This Week in WTF, May 8, 2015

– Lonely no more: I wasn’t entirely sure what a “selfie stick” was until a few weeks ago, and now that I’ve thought about it a bit, I find the idea all at once ridiculous, useful, and sort of sad. Ridiculous just because I generally find selfies ridiculous. Useful because I can think of scenarios when you might want a picture of yourself and everyone else in the immediate vicinity, and this things lets everyone be in the picture. Sad because it means you never have to ask another person “Hey, could you take a picture of me/us, please?”

Well, someone managed to find a way to make the selfie stick even stranger, with the Selfie Arm (h/t Susan). This lets you pretend you’re not all by yourself in a photo by mimicking a human hand and arm. A ghostly pale, rubbery human hand. The sort of hand that makes you look at the picture below and wonder “Did someone put a GoPro on a zombie?” Continue reading


This Week in WTF, April 3, 2015

– I’d hate to see what would happen if he got hold of her Eggo: A woman in Akron, Ohio was arrested for allegedly stabbing her boyfriend repeatedly, allegedly because he ate all of her salsa (h/t Paul).

Look, I get how important salsa can be, and I don’t want to get too high and mighty about my condiments……but see, I’m from San Antonio, and we take our salsa very seriously. I mean, like, extremely seriously. I would take the Pepsi challenge with Ohio salsa any day, and you know what’s great about Texas? There is always more salsa.

– If you’re just going to let your mouth hang open like that…: The pitcher plant, at least from a conceptual standpoint, might be the most terrifying organism to have ever existed. Yes, I’m including spiders and sharks in my analysis. Pitcher plants are at least as terrifying as winged devourers, except that they have the added factor of being real. They just sit there, waiting for something to land on them, or crawl up on them, just to slip and fall into the pitcher, where they are digested, pretty much in the open air.

Pitcher plants…grow[] long tube-shaped leaves into which insects fall. Some of the largest have pitchers up to a foot deep and can consume a whole frog or even a rat unlucky enough to fall into them. Sophisticated chemistry helps make the pitcher a death trap. Nepenthes rafflesiana, a pitcher plant that grows in jungles on Borneo, produces nectar that both lures insects and forms a slick surface on which they can’t get a grip. Insects that land on the rim of the pitcher hydroplane on the liquid and tumble in. The digestive fluid in which they fall has very different properties. Rather than being slippery, it’s gooey. If a fly tries to lift its leg up into the air to escape, the fluid holds on tenaciously, like a rubber band.

Pitcher plants are like tiny, real-life Sarlaccs, except that everyone can hear you scream.

Also, no tentacles……yet……

One species that lives on the island of Borneo, however, seems to have found another means of sustenance: as a bat toilet: Continue reading


This Week In WTF, March 27, 2015

– Marketing, meet chemistry: If it never occurred to you to put someone with a chemistry background on your marketing team, maybe it should now. The people behind a Jägermeister-sponsored party involving a pool thought it would be a cool effect to have mist coming off the water. When I think “mist,” I think dry ice, which is basically carbon dioxide frozen solid. It requires temperatures of about −78.5 °C (−109.3 °F).

For this party, though, it was definitely go big or go home. They apparently used liquid nitrogen, which requires a brisk −195.79 °C (−320 °F)—this is why it’s the mechanism of choice in Hollywood for freezing people and smashing heads or limbs (or, if it’s a Friday the 13th movie set in outer space, a hot blonde’s face ← do not click that link.)

Now, as you probably know, swimming pool water contains chlorine, usually calcium hypochlorite or a similar compound. The chlorine compound used in swimming pools tends to react with liquid nitrogen to form nitrogen trichloride, which has the properties of tear gas and can cause neurological damage. Continue reading


This Week in WTF, March 20, 2015

– I fear this technology could be turned to evil uses: Presenting Tomatan, the robot your wear as a backpack that shoves tomatoes in your mouth. Because why not? (h/t Laura)

– Kind of hard to spin this one for the culture wars: It seems like kids are getting pregnant earlier and earlier these days. Here’s a kid who was born pregnant. With twins. (h/t Tim)

– Wait, what? U.S. PIRG released a report a few months ago that named Austin, Texas the best car-free city in the United States (h/t Chris). You read that right. Not to stereotype people who work for PIRGs, but I wonder if the researchers ever left downtown or the Drag.

– Next Republican fashion trend: yoga burqas, or “yoburqas”: A Republican state legislator in Montana proposed a law that would have banned clothing that “gives the appearance or simulates the buttocks, genitals, pelvic area, or female nipple”—i.e. no yoga pants (h/t Jack, G). The bill didn’t make it far, though. A few days after the story broke, he claimed he was kidding. Continue reading


This Week in WTF, March 13, 2015

There’s quite a bit to catch y’all up on here.

