In Case You Missed It… Assorted Oddities from Around the Web

Zombie Apocalypse? The Pentagon’s Got that Covered

Zombie Apocalypse

No need to fret about that worrisome zombie apocalypse, the Pentagon has a plan. Website Foreign Policy reported last Tuesday the existence of CONOP 8888 –  the Defense Department’s plan “to undertake military operations to preserve ‘non-zombie’ humans from the threats posed by a zombie horde.”

Amongst the various zombie threats listed in the document are evil magic zombies, zombies from outer space, bio-engineered zombies, zombie chickens, vegetarian zombies, (classified as non-threatening to humans), and the commonplace pathogenic zombies – i.e., zombies resulting from a zombie plague.

Strategic Command spokeswoman, Navy Capt. Pamela Kunze, confirmed CONOP 8888’s existence on a “secure internet site”. She also pointed out that the zombie survival guide is intended only as a creative training exercise “(in which) students learn about the basic concepts of military plans and order development through a fictional training scenario” — in other words , CONOP 8888 is a plan for making a plan.

Godzilla’s Anatomy

Godzilla Specs

Coinciding with Friday’s opening of Legendary Pictures’ new Godzilla movie, Popular Mechanics surveyed scientists to compile specs on the 300′-tall atomic lizard’s anatomy. Here’s what they came up with:

1. Godzilla would weigh 164,000 tons, about 150x heavier than the highest theoretical limit for land animals.
2. To support that weight, his bones would need to be as strong as some titanium alloys – with a tensile strength of 3000 megapascals, equal to the pressure sixty miles below the Earth’s surface. His cartilage would be about 12 times stronger than a human’s.
3. At rest, Godzilla’s metabolism would generate 1.4 megawatts – equal to that of a large wind turbine.  When on a rampage, he’d multiply that 25-fold, to about 37 megawatts – enough to fuel a town of 3000 people.
4. His thick hide would be embedded osteoderms – bony deposits similar to chain mail. Osteoderms lining his back and tail would vent excess heat.

The 2014 iteration of Godzilla is about 450′ tall – almost 3x taller than the creature in the original 1954 movie. The growth is attributed to the higher skylines of modern cities. In order to keep him menacing, taller buildings necessitate a taller monster.

A Wheel That’s Not (Always) Round

With traditional wheelchair designs, up to 30 percent of the energy expended to propel the chair is lost. Worse yet, when going down steps or over curbs, rigid wheels and the lack of suspension can injure users, or at best leave them fatigued. Enter SoftWheel, an ingenious redesign of the wheel by farmer and former Israeli Air Force captain, Gilad Wolf.

Per a recent story in Wired magazine, when Wolf was relegated to a wheelchair in 2008 after breaking his pelvis, he was determined to still work in his fields. But the need to navigate bumpy terrain frustrated him. Partnering with Rad BioMed Technology Accelerator in Tel Aviv, he developed SoftWheel – a flexible wheel that employs three shock-absorbing compression cylinders in place of spokes. The cylinders allow the wheel to deform around bumps, and float the chair’s mass on the wheel’s hub – thus both providing a softer ride and requiring less energy to keep a chair in motion.

SoftWheels may have widespread applications. SoftWheel CEO Daniel Barel recently met with German automaker Daimler, and believes the product can be used on cars, trains, cranes, and aircraft landing gear. The accompanying video above shows them swapped onto a bicycle. The company is now manufacturing the product in Israel, with another facility planned for Europe. A $2000 per wheel price is anticipated; that’s about $400 more than current high-end wheelchair wheels.

For Sale: A Fat, Naked Arnold Schwarzenegger and Other Weird Stuff

Fat Arnold

Earlier this month, Business Insider reported the billion-dollar initial public offering of Chinese e-commerce marketer, Alibaba, commenting on some of the more unusual wares offered on the site. Among them:

A full-size statue of Arnold Schwarzengger
Rendered as obese and nude in lifelike silicone and fiberglass, Arnold comes with sunglasses and shotgun reminiscent of the actor’s signature role of the relentless cyborg in 1984’s Terminator – other than the fat, naked part. Price: $16,800. The seller, Zhongshan City Elephant Sculpture Art, also makes and sells statues of President Barack Obama, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Mr. Bean.

Lovely used panties
At $4.00 – $7.00 per dozen, the “hipster” styled panties are available in quantities up to 960,000 pieces a month. The listing describes them as “fashion, elegant”, and “professtonal (sic)”. Logo printing and embroidery are also offered.

Caganer Lady Gaga
Not familiar with caganers? Consider these helpful educational tidbits from the Lady Gaga listing:
1. They’re traditional Christmas figurines from Catalonia…
2. …are of of celebrities, public figures, and world leaders…
3. …with the squatting subjects depicted taking a dookie.
The hand-painted Gaga is so positioned, in black sunglasses and clutching a microphone, as she attends to her business – the results of which are also depicted. She has a minimum order quantity of fifty pieces. Wanting to start your caganer collection? Alibaba is the place, with caganers available of President Obama, SpongeBob Squarepants, and fashion designer Karl Lagerfield. Seller Pooping Stars of Barcelona boasts several 100%-approval reviews.

7 Replies to “In Case You Missed It… Assorted Oddities from Around the Web”

  1. It looks to me like your headline “A Wheel That’s Not (Always) Round” is completely WRONG.

    Reviewing the video you linked, and the details on the website, the wheel is, in fact, ALWAYS round. What is different, is that the compression cylinders allow the center of rotation, that is the HUB, to move from the center of the wheel.

    This is an interesting innovation and I hope they find useful applications beyond wheelchairs and bicycles. I just don’t think that misleading story headlines help their cause.

  2. Having played around with a similar thing years back…

    If any one of those gas cylinders, their mountpoints, bolts, welds, etc. fail… there will be complete and catastrophic failure of the wheel assembly. Each of the three spokes relies on the others, if one fail, the wheel fails.

    But we all know that will never happen in real life.

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