Design, Weird

Random office elf / Red Wolf

— originally uploaded by Red Wolf


Christmas Meat Orders / Scarfolk Council

Scarfolk’s Dr Hushson, who surgically adapted children into kitchen utensils for the catering industry, also genetically modified children to grow a variety of foods on, and in, their bodies (see Discovering Scarfolk p. 120-123).

Taking sausage DNA, Hushson created the sausage orphan, which genetically substituted a child’s face — something Hushson had long considered redundant — with a sausage or luncheon meat.

By the end of the 1970s, sausage orphans or kids in blankets had become a traditional part of a Scarfolk Christmas lunch. Orders were taken weeks in advance and in the days leading up to the festivities, frightened sausage orphans would huddle together in meat curing/smoking rooms to await their fate — via Scarfolk Council


Memory Chemicals (1979) / Scarfolk Council

Just as Scarfolk Council demanded control over cultural memories and the historical narrative taught in schools, it also wanted to control individuals’ memories.

To ensure a docile, compliant populace, Scarfolk promoted the idea of clumsy townsfolk forever stumbling into situations and seeing and hearing things they shouldn’t, and proposed that measures be taken so that citizens only retained information that reflected the official party line at any given time.

Building on the success of the Black Spot Card campaign, potent, neurotoxic chemicals (and, in some cases, a steel truncheon) were employed, according to one leaflet, to: cleanse unnecessary or redundant memories, so as to unclutter the mind.

The campaign and treatments were so effective that some people became inexplicably afraid not only to go outside but also to go into rooms in their own homes in case they saw or overheard something forbidden.

Those who could still manage to venture into rooms immediately forgot why they were there and, following a deluge of confused calls to the authorities, they had to be reminded that they had forgotten, and should now forget that they had remembered that they had forgotten — via Scarfolk Council

Politics, Weird

Children: The Cause of All Crime / Scarfolk Council

In 1970 the Scarfolk Crime Commission embarked on the largest study into crime to date. After two years of intense investigation it found a startling correlation between the types of people who commit crime and their early life experiences.

The findings were unequivocal: 100% of criminals had also once been children.

The council immediately put into effect acts intended to reduce, if not entirely eradicate this insidious cause of crime. Thousands of children were rounded up in camps. Toys were burnt in massive pyres. Adults were sterilised. Anyone who had been in regular contact with children, or had ever been a child, was quarantined in vast bunkers specially built several storeys below the council building.

Though Scarfolk was reduced to a ghost town, the scheme proved a success. During the first month that these stringent measures had been implemented not one crime had been committed. Consequently, at the 1972 Conference of Sham Utopias, a local conservative MP predicted that the most successful towns, and even countries, of the future will be those that eradicate all citizens who have any connection to, or dealings with, children or the adults they grow into — via Scarfolk Council


Religious fanatics charged over damage to Toowong war memorial

Charges have been laid against religious fanatics who confessed to vandalising an Australian war memorial at Toowong, over what they said were its blasphemous overtones.

The attack on the Cross of Sacrifice, which has stood since 1924, has outraged Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk and led to the Catholic Worker movement member Jim Dowling being charged by police on Thursday afternoon.

The RSL, meanwhile, described the perpetrators as the lowest of the low.

Mr Dowling’s wife, Anne Rampa, defended the actions of her husband, who removed the sword, and 22-year-old Greenslopes man Tim Webb, who placed the sword in an anvil to reshape it into a garden hoe.

When asked what the difference between their actions and the actions of the Taliban in Afghanistan, where the ancient Buddhas of Bamiyan were destroyed, and Islamic State’s more recent destruction of blasphemous artefacts in Palmyra, Syria, Ms Rampa said: We’re Christian — via


Aggretsuko / Sanrio

Aggretsuko is a cute Red Panda, working as an office associate in the accounting department of a highly respected trading company. She works in one of the biggest metropolitan areas of Tokyo.

It’s always been a dream of Aggretsuko to work as an accountant, especially in this part of the city. But in reality, her bosses are unsympathetic and give her harsh deadlines. She ultimately has become a pushover within the company. When she gets pushed to the limit, she goes out after work and takes out her frustration and stress with heavy metal Karaoke sessions! — via Youtube


Mandatory De-education Classes / Scarfolk Council

Post-Truthism is nothing new. Following the Truth Reform Act of 1976, it became every citizen’s civic duty to attend de-education classes. The state instinctively felt that knowledge and the educated people who wield it destablise governmental plans, especially those that routinely and deliberately disregard verifiable facts.

According to one de-education textbook: A good or Schrödinger fact is simultaneously true and untrue until such a time that someone in authority tells you which, though they may change their mind or substitute the fact entirely for another piece of information, fabricated or otherwise, that suits their personal or political needs.

