Weird Universe Archive

February 2014

February 23, 2014

News of the Weird (February 23, 2014)

News of the Weird
Weirdnuz.M359, February 23, 2014
Copyright 2013 by Chuck Shepherd

Lead Story

PREVIOUSLY ON WEIRD UNIVERSE: Find That Genius! Beijing Genomics Institute scientists are closing in on a technology to allow parents to choose, from several embryos, the one most likely to yield their smartest offspring. London’s Daily Mail (in January, referencing recent work in Wired, The Wall Street Journal, and The New Yorker) explained that BGI will have identified high-potential mathematics genes (by mapping the cells of geniuses) so that researchers can search for those among a couple’s array of embryos. (Most embryos will yield gene arrays resembling their parents', but one embryo is likely "better"--and maybe much better.) One Chinese researcher acknowledged the “controversial” nature of the work, “especially in the West,” but added, “That’s not the case in China.” The parental price tag on finding the smartest kid? Expensive, said a supporter, but less than upgrading an average kid via Harvard, or even a private prep school. [Daily Mail, 1-14-2014] [Wired, 7-16-2013]

Can’t Possibly Be True

PREVIOUSLY: “This [was] my life,” said musician Boujemaa Razgui in December, referring to the 13 handmade flutes that he played professionally, “and now they’re gone.” Arriving in New York City from Madrid with the 13 woodwinds in his checked luggage, he was shocked to discover that U.S. Customs had destroyed them without notice because “wood” is a restricted “agricultural” import. (Unsophisticated agents had apparently regarded them as mere bamboo.) Razgui plays all over the world including, since 2002, with the Boston Camerata ensemble staged by the city’s Museum of Fine Arts. [Boston Globe, 1-1-2014]

A Georgia Regents University’s dental school official acknowledged in December that the school would likely continue to conduct research on the mouths of stray dogs solely to test a coating that might inhibit infections in humans’ dental implants. The work is controversial because the only way to study the installed implants is to remove them, after euthanizing the dogs. (Also, the research is sponsored by commercial dental-implant companies for a market dominated by elective cosmetic patients.) (However, a GRU professor noted that implants are also functional, as they inhibit infections that might reach the heart’s lining and other locations.) [Augusta Chronicle, 12-21-2013]

Saved By The Blimps: Americans who have grown accustomed to hearing that the U.S. is militarily without peer might have been shocked to learn in January (as CBS News reported from a Pentagon interview) that America has “practically zero capability” either to detect enemy cruise missiles fired at Washington, D.C., from offshore, or even worse, to “defend against [them].” The Pentagon’s interim makeshift solution to protect the U.S. capital, said an official, is to launch two blimps, soon, to float two miles up over a base in Maryland to try to spot any such missiles. [CBS News, 1-23-2014]

In February, a California Highway Patrol officer handcuffed and threatened to arrest a firefighter performing an emergency roadside rescue along Interstate 805 in Chula Vista, Calif., because the rescuer would not move his truck from the fast lane, where it was “impeding” traffic. Firefighters are required to block lanes during rescues, specifically to “impede” traffic for their own protection and that of victims nearby. CHP and the Chula Vista firefighters later jointly called the incident a “miscommunication.” [San Diego Union-Tribune, 2-5-2014]

Unclear on the Concept

PREVIOUSLY: Oregon inmate Sirgiorgio Clardy, 26, filed a handwritten $100 million lawsuit in January against Nike for inadequately marketing its Air Jordans. Clardy, a convicted pimp, had received an “enhanced” penalty for using a “dangerous weapon” to maim the face of a john, i.e., he had stomped and kicked a man after accusing him of skipping out on a payment, and the “dangerous weapon” was apparently his shoe. Clardy said Nike bears at least some responsibility for his incarceration because it failed to label the shoe a “dangerous weapon.” [The Oregonian, 1-10-2014]

Ed Forchion sits in a jail in Burlington County, N.J. (where he will reside for a few more months), serving a term for possession of marijuana. However, for 10 days each month until his release, the same judge who sentenced him has promised to allow him to go smoke medical marijuana in California to relieve pain from his bone cancer. (Forchion was convicted of possession before New Jersey legalized medical marijuana.) (Update: Four days after a Trentonian columnist’s story about “Weedman” Forchion, and the subsequent Internet frenzy it wrought, Forchion’s judge commuted the final 130 days of his sentence and freed him.) [The Trentonian, 1-26-2014, 1-30-2014]

In a December letter to the University of Minnesota president, a coalition of black student organizations demanded an end to racial profiling, especially in light of recent campus crime incidents. “[C]ampus safety should be of the [University’s] utmost importance,” they acknowledged, but among the organizations’ complaints was that when “be on the lookout” alerts were issued (usually based on victims’ descriptions of their attackers), innocent black students feel “discomforting,” “negative psychological effects”--because the alerts so often describe black attackers. [WCCO-TV (Minneapolis), 1-29-2014]

