Archive for July, 2012

Podcast: The Amazing Poisoned Possum

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Skitched 20110225 175343

The anniversary of that mysterious night in New Mexico when a phenomenon crashed to Earth sparks a debate over how the crash would be different today. Spiro and The Fudge are called back into duty when a possum poison caper is unleashed on a small village. Can lil Fudge save the lil critters in time? A horrifying Vietnam vet story. Are aliens managing our civilization’s advance through radio contact?

FINALLY! An EPIC spoiler-filled battle over Amazing Spider-Man! Be warned true believers, some might not survive this edition of Weird Things!

Support the show by purchasing Andrew’s BRAND NEW BOOK Hollywood Pharaohs just click on the image below.

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Listener Spots:

Drowtales

Barstool Prophets

• Happy Birthday Haley Nelson!

Picks:

Andrew:

Drive

Brian:

Y: The Last Man

Justin:

Locke & Key

Rare Disorder Causes Girl to Feel No Pain!

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Imagine not being able to feel pain. Sounds great, right? Games of ‘Slug Bug’ or ‘Butt Ball’ would be much easier to handle, right? Stubbing your toe wouldn’t suck as much. Banging your head would never be an issue again. You’d feel like a freakin’ warrior because you don’t feel a damn thing.

Now for the downside…

What if you developed appendicitis or something else as internally life-threatening? You’d have no indication anything was wrong until it was seriously too late.

That’s the case with 12-year-old Ashlyn Blocker of Georgia. Ashlyn was born with Congenital Insensitivity to Pain with Anhidrosis (CIPA), a extremely rare condition that kills most people born with it when they’re just toddlers. Babies born with CIPA might have something severely wrong, yet they won’t cry because they just don’t feel anything.

As an infant, Ashlyn had a huge corneal abrasion across her eye. Everyone was astonished that she wasn’t crying over what, to most people, would be a painfully excruciating sensation.

CIPA affects about 100 people in the United States every year.

Ashlyn is not letting anything stop her from doing what she wants. Described as a determined girl, she is currently working with doctors at the University of Florida to understand how our brains interpret pain. This tough little girl has also started a summer camp called ‘Camp Painless But Hopeful’ to help other families whose children suffer from CIPA.

[Daily Mail UK]

Glasses Allow You to See Your Veins!

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Tech-heavy eyewear has always been something that seems like too good-to-be-true science fiction. Various accessories promising amazing visuals for your peepers have included everything from those vintage ads in comic books for X-Ray Specs to the recently buzzing Google Glasses to quantum HUD display mechanics contained in a single drop of saline dripped onto a contact lens.

Currently in their testing phase, 2AI Labs is developing a pair of glasses that allows you to see what early testers are having a hard time believing until they actually put these things on…and see their veins glowing.

The O2Amp glasses are the creation of neurobiologist Mark Changizi who came up with the idea while studying the development of color vision in primates at CalTech.

So how does this work exactly? Bionics? Special computer-controlled lenses? By bellowing latin phrases and waving a wooden stick?

Nope. Our eyes, using certain filters, are able to do this all on their own. Turns out we just have to amplify the process.

Changizi explains “that color vision evolved to sense oxygenation modulations in the hemoglobin under the skin. Once one understands the connection between our color vision and blood physiology, it’s possible to build filters that further amplify our perception of the blood and the signals it provides. ”

There are currently three different filters for the glasses:

– A vein-finder, or oxygenation-isolator, that amplifies perception of oxygenation modulations under the skin (and eliminates perception of variations in the concentration of hemoglobin),
– A trauma-detector, or hemoglobin-concentration-isolator, that amplifies perception of hemoglobin concentrations under the skin (and eliminates perception of variations in oxygenation), and
– A general clinical enhancer, or oxygenation-amplifier, that combines the best features of the first two; it eliminates neither signal (i.e., it retains perception of both variation in Hemoglobin oxygenation and concentration), and only amplifies perception of oxygenation.

Unlike Google’s somewhat infamous video of promises regarding its magical glasses, these amazing goggles are already out in the world, mainly in the medical field, and being tested by real people working in a real evironment.

The results and feedback from those that’ve worn them? Most are ready to order.

[Changizi Blog]

[Video]:Robot Walks Like Human!

