Weird, offbeat and bizarre news from around the world. Funny, strange & odd news stories that make you wince, laugh and fear for humanity.
How long does the Covid-19 bug survive on sand? In readiness for Spain’s partial easing of lockdown, the beach at Zahara de los Atunes, near Cadiz on the country’s southern Atlantic coast, was sprayed with bleach. Why? Why do meddling politicians who do stupid things do anything. Yep. To “protect children”.
María Dolores Iglesias, who leads an environmental volunteer group in the Cadiz region, is not happy. She said the bleach “killed everything on the ground, nothing is seen, not even insects”.
What about the seafood?
A Member of European Parliament has inquired whether or not the country has breached EU law by using hydrogen peroxide in the processing of seafood in a bid to make it seem fresher.
Spain authorised the practice in seafood such as squid, cuttlefish and octopus in 2011, with Italian authorities following suit.
But while hydrogen peroxide is authorised as a processing aid among EU countries, it is not allowed as a food additive.
Maybe a staycation isn’t so bad, after all…
I’ve been in intensive care. I remember the nurse from Redcar who made me laugh. She worked with the strength of purpose and efficiency of a submarine commander. I remember the brightly lit room, my back being to the window so I couldn’t see out and wondering about the man to my left who’d been in there for over a year. I don’t remember sleeping. Does that matter? Diagnosis changes how you sleep. Treatment does something else. I can relate to the stories of people who wake suddenly in the night. I’ve found myself stood on the bed, dashing around outside the bedroom or heading for the front door. Is that behaviour linked to my health? Recurring nightmares are one of the hallmarks of post-traumatic stress disorder. But that’s not it. It’s not a nightmare I’m having. It’s more like a trip. Dr Dhruv Khullar looks at what some are calling post-ICU syndrome and what it means in the age of Covid-19:
Among the patients I care for at the hospital is a young woman recovering from covid-19. To keep her blood oxygenated, she needs a device called a non-rebreather mask… It’s considered an advanced oxygen-delivery device, because it supplies more oxygen than a simple nasal cannula; it is also cumbersome and uncomfortable to wear. But the mask, my patient says, isn’t her biggest problem; neither is her cough or shortness of breath. Her biggest problem is her nightmares. She can’t sleep. When she closes her eyes, she’s scared she won’t wake up. If she does fall asleep, she jolts awake, frenzied and sweating, consumed by a sense of doom. She sees spider-like viruses crawling over her. She sees her friends and family dying. She sees herself intubated in an I.C.U. for the rest of time
The ill and the well is a true divide. You cross the line with a jolt…
Spotter: The New Yorker
To London’s Brockwell Park, where sitting in the park will not be tolerated. Lambeth Council have covered the benches with tape. the message is you can only use the park to “walk or run”. Joggers, strollers and malingers have been warned.
Usually a hot cross bun is embossed with a cross, to symbolise Christianity. English folklore says that buns baked and served on Good Friday will not spoil or grow mouldy during the subsequent year. Supermarkets offer non-believers a sell-by date printed on their ready-to-eat buns. They do not feature the words ‘SEX’ or ‘FUCK’, the flag of Scots nationalist nor a Swastika. Doing so would mean them no longer being hot cross buns, rather Swear Buns, SNP Buns or National Socialism Buns.
Tory councillor Lee Mason, a former Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, has been removed from his party while bun investigators look into his tray of home-baked buns which featured in a Snapchat post “leaked” to Portsmouth’s local paper, The News. Mr Mason denies baking any bun with a swastika on it. He suggests the image of the Swastika bun may have been altered, and we note that whoever made it or don’t make it has the arms pointing anticlockwise, which as any caterer for Nazi-themed parties and weddings will tell you is the wrong way. He has however admitted to baking the other buns.
“I have not baked a bun with a Nazi symbol. You can see from the picture that is not a Nazi symbol,” Mr Mason tells Portsmouth News. “I baked some cakes, yes, but I haven’t done a Nazi symbol on any of them. And there’s no Nazi symbols there.”
The News tells readers that the “swastika-style emblem – similar to one used by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, whose party slaughtered millions of Jews during the Second World War – appeared to have been baked on a bun.”
A spokesman for a local Jewish group is upset. Another former Tory councillor named – get this – Jezz Baker says: “I’m a Pompey Jew, born and bred, and my hatred for swastikas is enormous. But if there is one person that is not anti-Semitic and has nothing Nazi about him whatsoever it’s Lee Mason.”
Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth South MP (Labour), puts the bun in context of the fight against racism, the Covid-19 pandemic and given time probably global warming. “At a time when our whole community is pulling together to support each other, anything suggesting the use of the most offensive of symbols is shockingly inappropriate and shameful,” he says. “If true, it may also breach the members’ code of conduct. It is only right that serious and legitimate concerns be reported to the city council under its complaints system for councillors.”
No word yet from victims of the Crusades, crucifixion nor Christian fundamentalists about why the cross is unsuited to cakes and anyone who serves such a symbol of persecution, idolatry and suffering with butter and jam deserves to rot in hell for all eternity.
