer (who expressed dismay that the bodysuit might put sex workers out of business). Said Tenga’s CEO, “n the future, the virtual real will become more real than [real sex].” Because of societal pressures, women are expected to be a less-robust market for the device than men. [ (Los Angeles), 4-5-2016]


In March, one District of Columbia government administrative law judge was charged with misdemeanor assault on another. Judge Sharon Goodie said she wanted to give Judge Joan Davenport some files, but Davenport, in her office, would not answer the door. Goodie said once the door finally opened, an enraged Davenport allegedly “lunged” at her, “aiming” her thrust at Goodie’s neck. [Washington Post, 4-5-2016]

Tennessee state Rep. Jeremy Durham has such a reputation as a “dog” around women working at the capitol that, following the state Attorney General’s damning report, the House speaker issued a directive in April relocating Durham’s office to a less-populated building across the street. Further, Durham is allowed access only to certain legislative meetings and to certain staff (i.e., no free-ranging among female staff members). After interviewing 34 people, the Attorney General said he believed that Rep. Durham’s unwanted sexual approaches and commentaries were impeding legislative business. [The Tennessean, 4-7-2016]

Awesome Governments!

(1) Chinese courts (according to figures reported by Amnesty International in March) dispense justice so skillfully that more than 99.9 percent of cases result in convictions (1,039 acquittals in 1.2 million cases last year). (2) During its first 30 years (through 2012), the U.S. government’s applications for secret search warrants to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court have been approved all but 11 times out of 33,900 cases. (FISC defenders say that is because all requests are finely-honed by guidance from the judges, but of course, both the Chinese and U.S. numbers, and reasoning, are, by designation, unverifiable.) [Daily Telegraph (London), 3-14-2016] [Stanford Law Review, vol. 66, February 2014]

Leading Economic Indicators

“Who’s a Good Dog?” / “Yes, You Are”: Some are just blessed with doggy charisma, say owners who showcase their pet’s charm on “personal” social-media accounts, and now specialized marketers scour those sources to match the most popular pooches with advertisers seeking just the right four-legged companion for their image. As the Wall Street Journal reported in April, entrepreneurial dog owners have rushed to create popular Instagram accounts and Facebook posts (and now, even to put their photogenic pups on a live-streaming app called “Waggle”) to catch agents’ eyes (and, they hope, lead to four- and five-figure paydays from such advertisers as Nikon, PetSmart, Residence Inn, and Heinz). [Wall Street Journal, 4-6-2016]

New Jersey is a big state, but when just one man decided to move away, the state legislature’s budget office director warned that the loss of that man’s taxes might lead to state revenue problems. Billionaire hedge-fund manager David Tepper evidently pays a bundle, and the budget office director pointed out that the state’s reliance on personal income taxes means that even a 1 percent drop in anticipated tax could create a gap of $140 million over forecasts. [Bloomberg News, 4-5-2016]

Among the names chosen for Internet start-up ventures (although--face it--the more sensible names are already taken): Houzz (home design and remodeling), Kabam (online interactive game company, formerly “Watercooler Inc.”), Klarna (e-commerce company that pays the store for your purchases and then collects from you), MuleSoft (makes software to integrate applications), and Kabbage (makes small-business loans online). Wired magazine reported in February that those ventures, and two dozen other inexplicably-named startups, are all “unicorns”--with investors pledging at least $1 billion to each one. [Wired (February 2016)] (No, Wired magazine is not all online; go figure!)

The Job of the Researcher

Researchers already knew that masked birch caterpillars “rub hairs on their rear ends against [leaves] to create vibrations,” according to an April National Geographic report, but a forthcoming article by Carleton University biologists describes that “drumming” as actually part of their “sophisticated signaling repertoire” to attract others--not for mating but for assistance in silk-spinning their protective cocoons. The researcher’s “laser vibrometer” detects sound likely inaudible to humans, but when the caterpillars feed, it’s clearly, said the researcher, “Chomp, chomp, chomp, anal scrape. Chomp, chomp, chomp, anal scrape.” [National Geographic, 4-5-2016]

Police Report

Micro-Crime: (1) Surveillance video revealed that an intruder picked the lock on the No More Excuses gym in Edmonton, Alberta, on April 4th, did a workout, and stole a few minor items. (2) According to surveillance video, a man broke into a Five Guys restaurant in Washington, D.C., in the middle of the night on March 18th, cooked himself a cheeseburger, and fled. (3) Ellis Battista, 24, was arrested for the February break-in at Bradley’s convenience store in Las Cruces, N.M., in which he took only a pack of cigarettes--for which he left $6 on the counter. (However, he also damaged the door getting in.) [Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News, 4-6-2016] [WJLA-TV (Washington), 4-10-2016] [Las Cruces Sun-News, 3-1-2016]

Undignified Deaths

(1) A 69-year-old man was killed on March 17th while awaiting emergency care at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, N.C. He had been seriously injured in an earlier accident and was in the waiting room when a 59-year-old driver’s car crashed through the hospital doors and fatally struck him. (2) A 55-year-old man was killed in Memphis, Tenn., on March 23rd when a 15-foot trailer came loose and crashed into him on a sidewalk. The deceased, who had a lengthy criminal record for sexual assault, might have avoided the trailer if he had not been distracted by watching pornography on his phone as he walked. [WRAL-TV (Raleigh), 3-17-2016] [WGHP-TV (High Point, N.C.), 3-26-2016]

