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August 2006

3D Crop Circle
Seeming to look down on skyscrapers, experts are impressed by what is being touted as the world's first 3D crop circle.

Swiftly followed by:
Pig Circle
A pig-shaped crop circle measuring more than 250m across has been discovered in a field in the English countryside.

Two-faced Kitten
A kitten with two faces has been born in Ohio.

Man Wins Lawsuit Over Decade-long Erection
Charles "Chick" Lennon has won his $400,000 lawsuit after his steel and plastic penis implant went wrong, leaving him with a permanent erection.

Categories: Animals, Body Manipulation, Crop Circles, Health/Medicine, Pranks, Sex/Romance
Posted by Flora on Tue Aug 15, 2006
Comments (6)
It all began when Bill and Diane Finc bought a can of tomato juice. When they shook it before opening, they heard a metallic thud. There was something inside.

Now, instead of doing what I would do and very hesitantly opening it, trying not to let the possibilities of what could be in there run through my mind, the Fincs, residents of the somewhat eccentric town of Jarbridge, kept it for a year. Over that time, bets were placed on what the mysterious item could be.

After a day of impromptu partying and picnicking, the can was ceremoniously opened to reveal... a smaller can.

I can't have been the only person desperately hoping that, if someone had shaken the smaller can, there might have been a metallic clunking...

(Thanks, Phred22.)
Categories: Food
Posted by Flora on Tue Aug 15, 2006
Comments (9)
Bonsai Contortionist
Hugo Zamoratte is known as 'The Bottle Man' and has the ability to dislocate almost every bone in his body.

Playing Astronauts
The Haughton Mars Project's research and development of ways to survive in space seem like a dream come true for big kids.

Cardboard Office
Mike, a keen prankster, pushed his co-workers too far. It was probably a mistake to then take a few days away from the office.

Lobster Pinches Wallet
A man who lost his wallet during a late-night swim was surprised when it turned up in the claws of a lobster caught by a diver.
Categories: Animals, Entertainment, Pranks, Science, Technology
Posted by Flora on Mon Aug 14, 2006
Comments (12)
image Xinhuanet.com reports on a "giant baby" born in China's Hubei Province a few days ago. The baby looks pretty big in the photos, but the photo captions state that the baby "weighs 5.5 kilograms and is 57 centimeters tall." That would be about 12 lbs and a little under 2' tall. I think the height is more unusual than the weight. From what I understand, babies weighing 12 lbs aren't that unusual, especially if the mother is diabetic. Babycenter.com notes that:
For most women with gestational diabetes, the main worry is that too much glucose will end up in the baby's blood. When that happens, your baby's pancreas needs to produce more insulin to process the extra glucose. All this excess blood sugar and insulin can cause your baby to make more fat and put on extra weight, particularly in the upper body. This can lead to what's called macrosomia. A macrosomic baby may be too large to enter the birth canal.
Categories: Birth/Babies
Posted by Alex on Mon Aug 14, 2006
Comments (7)

image Banana Phone
Disguise your mobile phone as a banana. Admittedly a pretty stupid product, and yet I want one. Too bad I'm one of the last people on Earth not to own a mobile phone. (via OhGizmo)

5Lb Fat Replica
image Amazon is selling a "A grossly dramatic replica of 5 lbs. of fat." However, gift wrapping is not available for this item, so you can't send it as a mean gift to someone you don't like. The one reviewer for this item gives it "Bonus points for the realistic blood vessels!" I don't know if this is at all related to the Pet Fat gimmick that someone was marketing a few years ago. (via J-Walk)

Hodag Search
The town of Rhinelander, Wisconsin is holding an open casting call "for people who have the best Hodag stories or "sightings" of the mythical creature." Video of people telling the stories will be used in an upcoming TV ad campaign. For some reason, I have a vision of Ellen Feiss doing these ads: "And the hodag was going, like, bleep-bleep-bleep-bleep."

Digital Beautification
Researchers have developed a "digital beautification" algorithm that, when applied to a photograph of a human face, can make that face look "more attractive in just a few minutes without significantly altering the person's appearance." The algorithm and software was developed by Tommer Leyvand of Tel Aviv University in Israel. My problem when anyone takes my picture is my complete inability to smile on command for the camera. If I try to fake a smile I get a maniacal grimace look. If this algorithm could do anything to fix that, I'd definitely use it.
image
Categories: Body Manipulation, Folklore/Tall Tales, Technology
Posted by Alex on Mon Aug 14, 2006
Comments (12)
image Lucille Pope's oak tree has sprung a leak. Water is pouring out of it at the rate of a tenth of a gallon every minute, and no one knows where the water is coming from.