It could take many years for a citizen to unlearn everything, particularly because they first had to learn the complex method of how to unlearn. (Also see the How to Burn Books book).

Additionally, because de-education classes were compulsory (and expensive), some people opted instead for lobotomies by backstreet barber-surgeons, who, it was later revealed, received government funding. These unregistered practitioners would lay their patients’ heads on the bottom step of a staircase, then release a Slinky attached to a sledgehammer from the top step. If this procedure was unsuccessful, they would force the patients to binge-watch ITV talent shows such as Opportunity Knocks or the BBC’s Come Dancing programme — via Scarfolk Council


Woman with plastic fork chased sword-wielding robber

A sword-wielding robber who was chased by a shop worker armed with a plastic fork has been jailed for four years.

Arthur Rennie, 20, from Port Glasgow, targeted Cowden’s News and Fast Food Shop in Greenock, on 16 March 2015.

He waved the sword and pushed 23-year-old Julie Crighton and demanded cash. She refused, pushed him back and chased him while clutching the plastic fork.

Rennie was caught when a bag containing the sword and clothing, which had his DNA on them, was found near the shop — via


People Are Dangerous (1974-1975) / Scarfolk Council

During the People Purges of 1974 and 1975, the many people who peopled Scarfolk were alarmed to learn that they were now the kinds of people that the government categorised as people.

With no clear definition of what the state meant by people, the mayor, who had previously declared himself a man of the people, tried to alleviate anxiety among his people by saying he didn’t want to drive a wedge between people; he only intended to arrest those kinds of people who he deemed not to be people people.

He said that he of all people knew that the most effective way to crack down on these people was with people power: People working together to observe people, being able to tell people apart and then reporting those people to the appropriate people in authority.

On the 13 August 1975, the only people not in prison were six government officials, members of Scarfolk police force and a man called Dennis Peoples who suffered from a rare psychiatric syndrome called Clinical Lycanthropy which led him to believe he was a puffer fish — via Scarfolk Council


Children’s Vermin Extermination Clubs / Scarfolk Council

By 1973, poverty was widespread in the UK and 80% of Scarfolk residents relied on soup kitchens. At first, the council alleviated the problem by exploiting an existing urban food source, but once the supply of homeless people was exhausted, a more sustainable food solution had to be found. Scarfolk Vermin Extermination Club (see leaflet above), which was launched in 1974, encouraged children to scavenge through cellars, rubbish tips and industrial wasteland and eat the pests they caught. Initially, youngsters cooked their prey, but parents complained that expecting children to use matches without supervision was irresponsible and dangerous. Thereafter, rats, pigeons, mice, and even foxes (which became collectively known as ghetto tartare) were consumed in their raw state. Unsurprisingly, pest control clubs became popular throughout the country and gained thousands of new eager members. The most requested Christmas gifts of 1974 were steel-reinforced jaw braces and hunting dentures which were required if children wanted to adequately render sinew, skin and bone. Which they did in vast numbers: The many tonnes of discarded bones were used to partially reconstruct the House of Commons which had been damaged by hungry children in search of the vermin rumoured to be teeming within its walls — via Scarfolk Council


Christian Values / Scarfolk Council

Governments have always invoked religion to deflect criticism away from or justify questionable political agendas. Not unlike terrorists.

In the 1970s, the British government frequently cited so-called Christian Values around Christmas and Easter time. Taking its cue from the Bible, the government knew that belief in an all-powerful authority, whose actions cannot be questioned, is a formidable tool of control.

The prime minister would, before the proposal of dubious bills or changes in policy, aggressively promote trust in the state as a virtue not dissimilar to religious faith. By the end of the decade, ideas of political and religious authority became so entwined that anyone who questioned or opposed the ruling party faced Biblical-style punishments.

Academics and experts in particular were branded as extremists (and later as fact witches) for producing any evidence that contradicted government policies. In 1978 a 4 year old dissident heretic was crucified in Scarfolk town square for highlighting glaring errors in the government’s annual budget, which she did with the help of a Fisher-Price junior calculator she had received for her birthday — via Scarfolk Council

Science, Weird

Boaty McBoatface wins naming poll for Britain’s new polar research ship

The United Kingdom’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) may be regretting their decision to let the public name a polar research ship after the winner of the naming poll was revealed.

The name Boaty McBoatface, which caused an internet sensation during voting, was the runaway winner, beating entries honouring explorers and scientists.

The quirky name put forward for the £200 million ($369 million) Royal Research Ship received 124,109 votes, giving it a staggering lead over runner-up RRS Poppy Mai, named in honour of a young girl with cancer, which received 34,371 votes.

