Too Sexy!

All you 90’s kids out there will remember Right Said Fred and his one hit wonder “I’m Too Sexy.” I’m always reminded of waiting for a table at the Hard Rock Cafe in Paris in 1996, and watching the guy behind the souvenir counter dancing every time this song came around on the music loop. Even though he had doubtless already heard it hundreds of times that day, it still brought him joy. High praise for a bit of 90’s fluff. Enjoy!

Weird Wikipedia Wednesday: The Tunguska Event

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Tunguska Event

“The Tunguska event was a large explosion that occurred near the Stony Tunguska River, in Yeniseysk Governorate (now Krasnoyarsk Krai), Russia, on the morning of 30 June 1908. The explosion over the sparsely populated Eastern Siberian Taiga flattened 2,000 km2 (770 sq mi) of forest yet caused no known human casualties. The explosion is generally attributed to the air burst of a meteoroid. It is classified as an impact event, even though no impact crater has been found; the object is thought to have disintegrated at an altitude of 5 to 10 kilometres (3 to 6 miles) rather than hit the surface of the Earth.”

The Tunguska event is the largest impact event on Earth in recorded history. Studies have yielded different estimates of the meteoroid’s size, on the order of 60 to 190 metres (200 to 620 feet), depending on whether the body was a comet or a denser asteroid.

Weird Wikipedia Wednesday: Moll Dyer

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Moll Dyer

“Moll Dyer (died c. 1697?) is the name of a legendary 17th-century resident of Leonardtown, Maryland, who was said to have been accused of witchcraft and chased out of her home by the local townsfolk on a winter night. Her body was found a few days later, partially frozen to a large stone.

“Stories say her spirit haunts the land, looking for the men who forced her from her home. The land near her cabin is said to be cursed, never again growing good crops, and an unusual number of lightning strikes have been recorded there. A white dog is mentioned as causing accidents on Moll Dyer road.”

Bound in Human Skin

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Throughout history, there have been many instances of books bound in human skin. Many of them were created by doctors using the skin of people they dissected to bind either their own work or some other work of anatomy. Even today there are instances of libraries (such as the Harvard Library) discovering that the cover of a volume they own actually came from a person. What would you do if you found one of those books? Should such books be destroyed out of respect for the dead?

Weird Wikipedia Wednesday: Guided Rat

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Guided Rat

“A remotely guided rat, popularly called a ratbot or robo-rat, is a rat with electrodes implanted in the medial forebrain bundle (MFB) and sensorimotor cortex of its brain. They were developed in 2002 by Sanjiv Talwar and John Chapin at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center. The rats wear a small electronics backpack containing a radio receiver and electrical stimulator. The rat receives remote stimulation in the sensorimotor cortex via its backpack that causes the rat to feel a sensation in its left or right whiskers, and stimulation in the MFB that is interpreted as a reward or pleasure.

“After a period of training and conditioning using MFB stimulation as a reward, the rats can be remotely directed to move left, right, and forward in response to whisker stimulation signals. It is possible to roughly guide the animal along an obstacle course, jumping small gaps and scaling obstacles.”

 

Weird Wikipedia Wednesday: Charles Bonnet Syndrome

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Charles Bonnet Syndrome

“Mentally healthy people with significant vision loss may have vivid, complex recurrent visual hallucinations (fictive visual percepts). One characteristic of these hallucinations is that they usually are “lilliputian” (hallucinations in which the characters or objects are smaller than normal). The most common hallucination is of faces or cartoons. Sufferers understand that the hallucinations are not real, and the hallucinations are only visual, that is, they do not occur in any other senses, e.g. hearing, smell or taste. Among older adults (> 65 years) with significant vision loss, the prevalence of Charles Bonnet syndrome has been reported to be between 10% and 40%; a 2008 Australian study found the prevalence to be 17.5%”

Bad Blood

I’m fond of the practice of adapting a previously existing work of art in such a way that it becomes something unique, expressing truths that were not present in the original. For instance, while there is certainly room for faithful adaptations of books to the screen, I’m a fan of the adaptations that take the original as a jumping off point, then goes in a different direction. Kubrick’s The Shining resembles King’s work in little more than the basic premise, and has an entirely different message, one of inescapable and elemental evil. Bryan Fuller’s television adaptation of Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Lecter takes the plots and characters from the books and twists them to communicate Fuller’s own unique vision.

Musical adaptation can be more subtle, yet just as satisfying. Shortly after Taylor Swift released her album 1989, Ryan Adams released his own album with the same title that contained covers of all of Swift’s songs. And it’s fascinating to listen to one in the light of the other, seeing how the same words and the same melodies can, in the hands of two different artists, make us feel completely different emotions. In the case of “Bad Blood,” what plays as anger in Swift’s version turns to heartbreak with Adams’s aching vocals.

Enjoy!

Weird Wikipedia Wednesday: Jackalope

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Jackalope

“In the 1930s, Douglas Herrick and his brother, hunters with taxidermy skills, popularized the American jackalope by grafting deer antlers onto a jackrabbit carcass and selling the combination to a local hotel in Douglas, Wyoming. Thereafter, they made and sold many similar jackalopes to a retail outlet in South Dakota, and another taxidermist continues to manufacture the horned rabbits in the 21st century. Stuffed and mounted, jackalopes are found in many bars and other places in the United States; stores catering to tourists sell jackalope postcards and other paraphernalia, and commercial entities in America and elsewhere have used the word “jackalope” or a jackalope logo as part of their marketing strategies. The jackalope has appeared in published stories, poems, television shows, video games, and a low-budget mockumentary film. The Wyoming Legislature has considered bills to make the jackalope the state’s official mythological creature.”