It all started back in April when a little sap started oozing out of the tree. The sap progressed to a dark stain, that eventually turned into a steady trickle of water. Lucille Pope thinks it's some kind of miracle tree, and that the water has special healing properties. However, her son Lloyd says "I ain't with that superstitious stuff ... There's no crying Mary here." (Good for him.) However, the specialists from the local water board are baffled. It doesn't seem to be a leaking pipe since Mrs. Pope's water bill isn't going up. Hydrologist George Rice said:
"I've never seen anything like this before. If you wanted to dream something up I'd say that somehow water pressure underneath is forced through some kind of channel in the tree. But that's still very unlikely."
I can't imagine how this phenomenon could easily be faked, so I doubt it's a hoax. I'm going with the underground spring that somehow forced its way up through the tree theory.
Categories: Places
Posted by Alex on Fri Aug 11, 2006
Comments (34)
The Rural Payments Agency have fired four staff and disciplined five others after reports of naked filing cabinet hurdling, amongst other pranks. The Register reports that:

Allegations that staff hid vomit in the office in order to fester was borne out by investigators, with four cups of sick confirmed. The report also reveals: "There have been incidents involving faeces, female sanitary products and mucus deposited."

I am so very, very glad I don't work there...
Categories: Pranks
Posted by Flora on Fri Aug 11, 2006
Comments (7)

Taco Sauce Pranksters Strike
Fifteen masked men entered an Indiana Taco Bell and returned 25,000 packets of taco sauce that, so they said, had been accumulating in the trunk of their car for the past three years. It required 40 trash bags to carry all the packets of sauce into the store. Maybe they thought that if they saved up enough packets of sauce they could win a free Liberty Bell.

Unwise Grenade Opening Technique
Reuters reports that "A Brazilian man died Tuesday when he tried to open what police believe was a rocket-propelled grenade with a sledgehammer in a mechanical workshop on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro." Big Gary notes: "The Darwin Awards have a new emblem."

Lonely Heart Calls Operator 37,760 Times
A Japanese man has been arrested for repeatedly calling information hundreds of times a day just to listen to the voices of the telephone operators. He called so often, 37,760 times to be exact, that it began to creep the operators out. In his defense the man said, "When I made a complaint call once, the operator dealt with it very kindly, so I wanted to hear these women's voices." This guy really needed an Imaginary Girlfriend. (Submitted by Alex from Colombia)

Fake Hearse Scam
The latest scam in New Zealand is to reduce your car registration by up to two-thirds by claiming your car is a hearse. "The scam ... came to light last in July when a woman told a radio station she justified her action by saying she carried dead chickens home from the supermarket." I assume she drove her car home slowly in honor of the frozen chickens in the back.

North Korean Defector Sells Fake Aphrodisiacs
A North Korean defector now living in South Korea has been charged with selling unlicensed aphrodisiacs. He claimed that Kim Jong Il had been a user of them. This is where the story gets a little weird: "The stimulants were sold to blind people, most of them owner of massage centers." Huh? How many blind massage center owners can there be? But this is the part I like: The police said, "Some who took the stimulants suffered from swelling." So I assume the stimulants actually worked.
Categories: Death, Pranks, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Fri Aug 11, 2006
Comments (11)
image A lot of sites have been linking to this photo of a frog inside a bag of salad. Could the photo be real? Well, I don't think it's photoshopped, this being a case where it would be a lot easier to stick a frog inside a bag rather than go to the trouble of photoshopping it in. But there have been reported cases in the past of frogs showing up inside packaged salads. For instance, a few months ago (April 12, 2006) The Daily Telegraph in Australia reported a case:
A DEAD frog was an unwanted ingredient in a pre-mixed caesar salad a woman bought from a supermarket. Julie Lumber, who bought the salad from a Coles store in Brisbane at the weekend, said yesterday: ''I opened up the bag and the frog fell out on the side of the plate.
I don't think the photo here is from the Australian case. Also note that in the Australian case the frog was dead, which is a lot more believable. The frog here looks alive. However, I think it is possible that this is real. Although I'd be more comfortable listing this as real if there were some contextual details (such as when and where this photo was taken.) (Thanks to Doug Nelson for the link)
Categories: Animals, Food
Posted by Alex on Thu Aug 10, 2006
Comments (15)
image There's been so many giant cats in the news, it's good to see a munchkin cat make headlines. This tiny cat named Heed is 14 weeks old and is currently in the running to grab the record for Smallest Cat Ever. It's only 3 ¼ inches tall.
Current record holder, Mr Peebles from Illinois, stands at 6.1 inches tall, and weighs 3.1 lbs. At eight weeks old, Heed could hide behind a tin can and he is still shorter than a roll of toilet paper. His owner, Tiffani Kjeldergaard, 40, of Potrero, San Diego, explained: "Munchkins are a breed that have the same mutant gene as little people. But they usually weigh 3-5 lbs and stand at around 6 inches.
In that picture he looks bigger than a roll of toilet paper to me. Anyway, Potrero is just a few miles east of where I live. Maybe I should drive over and check Heed out. Greg writes: "I had never heard of the Munchkin breed of cat. Quite amazing how small these cats are, and cute too. =) Going to need a really small bottle to Bonzai them wink"
Categories: Animals
Posted by Alex on Thu Aug 10, 2006
Comments (12)

image Penguins Perish in Freak Texas Truck Accident
A truck carrying zoo animals to a new home overturned on a Texas highway. Four penguins died as well as some exotic fish. The octopus got away unharmed. The person who emailed me this (they didn't give a name) writes : "The story itself isn't all that interesting, but the headline is a classic. Possible sequel to Hippo Eats Dwarf?"