Coming in at third place was RSS Henry Worsley, a tribute to the British explorer. Fourth place was RRS It’s Bloody Cold Here, and RRS David Attenborough also made the top five.

Although Boaty McBoatface received overwhelming public support, the final decision rests with NERC, which may choose to ignore democracy for a less frivolous title — via

Science, Weird

RRS Boaty McBoatface could be the name of the newest British research ship

The public has been asked to name Britain’s newest polar research ship and the internet has really outdone itself.

The current frontrunner?

RRS Boaty McBoatface.

The Natural Environment Research Centre is probably regretting trusting the public and the internet with the responsibility of naming the £200 million Royal Research Ship.

So far nearly 6,000 voters have chosen RRS Boaty McBoatface, but the top ten also includes RRS Pingu and RRS Usain Bolt.

RRS Boaty McBoatface is also beating RRS David Attenborough and RRS Henry Worsley, named after a famous British explorer and following in the tradition of naming the ships after iconic adventurers — via

  • Renamed paint colours / Obvious Plant

Renamed paint colours / Obvious Plant

— via Obvious Plant


Emergency Supplies (1979) / Scarfolk Council

The 1970s was a decade of social tension. Environmental disaster, terrorism, war and foreigners were a constant threat. Many citizens and some of their friends expressed concern about what would happen if the worst came to the worst.

In 1979 the government declared that it was fully prepared for any eventuality. A series of posters and leaflets introduced Pre-Emergency Services which had been set up to supply citizens with essential survival items including ping pong balls, rubber bands (see poster above), furniture polish, drinks coasters and crocheted toilet-roll covers that looked like Georgian ladies — via Scarfolk Council


Brood Parasites (1970) / Scarfolk Council

In 1970 there was a spate of cases involving brood parasites. Unknown children began appearing in households all over Scarfolk. So inconspicuous were these children that months would go by before a host family noticed a strange child in their midst, sitting at their dinner tables, taking over the bedrooms and toys of the youngest legitimate family members. Social workers reported that it was as if each host family had been hypnotised into believing the child was theirs.

It was also discovered that these children had been regularly stealing small, family possessions which they then sealed in wax and hair and buried in scrubland beneath a motorway flyover. When unmarked Scarfolk council vans were found collecting the wax-sealed objects, an enquiry was launched. The council rejected the accusation that the brood parasite offspring were part of a secret government deal with an insistent non-human organisation, and they were pressured to tackle the problem, hence the poster campaign above.

Local corporations generously funded a community aid scheme, whose slogan was The future of our real children is at stake. Scarfolk Tobacco Company recommended literally smoking out the preternatural children and sent thousands of complimentary packs of cigarettes to infant schools, while Scarf Distilleries Ltd. promoted the regular application of neat alcohol to any suspect minors.

It is now believed that there were very few officially accepted brood parasites and the vast majority of arrests turned out to be normal children rejected by their disappointed parents because of low exchange evaluations — via Scarfolk Council


Personal Space Allowance (1975) / Scarfolk Council

Until 1975, the standard PSA (Personal Space Allowance) had always been fixed at a comfortable, civilised 20 inch zone around each citizen. The government suddenly amended this, however, citing terrorism and a rising population as reasons to cut personal space along with other social benefits and civil liberties.

The PSA was more than merely reduced: The new bodily zone into which representatives of the state (and even some commercial organisations) were now free to pass was amended to minus 5.2 inches. Naturally, this made human bodies semi-permeable, legally speaking, and for many people only the depths of their intestines remained private.

Police, security and social services enthusiastically exploited the new laws, as did the health service which randomly pilfered internal organs from unsuspecting citizens, claiming quite lawfully that they were found in communal public places. The nervous public caught on and by 1977 there were self-help groups springing up all over Scarfolk which helped citizens become as obese as possible in an effort to protect their innermost parts from state interference and even commercial exploitation — via Scarfolk Council


Citizen Value (1971-1979) / Scarfolk Council

In 1971 a local government survey revealed that the citizens of Scarfolk were, by and large, content. This was of great concern to the council which worried that its people risked developing self-confidence — perhaps even dignity — and worse that they might even have false hopes for a brighter future.

By 1972 a government scheme to stifle these dangerous thoughts was in full effect. Schools were not permitted to grade any student higher than a D; adults received personalised insults by post or telephone, and families attended compulsory classes which promoted subservience and feelings of shame.

Additionally, every Friday local newspapers published an updated list of individual citizens’ current worth alongside prices for poultry, offal and other meat products. Some citizens’ values frequently fell below that of brain, spleen, heart and tripe.

