Very Weird Animal Experiments

I recently came across a couple of disturbing accounts of weird experiments performed on animals at the museum of hoaxes website.

-What would happens if you give an elephant LSD?

On Friday August 3, 1962, a group of Oklahoma City researchers decided to find out. Warren Thomas, Director of the City Zoo, fired a cartridge-syringe containing 297 milligrams of LSD into Tusko the Elephant’s rump. With Thomas were two scientific colleagues from the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine, Louis Jolyon West and Chester M. Pierce. 297 milligrams is a lot of LSD — about 3000 times the level of a typical human dose. In fact, it remains the largest dose of LSD ever given to a living creature. The researchers figured that, if they were going to give an elephant LSD, they better not give him too little.

Thomas, West, and Pierce later explained that the experiment was designed to find out if LSD would induce musth in an elephant — musth being a kind of temporary madness male elephants sometimes experience during which they become highly aggressive and secrete a sticky fluid from their temporal glands. But one suspects a small element of ghoulish curiosity might also have been involved. Whatever the reason for the experiment, it almost immediately went awry. Tusko reacted to the shot as if a bee had stung him. He trumpeted around his pen for a few minutes, and then keeled over on his side. Horrified, the researchers tried to revive him, but about an hour later he was dead. The three scientists sheepishly concluded that, “It appears that the elephant is highly sensitive to the effects of LSD.”

In the years that followed controversy lingered over whether it was the LSD that killed Tusko, or the drugs used to revive him. So twenty years later, Ronald Siegel of UCLA decided to settle the debate by giving two elephants a dose similar to what Tusko received. Reportedly he had to sign an agreement promising to replace the animals in the event of their deaths. Instead of injecting the elephants with LSD, Siegel mixed the drug into their water, and when it was administered in this way, the elephants not only survived but didn’t seem too upset at all. They acted sluggish, rocked back and forth, and made some strange vocalizations such as chirping and squeaking, but within a few hours they were back to normal. However, Siegel noted that the dosage Tusko received may have exceeded some threshold of toxicity, so he couldn’t rule out that LSD was the cause of his death. I know this was back in the early 60’s but I am sure there are some sick experiments going on nowadays all around the world.

-Have you ever seen a dog with two heads?

In 1954 Vladimir Demikhov rocked the scientific world by unveiling a surgically created monstrosity: A two-headed dog. He created the creature in a lab on the outskirts of Moscow by grafting the head, shoulders, and front legs of a puppy onto the neck of a mature German shepherd.

Demikhov paraded the dog before reporters from around the world. Journalists gasped as both heads simultaneously lapped at bowls of milk, and then cringed as the milk from the puppy’s head dribbled out the unconnected stump of its esophageal tube. The Soviet Union proudly boasted that the dog was proof of their nation’s medical preeminence. Over the course of the next fifteen years, Demikhov created a total of twenty of his two-headed dogs. None of them lived very long, as they inevitably succumbed to problems of tissue rejection. The record was a month.

Demikhov explained that the dogs were part of a continuing series of experiments in surgical techniques, with his ultimate goal being to learn how to perform a human heart and lung transplant. Another surgeon beat him to this goal — Dr. Christian Baarnard in 1967 — but Demikhov is widely credited with paving the way for it. I guess this story makes you wonder about “the end justifying the means’. The “greater good” and all that.

Mr. Yuk has Lawyers!?

It turns out Mr. Yuk, the scary green poison control symbol, has lawyers and they are not very happy about what’s happening in St. Paul.   Local City Council member Paul Bakken has put Mr. Yuk-like faces on lawn signs opposing an upcoming vote to amend the city charter. Attorneys for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, which holds the copyright on Mr. Yuk, weren’t amused.

“It’s just that this guy is using Mr. Yuk inappropriately and illegally. He’s broken copyright laws. … It’s clearly a violation,” said Dr. Edward Krenzelok, director of the Pittsburgh Poison Center, which is affiliated with the medical center.   He said Mr. Yuk was created more than 30 years ago to warn children away from dangerous substances. He said he has asked the medical center’s lawyers to straighten things out.

