NEWS OF THE WEIRD

CAN’T POSSIBLY BE TRUE

—–News of the Weird has written several times (as technology progressed) about Matt McMullen’s “RealDoll” franchise — the San Marcos, California, engineer’s richly detailed flexible silicone mannequins that currently sell for $5,500 and up (more with premium custom features). Even before the recent success of the very humanish, artificially intelligent (AI) android “hosts” on TV’s “Westworld,” McMullen revealed that his first AI doll, “Harmony,” will soon be available with a choice of 12 “personalities,” including “intellectualism” and “wit,” to mimic an emotional bond to add to the sexual. A recent University of London conference previewed a near future when fake women routinely provide uncomplicated relationships for lonely (or disturbed) men. (Recently, in Barcelona, Spain, a brothel opened offering four “realdolls” “disinfected after each customer” — though still recommending condoms.) [Forbes, 2-28-2017] —- Scientists at Columbia University and the New York Genome Center announced that they have digitally stored (and retrieved) a movie, an entire computer operating system and a $50 gift card on a single drop of DNA. In theory, wrote the researchers in the journal Science, they might store, on one gram of DNA, 215 “petabytes” (i.e., 215 million gigabytes — enough to run, say, 10 million HD movies) and could reduce all the data housed in the Library of Congress to a small cube of crystals. [Wall Street Journal, 3-3-2017]

MISCELLANEOUS ECONOMIC INDICATORS

(1) “Bentley” the cat went missing in Marina Del Rey, California, on Feb. 26 and as of press time had not been located — despite a posted reward of $20,000. (A “wanted” photo is online, if you’re interested.) (2) British snack food manufacturer Walkers advertised in February for a part-time professional chip taster, at the equivalent of $10.55 an hour. (3) An Australian state administrative tribunal awarded a $90,000 settlement after a cold-calling telemarketer sold a farm couple 2,000 ink cartridges (for their one printer) by repeated pitches. [Fox News, 3-8-2017] [Leicester Mercury, 2-23-2017] [The Age (Melbourne), 3-9-2017]

UNDIGNIFIED DEATHS

(1) Smoking Kills: A 78-year-old man in Easton, Pennsylvania, died in February from injuries caused when he lit his cigarette but accidentally set afire his hooded sweatshirt. (2) Pornography Kills: A Mexico City man fell to his death recently in the city’s San Antonio neighborhood when he climbed up to turn off a highway video sign on the Periferico Sur highway that was showing a pornographic clip apparently placed by a hacker. [NJ.com, 2-28-2017] [Metro News (London), 3-6-2017] ]

LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINALS

Oops! An officer in Harrington, Delaware, approaching an illegally parked driver at Liberty Plaza Shopping Center in March, had suspicions aroused when she gave him a name other than “Keyonna Waters” (which was the name on the employee name tag she was wearing). Properly ID’ed, she was arrested for driving with a suspended license. [WMDT-TV (Salisbury, Md.), 3-6-2017]

THE PASSING PARADE

(1) In his third try of the year in January, Li Longlong of China surpassed his own Guinness Book record by climbing 36 stairs while headstanding (beating his previous 34). (Among the Guinness regulations: no touching walls and no pausing more than five seconds per step.

“Giraffe Mom” Erin Dietrich poses with her new baby

(2) The online live-stream of the extremely pregnant giraffe “April” (at New York’s Animal Adventure Park) has created such a frenzy, and exposed the tiny attention spans of viewers, that, as of March 3, they had spent a cumulative 1,036 years just watching. (Erin Dietrich of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, 39 weeks pregnant herself, mocked the lunacy by livestreaming her own belly while wearing a giraffe mask.) (By press time, Erin had delivered; April, not.) [Huffington Post, 3-10-2017] [BBC News, 3-3-2017]