Posts belonging to Category News and Notes

News and Notes – 7/17/2008

Snakes in a church. The pastor of a church in Kentucky was arrested for the illegal possession of venomous snakes. Apparently, the church practices snake handling in its services. Wildlife officers confiscated over 100 snakes including 42 copperheads, 11 timber rattlesnakes, three cottonmouth water moccasins, a western diamondback rattlesnake, two cobras and a puff adder.

Wrong house. Contractors razed the wrong house in Jackson, Mississippi after pranksters moved the demolition sign from the lot next door. Owner Annie Wilson is trying to get just compensation for the mistaken demolition of her house with everything in it.

Pay toilets. No, you don’t pay to use these toilets. The government pays you to use them. Dozens of people are lining up to use the toilets in Musiri, a remote town in India, where authorities are succeeding in keeping street corners clean with the new scheme.

News and Notes – 7/1/2008


Not Houdini. A thief in Germany was caught breaking into a supermarket and handcuffed to a railing. He managed to escape from the railing but was apprehended a second time when he went to a nearby police station to get the cuffs removed. “It was stupid of him,” said a police spokesman. “They took the cuffs off, but they kept him.”

Gotta have my Starbucks. A Boulder, Colorado man robbed a Starbucks, and then later returned to the same store wearing the same clothes he wore during the robbery. He got in line for coffee where he was recognized and promptly arrested by police investigators who were in the store interviewing employees at the time.

Just wrong. A man in Indiana was arrested for stealing cash from a kids’ lemonade stand. The robber then ran into a house down the street where police later arrested him on a felony robbery charge. The amount stolen? $17.50. The kids will get their money back, but they’re just glad the thief was caught. “I didn’t think anyone would come up to a lemonade stand and steal money. That’s really low,” 12-year-old Fred Erskine said.

News and Notes – 6/26/2008

Mistrial. An Australian drug trial lasting more than three months and costing taxpayers nearly $1 million was derailed after a number of jurors were caught playing Sudoku during testimony. Sudoku is a puzzle where you complete a grid of numbers in the correct sequence. The judge was alerted after some of the jurors were observed writing their notes vertically, rather than horizontally.

Easy credit. Six-year old Bennett Christiansen received a credit card in the mail. Bennett had filled out an application truthfully stating his age as six and his income as $0. He indicated that he was neither a homeowner or a renter. He signed the application in his own six-year old handwriting. In return, Bank of America sent him a valid card card of his own (with a $600 limit).

Under-age driver. A 7-year-old Indiana boy drove his grandmother’s car more than a mile to a shopping mall before another motorist blocked the car and took the keys. Several motorists called police around 9 a.m. Tuesday to report a small child driving toward Muncie Mall on the city’s north side. The boy was so small that some motorists could not see anyone behind the wheel.

News and Notes – 6/20/2008


Oil from bugs. Scientists are experimenting with bugs that eat waste and excrete petrol. The bacteria feed on agricultural waste such as woodchips or wheat straw and then excrete crude oil. Senior director Greg Pal gives it a month before the first vehicle is filled up on what he calls “renewable petroleum”.

Fighting cancer. A cancer patient has made a full recovery after being injected with billions of his own immune cells in the first case of its kind, doctors have disclosed. Doctors took cells from the man’s own defence system that were found to attack the cancer cells best, cloned them and injected back into his body, in a process known as “immunotherapy”. The 52-year-old, who was suffering from advanced skin cancer, was free from tumours within eight weeks of undergoing the procedure. After two years he is still free from the disease which had spread to his lymph nodes and one of his lungs.

Ice on Mars? Dice-size crumbs of bright material have vanished from inside a trench where they were photographed by NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander four days ago, convincing scientists that the material was frozen water that vaporized after digging exposed it. “It must be ice,” said Phoenix Principal Investigator Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson. “These little clumps completely disappearing over the course of a few days, that is perfect evidence that it’s ice. There had been some question whether the bright material was salt. Salt can’t do that.”

News and Notes – 6/11/2008

Born twice. Baby Macie Hope was born twice — once when she was six months old in the womb to have a dangerous tumor removed, and then again on May 3 when she was born into the world to stay.

