Weird Universe Blog — July 13, 2024

Male dance moves that catch a woman’s eye

In 2011, researchers from Northumbria University published an article in the journal Biology Letters about male dance moves. They used motion-capture technology to "precisely break down and analyse specific motion patterns in male dancing that seem to influence women's perceptions of dance quality."

Here's the key part of their finding (for those men seeking to improve their dance moves):

We find that the variability and amplitude of movements in the central body regions (head, neck and trunk) and speed of the right knee movements are especially important in signalling dance quality. A ‘good’ dancer thus displays larger and more variable movements in relation to bending and twisting movements of their head/neck and torso, and faster bending and twisting movements of their right knee.

Below are two videos from their study showing male dance moves that women like, versus those that they don't.

Good Dancer:

Bad Dancer:

Posted By: Alex - Sat Jul 13, 2024 - Comments (1)
Category: Science | 2010s | Dance

July 12, 2024

Man leaves thousands to a stranger, $1 to his wife

When Fred Eggerman died on March 24, 1960, his will left his estate worth approximately $12,000 (about $120,000 in today's money) to the first male child born in Paterson General Hospital on July 2, 1946. He had no idea who that child had been. To his wife he left one dollar.

The lucky beneficiary turned out to be high-school student Robert De Boer.

Eggerman's wife filed suit to overturn the will, together with Eggerman's father and brother. They eventually reached a settlement, but it only got them a mere $850. De Boer kept the rest.

Newsday - Apr 22, 1961

New York Daily News - Apr 20, 1961

Based on those details it definitely sounds like Eggerman must a) have been a bit eccentric, and b) have hated his wife. That's how many news articles presented the case. But the article below went into some background details which help to explain what Eggerman did.

For a start, he and his wife had been separated for years and had already worked out a property settlement. So there was no particular reason to leave her more.

As for leaving everything to an unknown child:

Eggermann just wanted to leave his money to a boy who would be about 10 years old at the time he drew the will. Mrs. and Mrs. Eggermann were childless.

Passaic Herald-News - Feb 8, 1962

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jul 12, 2024 - Comments (0)
Category: Death | Inheritance and Wills | Lawsuits | 1960s

Legal Daisy Spacing

I read this book nearly forty years ago, and never forgot it. It's weird and hilarious. I was so glad to see it turn up at the Internet Archive.

It purports to be a manual for terraforming a planet. But it's written by madmen and nature haters. Cacti must be enclosed in steel. Mountains must be leveled. Jungles must be paved over.

Read it here.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jul 12, 2024 - Comments (0)
Category: Mad Scientists, Evil Geniuses, Insane Villains | Science Fiction | 1980s

July 11, 2024

The Smoking Baby of Trenton

Winfield Doran gained famed as the "smoking baby of Trenton." He started smoking a pipe when he was seven months old. Because his parents were worried about the health effects of this, they eventually persuaded him to smoke cigars instead. But he refused to smoke cigarettes.

He died of diptheria when he was four years old.

Canton Independent Sentinel - Aug 14, 1890

Quincy Daily Ledger - Nov 11, 1890

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jul 11, 2024 - Comments (0)
Category: Babies and Toddlers | Children | Smoking and Tobacco | Nineteenth Century

July 10, 2024

Bomb Proof Eye Guards

Mechanix Illustrated - Mar 1941

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jul 10, 2024 - Comments (1)
Category: War | Weapons | 1940s | Eyes and Vision

Unlikely Reasons for Murder No. 19

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jul 10, 2024 - Comments (0)
Category: Death | Fashion | Sports | 1990s

July 9, 2024

Episode in a small town library

Ian Breakwell's unusual photograph documents an "episode" that took place in an unnamed small town library in 1970. The episode seems to be a library user somehow transforming into, or sprouting, printed pages.

"Episode in a small town library" - Ian Breakwell, 1970

The only background information about the photograph that I've been able to find comes from Clare Qualmann's article "The Artist in the Library":

My fascination with Breakwell's image has prompted me to return to it over the last three years to gradually investigate its story. What was the performance that led to this photograph? Was it intended as a performance, or was it composed solely to be photographed? Even in the latter case, there would have been the happenstance performance – the spectacle of Breakwell (or his model) preparing the chicken-wire covered headdress for wearing. Was it actually photographed in a library? Was the librarian consulted? Were permissions sought? Was it executed at a peak user time? Or was it tucked away on a quiet morning? What did 'The Public' think of it, coming across such a scene? Did it last just the time that it took for the photograph to be shot, or was it a longer performance, an episode that endured?

More detailed research into Breakwell's extensive archive held at Tate Britain did not provide answers in written form. Several versions of the image were published in journals, including Fotovision (August 1971), Art and Artists (February 1971) and Stand Magazine (Winter 1997). The different paper stocks that they were printed on enable more detail to be seen than the digital version that I had looked at before – in Art and Artists the photograph was reproduced on a newsprint insert to the magazine that is very different from the glossy black and white of the others. In this version, the chicken-wire frame underneath the newspaper is more visible, as are the titles on the bookshelf behind – Art and Civilization is clearly legible.

The version published in Fotovision has a completely different feel – instead of The Guardian newspaper on the table the artist holds a copy of Typographica magazine in his hands. Although this dates from 1964 (the photograph was taken in 1970), its cover design (an assemblage of logos arranged in a dense slanting pattern across the cover) juxtaposes old and new – the 'timeless' look of the traditional library space with the contemporary graphic design of the journal, and the branding that it is presenting. The existence of multiple versions suggests time spent in the space – time to shoot multiple images, test and trial different ideas and perform the image repeatedly (rather than a hit-and-runundercover-quick-photo-before-anyone-notices).

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jul 09, 2024 - Comments (0)
Category: Photography and Photographers | Performance Art | Surrealism | Libraries | 1970s

Follies of the Madmen #600

Sorry, friends--nothing spectacular for entry #600. But still a good one, I think.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jul 09, 2024 - Comments (2)
Category: Domestic | Emotions | Excess, Overkill, Hyperbole and Too Much Is Not Enough | Advertising | 1900s

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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2016 by the author of the post, which is usually either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.

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