“It doesn’t hurt us,” Krenzelok acknowledged. “It’s just inappropriate use, and we have to control the use to maintain our copyright.”   Bakken, a lawyer, defended his use of Mr. Yuk. He said federal law allows some use of copyrighted material for satire or academic criticism. He said he found Yuk-like images spread across the Internet.

“It appeared to be in the public domain,” he said. “If this is genuinely harming the good work that they do, I sincerely apologize.”  In my opinion lawn poison is still poison so I am not sure what the problem is, watch the vintage commercial from 1971 to see Mr. Yuk in action.


 

Oh How the French Love to Love

In France a woman who planted a lipstick-laden kiss on an all-white painting by the American artist Cy Twombly went on trial Tuesday, telling the court she had committed an “act of love” – not a crime.

Rindy Sam, a 30-year-old French artist, faced charges of “voluntarily damaging a work of art.” The painting is worth an estimated $2,830,000 and restorers have tried to remove the lipstick smudge from the bone-white canvas using nearly 30 products – to no avail.

Prosecutors, want Sam to pay a $6,400 fine and take a class on good citizenship. The verdict was set for Nov. 16.   Sam was taken into custody after she kissed the painting July 19. It was part of a travelling exhibition on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Avignon.  The painting is owned by collector Yvon Lambert. He was asking for $2,878,000 in damages, which included the value of the painting and the $47,000 restoration cost.

Twombly is known for his abstract paintings combining painting and drawing techniques, repetitive lines and the use of graffiti, letters and words.  Born in Lexington, Va., in 1928, Twombly has lived in Italy for nearly a half-century. He won the prestigious Golden Lion award at the Venice Biennale in 2001.

Tuesday’s trial came as police in Paris jailed five people in connection with the weekend vandalism of a noted painting by French Impressionist Claude Monet, “Le Pont d’Argenteuil.”  Intruders, apparently drunk, broke into Paris’ Orsay Museum early Sunday and punched the renowned work, leaving a nearly 10 centimetre tear. The five were tracked by evidence from museum security cameras, police said. One person admitted to putting a fist in the painting under the influence of alcohol.

The intruders had entered by a back door. Culture Minister Christine Albanel said that apparently one in the group had information about access to the museum for professional reasons and used this information to enter. The minister did not say if any of those detained worked for the museum.  Why am I not surprised this happened in France, the land of love!

Weird Crime Watch

Here are a few weird, strange tidbits on some truly interesting criminals. 

-Authorities say a man robbing a Colorado bank demanded money by writing a note on one of his own cheques.   Not surprisingly, he was caught shortly afterward. Authorities say Forest Kelly Bissonnette, 27, apparently tried to cover his name on the cheque, then handed the note to a teller September 5 at the Bank of the West in Englewood.   Nearly five thousand dollars U-S was taken.

Surveillance video shows a suspect similar to Bissonnette’s description and a tipster says a man named Forest Kelly claimed he got five thousand dollars in a bank robbery.   Bissonnette remained in federal custody Tuesday after turning himself in Friday.   A public defender was to be appointed for Bissonnette, who doesn’t have a listed phone number and probably has an IQ of 20.

-Here is one that will make you lose your appetite.  Police in Minnesota say a man who robbed a woman of her keys and cellphone took off her shoes and licked her toes.   Commander Kevin Casper calls the attack weird sexual behaviour. Authorities say the 24-year-old woman was leaving work around 1 a.m. Saturday when the 27-year-old suspect approached her and demanded her keys and phone. After that, he removed her shoes. Police say the woman was not hurt.

Police arrested the man a few minutes later about four blocks away.   The woman identified the suspect and police were able to recover her keys and phone.   The man was in custody but it was not clear whether he had been formally charged.

-And now for one that just warms the heart.  A man has been charged with extorting more than $20,000 from his elderly mother by repeatedly threatening to kidnap her beloved cat and demanding ransom, police said.   Garry Lamar, 47, was arrested Friday and released on $200 bail. He has been ordered to stay away from his 78-year-old mother, Mary Lamar Grancher.

He started threatening to kidnap his the cat just over a year ago, after his mother kicked him out of her home, accusing him of abuse, North Kingstown Police Sgt. Daniel Ormond said.   During the past year, Lamar allegedly kidnapped the cat once and made kidnapping threats on an almost weekly basis, Ormond said. Police don’t believe the cat was harmed but are continuing to investigate.   Grancher made at least two dozen payments totalling more than $20,000 in cash and checks to her son. Authorities are still sorting through her financial records to determine the precise amount.