House guest. A homeless Japanese woman lived inside a man’s closet for a whole year before being detected. When the homeowner noticed food kept disappearing, he became suspicious and installed security cameras. Police eventually found the woman in the top compartment of the man’s closet, where she had set up a mattress for sleeping and had lived for the past year.

Night at the museum. Art thieves defeated the security system at a museum in Canada by phoning security and telling them there was a problem with the system and to ignore any alarms that might go off. The security guards believed them, and the thieves went on to steal over $2 million worth of artwork.

News and Notes – 5/29/2008


In a class by himself. Jeff Greenwood was the only student to graduate from Opheim High School this year. That’s because he was the only student in his senior class. His last remaining classmate moved away during his freshman year. “The student-to-teacher ratio is pretty good,” said Greenwood, who is the student body president and, of course, the senior class president.

Perfect attendance pays off. At least it did for high school graduate Andria Baker who never missed a day from kindergarten through high school. Her father promised her a car if she could keep it up all the way through graduation. On Sunday he presented her with the keys to a new, $17,000 Pontiac G6, complete with a “0 DAYS” personalized license plate.

Twice as smart. Twins Michelle and Erica Wheeler are graduating from high school as co-valedictorians — the only ones in their class with perfect grade point averages. Both took advance placement classes, including English, science and calculus, “the toughest courses we offer at the high school,” school counselor Norma Gonzalez said. Both plan to enroll at Washington State University, study pharmacy and live in the same dormitory.

News and Notes – 4/9/2008


Dead giveaway. A man who broke into a funeral home tried to fool the police by playing dead. Unfortunately for him, two things gave him away. First of all, the corpses were dressed in suits while he was wearing street clothes. And secondly, he was breathing!

Big yellow taxi. A bank robber was arrested after using a taxi cab for his getaway car. The man had the cab pick him up at his apartment, take him to the bank for the robbery, and then take him home again. The cab driver gave the police the man’s address and identified him in the bank surveillance video.

Applying for jail. An armed robber in Georgia filled out a job application while waiting for customers to leave before robbing a convenience store. He put a fake address on the application, but police were still able to locate him because he used his real name and phone number.

Take my number, please. An armed robber entered a Chicago muffler shop wearing a mask and demanded they open the safe. When the workers told him only the boss had the combination, he gave them his phone number and told them to call him back when the boss got in. They did, and he came back to the shop still wearing his mask where the police promptly arrested him.

News and Notes – 3/25/2008

$1,350 Corn Flake Shaped Like Illinois Rich breakfast. A corn flake shaped like the state of Illinois sold for $1,350 on eBay. Two sisters in Virginia sold the flake to a trivia collector in Austin, Texas. The winner of the auction is sending someone to pick up the flake by hand rather than risk damaging the item in the mail. I wonder what a flake shaped like Texas would have gone for?

Voting matters. Does one vote really matter? It does if no one else votes. No one showed up to vote in an annexation referendum for an unincorporated area in Broward County, Florida. A single vote would have decided the matter for the whole community. At least there won’t be a recount.

Back from the dead. 21-year-old Zack Dunlap was pronounced dead at the hospital after sustaining a serious head injury in an ATV accident. Four hours later, when a nurse began removing the tubes from his body, they discovered Dunlap was alive after all. The injured man remembers lying there and actually hearing the doctor declare him brain-dead. Zack said he was very ticked off at the man.

News and Notes – 2/22/2008

Old math. Scientists have finally figured out how a 2,000-year-old mechanical computer salvaged from a Roman shipwreck actually works. The ancient device with 80 pieces of gear wheels, dials and clock-like hands was used to track the precise positions of the sun, several heavenly bodies and the phases of the moon. Computer scans show that the machine used a differential gear, which was previously thought to have been invented in the 16th century.

NFL reverses call. The National Football League has decided that churches may show the Super Bowl on large screens after all. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league would no longer object to “live showings – regardless of screen size – of the Super Bowl” by religious organizations. Many churches across the country cancelled their planned Super Bowl gatherings this past year when the NFL cracked down on churches showing the game on screens larger than 55 inches.

