News of the Weird M522, April 9, 2017

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Chuck Shepherd

Apr 9, 2017, 8:52:13 AM4/9/17
WEIRDNUZ.M522 (News of the Weird, April 9, 2017)
by Chuck Shepherd

Copyright 2017 by Chuck Shepherd.  All rights reserved.

Lead Story                                  
* World's Coolest City:  Recently, in Dubai (the largest city in the
United Arab Emirates), Dubai Civil Defense started using water
jetpacks that lift firefighters off the ground to hover in advantageous
positions as they work the hoses.  Also, using jet skis, rescuers can
avoid traffic altogether by using the city's rivers to arrive at fires
(and, if close enough to a waterway, can pump water without
hydrants).  Even more spectacularly, as early as this summer, Dubai
will authorize the already-tested one-person, "Jetsons"-type drones
for ordinary travel in the city.  The Ehang 184 model flies about 30
minutes on an electrical charge, carrying up to 220 pounds at about
60 mph. [Business Insider, 1-23-2017] [New York Times, 2-15-

Latest Human Rights

* Convicted murderer Philip Smith (a veteran criminal serving life
for killing the father of a boy Smith had been sexually abusing)
escaped from prison in New Zealand with the help of a disguise that
included a toupee for his bald head--before being caught.  Prison
officials confiscated the toupee, but Smith said a shiny head behind
bars made him feel "belittled, degraded, and humiliated" and sued
for the right to keep the toupee.  (In March, in a rare case in which a
litigant succeeds as his own lawyer, Smith prevailed in Auckland's
High Court.)  [BBC News, 3-16-2017]

* In March, star soccer goalkeepr Bruno Fernandes de Souza signed
a two-year contract to play for Brazil's Boa Esporte club while he
awaits the outcome of his appealed conviction for the 2010 murder
of his girlfriend.  (He had also fed her body to his dogs.)  He had
been sentenced to 22 years in prison but released by a judge after
seven,  based on the judge's exasperation at the years-long delays in
appeals in Brazil's sluggish legal system.  [The Guardian (London),


* The Cleveland (Ohio) Street Department still had not (at press
time) identified the man, but somehow he, dressed as a roads
worker, had wandered stealthily along Franklin Boulevard during
March and removed more than 20 standard "35 mph" speed limit
signs--replacing all with official-looking "25 mph" signs that he
presumably financed himself.  Residents along those two miles of
Franklin have long complained, but the city kept rejecting pleas for
a lowered limit.  [WEWS-TV (Cleveland), 3-23-2017]

Mating Strategies

* The Apenheul primate park in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, is engaged
in a four-year experiment, offering female orangutans an iPad
loaded with photos of male orangutans now housed at zoos around
the world, with the females able to express interest or disinterest
(similar to swiping right or left on the human dating app Tinder).
Researchers admit results have been mixed, that some males have to
be returned home (and once, a female handed the iPad with a
potential suitor showing, merely crushed the tablet).  (Apps are not
quite to the point of offering animals the ability to digitally smell
each other.)  [Daily Telegraph (London), 2-1-2017]

* Peacocks are "well known" (so they say) to flash their erect,
sometimes-six-foot-high rack of colorful tail feathers to attract
mating opportunities.  However, as Texas A&M researchers
recently found, the display might not be important.  Body cameras
placed on peahens at eye level (to learn how they check out strutting
males) revealed that the females gazed mostly at the lowest level of
feathers (as if attracted only to certain colors rather than the
awesomeness of the towering flourish).  [Austin American-
Statesman, 3-20-2017]

Spectacular Errors!

* (1) In March, jurors in Norfolk, Va., found Allen Cochran, 49, not
guilty of attempted shoplifting, but he was nowhere to be seen when
the verdict was announced.  Apparently predicting doom (since he
had also been charged with fleeing court during a previous case), he
once again skipped out.  The jury then re-retired to the jury room,
found him guilty on the earlier count, and sentenced him to the five-
year maximum.  (Because of time already served, he could have
walked away legally if he hadn't walked away illegally.)  (2) In
March, Ghanian soccer player Mohammed Anas earned a "man of
the match" award (after his two goals led the Free State Stars to a 2-
2 draw) but botched the acceptance speech by thanking both his
wife and his girlfriend.  Reportedly, Anas "stumbled for a second"
until he could correct himself:  "I'm so sorry," he attempted to
clarify, "My wife!  I love you so much from my heart."  [Virginian-
Pilot, 3-6-2017] [Daily Telegraph (London), 3-18-2017]

