Institute of Weirdness
weird = fantastic, bizarre, eccentric, unconventional in
This page was updated on 30 June 1996.
The Institute of Weirdness is founded on the idea that "Weird is Wonderful." It is being created now in
San Luis Obispo County, California. Initially, it will be located in the home of its founder, Mark
Hutchenreuther, who lives in the south county community of Oceano. The title of the Institute is tentative, but
descriptive. Its current address is a post office box assigned to an prospective entity called Weird
Current activities include:
- The Creative Mischief SIG
- Weird ElectroMechanics
- The Weird Singles Club
The Creative Mischief SIG
This established Special Interest Group of American Mensa was founded in July of 1992 at the Mensa
Annual Gathering in San Francisco. The SIG was founded to counter the belief that Mensa was taking
itself far too seriously and needed to lighten up a bit. The modus operendi of the CM SIG is to post signs
at Mensa gatherings that are hoaxes:
Beginning with the Mensa Annual Gathering in Orlando in 1993, the SIG has also held some sort of silly
parade. It has now become an expectation at subsequent Annual Gatherings.
- Added imaginary events, such as High Impact Aerobics which requires extensive protective gear and
a signed waiver
- Cancelled imaginary events, such as a party to toilet paper the adjacent hotel
- Meetings of non-existent SIGs, such as The Evil Twin SIG
- Preposterous business opportunities, such as raising Desert Hot Springs Pupfish (an endangered
species) in a home hot tub
- Fake pleas from the organizing committee, such as a request for volunteers to segregate the green
- Fake apologies from the organizing committee, such as a substitution of giant mutant chickens from
the area around Three Mile Island for Thanksgiving turkeys
The activities of the Creative Mischief SIG are documented on a separate home page.
Originally this was a series of lectures in a class on Electrical Machinery taught by the founder at Cal Poly
in San Luis Obispo and subsequently at work at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Port Hueneme, CA.
These lectures included such topics as stepper motors, linear induction motors, micromachinery, and
shape memory alloys. More recently, these topics have been presented in a condensed format at Mensa
gatherings. Current plans are to publish a periodic newsletter of this title, which is being test marketed.
Topics include both state-of-the-art technologies and other technologies with growth potential, such
It is the founder's feeling that the older strange technologies will find new applications in the solution of
problems dealing with the newer strange technologies. For example, that superconductors may make
micromachinery practical through the application of the Hall Effect. Or that shape memory alloys may
find an application as substrates for micromachinery or high-frequency integrated circuits.
- Micromachinery including gnat robots
- Shape memory alloys such as nitinol
- Superconducting alloys and the Meissner Effect
- Compounds exhibiting Piezoelectric properties
- New applications for the Hall Effect
- Stepper motors and robotics
- Linear induction motors and devices
- Other unusual motor types
The Weird Singles Club
The founder, who is single, has noted that singles clubs continue to proliferate and are getting
increasingly specific. There are specialty singles clubs for booklovers, science people, classical music
listeners, and artists. There are singles dining clubs, dance clubs, clubs for professionals, clubs for singles
with children, and clubs for singles with degrees. Many of these clubs, and the people in them, are a bit
boring. The really interesting people are considered "weird," hence the apparent need for the club.
Unlike the proliferating singles clubs, the also-proliferating singles services are incredibly expensive. A
number of these are popping up all over, and actively soliciting new clients. With annual fees in the
thousands of dollars, it is no wonder the other singles clubs are proliferating, and singles ads are
appearing in more and more media outlets.
Whether the people in this proposed singles club are truly weird or merely eccentric, the need for the club
is apparent. The name of the club is preliminary, yet descriptive. After upcoming market testing is
completed, it could become the Creative Singles Club, or maybe even simply the Interesting Singles
Please contact the Institute founder for more information.
Mark Hutchenreuther is on the Internet and Compuserve.
P.O. Box 13028
San Luis Obispo, CA 93406