CLOSE

The Weird Week in Review

International Banana Club Museum to be Sold

Ken Bannister, founder of the International Banana Club Museum, is selling out. The price of the museum has dropped from $45,00 to only $15,000! Before you snap up that bargain, be aware that the museum includes only the banana artifacts but no real estate, as the museum has been housed in rented space. Now the exhibit center is pulling out of the rental agreement and Bannister doesn't want to put the museum's contents in storage. The Banana Museum is the world's largest collection devoted to any one fruit, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Bids can be submitted to eBay.

Germany's Unluckiest Olympian

Is it luck or a curse that causes German speed skater Daniela Anschutz-Thoms to finish in fourth place? Not once, not twice, but fifteen times in the Olympics, the World Championships, and the European Championships. At each competition, medals are awarded to the top three only. It happened again in Vancouver.

Right up until the last lap, Germany's unluckiest Olympian looked set to break the mold and grab silver in the women's 3000 metre speed skating race.

But eventually the 35-year-old fell short, losing out on third place by just three hundredths of a second.

No matter how hard poor old Daniela tries, she just can't escape fourth place.

Anschutz-Thoms will have one more chance at a medal, in the 5,000 meter race next week.

Shoe Thief Targeted Funerals

A 59-year-old man named Park was arrested in Seoul, South Korea for stealing hundreds of pairs of shoes. He would attend funerals and wait for mourners to remove their shoes before entering the building, as is customary. Then he would pick out a expensive pair, put them on, and leave his own cheaper shoes behind. When police raided the warehouse at Park's second-hand shoe business, they uncovered 1200 pairs of shoes that may have been stolen. Now the shoes are laid out on display, and victims have been asked to come and collect the shoes that were stolen from them.

Czech Doctors Left 12" Tool in Patient

66-year-old Zdenka Kopeckova underwent surgery in September at a clinic in Ivancice, Czech Republic. She complained of constant pain since the operation. Only in February did doctors realize her surgical team had left a foot-long medical tool that resembles a spatula inside her abdomen! Four clinic employees have been fired over the incident. Clinic supervisors have apologized and offered compensation to Kopeckova, who plans to sue.

Gordon Lightfoot's Status Upgraded to Not Dead

71-year-old Canadian musician Gordon Lightfoot was at his dentist's office when he heard the news that he had passed away. The report was broadcast on the Toronto radio station CP24 Thursday. Lightfoot called in a correction.

"I'm fine, everything is good. I don't know where it comes from. It seems like a bit of a hoax or something," the 71-year-old singer said. "I was quite surprised to hear [it] myself.

"I haven't had so much airplay on my music now for weeks."

The initial report is thought to have been a prank which turned into rumor which made its way to Canwest news websites.

Not Dead Enough for a Funeral

A funeral home in Cali, Colombia was preparing the body of a 45-year-old woman for embalming when she began to move and breathe. She had been declared dead the day before by hospital staff when monitors registered no heartbeat and no blood pressure. The unnamed woman was transferred back to the hospital, where she is in a coma.

Stranded Snowboarder Burned Money to Stay Warm

22-year-old Dominik Podolsky of Munich, Germany was trapped 33 feet above the ground on a ski lift in Austria when operators shut it down for the night. He didn't have his phone with him, and decided not to jump. Instead, he began burning his money to ward off hypothermia. A crew on the ground spotted the fire as Podolsky was burning his last 20-euro note, six hours after he boarded the ski lift. He was taken to the hospital, treated for hypothermia, and released that same night. Podolsky is considering legal action against the ski lift company, but a spokesman said that no one was supposed to use the ski lift to ride down the mountain.

Original image
iStock
arrow
science
2017 Ig Nobel Prizes Celebrate Research on How Crocodiles Affect Gambling and Other Odd Studies
Original image
iStock

The Ig Nobel Prizes are back, and this year's winning selection of odd scientific research topics is as weird as ever. As The Guardian reports, the 27th annual awards of highly improbable studies "that first make people laugh, then make them think" were handed out on September 14 at a theater at Harvard University. The awards, sponsored by the Annals of Improbable Research, honor research you never would have thought someone would take the time (or the funding) to study, much less would be published.

The 2017 highlights include a study on whether cats can be both a liquid and a solid at the same time and one on whether the presence of a live crocodile can impact the behavior of gamblers. Below, we present the winners from each of the 10 categories, each weirder and more delightful than the last.

PHYSICS

"For using fluid dynamics to probe the question 'Can a Cat Be Both a Solid and a Liquid?'"

Winner: Marc-Antoine Fardin

Study: "On the Rheology of Cats," published in Rheology Bulletin [PDF]

ECONOMICS

"For their experiments to see how contact with a live crocodile affects a person's willingness to gamble."

Winners: Matthew J. Rockloff and Nancy Greer

Study: "Never Smile at a Crocodile: Betting on Electronic Gaming Machines is Intensified by Reptile-Induced Arousal," published in the Journal of Gambling Studies

ANATOMY

"For his medical research study 'Why Do Old Men Have Big Ears?'"

Winner: James A. Heathcote

Study: "Why Do Old Men Have Big Ears?" published in the BMJ

BIOLOGY

"For their discovery of a female penis, and a male vagina, in a cave insect."