Leading Economic Indicators

* It turns out that Layne Hardin's sperm is worth only $1,900--and
not the $870,000 a jury had awarded him after finding that former
girlfriend Tobie Devall had, without Hardin's permission, obtained a
vial of it without authorization and inseminated herself to produce
her son, now age 6.  Initially Hardin tried to gain partial custody of
the boy, but Devall continually rebuffed him, provoking the lawsuit
(which also named the sperm bank Texas Andrology a defendant)
and the challenge in Houston's First Court of Appeal. [Houston
Chronicle, 1-25-2017]

Most Competent Criminal

* An astonished woman unnamed in news reports called police in
Coleshill, England, in February to report that a car exactly like her
silver Ford Kuga was parked at Melbicks Shopping Center--with the
very same license plate as hers.  Police figured out that a silver Ford
Kuga had been stolen nearby in 2016, and to disguise that it was
stolen, the thief had looked for an identical, not-stolen Ford Kuga
and then replicated its license plate, allowing the thief to drive the
stolen car without suspicion.  [Birmingham Mail, 2-5-2017]

Least Competent Criminals

* (1) Thieves once again attempted a fruitless smash-and-grab of an
ATM at Mike & Reggie's Beverages in Maple Heights, Ohio, in
March--despite the owner's having left the ATM's door wide open
with a sign reading "ATM emptied nightly."  Police are
investigating.  (2) Boca Raton, Fla., jeweler "Bobby" Yampolsky
said he was suspicious that the "customer" who asked to examine
diamonds worth $6 million carried no tools of the examination
trade.  After the lady made several obvious attempts to distract
Yampolsky, he ended the charade by locking her in his vault and
calling the police, who arrested her after discovering she had a
package of fake diamonds in her purse that she likely intended to
switch. [WJW-TV (Cleveland), 3-23-2017] [South Florida Sun-
Sentinel, 3-31-2017] 

Great Art!

* At what was billed as part of a cancer fundraising event at the
AvantGarden in Houston, Tex., in February, performance artist
Michael Clemmons and a partner, working as the act Sonic Rabbit
Hole, had the elegant idea that one give the other an enema on
stage, but there was a "spraying" accident.  Viewers were led to
believe the procedure was authentic, but the artists swore later that
the sprayed contents were just a protein shake. "What I did is not all
that [extreme]," protested Clemmons.  "I don't understand why I'm
getting the attention for this."  [KPRC-TV (Houston), 2-20-2017]

The Passing Parade

* Two convicted murders imprisoned in Nepal married each other
in February, though it will be at least 14 years before they can
consummate.  Dilli Koirala, 33 (serving 20 years for killing his
wife), and Mimkosha Bista, 30 (with another four years to go for
killing her husband), will be allowed to meet (just to talk) twice a
month until Koirala's term ends.  (A lawyer involved in the case
said the marriage, though odd, was perhaps the last chance either
would have to meet a suitable match.)  [Republica (Kathmandu), 2-

A News of the Weird Classic (July 2013)
* "[Supermodels] is the one exception [to U.S. immigration law]
that we all scratch our heads about," said a Brookings Institution
policy analyst in May [2013].  Foreign-born sports stars and
entertainers are fast-tracked with American work permits under one
system, but supermodels were excluded from that and must thus
compete (successfully, it turns out) with physicists and nuclear
engineers to earn visas among the slots available only to "skilled
workers with college degrees."  As such, around 250 beauties are
admitted every year.  (The most recent attempt to get supermodels
their own visa category was championed in 2005 and 2007 by
then-U.S.-Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York.)  [Bloomberg
Business Week, 5-23-2013]

     Thanks This Week to Jim Weber, Caroline Lawler, Bob
Stewart, and Chuck Hamilton, and to the News of the Weird Board
of Editorial Advisors.

                     ****, weirdnews at earthlink dot net, and P. O.
Box 18737, Tampa FL 33629
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