OK, you need to know your pop culture references to truly appreciate it!
Welcome to another of our random round-ups of weird tales and WTF news from around the known universe...
• The Vatican has released a game called Follow JC Go based on the augmented reality game Pokémon Go. Rather than chasing Pikachu, the Vatican version involves collecting saints and other Biblical figures. The game is available for both iOS and Android, although only in Italian and Spanish language versions at the moment. See full report below...
• MIT Media Lab is hosting a mass online social experiment on Halloween at 11 pm EDT. Called BeeMe the goal of this "dystopian game" is to let participants control an actor and defeat an evil artificial intelligence program. Internet users will program the actor by crowdsourcing commands and then voting on them. BeeMe's creators say they want the project to stoke conversations about privacy, ethics, entertainment, and social interactions. Sounds like an episode from Black Mirror...
• Finally NASA... Long ago, sky watchers linked the brightest stars into patterns reflecting animals, heroes, monsters and even scientific instruments into what is now an official collection of 88 constellations. Now scientists with NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have devised a set of modern constellations constructed from sources in the gamma-ray sky to celebrate the mission’s 10th year of operations. The new constellations include a few characters from modern myths. Among them are the Little Prince, the time-warping TARDIS from Doctor Who, Godzilla and his heat ray, and the antimatter-powered USS Enterprise from Star Trek: The Original Series.
Mea Culpa! I meant to post this last month but it fell through the virtual cushions on my digital sofa! Better late than never – and thank you Madeleine D'Este for the opportunity.
Here's another collection of weird, wacky, wonderful and just plain WTF stories I've spotted over the past few days, including...
A rather cutesy video from the US Department of Defense that makes the war business sound like something from a Saturday morning kids' cartoon show
A video purporting to show the fossilised remains of a giant dragon in the Mauritanian desert. If you believe the video, this dragon was about 6 (yes SIX) miles long. Of course cynics would say it is just an outcrop of rock partially covered by drifting sand. But they would say that wouldn't they!
In our Irony Corner, here's a commemorative plaque at the Birmingham (UK) International Conference Centre, the home of the recent Conservative Party annual conference. The Tories spent much of their time there lambasting the European Commission, apparently oblivious to the fact the building was only constructed thanks to European Commission funding. Yeah! What has the EU ever done for the UK?
We've also a report from the BBC on Deaths by Selfie – proof that Darwin's theory of the Survival of the Fittest is alive and well today, with a mortality rate of just over 40 people a year. We have a list of the most frequent causes of death: the transport-related deaths almost all involved moving trains.
And, proof that it's never too early for bad taste, a company called Numskull Designs has just launched its 2018 "Official Geeky Knitted Christmas Ugly Sweaters and Jumpers" range. The latest designs are based on Adventure Time, Rick & Morty, Harry Potter, Sonic the Hedgehog, Batman, Fallout 76, Spyro the Dragon, Star Wars, and more. The Harry Potter sweaters apparently incorporate LED candles that light up like Hogwarts’ candles. Well at least Numskull realise ugly Christmas jumper are a joke. Not too sure about some of the people who buy them though! More info, including worldwide stockists, to be found on the Numskull website at http://www.numskull.com
We haven't had a music video for a while so here's a new track – My Mother and the Devil by Austin Lucas – for those of you who like your Americana flavoured with a dash of Southern Gothic. The track is on his new album Immortal Americans (Cornelius Chapel Records).
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Urban Fantasist is here to inform and entertain you with tales of pop culture, geek, folklore, history, urban myths, and the weird. "Fun and strangeness" is how one reader describes it.
Hosted by Reuters correspondent and barrister turned blogger, podcaster, storyteller, radio DJ, award-winning tech journalist and sometime werewolf hunter Charles Christian, the site also has links to Charles Christian's books including fiction, nonfiction and latest reviews, as well as his Weird Tales and Smart Radio shows.
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In Episode 65 of the Weird Tales Radio Show Janie has a round-up of weird news from around the world and takes a skeptical look at Romanian witches on the web, the latest yeti sightings and an online love spells scam. And we also revisit the medieval tale of the Green Children of Woolpit - was this an early close encounter with aliens, the Fae or merely displaced orphans of war?
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