News of the Weird11/6/2013
Norway’s Battle Against Chaos
Norwegian public television (NRK), which introduced the now-legendary continuous, live log-burning show (12 hours long, with “color commentary” on the historical and cultural importance of fire), scheduled a new program for this week in its appeal to serenity (labeled “Slow TV”). On Nov. 1, NRK was to televise live, for five hours, an attempt to break the world record for producing a sweater — from sheep shearing to spinning the wool and knitting the garment (current record: 4:51, by Australians). (In addition to the log, NRK viewers have been treated to live cams on a salmon-fishing boat and, for five days, on a cruise ship.) Said an NRK journalist, “You would think it’s boring television, but we have quite good ratings for these programs.”
The Entrepreneurial Spirit
Cockroach extract is a delicacy among some Chinese, believed to miraculously reduce inflammation, defy aging and cure tuberculosis, cancer and cirrhosis. Quartz reported in August that Yunnan province is a Silicon Valley-type business center, where pulverized roaches can sell for the equivalent of about $89 a pound, and five pharmaceutical companies have contracts with ranches that have formed the Sichuan Treasure Cockroach Farming Cooperative. (Police suspect that in August that a start-up farm in Jiangsu province was vandalized, allowing at least a million cockroaches being prepared for market to flee to adjacent neighborhoods.) …
When entrepreneur Michelle Esquenazi was asked by a New York Post reporter in September why her all-female crew of licensed bounty hunters (Empire Bail Bonds of New York) is so successful at tricking bail-jumpers into the open, she offered a five-letter vulgar euphemism for a female body part. “It’s timeless,” she continued. “Of course he’s going to open his door for a nice piece of (deleted). (Sic.) The thing about defendants is, no matter who they are (or of whatever color), they’re all dumb. Every single last one of them is stupid.” …
It’s expensive to go broke in America. Detroit, which most acknowledge acted wisely in filing for bankruptcy protection in July (in the face of debts estimated to be at least $18 billion), will nonetheless be on the hook for bankruptcy legal fees that could total $60 million under current contracts (according to an October New York Times report), plus various expenses, such as the $250,000 to Christie’s auction house to price and sell some assets. A fee examiner has been hired to keep the expenses in line, but he charges $600 an hour.
Blood clots can be especially dangerous, often requiring urgent, harshly invasive open-heart surgery to remove the clot before it becomes fatal, but a team from UCLA Medical School reported breathlessly in September that a “minimally invasive,” cutting-edge machine worked just as well: a vacuum cleaner. When a 62-year-old man arrived at an emergency room with deep vein thrombosis, AngioVac lines were inserted in the leg and neck and sucked out the 24-inch-long clot. The patient was back home and full of energy a week later.
A “scatological force field” is how a Reuters reporter in September described the way ordinary house termites are able to increasingly resist extermination. They use their own feces to build their nests, and the pathogens seem to form a protective shield that attacks unfriendly bacteria trying to invade the nests. …
“Pig Drinks 18 Pints and Has Fight With Cow” read one August headline from Port Hedland, West Australia, after rampaging wild pigs stole and drank 18 beers from a campsite. International Business Times, summarizing recent research in September, noted that moose, especially, are attracted by fermenting apples; that prairie voles are prominent social drinkers (consuming much more available alcohol when other voles are around); and that African elephants often turn violent to secure the fermenting fruit of the marula tree (although the elephant would require 1,400 pieces of fruit to generate the seven gallons of alcohol that — if consumed all at once — would match humans’ legal limit for driving).
Least Competent People
The NASA space agency reported an intruder on its Ames Research Center website in September, emanating from a site in Brazil manned by someone perturbed by the U.S.’ (and, also, by the way, the Illuminati’s) eavesdropping. “Stop spy on us!” and “Obama heartless! Inhumane!” were just two of the messages on the 14 NASA sites taken down temporarily. A Slate.com blogger surmised that the hacker intended to target the National Security Agency, NSA , instead of NASA. CV