Category:
Government

Weird Science – Above and Below.

Tonight is the night of the Yule moon, also called the “wolf moon” (the first new full moon of the year), and coincidentally will be the largest and brightest full moon of 2010. This is because the Moon’s orbit is not a perfect circle but an ellipse, with its nearest point to Earth some 31 thousand miles closer than its furthest. And occasionally the full moon will coincide with this closest approach, which is enough for the moon to appear 14% larger and 30% brighter than at any other time this year. Incidentally, this also means the previous new moon was very nearly the smallest it could have been, which is why – along with occurring with Earth at its nearest to the Sun – the solar eclipse on January 15th was annular (Space.com).

Also watching the skies tonight may be Luchezar Filipov, Deputy Head of Space Exploration at the Bulgarian Academy of Science. However, Filipov’s interest is not the Moon, but aliens, who he believes are living among us on Earth at this very moment. Filipov and his team claim to be in telepathic contact with the aliens, who he says are friendly, but could not establish a coherent conversation because of our “lack of evolution”. This lack of coherence appears to have only been one way however, as Filipov was still able to state that the aliens were critical of our immoral behaviour, environmental destruction and use of cosmetics and artificial insemination, which they condemned as unnatural – unlike space travel one presumes. The next meeting of minds between Filipov and the aliens is scheduled for sometime in spring this year (Sofia Echo).

But perhaps the aliens are backing the wrong species, because it’s move over Iron Man and make way for Iron Snail. The scaly-foot snail is certainly well protected for its kind, with an iron rich outer layer that deters piercing, a thick organic middle that dissipates the force of an attack and a calcified inner layer that gives the shell sufficient rigidity to resist attempts to crush it. The snail’s armour is so good that it’s attracted the interest of the Department of Defense, who are seeing if any useful lessons could be learned for application in the man-made versions (MIT).

Someone else who could have benefited from some armour is “Macho B”, who was – until his death in February last year, the last known wild jaguar in South West America. Perversely, it wasn’t poachers who did for him in the end but Arizona’s own Fish and Game Department, who deny it was their intention to capture the jaguar despite setting snares around his territory. Now a federal inquiry has concluded that Macho B was trapped deliberately, and the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service is considering whether to bring charges (NY Times).

But even as the jaguar takes one step nearer joining the dinosaurs in extinction, scientists are one step closer to bringing them back, in our imaginations at least. For the first time, a team from China, the United Kingdom and Ireland have determined the colours and pattern of a dinosaur, a metre-long feathered carnivore called Sinosauropteryx. Turns out the bird-like bipeds were orange, with white striped tails and a “mohawk” display crest on their heads. Despite the feathers, Sinosauropteryx was a flightless reptile who most likely used its feathers primarily for display (CBC).

Posted By: Dumbfounded - Fri Jan 29, 2010 - Comments (3)
Category: Aliens, Animals, Government, Military, Science, Goofs and Screw-ups

Weird Divorce

It’s been a weird week for divorcees, starting with an Indian couple from Pune near Mumbai. After years of arguments over the wife’s penchant for Hindi soap operas, the husband finally barred her from watching them any more. She promptly filed for a divorce, which was granted on the grounds of his “cruel treatment” of her (World News AU).

Next is the case of the divorce granted to the Chinese couple who had not seen each other since their wedding, three years previously. The ceremony took place in China’s Machong district and was the result of an arranged marriage by the parents of the couple, called Ma and Mo, who were good friends. But Ma, the groom, left for a job elsewhere straight after and the newlyweds did not even try to stay in touch. With no children or property to argue over, the divorce went fairly uneventfully (China Daily).

Staying in China for a moment, Shoutsee Li and Han Fucheng of that country’s Mentougou district are hoping a judge will annul their marriage so they can marry again, this time legally. The couple originally married in 2006 after meeting nine years earlier, but Li was in China under false papers and now faces deportation. But while the police don’t recognise Han and Li’s marriage, the registrar does, and will not let them remarry until their current marriage is dissolved (People’s Daily).

