Weird Universe Blog — February 26, 2024

A Death Foretold

Malkeet Singh predicted that he would die on Sunday, April 8, 1984 at exactly 10am. Then he would be reincarnated as a 1400-year-old faith healer. Dozens of people turned up to witness the event, but nothing happened. So Singh told the crowd to come back after lunch. Still, nothing happened. The next day Singh returned to work at the local Ford factory.

Coventry Evening Telegraph - Apr 9, 1984

Posted By: Alex - Mon Feb 26, 2024 - Comments (1)
Category: Death | Predictions | 1980s

February 25, 2024

Food from Petroleum

In recent years there's been lots of talk about finding new sources of food (insects, lab-grown meat, etc.) to feed the world. But back in the 1960s researcher Alfred Champagnat had already invented what he thought would be the food of the future: protein from petroleum.

Newsweek - Feb 27, 1967



Scientific American - Oct 1965



Champagnat's idea seems to have fallen by the wayside. There's a fairly recent article in Mold magazine that discusses his invention. It simply notes that the food industry had other priorities:

The urgency of providing sustainable protein alternatives was pressing and the petroleum process uses a lot less water than the equivalent weight in vegetable-based protein, not to mention the 2,000 gallons required to produce just 1 pound of beef. The project for single-cell proteins ran over many years until it was left aside because of other food industry priorities.

Wikipedia has some more info which suggests that the protein obtained from petroleum wasn't entirely safe to eat:

The "food from oil" idea became quite popular by the 1970s, with Champagnat being awarded the UNESCO Science Prize in 1976, and paraffin-fed yeast facilities being built in a number of countries. The primary use of the product was as poultry and cattle feed.
The Soviets were particularly enthusiastic, opening large "BVK" (belkovo-vitaminny kontsentrat, i.e., "protein-vitamin concentrate") plants next to their oil refineries in Kstovo (1973) and Kirishi (1974). The Soviet Ministry of Microbiological Industry had eight plants of this kind by 1989. However, due to concerns of toxicity of alkanes in SCP [single-cell proteins] and pressured by the environmentalist movements, the government decided to close them down, or convert to some other microbiological processes.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Feb 25, 2024 - Comments (2)
Category: Food | 1960s

Occupational Hazards of Being a Florist


Posted By: Paul - Sun Feb 25, 2024 - Comments (0)
Category: Death | Jobs and Occupations | Nature | 1960s

February 24, 2024

The Sony SmartWig

Sony was granted a patent for its "SmartWig" in 2016, but, to date, it doesn't seem to have brought the device to market.

The idea was that a person could pair their smartphone with the wig and then receive "tactile feedback" (such as a vibration) when they received a text or email.

But that was just the tip of the iceberg. The SmartWig had many more potential uses, such as the following:

During a presentation the user may, for example, move forward or backward through presentation slides by simply pushing the sideburns, i.e. by pushing the one or more buttons. Thus, the user can control the presentation slides simply by natural behavior like touching side burns. Additionally, the wearable computing device may comprise a laser pointer that is arranged in or on the wig. The laser pointer may, for example, be arranged on a forehead part of the wig, so that the user may point out relevant information on the projected slide in the above-explained presentation mode.

I imagine it would be a lot more difficult to aim a laser pointer with your head rather than your hand. Not to mention it would look bizarre.



#40 represents the possible location of a laser pointer

Posted By: Alex - Sat Feb 24, 2024 - Comments (1)
Category: Technology | Patents | Hair and Hairstyling

Stan Freberg’s Chun King Commercials

Well-known for his comedy and innovative commercials, Stan Freberg outdid himself for the Chun King campaign.









If you go to YouTube, you can see a classic hour of comedy that Freberg did with Chun King as the sponsor.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Feb 24, 2024 - Comments (0)
Category: Food | Humor | Television | Advertising | 1960s

February 23, 2024

Cancer Cured with soothing balmy oils



McClure's Magazine - Apr 1898

Posted By: Alex - Fri Feb 23, 2024 - Comments (0)
Category: Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil | Nineteenth Century

February 22, 2024

Making a road safe for the Queen Mother

I'm puzzled by the timing of the operation described below. Tarmac was laid, the Queen Mother arrived and reviewed the guard of honor, then the tarmac was removed again — all within the space of two hours. That doesn't seem like long enough for the tarmac to have dried. Did they have her walking on wet tarmac?

London Sunday Dispatch - May 18, 1958

Posted By: Alex - Thu Feb 22, 2024 - Comments (3)
Category: Royalty | 1950s

The Orgy Game

Even the legendary site Board Game Geek has no additional info on this item.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Feb 22, 2024 - Comments (1)
Category: Games | Advertising | 1960s | Sex

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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2016 by the author of the post, which is usually either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.

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