Wednesday, September 18, 2013

We humans can be a stupid lot…

Here are a few stories, actually reported in the news, that show just how stupid we humans can be… 

Smile –and buy: Researchers at the University of Tokyo have invented a mirror that makes a person appear happy even when they are not. A built-in camera tracks facial features in real time, then tweaks the image to turn up the corners of the mouth and to create the beginnings of a smile in the eyes. The researchers believe that happy-face mirrors in retail stores would improve shoppers' dispositions and lead to more sales. 

May I see that floor plan again, please? China has heavily attended housing fairs, in which builders compete zealously to sell their homes, leading to offbeat schemes to draw attention. Among the latest is one that dresses female models in bare-backed evening wear, with sample floor plans and other housing information painted onto their skin, and sends them wandering through the crowds. 

You’re going to need a bigger umbrella. The SyFy Channel's recent original movie "Sharknado" briefly became a media sensation with a storyline involving large schools of oversized sharks lifted from the ocean by waterspouts and deposited, alive, hungry and angry on land to wreak havoc. But the idea isn’t all that strange. Animals actually have been lifted to land in that fashion in the past. Previous documented news reports of the phenomenon include airborne fish (mudfish in the Philippines, perch in Australia); frogs (in Odzaci, Serbia, in 2005); jellyfish (Bath, England, in 1894); worms (Jennings, La., in 2007); and, according to an 1887 New York Times story, eight alligators in Silverton Township, S.C. 

Some people have too much “disposable cash”. Self-indulgent New York City parents have been hiring "play-date" coaches for their preschool youngsters. They apparently are afraid that the kids' skill set for just having fun might not impress admissions officers at the city's elite private schools. The CEO of one consulting outfit reported that $400 an hour gets expert monitoring of a 4-year-old in small groups, evaluating, for example, how the child colors in a book, shares the crayons, holds a pencil and follows the rules of Simon Says. It just proves that money can’t buy common sense. 

Hey, Margaret, do they carry these at Kohl’s? U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers confiscated a live, bejeweled beetle that a woman was wearing as an "accessory" on her sweater as she crossed into Brownsville, Texas, from Mexico. Blue jewels were glued onto the beetle's back, which had been painted gold, and the mobile brooch was tethered by a gold chain attached to a safety pin. Even though the woman orally "declared" the animal, the beetle was confiscated because she had not completed the bureau's PPQ Form 526, which is necessary to bring insects into the country (Yeah, right. As if anyone could forget to complete PPQ Form 526). Reportedly, such jewelry is not that rare in Mexico. A spokesperson for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was, of course, appalled.

I’m stopping here before we all wind up on some psychiatrists couch….


Today's Reflection:
Anyone who smiles in a crisis has obviously found someone to blame.
Live Long and Prosper..

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