The NHS advert tells us to Stay At Home. Yeah, you can go out to exercise for an hour a day. And you can go shopping. And if you’re in the police force you can stand on a bridge and clap. But STAY AT HOME! One tip to prevent any urges to leave the home is to trap yourself beneath two fiends and a dog.
File under: it’s amazing what you can find down the back of a sofa.
The conspiracy theory about the conspiracy theories has been pulled together in one graphic. Of course, what you can’t see is the real evidence just just off the page to the right. And it will blow your mind!
In The Bronx, New York City, a sign in the booze store winder lays out the 7 rules of coronavirus for all shoppers.
A tweet from the Cambridge police force aka twitter’s ‘Cambridge Cops’: “Officers visited Tesco Barhill this morning as part of their patrols around supermarkets and green spaces this weekend. Good to see everyone was abiding by social distancing measures and the non essential aisles were empty. #1732”
File under: essential policing.
Update: the Cambridge Cops have deleted their tweet.
Drawing an elephant when you’ve never seen one is testing, as these images drawn by Medieval artist prove. Uli Westphal’s Elephas Anthropogenus project shows us European illustrations of elephants between the fall of Rome to the end of the Renaissance. Around that period sightings of elepahants in what is now modern day Wigan or Oslo were rare. He writes:
After the fall of the Roman Empire, elephants virtually disappeared from Western Europe. Since there was no real knowledge of how this animal actually looked, illustrators had to rely on oral and written transmissions to morphologically reconstruct the elephant, thus reinventing an actual existing creature. This tree diagram traces the evolution of the elephant depiction throughout the middle ages up to the age of enlightenment.
An album of Medieval elephants can be seen here.
US televangelist Kenneth Copeland will slay the coronavirus by channelling God’s powers. It’s the smackdown we’ve been waiting for:
Here’s Kenneth explaining why God made private jets:
This May 16, a crescent moon beneath Venus And Jupiter will form a smiley face in the sky. The occultation, says ABS-CBN News, will only be visible from the USA and Canada.
Nighthawks by Edward Hopper – the Coronavirus years.
The Coronavirus can be defeated. Like anything else, you just needs bigger guns:
The woman who snorted 550 times the average dose of LSD thinking it cocaine has lived to tell the tale. The Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, tells of the middle-aged woman who believing it to be cocaine snorted 55 milligrams of pure LSD. This, we read, is 550 times the usual recreational dose of LSD.
The women, who had been taking morphine for a decade to treat “foot pain”, was decidedly unwell, blacking out, vomiting and being otherwise immobile for 12 hours. She then felt “pleasantly high’ for the next 12 hours (with infrequent vomiting)”. Adding: “The collateral report from the roommate revealed that she sat mostly still in a chair with her eyes either open, closed, or rolled back, frothing at the mouth, occasionally vocalizing random words and vomiting frequently. Ten hours later she was able to converse.”
And then she felt good. Pain in her foot was music reduced. She ceased taking morphine, experiencing no withdrawal.
Do not try this at home.
How did twenty hamsters inside takeaway food containers come to be living in a hedge in Darlington? The 18 Syrian and two dwarf hamsters were noticed in Park Crescent, Darlington, last Sunday. Volunteers for the National Animal Sanctuaries Support League (NASSL), in Newton Aycliffe, say the creatures were “traumatised” but doing well.
These images from illuminated Medieval manuscript tell the story of the birth of Merlin. Upset by so many souls being released from Satan’s bondage thanks to Christ’s harrowing of Hell, demons plotted to undo Christ’s work by breeding an antichrist, a figure who will perform as their puppet in the world. So a demon squires a virtuous sleeping woman. But the plot is ruined because she is so true of heart and a priest named Blaise baptises the boy at birth. The child is, of course, Merlin, who lives to do good deeds.
To Orlando, Florida. It’s September 2019 and police are carting off a six-year-old girl. Kaia Rolle is under arrest. The child is filmed by the copper’s bodycam as she’s retrained with zip ties and led to a police car. Her alleged crime: misbehaving in class. The story goes that she had thrown a tantrum and kicked and punched three school employees.
The Orlando Police Department investigated. The arresting officer has been sacked. Officer Dennis Turner failed to adhere to the correct protocol, which states that a police officer must have their supervisor’s approval to arrest any child under the age of 12.
Turner, who was fired days after the arrest became national news, had worked in OPD’s Reserve Unit, which is made up of retired officers who are required to work a certain amount of hours at the agency per month and can pick up extra-duty jobs for pay.
Over the course of Turner’s 23-year tenure at OPD prior to retiring last year, he was disciplined seven times for violations of department policy that ranged from unsafe driving to a child-abuse arrest in which he was accused of injuring his 7-year-old son, record released Tuesday showed. He was also accused of sending threatening text messages to his ex-wife in 2009 and racial profiling, records show.
Lawyer’s repressing the child’s family have released the following footage.
Finally someone had found a use for old paper in the digital world. The Times says a company called Sekrè – tagline: “Every woman needs a secret” – has made handbags from dead animals and old paper, and is charging the knowing a few grand sterling (£2,700) for the privilege of owning a recycled gem.
