Weird Universe Archive

January 2021

January 21, 2021

Music of the Plants

Is your plant a budding Beethoven? From Music of the Plants:

Since the 1970s, Damanhur — a Federation of Communities with its own constitution, culture, art, music, currency, school and uses of science and technology (www.damanhur.org) — has researched communication with the plant world. As part of this research, they created an instrument able to perceive the electromagnetic variations from the surface of plant leaves to the root system and translated them into sound... By deciphering and registering the impulses and interactions of plants, they have developed a device that uses a MIDI interface to transform the plant's resistance from a leaf to the root system into music.


You can listen to the music of your own plants for a price starting at €397 (about $480).

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jan 21, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Music, Nature

The Society to Save Rocks Rockathon

One does not generally think of an assortment of random boulders as a heritage site or playground. But the Society to Save Rocks has a mission to promote the use and protection of such places, and celebrates in their annual Hyderabad Rockathon.

Oh, yes: and snakes.







Posted By: Paul - Thu Jan 21, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Nature, Parades and Festivals, India

January 20, 2021

Whistling Accelerators

Accelerators have inspired a number of weird inventions. For example, a few years ago we posted about the "Deaccelerator" which was a device that aimed to prevent speeding by making it harder to depress the pedal in your car once you reached a pre-set speed (usually 50 mph).

We've also posted about an effort to replace the accelerator with a pedal. The faster the driver pedaled, the faster the car would go. This was designed to give drivers some exercise as they commuted to work.

And yet another odd accelerator invention is the whistling accelerator. The idea is that if the accelerator is depressed too rapidly it will produce an annoying whistle. This will remind the driver not to accelerate too quickly, thereby saving gas.

The idea for a noise-making accelerator goes back to a 1958 patent granted to Philip Kershman of Los Angeles. He had rigged up an accelerator so that it would ring a bell if depressed too quickly.

Eighteen years later, in 1976, Henry Merriman of Michigan simplified this idea by replacing the bell with a whistle. He basically took a squeeze toy and attached it to the underside of the accelerator.

Merriman's squawking accelerator



St. Joseph News-Press/Gazette - Apr 30, 1975



Another whistling accelerator was patented in 2012. Its design was more sophisticated, but it was overall the same idea — accelerate too quickly and the thing starts whistling. The patentees described it as a "vehicle fuel efficiency monitor and signalling device".

Personally, I'm content to drive without any bells or whistles attached to the accelerator.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jan 20, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Inventions, Cars, Cacophony, Dissonance, White Noise and Other Sonic Assaults

The Frito Twist



NOTE: the text below calls it a 78, but it looks pretty much like a 45 to me.

This 78 rpm record was made by the PAMS (Production, Advertising, Merchandising Service) production company in February 1962 for the Frito-Lay company to promote its Fritos snack food with a dedicated jingle, the “Frito-Twist.” The disc’s white paper label bears the Fritos and PAMS logos on both sides. Side A plays “The Frito Twist,” and Side B contains the instructional “How to Twist.” (In earlier versions of this promotional record, side A featured “Dallas: My Home Town” with “The Frito Twist” on side B.) The music for the “Frito Twist” was written by Euel Box, a Dallas-based composer and arranger best known for his work on the “Benji” movies of the 1970s and 80s, and a music director for the PAMS company. The sound engineer on the recording was Dick McGrew (as noted in the fine print along the edge of the record).The Dallas-based PAMS production company was founded in 1951 by William B. Meeks, Jr., often credited as the creator of the musical station break. In the 1950s-1970s, advertisers looked to music and dedicated jingles to help promote their products. They aimed branded dance fads in particular at teenagers and young adults.


More info here.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jan 20, 2021 - Comments (6)
Category: Business, Advertising, Music, Junk Food, 1960s, Dance

January 19, 2021

The Revlon Fingernail Rumor

For decades, beginning around World War II and persisting until at least the 1980s, a rumor circulated alleging that Revlon was willing to buy people's fingernails "for experimental cosmetic purposes" as long as they were over an inch long. The going price was said to be around $10 per nail.

Revlon repeatedly denied the rumor. Nevertheless, it continued to circulate.

I wasn't able to find any references to the rumor online. So it must have finally faded away.


The Miami Herald - Jan 18, 1969


---




The Indianapolis News - June 18, 1979

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jan 19, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Body, Hoaxes and Imposters and Imitators, Myths and Fairytales

The Traveling Candy Store

I must confess that the notion of a vehicle that brings candy directly to you had never occurred to me before. But what a great idea!

Here's the tale of a modern incarnation.



Here's their website, with an itinerary.

And here's the tale of someone who had the idea 100 years ago! (Scroll up.)






Posted By: Paul - Tue Jan 19, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Business, Retailing, Motor Vehicles, Travel, Candy, 1920s

January 18, 2021

Mary Mild

Disney released Mary Poppins in 1964. The next year Ivory Liquid Soap debuted a new mascot: Mary Mild, a flying maid. Seems like an obvious Mary Poppins rip-off to me, though I can't find the similarity mentioned anywhere.

Mary Mild didn't last long. Within two years, Ivory had canned her.

The ads below ran in 1966 in magazines such as Ladies Home Journal and Good Housekeeping.





Posted By: Alex - Mon Jan 18, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Advertising, Corporate Mascots, Icons and Spokesbeings, 1960s

Follies of the Madmen #497

You'll be able to administer all the spankings you desire, if you buy our shirts!

Source.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Jan 18, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Antisocial Activities, Fashion, Public Humiliation, Fetishes, 1940s, Men, Women

January 17, 2021

The Balance Watch

In 2005, John Paul Castro of Santa Monica, CA was granted a patent (No. 6,840,665) for what he called the "Balance Watch". From his patent:

A balance watch, a combination of two watches, one measuring hours, the other measuring minutes and/or seconds. Each watch is worn on a separate wrist simultaneously.


Based on the quality of the artwork in his patent, it's apparent he chose not to splurge and hire a professional illustrator.

As far as I know, the balance watch never made it to market. But it would seem easy enough to make your own. Get two identical watches. Remove the minute hand from one, and the hour hand from the other. Then wear them simultaneously on opposite wrists.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Jan 17, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Fashion, Inventions, Technology

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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.

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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.

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