Feeds from Paul's collaborative writing on the web

The Weird Universe explores a human and natural cosmos that is not only stranger than we imagine, but stranger than we can imagine. The usual suspects are Paul Di Filippo; Alex Boese, curator of the Museum of Hoaxes; and Chuck Shepherd, purveyor of News of the Weird.

Recent posts:

  • Smart Socks
    "Imagine your phone could communicate with your socks," says the Blacksocks company. But imagine no more, because the company has now created "the smartest men's dress socks in the world." The company admits that, "This is something we dreamed about and we have made the dream come true." The socks feature a "communication button" that allows the socks to speak to your iPhone. The things your socks might tell your iPhone include: which socks belong together,and could help sort them out, how often you have washed your socks, when your socks were produced, when you ordered your socks and when your socks were dispatched. Your iPhone can also tell you if your black socks are no longer properly black and help you buy new socks. The smartest socks in the world come with a price tag of $189 for 10 pairs. So $18.90 for each pair. Product page, via Oh Gizmo.
  • Gotta Get Over the Hump
    Your new theme song for Wednesdays. Gotta get over da hump! More on the creators.
  • Le Canned Dress
    Irwin Silver put a dress in a can, gave it a frenchified name, and then sold these for $25 a pop. This was back in 1966, and it was a marketing gimmick about as cynical as you might guess. Silver was cashing in on the mid-1960s fad for anything canned, and he figured that if people were stupid enough to buy canned air (i.e. an empty can), perhaps they'd also buy a canned dress. Apparently he sold around 100,000 of them. More info from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Dec 14, 1966: Everything's packaged in cans these days, even candles and air. But the newest tinned item to roll into stores is "Le Canned Dress," the bright idea of sportswear manufacturer Irwin Silver. "I was being driven crazy by cans," he says. "Every time I turned around, I seemed to bump into a can. First I saw canned candles, then someone gave me a tin of canned air. I began to wonder why dresses couldn't be put up the same way."... The fashions produced by Silver's company, Wippette, each weigh 4½ ounces, come packed in gay one-pound cans and are tagged with silver labels designed to look like the top of a can." Image source: Cabinet magazine St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Nov 26, 1966 Jughead - July 1967 Betty and Me - June 1967
  • Pack It Right
    This Department of the Army video continually uses a woman in a well-stuffed bikini to illustrate how to "pack it right."
  • 7 Clicks (March 27, 2017)
    7 Clicks A Weird Universe News Service March 27, 2017 Least Shocking News: FBI offices have trouble hiring tech security geeks because: marijuana. [Indy100.com] Channeling Henny Youngman: 65-yr-sentence for rape and near-murder was too harsh on a juvenile perp, ruled SCOTUS so do a re-hearing. The F State: 2nd Opinion--life in prison! [WTVT] Of Course! Turmoil in one side of the Maison family--dad Eric is now the stacked blonde, Erica, and son Corey, 15, is now daughter Corey. [ABC News] Arkansas has scheduled 8 executions (for 1989-1999 murders) over a 10-day period in April, but has problems getting volunteers to watch, to make them legal. [NY Times] Ewwwww: Vietnamese man, 58, shows off his 21-inch-long fingernails (and he's not even close to the Guinness Book record). You bet there are photos! [Daily Mail] Shannon Dowler, the Asheville (N.C.) rapping physician, has a video: "Stop, collaborate, and listen / Rap DktaD's rap intention / Calling out all you fellas and ladies / STDs are tearing through folks in their 80's" [CTV News] UPDATE: That Barcelona RealDoll whorehouse mentioned here March 13th was forced to move from its debut location due to local resistance--from the dolls' human competitors. [Daily Express (London)] [story littered with NSFW photos] Thanks to Joe Littrell and Paul Music.
  • Atomic Bomb Car
    In 1953, Corwin D. Willson of Flint, Michigan patented the Atomic Bomb Car. Though the official title on the patent was a "sedan having versatile structure." His idea was that if the United States were "atomically attacked," people would need to flee the cities, and then they'd have to live in their cars. But most cars aren't designed to be lived in. The solution: turn cars into mobile bomb shelters that could provide temporary housing for people. Essentially, he was patenting a camper car, but he was trying to market it as a defense against atomic attack. From the patent: Obviously, today's family car, while as numerous as dwellings, would fail, under threat of atomic attack, to meet the needs of millions of families simultaneously for widely diffused family shelter during an emergency probably timed to occur in mid-winter and to be of some duration. yet, once some practical: i.e., simple and economically possible, means is found for making the average car quickly convertible to housekeeping use, then the threat of the atom bomb to our cities loses some of its menace. And also: It is commonly acknowledged that the physical structures of congested areas are doomed once atomically attacked, The real problem is: how sensibly to save the lives of the inhabitants of cities thus marked for destruction and temporarily house them so that the business of resistance may go on in spite of the chaos engendered? Americans own as many motorcars as dwellings: 30,000,000 cars. If these cars were built as taught herein and if the civilian masses, against whom the next war acknowledgedly will be waged, were trained to diffuse in an orderly fashion to points prepared in advance and to occupy their convertible motorcars as temporary family dwellings till the danger passed, then one of the greatest problems to face the coming generation would have found a simple, economically sound and eminently satisfying solution. More info: JF Ptak Science Books, Patent #US2638374A