Weird Universe Archive

June 2020

June 20, 2020

AI-designed Perfume

Elle.com reports on a perfume designed by artificial intelligence. So, when the robots take over, at least they'll smell nice.

what if an AI-created perfume could be more than a simple blend? In 2017, the Brazilian cosmetics company O Boticário decided to find out. It approached IBM Research to help design two perfumes using only artificial intelligence...

Because [The AI program] wasn’t programmed with tradition or emotion, it never had a mentor to instill “the way things are done.” For example, it selected fenugreek seed, which perfumers often avoid because it’s tricky to work with, as well as a frothy, milklike aroma from Symrise’s flavor division. “I wasn’t even aware of the note,” Apel says. “When I saw that happen, it really hit me: This was a unique approach.” O Boticário tested the AI fougère and ended up bottling it. The scent, called Egeo on You, launched in 2019, along with a machine-made feminine counterpart called Egeo on Me.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Jun 20, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: AI, Robots and Other Automatons, Perfume and Cologne and Other Scents

June 19, 2020

James Bond’s Cigarettes

According to Ian Fleming's books, James Bond was a heavy smoker, consuming 60-70 cigarettes a day. By my quick calculations, that means Bond smoked a new cigarette about every 15 minutes.

Bond was also loyal to a specific brand: Morland cigarettes. These were custom cigarettes created specifically for him by Morland & Co. of Grosvenor Street from a blend of Balkan and Turkish tobacco. They had three gold rings around the butt.

These were real cigarettes which one could buy, and which Fleming himself smoked. They were sold as the "James Bond Special No. 1". However, you can't buy them anymore since the company went out of business soon after Fleming's death.

More info: Fleming's Bond



Posted By: Alex - Fri Jun 19, 2020 - Comments (6)
Category: Literature, Smoking and Tobacco

High School Fitness

Imagine trying to institute such a program in a high school today!

And of course, nothing said of what the girls are doing.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jun 19, 2020 - Comments (5)
Category: Education, Exercise and Fitness, 1960s

June 18, 2020

The Music of Colonel Sanders

Colonel Sanders was apparently a music fan. During the late 1960s, while he still owned Kentucky Fried Chicken, he released a number of albums which were sold at his restaurants.

His first record, released in 1966, was "Favorite Old Church Hymns recorded by The Colonel's Mandolin Band for the glorification of Christ."



The story goes, as reported by the Danville Advocate-Messenger (Nov 6, 1967), that "a group of sixth-graders originally became interested in mandolins after their teacher brought an instrument to the school. When the children, who lived near Colonel Sanders, had formed a band and played many times, they performed for him and he forthwith bought them all new mandolins and assisted them in making a record." In fact, he decided to print 30,000 copies of the record, almost none of which sold.

Vice.com reports that thousands of copies of the record are still in a storage warehouse in Kentucky, and you can buy one if you visit the original KFC location in Corbin, Kentucky.

The other albums he released were more generic music compilations. The best title among the lot is Colonel Sanders' Tijuana Picnic, which sounds vaguely obscene, but was just a collection of Tijuana Brass knockoffs. You can listen to the whole album on YouTube (clip below).











Posted By: Alex - Thu Jun 18, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Music, Junk Food, 1960s

June 17, 2020

Grand Canyon, Colorado

May 1999: the U.S. Postal Service had printed 100 million copies of a stamp showing the Grand Canyon before anyone noticed that the stamp had "Grand Canyon, Colorado" printed in the corner. Luckily, the stamps hadn't been released to the public yet, but they all had to be destroyed and replaced with a new stamp which correctly placed the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

According to the site canyonology.com, the problems with the stamp didn't end there. It was discovered that the image of the canyon had been flipped left to right, but the postal service decided this wasn't enough of an error to warrant reprinting the stamp.

Salem Statesman Journal - May 18, 1999

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jun 17, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: 1990s, Postal Services, Stamps

The First Nylon Fair at The Albert Hall (1956)



Posted By: Paul - Wed Jun 17, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Fashion, 1950s

June 16, 2020

The drift pattern of Nike shoes

In May 1990, five shipping containers holding approximately 80,000 pairs of Nike shoes fell off a freighter during a storm in the North Pacific. About 200 days later, some of these shoes began to wash up on beaches from Canada down to Oregon.

But as beachcombers collected and compared the shoes, they noticed something odd. On beaches up north, in Canada and Washington, almost all the shoes were right-footed; whereas further south in Oregon, most of the shoes were left-footed.

Skye Moody explains why this was so in her book Washed Up: The Curious Journeys of Flotsam and Jetsam:

The slight toe curvature of left- and right-footed shoes caused the right-footed shoes to tack northeastward into the Alaska Current, passing the Queen Charlottes along the way, where many beached. Meanwhile, the left-footed Nikes tacked snugly into the southeast-bound California Current, and as it passed Oregon, were caught on an incoming tide.




Drift pattern of Nike shoes
image source: The Nike Shoe Investigation



Oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer co-authored an academic paper about the 1990 shoe spill ("Shoe spill in the North Pacific" -- unfortunately behind a paywall). It also inspired him to start studying other ocean flotsam, such as rubber duckies, as a way to gain info about currents. He calls this study 'flotsametrics'. He also occasionally puts out a Beachcombers' Alert Newsletter.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jun 16, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Science, Shoes, 1990s

What a Country!

This is a show that could bring the nation together again.



Wikipedia page.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jun 16, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Education, Stereotypes and Cliches, Television, Foreign Customs, 1980s

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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.

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