Monday, July 9th, 2012

For the most part, the current generation of robots are about as mobile as a piece of gym equipment.

Depending on who you talk to, that could be a good thing. It means that our future overlords, unless they begin linking up with the drones we discussed a few postings ago, are pretty much stuck in one place while the surviving humans can hide and make plans to take our world back.

Then THIS happened…

Researchers at the University of Arizona have created the first robotic legs to accurately mimic a human being’s walk.

Innocently enough, the researchers are using the sauntering robot legs to understand how babies learn to walk as well as understanding how spinal cord-injury patients could possibly recover the ability to walk.

Sounds great. Unless of course you’ve seen the Gekkos in Metal Gear Solid 4 (for the uninitiated…watch the first half of the video below). You’ll know exactly where this tech could potentially lead to…mounting an arsenal-laden torso on top of these legs and setting them loose on the streets.

[Kurzweilai.Net]

Southern California Infested with Brown Widows!

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

Since face-eating and bath-salting have finally jumped the shark, a new trend is beginning to emerge…

Only days ago we reported that the base of Mount St. Helens in Washington is swarming with tent caterpillars.

Insects are now climbing the list of things signaling the apocalypse might actually arrive just in time for Christmas.

The LA Times is reporting that the brown widow spider, not to be outdone by the caterpillars in Washington, have had a recent population explosion that guarantees people living in Southern California will be dealing with the less-poisonous cousin to the black widow on a more frequent basis.

Black widows generally hide in darker places like sheds, woodpiles and under porches. Usually they’re tucked away in places people instinctively don’t go. You can already guess where the next piece of information is going…the brown widow is much more extroverted than its deadlier relative.

Brown widows like to relax in peoples’ things outside. Outdoor patio furniture, plastic playground equipment, under the curled lip of a potted plant, your bbq, your ‘outside shoes’ and in drought-free landscaping. Fortunately out of 72 data sites used to get a better understanding of how big this population explosion is, none of the spiders were found in peoples’ homes.

Since 2003, when the brown widow first began appearing in California, the population has exploded compared to the black widows.

Bright-side? Brown widow spider bites generally hurt initially, burn for a little while and then? Really nothing happens. Carry on.

Down-side? These things like to cluster. Turning over a patio chair you’re sitting in to interrupt a small party of these spiders that dwarf their darker cousins in size? Nature’s way of going “Boo!” and making you paranoid about every nook and crannie in your immediate area.

[LA Times]

Death Valley Truck’s Grisly History

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

Sitting out in the middle of Death Valley is a grim reminder of one of the most horrific and notable murder stories in American history.

Recently journalist Amy Beddows rolled through Death Valley in search of that grisly reminder.

Arriving in Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America and one of the most desolate places in the world, Beddows headed down the Trona 178 highway to the dirt road which leads to the isolated town of Ballarat.

Beddows drove past the sign at the entrance to the now-dead mining town which reads, “You learn nothing by sitting in the car.” Her and her fellow traveler got out to explore Ballarat to find the macabre object they were looking for.

The only other person in town? The owner/operator of the “Outpost” camping store which sits quietly in the middle of this long forgotten dot in the middle of nowhere.

He happily pointed out what Beddows was looking for…

A truck…but not just any truck…

Bobby Beausoleil’s truck that the Manson family used both in Los Angeles and to drive out to the Barker Ranch where Manson was caught by the Inyo County Sheriff Department and the California Highway Patrol for vandalism within the Death Valley National Park before they realized who they’d caught.

And there it sat in the fading sunset with the word ‘WAR’ vaguely remaining hand-painted on the door and the interior covered in spray-painted silver stars, a recurring image in the Manson family’s disturbing legacy.

Beddows and her companion left town before the notorious sandstorms began blowing into the basin later that evening leaving behind an old rusted truck.

A truck that sits alone on a small hill in the middle of nowhere where it’s held its ground for almost half a century.

A truck that holds a darkly grim history should the curious care to explore the speck of a town in the middle of nowhere.

[San Diego Reader]

Squirming Mass of Caterpillars Cover Forest!

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

Mount St. Helens erupted almost 32 years ago. The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument area around the base of the volcano is monitored by the U.S. Forest-Service and its goal is to not interfere with the natural processes taking place in the area.

