Weird Universe Blog — December 3, 2023

Hand Waving and Heart Disease

Back in 1997, Dr. Alan N. Rennie reported in the British Medical Journal a correlation between arm movement and heart disease. People who moved their hands and arms around a lot while talking seemed more prone to heart disease. Rennie offered this possible explanation:

The most obvious explanation of these findings is that type A personalities are prone both to gesticulation and to coronary heart disease. It is possible that people with coronary heart disease move their arms more because they are otherwise physically inactive or their disease causes them to become agitated. However, my own suspicion is that arm movements over a lifetime may be a factor–combined with other known factors–in the development of coronary heart disease.

Good to know that my lazy lack of movement actually has a health benefit.

Chicago Tribune - Jan 10, 1997

Posted By: Alex - Sun Dec 03, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Health | Disease

Gorey by Grimes

There are other tracks from this album on YouTube, but this cut should give you the general idea.

Tammy Grimes on Wikipedia.

Edward Gorey on Wikipedia.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Dec 03, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Death | Literature | Music | Vinyl Albums and Other Media Recordings | Children

December 2, 2023

The Psycho-Expander

Expand your inner psycho.

Popular Mechanics - June 1924

Posted By: Alex - Sat Dec 02, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Advertising | 1920s

Telescoping Fish Knocker

Not being a fisherman or sportsman of any sort, I had no idea until now that there existed a special tool for whacking your caught fish on the noggin: the fish knocker or fish bat. You can buy a variety of modern ones, as seen here. But I like the patent on a collapsible model.

Full patent here.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Dec 02, 2023 - Comments (6)
Category: Sports | Tools | Lakes, Ponds, Rivers, Streams, Swamps and Other Bodies of Fresh Water | Patents | 1950s

December 1, 2023

Sedimentary Geology and the Civil War

I'm sure Hippensteel's new book (Sand, Science, and the Civil War) is quite interesting (especially if you're a Civil War buff), but the extreme narrow focus of his argument made me laugh. From a review:

It "describes the influence of sedimentary rocks and sediments on the tactics employed by both armies during the Civil War and the effects of these materials on the weapons, fortifications, and landscapes from the conflict". Hippensteel believes that "sedimentary geology and sedimentary rocks were important on far more battlefields than either igneous or metamorphic rocks," and that this influence "has been underappreciated by historians."

More info: University of Georgia Press

Posted By: Alex - Fri Dec 01, 2023 - Comments (4)
Category: War | Environmentalism and Ecology | Books | Nineteenth Century

Christmas in Vietnam

Now that it's December 1st, I feel we can start the Christmas music season here at WU.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Dec 01, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Holidays | Music | War | 1960s

November 30, 2023

The Saw Lady

Natalia Paruz calls herself the "Saw Lady," because she's one of the very few musicians who specializes in playing a carpenter's saw. From her wikipedia page:

Paruz is considered to be the most knowledgeable about the history of the musical saw, and her own home is a pilgrimage place for saw enthusiasts and students.
The December 3, 2011 'Washington Post' crossword puzzle had Paruz as a question: "Down 5 - Instrument played by Natalia Paruz".

More info:, yer sweet chimneys

Posted By: Alex - Thu Nov 30, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Music

Dial Comes to Town

Posted By: Paul - Thu Nov 30, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Family | PSA’s | Technology | Telephones | 1940s

November 29, 2023

Rachel Pinney, the Silent Doctor

In August 1961, Rachel Pinney took the following vow: "I intend to maintain silence on every Wednesday until my country formally renounces Nuclear Weapons. This silence is to be maintained non-violently in the face of any provocation."

Since Pinney worked as a medical doctor, her vow created some awkwardness with the patients she saw on Wednesdays. She had to communicate with them by means of nodding her head, hand signals, and notes (writing prescriptions).

According to her obituary, she maintained the vow for almost 30 years. Of course, the UK still has nuclear weapons.

Her once-a-week protest reminds me of Mildred Ruth Gordon who fasted every other day to show support for draft resisters.

Daily Mirror - Aug 10, 1961

Posted By: Alex - Wed Nov 29, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Riots, Protests and Civil Disobedience | Atomic Power and Other Nuclear Matters | 1960s

Somnambulist Bathing

Posted By: Paul - Wed Nov 29, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Hygiene | Sleep and Dreams | Danger, Risk, and Peril | 1910s

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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2016 by the author of the post, which is usually either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.

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