5. Tokyo Train Stations
In Tokyo, Japan there was a serious problem with suicides in train stations. So, the Japanese government had the crazy idea to install blue street lights in train stations in hopes that this will decrease the amount of suicides based on studies they had read. Professor Tsuneo Suzuki at Keio University said: “There are a number of pieces of data to prove blue has a calming effect upon people. However, it’s an unusual colour for lighting, so people may just feel like avoiding standing out by committing crimes or suicide under such unusual illumination. It’s a little risky to believe that the colour of lighting can prevent anything.” Weirdly enough this actually worked! Since the change to blue lighting, there have been no suicide attempts and crime has even been reduced by 9%. Not only is blue a calming colour, but it also reminds people of police lights, so they feel they are being watched.
4. Bao Xishun
Bao Xishun is a former Guinness World Record holder as one of the world’s tallest living men, standing at an impressive 7ft 9 inches. His abnormal height did prove to be useful in a last-ditch effort to help two dolphins who had consumed a lot of plastic. Bao Xishun was called to an aquarium in Fushun, north-east China after two dolphins swallowed plastic used around their pool. Attempts to use instruments to try and remove the plastic failed as the dolphins kept contracting their stomachs. The dolphins had lost their appetite and were suffering from depression because of the plastic they had consumed. Veterinarians became desperate and called in the Mongolian giant to help in a crazy idea that actually ended up working. Bao Xishun used his 1.06m-long arm to extend into the dolphins’ mouths and physically removed most of the plastic pieces from the dolphins’ stomachs.
3. Playstation Supercomputer
What do you do if you don’t have the budget for a supercomputer? Yes, you guessed it, you buy 1,716 PlayStation 3s! This crazy idea actually worked and was carried out by the U.S. Air Force for use in university research projects. As they did not have the budget to buy a supercomputer, the U.S. Air Force had the crazy idea to hook up 1,716 PlayStation 3 consoles, 168 general-purpose GPUs and 78 compute servers powered by 2.67 GHz Intel Xenon processors. They called this massive computational mega machine the “Condor Cluster.” What’s most remarkable about the Condor Cluster is the fact that it cost 1/10th the cost of a traditional supercomputer. The Condor Cluster is open source and is used by universities to build everything from artificial neural networks to models that will prove Einstein’s theory of relativity.
2. Plastic Balls
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power had a bit of a tricky situation with their Ivanhoe Reservoir as the sunlight combined with chlorine and bromide in the reservoir formed the carcinogen, bromate. The LA Department of Water had to think of a way to protect the drinking water supply needed for summer. The crazy idea they had in mind involved a ball, well 400,000 of them! The agency started dumping 400,000 black plastic balls to cover the water in the reservoir. This effectively blocked the sunlight from reaching the surface of the water.
1. Hugging A Shooter
In 2006 in Reno, Nevada, a shooting took place in Pine Middle School by 14-year old student, James Scott Newman. Luckily there were no fatalities amidst the shooting, however, two students were injured as a result of the shots fired by James Scott Newman. But what was bizarre about how the situation was handled was the uncommon courage and recklessness (some might say) of Nevada gym teacher Jencie Fagan. When the 14-year old student opened fire in the school hallway, many students started scattering and running for their lives but not gym teacher Jencie Fagan. In fact, she risked her own life in a crazy idea she had by approaching the shooter and holding him in a bear hug. She recalled Newman tossing the gun down as she told him that she would never leave him. Newman was sentenced to house arrest until he completed 200 hours of community service. Jencie Fagan was selected as one of the three national winners for the Above & Beyond Citizen Honor from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society for her bravery.