Least Competent Criminals

Amanda Schweickert, 28, was charged with a felony and three driving offenses in March in Springville, N.Y., when deputies noticed that her rear license plate was just a piece of cardboard painted to sort-of-resemble a New York plate (but more likely suggesting the work of an elementary school art class). (New York also requires a front plate, but Schweickert had not gotten around to that yet.) [WIVB-TV (Buffalo), 3-3-2016]

Britain’s annual Boring Conference (this year, July 5th at Conway Hall in London) brings together those who celebrate the mundane (previous topics include sneezing, toast, vending machine sounds, yellow lines, barcodes), and in anticipation, a BBC News commentator interviewed Peter Willis of the “Letter Box Study Group.” Willis, 68, was excited at having recently acquired access to a database of all 115,000 mailboxes served by UK’s Royal Mail and hopes, with the help of “splendid” mapping software, to visit and photograph each one, to examine the different styles. No doubt speaking for all members, Willis said the lay version of “boring” implies inactivity, but the obsessives in his Study Group (and in attendance at the Boring Conference) lead active lives, he said, with a wide range of interests. (The Conference, by the way, is sold out.) [BBC News, 4-1-2016]

A News of the Weird Classic (February 2012)

Sri Lanka has, as an "unwritten symbol of pride and culture," the world's highest per-capita rate for eye-donation, according to a January [2012] Associated Press dispatch from Colombo. Underpinning this national purpose is the country's Buddhist tradition that celebrates afterlives. "He's dead," said a mourning relative of a deceased eye donor, "but he's still alive. His eye can still see the world." Doctors even report instances in which Sri Lankans consider giving up an eyeball while still alive, as a measure of virtue. A new state-of-the-art clinic, funded by Singaporean donors, is expected to nearly double Sri Lanka's export of eyeballs. [Associated Press via Daily Mail (London), 1-23-2012]

Thanks This Week to Steve Dunn, Neb Rodgers, and Larry Neer, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.
     Posted By: Chuck - Sun Apr 24, 2016

Jeremy (The Dog) Durham Wah, boy, y'all empeedin' a real man frum hiz Gawd Given' Wriat ta chase womens. Listen here for lesson.

Amnesty International An unimpeachable source if there ever was one. Click Here
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 04/25/16 at 01:27 AM
Promise Fulfilled In the Year 2525 (or earlier).

DC Judettes I see Furillo's wife made it to the bench, finally.

Who’s a Good Dog? Here's mine! Hairy

NJ Taxation It's a wonder they all haven't moved off the east coast.

Internet Start-up Names Luckily the 2 best are secured for all time!

Caterpillar Noises Finally, a study that didn't waste money on an insane, useless body of knowledge.

Micro-Crime #3 $6 (and more) for a pack of cigarettes is, in and of itself, a crime against the people!

Undignified Deaths
#1: When you're time's up you'll not be cheating Death!
#2: Karma's a bitch!

Paper Licence Plate #1 crime here... they didn't get their tax money.

Boring Confer......

How come I can remember the lyrics to a 1965 tune but can't remember why I just walked into the kitchen?
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 04/25/16 at 01:28 AM
Japanese sex toy: If they build it right, this kind of toy could sell way better among women then among men. Because of the social pressure they are talking about, women are discouraged from searching casual sex and won't hire prostitutes. Also, they are already great consumers of paperback, videogames and telenovelas that cater to their romance needs, and of sex toys that caters to their sexual needs. So a full body suit designed for women with a videogame that adds romance to sex would be a huge bestseller. I guess it's already machine washable since it has been designed for men, who will not hand wash anything if they can avoid it. However, the marketing needs to be right (as in classy and not condescending) and the suit has to be cute. I see rabbit suits, fox suits, cat suits, Corgi suits, all outfitted with various Harlequin-style romance/sex videogames and a detachable vibrator that goes in the dishwasher. And a discreet packaging with a logo that doesn't look like a sex toy logo.
Posted by Yudith on 04/25/16 at 06:49 AM
Same problem here. Read an article months ago that blamed it on doorways. Going from out doors to the medicine cabinet for allergy pills. Six doorways. By three doors I forget where I was going and go back out. They recommended stating your mission at each doorway. Seems to work, but the wife is always asking me "what did you say" or "who are you talking to"?
Posted by GFinKS on 04/25/16 at 11:17 AM
Lead Story -- I'm just going to leave this here and let myself out quietly:
Posted by Phideaux on 04/25/16 at 11:39 AM
Well, shake it
Don't break it
It's fur not......

Ah, hell, that doesn't work!
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 04/25/16 at 11:47 AM
Great news, Expat and GFinks. Modern medicine has given a name to that bugger of a problem we have with the doorways. It's an "Event Boundary," and as such, sends a reset signal to (some of) our brains. I reckon this makes it all ok now. The next step will be to find portable fMRI's so we can walk thru doorways while wearing them.
Posted by Virtual on 04/25/16 at 03:37 PM
No wonder the population of Japan is going down the tubes. They have invented a plug in sex suit for one so no mess of two people and you will not be faced with the problem of remembering the name of the stranger(s) you just had wild sex with multiple times. It brings to mind the old invitation for sex from the 70s, "Let's go exchange some bodily fluids".

On Death. When your number is up, you are dead no matter where you are or what you are doing. But I do think getting hit by a car in the hospital ER is a most unusual time and place to check out for good.

And watching porn while out and about is distracting. Just hope he was coming to climax when the trailer hit him.
Posted by Gator Guy on 04/25/16 at 08:51 PM
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