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The Weird Week in Review

Art "Restorer" Wants Royalties

Remember Ecce Homo, the Spanish fresco of Christ that was made into a cartoon after an amateur restoration effort? The new look of the art has made its home, the chapel at Santuario de Misericordia, such an attraction that the church has started charging an entrance fee of 4 euros. Now Cecilia Gimenez, the octogenarian who painted over the fresco, wants a cut of that. Her lawyers say she is entitled to royalties, which would go to charity. Meanwhile, the family of the original artist is considering suing Gimenez for destroying the art, and the church has retained lawyers in defense from all sides.

Man Flattened by Falling Mattress

Jesse Scott Owen had only moved to New York City from Florida three weeks ago, but the college freshman got a big city experience Tuesday when a mattress fell off the roof of a building and landed on him. Owen was walking along Broad Street when the falling futon knocked him out cold. Passers-by tended to him until emergency workers arrived. Owen was taken to a hospital with a sprained neck and a possible herniated disc. But he managed to Tweet about the experience. The mattress had fallen from the rooftop spa of the Setai Wall Street, about 30 stories up.

Bob-bob Goes to Disney World

Ethel Maze of Circleville, Ohio, took a group of 18 disabled veterans and volunteers to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. She hadn't planned to take her cat Bob-bob, but there he was, stowed away in her suitcase when she arrived at her Disney Resort hotel.

Mike Groleau, the group's designated "baggage handler," said he thought he saw the bag move — but after a long night of packing, he slapped some tags on the front and back of the green suitcase and loaded it with the rest.

"This was the last bag I grabbed," Groleau said. "... [S]omehow it got zipped up."

Ten hours later, as the group settled into its Disney-area hotel, Maze unzipped the bag, and there was Bob-bob, a little shaken but still purring.

Despite a TSA security check (which did not set off any alarms) and several hours in the cargo hold, Bob-bob appeared to be just fine after his trip.

Ig Nobel Prizes Awarded

The Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded last night in a ceremony at Harvard's Sanders Theater. One of the awards was a wedding gift for the researchers! The Psychology Prize went to Dutch researchers Anita Eerland and Rolf Zwaan, along with their colleague Tulio Guadalupe, for their study "Leaning to the Left Makes the Eiffel Tower Seem Smaller." Eerland and Zwaan's wedding is tomorrow. Other prizes were awarded for research into how a ponytail swings, how an MRI can detect brain activity in a dead fish, why we spill coffee, and how to keep colonoscopy patients from exploding.

Restroom Users Watched from Street

The public facilities at the Standard Hotel in New York City offer a breathtaking view. But don't assume that those floor-to-ceiling windows on the 18th floor can't be looked into as well! The Boom Boom Room club has restrooms that are completely visible from the street below. The view from inside is glorious, but in most such restrooms, the glass is reflected as a mirror surface on the outside. But the patrons of this toilet are being photographed by people on the streets! The hotel offers no warning and no explanation for the restroom design. Is it meant to be a free peep show? Is it a design mistake? Or is it a subtle way to encourage guests to use the restroom somewhere else?

British Soldier Gives Birth in Afghanistan

An unnamed British military gunner might not have known she was pregnant when she was deployed to Afghanistan. She gave birth to a boy Tuesday in a field hospital at Camp Bastion, in Helmand province, one of the more dangerous parts of the country. Mother and baby are reportedly doing fine, but a team from John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, England, is prepared to go to the base to care for mother and child. The baby was born only four days after a raid on the base by insurgents disguised as U.S. military.

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8 Bizarre Places People Have Gotten Stuck
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Some days it just doesn’t pay to venture outside, particularly when you wind up the subject of a police and fire department rescue because you’ve somehow trapped yourself inside an ATM machine. Check out eight other strange environments that have ensnared bystanders and prompted emergency responses.

1. A CLAW MACHINE

A giant see-through container full of plush toys is any child’s idea of paradise, and they will attempt any means possible to inhabit it. For three-year-old Jamie Bracken-Murphy of Nenagh, Tipperary, Ireland, that meant crawling through the small flap from which the toys can be retrieved and finding himself lodged in a claw machine. Murphy was on display for about 10 minutes before an off-duty fireman was able to coax him back out the way he came in. Jamie’s father, Damien, expressed little surprise at his son’s predicament, saying that, "He's a very mischievous, sharp kid who's always pushing boundaries."

