News » Curious Times

Sept. 15-21 2004



If you've come to that point in your life where it's time to make your mark, you might want to go after one of the weirdest world records tracked by Guinness. Of course, some records can't be beaten voluntarily, like trying to break the world record for the longest attack of the hiccups (68 years!) or the longest time living with a nail stuck in your head (a man in the UK had a rusty one-inch nail stuck between his ear and eye for 22 years), but there are plenty or world records which can be smashed with just a bit of dedication, perseverance and a wallop of insanity. Try one of these: hold your breath for more than 13 minutes, 42 seconds; jump on a pogo-stick 177,738 times; do 125 one-finger push-ups; make a balloon dog behind your back in under 9.26 seconds; eat five watches in less than 1 hour, 34 minutes; lie in a bathtub full of maggots for more than an hour and a half; or type the words "one" to "one million" in less than 16 years. Good luck! (The Mirror)


Here's an odd one: Researchers in the UK have discovered that people who regularly write in diaries are more likely to suffer from headaches, sleeplessness, digestive problems and social awkwardness. Dr. Elaine Duncan, of Glasco Caledonian University, says that the study was initially designed to test the common belief that writing can be cathartic. "We expected diary keepers to have some benefit," said Dr. Duncan. Instead, they found that the diary writers had significantly more health problems than non-writers, and those who wrote about traumatic events were affected the most negatively. Duncan speculated that by constantly writing about the negative events of their lives, diarists may never get over those events, and so they manifest in various health disorders. "It's probably better not to get caught in a ruminative, repetitive cycle," she explained, adding, "you're probably much better off if you don't write anything at all." (New Scientist)


The latest survey from the highly scientific researchers at Good Housekeeping magazine either reveals that women have their priorities completely skewed or is a searing indictment of the capacity of a man to please his wife. The poll of 1,000 women came to the bizarre conclusion that 25 percent of women say that they get more pleasure from cleaning their house than they do from having sex. The numbers were even higher with the under-35 set, with 40 percent or women claiming to prefer housecleaning to sex. Meanwhile, in a survey of myself, 100 percent of men say that the only thing that gives them less pleasure than cleaning up the house is reading Good Housekeeping magazine.


The Haribo candy company is facing complaints from the prudes about their new candy wrappers that seem to portray cartoon fruit have sex. Among the complaints was a letter from a Catholic school, which wrote: "We are shocked at the shameless presentation of sexual practices on the wrapping, which includes not only sexual intercourse but also fellatio and cunnilingus." They were particularly upset by a drawing of a lemon, which they claimed "looks female" and is "obviously enjoying it with the greatest of pleasure." (Ananova)


To "celebrate" World Suicide Prevention Day, the World Health Organization revealed their stats showing that suicide kills more people each year than murder and war combined. The death toll from suicide is almost one million people per year, the cause of half of all violent deaths worldwide. In addition, an estimated 10 to 20 million additional people suffer from injury, hospitalization and trauma from failed suicide attempts. Eastern European countries lead the world in suicide rates, while people in Latin American and Muslim countries are the least likely to off themselves. While this news report was supposedly about trying to prevent people from committing suicide, the WHO was kind enough to let us know the three most popular ways to kill yourself: swallowing pesticides, using firearms and overdosing on painkillers. (New Scientist)


A story in a British newspaper last week about negotiations between a German soccer player, Stefan Kuntz, and the executive of the team, Klaus Fuchs, was headlined with the catchy "Fuchs Wants Kuntz Talks." :

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