February 25th, 2021


Bright Ideas

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published April 26, 2016

Bright Ideas
According to a former spy for the Soviet Union, dictator Josef Stalin so distrusted his Communist China counterpart Mao Zedong during the 1940s that when Mao visited the USSR, Soviet engineers arranged to capture his bowel movements so that Stalin's scientists could examine them chemically to form a psychological profile. Spy Igor Atamanenko found evidence that other world leaders received similar treatment. Among the indicators: High levels of the amino acid tryptophan signaled the person was calm and approachable, and lack of potassium portended nervousness and insomnia.) [BBC News, 1-28-2016]

Williams Lake, British Columbia, has the most violent crime per capita for its size (pop. 10,800) of any town in Canada, and in February the city council unanimously passed a dramatic action plan: to inject "high risk" criminals with "GPS tracking" devices. The program was immediately denounced by privacy advocates, but that challenge is almost beside the point -- since injectable GPS tracking does not even exist. (Councilors likely confused implantable microchips, which contain data but do not track, with GPS transponders, which track but only via sight-line contact with a satellite.) [CTV News (Vancouver), 2-25-2016]

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