2. A TRAFFIC CONE

A man has a traffic cone over his head
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In 2013, a man in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, England thought he’d have a bit of fun by sticking a traffic cone—otherwise known as a bollard—on his head. To his dismay, the large cone slid down over and past his shoulders, entombing him in plastic. John Waterman, a witness to the incident, captured it all on his cell phone. "It was very random," Waterman told The Telegraph. "It's not the usual thing you see in the middle of Hemel Hempstead on a Sunday lunchtime." The man stumbled around for more than two hours before anyone bothered to call police.

3. A CEMENT HOPPER

Aurora, Illinois was the site of a recent cement mix-up, when an unidentified man became trapped in a cement hopper. The worker had climbed into the machine to clean it, but found he was unable to move when residual cement on the machine's floor began hardening around his legs. It took firefighters more than two hours to extricate him from the hopper. He was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for minor injuries, but released the same day, according to the local fire department.

4. A TOILET

A stock shot of a person stuck in a toilet
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In 2016, a Norwegian man named Cato Berntsen Larsen found himself in deep trouble after he tried lowering himself into a public toilet to retrieve a friend’s cell phone. The toilet’s tank was located underneath the seat, allowing enough room for Larsen to become trapped. To his dismay, the tank—which is not connected to a sewage system and is only emptied sporadically—was full of human waste. Adding to the putrid nature of his enclave, Larsen vomited and was bitten by an unknown animal: His situation did not improve until authorities were able to come and pull him out. "It was damn disgusting," Larsen said, "the worst I have experienced. There were animals down there, too."

5. A GIANT STONE VAGINA

Tourists and residents of Tübingen, Germany are quite familiar with Chacán-Pi, a giant stone sculpture of a vagina created by Peruvian artist Fernando de la Jara. The towering display sits just outside Tübingen University’s Institute for Microbiology and Virology and has attracted curious onlookers since 2001. In 2014, an unnamed American student decided to go spelunking in the 32-ton carving for a photo opportunity and became trapped, necessitating rescue by 22 firefighters. The Guardian called them “midwives” and reported that the student was “delivered by hand.”

6. A WASHING MACHINE

A man appears to be stuck inside a washing machine
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Sometimes, games of hide-and-seek can go very wrong. That was the case for a man near Melbourne, Australia in 2014, who climbed into his top-loading washing machine fully nude to surprise his partner. Unfortunately, he was unable to climb back out. Responders were able to grease him with a liberal application of olive oil and pull him out. First Constable Luke Ingram told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that, as a rule, “My advice would be for people not to climb into appliances.” The warning went unheeded by another Australian man in 2015, who found himself lodged in a front-loading machine and had to wait while rescuers disassembled the entire unit in order to free him.

7. A BABY SWING

If you’re ever challenged by your adult friends to fit into a baby swing at a public park, you can confidently say that it won’t work. That’s because a man from Vallejo, California tried it in 2011. While he managed to slide into the seat using liquid laundry detergent, he couldn’t slide back out. As his legs began to swell, his friends abandoned him overnight. He wasn’t rescued until nine hours later, when a groundskeeper heard his screams for help at 6 o'clock the following morning. "The man sustained non-life threatening injuries to his body," the San Francisco Chronicle reported, "but there’s no word yet on the condition of his ego."

8. A CHIMNEY

A chimney sits on a rooftop
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There are many Santa jokes to be made, but when you’re the man trapped in your own home’s chimney for four hours, there probably isn’t a huge urge to start laughing. In late 2016, a Tucson, Arizona homeowner who had locked his keys in his home opted to retrieve them by re-entering his abode via the chimney. While it was a spectacularly bad idea, he actually almost made it: His feet were touching the floor of his fireplace before the space grew too narrow to allow for any further passage and he got stuck. Firefighters were able to pull him out from the roof, covered in soot but otherwise unharmed.

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Animals
This Octopus Species in Northern Australia Can Hunt on Dry Land
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Most octopuses live in the ocean—but in northern Australia, a small, shallow-water species takes to land in search of food. Abdopus aculeatus is the only octopus that’s specially adapted to walk on dry ground. Using its long, sucker-lined arms, the slimy sea creature pulls itself along the shoreline as it searches tide pools for crabs.

Witness Abdopus aculeatus in action by watching BBC Earth’s video below.

[h/t BBC Earth]

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