Researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine have found that damage from repeated concussions suffered while playing football can cause depression, sleep disorders, headaches, and death. Uh, let’s see….you tackle behemoths—or get tackled by them—get your head smashed around, and then wonder why you have brain damage. Geez, what’s next? Are we going to learn that boxing can be dangerous?
Archive for January 2009
A Massachusetts company has designed a new type of hybrid—it’s part car, part airplane. The Terrafugia Transition, which will sell for $194,000, lets you drive to the runway, unfold the wings, and take off. When you land, you fold up the wings and drive off. Hopefully it will work better than the Airbus A320 airplane-boat hybrid Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III test flew for US Airways on January 15th.
Researchers at Australia’s University of Adelaide say the frog population is being threatened by overeating. Not theirs, ours. They say as many as 1 billion frogs are being caught, sold, and eaten each year. [Insert favorite French joke here] Meanwhile, chefs at the British Rothera base in Antarctica have stopped cooking once common dishes like fresh seal brains, penguin eggs, grilled cormorant, and penguin breasts, opting for frozen food instead. [Insert favorite TV dinner joke here] Martha Stewart, eat your, uh, heart out.
A woman in Orange County, near Los Angeles, gave birth to octuplets yesterday. Yes, that’s eight babies. By the time it was over they ranged in age from one to five minutes and weighed between 8 ounces and 3lb. 4oz. The mother, who was surprised because she thought she was only having seven of them, says she plans to breastfeed the babies. Honestly.
In an appearance on Good Morning America, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich revealed that he’d considered appointing Oprah Winfrey as Barack Obama’s Senate replacement. “She was obviously someone with a much broader bully pulpit than other senators,” he said. He also considered David Letterman, Britney, Dopey, Grumpy, and the Tooth Fairy, but none was interested enough to make him a good offer.
Ty Inc., the company that makes Beanie Babies, has released two new dolls in their “TyGirlz Collection.” Even though “Sweet Sasha” and “Marvelous Malia” have bronze skin and the same names as the new First Children, a spokeswoman at the company says it’s all a coincidence. That’s not so unusual, really. Just think about all those lucky people who made Barack Obama T-shirts, bumper stickers, and buttons. I mean, what are the chances that someone with the exact same name would actually turn out to run for president? And win!
Last year the Canadian Transportation Agency instituted a “one-person, one-fare” ruling that says the airlines have to give a second seat to any passenger who’s obese. The problem was figuring out how to determine when someone is truly too big to fit in one seat. Last week the country’s major airlines decided that people who want to extra seat will have to submit a medical excuse from a doctor, one that asks them to measure the patient’s butt. It even shows them the approved way to measure it. No one ever told them a career in medicine would be pretty.
Using NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility in Hawaii, scientists have discovered methane in Mars’ atmosphere. They’re not sure how long the methane has been there, but they say it might mean there’s life on Mars. Who would have thought Elsie the Cow might be Martian?
If you thought fried Twinkies, fried Milky Ways, and (True Fact Alert!) fried Cokes at the state fair were bad, head to South Korea where you can get French Fry Coated Hot Dogs. The only thing missing is a ketchup core. Okay, and wrapping it in batter, frying it, then dipping it in chocolate so you have a whole Meal-on-a-Stick. Oh yeah. And a French Fry Coated Hot Dog Eating Contest, though that can’t be far off.
When the newscaster on BBC News said she had “breaking news” to announce, listeners perked up, wondering if there was peace in the Middle East, Osama bin Laden had been found, or George Bush decided to leave office a week early and let Barack Obama pinch hit. Instead the newscaster disclosed that a pet hamster named Lassie had been stolen from an apartment in Worcestershire. Along with a computer games console, a television and a bottle of milk. Five days previous. That’s what you call a slow news day.
Ricardo Montalban died Wednesday at age 88 from “complications of advancing age.” He’ll be buried on Fantasy Island in a coffin lined with soft Corinthian leather.
Ricardo Jaral, Mexico City’s director for conservation of public spaces, has declared war on chewing gum, which he says covers the city’s sidewalks to the tune of 70 BPSY (blobs per square yard). “When you finish chewing a piece of gum, you either have to put it in a piece of paper and deposit it in a trash receptacle, or swallow it,” he said. Meanwhile in Texas, death row inmate Andre Thomas pulled out his only good eye and told authorities he ate it. No word on whether he thought he was in Mexico and was being a good citizen.
A Japanese web site is keeping track of what different places around the world smell like. Nioi-bu, or Smell Club, uses Google maps to show more than 160 scented spots around the world, including “steam coming out of a rice cooker,” “cats with halitosis,” and “used socks in the summer.” It will be interesting to see if the smell in Washington, D.C., changes next week.
When a Salt Lake City woman thought she saw her roommate’s estranged boyfriend enter a shed behind her house while holding a gun, she did the smart thing and called the police. They secured the area, cleared the house, evacuated some neighbors, and shut down the street. After a three-hour standoff the police sent K-9 dogs to the shed to check it out. It was locked. In was also empty. Next!
Hyundai, being the car maker with a heart, has launched a new incentive program aimed at people who are worried about losing their jobs. You know, like everyone. If you buy a new Hyundai and lose your job within a year, you can give the car back and not have to make any more loan payments. Then all you need to do is find a bus schedule so you can get to those job interviews.
As has become a tradition, Barack Obama will ride in a brand new limo during the inaugural parade next week. Spy photos of the limo show a huge, tank-like custom-built Cadillac with 8-inch-thick doors, thick ballistic glass windows, phones, satellite hook-up, Internet access, and a hand-cut-and-sewn interior. Black, of course. And yes, it’s a hybrid that reportedly runs on diesel fuel—not E85, biodiesel, hydrogen, dilithium crystals, or even electricity. No word on whether it will be outfitted with 22″ DUB Dirty Dog-5 chrome spinners or 27″ Lexani Seven EFTs.
It may not be legal to talk or send text messages on a cell phone while driving in many places, but at least you can still do it from your grave. Or so some people think. The Future Laboratory, a London-based think tank, reports that more and more people are being buried with their cell phone. The publisher of American Funeral Director magazine says he even heard of a guy who was laid out in his coffin with his Bluetooth headset in his ear. “Hang on, you’re breaking up. Literally.”
The Watercliffe Meadow elementary, uh, place where kids go all day to learn stuff, in Sheffield, England, doesn’t call itself a “school” because administrators say many parents have a negative connotation of school. Linda Kingdon, Chief Person Who Educates Children, prefers to call it “a place for learning,” one which also features no bells or locked doors, and in which children will be encouraged to wear soft shoes so they’ll be comfortable. Once children graduate from Watercliffe Meadow they’ll be able to continue their education at Politically Correct Junior High, Euphemism Prep, or Muddy Meaning Middle, uh, Place for Learning.