Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends

Joshua Lee
5 min read
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Dateline: Tennessee

The citizens of Troy, Tenn., might not have a Christmas parade to enjoy this year after a proposed “love everybody” float reportedly caused some residents to become angry and threaten violence. According to
USA Today, Dwight Tittle says he got the idea for the float from a Bible passage in 1 John 4:7-8: “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God … Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” The float was meant to ride in the city’s annual Christmas parade. Tittle planned to include a rainbow flag in its design but said it was meant to express love for all people who might feel ostracized, including members of the LGBTQ community. “All that says is we’re just to love everybody,” Tittle told reporters. “You don’t have to agree with them, you don’t have to accept their lifestyle, but you can still love them. That’s what we’re about.” But some Troy residents were upset by what they interpreted to be a statement of LGBTQ pride. On social media, one resident reportedly suggested people should throw hard candy jawbreakers at the float; another suggested throwing tomatoes. Last week, city officials announced on Troy’s Facebook page that the Christmas parade would be canceled due to “continued scheduling conflicts.” The post received hundreds of responses, many of which accused city leaders of canceling the event because of the controversy surrounding the “love everyone” float. Troy Mayor Deanna Chappell has since clarified the announcement, stating that some of the people who typically volunteer to help with the parade would be unable to attend. Chappell said the city is “actively working to come up with a plan to make a parade happen.” In the meantime, Tittle’s float was approved to run in the Union City Christmas Parade on Dec. 5, 10 miles northeast of Troy.

Dateline: North Carolina

A man has created a dating app that doesn’t allow any other men to join. According to
WFMY in Greensboro, N.C., Aaron Smith, creator of a new app called Singularity, told reporters that he has an issue with the other available options. “The biggest problem with the other apps is that my face is not featured prominently,” he said. Singularity is only open to female users, and it only displays different images of Smith—no matter how many times a user swipes. “If life gives you lemons, you should first make lemonade,” he said. “Then make sure no other companies can produce or distribute their own soft drinks. So the only game in town is lemonade.” In a commercial uploaded to YouTube to promote the app, Smith says that the app uses “the latest in personality analysis and machine learning technology” to save users “countless hours of swiping” by matching them up with him. The app allows users to “like,” “super like” or skip profiles. They can also select the “black hole” button, which will cause their phone to “emit a blood-curdling scream when you realize what life has become … So what are you waiting for? Go find the Aaron Smith of your dreams. Visit singularitydating.com from your mobile phone.” Singularity was designed by Smith’s friend, Scott McDowell.

Dateline: Russia

Russian researchers have found that the use of virtual reality headsets can potentially increase cows’ milk production.
Interesting Engineering reports that farmers at RusMoloko dairy farm in Moscow are now using specially fitted VR headsets that were specifically designed for cows to help improve both their mood and milk production. According to the Russian Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the special headsets were designed by veterinarians and tech engineers, who took the cow’s anatomy and perceptions into account while developing the prototype. Programmers were tasked with creating virtual grassy fields and sunny skies to calm and relax the headsets’ bovine users. After initial experiments, researchers said the VR headsets decreased the test herd’s anxiety levels and appeared to improve their general mood. While it has yet to be proven that using the headsets increases milk production, researchers believe a cow’s emotional state directly influences the volume of milk it produces. In recent years, dairy farmers have incorporated various stress reduction methods into herd management—including massaging cows and playing classical music at dairy farms. If further study produces positive results, the headset’s developers plan to expand the project to more Russian farms. The introduction of VR technology into dairy production will be discussed at the VI International Agro-Industrial Dairy Forum in Krasnogorsk.

Dateline: Canada

A British Columbia newspaper accidentally invited families to take photos with “Satan” at a Christmas fair. The
Comox Valley Record apologized last week for running an advertisement purchased by the Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association stating that “pictures with Satan” would be available at its Christmas parade and fair. The typo was posted on Reddit, where it received much attention from amused users. “They are called ‘display ads’ for a reason” wrote newspaper staff in its apology. “They are meant to stand out on the page. This one did that, for all the wrong reasons.” Most readers and social media users seemed to respond with good humor. Some even suggested that event organizers should hire an actor to pose as the Prince of Darkness for photos. Downtown Courtenay BIA Executive Director Catherine Thompson told reporters that the ad had not been created or proofed by the association. “That being said we understand that these things happen and we are happy that everyone knows when the parade is this year,” she said.

Compiled by Joshua Lee. Email your weird news to josh@alibi.com.

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