Wednesday, November 15, 2017

WEIRD NEWS

The Pill That Talks to Your Phone

In an unprecedented step to ensure that patients with mental disorders take the medicine prescribed for them, the Food and Drug Administration has approved the first drug in the United States with a digital ingestion tracking system. The drug Abilify MyCite was developed by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. and first approved by the FDA in 2002 to treat schizophrenia. Now it comes with an ingestible sensor, made by Proteus Digital Health, and the FDA says it "works by sending a message from the pill's sensor to a wearable patch," which sends data to a smartphone app that can be accessed by doctors and patients. The patch that the pill communicates with can also track activity levels and sleep patterns. Dr. Mitchell Mathis of the FDA says officials support the "use of new technology in prescription drugs and [are] committed to working with companies to understand how the new technology might benefit patients and prescribers." The tiny chip inside the pill contains minerals including silicon and copper that end up passing through a patient's digestive tract normally, the Wall Street Journal reports. Proteus Chief Executive Andrew Thompson says the chip is completely safe to consume and contains no more silicon than a banana. (Wall Street Journal)

No More Selfies with Hitler

It's kind of an interactive wax museum with visual effects. It's called the De Mata Trick Eye Museum; it's in Indonesia, and the folks who run it are sick of tourists taking selfies with Hitler. So the waxwork of the Nazi leader, set against a giant image of the Auschwitz extermination camp, has removed after outrage from Jewish and human rights groups. The museum, which has waxworks of about 80 famous people, had the Hitler figure on display since 2014. It initially defended the exhibit as "fun" and said it was one of the most popular waxworks with visitors. But now that oh-so-fun exhibit is gone. Presumedly to make room for the new Saddam Hussein exhibit? (Newser)

The Joy of Being a Public Defender

Like Chicago doesn't already have enough problems... but it seems public masturbation is so rampant in Chicago's Cook County Jail that female public defenders are now suing. Apparently, officials even offered inmates pizza to try to get them to stop. Hundreds of female public defenders and law clerks working at the jail and other lockups have had to endure "on an almost daily basis" inmates who repeatedly exposed their genitals, masturbated, and engaged in other acts of vulgar sex-based aggression, along with threats and harassment. The legal action filed last week says authorities have done little to stop the "heinous sexual misconduct." Efforts to curb the behavior have failed, including offering detainees pizza if they went 30 days without pleasuring themselves. Jumpsuits preventing access to genitals also didn't work: Wearers burned them in microwaves, per the suit. Calling themselves "Savage Life," ringleaders organize the harassment and award "points" for each offense. A Cook County Sheriff's Office rep denies the pizza story but did say that "this kind of behavior unfortunately is prevalent in correctional settings." She says more than 200 of the 6,400 inmates have been charged with indecent exposure this year, but she adds that being slapped with a misdemeanor means little to men facing murder raps. Pizza??? I have a large pair of garden sheers that I guarantee you will put an abrupt stop that stuff in about two snips! (Reuters)

Wine-Maybe Older Than You Think

No doubt about it-humans love wine and have been drinking it for thousands of years. We just didn't know how many thousands of years until now. A new discovery just south of Tbilisi (near Turkey) dates wine making as early as 8,000 years ago! Per a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, archaeologists found 8,000-year-old pottery shards indicating wine was once made there in earthenware jars, as early as 5980BC - the earliest evidence ever of grape-based wine production. The jars also featured images of grapes and a man dancing. Scientists believe the jars may have been stored underground during the fermentation process and, based on an intact jar found at a site nearby, were so large they could fit about 400 of today's wine bottles. Because wine wasn't crucial to living in Stone Age times, one scientist tells National Geographic that the find shows "far greater sophistication" during that time period than previously suspected. China still holds the overall booze record, however: Evidence there for a boozy rice-and-honey based concoction dates back to 7000BC. (BBC)

83 Students Cheat with GroupMe

Want to cheat on your college exam? Unfortunately, there's an app for that. Ohio State University has charged 83 undergraduates with cheating by using the group messaging app GroupMe to cheat on assignments in a business class last year. The school's Committee on Academic Misconduct says it investigated claims made by a professor at the Fisher College of Business in April and determined that the students committed several violations, including "unauthorized collaboration on graded assignments." GroupMe is an app that allows people to chat with large groups of users simultaneously, and it is permitted for use by students, according to OSU rules. It is ranked 14th among social-networking apps in the Apple Store. Punishment for the 83 students could run the gamut, from formal reprimands to expulsion. Again, I have a large pair of garden sheers that I guarantee you will put an abrupt stop that stuff in about two snips! (Columbus Dispatch)

Two Photos-Worth $105K?

The Museum of Modern Art has an odd mystery on its hands. First, somebody stole two photos of performance artist Carolee Schneemann worth $105,000 from a museum annex in Queens. Then somebody mailed them back, good as new. Now the NYPD has released surveillance video of the young woman believed to have done the mailing and is trying to track her down. Police traced the package with the photos back to a shipping store in Brooklyn, and the video shows a woman with a dark cap and glasses carrying the package into the store. They don't know whether the woman was involved in the theft itself, what prompted the change of heart, or how the theft happened in the first place. Police also say there were no signs of forced entry, and the photos were returned less than a week later. I'd like someone to investigate how two photographs of some performance artist nobody's ever heard of are somehow worth more than my Aunt Hazel's house!!!??? (People)

No Good Deed?

They were twin sisters and they stopped to help a stranded motorist on a Florida highway. Marcasia and Markwonda Crenshaw, both 25, were driving back to Boynton Beach after visiting their mom in Jacksonville. As Marcasia drove them along I-95, with Marcasia's 5-year-old son and Markwonda's 2-year-old daughter dozing in their car seats, the sisters saw a disabled Dodge Sprinter just outside of Titusville, its emergency lights blinking, smoke pouring out, and its air bags deployed. The driver of that vehicle was 23-year-old Yuri Kosolapenko, who'd been involved in a crash. Markwonda said, "We pulled over to make sure everyone was OK. Who wouldn't?" But as the sisters neared Kosolapenko's vehicle, 23-year-old Dalton Vancor drove by in his Chevy pickup truck and had to "aggressively brake and swerve" to avoid the Sprinter pulled over in an inside lane. Both sisters tried to get out of the truck's way, but police say the right side of the truck hit Marcasia - killing her. Markwonda says, "I can't eat, can't sleep, crying, I'm just in disbelief." She added that the only things keeping her going are her daughter and Marcasia's son. (Sun Sentinel)

What the What?

Meanwhile in India, a teenager has learned the hard way that an elephant's trunk is not for climbing. The boy is said to have been trying to recreate a scene from the Indian blockbuster movie Baahubali where the hero in the film runs up an elephant's trunk onto its back. But the elephant in our story had very different ideas and as soon as the boy grabbed the trunk, the elephant threw the boy so hard he sailed through the air and landed unconscious on the forest floor. He eventually came to and is reportedly going to be okay. Hey Mr. Elephant, doesn't sound like you need them, but let me know if you want to borrow some garden sheers. (Metro)

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