Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News: December 01, 2010

NEW NEWS…

A $10,000 bill? The staff at a Massachusetts bank just wasn’t buying it. The suspicious staffers quickly determined that the bill a woman brought into the Lowell bank was a fake.  Michael Gallagher, risk management director at Enterprise Bank, told The Sun of Lowell that it is believed there are only about 300 $10,000 bills left, and most are in the hands of collectors.  The bank called police, who in turn notified the U.S. Secret Service, the agency that investigates counterfeiting.  The woman’s name was not released because she has not been charged, but a police spokesman says she may have mental health issues.  ***MARLAR: If I was told I couldn’t have my $10,000 I’d have mental health issues too.

Researchers have identified a gene that can cause symptoms of major depression and said it may be possible to use gene therapy to counteract its effects.  ***MARLAR: Yeah… jeans getting to tight on me gives me the blues too.

The sound a number makes can influence our decisions about it. In a recent study, one group was shown an ad for an ice-cream scoop that was priced at $7.66, while another was shown an ad for a $7.22 scoop. The lower price is the better deal, of course, but the higher price (with its silky s’s) makes a smaller sound than the lower price (with its rattling t’s).  And because small sounds usually name small things, shoppers who were offered the scoop at the higher but whispery price of $7.66 were more likely to buy it than those offered the noisier price of $7.22 – but only if they’d been asked to say the price aloud.  ***MARLAR: So from now on, I’m making my opinion available to you for the low, low price of just $6.66.

Nehime and Rakan, two baby monkeys, have started “working” at Hojo-cho station in Hyoto, Japan in a bid to attract more visitors to the line. The monkeys, aged seven months and three months, were dressed in blue uniforms made from traditional local fabrics complete with mini hats before being formally appointed station masters and “special city residents” by the local mayor. The pair will now go on duty at the station located on the Hojo-cho line.  ***MARLAR: They claim it’s a new method of guerilla marketing.  (Ironically, these rail workers work for bananas instead of peanuts.)

Oregon State Police gave an 82-year-old woman a ticket for driving 28 miles per hour over her age and twice the posted speed limit of 55 mph. KVAL-TV reported a trooper spotted Marcia Brandon’s car going 110 mph on Highway 26 west of Gresham.  She said she was on her way to an appointment and wasn’t aware she was going that fast.  Brandon was given a ticket for $1,103.  ***MARLAR: The little old lady is believed to be from Pasadena.

RETRO NEWS: FORMERLY NEW, NOW NOT NEW, BUT STILL ENTERTAINING…

The world’s largest candy store is about to open up in the Dubai Mall. Called “Candylicious,” the store will feature no less than 10,000-sqaure-feet of nothing but candy! A second store is expected to open in Singapore early next year. The new stores will sell every kind of candy imaginable from around the world and is projecting sales of $10 million annually. There’s also a huge 32-foot high singing chocolate tree decorated with lollipops. Customers will not need to necessarily have to venture into the store to taste the candy. The store will also employ “Candylicious Junior,” a car that will circle the mall.  ***MARLAR: I understand they also have a psychedelic boat ride run by Oompa Loompas.

Researchers at Groningen University in the Netherlands say people should stop comparing themselves unfavorably to attractive celebrities because a new study found that people tend to think their long-term spouse is the most attractive person they’ve ever seen. 93 couples, most in their 30s and together for an average of 14 years, were asked to rate their own and their partners’ attractiveness. They routinely rated their partners as more attractive than themselves. Women tend to think men want thinner, curvier women than they really do, and men think women want more muscular men than they do, when most people actually prefer their own partners’ bodies. Researchers said this should ease some of the worries people have about whether their partner finds them attractive.  ***MARLAR: Of course, after several years, the eyesight starts to go.

The power of Twitter just got a big boost as the High Court of England has given permission for an injunction to be served via Twitter. The order is to be served against an unknown Twitter user who anonymously posts to the site using the same name as a right-wing political blogger. The order demands the anonymous Twitterr reveal their identity and stop posing as attorney Donal Blaney, who blogs at a site called Blaney’s Blarney. Apparently the Twitterer is breaching the copyright of Mr Blaney. He decided to try and use Twitter after a recent case in Australia where Facebook was used to serve a court order.  ***MARLAR: He plans on giving testimony next week via YouTube.

In Groveport, Ohio, 80-year-old Ralph Needs was tied up and pistol-whipped when at least three intruders broke into his home. So Ralph thought it was high time he learned to protect himself and signed up to take a self-defense and gun safety course. That didn’t go so well as during a safety lesson, Ralph was shot in the hand by a 9 mm pistol as one of his sons was loading it. Groveport police say it was an accident, so there will be no charges. Now Ralph will spend the next week in a hospital recovering from his gunshot wounds.  ***MARLAR: Of course, now he also gets to learn triage, so it all works out.

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