Weird Universe Blog — April 14, 2024

Crying Artist

Controversy recently struck the General Theologial Seminary in New York after it invited an artist to perform in the college chapel. Details from Church Times:

The Episcopalian seminary had invited the artist Lia Chavez to perform Water the Earth, in which she intended to sit in the college chapel and weep for five hours, as part of an expression of "tears as a sacred act", the press release for the event stated. Ms Chavez said that her performance would be "harnessing and ritualizing the mysteriously regenerative power of releasing emotional tears as an offering to the earth", and watchers would be invited to weep with her.

I know some people can cry on command, but for five hours?

The Episcopalian community thought the event sounded way too weird, forcing the seminary to cancel the performance before it happened.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Apr 14, 2024 - Comments (2)
Category: Religion | Performance Art | Sadness

April 13, 2024

Moist Towelette Museum

Located inside Abrams Planetarium on the campus of Michigan State University. The curator of the museum is Planetarium employee John French who's been collecting towelettes since the 1990s.

The crown jewel of the museum's collection seems to be the Star Trek towelettes.

Other interesting towelettes include Mammo-wipes and Xerox typewriter waterless handcleaners.

More info: Moist Towelette Museum

Posted By: Alex - Sat Apr 13, 2024 - Comments (1)
Category: Museums | Baths, Showers and Other Cleansing Methods

April 12, 2024

Beulah’s Tomb

Beulah Acklin of St. Petersburg, Florida died on May 15, 1948, 52 years old. Her husband, mailman Roy Acklin, built a mausoleum for her in Greenwood Cemetery. He fitted up the interior of it to look like a living room. On the wall he hung a blue neon sign with her name, "Beulah".

He spent much of his time hanging out at the mausoleum, inviting the public to view it and sign their name in his guestbook, while he recited Beulah's favorite bible verses through a public-speaking system.

In 1983, Beulah's remains were reinterred in Jacksonville.

Pix magazine - Aug 9, 1952

Posted By: Alex - Fri Apr 12, 2024 - Comments (1)
Category: Death | 1940s

April 11, 2024

Coin-Toss Experiment

Is a coin toss truly random? Not according to the "D-H-M model" which proposes that a tossed coin is slightly more likely to land on the same side that it started.

To test this model, a team of researchers at the University of Amsterdam arranged for a group of subjects to flip coins a total of 350,757 times. Their conclusion: "the data reveal overwhelming statistical evidence for the presence of same-side bias."

What this means as a money-making strategy:

If you bet a dollar on the outcome of a coin toss (i.e., paying 1 dollar to enter, and winning either 0 or 2 dollars depending on the outcome) and repeat the bet 1,000 times, knowing the starting position of the coin toss would earn you 19 dollars on average. This is more than the casino advantage for 6 deck blackjack against an optimal-strategy player, where the casino would make 5 dollars on a comparable bet, but less than the casino advantage for single-zero roulette, where the casino would make 27 dollars on average.


Posted By: Alex - Thu Apr 11, 2024 - Comments (5)
Category: Money | Experiments

Miss Brick Throw of 1959

We've looked at the humor of DJ Rege Cordic at Radio Station KDKA in a previous post.

The home page of Rege Cordic.

But here's a stunt not covered there.

He decided to stage a gag beauty contest for "Miss Brick Throw of 1959."

It was announced in 1958 in BILLBOARD.

Eventually a winner was chosen, "Miss Twerpie Walker," and a fake magazine was printed for the occasion.

Listen to three minutes of the gag here. NOTE: sound file begins to play automatically.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Apr 11, 2024 - Comments (2)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests | Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues | Humor | Pranks | Radio | Regionalism | 1950s

April 10, 2024

Song about the human dimensions of the oceans

From the YouTube description:

The song was commission by Dr. Lekelia Jenkins especially for the Human Dimensions of the Ocean Symposium at the University of Washington in 2012. This is an example of how art can be blended with science to express scientific concepts in novel ways.

The singer really pulls out all the stops starting about 45 seconds in. But I'm stumped about what scientific concepts the song is expressing. Is the singer trying to sound like a humpback whale?

Posted By: Alex - Wed Apr 10, 2024 - Comments (0)
Category: Music | Oceans and Maritime Pursuits | Science

Mr. Squiggle

All is explained at the Wikipedia page.

Weird as the newer version is, the 1950s show was even weirder. Go to this link, for a non-embeddable sample.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Apr 10, 2024 - Comments (0)
Category: Art | Puppets and Automatons | Television | Space Travel | Australia | Twentieth Century

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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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