Winners: Kazunori Yoshizawa, Rodrigo L. Ferreira, Yoshitaka Kamimura, and Charles Lienhard (who delivered their acceptance speech via video from inside a cave)

Study: "Female Penis, Male Vagina and Their Correlated Evolution in a Cave Insect," published in Current Biology

FLUID DYNAMICS

"For studying the dynamics of liquid-sloshing, to learn what happens when a person walks backwards while carrying a cup of coffee."

Winner: Jiwon Han

Study: "A Study on the Coffee Spilling Phenomena in the Low Impulse Regime," published in Achievements in the Life Sciences

NUTRITION

"For the first scientific report of human blood in the diet of the hairy-legged vampire bat."

Winners: Fernanda Ito, Enrico Bernard, and Rodrigo A. Torres

Study: "What is for Dinner? First Report of Human Blood in the Diet of the Hairy-Legged Vampire Bat Diphylla ecaudata," published in Acta Chiropterologica

MEDICINE

"For using advanced brain-scanning technology to measure the extent to which some people are disgusted by cheese."

Winners: Jean-Pierre Royet, David Meunier, Nicolas Torquet, Anne-Marie Mouly, and Tao Jiang

Study: "The Neural Bases of Disgust for Cheese: An fMRI Study," published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

COGNITION

"For demonstrating that many identical twins cannot tell themselves apart visually."

Winners: Matteo Martini, Ilaria Bufalari, Maria Antonietta Stazi, and Salvatore Maria Aglioti

Study: "Is That Me or My Twin? Lack of Self-Face Recognition Advantage in Identical Twins," published in PLOS One

OBSTETRICS

"For showing that a developing human fetus responds more strongly to music that is played electromechanically inside the mother's vagina than to music that is played electromechanically on the mother's belly."

Winners: Marisa López-Teijón, Álex García-Faura, Alberto Prats-Galino, and Luis Pallarés Aniorte

Study: "Fetal Facial Expression in Response to Intravaginal Music Emission,” published in Ultrasound

PEACE PRIZE

"For demonstrating that regular playing of a didgeridoo is an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea and snoring."

Winners: Milo A. Puhan, Alex Suarez, Christian Lo Cascio, Alfred Zahn, Markus Heitz, and Otto Braendli

Study: "Didgeridoo Playing as Alternative Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome: Randomised Controlled Trial," published by the BMJ

Congratulations, all.

[h/t The Guardian]

Original image
Courtesy of Julia Donovan
arrow
Art
Meet the 12-Year-Old Boy Who Makes Surreal-Looking Dolls Using Found Materials
Original image
Courtesy of Julia Donovan

Some dolls are cutesy, but not Callum Donovan-Grujicich's fantastical creations. As Bored Panda reports, the 12-year-old artist from Whitby, Ontario crafts tiny, surreal-looking figures, some of which have won art show prizes and been featured in national magazines and on TV.

Donovan-Grujicich first began making art dolls around two years ago, when he was 10. The bodies and faces of the dolls are made from clay, and the limbs from stuffed cloth, but the young artist often uses found objects—like bits of old metal—to create facial features or accessories like hats and jewelry.

"Found objects are a big part of his process and often, he says, the inspiration for the whole sculpture comes from some rusted piece of metal," Donovan-Grujicich's mother, Julia Donovan, tells Mental Floss. "He loves to collect old-looking scrap metal and anything else that he finds interesting."

Aside from art classes at a local gallery, Donovan-Grujicich is entirely self-trained. Someday, he hopes to earn a master of fine arts degree to teach and make art, but for now, the preteen continues to hone his unique aesthetic by making dolls and creating stop-motion animation and live-action films with his brother.

Some people might view Donovan-Grujicich's figures as grim—especially for a kid—but his mother thinks they simply provide a different perspective on beauty.

"A lot has been made of the darkness in Callum's work, which I think has been completely overblown and misunderstood," Donovan says. "Callum is sometimes serious, but not a dark person at all."

You can check out some of Donovan-Grujicich's work below, or visit his website for more information.

A sculpture made from found materials and other objects by 12-year-old Callum Donovan Grujicich.
Courtesy of Julia Donovan

A sculpture made from found materials and other objects by 12-year-old Callum Donovan Grujicich.
Courtesy of Julia Donovan

A sculpture made from found materials and other objects by 12-year-old Callum Donovan Grujicich.
Courtesy of Julia Donovan

A sculpture made from found materials and other objects by 12-year-old Callum Donovan Grujicich.
Courtesy of Julia Donovan

 A sculpture made from found materials and other objects by 12-year-old Callum Donovan Grujicich.
Courtesy of Julia Donovan

 A sculpture made from found materials and other objects by 12-year-old Callum Donovan Grujicich.
Courtesy of Julia Donovan

A sculpture made from found materials and other objects by 12-year-old Callum Donovan Grujicich.
Courtesy of Julia Donovan

A sculpture made from found materials and other objects by 12-year-old Callum Donovan Grujicich.
Courtesy of Julia Donovan

A sculpture made from found materials and other objects by 12-year-old Callum Donovan Grujicich.
Courtesy of Julia Donovan

A sculpture made from found materials and other objects by 12-year-old Callum Donovan Grujicich.
Courtesy of Julia Donovan

A sculpture made from found materials and other objects by 12-year-old Callum Donovan Grujicich.
Courtesy of Julia Donovan

 A sculpture made from found materials and other objects by 12-year-old Callum Donovan Grujicich.
Courtesy of Julia Donovan

 A sculpture made from found materials and other objects by 12-year-old Callum Donovan Grujicich.
Courtesy of Julia Donovan

[h/t Bored Panda]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios