Bye Aliens, Hello World (Aliens, Stains, Books, Chicken Livers, & Atrocious Bad Luck)

  • Bye E.T.! Any chances of aliens finding Earth may soon disappear. Which isn’t to say that there ever was a chance, really, but if there was, it’s soon to be gone, mostly thanks to the decrease in signal leakage from the technology around us. Television broadcast antennas—which put out a fairly significant amount of radio-waves—are giving way to less leak-prone technologies, such as cable and satellite TV. What the NewScientist article fails to address, however, is whether any alien civilizations receiving our broadcasts would actually interpret it as evidence of intelligent life; personally, I have my doubts. (NewScientist: “Chances of aliens finding Earth disappearing,” by David L Chandler [August 9, 2004])
  • Stain remover not required. Fashion Victims is not what it sounds like, probably. (Though this ultimately depends on what it sounds like to you.) It’s an exhibit of clothing and accessories, what C&A interact with cell phones, bleeding in response to the objects’ radiation.

    If nothing else, it’s an interesting exercise in rendering the invisible visible.
  • “When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin.” You’re in a bookstore, or a library, looking for something to read; what’s the first thing you look at? Openinghooks is a website based on the premise that the first thing you look at—and the most important thing—is the opening hook, that first killer sentence that reels you in (or fails to, as the case may be). The site is a database of the beginnings of books. You can browse by author, genre, title, or ranking. And yes, you can rank already-entered opening hooks and submit more. (via MeFi)
  • And they’re tasty, too! Apparently chicken liver, of all things, has long been a necessary part of diagnosing particular gastrointestinal disorders, generally following the procedure of: patient has problems, doctor injects chicken liver with radioactive tracer, patient consumes radioactive chicken liver, doctor discovers problem. Needless to say, chicken liver isn’t high on most people’s to-eat list. Now there’s an alternative. Medical students recently discovered that something by the name of “Carborate Pancake Mix,” a soy-based mix, actually works better than chicken liver. (AllHeadlineNews/Medical College Of Georgia: “Medical College Of Georgia Students Discover Medicinal Role For Pancake Mix” [August 10, 2004])
  • Tough Luck.

    A superstitious Romanian, who refused to leave his house throughout Friday the 13th to avoid bad luck, died after he was stung by a wasp in his kitchen, police said.

    Florin Carcu, 54, had even taken the precaution of asking his boss for permission not to go to work on the inauspicious Friday, the police in Cluj, central Romania, said in a statement.

    “It was the strangest request I’ve ever received but I ended up giving him permission to stay at home because he seemed to be really scared of something bad happening to him on that day,” Carcu’s boss Gheorghe Domsa told the press.

    Doctors from the emergency services in Cluj said Carcu had been making coffee when he was stung by a species of wasp nicknamed “the wolf”, which is very rare in Romania and whose sting is very poisonous.

    He died on the spot.

    (AFP/USA Today: “Avoiding work on Friday the 13th proves deadly for man” [August 18, 2004])