News of the Weird M518, March 12, 2017

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Chuck Shepherd

Mar 12, 2017, 9:32:28 AM3/12/17
WEIRDNUZ.M518 (News of the Weird, March 12, 2017)
by Chuck Shepherd

Copyright 2017 by Chuck Shepherd.  All rights reserved.

Lead Story                                  
* Exploiting Villains:  In February, two teams of South Korean
researchers announced cancer-fighting breakthroughs--by taking
lessons from how two of medicine's most vexing, destructive
organisms (diarrhea-causing salmonella bacteria and the rabies
virus) can access often-unconquerable cancer cells.  In journal
articles, biologist Jung-joon Min of Chonnam National University
described how his team "weaponized" a cancer-fighting invader cell
with salmonella to stir up more-robust immune responses, and
nanoparticle expert Yu Seok Youn's Sungkyunkwan University
team coated immunizing cells with the rabies protein (since the
rabies virus is remarkably successful at invading healthy cells) to
reach brain tumors. [ArsTechnica, 2-9-2017] [Science Magazine, 2-

Unclear on the Concept

* (1) Gemma Badley was convicted (in England's Teesside
Magistrates Court in February) of impersonating British psychic
Sally Morgan on Facebook, selling her "readings" as if they were
Morgan's.  (To keep this straight:  Badley is the illegal con artist,
Morgan the legal one.)  (2) Michigan is an "open carry" state, and
any adult not otherwise disqualified under state law may "pack heat"
in public (except in a few designated zones).  In February, an
overly-earnest "Second Amendment" fan, James Baker, 24
(accompanied by pal Brandon Vreeland, 40), believed the law was
an invitation to walk into the Dearborn police station in full body
armor and ski mask, with a semi-automatic and a sawed-off rifle
(and have Vreeland photograph officers' reactions).  (Yes, both were
arrested.)  [The Gazette (Middlesbrough), 2-21-2017] [Detroit Free
Press, 2-6-2017]

* Wells Fargo Bank famously admitted last year that employees
(pressured by a company incentive program) had fraudulently
opened new accounts for about two million existing customers by
forging their signatures.  In an early lawsuit by a victim of the fraud
(who had seven fraudulent accounts opened), the Bank argued (and
a court agreed!) that the lawsuit had to be handled by arbitration
instead of a court of law because the customer had, in its original
Wells Fargo contract (that dense, fine-print one he actually signed),
agreed to arbitration for "all" disputes.  A February Wells Fargo
statement to claimed that customers' forgoing
legal rights was actually for their own benefit, in that "arbitration" is
faster and less expensive. [Consumerist, 3-1-2017]

News That Sounds Like a Joke

* Ex-Colombo family mobster and accused hitman "Tommy Shots"
Gioeli, 64, recently filed a federal court lawsuit over a 2013 injury
at the Metropolitan Detention Center in New York City.  He fell and
broke a kneecap while playing ping-pong (allegedly because of
water on the floor), awaiting sentencing for conspiracy to commit
murder.  The New York Post also noted that the "portly" Gioeli,
who was later sentenced to 18 years, was quite a sight at trial,
carrying his "man purse" each day.  [New York Post, 2-7-2017]

Great Art!

* French artist Abraham Poincheval told reporters in February that
in his upcoming "performance," he will entomb himself for a week
in a limestone boulder at a Paris museum and then, at the
conclusion, sit on a dozen bird eggs until they hatch--"an inner
journey," he said, "to find out what the world is."  (He apparently
failed to learn that from previous efforts, such as the two weeks he
spent inside a stuffed bear or his time on the Rhone River inside a
giant corked bottle.)  He told reporters the super-snug tomb has
been thoroughly accessorized, providing for breathing, eating, heart
monitor, and emergency phone--except, they noted, nothing on
exactly how toileting will be handled.  [The Guardian (London), 2-

The Job of the Researcher                        

* A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration "bioacoustic
research" team recently reported recording and listening to about
2,000,000 underwater sounds made over a four-month period by
various species of dolphins ("whistles," echolocation "clicks," and
"burst pulses") and can, they believe, distinguish the sounds to
match them to a particular dolphin species (among the five most
prevalent)--with 84 percent accuracy.  The team built a computer
algorithm to make estimating dolphin populations much easier.
[Hakai Magazine, 2-16-2017]

