Archive for January, 2011

Podcast: Dead, Angry Birds

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

weird things podcast SM

President Justin frantically tries to cover up an impending alien visit while science staffer Andrew blabs to the Russian press. Spiro and The Fudge attempt to solve the massive, simultaneous bird deaths in Arkansas. The trio debates the merits of resurrecting a defeated race of human ancestors.

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Meet The Beetles: New Law Requires Full Disclosure On Use Of Beetles In Food

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011
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A very specific kind of beetle is used as an edible red dye. It has been used in foods you’ve eaten your entire life. Now, you’ll be required by law to be aware that you’re munching on the remains of a bug.

[Live Science]

Space Fence In Action

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

This software looks amazing; watch as Space Fence monitors the skies.

[Lockheed Martin via Gizmodo]

Contact Lenses That Project Images Onto Your Eyes

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

“Researchers at the University of Washington have been working on extremely tiny and semi-transparent LEDs designed to be integrated into contact lenses. So far, they’ve managed to create red pixels and blue pixels, and when they can figure out green ones, they’ll be able to make full color displays.”

The downside is that since these contacts, and therefore the images, are below your eyelids you will still see the scary parts even when you close your eyes and hide under the covers. This will be a great new tool for deprogrammers and mind-washers everywhere.

[dvice via Geekologie]

The Man Who Took A Proton Beam To The Face And Lived

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011
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Meet Anatoli Petrovich Bugorski. He was a Russian scientist studying high energy physics when he accidentally stuck his face in the path of a proton beam being generated by a particle accelerator.

Reportedly, he saw a flash “brighter than a thousand suns”, but did not feel any pain.

The aftermath was even stranger. He’d received what was thought to be a a lethal dose of radiation and his face became swollen and began peeling. Everyone thought old Bugorski was a sure goner.

Except, he didn’t die. He lives to this day.

Aside from a loss of hearing and increased mental fatigue you’d have never known he took a FREAKING PROTON BEAM straight to the dome.

[Wikipedia]

“Mummy” On Loose In Texas

Monday, January 10th, 2011

“Harris County sheriff’s deputies recommended that homeowners who see the man dressed as a mummy in their yard call 911 immediately.”

[KPRC via io9]

Argentina To Create UFO Commission

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Argentina has decided to create an official UFO research group called “The Commission for the Research of Aerospatial Phenomena” which will include a multidisciplinary team of meteorologists, flight controllers, pilots, and radar specialists. This organization will join the rich tradition of South American commissions “such as Uruguay’s Commission for the Receipt and Investigation of Reports on Unidentified Flying Objects (CRIDOVNI), Peru’s Office for the Anomalous Aerial Phenomena Investigation (OIFAA) and Chile’s Committee for the Study of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena (CEFAA)”.

“The Commission for the Research of Aerospatial Phenomena is in the process of being formed… and now things will be perceived from the formal, professional standpoint, contributing toward our mission, which is to control our air space.”

[American Monsters]

Orange Alligator Spotted

Friday, January 7th, 2011

That is all.

[WWSB]

Mapping The Mass Deaths

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Lately, it is hard keeping track of all the animal die-offs. Thankfully somebody has put together this handy map so that we all can play along at home.

Ghost Census Underway in Colombia

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

In the Colombian city of Medellin, a local undertaker has started a “ghost census” to count and catalog the spirits of the city. His team of four “properly attired”  funeral parlor workers has spread out around the city in the past few weeks cataloging no fewer than 215 ghosts.

“It’s beyond question that many of the city’s buildings and homes have ghosts. For years, we’ve heard stories about them and we thought the time had come to approach, catalog and classify them through a census,” William Betancur told AFP.

“They’ve reported back with 215 ghosts…. Our video and still cameras have captured 23,” he said with pride.

The idea came about after the undertaker sensed his dead dog still wandering the funeral home.

[AFP via io9] [photo: AFP]

Jamaican “Ninja Birds” Had Weaponized Wings

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

A flightless ibis (Xenicibis xympithecus) that lived on Jamaica until about 10,000 years ago had wings that evolved into weapons. It would use its club-like wings to beat predators and perhaps other ibis in defense of its territory and young. However, these club-like wings proved useless when humans finally showed up and the birds were extinct shortly afterwards.

“Working with Olson, Longrich went to Jamaica and found more fossils – including curved hefty handbones.

He thought the first he found was a deformity, but as he found others, including a couple that had been cracked and healed, he realized they had been used as clubs. The new fossils also showed the wrists were hinged so the hands could swing like flails.

“I would guess that they would try to grab each other using the beak and then just proceed to pound each other using the wings,” Longrich told Discovery News.”

[New Scientist]

Soapman Not As Clean As You Would Expect

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

In 1875 a body was dug up while building a new train depot in Philadelphia. Thought to have been buried originally in 1800, the entire body has been turned into soap.

“This unusual preservation occurred because water seeped into the casket and brought alkaline soil with it, turning the fats in his body to soap through a type of hydrolysis known as saponification.”

[Smithsonian]

And Now: An Exploding Manhole in NYC

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Perhaps this guy should investigate what is going on down there.

[Geekologie]

Artificial Palladium Alloy Created Using Nanotechnology, Alchemy

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Japanese scientists from Kyoto University have announced that they’ve managed to create a “palladium-like” alloy using what they label as “present-day alchemy.”  They used nanotechnology to combine  rhodium and silver into the new alloy, which they say could eventually replace the real thing in consumer electronics.

Professor Hiroshi Kitagawa and his team used nanotechnology to combine rhodium and silver to produce an alloy with similar properties to palladium, which is located between rhodium and silver on the periodic table. These two metals usually would not mix, as rhodium has 45 electrons and silver 47, and so are stable elements unable to react with each other under normal conditions. The research team overcame this hurdle by mixing rhodium and silver in solution which was then turned into a mist and mixed with heated alcohol. This process produced particles of the new alloy that are around 10 nanometres in diameter.

[engadget and Gizmag]

First Lunar Elipse Of 2011? Boring! Viking Wolves Biting The Sun? Metal!

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

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A natural event that inspired some of the most awesome Norse mythology ever will make an epic return to it’s homeland tomorrow.

Two beasts of Norse mythology are set to trouble the skies of northern Europe on Tuesday for the world’s first solar eclipse of 2011.

Ancient Viking legends recount that a giant wolf named Skoll chases the Moon, and its brother Hati pursues the Sun — and if either sinks their teeth into one and holds it back, an eclipse occurs.

For astronomers, though, eclipses are less superstitious affairs, occurring when the Moon swings between the Sun and Earth.

Tuesday’s event will be a partial eclipse. This occurs when a fraction of the Moon obscures the Sun, and to those in its shadow a “bite” seems to have been taken out of the solar face.

According to legend, humans are encouraged to make as much noise as possible when the eclipse happens, as to scare away the wolves. So, file that under “things to do.”

It’s Raining Dead Blackbirds In Arkansas

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

Thousands of dead blackbirds rained down onto Beebe, Arkansas to help ring in the new year. Welcome to 2011!

UPDATE: 100,000 dead fish have washed up on the banks of the Arkansas River as well.  Get out while you still can.

[KATV via io9]