If you buy one of these bags and you’re secret is “I’m a dickhead” then – get this – the secret’s out. Because that’s not any ordinary paper in your reassuringly expensive posing pouch, like a snotty Handy Andy or a Papa John’s flyer. Each bag features an “authenticated letter by a famous historical figure”. The boffins at Sekrè add part of an artefact to each bag. Letters from the likes of Charles Dickens, Queen Victoria, Giacomo Casanova, Charles Lindbergh, Grace Kelly, Marlene Dietrich and Brigitte Bardot have been ripped up for bag cladding.
For added personalisation Old Mr Anorak says he’ll lob in pair of used pants from the many VIPs who’ve stayed over at Anorak Towers. After all, Sekre is an anagram of REEKS.
The Songbook of Zeghere van Male, also known by its call number MS 125-128 in Cambrai’s Mediathèque Municipale, consists of four complementary part-books: Superius, Altus, Tenor, & Bass. The chansonnier became part of this public collection after the French Revolution, beforehand it was in the Bibliothèque de Saint-Sépulcre, also in Cambrai.
The MS contains 229 compositions, extremely varied, some of them present only in this source. The special aspect of this manuscript is its marriage of music, art and culture: drawings adorn each folio. Executed by quill and with lively colors the drawings describe realistic scenes of daily life, leisurely activities, and include animals and monstrous creatures, obscene depictions and vegetal decorations. With mixed elements inherited from the Middle-Ages, the Antiquity and the vogue of the grotesque, they are a testimony of the prevailing taste in Flemish civil society in the first half of the 16th century”
Text via here.
In October 1953, readers of Sexology were taught about the “three classes of lesbians”.
In the journal Physical Review Fluids we read the research and findings of physicists at Emory University. Their mission: to find the perfect way to blow a massive bubble. The University says that besides being a lot of fun, their findings “could potentially lead to improving processes such as the flow of oils through industrial pipes and the clearance of polluting foams in streams and rivers”. That’s how you get finding to blow bubbles.
“This study definitely puts the fun into fundamental science,” says Justin Burton, associate professor of physics at Emory University and senior author of the paper.
Fluid dynamics is one of the focuses of Burton’s lab. “The processes of fluid dynamics are visually beautiful and they are everywhere on our planet, from the formation and breakup of droplets and bubbles to the aerodynamics of airplanes and the deep-sea overturning of the world’s oceans,” he says…
“We basically started making bubbles and popping them, and recorded the speed and dynamics of that process. Focusing on a fluid at its most violent moments can tell you a lot about its underlying physics…
“The polymer strands become entangled, something like a hairball, forming longer strands that don’t want to break apart. In the right combination, a polymer allows a soap film to reach a ‘sweet spot’ that’s viscous but also stretchy — just not so stretchy that it rips apart…
“We did the physics to explain why and how polymers can make a fluid film stretch as far as 100 square meters without breaking.”
Bubble, eh. We’re mad for ’em:
Spotter: Emory University
The above image is of the surface of the sun. Each cells is roughly the size of Texas. The National Science Foundation took the images and others with its Inouye Solar Telescope in Hawaii. the Foundation explains how it works:
To achieve the proposed science, this telescope required important new approaches to its construction and engineering. Built by NSF’s National Solar Observatory and managed by AURA, the Inouye Solar Telescope combines a 13-foot (4-meter) mirror — the world’s largest for a solar telescope — with unparalleled viewing conditions at the 10,000-foot Haleakala summit.
Focusing 13 kilowatts of solar power generates enormous amounts of heat — heat that must be contained or removed. A specialized cooling system provides crucial heat protection for the telescope and its optics. More than seven miles of piping distribute coolant throughout the observatory, partially chilled by ice created on site during the night.
Spotter: moss & fog
The Nazis were not ones for jazz and free expression. They damned all as entartete kunst (degenerate art). To let fellow Ubermensch know what wrong thinking looked like, the Nazis created a travelling exhibition called – predictably – Entartete Kunst. The show opened in Munich in 1937, displaying works deemed to be “an insult to German feeling”. How they flocked to be educated and disgusted by stuff purged from museums and stolen by the State for the common good. More than two million visitors attended the exhibition from July 19 to November 30, 1937, in Munich alone.
Part of the purge was listed in the 10 Rules for Combatting Jazz. The whole shebang of depravity formed a brochure, of which London’s V&A holds the only known copy of a complete inventory of Entartete Kunst.
The museum notes:
The list of more than 16,000 artworks was produced by the Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda (Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda) in 1942 or thereabouts. It seems that the inventory was compiled as a final record, after the sales and disposals of the confiscated art had been completed in the summer of 1941. The inventory’s two typescript volumes provide crucial information about the provenance, exhibition history and fate of each artwork.
The inventory consists of 482 pages (including blank pages and a missing page), split into two volumes. The entries are organised alphabetically by city, institution and artist’s name. Volume 1 covers the cities Aachen to Görlitz, while Volume 2 covers Göttingen to Zwickau.
It’s pretty much a guide to everything you should enjoy.