90 Miles From Tyranny : 10 Offbeat Stories You Might Have Missed This Week (6/8/19)

Saturday, June 8, 2019

10 Offbeat Stories You Might Have Missed This Week (6/8/19)

The weekend is upon us, which makes this a good opportunity to review the peculiar stories that have made headlines over the last several days. Click here to catch up on last week’s list.We have stories from both sides of the law. On one side, we have a decades-old FBI investigation into Bigfoot and a scantily clad Aussie who fought crime wielding a didgeridoo. On the other, there is a group of Russian bridge thieves and the thrilling return of Florida Man.

10The Return Of The Chessman

Photo credit: Sotheby’s
A family from Edinburgh discovered that they had one of the lost pieces of the Lewis Chessmen sitting in a drawer for decades. The artifact, which the family bought for a paltry £5, is now expected to fetch around £1 million at auction.The Lewis Chessmen are a group of almost 100 game pieces, mostly chess, carved out of walrus ivory and dated to the 12th century. They were recovered in the early 19th century on the Scottish Isle of Lewis. After their discovery, the pieces were split up; some were exhibited, and some were sold off. Nowadays, the British Museum owns the large majority of the chessmen, but the whereabouts of five pieces became lost to history.As it turns out, one of the Lewis Chessmen had been with the same family for 55 years. The grandfather bought it in 1964 from an antiques dealer who clearly had no idea what he possessed because he sold it for a fiver.[1] The family looked after it for decades before finally deciding to have it appraised at Sotheby’s.The newly discovered piece is a warrior with a helmet, a shield, and a sword called a warder. His modern equivalent would be the rook. It will go on display in Edinburgh and London before being sold at auction on July 2.

9Captain Underpants Goes Down Under

Photo credit: Nine.com.au
An Australian man chased away a home invader wearing only his underpants and armed with a didgeridoo.Early Monday morning, Kym Abrook woke up to strange noises in his home in Adelaide’s Fulham Gardens. He interrupted a thief, who ran out the door when he saw Abrook. The homeowner picked up the closest weapon he could find, which was, in his case, a didgeridoo, and gave chase. He was undeterred by the fact that he was only wearing a pair of underwear. In fact, Abrook said it helped him run faster.[2]The thief might have been able to outrun the didgeridoo-wielding, nearly naked sprinter, but Abrook managed to call the police mid-chase. Authorities arrived, cordoned off the area, and found the 32-year-old perpetrator nearby with the help of a police dog. He had Abrook’s wallet and cash on him when he was arrested.The Adelaide man was kind enough to reenact his chase for local news stations. While he was still carrying the didgeridoo, this time he ran down the street wearing shorts. He has already parlayed his newfound fame into a fruit shop commercial.

8The Treasures Of Vermilion

Photo credit: Chris Stead
A museum visitor opened a safe that had been locked for over 40 years.In May, a machinist named Stephen Mills from Fort McMurray went on vacation with his family to Vermilion, Alberta, Canada. While there, they paid a visit to the town’s heritage museum.During the tour, Mills saw an old safe that had been sitting in the basement for decades. It came from the old Brunswick Hotel, which closed in the 1970s. It was donated to the museum in the 1990s, but by then, nobody remembered the combination or even what was locked inside it. At one point, staff even enlisted the help of a professional locksmith, who told them that the gears were probably too old to fall into place properly and that the safe would never be opened again.Like many visitors before him, Mills thought he would give it a shot “for a laugh.” He put his ear to the door to listen for the clicks and dialed 20-40-60.[3] The safe slowly creaked open.The contents weren’t exactly lost treasure but rather old documents from the hotel, including a pay slip and a pad full of restaurant orders.

7How To Save Schrodinger’s Cat

According to a new study published in Nature, physicists have developed an experiment that shows that quantum transitions are not instantaneous and unpredictable as previously thought and illustrated by Erwin Schrodinger’s famous thought experiment.Schrodinger’s cat is an idea meant to demonstrate quantum superposition or, in other words, that a particle can exist in multiple states at the same time until it is observed. To illustrate his point, the Austrian scientist proposed an experiment where a cat was sealed inside a closed box alongside a radioactive source, a Geiger counter, and a flask of poison. If an atom decays, it sets off the Geiger counter, which smashes the flask of poison and kills the cat. You can only determine the fate of the feline by looking inside the box and, until then, it is both alive and dead at the same time.Not necessarily, according to Dr. Zlatko Minev from Yale University. His team believes that the quantum jumps are not instantaneous, just really, really fast. In their experiment, they used artificial atoms called qubits which were cooled to a fraction of a degree above absolute zero and indirectly observed using three microwave generators in a sealed 3-D enclosure. The transitions were akin to a slide more than a quantum jump and could even be reversed with a perfectly timed pulse of radiation, thus saving the hypothetical cat from certain doom.[4] Minev believes this research could be valuable in the future for quantum computing.

6Florida Man Rides Again

Photo credit: Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook
It is time, once more, to check out the thrilling adventures of Florida Man. This time, he found himself a partner and tried to gain access to...

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