Weird Universe Blog — August 19, 2017

Yellow Snow Experiment

An experiment conducted by animal behavior expert Marc Bekoff of the University of Colorado, Boulder with his dog, Jethro:

While talking Jethro on his daily walk I conducted a study of his sniffing and urination patterns. To learn about the role of urine in eliciting sniffing and urinating, I moved urine-saturated snow ("yellow snow") from place-to-place during five winters to compare Jethro's responses to his own and other dog's urine. Immediately after Jethro or other known males or females urinated on snow, I scooped up a small clump of the yellow snow in gloves and moved it to different locations. For some reasons passers-by thought I was strange and generally left me alone. Moving yellow snow was a useful and novel method for discovering that Jethro spent less time sniffing his own urine than that of other males or females.

More info: Psychology Today - June 29, 2009

Posted By: Alex - Sat Aug 19, 2017 - Comments (0)
Category: Animals, Experiments, Body Fluids

Artwork Khrushchev Probably Would Not Have Liked 6

The artist is Federico Beltran Masses.

"Hints of drugginess in the eyes, and suggestions of Sapphic eroticism laid on with a trowel, created a sultry visual cocktail that appealed equally to celebrities of the order of Rudolph Valentino, Joan Crawford and King George VI, all of whom had their portraits painted, and the general public."

Full essay here.

Posted By: Paul - Sat Aug 19, 2017 - Comments (0)
Category: Addictions, Art, Sexuality, Russia, Twentieth Century

August 18, 2017

Manatee Alerting Device

Edmund Gerstein claims to have invented a "Manatee Alerting Device" (aka MAD) that, when attached beneath a boat, will emit a beam of sound alerting manatees to get out of the way. But it's controversial. Other researchers insist the device will just add more noise to an already noisy underwater environment. It would be like "putting a siren on every car on a highway." And that manatees wouldn't be able to tell where the sound is coming from.

Complicating the controversy, it turns out Gerstein has a history of advancing unorthodox manatee theories. Back in the 1990s he claimed to have discovered that manatees can hear high-speed boats better than low-speed ones. His claim was promoted by boaters who wanted no speed regulations, but after paying tens of thousands of dollars on extra manatee research, the state of Florida decided Gerstein was wrong. He was also busted for faking a degree. Which is why researchers aren't exactly welcoming him with open arms now.

More info:

"Demonstration of an acoustic warning system to alert manatees" [pdf]

Posted By: Alex - Fri Aug 18, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Animals, Inventions

Art Arfons and the Green Monster

Love that rocketship design!

Posted By: Paul - Fri Aug 18, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Contests, Races and Other Competitions, 1960s, Cars

August 17, 2017


Minipoo Dry Shampoo was sold from the 1940s until the 1960s. I'm assuming that 'poo' must not have had the same slang meaning back in the 1940s? Otherwise why would a manufacturer choose a name suggesting a small bowel movement?

I came across a newspaper column from 1980 commenting on the strangeness of the name. So at least by then the name had started to sound odd to people.

Muncie Evening Press - Mar 19, 1980

I found the Minipoo images at the National Museum of American History website. The very first comment there, posted in 2015, was from a woman, Dolores Mitchell Byrne, claiming to have been the model on the label. I googled her name and found that a woman of the same name won the title of "Miss Subways" back in January 1961. (Paul has posted about this unusual beauty contest here.) She's got a different hairstyle, but I think it's her, the Minipoo model. You can see a more recent photo of her at

Dolores Mitchell Byrne, aka 'Miss Subways' - via Facebook

Posted By: Alex - Thu Aug 17, 2017 - Comments (11)
Category: Hygiene, Excrement, Hair and Hairstyling, Slang

Italian Caveman Rock ‘n’ Roll

Posted By: Paul - Thu Aug 17, 2017 - Comments (1)
Category: Movies, Music, 1960s

August 16, 2017

Hair Care During Nuclear Attack

Prompted by the recent threats from North Korea, Guam's Office of Civil Defense recently issued guidelines on what people should do in the event of a nuclear emergency. It included the advice that you should wash your hair with shampoo or soap. However, you shouldn't use conditioner "because it will bind radioactive material to your hair."

Interesting and potentially useful to know.

More info: Guam Civil Defense Fact Sheet,

Posted By: Alex - Wed Aug 16, 2017 - Comments (5)
Category: Atomic Power and Other Nuclear Matters, Baths, Showers and Other Cleansing Methods, Hair and Hairstyling

Mystery Illustration 54

Who was this eminent personage?

The answer is here.

And after the jump.

More in extended >>

Posted By: Paul - Wed Aug 16, 2017 - Comments (5)
Category: Celebrities, Couples, 1930s

August 15, 2017

Supergeared Bicycle

Are supergeared bicycles that will ride at super fast speeds an actual thing? Or did this guy just build a complicated derailleur system?

News Herald - Oct 5, 1953

Another better quality image from Popular Mechanics (July 1954).

via Modern Mechanix

Posted By: Alex - Tue Aug 15, 2017 - Comments (3)
Category: Bicycles and Other Human-powered Vehicles, 1950s

The William Stillman Award

Dr. William O. Stillman (1856-1924) was an early advocate of humane treatment to animals. He created "Be Kind to Animals" week in 1915.

Find an obituary and tributes here.

His name is also connected to an award which, oddly, can go to either animals or humans.

Here, the award is given to a brave dog who helped humans.

Source of article.

And again.

A pig won in 1984.

A cat won the award in 1997, the latest date I can find for the presentation.

Finally we see the award given to a brave human who helped an animal!

I like that any species of creature is eligible for the award.

However, the point might be moot, since I can find no evidence that the award is still given nowadays.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Aug 15, 2017 - Comments (2)
Category: Animals, Contests, Races and Other Competitions, Twentieth Century

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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2016 by the author of the post, which is usually either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.

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