Not so likely to remarry are recently separated couple Robin Williams and Anthony Hull of Kingsfold in England. Attempts to reach an agreement on how to divide their £500,000 ($850k) house have stalled amid arguments over who keeps the cheese grater and whether paint pots are communal property. The couple have now taken their grievances to Britain’s High Court (Daily Express).

Also in court this week was Stanley G. Hilton of Hillsborough, CA who is suing San Francisco, its airport, every airline that uses it, and the manufacturers of the airplanes landing there for $15 million each for ruining his marriage. All in all Hilton, a former attorney (now disbarred), cites 37 parties as contributing to the breakdown of relations with his wife, which amounts to a cool $555 million in the unlikely event that he wins (Wired).



More in extended >>

Posted By: Dumbfounded - Mon Nov 23, 2009 - Comments (3)
Category: Business, Advertising, Eccentrics, Frauds, Cons and Scams, Government, Regulations, Religion, Lawsuits, Divorce

A Little Light Weirdness - 3

Brazilian TV presenter, Wallace Souza, has brought a whole new meaning to the term "hit show", by allegedly arranging the deaths of at least four people to boost the ratings of his mid-day real crime show. Souza, a former policeman and prominent politician, is accused of being behind a criminal drug network with an estimated turnover of $25m a month, while the murder victims were all either partners who had fallen from favour or from rival outfits. Once the hit had been set up, it is claimed Souza would receive a tip-off so that camera crews for his program could reach the scene before even the police (Guardian).

Someone else who may be meeting with an "accident" pretty soon is Ginger the kune-kune pig, who is not in pensioner Anne Moon's best books after swallowing her $2500 dollar diamond engagement ring right off her hand. Mrs. Moon, who had gone to pet the pig just prior to the impromptu a-la-main meal, immediately alerted the pig's owner, farmer Paul Caygill, and hopes to be reunited with the ring given to her 30 years ago once nature takes its course (Fox News).

And while Anne Moon is left hanging around dumb animals, in the Norwegian town of Helgoysund, it is the dumb animals that are hanging around. For it is there that a ram managed to get its horns entangled in one of the town's overhead electric cables, before losing its footing, astonishing onlookers as it subsequently abseiled down the hill towards the next pole. Locals suspect that this may have been caused by an over rambitious attempt to reach the ewes in a lower field, and after the ram was eventually towed back to higher ground and released unharmed, he was allowed access by way of compensation for his ordeal (Daily Mail).

Still on the subject of dumb animals, that is presumably what one Parisian store is hoping to attract with its latest creation, a fusball table populated entirely by Barbies. The "Barbie Foot", by French "concept-store" Colette, uses 22 of the ubiquitous dolls, in contrasting uniforms of pink and white in its limited edition table football game, which it hopes to sell for 10,000 euros, that is $14,000, each (Guardian).



More in extended >>

Posted By: Dumbfounded - Wed Aug 12, 2009 - Comments (4)
Category: Animals, Crime, Death, Exercise and Fitness, Furniture, Government, Law, Television, Goofs and Screw-ups

A Little More Light Weirdness

Just some un-themed oddities that caught my eye:

Plans to chop down a tree to make way for a roundabout in Jaslo, Poland have revealed that the oak was in fact planted to commemorate Hitler's birthday when the town was occupied during World War 2. The town's mayor, Maria Kurowska, called the choice between traffic improvements and the living memorial "simple," but not everyone agrees. "It's a historic curiosity," said local Kazimierz Polak, who was present at the planting ceremony as a child 67 years ago, adding, "It's not the tree's fault" (Reuters).

Two Bengal white tigers in a zoo in South Africa have given birth to a tiger cub that's not only white, but stripe-less (London Paper). Surely that's just called a lion?

A spiritual "healer" in Puerto Rico may want to re-read the manual today, after accidentally dropping a lit candle into the bath of alcohol he had instructed he lady patient lie in. The victim, who was suffering financial and marriage issues, can now add 50% burns to her list of problems (Metro).