The poster above was ubiquitous at the time, but this example was found on a wall in Scarfolk hospital’s maternity ward — via Scarfolk Council


NHS Health Warning Poster (1978) / Scarfolk Council

In 1978 the Notional Health Service was struggling to cope with its lack of funds. Overspending was unavoidable and the threat of closure was ever present. However, Scarfolk Council’s department for health and knitting hit upon a simple method to radically reduce spending.

Firstly, taking its lead from a household insurance policy, the council recategorised many serious (thus expensive) illnesses as ineligible for treatment. Cases were dismissed due to general wear and tear or acts of god, and the council even went as far as to recommend that patients with serious physical ailments contact the manufacturer for further assistance. Secondly, the spread of disease in hospitals was cut by 90% by removing and prohibiting sick patients.

Patients with cheaper, non-threatening conditions were admitted to NHS hospitals, but only if they understood that they might share a bed with up to 9 other patients and/or a startup business that had rented the bed as office space. Patients were also subjected to virtually costless placebo trials. In fact, all treatments in 1979 were placebos consisting of either sherbet infusions (the town mayor was a major stakeholder in a Scarfolk confectionery factory) or daily rituals conducted by a coven of witches, who chanted in hospital car parks around an effigy of a nature deity made from balloons.

The cost-cutting scheme was successful and other regions adopted the same model. Not treating people was the only way to keep the NHS a viable, going concern, permitting it to continue what it has always done best: treat people — via Scarfolk Council


How to speak Australian: Abbreviate Everything / Josh Hawkins + Rhys Keir

Two blokes, Josh and Rhys, sit down to explain the key to the simple beauty of Australian slang: it’s all about abbreviation. If you’ve ever wondered what to say when Tommo asks if you wanna go down the bowlo sarvo for a schnitty and a bevvy before watching some soapies on the telly, this explainer is for you — via Youtube


“The Anti-Weeping Campaign” Magazine Advertisement (1977) / Scarfolk Council

This advertisement appeared in children’s magazines in the 1970s following studies into child behaviour. Researchers found that children were essentially miniature sociopaths and the only reason they didn’t run amok on murderous rampages was because they couldn’t reach the knife drawer in the kitchen.

Unable to kill en masse, they instead demanded attention by intentionally causing accidents and feigning injury or distress: knocking over boiling pans, slipping in dog excrement, leaping out of police helicopters.

In addition to being irksome, infant tears were deemed to be nothing short of psychological weapons. Parents were warned to arm themselves against the emotional assaults of their offspring, particularly because, if left unchecked, their child might eventually develop dark supernatural powers.

Indeed, for many years people believed that infant sobs contained potentially lethal occult messages. For example, the often-heard whine Please help me, I’m trapped under the front wheels of this bus, when played backwards sounds like The Moomins will come; they will fuck you up — via Scarfolk Council


Aldinga man, 47, charged with murder after body found in wheelie bin at Aldinga Beach

A man has been charged with murder after the discovery of a body stuffed inside a domestic wheelie bin and left outside an Aldinga Beach home on Saturday.

The victim has been identified as an Aldinga Beach man aged 32.

Police said the arrested man, 47, of Aldinga, and victim were known to each other and had been drinking together in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

It is alleged the murder occurred at this time.

The arrested man has been refused police bail and is expected to appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court tomorrow (Monday).

Police say a man’s body had been found inside a bin, which was left on the footpath at the northern end of Shephard St.

The owner of the adjacent house made the gruesome discovery about 11am on Saturday — via


Fine for man who taxied plane down Newman street and stopped at pub

A 37-year-old man who taxied his light plane down the main street in the WA Pilbara town of Newman and parked it at a pub has been fined.

Anthony Philip Whiteway pleaded guilty in the Newman Magistrates Court to committing an act likely to endanger the life, health or safety of a person.

The plane had no wings, but its propeller had been running when it was taxied down the street earlier this month.

Mr Whiteway had just bought the aircraft and was taking it home when he stopped at the Newman Hotel.

Police said there was an exposed fuel line hanging from the side of the plane that was attached to an insecure jerry-can inside the cabin to enable the engine to run.

They said Mr Whiteway, who does not hold a pilot’s licence, left the engine in a potentially dangerous condition with the ignition on.

He was fined $5,000 plus court and towage costs — via


What Do You Do When You Think You Have a Murderer in the Family?

At first, my mother was the only one who’d refuse to eat Grandma’s food, and I thought she was being paranoid. Then I started noticing that every time I went to Grandma’s, I’d pass out on the couch or on the train on the way back to the city. When I stopped eating Grandma’s food, my brother thought I was paranoid. But I stopped passing out, and pretty soon he stopped eating Grandma’s food too.

