News of the weird
Stories from Around the World that Failed to Make the Headlines, Selected by William Hartston
Saturday 29 August 1998
Ears: Dutch scientists have found that if you wear moulds that change the shape of your ears, it may disrupt your hearing ability in the short term, but within a few weeks your brain will become used to the new shape and your hearing will become as good as ever. Then if you take the moulds off, you will adjust immediately to the original shape and hear just as well as before.
Faces: According to research published in Nature this week, women are more attracted to men with feminine faces. A study by David Perret of the University of St Andrews used computer-generated images to show that men with feminine facial features are seen as trustworthy and loving as potential fathers; masculine features are seen as cold and dishonest.
Rats: The anti-rat campaign in Vietnam has proved more hazardous to humans than had been expected. In the northern province of Thai Binh, 17 people have been killed this year by electric rat-traps. One man who set such traps has been sentenced to three years' imprisonment after being convicted of indirect intentional manslaughter. Five others are awaiting trial. A police spokesman said that they would not be investigating cases where traps had killed the people who set them, or their relatives. More than 64 million rats have been killed in Vietnam so far this year.
Chickens: An army of 10,000 chickens has been trained in China to help combat a plague of locusts. Attacks by human beings and aircraft have failed to eradicate locust swarms that have infested offices and housing blocks as well as grasslands. A special 60-day training programme has been designed for chickens to help counter the locust threat, and nests have also been placed in affected areas to attract starlings which, it is hoped, will also be effective against locusts.
Dogs: Two women in Milwaukee have started a business called K-9 Potty Patrol to assist pet-owners in the battle against dog poo. Mea West and Katherine Schott have adopted as their motto "Your dog's `business' is our business". Ms Schott explained: "Some people simply don't have the time, and what little time they have off, they don't want to spend scooping up dog doo-doo." The company charges $10 for a typical, once-a-week visit to a residential client.
Clones: The cloning laboratory of Texas A&M University is reported to have accepted $5m from a local millionaire to produce a clone of his pet dog Missy. The laboratory has received some cells from the collie-Alsatian cross, and has been given two years to complete the task. The directory of the laboratory said he expected other rich pet-owners to do the same.
Romania: When Olimpiu Medar, an advertising executive, was killed in a car crash in Bucharest, colleagues in his agency's creative department wanted to pay tribute to his memory in an individualistic way. The result was an obituary in the daily newspaper Evenimentul Zilei that read: "Coffee, cellular telephone, cigarettes, clients, money, dreams, fast, fast, too fast. And Oli is no longer."
France: The town of Perpignan celebrated last Thursday the 33rd anniversary of the day when Salvador Dali declared its railway station to be the centre of the universe.
"We are happy and proud that the Perpignan railway station is the centre of the world," said Lluis Colet, a fan of Dali. M Colet marked the day with an attempt on the record for the world's longest speech. He was aiming to talk for more than 24 hours, with officials ensuring that he didn't stop even when going to the lavatory.
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Why this father didn’t hide his daughter’s heroin overdose in her obituary
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
- 5 The most powerful passports in the world
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins
Al Pacino admits he was nearly fired from The Godfather and it's still his most 'difficult role'
Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik tops Sunday Times Rich List
London Marathon: Best running songs from Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar to 'Uptown Funk'
Oldest footage of London landmarks released
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove