Archive for August, 2010

Podcast: Exotic meats

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

weird things podcast SM

The trio discuss how polite you should be at a dinner part that goes horrifically awry. They then offer some practical advice in dealing with an impending mole people invasion.

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Old People With Super Powers & R2-D2 Gets Married

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

The Pesky Psychopath Problem: Could Science Identify & Possibly Cure Them?

Friday, August 20th, 2010


Who hasn’t dealt with a psychopath? You offer to help them put a sofa in the back of a van one moment, badda bing badda boom you’re putting the lotion on your skin or else you get the hose again…

A new report by Scientific American’s MIND magazine looks into the new research being done into the area of criminally crazy people. Included among the findings on the studies of sociopaths:

• Aided by EEGs and brain scans, scientists have discovered that psychopaths possess significant impairments that affect their ability to feel emotions, read other people’s cues and learn from their mistakes.

• These deficiencies may be apparent in children who are as young as five years old.

• When you tally trials, prison stays and inflicted damage, psychopaths cost us $250 billion to $400 billion a year.

• Psychopaths have traditionally been considered untreatable, but novel forms of therapy show promise.

A cure for psychopaths! Rejoice, Great Big Fat People the world over!

[Scientific American]

Baboon Hoax Leads To Proof Of Monkey Dance

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Beer Goggles Explained… With SCIENCE!

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Finally, science is addressing the truly important questions… Namely, why that homely girl you took home after a night of drinking seemed much hotter the night before.

…two photos of the same person were supplied. One was natural. The other was subtly altered to make their face less symmetrical. Symmetry is one of the keys to perceived beauty. Respondents were asked which photo they preferred.

In the second test, more altered photos were supplied. The pub-goers were asked to rate the attractiveness of those.

As it turns out, alcohol keeps us from properly assessing the symmetry in people’s faces, and as we all know the more symmetrical a face the more attractive we perceive it to be.  What’s worse is that the uglier the person is the more this effect is enhanced.

See? Now instead of making excuses to your friends you can defend yourself with sound scientific fact!


At The Edge Of Conspiracy A Man Stands With A His Finger On The Zoom

Thursday, August 19th, 2010


For artist Tervor Paglen, the truth is out there. Seriously, it’s like 60 miles away and you’re standing in front of his shot. Can you move? Thank you.

Paglen has become famous for compiling very long range, grainy photos of the the most secretive elements of our national defense. Rendition programs, codenamed projects, secret identities, redacted or misleading budget items, these are the leads he capitalizes on. He talked to Wired about his new monograph Invisible: Covert Operations and Classified Landscapes.

“I think of my visual work as an exploration of political epistemology,” said Paglen in a recent interview with Joerg Colberg, “The politics of how we know what we think we know. [An exploration] filled with all the contradictions, dead ends, moments of revelation, and confusion that characterize our collective ability to comprehend the world around us in general.”

Awesome stuff.


Twitter’s Latest Star… A Robot?

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Before he boards the international space station in November, NASA’s latest robotic creation Robonaut 2 is spending his time mastering social networking. Using the Twitter handle @AstroRobonaut, the robot is answering questions from the public about his upcoming trip from more than 14,000 Twitter followers.

Robonaut 2 was designed to mimic basic human task and serve as a futuristic helper monkey on the Space Station. Many famous Twitterers have taken notice of the newest Twitter phenom, with even Conan O’Brian chiming in:

The NASA robot doing chores on the space station has its own Twitter account. I’m glad to see NASA is still shooting for the stars.

Robonaut 2 was a bit snarky in his reply:

@ConanOBrien Astronauts are excited to have me @ station because they’ve programmed me to always laugh at their jokes. Jealous?

No word on if the tweets will continue from the Space Station.


A Peek Into Our Augmented Reality Future

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Check out this great video showing the most realistic endgame for augmented reality I’ve seen. Prepare to be eye-banged!

Here’s more information from the producer of the video himself:

The latter half of the 20th century saw the built environment merged with media space, and architecture taking on new roles related to branding, image and consumerism. Augmented reality may recontextualise the functions of consumerism and architecture, and change in the way in which we operate within it.

