Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News – July 25, 2010

Good news! Scientists have found a way of stopping beans from causing gas! Supposedly, a short burst of gamma radiation before soaking the beans does the trick.  ***MARLAR: One of the unfortunate side effects though is that you can’t sleep at night because your eyelids glow in the dark.

NASA is researching the use of a protein found in human ear hair as a way of powering space suits.  ***MARLAR: The older you get, the more NASA will want you!

The UFO and Paranormal College has opened in Russia in response to a rash of unexplained crop circles in the region.  The faculty says they are qualified to teach the course, because they have video footage featuring the type of UFOs called Belgian triangles, which they say are frequent visitors to their city.  ***MARLAR: That’s like saying I’m qualified to teach a course on time-travel, because I own all of the Back to the Future DVDs.

A man with a mysterious bulge under his T-shirt was stopped, searched and detained at Mexico City’s international airport after authorities found 18 tiny endangered monkeys in a girdle he was wearing.  ***MARLAR: Brad Pitt told him it would’ve worked fine if he’d only used twelve monkeys.

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill shows that the United States should follow the example of South American socialists in nationalizing its energy industry, filmmaker Oliver Stone said Tuesday.  ***MARLAR: Because when it comes to energy legislation, you can’t do better than getting advice from a guy who’s job in life is to take controversial subjects and stick them on the big screen in such a way that you are entertained.

Millions of people stuck on the jobless rolls would receive an extension of unemployment benefits averaging $309 a week under a Senate bill that appears set to break free of a Republican filibuster.  ***MARLAR: So we have more people unemployed wanting benefits, and fewer people still employed being expected to pay those benefits.  Oh yeah, that’ll work well.

U.S. Forest Service officials in northern Idaho say the rubber-soled decorations that made the “shoe tree” a beloved Priest River landmark also helped fuel its demise.  Tourists and locals since the 1940s have dressed the tree with hundreds of pairs of shoes, nailing sneakers to its trunk and hanging work boots from its branches.  Firefighters found the tree engulfed in flames late Thursday, and the blaze was difficult to extinguish because the sizable cedar was covered in melted shoe rubber. Officials have long discouraged people from adding shoes to the tree, which has become an eccentric roadside attraction featured on various travel websites.  ***MARLAR: Sadly, a local ant also died who had high hopes of moving the rubber tree plant out of harm’s way.

Teen retailer American Eagle Outfitters Inc., looking to jump-start back-to-school denim sales, is offering anyone who tries on a pair of jeans starting later this month a free smart phone.  The offer comes with a catch: the new phones, such as the Droid Eris by HTC, the BlackBerry Curve and the LG Ally, are only available with new two-year service plans. The deal runs from July 21 to Aug. 3.  ***MARLAR: Don’t most carriers give you “free phones” with a two year service plan anyway – without trying on ugly jeans?

President Barack Obama is trying to bring home some of the much-lauded strategies his predecessor used to fight AIDS around the world.  The national strategy for combating HIV and AIDS the Obama administration released Tuesday credits the Bush-era international campaign against AIDS for setting clear targets and ensuring a variety of agencies and groups worked together smoothly to achieve them.  ***MARLAR: Whoa – wait a minute.  Do you mean to say that Obama is admitting Bush did something RIGHT?!

A Chicago police dog named Bear who is apparently a scaredy-cat when it comes to thunder is back home after going AWOL during a storm.  Authorities say Bear, who went missing several days ago, was found safe, but dirty, Sunday morning by a man walking to a hardware store.  The man says he saw the dog at a cemetery and flagged down Officer Ann Jaros, who says Bear recognized her squad car and “jumped right in.”  A microchip in the dog’s neck confirmed it was Bear.  The black and tan German shepherd scaled a wooden fence and disappeared Wednesday night after roaring thunder apparently frightened him.  He was in the yard of Officer Rick King’s home at the time. King says he’s slept little since Bear’s disappearance, hoping the dog was OK.  King has said Bear’s always been afraid of thunder.  ***MARLAR: What kind of a lame police officer is scared of thunder?  “To protect and to serve… unless there’s a big bad noise?”

David and Carol Gulyas are serious about saving energy. They’re putting the finishing touches on a new $350,000 home in southern Indiana. They say their home is so super-efficient, their energy bills should run just 650 bucks. And that’s for the entire year. One of their secrets is foam insulation on the walls that is more than 10 inches thick. The sun provides much of the heating and lighting. If the sun’s not shinning, the couple says they can heat their home with the equivalent of a hair dryer.  ***MARLAR: They’ve also found it helpful to plug in and drain power for the neighbors.

A woman in Manchester, England, dumped her fiancé six weeks before the wedding, then found another man to marry on the Internet so she wouldn’t lose her $14,000 wedding deposit.  ***MARLAR: Let’s recap… husbands are returnable; wedding deposits aren’t.

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