But here’s the thing: You don’t want to believe your grandmother is poisoning you. You know that she loves you—there’s no doubt of that—and she’s so marvellously grandmotherly and charming. And you know that she would never want to poison you. So despite your better judgement, you eat the food until you’ve passed out so many times that you can’t keep doubting yourself. Eventually, we would arrive for holidays at Grandma’s with groceries and take-out, and she’d seem relieved that we wouldn’t let her touch our plates. By then, her eyesight was starting to go, so she wouldn’t notice the layer of crystalline powder atop that fancy lox she was giving you.

So the question became: How did we explain to guests, outsiders, that they shouldn’t eat grandma’s food? One time, maybe on Passover, my brother brought his new girlfriend, an actress. Grandma had promised not to prepare anything, and it seemed she’d kept her word, so we didn’t mention the poisoning thing to the girlfriend, but after we’d eaten lunch, Grandma came out of the kitchen with these oatmeal raisin cookies that looked terrible. They were bulbous, like the baking soda had gone haywire. My brother’s girlfriend ate two of them, maybe out of politeness. We looked on, aghast. She had a rehearsal in the city, but she passed out on the couch and missed it — via


How to Be Polite / Paul Ford

Most people don’t notice I’m polite, which is sort of the point. I don’t look polite. I am big and droopy and need a haircut. No soul would associate me with watercress sandwiches. Still, every year or so someone takes me aside and says, you actually are weirdly polite, aren’t you? And I always thrill. They noticed.

The complimenters don’t always formulate it so gently. For example, after two years ago at the end of an arduous corporate project, slowly turning a thousand red squares in a spreadsheet to yellow, then green, my officemate turned to me and said: I thought you were a terrible ass-kisser when we started working together.

She paused and frowned. But it actually helped get things done. It was a strategy. (That is how an impolite person gives a compliment. Which I gladly accepted) — via

Weird, Wildlife

Tyrannosaurus Attacked by Flamingos / Google Campus

This statue of a fossilised Tyrannosaurus Rex stands on the Google Campus. His name is Stan. The Googleplex is also infested with a flock of plastic flamingos, which have ganged up on the dinosaur to pick the bones clean. Stan seems to not mind at all — via Neatorama


Japanese schoolgirl arrested for murdering, dismembering classmate

A 15-year-old Japanese schoolgirl has been arrested on suspicion of murdering a classmate and dismembering her body, local media have reported.

The suspect, whose name was not released as she is a minor, has admitted to strangling the victim and severing her head and left hand, according to the Kyodo news agency.

She allegedly delivered blows to the head of 15-year-old Aiwa Matsuo with a metal instrument before strangling her in the city of Sasebo, in Nagasaki Prefecture, southwest Japan.

The victim’s body was found on a bed in the suspect’s apartment early on Sunday and investigators discovered tools nearby, reports said.

The suspect, who lived away from her parents though in the same city, told police she acted alone in the grisly killing, Kyodo added.

Matsuo had reportedly gone out to meet friends on Saturday afternoon, but her parents notified the police when she failed to return home at night.

The two girls graduated from the same junior high school — via


Human skulls donated to thrift store; donor sought

The King County Medical Examiner’s Office is asking for the public’s help to find who donated three human skulls to a Bellevue thrift store.

There is no information about who donated the skulls to the Bellevue Goodwill or how they came to be in the donor’s possession.

The KCME said two of the skulls of from adults and were clearly used in a medical clinic or teaching setting.

The third skull appears to be the fragile remains of a Native American child. Forensic anthropologist Kathy Taylor said the skull is that of a 5 or 6-year-old and is at least 100 years old.

According to state law, the Native American skull must be returned to its tribe of origin, but the ME needs more information to identify the correct tribe.

The office is asking that the person who donated the skulls come forward, without penalty, to provide more details about where the skull came from — via


The bizarre secret of London’s buried diggers

I’ve made a discovery about what is buried under the swimming pools and basement conversions of wealthy west London. This booty is worth about £5m. More revealing, however, is another fact: this £5m was tossed away like small change tipped into a busker’s hat. It is not Nazi art, or plutonium that has been used to kill the enemies of Russian oligarchs. It is a fleet of diggers.

Beginning in the 1990s, buyers of London’s most expensive addresses began to feel a little hemmed in, even claustrophobic, inside their houses. Where could one take a swim, for example? Or watch a film on a cinema-size screen? Obviously, the idea of leaving the house to pursue such pastimes — and thus engaging with the human colour and spectacle that were once considered inextricably bound up with living in a city — was too ghastly to countenance. No, all pleasures had to be brought within the boundaries of one’s house, thus protecting the owner from the dangers of face-to-face interaction with normal civilians.

So, many of the squares of the capital’s super-prime real estate, from Belgravia and Chelsea to Mayfair and Notting Hill, have been reconfigured house by house. Given that London’s strict planning rules restrict building upwards, digging downwards has been the solution for owners who want to expand their property’s square-footage.

