Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News: December 07, 2010


The makers of Butterball turkeys, Twinkies and Wonder Bread have agreed to use less salt in their products as part of a national campaign against high blood pressure.  To date, 22 food manufacturers have signed on to cut salt in their products by as much as 25%.   Everyone needs some salt, but most Americans consume double the recommended daily amount.  By some estimates, cutting the nation’s salt intake could prevent tens of thousands of deaths each year.  ***MARLAR: In fact, salt is so dangerous that the FDA is now demanding a two-week waiting period for anyone wishing to buy any.

An elderly man who went out to fetch a morning newspaper ended up driving nearly 400 miles after getting lost and taking a wrong turn onto a major Australian highway. The man, 81-year-old Eric Steward, eventually stopped and asked for directions after driving for nine hours, from the New South Wales country town of Yass to Geelong in the southern Victoria state.  Steward, who did not know where he was, eventually approached a policeman at a petrol station and asked for help.  “This little old man came up to me saying he was lost. He handed me his mobile and asked if I could speak to his wife,” said Victorian Police Senior Constable Clayton Smith.  Steward, who was reunited with his family on later that day, said he took the wrong turn and just kept on going.  “I just went out on the road to have a drive, a nice peaceful drive,” he told reporters.  ***MARLAR: Some men will do anything to get some peace and quiet during the holidays.

Your head aches, you’re hungry and your house is littered with sticky plastic cups. Who ya gonna call? Hangover Helpers.  Two University of Colorado graduates are marketing a new business by that name in Boulder, home of CU’s main campus. They’ll bring in breakfast burritos and Gatorade the morning after a party – and clean up the mess.  The Daily Camera in Boulder reports that Marc Simons started cleaning party houses about a year ago for extra cash and realized he’d found a niche, despite the bad economy.  He teamed up with high school friend Alex Vere-Nicoll and started Hangover Helpers.  They charge $15 per roommate.  ***MARLAR: So I can totally trash my house and they’ll clean it up for just fifteen bucks?  Thirty if my wife is home.  Why WOULDN’T you hire these guys?  They’re cheaper than Merry Maids.

Authorities say an irate 84-year-old man hit a deputy in the stomach with his cane when the officer warned him to leave a clinic where he had been cursing at an office manager.  The News Herald newspaper reports that the northwest Florida man was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting an officer.  ***MARLAR: Since when is it illegal for old people to curse at young whippersnappers?


A random check by the European Safety Commission revealed that 30 percent of Christmas tree lighting sets were so poorly constructed they could give out an electric shock or cause a fire. Many of the lights failed several of 20 different regulations on wiring, insulation, plugs and other issues. Half of the lights tested were made in China. A small portion of home fires are caused by faulty wiring and other electrical problems but one-tenth of those fires happen in the run-up to Christmas.  ***MARLAR: So this year, revert back to using lit candles on your tree.

(Sun) Giving kids too much candy could lead them to murder, says a new study. Research published in the British Journal of Psychiatry shows that children who ate sweets daily were prone to commit savage crimes as adults. “Giving children candy and chocolate regularly may stop them from learning how to wait to obtain something they want,” says a study participant. “Not being able to defer gratification may push them toward more impulsive behavior, which is strongly associated with delinquency.” ***MARLAR: So for healthy, well-adjusted kids – don’t give them what they want when they want it.  In fact, force them to wait and open Christmas gifts on January 4th.  Tell them it’s for their own good.

According to Facebook, the happiest day of the year is Thanksgiving! That’s according to the Facebook Gross National Happiness index. To build the index, Facebook researchers culled the stats from two years of anonymous “status updates” from the site’s 100 million users in the United States.  ***MARLAR: That’s just the number of postings on Thanksgiving Day though – what about the content of those posts?  Maybe people were saying, “I’m sick of turkey”… “I’m sick of football”… “I’m sick of Uncle Karl”…

Web security sleuths have found a new type of “Trojan horse” that steals your bank log-in name and password, then proceeds to drain money from your account — while you’re logged in to do online banking. The new Trojan, called URLZone, features a number of innovations not widely seen in Internet crime. For example, the Trojan can estimate precisely how much money to steal based on how much dough you have in your account, and can even siphon money in small increments to evade detection.  ***MARLAR: That’s not good news for me… all I have in my checking account is small increments.

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