As described in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (Dec. 6, 2005), a man on vacation in rural Ontario experienced sudden, profound hearing loss. A family doctor on vacation in the same location was consulted and diagnosed the man as suffering from a buildup of cement-like ear cerumen. Lacking access to professional equipment for its removal, ingenuity was required. A child's Super Soaker Max-D 5000 proved to be the solution:
The Super Soaker Max-D 5000 was filled with body-temperature water and then mildly pressurized using the blue hand-pump. The trigger was depressed, releasing a gentle, narrow jet of water, which was then aimed along the posterior wall of the ear canal. After approximately 15 seconds, the jet was aimed along the anterior wall. This cycle was repeated (with occasional repressurizing) until the Super Soaker was empty.
Midway through the second load's stream, wax particles began to run out of the ear. Just after starting the third load, a large plug of wax burst forth from the patient's ear. The 3 generations of family members present took turns admiring (or recoiling from) the specimen. The patient exclaimed in joy, "I can hear again!"...
The clinician operator of the device was impressed by the Super Soaker's ease of use for this procedure. Specifically, the ability to control a narrow, mildly pressurized jet of water was considered excellent. As well, the device only had to be refilled once or twice before the cerumen was removed from each ear. This is in contrast to his experience of requiring up to 10 or more refills of standard ear-syringing equipment. Using the Super Soaker in standard practice could then lead to decreased overall time spent on this procedure, resulting in shorter waiting times for patients through increased physician efficiency.
Pro-tip for non-photogenic people: You'll look better in a group photo than on your own. This is known as the Cheerleader Effect, and it's been scientifically verified. From medicalxpress.com:
In 2003, scientific evidence of the cheerleader effect was published in a paper where across five studies, both males and females were rated more attractive when presented as part of a group photo compared to a solo photo. The authors, Drew Walker and Edward Vul, presented 130 participants with group photographs containing three female faces or three male faces. Each face was then cropped from the photograph and presented individually.
Participants rated the attractiveness of faces presented in a group and individually. Regardless of gender, attractiveness ratings were higher when people were presented in a group compared to presented individually.
However, this does not mean the bigger the group—the more attractive you are. The authors found that group size, whether 4, 9, or 16 individuals, had no effect on attractiveness ratings. Basically, a handful of friends is all you need to take advantage of this effect.
Importantly, studies have shown the cheerleader effect to be reliable. Additional studies published in 2015 and one just this month continue to find a groups' attractiveness is significantly higher than the attractiveness of an individual group member.
As we approach the tenth anniversary of Weird Universe (founded mainly due to the genius and initiative of Chuck Shepherd, July 2008), Alex and I had the notion that newcomers might not have seen many of our past posts that were deserving of their amused attentions. Therefore, we are going to occasionally repost an oldie-but-goodie, bannered with a special header to identify it. We hope that even if you have been with us since the beginning, you will enjoy these reruns, which, of course, will not diminish our schedule of two new posts each and every day.
The Pretzels for God movement was founded by Marlene McCauley of Phoenix, Arizona in 1973 after she became inspired to restore the pretzel to what she felt was its rightful place in Christian worship.
Apparently Christians invented pretzels back in the fifth century to eat during Lent since the pretzels contained only water, flour, and salt, but no eggs or milk which were forbidden during the observance. The shape of the pretzel symbolized arms crossed in prayer.
However, in modern times this religious origin has been largely forgotten as pretzels have become a bar and snack food. McCauley was determined to right this wrong. Specifically, she hoped to encourage Christians to eat pretzels during Lent and also to recite before each meal the "pretzel prayer":
"Grant us, we pray, that we too may be reminded by the daily sight of these pretzels to observe the holy season of Lent with true devotion and great spiritual fruit."
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 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.