The Swiss state of Appenzell went the whole of the second world war without a single German invader, so was perhaps unprepared to come under sustained assault by German hikers dressed in nothing but their socks and boots. Naked hiking, which has become a popular Alpine pastime apparently, has generated a stream of complaints from Swiss locals, and the authorities of the Outer and Inner Rhodes provinces of Appenzell have responded by imposing stiff fines of 200CHF ($175) on anyone caught without clothes, though where they expect the hikers to produce the money from is not explained (Cape News). To publicise the ban, the Swiss officials have ordered signs banning nude hiking, to the surprise of designer Dan Walter, who originally drew the sign as a joke (Metro).

Posted By: Dumbfounded - Tue Jul 07, 2009 - Comments (6)
Category: Accidents, Goofs and Screw-ups, Animals, Government, Regulations, Health, History, Historical Figure, New Age

Banned - School Trips To Saddam’s Grave!

The Iraqi government has banned organised outings to the grave of Saddam Hussein after it learned that local schools were regularly taking groups of pupils on visits. The tomb is still regularly visited by supporters of the former dictator, who was hanged for war crimes in 2006, but now these must only be informal affairs and not arranged or supported by local or ministerial authorities (BBC News).

Two words: "flashmob" and "tapshoes".

Posted By: Dumbfounded - Tue Jul 07, 2009 - Comments (1)
Category: Death, Education, Government, Regulations

Weird Florida: Inglis

The Town of Inglis is famous for 2 things: It was the filming location for the Elvis movie Follow That Dream, and in 2001 the Mayor officially banned Satan.(Chuck may have covered this already, I haven't had time to look through his archives)

Posted By: fyshstyxx - Sat Jul 04, 2009 - Comments (1)
Category: Armageddon and Apocalypses, Government, Law, Movies, Politics

One For You, One Hundred For Me…

The justice system in Lancashire UK have struck a blow for the consumer by jailing a prolific eBay scammer and fining him over £100,000, but just one thousand of this will be used to pay back his victims. Jonathan Hartley was jailed for 18 months after a Police investigation looked into complaints going back over six years. In court Hartley pleaded guilty to multiple counts of fraud (and one of money laundering), which are believed to have netted him over £140,000.

Taking into account the money he has already spent, Lancashire Crown Court have ordered he raise the £102,000 fine by August or face another 12 months on his sentence and the £102k fine (plus interest). Because only 34 victims have been positively identified, less than a thousand of this 'restitution' will be paid out in compensation. The rest will be split equally between the prosecutors (government), the courts and the police (Pendle Today).

Posted By: Dumbfounded - Tue May 19, 2009 - Comments (4)
Category: Cops, Crime, Frauds, Cons and Scams, Government, Law

A Little Light Weirdness

First up is a story I have been trying to track down for over a week. Chichester Town Council in the UK were unable to remove a garbage bin that had been illegally dumped in a four-inch deep stream, because they did not have anyone qualified to use wellington boots (Chichester Observer).

The three man crew of a specially eco-refitted yacht, had to be rescued from hurricane force gales on the outward leg of a voyage billed as the "Carbon Neutral Expedition" and designed to raise awareness of green issues. Their rescuer? An oil-tanker delivering 680,000 barrels of crude (The Guardian).

The CEO of the company that supplies and installs most of the speed cameras for the UK Highways Agency has been banned from driving for six months after he was caught speeding at over 100 mph (The Times).

Sikhs serving in the UK police force are looking to develop a bulletproof turban so that they can meet the requirement to wear protective headgear of the force's armed response units without having to break their religious prohibition not to remove them (The Telegraph).

Finally, plans for a Berlin Monument of National Unity, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, had to be scrapped after the spoilsport jury rejected all the entries as too weird. Not one of the 538 submissions from members of the public, which included a 30 meter high gilded banana, a German version of the Statue of Liberty holding a Rubik's cube, a group of Smurfs dancing on a recreation of a section of the wall, and a giant statue of a man pushing a shopping trolley, was accepted. The jury has now invited contributions from selected professional artists (The National).

Posted By: Dumbfounded - Tue May 12, 2009 - Comments (6)
Category: Art, Government, Regulations, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, Religion

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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, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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.

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