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News » News of the Weird

Bright Idea

A weekly roundup of international news oddities



Bright Idea
Recompose, a company in Kent, Washington, now offers an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional burial n human composting. The Seattle Times reported that on Dec. 20, the first bodies were "laid in" n placed in steel cylinders full of soil, where decedents rest for 30 days, covered with wood chips and straw. After that, they're moved to a "curing bin" to finish releasing carbon dioxide, and then remains can be returned to family or donated to an ecological restoration project near Vancouver. According to Recompose, the "finished soil is very similar to the topsoil bought at a local nursery." "This is a very controlled process, completely driven by microbes," explained CEO Katrina Spade. "It's fueled by plant material and monitored in a very rigorous way." The entire process costs $5,500 and includes an optional service.

Mistaken Identity
Lisa Boothroyd, 48, of Rugby in Warwickshire, England, got a shock when the handful of popping candies she ate turned out to be small novelty fireworks used as noisemakers instead. The box of Fun Snaps was shelved among other candies at her local Costcutter store, she told the Daily Mail on Jan. 18, and the packaging was similar, but the result was painful: Boothroyd reported chemical burns on her lips and gums and a cracked tooth. "That moment I crunched down was terrifying," Boothroyd said. "I felt explosions in my mouth followed by burning pain." A spokesperson for Costcutter said the Fun Snaps would be "(removed) from the confectionery section with immediate effect."

• A woman in Cajeme, Mexico, identified only as Leonora R., faces charges of domestic violence after repeatedly stabbing her husband when she found photos of him having sex with a younger, thinner woman on his phone, according to police. Local media reported the husband was eventually able to disarm his wife and clarify that it was HER in the photos, which were taken when they were dating. The New York Daily News reported on Jan. 26 that police responding to neighbors' calls for help arrived and arrested her.

News You Can Use
Japanese entrepreneur Shota Ishida, 30, has zeroed in on a way to relieve the anxiety felt by a narrow niche of people: the roughly 1% of the population, he says, who worry about body odor. "It's something they can't bring up with friends or family," he told CBS News, so they turn to his company, Odorate, for a scientific analysis to determine whether they are emitting offensive odors. Customers create a smell sample by wearing a plain white T-shirt enhanced with odor-absorbing activated charcoal for 24 hours, then mail it to Ishida's lab north of Tokyo. For about $150, Ishida will subject the sample to GC-MS analysis (a technology used to identify unknown chemicals) and produce a report, which can include such descriptions as "old-age smell" or "onions starting to rot." He says about half of his customers are given the all-clear, with no obvious offensive odors. "Getting the facts is a huge relief for (clients)," he said.

Weird Science
In a first for paleontologists, the perfectly preserved anus of a dinosaur has been found in China. Psittacosaurus, a Cretaceous-period relative of the Triceratops, was about the size of a dog, and researcher Jakob Vinther of the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom described the discovery as "unique" to Live Science. "It's like a Swiss Army knife of excretory openings," used for pooping, peeing, breeding and egg laying. It was not clear to the researchers whether the dinosaur was male or female.

Antisocial Skills
Trevor Savok, 20, is suspected of stealing underwear and AirPods on Jan. 17 from a group of young women staying at a Las Vegas area hotel, and leaving behind a note illustrated with a hand-drawn heart in one of their bags reading, "Text me if you want your panties back," according to court documents. The women contacted Savok, who said he would return the underwear if they sent pictures of their private parts, KTNV-TV reported. Police arrested Savok, who worked at the hotel, and are asking the public's help in finding more possible victims.

Least Competent Criminal
As paramedics in Houston responded to a call on Jan. 21, Renaldo Leonard, 36, jumped into their Houston Fire Department ambulance and drove, emergency lights flashing, about 4 miles to a Jack in the Box, where he got in the drive-thru lane, according to police. The Smoking Gun reported the ambulance was tracked to the restaurant, and Leonard was arrested and charged with felony theft of the vehicle, which is valued at more than $150,000.

Monica Green noticed a few things out of order when she returned to her home in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia, on Jan. 18: The back door was open, the air conditioner was running and a half-cooked meal of chicken nuggets was left in her kitchen. Green called police, who discovered an attic opening was partially removed, but instead of finding someone hiding up there, they determined someone had been living there, perhaps for some time, reported. "I felt shocked, terrified, scared," said Green, a mother of three children. "Being alone in the home scares me." Green said she had noticed food missing and her security camera disabled in the days before the discovery, but she thought they were just coincidences or her imagination. Police have not caught the intruder.

The Monroe Township (Michigan) Fire Department launched a rescue mission on Jan. 26 after receiving a call about a goose or duck possibly injured and in distress on the frozen River Raisin. Firefighters suited up and headed out on the ice, WXYZ-TV reported, but realized upon closer inspection that the bird was just a hunting decoy. "It ended up being a good training session, actually," said Chief Mark Cherney. "In the end, we can sleep well at night. A bird is not suffering."

Recent Alarming Headlines
Police in Rome, New York, responding to an animal cruelty complaint on Jan. 13, arrived at a home to find a man cooking a canine on an outdoor grill, police said. The unnamed man cooperated with police, saying the animal was a coyote n which would be legal in New York, as hunting and trapping the canines is allowed with a license, WNBC-TV reported. Animal control officers took the carcass to Cornell University for testing to determine its species.

The Continuing Crisis
Authorities who pulled over a pickup truck in Elsberry, Missouri, soon discovered the vehicle had been stolen, KMOV-TV reported on Jan. 25, so they headed to the owner's home, where they found skeletal remains in another vehicle in the garage and a ransacked house. Lincoln County Sheriff Rick Harrell said the body may have been there since last summer and "a group of criminal opportunists ... had just ransacked the residence and taken many items. We've recovered stolen vehicles, stolen firearms and tens of thousands of dollars in other related items." The scavengers would have had to walk right past the body for months as they removed items, he added. Prosecutors are working to bring charges against 25 suspects, and there may be more, authorities said. Investigators have not yet identified the remains or determined exactly when the person died.

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