As a result the area that is in the middle of the blast zone looks like something out of the last few minutes of Kingdom of the Spiders when William Shatner’s characters awakes in the morning to find the entire town and beyond covered in layers of webs.

Billions of tent caterpillars have suddenly covered practically every tree, bush and branch along the Hummocks Trail near Coldwater lake in Toutle Valley, Washington.

An extreme population explosion has taken place this year and these things are EVERYWHERE!

Last year, the tent caterpillar population began to show signs of growing exponentially. While many insect species go through this whole boom-and-bust cycle from time-to-time, this year literally looks like the scene from some horror film.

Alder trees, a species of tree capable of growing in an environment where the original forest floor is now covered by over 100 feet of volcanic rock, look like they’re actually pulsating due to the thick masses of caterpillars swarming them for food.

Foresty professionals are not interested in interfering with the natural processes at work and are letting this strange new evolution of the area simply run its course.

Once the caterpillars break from their coccoons the sky will swarm with millions of cream-grey moths which will, in turn, feed local species of bats that’ve been struggling to find food sources as rich as this.

Until then the entire area is a pulsating, undulating mass of inch-long, furrry caterpillars that, while they’re causing no harm, are a site that would freak anyone out if they stumbled upon it in the woods.

[Katu.com]

Flying Dragon Spotted in California!

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Several months ago, people had claimed to see flying humanoid figures in the skies. Most of the viral surge was from various consipiracy groups online. It turned out to be simple, flat, human-shaped RC planes.

We have a feeling that same group is going to be salivating over stories about a flying dragon.

No joke.

A flying dragon has been spotted in California at Minter Field Airport.

Obvious from the image above is that it’s not a real dragon but a weird hybrid of a paraglider’s parachute, a swamp boat and a dragon. It’s like the much bigger, cooler brother of the R/C dragon we reported on a while back.

According to a local newspaper near the airport where the dragon’s been spotted actually spitting fire, Disney Imagineers are the sorcerer’s behind this piece of awesome.

Patents were filed earlier this year for the vehicle showing details but Disney is keeping very hush about whatever project the Imagineers are up to that would involve the need for a flying dragon.

“I can’t really tell you much. So sorry,” Disney spokeswoman Angela Bliss said Thursday, confirming only that what people around the airport saw (she never used the word “dragon”) was a project of Glendale-based Walt Disney Imagineering.

“We’re really always looking for new ways to expand the magic at Disney Parks,” Bliss said. “But we really don’t have any specific comments about what you’re asking me about.”

The Minter Field general manager won’t talk about the dragon based on a confidentiality agreement but that hasn’t stopped people from talking about the fabled creature buzzing the airfield.

Pilot Patrick Wiens says he’d never seen anything like before. Neither had the people who’ve talked to him about it in casual conversation.

Wiens said, “They had never seen anything like it, either.”

[The Bakersfield Californian]

NOAA Study Ends Mermaid Fairytales

Friday, July 6th, 2012

You can all rest easy now.

NOAA, a government body that apparently has a lot of time on their hands, have recently laid to rest the idea that mermaids might actually exist.

According to NOAA? They don’t.

Thanks, NOAA…you’ve single-handedly just slapped several million little girls who adorably talk-sing ‘Part of Your World’ and dress up like Ariel right in their precious, red-wigged face and told them to “Knock it OFF!”

After a recent faux documentary called “Mermaids: The Body Found” aired on Animal Planet, NOAA decided it was time to put this silliness to rest once and for all.

“Mermaids: The Body Found” took small truths and sort of expanded upon them keeping the show just within the bounds of plausibility. Much like the “Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction” ‘documentary’ that aired on television in the 90s or going even further back to the original mayhem-causing broadcast of “War of the Worlds”, “The Body Found” sauntered up to the wall where science fiction and science fact eyeball one another and occasionally hi-five each other.

The mix of vague fact and more exciting fiction was just enough of a mix to get NOAA’s imagination police flustered enough to step in and settle this whole thing once and for all.

In a post titled “No Evidence of Aquatic Humanoids Has Ever Been Found,” NOAA states that:

The belief in mermaids may have arisen at the very dawn of our species. Magical female figures first appear in cave paintings in the late Paleolithic (Stone Age) period some 30,000 years ago, when modern humans gained dominion over the land and, presumably, began to sail the seas. Half-human creatures, called chimeras, also abound in mythology — in addition to mermaids, there were wise centaurs, wild satyrs, and frightful minotaurs, to name but a few. But are mermaids real? No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found.

