Weird Universe Blog — March 26, 2023

A comparison of teflon and plastic

From the Hagley Archive's collection of DuPont Product information photographs.

Definite industrial chemist as dominatrix vibe.

source (1945)

An explanation:

From a boiling bath of hot sulfuric acid, a laboratory technician lifts two rods of plastic. One has charred and deteriorated. The other-a rod of DuPont's new Teflon tetrafluoroethylene resin-is not affected at all by the highly corrosive hot acid. Teflon resists the most corrosive acids and solvents to a degree unequaled by any other plastic. It is not attacked even by aqua regia which dissolves gold and platinum.

A photo of another chemist doing the same thing, but it doesn't have the same vibe to it:

source (1945)

Posted By: Alex - Sun Mar 26, 2023 - Comments (2)
Category: Mad Scientists, Evil Geniuses, Insane Villains | Photography and Photographers | Science | 1940s

Power Athletic Shoes Commercial

Our shoes will crush all opposition and restore the Fatherland!

Posted By: Paul - Sun Mar 26, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Dictators, Tyrants and Other Harsh Rulers | Excess, Overkill, Hyperbole and Too Much Is Not Enough | Advertising | Shoes | 1990s

March 25, 2023

The influence of odors on creative thinking

There have been a variety of studies examining how psychoactive drugs affect behavior and creative output. But could smells also have a psychoactive effect? That was the question posed in a 1958 experiment conducted by scientist Leo H. Narodny — published in an obscure trade journal, The Perfumery & Essential Oil Record. Narodny wrote: "It may be possible, by inhaling certain odours, to influence creative imagination without endangering the whole brain by an excessive dosage of drugs."

He used a textile designer as his test subject. Every day, for two weeks, he had her draw a design while breathing unscented air. Then, after breathing in air saturated with an odorous essential oil (such as bergamot, vanilla, peppermint, or cedarwood), she drew a second design. Some of the results are below.

It was hard to draw conclusions based on such a small sample size, but Narodny felt that the designer tended to draw more abstract patterns when exposed to the essential oils.

Nadia Berenstein offers more details about the experiment on her "Flavor Added" blog.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Mar 25, 2023 - Comments (2)
Category: Art | Experiments | Psychology | Smells and Odors

March 24, 2023

Destroyed Baggy Jeans

We've posted about ripped jeans before. But these take the concept to a whole new level of grottiness.

You can purchase them via Bergdorf Goodman for only $2,450.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Mar 24, 2023 - Comments (5)
Category: Overpriced Merchandise | Denim

The Mole Man of London

For some reason I recalled recently the odd case of William Lyttle, the Mole Man of London, who dug out a warren of tunnels under his home.

Lyttle, originally from Ireland, inherited a 20-room property in the London borough of Hackney. In the mid-sixties he dug out a wine cellar under his home. Having done so, he said that he had "found a taste for the thing" and kept on digging, for some forty years.[2] He created a network of tunnels, wide and narrow, on several levels. Tunnels led in all directions, some of them up to 18 metres (59 ft) in length, and reaching as far down as the water table.[3] One excavation connected with the Dalston Lane tunnel, and the railway line.

I was intrigued to learn that 3 years ago, his derelict house had been renovated and repurposed! Read about it, with many pics, at the link.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Mar 24, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Domestic | Eccentrics | Caves, Caverns, Tunnels and Other Subterranean Venues | United Kingdom | Twentieth Century

March 23, 2023

Get Slim Slippers

These were mini slippers that supposedly helped one lose weight. How? Something to do with reflexology and magnets. And also, I assume, the extra effort required to balance in them.

They were sold via the website, which no longer exists (but is archived at the Wayback Machine). has an article by someone who tried them out to see if they would actually work:

I obeyed all the instructions. I started off gradually. In fact I had to — my arches, bearing almost all of my weight, hurt fiercely the first few days. (If you've ever climbed a round-runged ladder in your bare feet, you know the feeling.) I never went over the 2-1/2-hour limit, and I tried to "respect the slippers" in spite of jeers from my office mates. In a sense, I even "became One with the slippers"—they delivered a terrible foot odor each time I took them off. Apparently, the canvas uppers don't "breathe."

Related post: Slimming Insoles

Posted By: Alex - Thu Mar 23, 2023 - Comments (1)
Category: Shoes | Dieting and Weight Loss

Unlikely Reasons for Murder No. 13

Source: The News and Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina)03 Apr 1912

Posted By: Paul - Thu Mar 23, 2023 - Comments (3)
Category: Death | Money | Teenagers | 1910s

March 22, 2023

Viva Les Crepes

Released in 1971, this album taught you how to cook crepes. Unfortunately I can't find any audio clips of it online. From the album cover:

You'll be amazed at how easy it is. In this very authoritative, informative and thoroughly entertaining album, Chef Claude takes you on a most delightful musical, educational and palate-pleasing tour of the world of crêpes. He teaches you — in record time — a simple, fool-proof technique for making these delicate, paper-thin pancakes.

Some more info from the Louisville Courier-Journal (Dec 27, 1978):

Posted By: Alex - Wed Mar 22, 2023 - Comments (0)
Category: Food | Cookbooks | 1970s

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