British store owners seeking to drive away obnoxious, congregating teenagers have turned to security consultant Howard Stapleton’s recent invention, similar to a dog whistle, that emits a high-frequency sound audible to most teens but few older people. “The Mosquito” (it’s “small and annoying,” Stapleton told a New York Times reporter, who vouched that she couldn’t hear it, either) emits what one merchant called a pulsating chirp, not painful but surely irritating. A professor of neurophysiology verified that the ability to hear high frequency dissipates with age but that some people in their 20s and 30s could probably still hear it.
LEAST COMPETENT PEOPLE
Robbin Doolin, 31, accidentally fell from her car while driving on U.S. 71 in Kansas City, Mo., in July when she opened the door to spit and leaned too far. She quickly jumped up and chased her car, which left the road and ran down an embankment. And in Amarillo, Texas, Bobby Reynolds, 74, and his son Gary, 43, were hospitalized in July after an incident in which their car got stuck on tracks at a railroad crossing. After unsuccessfully trying the move it, reported the Amarillo Globe-News, they somehow fell asleep in the car and were later hit by a train.
BOOK LEARNING OVERRATED
A judge in Santa Maria, Calif., ordered Nobel-prize-winning physicist John Robert Schrieffer, 74, to prison for two years in November after he acknowledged that he killed a man and injured seven others when he fell asleep at the wheel of his car, at more than 100 mph. Schrieffer had nine previous speeding tickets and was driving at the time on a suspended Florida license. He also admitted that he lied to police about the cause of the collision. Schrieffer and two others shared the 1972 Nobel for their theory of electrical superconductivity.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
Singer Kenny Chesney, explaining to Life magazine in October how profoundly he felt the loss when he and actress Renee Zellweger ended their recent, brief marriage: It was “like opening the door to your house and having someone come in and take your big-screen TV off the wall during the big game, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
News of the Weird last reported on Hormel Foods Corp.’s Spam in 2002 when McDonald’s test-marketed a breakfast containing the luncheon meat in Hawai’i. It is perhaps even more highly revered in South Korea, where (according to an October Los Angeles Times dispatch) an estimated 8 million cans are sold each holiday season, and a gift set of 12 in upscale department stores goes for about $44. Jeon Pyoung Soo, the South Korean Spam brand manager, continues to be puzzled at the product’s U.S. reputation: “I can’t understand what is funny about Spam.”
A November paper by Sheffield (England) University education lecturer Pat Sikes argued that not all teacher-pupil romances are bad and that, in fact, sometimes “the seductive nature and ‘erotic charge’ often characteristic of ‘good’ teaching” can provoke a “positive and exciting response.” Dr. Sikes, 50, who met her now-husband in 1970 when she was 14 and he was a 22-year-old history teacher, estimated that 1,500 pupil-teacher affairs develop in Britain every year. MTW