Friday, September 4, 2015


Posted June 24, 2015in News of the Weird

What cannibals can teach us

Researchers studying the human-brain-eating Fore tribe of Papua New Guinea reported in a June journal article that they have identified the specific “prion” resistance gene that appears to offer complete protection against mad cow disease and perhaps other neurodegenerative conditions such as dementias and Parkinson’s. The tribe customarily dined on

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Posted June 17, 2015in News of the Weird

Living small

Apartment buyers in ridiculously expensive Hong Kong are now eagerly paying up to the equivalent of $500,000 (U.S.) for units not much bigger than a U.S. parking space (and typically physically self-measured by the applicant’s wing-span). An agent told The Wall Street Journal in June that, for example, standard furniture

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Posted June 10, 2015in News of the Weird

Meals 2.0

Silicon Valley code-writers and engineers work long hours — with apparently little time for “food” as we know it. Eating is “time wasted,” in the words of celebrity inventor Elon Musk, and normal meals a “marketing facade,” said another valley bigwig. The New York Times reported in May that techies

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Posted June 03, 2015in News of the Weird

Crime does pay

When officials in Richmond, California, learned in 2009 that 70 percent of the city’s murders and firearms assaults were directly linked to 17 people, they decided on a bold program: to pay off those 17 to behave themselves. For a budget of about $1.2 million a year, the program offers

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Posted May 27, 2015in News of the Weird

Great art class!

Among the requirements of “Visual Arts 104A” at the University of California, San Diego is that, for the final exam, students would make a presentation while nude, in a darkened room. Professor Ricardo Dominguez (who would also be nude for the finals) told KGTV in May that a nude “gesture”

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Posted May 20, 2015in News of the Weird

Is this a great country or what?

There’s hardly a more “generic” song in America than “Happy Birthday to You,” but to this day (until a judge renders a decision in a pending case), Warner/Chappel Music is still trying to make big dollars off of the 16-word ditty (15 original words plus a user-supplied 16th). Its original

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Posted May 13, 2015in News of the Weird

Donating for dollars

Already, healthy people can donate blood, sperm and eggs, but now the nonprofit OpenBiome offers donors $40 for bowel movements — to supply “fecal transplants” for patients with nasty C. difficile bacterial infections. (“Healthy” contents are transplanted into the infected gut via endoscope or frozen swallowed capsules so that the

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Posted May 06, 2015in News of the Weird

Marital enhancement

Saudi Arabia’s very first sex accessory shop (in the holy city of Mecca) should be opening soon, according to news reports — operated by a Moroccan Muslim, backed by the German adult mega-retailer Beate Uhse, and supposedly fully compliant with Islamic law. Owner Abdelaziz Aouragh told Agence France-Presse he would

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Posted April 29, 2015in News of the Weird

World’s worst sculptor

It seemed like a good idea when the town of Celoron, New York, agreed in 2009 to pay for a bronze statue honoring the village’s only celebrity. Lucille Ball had spent her childhood years there, and even today, everyone “Loves Lucy.” The result was apparently a monstrosity, described in news

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Posted April 22, 2015in News of the Weird

Hard-hitting numbers

In March, offensive lineman John Urschel of the Baltimore Ravens added to his curriculum vitae by co-authoring the latest of his several peer-reviewed academic articles — “A Cascadic Multigrid Algorithm for Computing the Fiedler Vector of Graph Laplacians” in the Journal of Computational Mathematics. If Urschel can understand, and even

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