News of the Weird: 5 Odd Topics in News this Week

Phoebe Cohen, Contributing Writer

1. Roll for Initiative 

Talk about dedication, Canadian citizen Robert Wardhaugh, is now entering a new year with the Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) game campaign he runs. For Wardhaugh, 2020 marks his 38th year running the exact same game. The seasoned game master began his first game session in 1982 with four participants. Now, Wardhaugh controls a game with over 60 active players every week, even attending the Zoom meetings he arranges with those players. The game itself began with the 1982 set of rules for D&D but has evolved over the years that they do not really follow a set of rules anymore. According to its participants, the game is always changing and reinventing itself. Some say this may be a world record for the longest-running singular D&D game in history. Wardhaugh says the only real limit to the game’s run would be his lifespan!

Source: Roll for Initiative

2. Testing Some FecesEr, Theses

The Ig Nobel Prize Awards, run by Harvard University’s satirical journal Annals of Improbable Research, were awarded virtually this week. If you have never heard of the Ig Nobel Prize Awards, these awards are given out to honor the achievements that make people “laugh, then think.” This year, the Materials Science Prize was awarded to a team from Kent State University. Their work was built on making knives from poop. Yes, knives from poop! The team was researching the ethnographic account of an Innuit man who reportedly made a knife from his own frozen feces. The researchers emulated this story by freezing their own poop and trying to make knives from it. The results? They have found that their knives “melted and deteriorated” before they could really be of use. Believe it or not, this was one of the tamer Ig prizes awarded this year. For those who are interested, the link for the video of the Ig Nobel Prize Awards is below.

Source: Testing Some Feces – Er, Theses

3. You Sure You’re Cut Out For Marriage?

 As 2020 has put plenty of social gathering events on hold, plenty of weddings have been pushed back weeks, months, or even years. Romanee and Sam Rondeau-Smith, a couple in East Sussex, England, were one of these marriages that got pushed back. However, with the pandemic still ongoing, they have decided to get creative and hold their wedding anyways with 50 guests. They printed cardboard cutouts of everyone who wouldn’t be able to attend physically and set them up in their wedding reception, doing a photoshoot with each cutout. Overall, the couple had a good time without the typical wedding hassles like ordering insane amounts of food or a heavy bill on drinks. A stroke of genius on a special day for the newlyweds. 

Source: You Sure You’re Cut Out for Marriage?

4. Protection against Coronavirhiss 

Passengers on a bus in England were surprised when a man boarded with a living mask. The man had a snake around his mouth and nose and wrapped behind his neck. For some odd reason, no one batted an eye to this, not until the man got off at Manchester. One woman says she did not know it was a living snake until it started slithering onto a handrail. Travel spokespeople said that they follow British law: that face coverings are to be worn out in public at all times and that it does not strictly have to be a surgical mask. Bandanas and handmade masks were also allowed. But snakeskins are not endorsed or encouraged, especially if the snakeskin is still attached to a snake. 

Source: Protection against Coronavirhiss

5. Disgusting Displays

Want to be grossed out? Welcome to Sweden’s Disgusting Food Museum, which opened to the public this month. Located in Mälmo, Sweden, this museum specializes in culinary displays of things that are popular or delicacies in one culture, but maybe not in others. Some entries include gin brewed from ants, frog smoothies from Peru, and Icelandic fermented shark flesh. There is even an Irish alcohol beverage (when I say alcoholic, I mean alcoholic), with a historic alcohol level of over 50 percent that is served in a taxidermy squirrel. Local breweries are given a chance to be experimental beyond their standard beers and can sell their experiments at the museum. The only criteria for museum entries are for it to be edible and investable to someone somewhere in the world. The museum sets out not just to label things as “disgusting,” but rather aims to celebrate foods and drinks from different parts of the world and non-appreciated cultures and to bring them into the public eye. I don’t know about you guys, but the maggot cheese from Sardinia is catching my eye. Anyone hungry?

Source: Disgusting Displays