Fake Bomb Scare

Fake_bombAn MIT student wearing what turned out to be a fake bomb was arrested at gunpoint Friday at Logan International Airport and later claimed it was artwork, officials said.  Star Simpson, 19, had a computer circuit board and wiring in plain view over a black hooded sweatshirt she was wearing, said State Police Maj. Scott Pare, the commanding officer at the airport. 

“She said that it was a piece of art and she wanted to stand out on career day,” Pare said at a news conference. “She claims that it was just art, and that she was proud of the art and she wanted to display it.”  Simpson was charged with disturbing the peace and possessing a hoax device. A not guilty plea was entered for her and she was released on $750 bail.

During the hearing, Simpson smiled as she entered wearing a T-shirt and sandals. After she posted bail, she left in a taxi with a man who identified himself as her boyfriend, but neither would answer more questions from reporters.  Prosecutor Wayne Margolis had requested $5,000 bail, saying Simpson showed a total disregard for the situation she was in — an airport after the 2001 terrorist attacks.  She definately should have thought more about this one and is lucky she wasn’t shot dead.

Ross Schreiber, who was appointed to represent Simpson, said she was not a risk to flee, was a good student with no prior convictions and she cooperated with authorities.  He said she had gone to the airport to meet her boyfriend. “She was there for legitimate purposes,” Schreiber said.

Simpson was “extremely lucky she followed the instructions or deadly force would have been used,” Pare said. “She’s lucky to be in a cell as opposed to the morgue.”  Simpson is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology sophomore from Hawaii, officials said.  The battery-powered rectangular device had nine flashing lights, and Simpson had Play-Doh in her hands, Pare said.

The phrases “Socket to me” and “Course VI” were written on the back of her sweatshirt, which authorities displayed to the media. Course VI appears to refer to MIT’s major of electrical engineering and computer science.  Simpson was a member of MIT’s swimming and diving team in 2006, according to the team’s Web site, which lists her hometown as Kihei, Hawaii. MIT spokeswoman Patti Richards said aside from confirming she was a student, the school did not have any comment.

She was arrested about 8 a.m. outside Terminal C, home to United Airlines, Jet Blue and other carriers.  A Massachusetts Port Authority staffer manning an information booth in the terminal became suspicious when Simpson — wearing the device — approached to ask about an incoming flight, Pare said. Simpson then walked outside, and the staffer notified a nearby trooper.  The trooper, joined by others with submachine guns, confronted her at a traffic island in front of the terminal.  “She was immediately told to stop, to raise her hands and not to make any movement, so we could observe all her movements to see if she was trying to trip any type of device,” Pare said. “Had she not followed the protocol, we might have used deadly force.”

Pare said Simpson took a subway to the airport, but he was not sure if she had the device on at that time.   The major praised the booth attendant, but said the incident is a reminder of the terrorism threat confronting the civil aviation system. Two of the four passenger jets hijacked on Sept. 11, 2001, took off from Logan.   The city was the focus of a major security scare Jan. 31 when dozens of battery-powered devices were discovered in various locations. Bomb squads were deployed and some transportation links were closed temporarily. They turned out to be a promotion for the Cartoon Network.

 

Gaming to Death

Here is a weird internet gaming story.  A man in southern China appears to have died of exhaustion after a three-day Internet gaming binge, state media said Monday.  The 30-year-old man fainted at a cybercafe in the city of Guangzhou on Saturday afternoon after he had been playing games online for three days, the Beijing News reported.   Paramedics tried to revive him but failed and he was declared dead at the cafe, it said.

China has 140 million Internet users, second only to the United States. It is one of the world’s biggest markets for online games, with tens of millions of players, many of whom hunker down for hours in front of computers in public Internet cafes.

Several cities have clinics to treat what Chineese psychiatrists have dubbed “Internet addiction” in users, many of them children and teenagers, who play online games or surf the web for days at a time.  They don’t eat and sometimes they even wear adult diapers or use chemical toliets so they don’t have to take breaks.   Ewwww, gross!