When Gerbils on Treadmills Aren't Enough | News Quirks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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News » News Quirks

When Gerbils on Treadmills Aren't Enough



Curses, Foiled Again
Police accused three men of breaking into a home near Palatka, Fla., photographing its contents and then posting the pictures on Facebook, offering to sell any and all pictured items. When a potential buyer asked about a refrigerator, the men said to meet them at the house. A suspicious neighbor saw the men enter the house and called police, who arrested Carlos Rivera, 27, Leandre Green, 25, and Jordan Green, 25. (Orlando Sentinel)

• Police investigating an armed robbery at a convenience store in Belleville, Ill., arrested a suspect after he returned to the store five hours later, and the clerk recognized him. (St. Louis’s KTVI-TV)

When Gerbils on Treadmills Aren’t Enough
Retired ExxonMobil vice president Ben Markham has figured out how to provide electricity to remote parts of Africa by harnessing children’s youthful energy. Markham, who runs the renewable-energy nonprofit Empower Playgrounds, is installing merry-go-rounds in villages. Children playing on them generate energy that can be stored in battery packs, which the children can take home to power lamps so they can read. Each system costs $10,000 to install, and one lantern charge will last 50 hours. (Mother Nature Network)

Never Forget
NBC Sports Network canceled Under Wild Skies, a hunting show funded by the National Rifle Association, after animal-rights groups criticized host Tony Makris for shooting a wild elephant in the face in Botswana from a can’t-miss distance of 20 feet. While stalking the elephant with a .577 rifle, Makris declared the weapon was “made to shoot ivory.” He responded to his critics by accusing them of “animal racism” because they didn’t object to his shooting birds but protested that elephants are different because “they’re so big and special and they’re smarter,” he told NRA News. “And I went, you know, Hitler would have said the same thing.” (Britain’s The Guardian)

Second-Amendment Follies
Police investigating the death of Michael Babinsky, 49, who was shot multiple times in the neck and head at a Chicago shooting range, said they believed the man shot himself accidentally. (Chicago Tribune)

• Police investigating the shooting death of Amanda Mosley, 24, concluded that she died while embracing her 18-year-old boyfriend in Phoenix, Ariz. “We understand that she wanted to hug the 18-year-old,” Sgt. Steve Martos said. “He had a gun in his waistband. It caused some discomfort while they were hugging. They started to remove the handgun, and that’s when it accidentally went off.” (Phoenix’s KTVK-TV)

First-Amendment Follies
Popular Science announced a ban on online comments on articles in the magazine. “Comments can be bad for science,” an editor explained in a website post, which stated that vicious, insulting or ignorant comments can pollute otherwise intelligent online discussions, as well as undermine public understanding and appreciation of science itself. (The New York Times)

• The Los Angeles Times said it would no longer publish letters to the editor that deny the existence of man-made climate change. Pointing out that many letter-writers insist “climate change is a hoax, a scheme by liberals to curtail personal freedom,” letters editor Paul Thornton said, “Saying there’s no sign humans have caused climate change is not stating an opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy.” (The Washington Times)

• Panda poop might provide the fuel of the future, according to Mississippi State University researchers who are using dung samples collected from zoos to harness microbes from the efficient digestive tract of giant pandas. Once scientists have identified the microbes that are most effective at breaking down cellulose, they anticipate using them to create genetically engineered yeast cells on an industrial scale to turn corncobs, wood chips and grass into clean biofuels. (The Washington Post)

We Hardly Knew Ye
Kentucky wildlife officials have documented the first free-ranging wolf in the state since the mid-1800s—after a hunter shot and killed the 73-pound endangered gray wolf. The Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources isn’t filing charges against James Troyer, 31, because he had no reason to expect a wolf to be in the state and thought it was a coyote. (Louisville Courtier-Journal)

Paying the Price
Rogelio Andaverde, 34, and his wife were at home in Edinburg, Texas, when two armed men wearing masks forced their way inside and made off with Andaverde. Maria Hernandez immediately reported her husband’s abduction, and authorities launched “an all-out manhunt,” Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño said. Lacking any leads or a ransom call, deputies called off the search after a few hours. The next morning, Andaverde returned home and told his wife he’d been released. When deputies interviewed him for details, he admitted he staged the kidnapping so he could “spend time with his friends and party,” Treviño said, adding, “Well, he’s going to party in jail now.” (San Antonio Express-News and McAllen’s The Monitor)

When Guns Are Outlawed
Ophelia Neal, 53, pleaded guilty to robbing a bank with two cans of spaghetti sauce. Police said Neal entered the bank in Macomb County, Mich., and told a clerk she was carrying a bomb in her cloth bag. She fled with an undisclosed amount of cash but was later arrested with the bag, which contained the spaghetti sauce. (United Press International)

Mother of the Year
Authorities accused Quacheena Juett, 33, of ordering her 12-year-old daughter to beat a driver pumping gas at a station in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who was taking up too much room at a gas pump, preventing Juett from getting gas. According to the police report, after Randa St. Cyr told Juett to wait until she finished, the mother told her daughter to “take care of it,” and the girl punched the victim in the face. Juett and her daughter then hopped into St. Cyr’s car, grabbed St. Cyr’s iPhone and took off. Authorities used the gas station’s surveillance system and the phone’s GPS to locate Juett. (South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Compiled from the press reports by Roland Sweet. Authentication on demand.