Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News – October 22, 2010

If you like tomatoes, you can thank Robert Johnson. On this day in 1820, in Salem, Massachusetts, Johnson proved conclusively the tomato was safe for consumption by downing an entire bushel of them. Back then, a lot of people thought the tomato was not safe to eat because of its texture.  ***MARLAR: I’ve been thinking the same thing about Jell-O.

In Chicago, rookie doctors will now be getting shorter work shifts to help protect sleep-deprived residents.  ***MARLAR: Name me one other career where being the new guy gives you the privilege of working better hours.

A new study seems to indicate attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is genetic, and that children with ADHD are twice as likely to have missing chromosomes than normal children.  ***MARLAR: Probably because they don’t pay attention and can never remember where they left them last.

A rural Georgia county is losing about 550 street signs a years to thieves and a commissioner says he has a solution: Make the names boring.  McIntosh County Commissioner Mark Douglas serves a rural county about 60 miles south of Savannah. He says signs marking Green Acres, Boone’s Farm and Mary Jane Lane are frequently stolen.  He suspects the thieves are targeting those signs because they share names with a popular TV series, a low-cost wine or, in the third case, a slang term for marijuana.  Then there’s the stolen signs for Harmony Hill. Douglas figures the thieves just like the alliteration.  It’s become a costly problem. County Manager Luther Smart says the area is paying $17,000 a year to replace the signs.  ***MARLAR: One other option is rename all of the streets “Blagojevich Boulevard” because nobody likes him anyway.

A woman’s home was destroyed by a freak fire started by a crystal ball in her windowsill. After visiting friends, Kim Yeates returned to her home to find $16,000 worth of fire damage. Firefighters blame the blaze on a $33 crystal ball sitting in the window that magnified the sun’s rays onto the television and caused it to get overheated and explode.  ***MARLAR: You’d think someone using a crystal ball would see this coming.

Have bugs – will travel. That’s what a Montana State University dinosaur researcher is offering. Tom Evans is a graduate student at the school. He maintains a colony of bone-cleaning beetles whose day job is to snack on animal bones that are part of his research. But in their off-research hours, these beetles work overtime. Evans rents them out to hunters who want their trophies cleaned.  ***MARLAR: And on weekends, he rents out the bugs as emergency weight-loss tools.

Zerkalo Tizhden newspaper reports that a Ukrainian toy manufacturer is marketing a 16-inch Adolf Hitler doll with movable arms. He also comes with accessories, such as his loyal dog Blondi; and a selection of outfits, including “early days Adolf” with brown shirt and jodhpurs, and “wartime Adolf” with gray tunic and Iron Cross medal.  ***MARLAR: He’s already declared Malibu to be part of Germany and taken over Barbie’s Dream House.

First thing in the morning after breakfast, what do you do… you look for the weather, right? Now you won’t have to! A college kid has designed a toaster that will burn your forecast directly into your toast!  The toaster connects to the Internet, downloads information, and then changes the burn pattern on your toast depending on what the forecast is.  ***MARLAR: So if it comes out soggy, you know to break out the galoshes.

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