Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News – October 28, 2010

A minimum security prison in California has banned hugs and kisses because authorities fear visitors are sharing a lot more than affection. Concerns about contraband have prompted officials at Lerdo Minimum Facility in Bakersfield to stop allowing inmates and visitors to share one brief hug and kiss.  ***MARLAR: They finally had to put a stop to it when a visitor was able to smuggle a hacksaw and a big screen HDTV into the prison under her tongue.

Experts agree that an aerobic exercise routine during the day can keep you from tossing and turning at night, even if they’re not sure why.  ***MARLAR: Maybe because you’re too exhausted to turn over?

Football and prayer don’t belong in the same backfield, says a Florida dad who wants his hometown to stop a Pee Wee football league from having kids perform voluntary pregame prayers.  Louie Fromm, an assistant coach for the Holmes County Pee Wee Football Association, formally requested that the Vernon, Fla., City Council end the league’s traditional 50-yard-line pregame prayer ritual, alleging that his and his son’s First Amendment rights are being violated.  ***MARLAR: Hey, Dad – how can you expect your son to be brave and do battle with offensive linebackers when he chickens out at the thought of a pre-game prayer?

Hyundai Motors, South Korea’s top automaker, will recall some 139,500 Sonata sedans sold in the United States, due to problems with the steering wheel that could cause a loss or reduction of control.  ***MARLAR: Apparently you have more control playing MarioKart on the Nintendo Wii.

An alarming study shows that one in five new drugs has serious side effects that don’t show up until well after the medicine has received government approval. ***MARLAR: I already have to put up with dry mouth, diarrhea, coughing, watery and/or itchy eyes, nasal congestion, heart attacks, liver failure, brittle toe nails, rashes, fainting spells, constipation, difficulty in breathing, clogged arteries, sensitive gums, hair falling out, ringing in the ears, sneezing, and discoloration of the tongue! And now I may have to deal with unknown side effects?!?

Researchers at Melbourne University are growing diamond particles on optical fibers to transmit information they say will be impossible to hack. Currently, if you buy something on the web and send your credit card info, it can be hacked. However, they say that with this technology, while it can still be intercepted by a third party, they won’t be able to de-code it and steal your data. While there’s no word on when this technology will actually be in use, they say it also has huge military and national security implications. ***MARLAR: So, diamonds are a no longer just a girl’s best friend… they’re Homeland Security’s best friend too!

Pigs may not fly, but University of Illinois researchers are working on a project that could have pigs helping to drive your car. They recently announced a breakthrough in turning pig droppings into petroleum products. The big breakthrough came when they figured out a way to make the pig oil continuously, instead of one batch at a time. They figure they can get 3.6 gallons of crude oil a day out of each pig and the nationwide pork industry has about 100-million hogs. The resulting fuel has similar properties to diesel, although they’re not sure what it will take to convert a car to run on it. Whatever it is used for, they say that it could result in millions of barrels of crude a day, which could make a significant dent in America’s dependence on foreign oil.  ***MARLAR: And you thought the exhaust from the guy in front of you smelled terrible before…

Robots with superhuman strength are being tested at the University of Texas and the University of British Columbia. The mechanical men have a layer of artificial muscle stretched over their metal frames. The gel-like substance is made of microscopic carbon nanotubes and can flex in milliseconds when charged with a small jolt of electricity. In their flexed state, the muscles are many times stronger than steel. Apart from creating super strong robots that can lift thousands of pounds, the muscles will have applications in human transplants and bionic limbs. (Sun)  ***MARLAR: Wow, maybe we DO need John Connor!

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