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CURIOUS TIMES JAN. 14 EDITION

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DEATH BY STUPIDITY

A Catholic priest who died trying to set the world record for longest flight using regular old party balloons has won 2008's Darwin Award, a prize that honors people who improve the gene pool by removing themselves from it in a particularly stupid fashion. The Rev. Adelir Antonio de Carli, 41, attached 1,000 helium-filled balloons to a lawn chair and prepared for his record-setting flight by packing a survival suit, satellite and GPS system. The only problem was that he didn't know how to use the GPS, and as the winds pushed him out to sea, he struggled to explain to rescuers where they might find him while the battery on his satellite phone slowly died. The recovery of his body three months later ended the reverend's dream of using the money raised from the stunt to build a spiritual rest stop for truckers in the town of Paranagua, Brazil. At least he died in a noble cause unlike the Darwin Award's runner-up, a man who was killed by a train after somehow getting his Porsche stuck on a railway crossing and then running toward the train waving his arms in an attempt to save his car. (darwinawards.com)

THE SCIENCE OF CELIBACY

Apparently 2009 won't be the year that scientists stop carrying out useless research with obvious conclusions. The latest study comes from the University of Sydney, which found that male science nerds were the least likely to get laid in college. Shock. On the opposite end of the spectrum, female arts students were ranked as the most sexually active (so guys, if you're enrolling in classes, take a hint). One science student proved these results were accurate when he tried to defend the dorks by explaining that "although we may have been a little nerdier than the other students, let's just say the gender ratio wasn't as bad as engineering." (The Telegraph)

EVEN VIRGINS HAVE HAD SEX

And while we're on the subject of the sex lives of students, an eight-year study of more than 12,000 American teenagers has revealed that kids involved in abstinence programs (where they pledge to remain virgins until they are married) suffer from almost exactly the same rate of sexually transmitted diseases as other young people. The study also found that abstinence programs do not prevent early pregnancy, and only about 12 percent of teens in these programs actually save themselves for marriage. Although the teens who have pledged to remain virgins begin having sex later and have fewer partners, their rates of disease and pregnancy are actually higher because they are less likely to use condoms, are less aware of sexually transmitted infections and are less likely to seek treatment, and so more easily spread their infections to other people. (The Guardian)

PARTING GIFTS

In what might be the strangest case of good luck/bad luck in history, a Connecticut man bought a winning $10 million lottery ticket last week and then died of a heart attack a few hours later. His wife's grief will now be subsidized by 21 yearly payments of $477,300 each. (AP)

HIS GLASSES ARE HALF FULL

A British professor has invented a pair of glasses with adjustable lenses so that the wearer can fine-tune his or her own prescription without the need for an expensive specialist. Inside the glasses' tough plastic lenses are two clear circular sacs filled with fluid that can be increased or decreased with a tiny syringe attached to either arm of the spectacles. When the wearer is satisfied with the thickness of the lenses the sacs are sealed with a small screw. Brilliant. The professor has already distributed 30,000 pairs to the poorest people in 15 countries and has set a goal to offer glasses to 1 billion people by the year 2020. (The Guardian)

THE FORCE WILL BE WITH YOU ... FOR ABOUT $100

A game that will help you learn to use The Force and train you to become a Jedi Knight will hit the stores in time for next Christmas. Well, maybe not exactly, but The Force Trainer will use a wireless headset that will read your brainwaves in order to allow you to manipulate a sphere inside a clear "training tower" using only your thoughts. Another game on the drawing board will allow you to use your brainwaves to move a ball through an obstacle course. (USA Today)

INTERNET FACT OF THE WEEK

Rearranging the letters in the word television gives you the phrase "TV is one lie."

More bizarro news at curioustimes.com.