90 Miles From Tyranny : 10 Offbeat Stories You Might Have Missed This Week (3/2/19)

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Saturday, March 2, 2019

10 Offbeat Stories You Might Have Missed This Week (3/2/19)

Another week has passed, which means that it is time, once again, to look at some of the bizarre stories that made the headlines recently. If you want to read up on the more serious stuff, click here.

This week’s list has a party vibe to it as we talk about beer, cannabis, and the world’s largest glory hole. Meanwhile, a snake sneaks into Scotland, a crusader gets beheaded, and sumo wrestlers shave their beards.

10A Tale Of Two Truths

Photo credit: Jeremiah Gurney

The reputation of novelist Charles Dickens took a serious hit recently as newly surfaced letters detail the cruelty showed to his wife, Catherine.Dickens is hailed as a literary genius and, arguably, the greatest writer of the Victorian era. However, he had a strained relationship with his spouse. He wed Catherine Hogarth in 1836, and they had ten children together. After nearly two decades of marriage, Dickens almost certainly started having an affair with a young actress named Ellen Ternan. This led to the couple separating in 1858, which was scandalous for the time.Publicly, Dickens furiously denied rumors of an affair. He also wrote a private letter in which he claimed that the separation was Catherine’s idea because she suffered from mental illness. Although this was personal information, it eventually made its way to the public and helped shape the narrative of the disunion. Some Victorian scholars argue this was Dickens’s intention all along.Now, previously unseen letters suggest that the novelist went a great deal further and tried to have his wife committed to an insane asylum. The documents were found and analyzed by Professor John Bowen from the University of York. They were written by Edward Dutton Cook, a friend and neighbor of the Dickens household. He says that Catherine told him, shortly before dying, that her husband unsuccessfully tried to coax a doctor to declare her mentally unstable.[1]Bowen believes he has identified the doctor in question. Thomas Harrington Tuke was an asylum director and a friend of Dickens, but the two had a falling out a few years after the separation.

9Snake On A Plane

Photo credit: Paul Airlie

A Scottish woman brought back an unexpected souvenir from her holiday in Australia. A spotted python somehow snuck into her luggage and made the nearly 15,000-kilometer (9,300 mi) trip back to her home in Glasgow.Moira Boxall traveled to Queensland to see her daughter. She was apprehensive about the snakes in Australia. Her son-in-law, Paul Airlie, had to reassure her that they are not really as common as people think. And yet one sneaky reptile curled up into one of Moira’s slip-on shoes and rested peacefully the whole journey back from Australia to Scotland. It even shed its skin during the trip.[2]Understandably, Moira was a bit spooked when she unpacked her luggage and found the snake. At first, she thought it was a toy that someone put in there as a prank. When she realized it was real, she took it outside in the garden, still in the shoe, and covered it with a box. Fortunately, it was docile and nonvenomous. The Scottish RSCPA came and collected it, and the snake is currently under quarantine.The grandmother later revealed that the reptile may have been in her shoe for weeks. She first set eyes on a snake one morning at her daughter’s home in Queensland. By the time a snake catcher arrived, the serpent had disappeared, and they were unable to find it again.

8Beer Is Magically Ridiculous

Photo credit: Smartmouth Brewing Company

A brewery from Norfolk, Virginia, will be releasing a limited-edition IPA beer which will taste like a bowl of Lucky Charms cereal.Described as “magically ridiculous,” the upcoming beverage is the creation of the Smartmouth Brewing Company and will be named Saturday Morning IPA.[3] A spokesperson from the brewery said that they achieved the unique flavor by tossing in “pounds of marshmallows, some of which we toasted” during the brewing process, alongside Calypso hops, which are naturally fruity. The end result is supposed to be a sweet beer which will remind people of a beloved childhood cereal.The IPA will have a 6.6-percent alcohol by volume (ABV) content and will be released on March 2. Unfortunately, it will only be available throughout the state of Virginia, so beer connoisseurs might have to make a trip.

7Florida Man Steals Coins

Photo credit: Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office

A bizarre crime occurred in Florida as a thief stole rare coins worth tens of thousands of dollars and then ran most of them through change machines that replaced them with ordinary coins worth face value.Forty-year-old Shane Anthony Mele from Riviera Beach absconded with commemorative presidential dollar coins and other valuable coinage worth an estimated $33,000.[4] At first, he did what you might expect a criminal in his position to do. He pawned some of his loot for thousands of dollars. However, he then took the rest of the money and visited grocery stores with change machines. He passed the rare coins through the machines and got back ordinary coins, which were worth only a small fraction of the stolen goods. Mele was eventually arrested, although it is still unclear at this time why he did what he did. Perhaps he simply wanted to get rid of the coins because he couldn’t find a buyer. On a possibly related note, he was also charged with multiple drug-related offenses when he was arrested.

6Alacritous Evolution

Photo credit: Herron et al., Scientific Reports, 2019

As detailed in a new study published in Scientific Reports, researchers were able to observe single-celled organisms evolve into multicellular life in less than a year.The leap from primitive single cells to more complex creatures is one of the main stages in the evolution of life on Earth. Scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Montana were able to see and record this leap occurring over a period of 50 weeks, or approximately 750 generations. The organism in question was...

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1 comment:

Brad said...

I believe that calling this change an "evolutionary" change is misleading. No new or mutated genetic material appeared. The conversion to multi-celled was already inherent in the genetic code. It appears to be a case of special evolution which how we get so many types of dogs from wolves in so few generations. They did not replicate some part of evolutionary history where there was no genetic data to create multi-cellular creatures. More Fake news.