Beware of Eyeball-Sucking Red Lamprey
A prankster in northern Wisconsin has been placing hoax signs around lakes. The signs are decorated with the logo of the Department of Natural Resources and claim that a) a bounty is being paid for crayfish if you deliver them to a DNR office; and b) There's an invasion of red lamprey who like to attach themselves to the optic nerve of swimmers. I assume that red lamprey do not attach themselves to eyeballs. But do they attach themselves to any part of the body? Big Gary's knowledge is needed here.

image Chinese Create Robot Secretary
Chinese researchers have created an attractive robot secretary. She can greet visitors, act as a tour guide, and is equipped with advanced voice and movement control. Her name is Rong Cheng. This reminds me of that John Hughes movie Weird Science. (Thanks, Kathy)

image Zaky Infant Pillow
Now you can fool your baby into thinking that you're there holding it as it falls asleep, while you're really out in a bar getting drunk. "The Zaky is an ergonomic infant pillow designed by a mom to mimic the size, weight, touch, and feel of her hand and forearm to help her baby with comfort, support, protection, and development." Kids raised on this thing will be natural customers, later in life, for the Boyfriend Arm Pillow. (via Must Have Gizmos)
Categories: Animals, Birth/Babies, Technology
Posted by Alex on Thu Aug 10, 2006
Comments (10)
The Scotsman has published an article on a number of slightly bizarre (well, very bizarre) myths about Scotland, ranging from Jesus holidaying in the Hebrides to Jerusalem actually being Edinburgh. Mostly avoiding the Da Vinci Code furore, the newspaper has given each theory their own marks out of ten on the probability scale.

0/10 - This whole theory seems as thin as extra-thin, thin crust pizza, that has been cooked very thin. It is hard to believe that the ancient Scots were busy sailing around the world sharing religion and genes when back home everything seems so, well, primitive. Wouldn’t Scotland have been a very different place if we were indeed being subject to such a wealth of world culture?

(Thanks, Dave.)
Categories: History, Places, Religion
Posted by Flora on Thu Aug 10, 2006
Comments (6)
Transsexual Chicken
Anne Boleyn the chicken is causing uproar in her henhouse, ever since she grew a comb, tail and wattle.

Marauding Goats
Nantgwynant, in Wales, is suffering an invasion of wild goats. The goats' antics include, according to some passing motorists, playing "chicken" with passing cars before running off.

Flying St. Bernard
A St. Bernard dog has been placed in care after being thrown out of a second storey window and landing on a man passing below.
Categories: Animals
Posted by Flora on Wed Aug 09, 2006
Comments (5)
The well-known and much maligned Wizard of Oz urban legend – that of a scene in the film where one can ‘see’ one of the munchkins hanging himself at the back of the set – is the centre theme of a show opening in Dublin this week. Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh has focused the play, depicting the lives of the actors who portrayed the munchkins, around the premise that the legend is true.
The BBC quotes him as saying:
"It's a persistent myth - the point about myths is they don't have to be true, they don't have to be facts, but people need to believe in them. We've taken that as a starting point, that that myth is actually true and the Munchkin has actually hung himself."
Categories: Entertainment, Urban Legends
Posted by Flora on Wed Aug 09, 2006
Comments (8)
image Japanese TV (especially their game shows and reality shows) is notorious for airing some pretty bizarre and cruel stunts. Here are two good examples of that. These videos come from a candid-camera style show. I don't know it's name. In the first video an outdoor porta potty is equipped with a hydraulic lift that, ten seconds after the door is shut, lifts the bewildered occupant high into the air. And as NetNewsAsia points out, "for many people, ten seconds is evidently more than enough time to get down to the job at hand."

imageIn the second video a massaging chair at a ski resort is rigged to send the occupant flying backwards through a trapdoor into the snow. The prank is then updated to make the chair jet-powered. Now its terrified occupants are sent blasting at top speed down the ski slope in a runaway chair.

If these pranks were done in America, I can't imagine someone not getting sued. Assuming, that is, that the pranks haven't been staged (i.e. that the victims aren't really actors). I think there's a good probability that they are. The Japanese have a term for staged events on shows like this: Yarase. Yarase is so common over there that many viewers just assume that most of the weird stuff they see on TV is fake.
Categories: Photos/Videos, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Wed Aug 09, 2006
Comments (13)
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