News of the Weird: Annals of Science

America’s foremost advocate for frontal lobotomies as “treatment” for mental disorder, the late Dr. Walter Freeman, performed an estimated 3,500 lobotomies during the 1940s and 1950s before opposition finally solidified against him, according to a December 2013 investigation by The Wall Street Journal. At the peak of his influence, he was so confident that he demonstrated the procedure to skeptics by hammering an icepick (“from his own kitchen,” the Journal reported) into both eye sockets of an electrical-shocked patient and “toggling” the picks around the brain tissue, certain that he was severing “correctly.” For years, Freeman (a neurologist untrained in surgery) marshaled positive feedback from enough patients and families for the procedure to survive criticism, and he spent his…

entered on 12/27/13 at 06:13 PM | read more »


What’s in Store for Two-Oh-One-Four

Glow, little glowworm. Ft. Calhoun nuclear reactor turned 40 in August of 2013. Plagued by a plethora of dangerous malfunctions, it looked like it might not see 41. The nuclear pile went to operational criticality at 5:47 p.m. on August 5, 1973, making it one of the oldest plants in the world and incorporates the same antiquated design as the melted down reactor at Fukushima, Japan. Ft. Calhoun shut down in 2011. But against all odds and at a ridiculous cost of $200 million, OPPD squeezed a square peg into a round hole, patched up the reactor and plans to fire it up. The price of the patches exceeded what it cost to build in it 1973. The ancient…

entered on 12/24/13 at 05:12 PM | read more »


News of the Weird: Nuclear Tractor Pull

 

Edward Teller, the famous theoretical physicist known as the “father of the hydrogen bomb” for his work on the World War II-era Manhattan Project, died in 2003, but his daughter Rene told The Free Press of Kinston, N.C., in November that she had recently discovered two of her father’s precious mementos at a thrift shop near Kinston during a road trip to visit relatives. “(Father’s) work was so demanding” she said, that he needed “recreational activities” and tried “the things you’d suspect,” like chess. However, the two mementos were awards Teller had won at tractor pull competitions. “He’d show up at major tractor pulls” riding just a Cub Cadet mower, Rene said, and “leave the competition in…

entered on 12/20/13 at 07:14 PM | read more »


Wha’ Happened!?

 

That was it? That was 2013? Whew! Well, let’s hope hindsight, being 20/20, converts to foresight with similar acuity in 2014. Find links to all these referenced stories at http://www.HeartlandHealing.com/2013
January: Ow! Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council reported Americans live sicker and die younger than any other developed nation, despite spending over twice as much on healthcare than any other country. Solution? Live in America but don’t live like Americans. Also: ethanol plants closing.
February: USDA reports show grass fed beef sales soaring. Grass fed beef is better than mass-produced grain-fed beef, both for people and the planet. Also: Al Gore admits ethanol is a bad idea.
March: Where would…

entered on 12/20/13 at 07:08 PM | read more »


News of the Weird: Yellow and brown values

 

A Swedish TV show, “Biss och Kajs,” found itself in the spotlight in November -- in Russia, where government-run television apparently used it to send a political message to Ukraine by highlighting the program’s theme of teaching children about bodily functions. The episode Russia chose featured three bulkily-costumed actors sitting around talking -- with one dressed in yellow, one in brown, and the other unmistakably as a large, nude human posterior. (“Biss och Kajs” is highly regarded in Sweden; “biss” and “kajs” refer, respectively to the yellow and brown functions.) Ukraine (against Russia’s wishes) is considering a trade agreement with the European Union, and, the Russian station director said, pointedly, “There you have European values in all…

entered on 12/18/13 at 09:36 PM | read more »


Healthful Food Holiday

The joke: HEAVEN is where the French are the chefs, the Germans build the cars, the Italians are the lovers, the English are the police and the Swiss make it all run on time. But HELL is where the English are the chefs, Germans are the police, French build the cars, Swiss are the lovers and Italians try to keep it on time. Oh, profiling! Don’t you love it?

According to the joke, English gustatory sense leaves much on the table. With the possible exception of shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash, and various beers, the stereotype is accurate. English food is not an epicurean’s delight. That’s why publishing a study on food in the British Medical Journal is…

entered on 12/17/13 at 06:05 PM | read more »


News of the Weird

 

Is the signature smell of Texas A&M University more “Italian lemon, bergamot and iced pineapple” (that open into “a body of vivid florals, raw nutmeg and cinnamon”) or more “bat feces” and “chilifest stink”? The two commentaries were contrasted in a November Wall Street Journal report on the introduction of Masik Collegiate Fragrances’ Texas A&M cologne (one of 17 Masik college clients) at around $40 for a 1.7-ounce bottle. Louisiana State University’s scent conjures up, insisted one grad, the campus’s oak trees, but so far has pulled in only $5,500 for the school. (To a football rival of LSU, the school’s classic smell is less oak tree than “corn dog.”) The apparent gold standard of fan fragrance…

entered on 12/11/13 at 06:24 PM | read more »


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Assumptions

Bo Pelini behaved as if he had coached his last game at Nebraska, based on his sideline and post-game decorum, or lack thereof. That was the...

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Attention to detail

If not for Sam Burtch, the most dramatic play of this Nebraska football season might never have happened.

If not for Burtch, Ron Kellogg III...

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Sack leader

As David Santos remembers it, Connor Cook was rolling out and he was pursuing the Michigan State quarterback when Nebraska teammate Randy Gregory...

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Planet Power: Nov. 21 - 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving. Let’s be nice to each other and cultivate warm thoughts. You are what you think…
—MOJOPOPlanetPower.com

i SAGITTARIUS...

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Planet Power: Nov. 14 - 20, 2013

This issue marks my 17th year here at The “READER.” Thanks to John, Eric, my beloved Carrie, et al., for all your help, encouragement and...

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Planet Power: November 7 - 13, 2013

The new Aquarian-Age astrology is/will be ruled by the planet Uranus (yeah, I’ve heard that joke before). Traditional astrology, prior to the...

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Planet Power: Oct. 31 - Nov. 6, 2013

Happy Halloween! Let your subconscious desires flow as the twilight fades into the black of the night of the year. Don’t fear the night. You have...

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The Scoop on Poop

There is an eye-catching scene in Bernardo Bertolucci’s magnum opus and Oscar-winning film, The Last Emperor. The movie details the life arc of the...

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Skin Deep

Our skin is the largest organ of our body. Skin contains, protects and functions on the outside and inside. That’s right. Technically, skin doesn’t...

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Chakras: Wheels on Fire

The name Albert Einstein remains one of the most recognizable in all of history. Charles Webster “C.W.” Leadbeater, not so much. Both men made names...

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Our Deadliest Addiction: Convenience

You know you’re addicted to something when you forsake logic and quality of life in order to acquire what you think you can’t live without. A crack,...

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