– For the Buffalo Bill in us all: If you’ve ever wanted furniture upholstered with human skin, but are squeamish about the whole murder/butchery thing, science has developed “a leather chair with a pheromone-impregnated silicone base that makes it feel (and smell!) like you’re lounging in the fleshy, comforting folds of a man’s belly.” Just what humanity needs, right? (h/t Laura)

– This version of the Constitution is shielded by several layers of tin foil: Did you know that the original U.S. Constitution was secretly suspended in 1871 and replaced with something that places us under the jurisdiction of the Vatican? Or the lizard people, maybe? No one else with any knowledge of U.S. history or a scrap of sanity did, either! (h/t Jason) (BTW, I think the site I linked just now—not Facebook, the other one—might have just tried to put malware on my computer. Proceed with caution.) Continue reading


This Week in WTF, February 20, 2015

– Baby goes into crib. Shark’s in the crib. Our shark: If this baby doesn’t sleep well at night, his parents have no one to blame but themselves.

© Joseph Reginella / via Death and Taxes

© Joseph Reginella / via Death and Taxes

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Yup:

Photo credit: © Joseph Reginella / via Death and Taxes.


This Week in WTF, February 13, 2015

I have gotten very far behind on this particular blog series, so here is a quick roundup of what I meant to post over the past few months (part 3 of 3).

– Austerity goes too far: I know kids’ birthday parties can be hella expensive, and it’s awfully rude to say your kid will be there and then just not show up. That said, I’m pretty sure it still violates some clause of the social contract to invoice the kid for the cost of his share of the party. Seriously, they didn’t send a bill to the parents—they gave it directly to a five-year-old.

– Suck it, Goonies: I once found a pipe that was part of an old gas line buried in my backyard. I never found buried pirate treasure or anything. These kids in California found a buried Ferrari.

© Michael Haering, via Sliptalk / Jalopnik

© Michael Haering, via Sliptalk / Jalopnik

This happened in 1978, but it’s still both newsworthy and WTF today. Continue reading


This Week in WTF, February 6, 2015

I have gotten very far behind on this particular blog series, so here is a quick roundup of what I meant to post over the past few months (part 2 of 3).

– I’m Not Sure What These Are For: Have you ever thought that your poop just didn’t quite sparkle enough? If that describes you, (1) please don’t ever speak to me, and (2) do not consume these Glitter Pills:

Via GlitterPills / Etsy

Via GlitterPills / Etsy

The Etsy page says it quite clearly: Continue reading


This Week in WTF, January 30, 2015

I have gotten very far behind on this particular blog series, so here is a quick roundup of what I meant to post over the past few months (part 1 of 3).

– Pumpkin Spice?: I really can’t add anything to this story:

Citing a satirical news report – which he appeared to take seriously – [Pastor James David Manning, of the ATLAH World Missionary Church in Harlem,] said: “Starbucks is a place where these types frequent and a lot of body fluids are exchanged there.

“The thing that I was not aware of is that… what Starbucks was doing, is they were taking specimens of male semen, and they were putting it in the blends of their lattes.

“It’s the absolute truth. They’re using male semen, and putting it into the blends of coffees that they sell.

“My suspicion is that they’re getting their semen from sodomites. Semen flavours up the coffee, and makes you thinks you’re having a good time.”

By Takeaway (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

“Hmmm, do I detect a hint of……Jeff……in this latte?”

– Bling Your Baby: Have you been thinking that you wish your baby was a bit more crunk, but you’re (a) white, and (b) an idiot who doesn’t know what “crunk” means? Then you should try this gold grill pacifier: Continue reading


This Week in WTF, October 10, 2014

– On the plus side, she’s sure to sell the movie rights: A woman in Spain may be having marital problems, but I’m sure her story will make a profitable—if not actually good—movie.

Some nine months ago, a bride-to-be had sex with a dwarf stripper after a bachelorette party, and this week she introduced a new member of the family to her husband who is likely not the father. Or so the newborn infant’s attributes would suggest.

Inside a hospital in Valencia, Spain, the mother confessed to her tryst with the stripper when doctors recognized the newborn possessed traits related to dwarfism.

Actually, George R.R. Martin may have already thought of a somewhat similar storyline…

This isn’t the storyline I had in mind. It’s just awesome.

– Not quite to Phase 3 yet: The FDA is saying that caffeine-infused underpants probably won’t help you lose weight (h/t Ragen). Continue reading