The purpose of a headline is to grab your attention so you want to read the attached article. A bombinated headline seeks to create a buzz of excitement. “Read on,” it exclaims. 


A recent headline caught my immediate attention: “Gallaudet invented the huddle. Now, the Bison are revolutionizing helmet tech with AT&T.” Gallaudet is the world’s only liberal arts university for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. The new helmet technology could replace the football team's reliance on American Sign Language for its play calling. 


This is revolutionary. “The 5G-connected helmet uses the same technology that powers cell phones across the United States. AT&T placed a microprocessor inside a Riddell helmet. It is connected to a lens mounted on the top of the helmet's facemask. A coach can select a play on a tablet and then send it to the player, who can then see the play displayed on the lens.” 


This is experimental now, but could be commonplace in the future. “Just imagine how often in each NFL game, with 80,000 fans screaming in attendance, how many times there's a delay of game, offsides? How many timeouts are burned, how many penalties occur because people are so reliant on being able to hear? But having this visual access and being able to communicate in that way, this technology with Gallaudet's help guiding, this will be able to change the future."



Another headline about a recent innovation also caught my eye: “Carolina Reaper creator breaks world’s hottest pepper record with help of mysterious Michigan pepper.” 


The new hottie is called Pepper X. Its creator says: “The pepper is a crossbreed of a Carolina Reaper and a pepper that a friend of mine sent me from Michigan that was brutally hot.” 


How hot? “According to Guinness, Pepper X rates at an average of 2.69 million Scoville Heat Units, three times hotter than the Reaper, which held the world record for a decade at 1.64 million units. For comparison, pepper spray commonly holstered by police is around 1.6 million units.”  (


Pepper X led me to another headline that touted another tailgate treat: “Make Triscuit Crackers Michigan’s Unofficial State Snack.” The reason? “Triscuit Crackers are made with white winter wheat that’s one-hundred percent grown and harvested by farmers in Michigan. In fact, for the past fifteen years Triscuit Brand has partnered with a farming collective of over one thousand generational family farmers in the state of Michigan.” 


You should know that Michigan does not have a state snack – official or unofficial. If you want to help change that, you can sign a petition to give that designation to Triscuit at:


If you want to put something sweet on your Triscuits, another headline might cause you to exercise caution: “Honey made from rhododendrons can be hallucinogenic.” This stuff is so dangerous it's called “mad honey.” 


“The U.S. has more than three hundred types of honey, but there’s one you won’t find among store shelves. Created when bees feast almost exclusively on nectar and pollen from flowering rhododendron bushes, the natural sweetener has an unusual characteristic that appears shortly after consumption. It causes hallucinations.”


If you want to serve this you'll have to go to where Himalayan giant honeybees reside. “Mad honey is found mostly among high-altitude honeycombs in the mountains of Turkey and Nepal. Harvesting it can be dangerous.” (


Giant honeybees are scary, but closer to home a headline revealed something  a bit unnerving archived in our state: “University of Michigan slithers toward history with massive acquisition of jarred snake specimens.” 


At the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology's reptile and amphibian collection, you can now see “rows upon rows of liquid-filled glass jars containing coiled snake specimens.” A museum representative notes: “"I'm fairly confident we have the largest snake collection in the world,"


If you're squeamish, you may want to avoid a museum field trip. The display  contains around 30,000 snakes. “That would give Michigan a total of between 65,000 to 70,000 of the slithering vertebrates, surpassing collections at the Smithsonian in Washington and the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Some of the specimens housed at the museum predate the Civil War.” (


Finally, not all headlines are shockers. Something fuzzy and warm can also capture your concentration, like: “One-Eyed 'Teddy Bear' Pup Hobie Crowned World's Cutest Rescue Dog.” 


Hobie beat out eight thousand other contestants for the title. “He looks like a teddy bear and is very sweet," the one-eyed terrier mix's pet parent says about the pup's adorable allure.” See lots of photos at: All together now – “Awwwwww!” 


Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at and