Weird Universe Blog — June 15, 2024

Unlikely Reasons for Murder No. 18

Posted By: Paul - Sat Jun 15, 2024 - Comments (2)
Category: Death | Europe | United Kingdom | Nineteenth Century

June 14, 2024

Soviet Bus Stops

Canadian photographer Christopher Herwig has been on a mission to raise awareness of Soviet bus stops. He feels that they're an under-appreciated form of architectural art, "built as quiet acts of creativity against overwhelming state control." But he warns that they're disappearing fast due to demolition.

He collected together over 150 of his photographs in the 2015 book Soviet Bus Stops. More recently, a documentary film, again titled Soviet Bus Stops, follows his years-long effort to photograph the bus stops.

More info: Soviet Bus Stops

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jun 14, 2024 - Comments (2)
Category: Architecture | Mass Transit | Books | Documentaries | Bus

June 13, 2024

The 1975 McDonald’s Puke-In

Oct 17, 1975: A group of protestors calling themselves the Radical Vegetarian League staged a "puke-in" at a McDonald's on the Ann Arbor campus of the University of Michigan. The protestors drank down a mixture of mustard and water, and then they vomited from the second-floor balcony of the restaurant onto the floor below. They said they were "protesting the poor quality of food served in places like this and the fact that fast food chains go into local communities and drive out small, independent restaurants."

Thanks to this story I learned that mustard water has been used as an emetic since ancient times.

Michigan Daily - Oct 18, 1975

Benton Harbor Herald-Palladium - Oct 18, 1975

The McDonald's at which the puke-in occurred. The building was torn down in 1995.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jun 13, 2024 - Comments (1)
Category: Restaurants | Riots, Protests and Civil Disobedience | 1970s

Ice Cubes and Beer

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jun 13, 2024 - Comments (0)
Category: Music | 1960s | Women | Alcohol

June 12, 2024

Patience Worth

Pearl Lenore Curran wrote four novels and many poems, but claimed that they had all been dictated to her by a woman named Patience Worth who had lived over two hundred years earlier. So, A body of work that was literally ghost-written.

Info from Superstition and the Press (1983) by Curtis MacDougall:

For 15 years, 1913 to 1928, Mrs. John Curran of St. Louis, who lacked even a high school education, wrote four full-length novels and almost 2,500 poems that she said had been dictated to her by Patience Worth who was born in 1694 in Dorchestershire, England, migrated to the New World and was killed during an Indian attack during King Philip's War. The novels were well reviewed and five Patience Worth poems were included in Braithwaite's Anthology of Poetry for 1917, more than ones by Vachel Lindsay, Amy Lowell and Edgar Lee Masters. Patience, Mrs. Curran said, first made contact with her through the Ouija board one letter at a time; later she got words and sentences at a time.

Note: the Patience Worth poems were included in Braithwaite's 1918 anthology, not the 1917 one.

More info: Wikipedia, Smithsonian magazine

You can also find the Patience Worth novels on

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jun 12, 2024 - Comments (1)
Category: Literature | Books | Poetry | Paranormal

June 11, 2024

Passenger safety pods

Landon Tinder had a plan to make air travel safer by putting passengers inside near-indestructible pods. The plane could crash and the pods, he claimed, would survive.

Details from the Chicago Tribune (Aug 27, 1989):

Tinder has a grand plan to replace standard airline seats with a string of compartments—each containing two to eight fortified seats—that can endure the impact, heat and smoke of almost any airline crash...

Each of Tinder's "passenger pods" would be equipped with its own airtight door, crash bag, cooling system, shock-absorbent shell and oxygen supply.

In the event of a crash or terrorist threat, the pod would seal itself off and the air bag would engage—all in two to three seconds. The 5-inch-thick honeycomb shell of aluminum, fiberglass and titanium could withstand temperatures up to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 20 minutes. If the plane crashes in water, the pod would float.

"The aircraft around it can perish; this will stand strong," Tinder said.

Why the airlines didn't like his idea:

It is the economic consideration that prompts some people to quickly dismiss Tinder's Aeronautical Life Protecting Security System (ALPS for short) as an ornately packaged pipe dream...

At $40,000 a seat, airlines would have to pay about $2 million to fit each plane with ALPS containers. More importantly, the system would reduce each plane's seating capacity by 19 to 28 percent—a proposition that makes industry analysts profoundly skeptical.

"It would ruin the operating economics of every known airline," said Paul Turk of AV-MARK, a consulting firm specializing in airline economics.

Santa Cruz Sentinel - Aug 7, 1989

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jun 11, 2024 - Comments (2)
Category: Air Travel and Airlines | 1980s

Girl Stowaways

As you're reading the first column, jump down to the second image, which is a continuation of same.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jun 11, 2024 - Comments (1)
Category: Oceans and Maritime Pursuits | Stupid Criminals | 1950s | Women

June 10, 2024

The Obayashi Space Elevator

Back in 2012, the Obayashi Corporation announced that it would have built a functioning space elevator by 2050, and that construction of it would begin in 2025.

But when journalists recently checked in with the company to see if all was proceeding on schedule, they found (no surprise) that no, the company won't be starting construction of a space elevator next year. But the company still claims that it's "engaged in research and development, rough design, partnership building, and promotion."

So I doubt that I'll get to see a space elevator in my lifetime.

More info:, Obayashi Corporation

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jun 10, 2024 - Comments (2)
Category: Technology | Space Travel | Transportation

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