PREVIOUSLY: Officials at the Emu Plains Correctional Center near Sydney, Australia, announced in January that they had pre-empted a planned escape by two female inmates, ages 32 and 21, after finding a 60-foot length of tied-together sheets in a cell. Nonetheless, the officials said they were puzzled, in that Emu Plains is a one-story facility, enclosed, wrote the Daily Telegraph, by a “not particularly high” fence. [Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 1-3-2014]

Perspective

Recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings have made clear that only in the case of murder can a juvenile be given a life sentence “without possibility of parole” (and never a death sentence). Under-18's, the Court said, must get a “meaningful opportunity” to mature and redeem themselves behind bars. The U.S. Constitution aside, apparently some Florida judges disagree and have subsequently sentenced juveniles to 50 years or longer for non-murders, in some cases assuring that the release date will be beyond the inmate’s natural life expectancy. In one case found by a Barry University law school program, a juvenile convicted of gun robbery and rape had his earlier life-without-parole sentence “reduced” to consecutive sentences totaling 170 years. Critics said the Supreme Court should recognize that some juveniles are already “thoroughly incorrigible.” [New York Times, 1-19-2014]

People With Issues

PREVIOUSLY: Christopher Pagano, 41, was finally arrested in January as police identified him as the man who had apparently been roaming the Mayfair neighborhood of Philadelphia for several weeks exposing his genitals while lovingly fondling a hunk of Swiss cheese (“cheese-accessorized” genitals, wrote a Philadelphia Daily News reporter). The case was broken when a 2012 victim recalled a “Swiss cheese pervert” in the Philadelphia area and searched for him on Internet pages, locating a man who rhapsodized as much about cheese as about having sex. “I started to compare girls to cheese due to their milky [complexions],” the man (Pagano) wrote. “[G]irls are soft, smooth-feeling, and tend to like dairy products more.” [Philly.com, 1-20-2014; Philadelphia Daily News, 1-31-2014]

Least Competent Criminals

PREVIOUSLY: Perps Who Need to Be in a Different Line of Work: “Victim” Joseph Torrez, 27, was at home in Las Cruces, N.M., on New Year’s Day with his fiancee and young son when four men barged in (after threatening Torrez on the telephone with “I’m big Eastside,” “I’ll kill you and your family,” “I will go to your house”). Torrez is a mixed-martial arts fighter, and by the time it was over, he and his family were safe, but one home invader was dead, another was in the hospital, and the other two (including the telephoner) under arrest. [Las Cruces Sun-News, 1-6-2014]

Readers’ Choice

* (1) Ryan Benson, 40, and Erica Manley, 37, were arrested in Seaside, Ore., in January, shortly after they expressed their gratitude to a waitress at the Twisted Fish by leaving, as a tip, a plastic bag of methamphetamine. (Police said Manley had still more in her purse when they searched her.) (2) A week apart in January, Pope Francis’s pair of “peace doves” released in Vatican City were almost immediately attacked by a seagull and a crow, and a 31-year-old nun in Rieti, Italy, “unaware” that she was pregnant, gave birth to a boy whom she named “Francis.” No details were released. [The Oregonian, 1-8-2014] [BBC News, 1-26-2014] [BBC News, 1-17-2014]

Thanks This Week to David Wasley, Gerald Davidson, Mel Birge, James Mohr, Perry Levin, Tim Kirby, and Pete Randall, and to the News of the Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

Posted By: Chuck - Sun Feb 23, 2014 - Comments (9)
Category:

Make nuclear war in your own home

Aim, launch, and game over.

Old ad from comic book. No date given. Via Curious Objects.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Feb 23, 2014 - Comments (6)
Category: War

EDEKA Supermarket Commercial



It worked. I want to shop there now.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Feb 23, 2014 - Comments (7)
Category: Business, Advertising, Products, Food, Surrealism, Europe

February 22, 2014

Headwear of the future

Not sure if it should be categorized as a hat or a face mask. Created by British designer Ana Rajcevic. [via RocketNews24]

Posted By: Alex - Sat Feb 22, 2014 - Comments (9)
Category: Fashion, Headgear

Atomic Rabbit

image

Radiation makes everything better.

From this encyclopedia entry:

Atomic Rabbit was a lot like Atomic Mouse, but with a species change and a couple less supporting characters. He protected Rabbitville, rather than Mouseville, from the depredations of Sly Fox, rather than Count Gatto. Instead of an inept assistant, Sly had two kids.

He, too, got his super powers from doubly-forbidden fruit by today's standards — drugs and radiation. But while both their power-enhancers were as radioactive as can be, Mouse's was more blatantly a drug. He got his super powers from U-235 pills, whereas Rabbit's U-235 carrots could be passed off as good nutrition, like Atomictot's vitamins and Popeye's spinach. But while Popeye of the E.C. Segar comics ate lots of spinach for strength through nutrition, the animated Popeye treated it like a drug, getting a huge rush from it and sometimes, just for emphasis, sucking it in through his pipe. Good nutrition or not, Atomic Rabbit definitely fell into the category of drug-based superheroes.


Ten full issues here.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Feb 22, 2014 - Comments (2)
Category: Anthropomorphism, Drugs, Comics, 1950s

February 21, 2014

New Use For Baby Poo

image
Research to produce sausage containing probiotic properties is being undertaken in Spain. They are working with bacteria found in baby poo to make the specialized sausage. The idea is to make getting probiotics from food easier for people who do not like dairy products such as yogurt.

