Archive for October, 2010

Podcast: Room 717

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

weird things podcast SM

The team conducts an investigation in a haunted hotel room. Seriously spooky stuff happens to the so-called skeptics. Will they survive the night?

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Glenn Caine

Timothy O’Briant

Heather Willis via Adam Willis

Chatbot Fools Human Judge

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Please introduce yourself to Skynet Suzette, the latest winner of the Loebner Prize. The Loebner Prize is a version of the Turing Test where a judge talks to both a computer and a human at the same time for a set interval and then chooses which one they think is human. Suzette was able to fool the judge into thinking it was human after a complete 25 minutes of conversation. No word yet on the human who failed to convince a judge they weren’t a machine.

New Scientist: Are you surprised that you fooled a human judge?
Suzette: No, I am not surprised.

Artificially intelligent AND cocky? I’m sure everything will turn out fine.

[New Scientest]

Airborne Rabies Would Create Zombie “Rage Virus”

Friday, October 29th, 2010
According to the upcoming National Geographic documentary The Truth Behind Zombies, we may be a few mutations or lab experiments away from a full scale zombie apocalypse. If the rabies virus, which can cause violently mad behaviour, was combined with the ability of the flu virus to spread quickly through the air, it might be the right combination for our very own disaster.
“All rabies has to do is go airborne, and you have the rage virus” like in 28 Days Later, Max Mogk, head of the Zombie Research Society, says in the documentary.

While it is not possible for two completely different viruses to hybridize naturally, the possibility exists that they could be genetically modified and combined in a lab. Also, Zombie Research Society!

[National Geographic]

100 lbs. Giant Piranha! HOLY CHRIST ON A CRACKER! [Picture Proof]

Friday, October 29th, 2010


Jeremy Wade hosts a show on Animal Planet called River Monsters. He caught a goliath tiger fish that he nicknamed a Giant Piranha.


New Paranormal Investigation Of Titantic Set For Spring 2011

Friday, October 29th, 2010

The best place to hunt for ghosts are places where a lot of people tragically died. So really, the question isn’t why 100 paranormal investigators are heading out to look over the sunken wreckage of the Titanic in 2011. It’s what took them so long?

“I think it will be dramatic,” the 35-year-old author and freelance writer said. “We’re probably going to hear people screaming for help.”

The Titanic Endeavor Tour, headed by Matthew “Sandman” Kelley, a paranormal researcher from Markleysburg, Pa., will charter a boat to the shipwreck 960 miles east of New York and try to invoke the spirits of those who died there. Expedition members will dine from the Titanic’s menu, observe a memorial service and strain to detect, through psychic sensitivity or special equipment, traces of souls who haunt the site.

Question: if the spirits are confined to the remains of the ship, are they really upset they’re still underwater? They surely weren’t used to it in life, so would they become used to it over time? Even if they want to scare you are they going to be do busy ghost drowning?

Is James Cameron involved?


Ghosts Have Nothing On Rent

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Rent has gotten scary enough that 51% of those polled would happily share their house with a ghost if that meant that they could live there for free. In fact, over a quarter of the respondents would be quite satisfied with simply going halfsies with a haunted roommate.  No word yet from USA Today on cryptids or aliens, but we will keep you updated.

[USA Today]

Russian Bears Snacking on Corpses

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Due to a harsh food shortage Russian bears have been unable to find enough of their traditional berries, mushrooms, frogs, and fish to keep them going. These hungry bears have taken matters into their own hands and turned to digging up and snacking on human corpses. In the village of Vezhnya Tchova near the Arctic Circle two women caught a ghoulish grave robbing bear mid-dinner.
“From a distance it resembled a rather large man in a fur coat, leaning tenderly over the grave of a loved one. But when the two women in the Russian village of Vezhnya Tchova came closer they realised there was a bear in the cemetery eating a body.”

This has happened before in the area and residents recounted tales of how one bear not only learned how to open coffins, but then proceeded to teach the others.

It is unknown at this point in time if the recent shortage of food is related to the invasion and ongoing war between bears and yetis.

[The Guardian via io9]

Bees Shame Computers, Travelling Salesmen

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

A complex mathematical problem known as the Travelling Salesman Problem, and which is known to take a supercomputer days to solve, is effectively being solved by bees in real time. Researchers at Queen Mary, University of London and Royal Holloway have discovered that bees can quickly determine the shortest route between flowers even when they learn about the flowers in a different order. The problem that the Travelling Salesman must solve is finding the shortest route that allows him to visit all the locations on his route. The current method used by computers to solve it is by comparing the length of all possible routes and choosing the shortest. Scientists hope to study the bees to better manage our own networks while also learning the “minimal neural circuitry required for complex problem solving.”

[Queen Mary via]

Billionaires Asked To Kick In Cash For One-Way Space Colonization Mission

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010


You know a plan is closer to reality when you start accepting checks for it. With that being said, this is an awesome plan:

Pete Worden, the director of NASA’s Ames Research Center, recently hinted that billionaires are being recruited to kick in contributions for a deep-space mission known as “the Hundred Year Starship.” The idea builds on the long-discussed concept of sending people on one-way missions to space destinations, in hopes of jump-starting colonization of the final frontier.

