News of the Weird M523, April 16, 2017

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Chuck Shepherd

Apr 16, 2017, 8:00:23 AM4/16/17
WEIRDNUZ.M523 (News of the Weird, April 16, 2017)
by Chuck Shepherd

Copyright 2017 by Chuck Shepherd.  All rights reserved.

Lead Story

* Samuel West announced in April that his Museum of Failure will
open in Helsingborg, Sweden, in June, to commemorate innovation
missteps that might serve as inspiration for future successes.
Among the initial exhibits:  coffee-infused Coca-Cola; the Bic "For
Her" pen (because women's handwriting needs are surely unique);
the Twitter Peak (a 2009 device that does nothing except send and
receive tweets--and with a screen only 25 characters wide); and
Harley-Davidson's 1990s line of colognes (in retrospect as
appealing, said West, as "oil and gas fumes").  (West's is only the
latest attempt to immortalize failure with a "museum."  Previous
attempts, such as those in 2007 and 2014, apparently failed.) [CBC
Radio, 4-6-2017] 

Government In Action

* Toronto, Ontario, Superior Court Justice Alex Pazaratz finally
ridded his docket of the maddening, freeloading couple that had
quibbled incessantly about each other's "harassments."  Neither
Noora Abdulaali, 32, nor her now-ex-husband Kadhim Salih, 43,
had worked a day in the five years since they immigrated from
Iraq, having almost immediately gone on disability benefits and
begun exploiting Legal Aid Toronto in their many attempts to one-
up each other with restraining orders.  Approving the couple's
settlement in March, Judge Pazaratz added, "The next time anyone
at Legal Aid Ontario tells you they're short of money, don't believe
it.  Not if they're funding cases like this."  [Toronto Sun, 3-17-

* In May, a new restaurant-disclosure regulation mandated by the
Affordable Care Act is scheduled to kick in, requiring eateries
(except small chains and independents) to post calorie counts for
all menu items including "variations'--which a Domino's Pizza
executive said meant, for his company, "34 million" calorie
listings.  The executive called the regulation, for the pizza industry,
"a 20th-century approach to a 21st-century question" since for
many establishments, orders increasingly arrive online or by phone.
[Washington Post, 4-7-2017]

Redneck Chronicles

* (1) Dennis Smith, 65, was arrested in Senoia, Ga., and charged
with stealing dirt from the elderly widow of the man Smith said
had given him permission to take it.  Smith, a "dirt broker," had
taken more than 180 dump-truck loads.  (2) New for Valentine's
Day from the company:  a bouquet of beef
jerky slices, formed to resemble a dozen full-petaled roses ($59).
Also available:  daisies.  Chief selling point:  Flowers die quickly,
but jerky is forever.  [WAGA-TV (Atlanta), 3-30-2017] [Mother
Nature News, 2-1-2017]
New World Order                             
* In March, Harvard Medical School technicians announced a
smartphone app to give fertility-conscious men an accurate semen
analysis, including sperm concentration, motility, and total count--
costing probably less than $10.  Included is a magnification
attachment and a "microfluidic" chip.  The insertable app magnifies
and photographs the "loaded" chip, instantly reporting the results. 
(To answer the most frequent question:  No, semen never touches
your phone.)  (The device still needs Food and Drug Administration
approval.)  [NPR, 3-22-2017]


* Hipsters on the Rise:  (1) The Columbia Room bar in Washington,
D.C., recently introduced the "In Search of Time Past" cocktail--
splashed with the tincture of old, musty books.  Management
vacuum-sealed pages with grapeseed oil, then "fat-washed" them
with a "neutral high-proof" spirit, and added a vintage sherry,
mushroom cordial, and eucalyptus.  (2) The California reggae rock
band Slightly Stoopid recently produced a vinyl record of songs that
was "smokeable," according to Billboard magazine--using a "super
resinous variety of hashish" mastered at the Los Angeles studio
Capsule Labs.  The first two versions' sound quality disappointed
and were apparently quickly smoked, but a third is in production.
[Washingtonian, 11-30-2016] [Billboard, 1-19-2017]

* The telephone "area" code in the tony English city of Bath
(01225) is different than that of adjacent Radstock (01761) and
probably better explained by landline telephone infrastructure than
legal boundary.  However, a Bath councilwoman said in April that
she is dealing with complaints by 10 new residents who paid high-
end prices for their homes only to find that they came with the
01761 code.  Admitted one Bath resident, "I do consider my phone
number to be part of my identity."   [SomersetLive, 4-5-2017]

