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News » News of the Weird

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

A weekly roundup of international news oddities



The Entrepreneurial Spirit
When Damien Desrocher, 28, decided to "return to nature" in December, it meant leaving his job as an Air Force computer technician and moving to the northern French town of Wahagnies, where he started raising snails. But they're not for eating, Reuters reported. Desrocher harvests "slime" from the snails and uses it to make bars of soap. A single snail will yield about 2 grams of slime. Desrocher needs about 80 grams of slime to make fifteen 100-gram soap bars. "It's all in the dexterity of how you tickle," he said as he demonstrated the harvesting technique. "I only touch it with my finger ... it's not violent, it's simple." Desrocher said snail mucus contains molecules of collagen and elastin, which have anti-aging and skin-healing properties.

Silent But Deadly
In North Carolina, large stands of wetland forests along the coast have died, giving the areas an apocalyptic appearance, CNET reported. Salt water from rising seas and storm surges is causing the destruction of tens of thousands of acres. Researchers at North Carolina State University are studying the "ghost forests" to measure their environmental impact, which includes emitting greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide —that they call "tree farts." Graduate student Melinda Martinez acknowledged that the trees don't emit as much as the soils, but, she said, "Even the smallest fart counts."

Put a Ring on It
Avid snorkeler Susan Prior of Norfolk Island, Australia, often sees small mullet fish with rings around their middles—usually plastic rings from juice and milk bottles, she said, according to the New York Post. "Mullet snuffle through the sand looking for food, making it so easy for a ring or a hair tie to flip over their noses and get stuck," she wrote in a blog post. But in early May, Prior, who also takes underwater photos, captured a snap of a mullet fish sporting a gold wedding band. Prior remembered that she had seen a social media post about a lost wedding ring in the bay, but she couldn't catch up to the fish to retrieve the item. She did, however, remind others to snip any plastic rings before putting them in the trash so that the fish aren't "slowly strangled."

No Good Deed
After Bryan Thayer, 34, finished up at his bar and grill in Metairie, Louisiana, on May 8, he stopped off at the City Bar, where he and a friend bought a drink for another patron, Andrew Nierman, 32. The first drink they bought spilled on Nierman, so they furnished him with a replacement. But Nierman evidently wasn't satisfied with that. "He grabbed my head and (bit) a chunk out of my nose," Thayer told The Times-Picayune, then ran out and jumped in a car. Thayer, who was holding his nose together, and other witnesses ran outside and flagged down a deputy, who stopped Nierman. He admitted to biting Thayer but said he'd been "accosted" by him. Doctors patched up Thayer's nose, but he said his injuries will preclude him from working at his own bar for a time.

Three neighbors of Cara Louise, 28, of Bedfordshire, England, became alarmed on May 12 when they noticed what appeared to be a corpse wrapped in trash bags and duct tape lying in Louise's yard. While Louise was picking up her 5-year-old from school, seven police officers descended on her home. When she returned, she provided an explanation: "The prop in the garden was part of our theme" for Halloween, she said, but she had neglected to dispose of the fake corpse after the autumn holiday. "He" was kept behind her trash bins, but she moved him as she worked in the yard and forgot to put him away. "I have a tip for all parents who go all-out at Halloween like myself—dispose of props or put them away safely," Louise told the Daily Mail. Laughing with officers, she wondered who might have such short legs, and an officer responded, "You might have cut them." "I was so embarrassed I couldn't believe people thought I was capable of it," she said.

Bright Idea
Ever stepped off a curb unexpectedly or run into a pole while looking down at your phone? Minwook Paeng, an industrial design student at London's Royal College of Art and Imperial College, has invented a device that will alert you to obstacles in your path: the Third Eye. A small translucent case shaped something like an eye affixes to the forehead with a thin gel pad, DeZeen reported, and "the black component that looks like a pupil is an ultrasonic sensor for sensing distance," Paeng explained. When the gyroscope senses the head angled downward, the plastic "eyelid" opens and warns the wearer of obstacles in their path with a buzzer. Paeng believes humans are evolving into "phono sapiens," developing "turtle neck syndrome" and a curved pinky finger from holding our phones. "I hope that the act of ironically pointing out what we are doing with our smartphones can help people take time for self-reflection," Paeng mused.

What's in a Name?
Sorry, Josh, but you've missed your chance to become the ultimate Josh—that distinction has gone to 4-year-old Josh Vinson Jr., who won a paper Burger King crown, a champion's belt and a tiny trophy at the #JoshFight in Lincoln, Nebraska, on April 24. Josh Swain, 22, a student from Tucson, Arizona, conceived the viral event, which started with an epic Rock Paper Scissors battle and included pool noodles. Swain was apparently unprepared for the turnout: "I did not expect people to be as adamant about this as they are right now," he told KLKN-TV. Participants and spectators brought food items to donate to the Lincoln Food Bank.

Ana Cardenas of El Paso, Texas, woke up around 4 a.m. on May 11 and felt something dripping on her face, KTSM-TV reported. When she turned on the light, she was horrified to see that it was blood. Blood was coming in where her ceiling fan was attached to the ceiling, and the fan had spattered it all around the room. Cardenas called 911, and officers determined that the man living in the apartment above hers had died. "The firefighters knocked down his door and the body was laying exactly where my fan is underneath," Cardenas said. "He had carpet but the blood seeped through to my ceiling." Police said the man had died of natural causes and had been deceased for five to six days. Cardenas stayed at a hotel for a few nights but now has to replace her damaged belongings. She said she was traumatized by the incident: "It was awful, an awful impact."

On May 11, police in South Euclid, Ohio, responded to the Walmart store there after a confrontation between Maneka Garner, 25, and Precious Jackson, 36. The two women, who once lived in the same duplex, apparently have been feuding for some time, as Jackson had previously taken out a protection order against Garner. When they met in the potato chip aisle of the Walmart, The Smoking Gun reported, Garner pulled down Jackson's mask and tried to spit on her, then reached into Jackson's cart and picked up a 10-pound log of ground beef, which she used to strike Jackson "a couple of times in the face," police said. In their report, they identified the meat as a "blunt object." Police said Garner has a history of violent behavior; she pleaded not guilty to assault and violating a temporary protective order.

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