90 Miles From Tyranny : 10 Offbeat Stories You Might Have Missed This Week (11/3/18)

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Saturday, November 3, 2018

10 Offbeat Stories You Might Have Missed This Week (11/3/18)

If you struggle to keep up with all the latest happenings, we’ve got you covered. Here at Listverse, we look at all the notable stories from the past week. Click here to learn about the important, serious news, or read on for tales of twisted truths and freaky facts.

This week’s list is a globetrotting affair that takes us for a ride. We start in North America and then travel to Australia and Japan, with a layover in Antarctica for a bit of attempted murder. From there, we move on to Mars and reach our final destination in the center of the Milky Way.

10AI Painting Breaks The Bank

Photo credit: Christie’s

A few months ago, we talked about the first-ever work of art made by artificial intelligence going on sale at a major auction. The painting sold for a final price which completely obliterated all expectations.

Portrait of Edmond Belamy was made by Paris-based art collective Obvious and their AI called Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN). The artificial intelligence was solely responsible for making the actual artwork, while Obvious gave the man in the painting a name and background.

The work of art went on sale at Christie’s Prints and Multiples auction in New York. Even though it garnered a lot of media attention, it wasn’t expected to fetch a high price. Obvious thought it would sell for around $10,000, and Christie’s own appraisers considered that sum the upper limit. Portrait of Edmond Belamy actually sold for $432,000.[1]

9The Forest Is Alive

Online viewers were confused and even disturbed about a creepy video that, appropriately, started making the rounds just in time for Halloween. A man walking through a forest in Quebec filmed the ground moving up and down as if the Earth was breathing.

People offered their opinions on the phenomenon, typically based off their favorite fantasy and horror stories. A giant turtle like the one in The Neverending Story sleeping underground was a popular hypothesis.

Eventually, a meteorologist came forward to offer a more sensible, but less exciting, explanation. In this case, it was a multitude of factors coming together to create a rare weather phenomenon. Mark Sirois of the Southern Quebec Severe Weather Network said that powerful winds are the main cause for the strange effect. They were moving the trees, whose roots were lifting the ground.[2] The soil is also covered in moss, making it easier for the roots to loosen and undulate beneath the surface.

8More Fun Than A Barrel Of Monkeys

Photo credit: Brendan Kiely/Instagram

A group of friends from Australia gave one of their own a send-off that was completely bananas.

Around 50 young men from East Fremantle, Western Australia, bonded over their love of cycling and alcohol. They would often organize what they called the “Tour de Fridge”—they would bike from one side of the town to the other, stopping at their homes for a drink.

Alas, 23-year-old Sandy Milne has to leave the group, as he is relocating to Japan. His friends organized one last tour for him with a twist—they were all wearing banana costumes. Milne himself, as the man of the hour, was dressed as a monkey. One attendee didn’t get his costume in time, so he got creative and simply painted his chest yellow.[3]

Together, the 50 or so banana-clad bicyclists strolled down the streets of East Fremantle to the surprise, confusion, and delight of onlookers. They also caused quite a shock to the guy working in their local BWS store when all the bananas entered to do some shopping, only to be chased away by Milne wearing his monkey getup.

7How To Visit Japan For Cheap

Approximately 160,000 foreign tourists have gained free admission to Tokyo’s Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden since 2014. They weren’t supposed to, but one employee was too afraid to ask foreigners to pay the admission fee, so he just let them walk in.

The attendant, who is now a retired septuagenarian, had a bad experience once with a non-Japanese visitor. The tourist didn’t speak Japanese, while the employee didn’t speak any other languages. The sightseer got annoyed over the lack of communication and began yelling at the ticket-seller. Since then, the elderly worker preferred to let all foreigners into the garden for free rather than risk another confrontation.

The man issued complimentary tickets and then convinced another employee to grant him access to the database so that he could erase the sales to avoid discrepancies. He got away with it for two and a half years before another attendant noticed him behaving oddly around foreign tourists. This week, the environment ministry estimated that the retiree’s actions cost the garden around 25 million yen ($220,000).[4]

6Mysterious Cloud Appears On Mars

Photo credit: ESA/GCP/UPV/EHU Bilbao, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Scientists have found a strange plume of smoke over Mars which appears to be indicative of a volcanic eruption.

It is a strip of vapor measuring around 1,500 kilometers (930 mi) long. It hangs over Arsia Mons, one of the three volcanoes located in the Tharsis bulge. But the Red Planet hasn’t had a volcanic eruption in millions of years, so could this actually be...
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