Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News: January 12, 2011

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NEW NEWS…

Be careful who you call or text!  The California Supreme Court allowed police to search arrestees’ cell phones without a warrant, saying defendants lose their privacy rights for any items they’re carrying when taken into custody.  ***MARLAR: So much for “innocent until proven guilty.”

Just one in 17 women of a healthy weight actually considered themselves to be “slim”, a new survey has found.   The study, involving thousands of people, provides a disturbing insight into female self esteem. Volunteers were asked to look at themselves in the mirror and select from 12 adjectives to describe how they felt or how they considered they looked. Those taking part were also measured to determine whether they were overweight or of a healthy weight.  Among women who were the right weight for their height, just 13 per cent said they felt happy when they saw their reflection and only six per cent thought they were slim.  ***MARLAR: Although the study did look a bit more normal if you took out the names of Calista Flockhart, Terri Hatcher, and Lara Flynn Boyle.

The Internal Revenue Service is offering to do your taxes for you, but a fellow in regulatory studies says there’s a catch.  The IRS’s proposal is meant to reduce the burden of doing taxes, which, according to Ryan Young of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), takes the average taxpayer 26 hours per year to file.  “That’s more than half a work week, so the IRS wants to do that for you. They’ll fill out the return based on information that they have about you [and] send it to you pre-filled out. All you have to do is sign it, and you’ll get a refund check,” he explains.  The problem, however, is that taxpayers will be held liable for any mistakes, even though the form was filled out by a government employee who used government equipment and government information that has been collected on the individual.  ***MARLAR: In other words, “Hey – tough luck.  You shouldn’t have trusted the government, Sucker.”

Uh-oh, the new year’s just begun and already you’re finding it hard to keep those resolutions to junk the junk food, get off the couch or kick smoking. There’s a biological reason a lot of our bad habits are so hard to break – they get wired into our brains.  “Why are bad habits stronger?” says Dr. Nora Volkow, “You’re fighting against the power of an immediate reward.”  It’s the fudge vs. broccoli choice: Chocolate’s yum factor tends to beat out the knowledge that sticking with veggies brings an eventual reward of lost pounds.  “We all as creatures are hard-wired that way, to give greater value to an immediate reward as opposed to something that’s delayed,” Volkow says.  ***MARLAR: So, wouldn’t the solution be to make broccoli that tastes like chocolate?

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

Transport For London’s lost property office reports that in the last year, nearly 150,000 items have been left on subways, buses and taxi cabs, mostly books and cell phones. But some of the items left behind are more unusual. For instance: several prosthetic limbs, a lawnmower, a coffin, a 14-foot inflatable boat, and three dead bats.  ***MARLAR: It’s like a goth version of the 12 Days of Christmas!

Just when you think people have gone as far as possible in selling out Christianity, here comes “worship for prizes.”  Las Ultimas Noticias reports that there is a Catholic church in a shopping mall in Santiago, Chile. The Dockers clothing chain sponsored the installation of a sound system that detects the person in the church who’s praying the loudest, and that person wins a Dockers discount coupon. Worshipers can also win free chocolate bars and McDonald’s coupons for going to confession.  ***MARLAR: The church slogan is “Jesus Saves…And So Will You, at Garden View Mall!”

(National Enquirer) A study from Brigham Young University showed that people are fairer and more generous when they are in clean smelling environments. Participants engaged in two psychological experiments some worked in unscented rooms and others worked in rooms freshly sprayed with citrus scented Windex. In both tests, the study found that clean scents led to more ethical behavior. “It could even be that getting our kids to clean up their rooms might help them clean up their acts, too,” says assistant professor Katie Liljenquist.  ***MARLAR: A more practical application for this study – be sure to wait and ask for a raise after the janitorial service has Mop-N-Glowed the boss’ office… and then ask.

Whoever just robbed Henry’s Jewelers in Toledo, Ohio is going to be in for a big shock. All those gold rings you stole are worth about 25 cents apiece. Owner Henry Triplett says oh sure — they looked to be worth thousands of dollars. But the “gold” rings in his display case are actually just brass dummies– mere samples of the real gold rings he keeps safely locked up and out of view. So the real cost of the robbery will only be the expense of replacing his store’s front window and the shattered glass on 13 display cases.  ***MARLAR: It won’t be hard to find the culprits.  Just go immediately to the boyfriends of girls you see with green fingers.

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