The challenge of adding new subterranean floors to London houses has become a highly lucrative business. The heavy lifting — or, in this case, the heavy digging — is usually contracted out to basement-conversion specialists. These firms discovered that it was reasonably easy to get a small digger (occasionally two) into the rear garden of a house on an exclusive 19th-century square. Sometimes they simply knock a hole in the wall and drive the diggers straight through the house. In other cases, the windows are so large that a digger can squeeze through without dismantling the bricks and mortar.

The difficulty is in getting the digger out again. To construct a no-expense-spared new basement, the digger has to go so deep into the London earth that it is unable to drive out again. What could be done?

Initially, the developers would often use a large crane to scoop up the digger, which was by now nestled almost out of sight at the bottom of a deep hole. Then they began to calculate the cost-benefit equation of this procedure. First, a crane would have to be hired; second, the entire street would need to be closed for a day while the crane was manoeuvred into place. Both of these stages were very expensive, not to mention unpopular among the distinguished local residents.

A new solution emerged: simply bury the digger in its own hole. Given the exceptional profits of London property development, why bother with the expense and hassle of retrieving a used digger — worth only £5,000 or £6,000 — from the back of a house that would soon be sold for several million? The time and money expended on rescuing a digger were better spent moving on to the next big deal.

The new method, now considered standard operating practice, is to cover the digger with hardcore, a mixture of sand and gravel. Then a layer of concrete is simply poured over the top. Digger? What digger? The digger has literally dug its own grave — just as the boring machines that excavated the Channel Tunnel were abandoned beneath the passage they had just created — via


Dunedin man’s 99-character name

A Dunedin man has changed his name to the longest legally allowed, after apparently losing a bet five years ago.

The 22-year-old man from Normanby is now legally known as Full Metal Havok More Sexy N Intelligent Than Spock And All The Superheroes Combined With Frostnova — just one character shy of Department of Internal Affairs’ (DIA) 100 character limit.

A message on an online body building forum, written by someone describing themselves as a friend of the man, said the name change was the result of a lost poker bet and the man realised his drunken consequences only when his passport expired.

DIA Births Deaths and Marriages spokesman Michael Mead said the change of name was registered in March 2010.

The name met the requirements of naming rules and the applicant paid the fee and completed the form correctly, he said — via


Australia police free naked man stuck in washing machine

Police in Australia have rescued a naked man who got stuck inside a washing machine while playing a game of hide-and-seek.

The man reportedly hid inside the top-loading machine so he could surprise his partner.

But he became stuck and it took 20 minutes for rescuers to dislodge him using olive oil as a lubricant.

Firefighters, paramedics and a search-and-rescue squad were also called to help with the situation.

The incident took place on Saturday in Mooroopna town, north of Melbourne, in Victoria state — via


Pot-smoking burglars use house to dye hair

Police are still trying to figure out why a group of unknown suspects would break into a Vaughn Street home just to smoke marijuana and dye their hair.

A woman discovered the burglary when she came home the day after Thanksgiving following a two-day trip to celebrate the holiday. Oddly enough, nothing was missing from the residence, located in the 500 block of Vaughn Street, according to a Murfreesboro Police Department incident report.

(The woman) stated that when she returned to her residence, she noticed her front window open, Officer Christopher Williams said in the report, and a cover had been placed over the window, and (she smelled) the odour of smoked marijuana.

Williams said the woman also pointed out that someone had dyed their hair red in the bathroom — via


UFO-02 Detector / George Takei

I purchased this gizmo to play a prank on my husband Brad, who still prattles on about his fourth-kind encounter when he was just thirteen. (The 4th kind involves a probe, if you’re wondering. I keep saying it was likely his redneck neighbor dressed as ET, but that possibility is too dreadful for him to truly accept.)

On the anniversary of Brad’s alleged abduction, I placed the device by our bedside, then set-up an electromagnetic wave generator under the bed, with a timer to go off right at midnight. (If you’re wondering where to get one, I recommend the Skymall Catalog. I also picked up some Motivational posters and fake garden rock speakers to save on shipping. You’re welcome.)

But back to my prank. It was all set to go, and I was as giddy as a six year old waiting for Santa. But like a typical six year old, I fell asleep before the damn thing went off. I awoke to the flashing of multiple LEDs from the UFO-02 Detector, and bolted up, eager to see Brad’s petrified face. Aha!

But Brad wasn’t there.

In fact, I wasn’t even in our bedroom any more. Instead, I stood face-to-face with Leonardo da Vinci. Or perhaps it was Professor Dumbledore, I’m not really certain. In either event, It was a manifestation that the being I shall call the Intelligence had determined my brain would most easily accept for deliverance of The Message.

