News » Curious Times

January 18, 2006



A study published by the Canadian Medical Association claims that giving free booze to homeless alcoholics improves their health and behavior. The pilot project followed 17 homeless adults with long histories of chronic alcohol abuse and gave them each up to 15 glasses of wine or sherry a day—one drink per hour between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. After tracking the group for 16 months, the study found that the number of times they got into trouble with the law had fallen 51 percent and hospital emergency visits were down 36 percent. "The alcohol gets them in, builds the trust and then we have the opportunity to treat other medical diseases," claimed one of the authors of the report. The study also found that the alcoholics actually drank less than they did before signing up, and had improved sleep, nutrition, hygiene and health. (CNN)


A British man who placed a sports bet based on a dream he had has won £25,000 (almost $45,000) after his dream about a football match came true last week. Last July, Adrian Hayward had a dream in which Liverpool's Xabi Alonso scored a goal from his own half of the field. After the dream he checked out the odds against such a freaky goal being scored and decided to place a £200 bet with odds of 125-1 that Alonso would score a goal from his own half of the field before the season ended. "I've never placed such a large bet before but I had a feeling about it," said Hayward, while his bookie told reporters that "when he placed the bet we thought it was the easiest £200 we had ever made." Not so ... last Saturday Hayward walked away with the £25,000 after Alonso scored the magical goal during an FA Cup football match. (BBC)


The next breakthrough in cancer research is coming from the weird world of strange animal senses thanks to the discovery that dogs can sniff out developing cancers in humans. The latest research builds upon the discovery that dogs have been known to alert their owners to skin cancers due to their compulsive sniffing of the affected areas. Researchers found that dogs are so sensitive to the minute amounts of toxic chemicals released by cancerous cells that their sniffing actually predicts skin, bladder, lung and breast cancer. The latest rounds of experiments involved training dogs to detect the same chemicals in the exhaled breath of cancer patients, making them able to predict the early stages of cancer simply by smelling the breath of humans. Early test results showed that the dogs successfully detected lung and breast cancers 88 to 97 percent of the time. (


Four-and-a-half years after it began, the world's slowest and longest concert has now begun playing its second chord. The performance, based upon composer John Cage's "organ2/ASLSP" ("As SLow aS Possible") is scheduled to run from September 5, 2001, until well into the year 2639. The piece was originally written as a 20-minute work for the piano, but organizers of the John Cage Organ Project decided to carry out the performance, which John Cage originally envisioned as a 639-year-long piece played on a church organ in Halberstadt, Germany. The piece began with a year and a half of silence, played its first chord on Feb. 2, 2003, and finally progressed to its second chord last week. The show is being performed by weights set down upon a specially built organ. John Cage is also famous for a piece of music called "4‚33," which consists of four minutes and 33 seconds of total silence. (AFP)


In case one of your fears is being whisked off the planet by nasty little ETs and not being able to find your way home, the Web site is offering Earth Dog Tags engraved with schematic instructions which will allow an alien pilot to bring you back to earth. The dog tags come with a handy guarantee: "Should you ever be abducted by aliens while wearing Location Earth Dog Tags and not returned safely to earth you will be entitled to a full refund of the purchase price."


Check out the collection of the world's 10 weirdest USB drives at for pictures of USB drives shaped like sushi, shrimp and thumbs. The number one spot goes to a Barbie doll whose head you rip off to reveal the USB connection.

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