Posted By: patty - Fri Feb 21, 2014 - Comments (4)
Category: Food

Beard Font

Created by Michael Allen. [via designboom]

Posted By: Alex - Fri Feb 21, 2014 - Comments (3)
Category: Hair Styling

Enjoy the Experience



This 2-disc compilation of "homemade recordings" is pure caviar for all WU-vies. Listen to more at the link below, then buy your copy--which features many other "hits"--soon!

YouTube playlist here.




Posted By: Paul - Fri Feb 21, 2014 - Comments (2)
Category: Hobbies and DIY, Music, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, Cacophony, Dissonance, White Noise and Other Sonic Assaults

February 20, 2014

Zovello, The Bonomo Magic Clown



Given fezzes to wear, and a supply of taffy to eat, the children in the audience were still at a loss for having to watch the sub-Krusty antics of Zovello the Magic Clown.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Feb 20, 2014 - Comments (6)
Category: Clowns, Television, Children, 1940s, 1950s

Marital Bliss

These two sound like they were a happy couple.


KEPT HER FINGERS CROSSED, SAYS HER MARRIAGE IS VOID
UNIONTOWN, FEB. 25 -- Because she kept her fingers crossed during her marriage ceremony, Mrs. Mary Frances Wilson of Connellsville, told her husband that she had a right to break her marriage vows, according to testimony given by Davis Wilson, a P. and L.E. railroad conductor, who formerly resided at Newell, but who now lives at Uniontown. The husband, who was granted a divorce, said that when he objected to his wife's conduct she gave him the "crossed finger" alibi. Wilson declared that his wife's goodbye each morning when he left home for work was to hope that he would be ground to pieces before the day's work ended. The husband declared that he became so worried over his wife's actions that he cut his own throat and for a time lingered between life and death. He recovered weeks later and since that time he and his wife were estranged.
Indiana Evening Gazette - Feb 25, 1930

Posted By: Alex - Thu Feb 20, 2014 - Comments (5)
Category: Husbands, Wives, 1930s

Page 2 of 7 pages  < 1 2 3 4 >  Last ›




Get WU Posts by Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


weird universe thumbnail
Who We Are
Alex Boese
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.

Chuck Shepherd
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.

Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.

Contact Us
Monthly Archives
September 2021 •  August 2021 •  July 2021 •  June 2021 •  May 2021 •  April 2021 •  March 2021 •  February 2021 •  January 2021

December 2020 •  November 2020 •  October 2020 •  September 2020 •  August 2020 •  July 2020 •  June 2020 •  May 2020 •  April 2020 •  March 2020 •  February 2020 •  January 2020

December 2019 •  November 2019 •  October 2019 •  September 2019 •  August 2019 •  July 2019 •  June 2019 •  May 2019 •  April 2019 •  March 2019 •  February 2019 •  January 2019

December 2018 •  November 2018 •  October 2018 •  September 2018 •  August 2018 •  July 2018 •  June 2018 •  May 2018 •  April 2018 •  March 2018 •  February 2018 •  January 2018

December 2017 •  November 2017 •  October 2017 •  September 2017 •  August 2017 •  July 2017 •  June 2017 •  May 2017 •  April 2017 •  March 2017 •  February 2017 •  January 2017

December 2016 •  November 2016 •  October 2016 •  September 2016 •  August 2016 •  July 2016 •  June 2016 •  May 2016 •  April 2016 •  March 2016 •  February 2016 •  January 2016

December 2015 •  November 2015 •  October 2015 •  September 2015 •  August 2015 •  July 2015 •  June 2015 •  May 2015 •  April 2015 •  March 2015 •  February 2015 •  January 2015

December 2014 •  November 2014 •  October 2014 •  September 2014 •  August 2014 •  July 2014 •  June 2014 •  May 2014 •  April 2014 •  March 2014 •  February 2014 •  January 2014

December 2013 •  November 2013 •  October 2013 •  September 2013 •  August 2013 •  July 2013 •  June 2013 •  May 2013 •  April 2013 •  March 2013 •  February 2013 •  January 2013

December 2012 •  November 2012 •  October 2012 •  September 2012 •  August 2012 •  July 2012 •  June 2012 •  May 2012 •  April 2012 •  March 2012 •  February 2012 •  January 2012

December 2011 •  November 2011 •  October 2011 •  September 2011 •  August 2011 •  July 2011 •  June 2011 •  May 2011 •  April 2011 •  March 2011 •  February 2011 •  January 2011

December 2010 •  November 2010 •  October 2010 •  September 2010 •  August 2010 •  July 2010 •  June 2010 •  May 2010 •  April 2010 •  March 2010 •  February 2010 •  January 2010

December 2009 •  November 2009 •  October 2009 •  September 2009 •  August 2009 •  July 2009 •  June 2009 •  May 2009 •  April 2009 •  March 2009 •  February 2009 •  January 2009

December 2008 •  November 2008 •  October 2008 •  September 2008 •  August 2008 •  July 2008 •