The Continuing Crisis

* Compelling Explanations:  (1) Oklahoma state Rep. Justin
Humphrey, justifying his proposed bill to require a woman seeking
an abortion to first identify the father, told a reporter in February
that the father's permission is crucial because, after all, the woman
is basically a "host" who "invited that [fetus] in."  (2) After the
North Dakota House of Representatives voted yet again in January
to retain the state's Sunday-closing "blue laws," Rep. Bernie Satrom
explained to a reporter, "Spending time with your wife," he said,
"your husband, making him breakfast, bringing it to him in bed" is
better than going shopping.  [The Intercept, 2-13-2017] [Valley
News Live (Fargo) , 2-1-2017]

* Small-Town Government:  The ex-wife of deputy sheriff Corey
King of Washington County, Ga. (largest town:  Sandersville, pop.
5,900), filed a federal lawsuit in January against King after he
arrested her for the "crime" of making a snarky comment about him
on Facebook (tjat he failed to bring the couple's children their
medicine).  King allegedly conspired with a friendly local
magistrate on the arrest, and though the prosecutor refused the case,
King warned the ex-wife that he would still re-arrest her if she made
"the mistake of going to Facebook with your little [excrement] . . .
to fuss about." [WMAZ-TV (Macon), 2-7-2017]

Leading Economic Indicators

* In a first-person profile for the Chicago Tribune in February,
marketing consultant Peter Bender, 28, recalled how he worked to
maximize his knowledge of the products of company client Hanes--
and not just the flagship Hanes underwear but its Playtex and
Maidenform brands.  In an "empathy" exercise, Bender wore bras
for three days (a sports bra, an underwire, and a lacy one)--fitted at
size 34A (or "less than A," he said).  "These things are difficult," he
wrote on a company blog.  "The lacy one," especially, was "itchy."
[Chicago Tribune, 2-21-2017]
News You Can Use

* "Fecal transplants" (replacing a sick person's gut bacteria with
those of a healthier one) are now almost routine treatments for
patients with violent abdominal attacks of C.diff bacteria, but
University of California researcher Chris Callewaert says the
concept also works for "patients" with particularly stinky armpits.
Testing identical twins (one odoriferous, the other not), the
researcher, controlling for diet and other variables, "cured" the
smelly one by swabbing his pit daily with the sweat of the better-
smelling twin.  The Callewaert team told a recent conference that
they were working on a more "general" brew of bacteria that might
help out anyone with sour armpits.  [New Scientist, 2-10-2017]

The Weirdo-American Community

* Stephen Reed, the former mayor of Harrisburg, Pa., pleaded guilty
on the eve of his January trial on corruption counts stemming from
the approximately 10,000 items of "Wild West" and "Americana"
artifacts worth around $8 million that he had bought with public
funds during 28 years in office.  For some reason, he had a single-
minded obsession with creating a local all-things-cowboy museum,
and had purchased such items as a stagecoach, stagecoach
harnesses, a "Billy The Kid" wanted poster, a wagon wheel, and a
totem pole.  Somehow, he explained, as he was leaving office after
being voted out in 2009, the items he had purchased (theoretically,
"on behalf of" of Harrisburg) had migrated into his personal
belongings. [Washington Post, 1-26-2017]

A News of the Weird Classic (May 2013)

* Caribou Baby, a Brooklyn, N.Y., "eco-friendly maternity, baby,
and lifestyle store,"  recently [2013] hosted gatherings at which
parents exchange tips on "elimination communication"--the
weaning of infants without benefit of diapers.  Parents watch for
cues, such as a certain "cry or grimace" that supposedly signals the
need to hoist the tot onto a potty.  The little darlings' public
appearances sometimes call for diapers but can also be dealt with
behind a tree, they say.  Said one shocked parent, "I have absolutely
been at parties and witnessed people putting their baby over the
sink."  [Update:  The maternity store is now called Wild Was
Mama, and "elimination communication" meetings are not
mentioned.]  [New York Times, 4-19-2013]

     Thanks This Week 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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