You see, the Intelligence had come to convey to us humans that the Imperative was nigh, that what we loosely dub the Singularity was only the beginning of a limitless existence unbounded by physical space and time, and that sugar-free alternatives are actually WORSE for us than the real deal. He made sure that last point was clear by making me repeat it twice.

When I came to, Brad was sound asleep in his tin foil hat, the UFO-02 detector was gone, and, sure enough, all of my Splenda had been replaced with little, brown raw sugar packets. When I tried to tell Brad about Leonardo/Dumbledore and The Message, he rolled over away from me, grumbling that I shouldn’t eat so much ice cream or any dairy product before bed.

by the always awesome George Takei — via Amazon


Premier Inn guest Joseph Small hurled racist abuse with fire extinguisher hose up his bottom

A hotel guest emerged naked from a storage cupboard of a Premier Inn with a fire extinguisher hose up his bottom, a court was told.

Joseph Small, 20, stripped off and grabbed the appliance on the fourth floor corridor of the budget hotel.

He then put the hose between his buttocks and began touching himself, Westminster magistrates’ court heard.

Small also urinated on the carpet before a hotel worker wrapped him in a towel and escorted him down to reception.

He then hurled abuse at the Bangladeshi member of staff, telling him: This country has been taken over by al-Qaeda — go back to Pakistan.

In the lobby, Small again urinated in front of tourists, shouting: I come from Sheffield in England.

He caused £450 damage, the court was told — via


Glasgow Duke of Wellington statue to keep traffic-cone hat as residents give jokers the thumbs-up

Scotland’s biggest city Glasgow has dropped plans to lift up a statue to stop jokers putting traffic cones on its head, after more than 10,000 people signed a petition in protest.

The city’s council had planned to spend 65,000 pounds ($111,700) to lift the plinth of the Duke of Wellington statue, located at Royal Exchange Square.

Erected in central Glasgow in 1844, the statue shows the 19th-century British war hero sitting proudly on his horse, but students and revellers regularly delight in placing a bright orange traffic cone on his head.

The council said the tradition gave the city a depressing image.

It said that by raising the plinth to 1.8 metres, it would deter all but the most determined of vandals.

But with typical Glaswegian humour, more than 10,000 people signed an online petition describing the practice of placing a cone on the duke’s head as a cherished cultural tradition — via


Bland Shire in NSW invited to join international league with towns Dull and Boring

A local council in the central west of New South Wales has been invited to take the next step in establishing a Dull and Boring tourism partnership.

Bland Shire, based in West Wyalong, started exploring potential sister-city relationships with Boring in the United States and Dull in Scotland six months ago.

It has now been invited to join an international league of extraordinary communities with other cities with dreary names.

The towns of Boring and Dull already have a pairing relationship that has led to residents linking up via social media.

Steve Bates of the Boring Community Planning Organisation (BCPO) says after a formal request was received, the idea was put to Dull’s community council.

The BCPO officially formed the league on 5 November and has now extended an invitation to Bland Shire — via

Technology, Weird

3D-printed ‘gun part’ are actually spare parts for the printer

Police in Manchester have arrested a man for 3D printing the components to a gun — but some have suggested the objects actually appear to be spare printer parts.

Police raided the home in Baguley, Manchester yesterday, finding what they described as a 3D printer, a plastic magazine and trigger, which could be fitted together to make a viable 3D gun.

It they are found to be viable components for a 3D gun, it would be the first ever seizure of this kind in the UK, the police said in a statement. The parts are now being forensically examined by firearms specialists to establish if they could construct a genuine device.

However, some — including Gigaom — have pointed out that the parts may be more benign, noting the item the police say is a trigger looks similar to part of a component listed on Thingiverse, a database of 3D printable designs — via

History, Weird

The Man Who Fought in WWII With a Sword and Bow

Running into battle armed with a broadsword, bow, and quiver of arrows was perfectly acceptable if you were fighting in the Hundred Years’ War or fending off some orcs on Middle Earth. But when it comes to World War II, such medieval weaponry looks like child’s play next to the technology of the time. A sword isn’t the most likely of defences against rifles and tanks. However, for John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill, nicknamed Mad Jack, there was nothing he’d rather arm himself with than a trusty sword and bow.

Born into an old Oxfordshire family, he graduated from the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst in 1926. Before his World War II fame, Mad Jack worked as an editor of a Nairobi newspaper, a model, and a movie extra, appearing in The Thief of Bagdad due to his expertise with a bow. That same talent with archery took him to Oslo, Norway where he shot for Britain during the world championships in 1939.

By this time, of course, Europe was fast approaching World War II. Mad Jack had left the army after ten years of service, but happily returned to it because of the country having gotten into a jam in my absence.

