90 Miles From Tyranny : 10 Offbeat Stories You Might Have Missed This Week (12/1/18)

Saturday, December 1, 2018

10 Offbeat Stories You Might Have Missed This Week (12/1/18)

It’s Saturday, which means it is time, yet again, to look back at some of the quirkier news items of the week. You can click here to see what Morris had to say about all the serious stuff that went on in the world.

This week’s list is animal-heavy as we talk about the Siberian unicorn, the largest steer in Australia, and an ant that likes to decapitate other ants and decorate its nest with skulls. In non-animal-related news, scientists eat LEGO pieces for science, a monk is arrested for hosting drug-fueled sex parties, and a football club fakes a player’s death.

10Science Gets Messy

Photo credit: The Guardian
Science has a rich and weird history of researchers who were willing to use their own bodies for experiments. You can add a team of six pediatricians from the UK and Australia to that list. They swallowed LEGO heads on purpose to show that the pieces would pass through their system with no ill effects.

The Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health will soon come out, and as is tradition, the Christmas special will focus on quirky studies. This edition will look at a feature where pediatricians aim to ease the concerns of parents who regularly have to deal with their children swallowing toy parts. To that end, each doctor swallowed a LEGO part and timed how long it took to pass through their system.

The team developed two metrics for their study: the Stool Hardness and Transit (Shat) score and the Found and Retrieved Time (Fart) score.[1] Most test subjects passed their LEGO piece after one to three stools, or a Fart score of 1.7 days. One unlucky researcher couldn’t find his toy part, so he had to go through all of his stools for two weeks. The Shat score showed that the consistency of the stools did not change, nor did a looser stool lead to a quicker LEGO head retrieval.

None of the researchers experienced any pain due to the experiment. However, participant Grace Leo stressed that they only used small, smooth, plastic objects. Anything else would still require a medical consultation.

9Chinese AI Mistakes Bus For Woman

Chinese businesswoman Dong Mingzhu was falsely accused of jaywalking by facial recognition software in the city of Ningbo after a camera spotted her face on the side of a bus.

The usage of such software has grown considerably in China in recent times, with an estimated 200 million surveillance cameras installed in the country. Some of them are used to spot jaywalkers, who are then named and shamed on large public screens.

There are still some bugs to work out, it seems. Last week, Dong Mingzhu was among the people accused of this heinous crime. She is the Chairwoman of Gree Electric, the largest air conditioning manufacturer in China. She is not, however, a jaywalker, at least not in this particular case. What the camera actually saw was an advertisement on the side of a bus that had Mingzhu’s face on it.[2] Ningbo traffic police admitted the mistake and have deleted the infraction from their system.

8Bear On Patrol

A bear walks into a California Highway Patrol (CHP) office. That’s not the start of a joke; it’s what actually happened at the Donner Pass Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Facility in Truckee, California.

While the incident took place on the night of November 17, the CHP only released footage of their unexpected guest last Saturday. The bear stood up on its hind legs and opened the door by turning the handle. It then dropped back down on all fours and sauntered inside the office.[3]

A vending machine briefly caught the bear’s eye (or, more likely, its nose), but the reflection from the entrance door’s window showed that the animal walked further inside the building. After a few seconds, it made a hasty retreat through the same door after being chased off by a few likely startled police officers.

7Australia’s Deadliest Animals

A recent chart created by the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed which animals have caused the most fatalities in the country over the last decade. Surprisingly, it is none of the ones that give Australia its deadly reputation, but rather horses and cows.

Twenty of the 25 most venomous snakes in the world are found in Australia. There are also the sharks and the crocodiles, but none of them even cracked the top three. While they all certainly have the tools necessary to cause a lot of harm, actual fatal encounters with any of them are rare.

With 77 fatalities recorded between 2008 and 2017, horses and cows are considered the deadliest group of creatures in Australia, humans notwithstanding.[4] In second place were other mammals, with 60 fatalities, and a distant third were wasps, bees, and hornets, with 27.

The aforementioned sharks, snakes, and crocs are grouped closely together and are responsible for 66 deaths combined, still fewer than horses and cows.

6A Different Path To Enlightenment

Photo credit: YouTube/Mirror Media

Ain’t no party like a Buddhist monk party, ’cause a Buddhist monk party got sex and drugs. A Taiwanese monk has been arrested after videos surfaced showing him smoking meth and hosting gay sex parties in a Buddhist temple.

Twenty-nine-year-old Hsieh Jen-hao, better known as Master Kai Hung, was secretary general of the Chinese Young Buddhist Association until a few weeks ago, when police raided his room at the Chongfo Temple. Inside, they found drugs, smoking pipes, condoms, erectile medication, anal relaxants, and a bottle of “holy water” which was actually filled with lube.[5] Authorities also found USB drives containing over 200 gigabytes of porn videos, some of which featured Kai Hung.

After the scandal broke, Taiwanese media reported that a source claimed Kai had previously been expelled from the Tongshan Temple for hosting sex parties before relocating to Chongfo alongside dozens of his followers. The monk admitted to taking drugs and filming pornography but denied giving drugs to anyone else. He was released on bail.

5Biggest Knickers In The World

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