NOAA has also stepped up to swing a bat at the Lost City of Atlantis and the Bermuda Triangle.

NOAA’s statement about ‘No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found” shows that they’re oblivious to our shark-people ancestors we posted about on this very blog.

Up next for NOAA? Proving that the Creature from the Black Lagoon was a dude in a rubber suit and that Davy Jones really doesn’t have a locker.

Release the Kraken! Oh…wait…

[Discovery News]

Podcast: Unicorn vs. Pegasus

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

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We turn it over to listener questions for this July 4th edition of the podcast. Who would win in a fight: a Unicorn or a Pegasus? If you could live forever and but a stranger had to die, would you? Is there a mega shark lurking beneath the waves?

The tables are turned as the hosts feel the brunt of our audiences weird questions!

Support the show by purchasing Andrew’s BRAND NEW BOOK Hollywood Pharaohs just click on the image below.

skitched-20120531-042426.jpg

Try out the brand new PODCASTR player, featuring wireless syncing between desktop browsers and iOS devices.

Subscribe to the Weird Things podcast on iTunes
Podcast RSS feed
Episode archive
Download url: http://www.itricks.com/upload/WeirdThings070412.mp3

Listen now

 

Listener Spots:

Vinnland Old Time Radio

The Dolls of Lisbon

• Simone and Andrew

Picks:

Andrew:

Contagen

Brian:

What Are Dreams

Justin:

Amazing Spider-Man

Apocalyptic Chic: ‘Ghost Cities’

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Like some kind of massive, uber-budgeted, city-wide set of a Ridley Scott film that takes place after the fall of mankind, several cities built by China are almost completely devoid of life.

What’s even stranger is that these massive cities continue to be built even though hardly a single living thing is taking up residence in them.

Recently an entire Chinese-built city in Africa popped up on everyone’s radar because of its sheer size. Named Nova Cidade de Kilamba, this massive city covers 12,335 acres, contains 750 eight-story apartment buildings, 12 schools, more than 100 retail units, is designed to hold an estimated 500,000 people and was built in less than three years for a hefty 3.5 billion dollars.

At the current build rate as many as 20 of these ‘ghost cities’ are being constructed every year with currently as many as 64 million vacant homes left empty.

These cities aren’t being built in people-friendly locations either…one of them is actually built in the middle of a Mongolian desert.

[WND]

WeirdThings Tracking Zombie/Cannibal Activity World-Wide

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Grab your shovels, shotguns and a copy of Zombieland, kids…we’re just gettin’ started.

Here’s your cannibal/zombie update for the July 4th holiday:

United States – In Georgia, Karl Laventure consumes everyone’s favorite new synthetic brain-melter, bath salts. In a somewhat trendy move, he strips naked and begins running around and shouting. Only this time it’s not on a causeway…it’s a golf course. Laventure was running across a golf course, naked, twirling a golf club above his head and shouting to officers who attempted to stop him, “I’ma eat you. I’ll eat you! I don’t want to eat you but I will!” Laventure shrugged off pepper spray blasts and five tasers before the sixth taser brought him under control. Go acquaint yourself with just one taser to fully comprehend what that feels like. Seriously…SIX TASERS!

China – Racing to the top of the news chain, the Shanghai Daily blasts the front page with a story of a bus driver who drove his bus into an intersection and ended up blocking a woman’s vehicle. The bus driver jumps out of his bus and begins playing ‘Whack-a-Mole’ on her windshield with his fists. Terrified, the woman flees her car. Within seconds the bus driver reaches her, tosses her to the ground and begins chewing on her face. Several plastic surgeries will be needed to restore her face to ‘normal’.

Russia – Body parts begin turning up in a basement and floating down the Moscow river that lead authorities to Nikolai Shadrin. Police arrive at Shadrin’s apartment to find him calmly eating stew…a stew which consists of pieces of his friend, Ilya Yegorov. Shadrin is convicted when his fingerprints show up all over the small garden shovel he used to portion out Yegorov. Shadrin nails his conviction shut when he confesses he also dined on Yegorov’s liver like a certain literary cannibal we all know (except that Shadrin seems like the type to drink his chianti from a box).