Weird Science
* Magnificent Evolvers:  (1) Human populations in Chile's Atacama
desert have apparently developed a tolerance for arsenic 100 times
as powerful as the World Health Organization's maximum safe level
(according to recent research by University of Chile scientists).  (2)
While 80 percent of Americans age 45 or older have calcium-
cluttered blood veins (atherosclerosis), about 80 percent of Bolivian
Tsimane hunter-gatherers in the Amazon have clean veins,
according to an April report in The Lancet.  (Keys for having "the
healthiest hearts in the world":  walk a lot and eat monkey, wild pig,
and piranha.)  [New Scientist, 2-22-2017] [NPR, 3-21-2017; The
Lancet, 3-17-2017]

* Awesome:  (1) University of Basel biologists writing in the
journal Science of Nature in March calculated that the global
population of spiders consumes at least 400 million tons of prey
yearly--about as much, by weight, as the total of meat and fish
consumed by all humans.  (2) University of Utah researchers trained
surveillance cameras on dead animals in a local desert to study
scavenger behavior and were apparently astonished to witness the
disappearances of two bait cows.  Over the course of five days,
according to the biologists' recent journal article, two different
badgers, working around the clock for days, had dug adjacent holes
and completely buried the cows (for storage and/or to keep the
carcasses from competitors). [BBC News, 3-15-2017] [NPR, 4-4-

* News You Can Use:   A study published in the journal
Endocrinology in March suggested that "whole-body" vibration may
be just as effective as regular "exercise."  (The fine print:  Vibration
was shown only to aid "global bone formation," which is not as
useful for some people as "weight loss," which was not studied, and
anyway, the study was conducted on mice.  Nonetheless, even for a
mouse immobile on a vibrating machine, muscles contracted and
relaxed multiple times per second.  This "fine print" will soon be
useful when hucksters learn of the study and try to sell gullible
humans a "miracle" weight-loss machine.)  [Endocrinology, 3-15-

The Aristocrats!
* Wild Maryland!  (1) Prince George's County police officer James
Sims, 30, pleaded guilty to four counts of misdemeanor "visual
surveillance with prurient interest" and in February was sentenced
to probation (though his termination investigation was still
ongoing).  His fourth event, said prosecutors, in a Sports Authority
store, was taking an upskirt photo of a woman who, as Sims
discovered, was also a cop.  (2) A Worcester County (Md.) judge
fined Ellis Rollins $1,000 in February and gave him a suspended
sentence--for the June 2016 ostentatious nude dancing and sex with
his wife at an Ocean City, Md., hotel window in view of other
people on holiday.  At the time, Rollins was the Cecil County, Md.,
state's attorney but has since resigned.  [Washington Post, 2-14-
2017] [WTOP Radio (Washington), 2-17-2017]

Timeless Sayings In The News

* A tanker truck overturned on a Los Angeles freeway on April 4th,
spilling its contents, injuring seven and inconveniencing hundreds
(with at least a few surely tearful, since the tanker was hauling
milk).  And, at a Parks Canada station restroom in Banff, Alberta,
on April 1st, visitors found the door locked and, inexplicably, three
black bear cubs inside (although they were not reported to have
"used" the facilities so it is still safe to assume that bears relieve
themselves "in the woods").  [Los Angeles Daily News, 4-4-2017]
[Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News, 4-7-2017]

A News of the Weird Classic (July 2013)
* Too Much Information:  During a June [2013] debate in a House
Rules Committee abortion hearing, U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess of
Texas, himself an obstetrician/gynecologist, urged an even earlier
ban, based on research on fetal pain, which Burgess said is felt at 15
weeks and not a law's proposed 20 weeks. "Watch a sonogram of a
15-week-old baby," said Burgess, "and they have movements that
are purposeful."  "If they're a male baby, they may have their hand
between their legs."  (Thus, if they feel pleasure, he concluded, they
should also feel pain.)   [The Atlantic, 6-18-2013]

     Thanks This Week to Stan Kaplan and to the News of the
Weird Board of Editorial Advisors.

                     ****, weirdnews at earthlink dot net, and P. O.
Box 18737, Tampa FL 33629
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