Worden is quoted as saying NASA has already committed $100,000 to the project, with the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency providing another $1 million in funding. His comments, made at the Long Now Foundation’s “Long Conversation” event on Oct. 16 in San Francisco, were reported by KurzweilAI’s Amara D. Angelica.

Worden said NASA and DARPA have “just started” the project. “We also hope to inveigle some billionaires to form a Hundred Year Starship fund,” he was quoted as saying.

If they get the money, the next step is recruiting. Who wants to go on a possible suicide mission into outer space?

Count me in! It’ll be like Oregon Trail meets Battlestar Galactica.

Video Proof Of Time Traveller In 1928 Talking On Cell Phone

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

This is a clip from “The Circus” a 1928 film by Charlie Chaplin. It shows what looks to be a passerby clutching something to their ear, as one would a cell phone. This has led a few to believe this is proof that a time traveller who has made their way to past with future technology.

But of course, there was no cell phone infrastructure built in 1928 rendering any cellular device useless, leading to only one logical conclusion. The time traveller was obviously using some kind of super awesome communications tech isn’t even conceivable by us now.

Thanks to WT reader Darren Sefran for the tip.


Visionary Mollusk, Scourge To Bookies: Paul The Octopus Dies

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010


We spent quite a bit of time during the World Cup discussing Paul the Octopus. The tentacled critter, who from the watery confines of his tank at a German zoo correctly predicted all of his home country’s games as well as the final. He became an international phenomenon.

Now: he’s dead.

After living a too-short two and a half years, Paul passed on.

We offer the customary Weird Things 21 Han Solo blaster salute to a being that understood the only way to make an international soccer competition better is to have an octopus possibly fixing games with mind control.


Study: Oceans Won’t Singe Our Pathetic Earth With Vile Acid

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010


According to our most recent studies, fears that we are the last generation to see coral reef due to the rising acidification of our waters is unfounded. This has been a fear raised by climate change studies which suggest CO2 concentration could jack up the pH balance of the seas and kill off marine life.

There is a whole ton of science on Matt Ridley’s awesome blog but here is the money shot:

In conclusion, claims of impending marine species extinctions driven by increases in the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration do not appear to be founded in empirical reality, based on the experimental findings we have analyzed above.

We are safe! Hooray!

No word on if we can just affect the pH balance enough to create monster fish or open a crack in an Arizona lake releasing thousands of blood-thirsty piranhas, in 3D.

[Rational Optimist]

Podcast: The Unicorn Deception

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

weird things podcast SM

Andrew uses the unicorn deception to trick Brian and Justin into accompanying him on the adventure of a lifetime where Yeti’s and Bears engage in mortal combat.

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And The Ghost Vision Viewer available on the Apple App Store

Pilot Mystery
Yeti vs. Bear






The Forgotten, Drunken, Voodoo Inspired Attempt To Kill Hitler

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010
Ready, Set ... - Putting a Hex on Hitler, 1941 - Photo Gallery - LIFE.jpg

It’s 1942 and a portion of the world has united against freedom. The Axis powers, under the command of villainous Adolf Hitler seek to not only continue their unrivaled campaign of genocide but to remake the world in their image.

Society stands betwixt two divergent paths while thousands of young man die trying to make a case for either route.

So what did a band of idealistic youths do to help the effort in a Maryland cabin one rainy January night? The did their best to kill der Fuhrer. With rum and voodooo. And rum. Also, a dressmakers dummy festooned with a Nazi uniform. And rum.

It was unsuccessful. But LIFE magazine did get photos.

[LIFE via Boing Boing]

Secret Of The Ooze: Green Tide Pool Attracts UFO Experts, Marine Biologists

Monday, October 25th, 2010


A tide pool in the coastal regions of Oregon is attracting a lot of attention for a few different reasons. Not only is the water a very distinct shade of neon green it also happens to be in the epicenter of an area famous for rampant UFO sightings.

Is this a freak natural occurrence? Did an alien craft decide to change their anti-freeze into the Oregonion water supply? Could this be the by-product of a horrific Ecto Cooler accident?

At the same time, more serious UFO experts are wondering about Stonefield’s green goodish water that’s attracting a lot of attention from experts, to include marine biologists at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in nearby Newport, Oregon.

“No, it’s not some sort of algae or something from the Pacific. It’s strange, and I can’t explain it,” says Hugh Miller who’s a member of The Trails End Paranormal Society of Oregon.

“They’ve taken a lot of it,” adds Miller. “But what’s left is amazing.”

More on this as it develops…

[Huliq via Conspiracy Journal]

Behold! New Jersey’s Rainbow Plane

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Cathy Terrace, Englewood Cliffs, NJ - Google Maps.jpg

Find it on Google Earth.

Thanks to Weird Things reader Darcy!