We’ve Been Living A Lie: Blind Mole Rats Not Actually Blind

Monday, August 16th, 2010


They even see colors, those lying little vermin. Impostors!

[Live Science]

Ground Zero Pirate Ship: The Investigation Begins!

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Remember that pirate ship they found under the World Trade Center we reported on in July? Researchers gathered many samples and the investigation has now started to reveal the true origins of the ship.

The wood samples will hopefully tell us where the ship was built by analyzing the properties and age rings. They are also analyzing various woodworms in the wreckage to glean where the ship might have sailed.

The American Archaeologist site is keeping a close eye on the ship and will report findings as they happen.

[American Archaeologist]

New Microchip Interfaces With Your Brain

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Scientists at the University of Calgary have used a specific type of microchip called a neurochip to allow doctors to monitor the brain waves of victims of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

While the chips aren’t quite ready to replace your Gravis Gamepad, researchers hope they will eventually let patients control symptoms and doctors to monitor the brain’s reaction to new treatments.

[CBC News]

Viking’s Protected Graves With Thor’s Hammer

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010


If this is an elaborate viral campaign to promote the upcoming Thor movie, color me impressed.

Long dismissed as accidental additions to Viking graves, prehistoric “thunderstones”—fist-size stone tools resembling the Norse god Thor’s hammerhead—were actually purposely placed as good-luck talismans, archaeologists say.

Using fire-starting rock such as flint, Stone Age people originally created the stones to serve as axes. But the Vikings, whose Iron Age heyday lasted from about A.D. 800 to 1050, saw the primitive tools as lightning repellent.

As yet unreported, the underside of the hammerhead features a picture of Natalie Portman and a prequel comic that leads into the events of the film. Not really.

[Nat Geo]

Enjoy The Carnage Of Liftoff

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Enjoy this stunning HD video of the Apollo 11 rocket taking off… in HD! No clue how they kept the camera from melting, but their innovation makes for a great video.

NASA Mulls Asteroid Probe in 2106

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

In an update to our story from last week (Asteroid Heading For Earth (in 2182)!), NASA is considering sending a probe to the ominous asteroid 1999 RQ36 to collect rock samples so they can more accurately when and if it will collide with earth. The project is being proposed as part of the New Frontiers program, and is competing with a trip to Venus for funding.

Basically, we are choosing between finding out when Earth will be destroyed or finding somewhere else to go before it is. Considering Bruce Willis will most likely not be around when the time comes I think we can safely write off the ‘Armageddon Option.’


5 UFO Sightings That Non-Lunatics Find A Bit Unsettling

Monday, August 9th, 2010


The fine folks at list ’em like only they can, from military dogfights to strange green fireballs.


Experimental Limb Regeneration That WILL Turn You Into A Lizard

Monday, August 9th, 2010


We told you last week about a possible new therapy hoping to regrow body parts. Unlike the ill-fated research of Dr. Curt Connors, it does not use the DNA of an animal that naturally regrows limbs so the likelihood of the recipient turning into a giant lizard and forcing Spider-man to do a backflip whilst saying something glib… is unlikely.

But that was that therapy. This therapy makes none of the same boring promises.

Scientists are regrowing mouse limbs with newt and salamander DNA and humans could be next.

“Newts regenerate tissues very effectively,” said Helen Blau, PhD, the Donald E. and Delia B. Baxter Professor and a member of Stanford’s Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. “In contrast, mammals are pathetic. We can regenerate our livers, and that’s about it. Until now it’s been a mystery as to how they do it.”

Not noted in the story is that lightning struck right after she called mammals pathetic.

The unsolved puzzle to limb regeneration is apparently the rampant cancer that unchecked cell replication can kick start. Mouse trials have utilized two tumor-suppressing proteins to keep that mess in check.

Peter Parker, it’s time you came face to face with… The Newt.

Thanks to Weird Things reader Dan Wheeler for passing this along.

[Science Daily]