Lead Story

Tulsa psychiatrist Mark Kelley, accused of abuse by patient Victoria Spiegel, admitted to a jury in September that he “allowed” her to suck his thumb during therapy sessions, but only because one of her multiple personalities was “infantile” and needed support. However, he denied Spiegel’s claims that any of the personalities had ever sucked his nipples and said he was only “minimally involved” in the incident in which Spiegel wound up wearing a diaper during one office visit.

Science Fair

To improve understanding of human degenerative neural disorders, such as Huntington’s disease, scientists at Columbia University have been conducting research on the roundworm’s sense of touch. Researchers tickle the .01-inch-long worms with human eyebrow hairs to see if they twitch.

Scientists at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, have been taste testing perspiration to use for human hydration on long space flights. They collect sweat from volunteers who have been forced to exercise vigorously.

The China Daily, the country’s official newspaper, reported in July that one puff from a new cigarette created by the Design and Research Institute in Beijing can stop a toothache in ten seconds and prevent the pain from returning for a year.

Science magazine reported in July that Asteroid 1986DA–about a mile wide and shaped like a canned ham–might be composed of 10,000 tons of gold and 100,000 tons of platinum, which would mean it’s worth $1.12 trillion. The asteroid orbits the sun, and the closest it comes to earth is 20 million miles away. Scientists are trying to find ways to alter its orbit to bring it closer.

Indiana University geochemist Simon Brassell and others recently released a study concluding that dinosaurs digested food by fermenting it and that the earth’s prehistoric climate may have been significantly warmed by the methane released during that fermentation.

In September Dr. James Jefferson and his colleagues at the University of Wisconsin at Madison sent a questionnaire to 1,000 local residents to commence a study on nose picking, about which, Jefferson said, “little is actually known.” One question asks respondents how much time they spend picking their noses each day and offers multiple-choice answers ranging from less than one minute to “more than two hours.”

In October surgeons at Stanford University Medical Center removed what is believed to be the largest cyst ever–weighing 303 pounds and measuring three feet in diameter–from a 34-year-old woman. The woman stands five-foot-ten and weighed in at 210 pounds after the operation. (Previously the largest cyst on record was 185 pounds.)

Creme de la Weird

Dan Andres, clerk at a Salt Lake City 7-Eleven, reported in October that a woman in her 40s who came into the store to refill her 48-ounce soft-drink jug found when she removed the top that it was full of roaches. So she dumped about two dozen roaches onto the counter, filled the jug, paid for the soda, and left. The subsequent extermination bill, Andres said, was around $500.

Least Competent Person

When suspected purse snatcher Dereese Delon Waddell stood in a police lineup in suburban Minneapolis last winter so the 76-year-old female victim could have a look at him, police told him to put his baseball cap on his head with the bill facing out, so as to be presentable. He protested, “No, [I’m going to] put it on backwards. That’s the way I had it on when I took the purse.”

Least Justifiable Homicide

In Dallas in October, Jose Diaz, 29, was gunned down in a parking lot after an altercation with another man over whose turn it was to buy beer.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Slug Signorino.