Playmobil pirate ship includes dark-skinned doll wearing "slave collar"


Ida Lockett of Sacramento, CA was helping her 5-year-old son put together a Playmobil pirate ship kit he'd been given for his birthday when she saw that the instructions told her to put a shackle around the neck of a dark-skinned figurine in torn clothing. Read the rest

Baby trapped in car turns out to be realistic doll

fake baby 2

Rescuers smashed their way into the vehicle only to find that the alarmingly still baby in the back seat was merely a toy. ABC News reports that emergency services were called to the scene in Oakland, California, on Monday.

"Fortunately, it was not a baby or small child," [Officer] Watson said. "We encourage anyone who believes there is a dangerous situation such as this incident to contact emergency personnel so we can make that determination." The police do not know why the doll was in the car seat, Watson said.

[via Arbroath] Read the rest

The end of a company with a very dumb idea

Washboard, a subscription service that that sold US quarters for 37.5 cents, called it quits after being in business for two weeks.

Washboard founder Caleb Brown wrote:

Nearly 100% of the internet thought Washboard was an absolutely absurd concept. I had a very difficult time convincing people the service was even real but we did have customers that were excited for it. I apologize to those folks but we have decided to shut down Washboard.

(Via Weird Universe) Read the rest

Unfortunate illustration and game name in kids' book

There's not much right about this page from a mid-20th century kids' book. Besides the obvious creepiness, it looks like Alfred E Neuman on the left is trying to lift the skirt of the girl next to him. Read the rest

Airlines should charge passengers by weight, says economist

Reuters: "Bhatta put together three models for what he called 'pay as you weigh airline pricing.' The first would charge passengers according to how much they and their baggage weighed. It would set a rate for pounds (kg) per passenger so that someone weighing 130 pounds (59 kg) would pay half the fare of 260-pound (118-kg) person." Read the rest

The journal of horrifying science

Science Horrors is a tumblr blog that compiles stories about the discomfiting, disturbing, and just plain terrifying parts of science. From 13th-century bioterrorism to the killer carbon dioxide gas bubbles of central Africa, there's plenty here to amaze you and freak you the frack out. Read the rest

NOAA to American public: No, we are not going to just nuke the storms

A Q&A piece on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration begins with this incredibly disconcerting sentence: "During each hurricane season, there always appear suggestions that one should simply use nuclear weapons to try and destroy the storms."

Really? Seriously, America?

Anyway, the entire piece ends up being pretty fascinating, as research meteorologist Chris Landsea explains why nuking a hurricane would be a bad idea ... besides, you know, the obvious reasons.

... an explosive, even a nuclear explosive, produces a shock wave, or pulse of high pressure, that propagates away from the site of the explosion somewhat faster than the speed of sound. Such an event doesn't raise the barometric pressure after the shock has passed because barometric pressure in the atmosphere reflects the weight of the air above the ground. For normal atmospheric pressure, there are about ten metric tons (1000 kilograms per ton) of air bearing down on each square meter of surface. In the strongest hurricanes there are nine. To change a Category 5 hurricane into a Category 2 hurricane you would have to add about a half ton of air for each square meter inside the eye, or a total of a bit more than half a billion (500,000,000) tons for a 20 km radius eye. It's difficult to envision a practical way of moving that much air around.

Attacking weak tropical waves or depressions before they have a chance to grow into hurricanes isn't promising either. About 80 of these disturbances form every year in the Atlantic basin, but only about 5 become hurricanes in a typical year.

Read the rest