Working your way up. In a test of the American Dream, Adam Shepherd entered a homeless shelter with only twenty-five dollars and the clothes on his back. His goal was to have a furnished apartment, a car and $2,500 in savings within a year. After ten months he had moved into an apartment, bought a pickup truck and saved close to $5,000.

News and Notes – 1/24/2008


Animal rights activists sought to have Matthew Hiasl Pan, a 26-year-old male chimpanzee, declared a person.Monkey business. Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. Austria’s Supreme Court ruled last week that a chimpanzee is not a person. An animal rights group was trying to have the chimp declared a person in hopes of gaining guardianship of the animal. Did we really need a Supreme Court to settle this one? I am thinking you could have gotten the same answer just asking a bunch of preschoolers. 🙂

Sneaky squirrels. A new study reveals that squirrels actually pretend to bury nuts and seeds in order to protect their winter food stocks from potential thieves. Scientists say the fake burials are designed to confuse any rival squirrels, birds or humans who might be watching. Dr Michael Steele reports: “To our knowledge, this is the first study to show evidence of behavioural deception by a rodent.” For some reason, I just love that ending quote.

Stowaway kitty. Imagine Rob Carter’s surprise when he opened up his luggage after flying home to Texas and found a kitten inside! It turns out Carter had picked up the wrong suitcase. It gets stranger. The cat’s owners, Seth and Kelly Levy, live in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Apparently the kitten, named Gracie Mae, had snuck into Seth’s suitcase before he left for the airport. The bags got switched, and Gracie flew 1300 miles to Fort Worth. Meanwhile, back at home Kelly Levy was searching all over for the missing pet, when she got the call from Carter in Texas telling her he had found Gracie in the suitcase.

Video bonus. Alaska really doesn’t want to go inside. (HT: Neatorama)

(Video length: 1:53)

News and Notes – 1/16/2008

Mean mom. An Iowa mom sold her 19-year-old son’s car after she discovered alcohol in the vehicle. The newspaper ad read as follows: “OLDS 1999 Intrigue. Totally uncool parents who obviously don’t love teenage son, selling his car. Only driven for three weeks before snoopy mom who needs to get a life found booze under front seat. $3,700/offer. Call meanest mom on the planet.”

Stuck in bed. A Mexican boy glued his hand to his bed in order to avoid going back to school after Christmas vacation. When he didn’t get up in the morning, his mother found him lying in bed watching TV with his hand glued to the bed. She called the paramedics who were able to get him unstuck in time for class. “I didn’t want to go to school because vacation was so much fun,” the ten-year-old boy told the newspaper.

Never tempt a hacker. Hoping to calm people’s fears over two missing discs containing personal information for over 25 million people, British TV host Jeremy Clarkson published his own bank account numbers in the newspaper. “All you’ll be able to do with them is put money into my account. Not take it out,” he told his readers. Imagine his surprise when his account was hacked later in the week. Clarkson wrote in his column, “I opened my bank statement this morning to find out that someone has set up a direct debit which automatically takes £500 from my account. The bank cannot find out who did this because of the Data Protection Act and they cannot stop it from happening again. I was wrong and I have been punished for my mistake.” The money taken from Clarkson’s account had been donated to charity.

News and Notes – 1/8/2008

Red Light SaberJedi apprentice. Don’t toy with this boy. An 11-year-old boy in Norwich, England defended his mother from an attacker using his toy lightsaber. The attacker fled after the boy hit him with the plastic weapon. Talk about using the Force!

Forget something? A masked burglar in Idaho left a video-taped message for the homeowner demanding a $3,000 ransom for the return of the stolen items. One problem. He forgot to say where to drop off the cash. “We’re not dealing with brain surgeons here,” police Lt. Joe Cawley said.

Fall down, get back up again. Well sure, but how about after falling over 500 feet to the ground? Window washer Alcides Moreno fell 47 stories, breaking his ribs and right arm, shattering both legs and injuring his spine. He underwent fourteen operations and was in a coma for weeks after the fall, but is now awake, talking and likely to walk again according to his doctors.