Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News – September 09, 2009

A recent analysis from the University of Cambridge found that of more than 500 million junk messages, e-mail addresses starting with an “A”, “M”, “S”, “R” and “P” got more than 40% of all spam. On the other hand, email addresses beginning with a “Q,” “Y” or “Z” got only about 20%.  ***MARLAR: So I’m immediately changing my name to Zarren Quarlar. 

Fans behaving badly may get fingered at Nebraska football games. University of Nebraska police have set a set up a text-messaging system. Cornhuskers fans can type on their cell phones from the stands and send a message to the campus cops. The school is among the first to adopt a text-based police reporting system.  ***MARLAR: The tendency to misuse that kind of technology would be overwhelming, wouldn’t it?  The instant your team was losing you’d want to text the cops every time the referees made a bad call.  “Crime being committed at the 47 yard line…”

Move over, SpongeBob and Dora. Make way for Snoopy.  North America’s third-largest amusement parks chain says it’s putting Charlie Brown, Snoopy and other Peanuts characters into five more of its parks next year.  The Peanuts gang will replace the Nickelodeon characters and themed rides at Canada’s Wonderland near Toronto and Kings Island near Cincinnati. They’ll also be added at Kings Dominion in Doswell, Va., Carowinds in Charlotte, N.C., and Great America near San Francisco.  Ohio-based Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. says its contract with Nickelodeon was up and it has had success with the Peanuts characters in its other parks around the country. ***MARLAR: Unfortunately, health regulators told Pigpen he had to leave.

Authorities say a college professor on a crusade to change the way a Los Angeles weatherman uses terminology has to leave him alone or face six months in jail.  Melanie Patton Renfrew, a Harbor College teacher, wants KNBC-TV’s Fritz Coleman to change references to onshore and offshore winds.  She says the terms are confusing because people don’t know which are coming and which are going.  Burbank-based KNBC obtained a restraining order in March 2008 after calling her behavior bizarre and saying Coleman feared for his safety.  Prosecutors say she continued sending letters and e-mails. Last month, she pleaded no contest to violating the order.  Burbank Assistant City Attorney Denny Wei says the case will be dismissed if she leaves Coleman alone through next August.  ***MARLAR: Which still leaves the largest issue unresolved… what the heck are onshore and offshore winds?

The proposal to bar smelly people from Honolulu buses turned out to be a stinker.  The Honolulu City Council had considered making it illegal to have “odors that unreasonably disturb others or interfere with their use of the transit system.” Anyone convicted of being too smelly could have been fined up to $500 and/or given a six-month jail term.  But officials and others wrinkled their noses at the plan.  Lawyers from the city and the American Civil Liberties Union said it was vague and could lead to unconstitutionally subjective judgments. Members of the public pointed out that bad odors could be produced by disease, or be carried from a person’s workplace.  The council’s transportation committee then shelved it.  But the idea still seems to be wafting around. Councilmen Rod Tam and Nestor Garcia say they may make revisions to their bill and reintroduce it later.  ***MARLAR: How about just handing every bus rider a can of Glade?

Research shows that 57% of home-cooked dinners in America have no vegetables!  ***MARLAR: Yeah, but if you’re eating steak – cows eat vegetables, so you’re still covered. 

Researchers at the University of Manchester in Britain claim they’ve developed a new type of adhesive tape based on the sticky feet of gecko lizards that could someday allow people to climb walls like geckos or Spiderman. ***MARLAR: They found the technology through married couples who naturally drive each other up the walls.

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