November 2, 2005 

MORE PLOTS FOR CRAPPY HORROR FLICKS

That idea you had when you were 8 years old about creating a remote-controlled live rat is now a reality. Scientists at the State University of New York have implanted electrodes into the brains of rats in order to control their movements. Each time one of these rats gets a command to move left, right or forward, it simultaneously receives a jolt to the part of its brain that delivers the pleasure chemical dopamine into its system, making the rat happily follow the commands. Head researcher John Chapin believes these rats may be used in the future as explosive-sniffers, which are cheaper and easier to handle than dogs, or in search-and-rescue missions where they could crawl under piles of debris to look for survivors of terrorist attacks or natural disasters. (Times Unions)

THIS DEVICE COULD SAVE A LOT OF MARRIAGES

OK, so the remote-controlled rats don't concern you ... but guess who's next? Japanese inventors from the Nikkon Telegraph & Telephone Corporation have created a device that can force you to move around against your will. The technology is called "galvanic vestibular stimulation," and consists of a specially designed headset that shoots an extremely low voltage electric current into the nerve cells inside your ears. This upsets your sense of balance enough to create an irresistible urge to move in the direction chosen by whoever is in charge of the remote control to your head. The inventors of this device claim that it could be used for benign purposes such as creating more realistic sensations in video games and amusement rides, or compensating for a loss of balance in the elderly and helping them prevent falls. However, a defense contractor in Texas is already experimenting with the technology in order to create the weapon of the future by finding exactly the right electromagnetic pulse to fire at people in order to incapacitate them. (CNN)

WAR IS SO 20TH CENTURY

And now the good news ... a study released last week by the United Nations has revealed that global violence has been declining dramatically over the past few decades and is at its lowest level ever. Yes, despite George Bush's insistence on starting wars wherever there is oil to be controlled, the statistics actually show that there are 40 percent fewer political conflicts than there were at the end of the Cold War, and that the average number of deaths per conflict was 600 in 2002, down from 37,000 in 1950. Last year's 25 civil conflicts worldwide was the lowest number since 1976. (betterhumans.com)

NEXT TIME, GET IT IN WRITING

A Romanian prisoner has filed a lawsuit against God, claiming that his baptism was a contract that was supposed to keep the devil away, but that his contract was broken by God, despite receiving "various goods and prayers" in exchange for forgiveness and the promise that "I would be rid of problems and have a better life." Instead," claims Pavel M, "God left him in the Devil's hands." The lawsuit reads, in part, "I, the undersigned Pavel M, currently jailed at Timisoara Penitentiary serving a 20 years sentence for murder, request legal action against God, resident in Heaven, and represented here by the Romanian Orthodox Church, for committing the following crimes: cheating, concealment, abuse against people's interest, taking bribes and traffic of influence." (Ananova)

MY NEW FAVORITE WORD ... AND HOBBY

We expect bullshit of all kinds in every form of media, but somehow it seems that the dictionary would be sacred. Sorry, wrong again ... It turns out that dictionary editors put fake words into their books in order to protect the wholesale copying of their works. So feel free to slip the word "esquivalience" into your conversation the next time you want to stump some word-geek. According to the New Oxford American Dictionary (and only according to them), esquivalience comes from 19th century French, meaning "the willful avoidance of one's official responsibilities." (New Yorker)

"I READ IT SOMEWHERE SO IT MUST BE TRUE" FACT OF THE WEEK

According to a survey by the National Confectioners Association, nine out of 10 parents admit to stealing their children's Halloween candy.

Get waaay more bizarro news at www.curioustimes.com.

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