I’m sure December 31st 2013 saw you all take up the peculiar Hogmanay customs of imbibing dangerous amounts of alcohol and snogging random strangers in the street… no, was that just me? Oh, well! Anyway, it’s the first Wednesday of the New Year so let’s get on with the weirdness. This week we have a veritable supermarket sweep of the bizarre and the obscure. From recent news stories to old classics, they’re all here and not a Dale Winton in sight. So, without further ado, let us peer inside the shopping cart and see what we’ve picked up… need a hand with your packing?
Weird Goings On
Duck for Cover
This week’s first story is a real ducky. December 31st, as we all know, is a time of celebration, a time to let loose, a time where we can all go a little ‘quackers’. In Taiwan, it seems, this is taken rather literally. New Year’s celebrations in the city of Keelung involved an 18 meter tall rubber duck floating in the city’s harbour. The inflatable sculpture, which is the work of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, has been on a world tour since 2007 and decided to take in the ‘bells’ by floating around in the East China Sea. Unfortunately, not everything went according to plan and the oversized bath toy… well…exploded!! Rather more fortunately the whole incident was caught on film as you can see below.
According to reports a ‘replacement duck’ has since been flown in from Vietnam.
This isn’t the first time Taiwan has had giant rubber duck related issues. Earlier in 2013 an identical sculpture suffered a similar fate when it burst during a 6.3 magnitude earthquake in the city of Taoyuan. The above picture shows ‘mourners’ praying for the duck at a traditional Chinese funerary shrine.
From giant exploding ducks to another farmyard staple, the humble, or in this case not so humble, pig. By splicing pig DNA with that of a jellyfish; scientists from the South China Agricultural University have managed to create some porkers that really stand out from the crowd. The ten piglets, which were injected with the jellyfish DNA at an embryonic stage, now sport this year’s must have porcine accessory; lovely glow in the dark snouts and trotters. But what is the point behind this bioluminescent bacon? Well it is hoped that the creation of these adorable little mutants will pave the way for future medical advancements. You can see the little fellas in action in the video below:
Flour Filled Fun
Every Year, on the 28th of December, the inhabitants of the Spanish town of Ibi indulge in what must be one of the world’s wackiest celebrations. Known as Els Enfarinats, or ‘the flouring’, the 200 year old festival see the town taken over by a group of men dressed in mock military uniform. These men, known as Els Enfarinats, pronounce a coup d’état and impose a series of bizarre laws upon the local citizenry. Anyone caught breaching these silly edicts is fined (all proceeds go to charity). At the same, time another group of men, known as Casats i Fadrins (married men and bachelors), attempt to retake the town from its erstwhile oppressors. The whole thing ends in a pitched battle in the town square where participants pelt each other with flour, eggs and firecrackers. Check out the carnage in the video below:
Things That Go Bump
Tyres of Terror
TV adverts are at their best when they make an impression. Well that’s certainly the case in the above offering which comes from Japanese tyre company Autoway. Eager to prove that their tyres can perform in the most extreme conditions it’s certain to give you a bit of a shock… Without going into too much detail (you should watch it yourself) the video takes place on a lonely snow bound road where the driver encounters something rather… unexpected. Oh, I should advise, the video comes with the following cautionary notice:
“Please refrain from watching the content if any of the following applies to you: – Have any mental or physical health concern and may have to see a doctor regularly.
“We shall not be liable for any injuries, illness, and damages claimed to be caused by watching the contents.”
You were warned…
Weird Science and Nature
Zombie Ants of the Amazon
We are all well aware, as Hollywood keeps reminding us, that a Zombie Apocalypse is imminent. Soon enough we will all be transformed into slavering undead monsters without a mind or a will of our own. Well in the tiny world of the ant the apocalypse is already well underway. Meet Cordyceps, a parasitic fungus, and his favoured host the humble ant. Living in the Amazon, with its thick jungle canopy, the Cordyceps fungus needs to get up high enough to spread its spores around, but, simple organism that it is, the fungus can’t climb. That’s okay though, because the Cordyceps fungus has a plan. The fungus will simply infect the brain of any passing ant. It can then control the ant’s motor functions and force it to climb. Once high enough the fungus will burst from the ant’s brain and spreads its spores far and wide. This may sound like pure fiction but it is indeed fact… If you don’t believe me then just listen to what Sir Richard Attenborough has to say about it:
Weird Object of the Week
Evil art from eBay
This week’s weird object of the week is a bit of a classic. ‘The Hands Resist Him’ was a painting which hit the headlines in 2000 when it sold on Ebay for $1025. The work of Californian artist Bill Stoneham, it was first painted in 1972 and its subject matter represents a full faced dive into the ‘uncanny valley’. It pictures a young boy, with an unnaturally tall forehead, standing next to a life sized female doll with a sad expression on her face. Behind them is a glass panelled door against which are pressed several tiny hands. Although it is unusual in its own right, the painting reached the height of its ‘popularity’ when it became the subject of a rather unusual Ebay listing. The anonymous seller claimed that the painting had a curse attached to it. This curse, so the listing stated, had led to the deaths of several previous owners. The seller also claimed that the child and the doll in the painting had been seen to move. The auction went viral, attracting over 30’000 views before it finally sold. Many people who view the painting claim to have strange and frightening experiences including; feelings of illness, fainting, the sense of a ‘presence’ in the room and hearing strange voices. Since the painting’s rise to prominence Stoneham has painted several ‘sequels’. If you’re interested in getting your own copy of this creepy artwork you can order prints from: http://stonehamstudios.com/StonehamArtStore.html#hands
With that we close our weekly trip to Weirdville. Until next time folks keep it weird!!!
Over and out.