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

(HowStuffWorks.com) Although most people think of social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter as time-wasters, a number of studies have shown just the opposite. In fact, studies show that employees who use social networking sites are 9 percent more productive than those who don’t.  How could sites that take you away from the task at hand make you more productive? Researchers credit social networking sites with giving workers needed brain breathers. When you take a couple of minutes to check up on the people and organizations you follow on Twitter, your mind gets a break from more tedious work.  ***MARLAR: Plus it’s a nice reminder that you do have friends outside of the office… even if they’re only online.

New York City bus drivers took an average of two paid months off last year after being spat upon by upset riders.  The indignity is considered an assault under the drivers’ union contract. That entitles them to take a paid break.  The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said Monday that 83 drivers were spat on last year. Of those, 51 took an average of 64 paid days off. One driver took 191 days of paid leave.  ***MARLAR: Hey, I think I’ve figured out MY next career move…

The sat cat is making news. A satellite news truck from New York’s WCBS-TV had a stowaway aboard. A stray cat had been napping in the truck’s sat dish, when the crew drove off to cover a news conference. Reporter Jennifer McLogan says drivers on a parkway were honking their horns and waving to get their attention. One Nassau County detective says he thought it was an April Fool’s joke, when the crew interrupted his news conference to report the feline in distress. Officers finally freed the black-and-white cat by taking apart a panel of the satellite dish. ***MARLAR: The cat stowed away because it heard all of the news equipment was being controlled by a mouse.

Police say inmates are using carrier pigeons to smuggle cell phones onto a prison farm in southeastern Brazil. Police inspector Celso Soramiglio says that guards at a prison near the city of Sorocaba caught a pigeon last Wednesday with components of a small cell phone inside a bag tied to one of its legs.  A day later, another pigeon was found with a bag containing a cell phone charger.  The birds apparently were bred and raised inside the prison, smuggled out, outfitted with the cell phone parts and then released to fly back.  Soramiglio noted that pigeons “instinctively fly back home — always.”  Police photographed then released the pigeons.  ***MARLAR: Of course, they came back immediately.

No, the aliens haven’t landed in northern New Jersey. But a UFO hoax has landed a couple of guys in trouble with the law. Morris County prosecutors say Chris Russo and Joe Rudy have admitted to tying road flares to helium balloons. The mysterious lights in the sky prompted dozens of calls to police earlier this year. Authorities say the prank could interfered with air traffic and posed a fire hazard.  Prosecutors say the UFO hoaxers will be charged with disorderly conduct.  ***MARLAR: And impersonating a Martian.

The National Institute of Mental Health says that millions of men won’t get help for mental illness because their male egos keep them from asking for help.  ***MARLAR: And those who do ask for mental help still don’t get it because they refuse to stop and ask for directions to the clinic.

The London Sun reports that a French company is marketing a line of environmentally-correct “green” women’s underwear made of wood. The line is called “G=9.8,” the scientific figure for the Earth’s acceleration. Their women’s underwear are made from fibers of white pine trees, but they say women won’t get splinters because the wood fibers are spun to a silky soft texture.  ***MARLAR: And sealed with three coats of varnish.

How would you like for your shoelaces that tied themselves? Someone has invented electronic laces and recently introduced them at the Inventor’s Cup competition in Norway. The invention took first prize in the “Most Creative” category.  ***MARLAR: Nike could change their slogan from “Just do it” to “Just let them do it themselves.”

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