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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Chuck Shepherd's News Of The Weird

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Very Personal Hygiene

Orestes De La Paz's exhibit at the Frost Art Museum in Miami in May recalled Chuck Palahniuk's novel and film Fight Club, in which lead character Tyler Durden's principal income source was making upscale soap using discarded liposuctioned fat fetched from the garbage of cosmetic surgeons (thus closing the loop of fat from rich ladies recycled back to rich ladies). De La Paz told his mentor at Florida International University that he wanted only to display his own liposuctioned fat provocatively, but decided to make soap when he realized that the fat would otherwise quickly rot. Some visitors to the exhibit were able to wash their hands with the engineered soap, which De La Paz offered for sale at $1,000 a bar.

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

After setting out to create a protective garment for mixed martial arts fighters, Jeremiah Raber of High Ridge, Mo., realized that his “groin protection device” could also help police, athletes and military contractors. Armored Nutshellz underwear, now selling for $125 each, has multiple layers of Kevlar plus another fabric called Dyneema, which Raber said can “resist” multiple shots from 9 mm and .22-caliber handguns. He said the Army will be testing Nutshellz in August, hoping it can reduce the number of servicemen who come home with devastating groin injuries.

Unconventional Treatments

Researchers writing recently in the journal PLOS ONE disclosed that they had found certain types of dirt that contain antimicrobial agents capable of killing E. coli and the antibiotic-resistant MRSA. According to the article, medical “texts” dating back to 3000 B.C. mentioned clays that, when rubbed on wounds, reduce inflammation and pain.

Researchers writing in May in the journal Pediatrics found that some infants whose parents regularly sucked their babies' pacifiers to clean them (rather than rinsing or boiling them) developed fewer allergies and cases of asthma. (On the other hand, health professionals routinely caution that parental cleansing might make other maladies more likely, such as tooth decay.)

Leading Economic Indicators

Archeologists discovered in May that a construction company had bulldozed 2,300-year-old Mayan ruins in northern Belize—simply to mine the rocks for road fill to build a highway. A researcher said it could hardly have been an accident, for the ruins were 100 feet high in an otherwise flat landscape, and a Tulane University anthropologist estimated that Mayan ruins are being mined for road fill on average of once a day in their ancient habitats. Said another, “to realize” that Mayans created these structures using only stone tools and then “carried this material on their heads” to build them—and then that bulldozers can almost instantly destroy them—is “mind-boggling.”

Fine Points of the Law

A woman in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood reported to a local news blog in May that she had seen (and her husband briefly conversed with) a man who was operating a “drone” from a sidewalk, guiding the noisy device to a point just outside a third-floor window in a private residence. The pilot said he was “doing research” and, perhaps protected by a 1946 U.S. Supreme Court decision, asserted that he was not violating anyone's privacy because he, himself, was on a public sidewalk while the drone was in public airspace. The couple called for a police officer, but by the time one arrived, the pilot and his drone had departed, according to a report on the Capitol Hill Seattle blog.

Perspective

Army Major Nidal Hasan went on trial in June for killing 13 and wounding another 32 in the notorious November 2009 shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas, but his 43 months in lockup since then have been lucrative. WFAA-TV (Dallas-Fort Worth) reported in May that Maj. Hasan has earned $278,000 (and counting) in salary and benefits because his pay cannot be stopped until he is convicted. By contrast, some of the 32 surviving victims complain of difficulty wrenching money out of the Army for worker compensation and disability treatment—because the Army has refused to classify the shooting spree as a combat-similar “terrorist attack” (in favor of terming it the politically correct “workplace violence”).                                    
                                               
© 2013 CHUCK SHEPHERD