Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News – August 12, 2010

WeirdNewsMark Kirkland of Salt Lake City, Utah, has dedicated more than a decade of his life to a single concept: The sandwich in a can.  Or, actually, make that a few concepts: Sandwiches in a can. Pizza in a can. French toast in a can. Cinnamon rolls in a can.   Why a can? Because, when combined with techniques similar to those used to preserve Meals Ready-to-Eat for soldiers, an aluminum can keeps food fresh for a full year or even longer. Yes, that’s right: A fresh, year-old sandwich.  And cans have an added benefit, Kirkland noted: They fit perfectly inside all the soda vending machines that exist, well, everywhere. That means his “Candwich” products could be sold in both stores and vending machines.  In August, peanut-butter-and-jelly Candwiches will go on the market for the first time in limited areas of the United States. That will be followed by a nationwide product launch. Next will be the Pepperoni Pizza Pocket Candwich, which has the pepperoni, sauce and cheese baked into the bread.  ***MARLAR: Unlike the Candwiches, the Canmonella poisoning will be free of charge.

Massachusetts has become the first state to ban the surgery that devocalizes dogs and cats, which many animal rights advocates see as a cruel and unnecessary procedure.   Under the new law, anyone in the state who cuts or removes an animal’s vocal chords for nonmedical reasons may be punished by fines and up to five years in prison.  ***MARLAR: Which might be worth it for a little peace and quiet.

Being a little less carnivorous may help you stay slim, a study of hundreds of thousands of Europeans suggests.   Dr. Anne-Claire Vergnaud of Imperial College London in the United Kingdom and her colleagues found that people who ate more meat gained more weight over five years than those who ate less meat, but the same amount of calories.  When the researchers looked at different types of meat separately, they found the strongest association with weight gain for poultry, followed by processed meats and red meat.  ***MARLAR: I guess it’s a good thing I’m American and not European then.

Massachusetts researchers have developed a robot that teaches people how to lose weight. The robot, named Autom, is programmed to talk to users about their exercise and diet routines. Cory Kidd, co-founder and chief executive of Intuitive Automata Inc., built the first incarnation of Autom by hand while studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab and seeing patients at Boston Medical Center’s clinic.  His creation will be tested in a pilot program with a major insurance company next year.  Dieters start off with Autom by entering the details of their diet and exercise into the robot. She sits on a countertop and is programmed to hold daily “conversations” with the user.  ***MARLAR: Like having a spouse nagging you about your weight isn’t bad enough, now you’ll have some toaster do it too.

As the mother of 18 children, Michelle Duggar certainly has her hands full! She and her husband, Jim Bob, and their 18 kids are the focus of the popular reality show, “18 Kids and Counting,” which airs on both TLC and the Discovery Health Network.  Michelle and Jim Bob also recently wrote a book, “The Duggars: 20 and Counting: Raising One of America’s Largest Families — How They Do It”, so that they could address the questions and endless fascination their fans have about their large, loving and deeply spiritual family. Here are some of the tips they give to raising kids:
1. Always use soft words, even when you don’t feel well.
2. Always display kind actions, even if you have been mistreated.
3. Show joyful attitudes even when no one is looking.
4. Have sincere motives with no thought of self-gain.
5. Never let the sun go down on your wrath; don’t go to bed angry or guilty.
***MARLAR: And number six – get paid $50,000-$75,000 an episode to put your kids on display for the world.

An Ohio man arrested for mowing unkempt grass at a public park says he just wanted to make his city look nice. John Hamilton said he took control of the situation because the grass in Sandusky’s Central Park was about a foot high.  According to a police report, a witness said Hamilton was blowing grass onto the sidewalk and shredding trash in the park that had not been picked up. Police said they arrested Hamilton after he refused to stop mowing and charged him with obstructing official business and disorderly conduct. City Manager Matt Kline called the arrest unfortunate and said he understands Hamilton’s frustration.  Kline said budget cuts have left Sandusky understaffed for seasonal maintenance work.  ***MARLAR: On the other hand, in the past three days Mr. Hamilton has received eighteen marriage proposals.

A brazen squirrel has been grabbing small American flags placed in a Port Huron, Mich., cemetery and carrying them up to its nest, which now looks as if it’s bedecked in bunting.  Every Memorial Day, volunteers place the flags next to the graves of nearly 1,000 veterans buried at Mount Hope Cemetery about 55 miles northeast of Detroit. The flags were undisturbed during a Mass held Monday.  The Times Herald reports that workers at the cemetery on Tuesday noticed several flags had been torn off their wooden staffs, which were still in the ground.  The mystery was solved in front of superintendent Ron Ceglarek’s eyes. He watched a squirrel detach a flag stapled to a staff and carry it up a tree to the nest.  ***Squirrel… thief… patriot.

The annual Global Peace Index has been released by the non-governmental group, Vision of Humanity. It found that the world is slightly more peaceful this year than last year. It also ranks 140 nations in terms of peacefulness. The least peaceful nation is Iraq, followed by Sudan, Afghanistan, Israel and Chad. The US ranked #97 in peacefulness. And if you really love peace, you can move to the #1 most peaceful nation on Earth: Iceland.  ***MARLAR: The moral… peace is boring.

Somewhere in Wilmington, North Carolina, there’s a gas station attendant probably looking for work this morning. Someone at a BP station accidentally set the pumps for 35 cents a gallon. They should have been set at $3.35 a gallon. As soon as word leaked, there was pandemonium. Traffic was backed up and police were called to control the crowd as hundreds of drivers flooded the station to fill up. The station employee said customers paid the cheaper price all day without saying a word. It wasn’t until all they saw all the extra traffic that station employees realized the mistake around 6 p.m.  ***MARLAR: I’m torn between being outraged at the people who took advantage of the situation and the fact that I don’t live close enough to the station to have taken advantage of the price goof.

A Scottish man has won recognition as the fastest human in the world when it comes to typing text messages on his cell phone.  ***MARLAR: He broke the world’s record by typing in the following phrase: “I am without a doubt the world’s most anti-social human being.”

Italy claims to have a real-life Garfield. Orazio the cat looks amazing like the famous cartoon cat of the comics and weighs in at a whopping 37 pounds! Orazio grew to such a gargantuan size by guzzling all the food treats that his native Italy can provide. The three-year-old tabby is such a food fanatic that owner Laura Santarelli finds it impossible to get him to slim down.  ***MARLAR: Maybe you should stop serving him lasagna

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