Enter the Second Life zone, where business is booming
Alternative-world online games like Second Life allow players to create identities and personalities, to communicate, and to interact commercially in a self-contained universe. Players buy, sell, invest and generate wealth using a virtual monetar...
Alternative-world online games like Second Life allow players to create identities and personalities, to communicate, and to interact commercially in a self-contained universe. Players buy, sell, invest and generate wealth using a virtual monetary system. Currently, Second Life players bump up against real-world taxes only if they earn real-world money from cashing out in-game wealth. But a congressional economist told Reuters in October that the House and Senate would soon consider whether also to levy taxes on property and currency left inside the system ("virtual capital gains"). Second Life's in-game economy is so robust that it is growing at many times the rate of the U.S. economy. The story was filed by a real-life reporter embedded as Reuters' Second Life "bureau chief."
* The small, specialty restaurant Guolizhuang, in Beijing, serves mostly dishes made from various animal penises, according to a September BBC News dispatch, attracting discerning customers who come for the reputed health benefits. Sheep, horse, ox and seal are good for the circulation, said the restaurant's staff nutritionist, and donkey improves the skin. Tiger, she said, has no particular value to justify its high price, but snake ("two penises each," she said) is great for potency.
* No sooner did Abel Gonzales Jr. develop a State Fair of Texas prize-winning recipe for his Fried Coke than a competitor popped up at the North Carolina State Fair. Gonzales' fried batter balls are made with strawberry and Coke syrups topped with cinnamon sugar, whipped cream and more Coke syrup. In October, Greg Seamster in North Carolina served a similar concoction but as fried strands of dough in a cup.
Frontiers in Science
* In October, the Washington Post reported the growing movement among psychiatrists to call compulsive buying a separate, identifiable disorder and recounted this 62-year-old "shopaholic's" therapeutic conversation with herself: "I would say (to the jewelry she felt compelled to buy), 'You are so beautiful, I can't live without you, I love the way you sparkle.' The jewelry would say back, 'You need me. You look pretty when you wear me.' I would say, 'I do need you. I can't possibly think of being without you. But something has to change. I need to stop this. I can't afford a penny more." The patient said she eventually came to believe that her compulsion stemmed from her relationship with her mother.
* 21st-Century Medicine: (1) Researchers at the University of Bradford in the UK said in October that bandages soaked in maggot secretions were successful in accelerating tissue repair. (2) In September, researchers at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, seeking to create a robot to traverse the colon but without tearing the colon's delicate walls, successfully tested one such tiny robot that can propel itself smoothly by gliding along mucus.
In 2001, News of the Weird noted a U.S. tour by the Indian spiritual leader "Amma" (Mata Amritanandamayi), whose mission in life is to dispense random hugs in her attempt to calm the world's stresses, sometimes putting in 20-hour days of straight hugging. In some countries, however, public hugging has not taken hold. Random huggers working the streets in three Chinese cities in October found that most people ignored them, and in Beijing, police detained the huggers for questioning. And in north London in October, two New York coaches staged the country's first (nonsexual) "cuddle party" to a slowly warming group of Brits that eventually loosened up and hugged.
Visit Chuck Shepherd daily at www.NewsoftheWeird.com . Send your Weird News to P.O. Box 18737, Tampa, FL 33679.)