Torpor

Posted: July 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Oddities | Tags: | 1 Comment »

From the Guiness Book of World Records: “Longest Suspended Animation”.

“In 1846, two specimens of the desert snail (Eremina desertorum) were presented to the British Museum (Natural History) in London as dead exhibits. They were placed on display, but four years later, in March 1850, it was found that one of the snails was still alive. The snail lived for another two years before it fell into a torpor and then died.”

Torpor

1. A state of mental or physical inactivity or insensibility.
2. Lethargy; apathy.
3. *The dormant, inactive state of a hibernating or estivating animal.

Etymology

From Latin torpere, meaning “to be numb”.

Synonyms

stupor, languor, inanition

Photo by: Dave and Karin


Auspicious

Posted: July 20th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Oddities | Tags: | 2 Comments »

A Harlem man named Robert Lane once decided to perform a brash experiment on his children. In 1958, he endowed his newborn son with the auspicious name, Winner. Three years later, he stuck another newborn with the ominous name, Loser.

Loser and Winner Lane developed into as great of polar opposites as their names suggest—with a small twist. Loser Lane turned out to be the shining exemplar, attending school on scholarship and fulfilling his mother’s wishes of him becoming Detective and Sergeant in the New York police department. Winner Lane, however, accomplished little other than getting arrested over 30 times throughout his first 45 years of life.

Auspicious (pronounced “aw-SPISH-əs”)

1. *Attended by favorable circumstances; propitious: an auspicious time to ask for a raise in salary.
2. Marked by success; prosperous.

Etymology

Appeared 1590. From Latin auspicium, which literally means “divination by observing the flights of birds”. Auspicium further derives from avispex, meaning “observer of birds”.

Synonyms

propitious, felicitous, opportune, hopeful, encouraging

Source

Freakonomics (pg. 180)   |   Photo Credit


Phantasmagoria

Posted: July 8th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Oddities | No Comments »

In 2006, two men were eating in a Mediterranean restaurant in France when they suddenly began to see a phantasmagoric array of specters and apparitions. They were eating sarpa salpa, a fish commonly served as a Mediterranean dish. However, a few select species are known to cause hallucinations. Apparently, they both got the chance hallucinogenic fish and were affected for several days.

Phantasmagoria (fan-taz-mə-GOR-ee-ə)

A fantastic sequence of haphazardly associative imagery, as seen in dreams or fever.

Source

DailyMail |   Photo Credit


Arrogate

Posted: June 28th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Oddities, Society | Tags: | No Comments »

Sealand

Sealand is the world’s strangest nation. Located off the coast of England, it was originally built as a defense platform during World War 2. Years later, Major Paddy Roy Bates arrogated it for his personal use. He introduced a constitution, national flag, anthem, currency, and passports.

About a decade later, this island saw a full out coup. A German lawyer named Alexander Achenbach hired mercenaries to storm the platform with speedboats and helicopters, capturing Bates’ son and holding him hostage. Somehow, Bates regained power and held Achenbach a prisoner of war. The German and Austrian governments petitioned the British government for his release, but it was not until Germany sent a diplomat to Sealand, who negotiated with Bates for several weeks, that Achenbach saw his release.

Arrogate (AIR-ə-gayt)

To take or claim for oneself without right or justification; appropriate.

Source

Wikipedia: Sealand |   Photo Credit


Bombinate

Posted: June 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Oddities, Society | Tags: | No Comments »

Soccer players in the 2010 World Cup must perform in the milieu of a deafening bombination. The South African crowd relentlessly blows plastic horns called vuvuzelas that have a combined effect so loud as to risk damaging the hearing of anyone in the stadium. The crack of thunder and the roar of a chainsaw are both close to 110 decibels, an intensity which OSHA (the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration) says is “incredibly dangerous” at more than a 15-minute exposure. The vuvuzelas create a 127 decibel drone, which, due to the nature of the decibel scale, is actually 50 times more intense than a chainsaw.

Bombinate (“BOM-bih-nayt”)

To buzz or hum.

Source

Esquire: Vuvuzela HornPhoto by Dundas Football Club