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:

  • Pigeon attacked by clam
    Apr 1967: Death match between a pigeon and a clam. And it seems like if a photographer hadn't been there to intervene, the clam would have won. Terre Haute Tribune - Apr 16, 1967
  • B. T. Express
    Disco, plus train whistles and train sound effects made by mouth: great sounds that go great together? Wikipedia page on the band.
  • Coed Prisons
    I hadn't realized that federal and state governments had, for a while, experimented with coed prisons. From Prison Journal, 59(1), Spring/Summer 1979: Since 1971, over 20 coed state and federal facilities have been established, although over half have since reverted back to one-sex institutions out of conceptual failure and dilemmas of operation, implementation, and evaluation. Currently (1979), 10 adult coed prisons exist in the united states. Ethnographic research into coed prisons includes seven studies since 1973 focusing on sex roles and the overall prison environment. Two of the studies reveal a lack of predatory homosexuality in coed prisons, while other studies find sexual discrimination in such institutions. Overall, the ethnographic literature yields few findings which support the effectiveness of coed prisons. Recidivism research, another type of cocorrections research, has been utilized in a number of studies to indicate a reduction of criminal activity. One study suggests that females may not profit as much as males from the correctional environment. Other vague and unsophisticated recidivism studies show success for releasees from coed prison. Although the available recidivism data on cocorrections suggest that incarceration in a coed institution has the potential of reducing adjustment problems on release, data do not convincingly demonstrate the effect of the coed experience on postrelease behavior or an overall reduction in the crime rate. I'm having difficulty finding out if there still are any coed prisons in the US. I'm guessing there aren't. Hattiesburg American - Aug 27, 1974
  • Worst Appliance Innovation Ever
    "Sit right down and rest your elbows on these convenient patented elbow warmers." No idea why this great idea did not catch on. Original ad here.
  • Virgin Hospitals
    1945: Mrs. Lenora Hawkes Jones came up with the idea of having a network of "virgin hospitals" throughout America which would house lovely and brainy women willing to bear children by suitable men in order to "improve the race." Suitable men would be those who didn't drink or smoke, and who weren't 'evil-minded.' Didn't the nazis have some kind of scheme like this going? Brooklyn Daily Eagle - Mar 7, 1926 Piqua Daily Call - Nov 2, 1945 A network of "virgin hospitals" in every state of the union where "our loveliest and brainiest" unmarried women would produce a new generation of super-babies by test tube is the solution offered by Mrs. Lenora Hawkes Jones, 76-year-old Washington inventor, to counteract the war-born husband shortage. Mrs. Jones, a graduate of the Bangor (Me.) theological seminary draws the line at men who smoke or drink in choosing the fathers, and advocates extreme caution to weed out the "evil-minded" applicants. Her proposed hospitals would completely eliminate the "personal factor," employ only women doctors, and the super-babies commended to the state for care." -acme photo caption
  • Lotte Fit’s Gum Commercial
    Japanese chewing gum promotes uncontrollable muscle spasms.