By May 1940, Mad Jack was the second in command of an infantry company. He always marched into battle with a bow and arrows and his trusty basket-hilted claymore by his side. Despite these weapons being wildly outdated, Churchill defended them, saying, In my opinion… any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed — via


Group of observant Brooklyn drug dealers told customers they were closed for Shabbat: authorities

At least they were observant drug dealers, authorities say.

A group of pushers from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, texted their hours to customers and warned that they closed for Shabbat, according to an indictment unsealed Tuesday.

The indictment accuses the five men of conspiracy for sending texts to customers announcing drugs for purchase, such as DOB for the brand name of heroin sold.

And the messages repeatedly warned customers against arriving after sundown on a Friday or before sundown on Saturday, the indictment alleges.

We are closing 7.30 on the dot and we will reopen Saturday 8.15 so if u need anything you have 45 mins to get what you want, an 12 April message to over 50 recipients read.

The men are accused of peddling heroin, oxycodone, cocaine and other drugs from their Bedford Ave. drug warehouse — via

Wife arrested for killing cheating husband with coffee cup

A 61-year-old housewife battered her 70-year-old husband to death with a coffee cup after discovering he was cheating on her, reports said Monday.

The woman allegedly attacked her husband after learning of his affair, battering him repeatedly about the face and head with the mug at their home in Isehara, Kanagawa Prefecture, on Sunday afternoon, the Asahi Shimbun and other media reported.

Yasuo Hirose, an honorary professor with Yokohama National University, was taken to hospital but later confirmed dead — via

Noisy Cramlington library knitters no longer welcome

A knitting group said it was no longer allowed to meet at a library because its needles are dangerous and its members are too noisy.

The Knit ‘n’ Natter group met at the library in Cramlington, Northumberland once a week to knit replica anatomical parts for training NHS midwives.

But now the library has moved and the knitters said Northumberland County Council had barred them.

The council said there was not enough room for the large group.

But a spokesman said the women were still welcome if they split into smaller groups.

Since the group began three years ago its 20 to 30 members have knitted thousands of garments for premature and sick babies.

They have also made 1,500 pairs of knitted breasts and are currently knitting wombs for midwives — via

Jetpack cleared by New Zealand authorities to carry a pilot

The New Zealand makers of a one-person jetpack hope to have it on sale by the middle of next year.

The Martin Aircraft company says its jetpack can reach speeds of up to 70 kilometres per hour and soar 1 kilometre high.

The Christchurch-based firm has been testing its prototype 12 via remote control.

The New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority said the jetpack has now been issued with an experimental flight permit for development test flying, which allows someone to pilot the aircraft.

Martin Aircraft says it has had 10,000 enquiries from people keen to take to the skies, but it is likely to first sell the jetpacks to government and emergency agencies involved in search and rescue and defence.

Chief executive Peter Coker said a simpler model aimed at the general public is expected to be on the market in 2015 — via

HIV patients told by Pentecostal pastors to rely on God

Some young HIV patients are giving up their medicine after being told by Pentecostal Church pastors to rely on faith in God instead, doctors warn.

Medical staff told the BBC a minority of pastors in England were endangering young church members by putting them under pressure to stop medication.

Healing is central to Pentecostalism, a radical belief in the power of prayer and miracles.

But one pastor denied people would ever be told to stop taking their medicine.

The Children’s HIV Association surveyed 19 doctors and health professionals working with babies and children in England; its members had reported hearing anecdotal evidence of HIV patients deciding to stop taking their anti-retroviral drugs because their pastors had told them to do so.

Among 10 doctors who said they had encountered the problem in the last five years, 29 of their patients had reported being put under pressure to stop taking medicine and at least 11 had done so — via

Fake cop hassles the wrong people in San Miguel County

A man driving a truck with police lights on top made a mistake Wednesday when he decided to make a fake police stop.

The two men he pulled over and accused of speeding on NM 104 in San Miguel County were actually State Police agents travelling in an unmarked truck.

When questioned by the State Police agents, John Shelton, 26, of Logan, who had a pistol on his hip, claimed to be a member of the New Mexico State Police Search and Rescue, an emergency medical tech and a fire fighter, and said he was being trained as a law enforcement officer — none of which would authorise him to make a traffic stop.

The real officers had police business to attend to and initially gave Shelton a warning and let him to. But they quickly determined they should try to find Shelton again and charge him impersonating an officer, according to a State Police spokesman.

When Shelton drove back by the officers, they flagged him down and he was arrested. The agents also determined that none of what Shelton had said about his connections to law enforcement was true.

The State Police are now asking for help in finding anyone else who may have been pulled over by Shelton — via