Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News – September 01, 2010

Bedbugs are taking over New York.  One in 10 New Yorkers has now battled bedbugs in their home.  That’s twice as many as the city estimated were plagued by the pests in 2009.  Bedbugs are hard to see and hard to kill. The size of a grain of rice, they only move around at night and can go many months without feeding. They spread by hitching rides on clothes, luggage or used furniture.  Nearly eradicated by DDT in the 1940s, they are back.  ***MARLAR: Now we know why New York is the city that never sleeps… it’s too busy scratching the bed bug bites!  (How appropriate!  It’s the Liberals who forced us to stop using DDT which kills bed bugs, and now that DDT is banned, the bed bugs are back – living in Liberal-infested New York.)

Not so good news for parents of students going back to school: A new survey claims that 27 percent of public school students aged 12 to 17 attend schools that are gang-infected. That’s 5.7 million students. (That number is up 39 percent in the past year.)  ***MARLAR: How about we get the remaining 73 percent of students and create new gang that’s anti-gang?  They’ll take over the halls and playgrounds, selling bubble-gum smokes and Tic-Tacs while tagging their territory with the color plaid.

If the United Nations gets its way, we might all soon be adding creepy-crawlies to our weekly shopping lists. The UN is considering strategies to cut levels of meat consumption worldwide as part of its commitment to stamp out famine and cut global warming.  And it claims livestock, such as cows and pigs, requires too much space and fodder to be an energy-efficient source of food for the ever expanding population. And so the UN Food & Agriculture Organization is urging us to try other alternatives, including insects. The UN reports that ‘as a food source, insects are highly nutritious’, and they require a mere fraction of the resources to rear, pound for pound, as more conventional meats.  ***MARLAR: I have a much better solution to the problem.  If cows take up too much room, how about we just eat the cows?

The second of seven religious name changes planned by a Zion, IL.  man — from In God We Trust to One Nation Under God — was approved by Lake County Associate Judge Helen Rozenberg.  One Nation Under God, who was known was Steve Kreuscher before he made his first name change in 2008, said his next name will be 777, a sequence significant in Christianity.  Under God came to court in Waukegan armed with a list of various name changes allowed around the country, should he have needed them to convince the judge.  ***MARLAR: If denied any religious names, he was planning to change his name to “The Artist Formerly Known As Prince”.

A research team from UCLA and the University of Pittsburgh, and another from Duke University, reported success at collecting valuable human stem cells from ordinary liposuctioned fat, potentially ending the need to collect such cells through controversial fetal-tissue procedures and painful bone-marrow extraction. Stem cells can make replacement muscle, bone and cartilage, and if they come from one’s own fat, will not be rejected by the body. Also, as the researchers pointed out, Americans’ fat cells are an abundant resource. ***MARLAR: Tell me about it – they’ve been knocking on my door for the last two weeks asking for me for a donation!

Not exactly an urban legend.  A spokeswoman for Frito Lay says a dead mouse found by a Colorado eighth-grader in a bag of potato chips probably chewed its way in after the snack was delivered to the school.  The late rodent was found by a student who bought the bag of chips in the lunch line at Lewis-Palmer Middle School in Monument, Colorado.  Bag and dead mouse were sent off to the home office in Plano, Texas, which is where Frito Lay employees found a “chew hole” in the bag.  For now, bags of chips have been pulled from the school district’s vending machines. But they’re expected to return after spring break.  ***MARLAR: With new and better prizes inside!

The head of the American Institute of Mathematics calls it a math version of climbing Mount Everest.  Until recently, some considered it a problem impossible to solve. A team of 18 mathematicians and computer scientists gathered in Palo Alto, California and mapped a proof to a 120-year-old mathematical problem known as the “Lie (lee) group E-Eight.”  The proof unveiled at M-I-T is packed with enough information to cover Manhattan and is being stored on one of the school’s computer hard drives.  The solution takes up as much space as 45 days of continuous music in an MP3 file.  ***MARLAR: Ironically, the solution to the problem has no practical applications other than determining how much space an MP3 will take up on your hard drive.

A Houston home decorated with thousands of flattened aluminum cans won’t have to take them down, thanks to an art endowment.  John Milkovisch attached the cans to his house over a 20-year period as an alternative to more traditional home repair.  The home was becoming a nationally celebrated folk-art site when the man died in 1988 at age 75. Since then, it has suffered years of decline.  Now, a $125,000 grant from the Houston Endowment to the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art will help restore the home.  ***MARLAR: How do you know you’ve correctly restored a work of art when it’s made out of junk?  Does it look WORSE when you’re done?

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