It’s happening, kids. Play time and funny podcast scenarios are over. We’re suggesting taking a little prep time now to save yourself some heartache later because you forgot to snag some ammo for your boomstick and find that the only shovel-like object you own is a rubber spatula.

Trust WeirdThings to keep you informed on any more zombie-like activity. Have a safe holiday and watch your face.

You’re welcome.

Cat’s Litterbox Causes Suicidal Tendencies!

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Feeling a little down lately? Maybe even depressed? Possibly eyeballing that extension cord in the garage and just thinking the world might be better off without you? Own a cat?

Then it’s really not you. You’re worthwhile. Stick around and enjoy life because it really is about to get better.

Just get rid of your cat and its litter box and all those suicidal feelings you’re having will go away.

Confused?

So was Dr. Teodor Postolache, an associate professor of psychiatry and director of the Mood and Anxiety Program at the University of Maryland School of Medicine after studies showed low-grade activity in the immune systems of suicide victims.

A new study is suggesting that there is a link between Toxoplasma Gondii and suicide attempts among women.

No…really…someone’s studying that.

Toxoplasma Gondii (T. gondii) has also been linked to schizophrenia and other psychological issues associated with suicide. So…what does all this have to do with your cat’s crapper? Easy…the T. gondii bacteria is often found in been-used cat litter. According to the US National Library of Medicine one of the ways you can get T. gondii is by:

Carelessly handling cat litter, which can lead to accidental consumption of infectious particles.

While the study points out it’s likely that while T. gondii might quietly be causing suicidal thoughts in women, it’s also possible that a large majority of the population is already walking around with this parasite in their bodies and just aren’t acting on the impulse.

“It appears that toxoplasmosis does things that unbalance emotional mental functioning,” said Raison, CNNHealth.com’s mental health expert. “Depending on other risk factors, maybe it makes you depressed, maybe it makes you impulsive.”

Here, kitty, kitty!

[CNN]

Weird Things Recording 7/2/12

Monday, July 2nd, 2012
Watch live video from scamschoolbrian on www.justin.tv

“Bone Devourer” Worm Disolves Bone By Puking Acid!

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

It’s like Ridley Scott had a hand in designing worms.

Those dainty little flower-like objects in the picture above are anything but dainty little flower-like objects.

Those things are worms of the Osedax (Latin for “bone devourer”) family of wormy beings.

Those things aren’t just resting there either…they’re actually throwing up acid and trying to get at the marrow inside the bone!

Species of osedax have apparently been around forever but only discovered by researchers as recently as 2002 at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California.

What’s putting them back on everyone’s radar are new findings about something that’s been bugging researchers since they were discovered…How does a creature with no mouth attach, bore and extract nutrients from something as hard bone?

A fresh look at the osedax has revealed something ripe for a low-budget science-fiction film.

Using a technique not unlike Jeff Goldblum’s ‘BrundleFly’ vomit-drop from the film The Fly, the worms basically attach to the bones using root-like appendages which secrete a green, acidic enzyme on to the bone that then breaks down the tissue so that the worm can continue burrowing and extracting the nutrients it needs.

Since their discovery in 2002, seventeen species of the worm have been found off the coasts of California, Japan and Sweden. With this new research, a three million year-old whale fossil collecting dust in Italy has been given a second look and it appears that the burrowing pattern on those bones are a match for the burrowing patterns of the osedax worms.

[BBC]

Meet Your New Running Partner – Joggobot!

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Jogging just got potentially exciting.

Meet the Joggobot, a small quadcopter drone, from Exertion Labs.

Running around town with your own drone is kinda nerdy…running around town with about four or five of these hovering around you? Badass.

Joggobot isn’t available to the masses yet, but we’re willing to bet that once it is, it’s only a matter of time before the ‘maker’ community arms it with options like pepper spray or a taser, slaps some devices on it for a mean game of LaserTag, some over-achiever hooks it to the Kinect or some Comic-Con cosplayer decides to go as Booster Gold and Skeets.

And, like we repeatedly mention on this blog and in the podcast, once it gets online? Joggobots world-wide will just wait for that inevitable signal from Skynet.

[Exertion Labs]