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The Weird Week in Review

Swedish Chef Told to Stop Making Good Food

Annika Eriksson is the head cook at a school in Falun, Sweden. Her students have enjoyed extraordinarily good meals, including fresh-baked bread and a vegetable buffet with over a dozen different offerings. School officials told her the food she was serving to the students was too good -and that she will have to scale it back because it's not fair to students at other schools in the district. Her vegetable buffet will be limited to half as many choices, and she must serve store-bought bread. Students at Eriksson's school have started a petition to protest the ruling.

Teenager Hit by Falling Chicken Parts

Cassie Bernard was in the middle of a horseback riding lesson last week in Assawoman, Virginia, when she was hit in the head by a chicken part falling from the sky. Bernard was not injured, as she was wearing a helmet. Several chicken parts fell from the sky, but no other students were hit. Officials from a nearby Tyson chicken processing plant denied the parts came from them. State Land Protection Manager Milton Johnston said the parts most likely came from improperly discarded chickens who died on a farm.

"We can't have pieces of chicken falling out of the sky," Johnston said.

Everybody at the farm looked up to see where the strange objects came from, but the clear blue sky didn't hold any clues.

"It was kind of odd; it made me think about the movie back in the 1980s, The Gods Must be Crazy," said Bruce Penland, who was at the farm. The comedy recounts the strange chain of events that occurs after a soda bottle falls from the sky and lands among a primitive tribe in the Kalahari Desert.

The parts may have been dropped by flying gulls.

Blue Honey Traced to M&Ms

Beekeepers in northeastern France were puzzled to find their hives were full of honey in strange blue and green tints. Although flowers bloom in colors, the nectar from them is usually colorless. The culprit turned out to be candy-coated M&Ms! A biogas plant near Ribeauville in Alsace had contracted with a Mars candy manufacturer to process the plant's waste products, which included the colored candy and food dye. The biogas company was red-faced when confronted with blue honey, and promised to rectify the situation by immediately covering the waste to prevent bees from eating it, and to process the materials as soon as possible. The blue and green honey will not be sold.

Caring for Pandas Dressed as Pandas

China's panda research program includes a plan for releasing pandas into the forest on their own. Tao Tao is the first panda born in captivity to be released into the wild. The cub has been housed at a semi-wild panda facility -and has never seen a human. Workers who cared for Tao Tao and his mother Cao Cao always dressed in Panda costumes, which are smeared with panda urine and feces to disguise the smell of humans. The two pandas were gradually moved to denser forest with less human intervention over the course of two years to prepare them for the final release in the mountains in Wolong, in southwest China’s Sichuan Province. The release is not a true goodbye: Tao Tao will wear a GPS collar and has an implanted ID chip so he can be tracked.

Substantial Penalty for Terminating Cell Phone Contract

Solenne San Jose of Pessac, France, terminated her cell phone contract before it expired. Telecom Bouygues warned her there would be a penalty fee on her next bill. There certainly was -the woman was billed €11,721,000,000,000,000. That is more money than is in circulation in Europe altogether! San Jose called the company to complain, and they offered to help her work out a payment plan -twice. Then they charged her another €12.50 each time she called about the bill. The company finally admitted the bill was an error, but the story does not say whether that was before or after the story hit the news media.

Occubaby Arrives

Last year, Kaylee Dedrick was pepper-sprayed by police at the Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York City. Robert Grodt stepped up to treat her face and …they fell in love. A year later, the two welcomed 7-pound Tegan Kathleen Grodt into the world.

"Nothing strengthens a relationship like a chemical agent," Grodt told The Daily News earlier this week.

As a memento for their hard days fighting for the 99 percent, OWS Screen Guild sent the newly-minted parents a white onesie with “Occupy Wall Street” printed in fat orange letters.

The media couldn't resist dubbing Tegan "Occubaby." She was born on September 28th.

Goat Rescue Ends Unexpectedly

A goat in West Yorkshire, England, is locally known as Black Rock Billie. Last week, Billie stepped onto a ledge of a cliff and stayed there -for four days. Assuming the goat was stuck, and wanting to forestall amateur rescuers, the Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team strung up a rope system to lower a rescuer to the goat. The three-hour operation came to a head when a man reached the ledge, and that's when Billie decided she'd stood there long enough, and simply leaped away, trotted down the hill, and appeared perfectly fine. The operation was captured on video.

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Animals
Bizarre New Species of Crabs and a Giant Sea Cockroach Discovered in Waters Off Indonesia
One known species of isopod, or "giant sea cockroach"
One known species of isopod, or "giant sea cockroach"
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A crab with green googly eyes, another with "ears" resembling peanuts, and a species of giant sea cockroach are among the dozen new kinds of crustaceans discovered by scientists in the waters off Indonesia, Channel News Asia reports.

These finds are the result of a two-week expedition by Indonesian and Singaporean scientists with the South Java Deep Sea Biodiversity Expedition (SJADES 2018), which involved exploring deep waters in the Sunda Strait (the waterway separating the islands of Sumatra and Java in Southeast Asia) and the Indian Ocean. Using trawls, dredges, and other tools, researchers brought a huge variety of deep-sea life to the surface—some species for the very first time.

"The world down there is an alien world," Peter Ng, chief scientist of the expedition, told Channel News Asia. "You have waters that go down more than 2000 to 3000 meters [9800 feet], and we do not know … the animal life that's at the bottom."

The giant sea cockroach—technically a giant isopod, also nicknamed a Darth Vader isopod—is a new species in the genus Bathynomus, measuring almost a foot long and found more than 4000 feet deep. The isopods are occasionally seen on the ocean floor, where they scuttle around scavenging for dead fish and other animals. This marked the first time the genus has ever been recorded in Indonesia.

Another find is a spider crab nicknamed Big Ears, though it doesn't actually have ears—its peanut-shaped plates are used to protect the crab's eyes.

More than 800 species were collected during the expedition, accounting for 12,000 individual animals. Researchers say it will take up to two years to study all of them. In addition to the 12 species that are completely new to science, 40 were seen for the first time in Indonesia. Creatures that the scientists dubbed a chain-saw lobster, an ice cream cone worm, and a cock-eyed squid were among some of the rarer finds.

A "Chain-Saw Lobster"
Nicknamed the "Chain-Saw Lobster," this creature is a rare blind lobster, found only in the deep seas.

Researchers took to the giant sea cockroach quickly, with some of the crew members reportedly calling it “cute” and cradling it like a baby. Check out Channel News Asia Insider's video below for more insight into their creepy finds.

[h/t Channel News Asia]

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Weird
The Mysterious Case of the Severed Feet in British Columbia
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While walking on the beach, many people look out for a number of things: Shells, buried treasure, crabs, and dolphins among them. But if you’re on a beach in British Columbia, you might want to keep an eye out for something a little more sinister—about 15 severed feet have washed up on the shores there in the past few years. The latest was found on May 6, wedged in a mass of logs on Gabriola Island, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The feet have been surprising unlucky British Columbians for over a decade. The first appeared back in 2007 on Jedediah Island; it was eventually matched to a deceased man whose family declined to provide additional information. Bizarre, but not particularly alarming—until another one showed up on Gabriola Island less than a month later. More feet followed, and though some were matched to missing persons, most remained anonymous (feet, unfortunately, don’t contain much identifying information). Instead, police focused on the fact that each foot was encased in a running shoe—though sizes, genders, and brands differed.

This seems like a real-life episode of The X-Files, but it turns out there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for the severed feet: They’re not really “severed,” which would indicate cutting or slicing, at all. According to scientists who tested the theory, the feet likely belong to suicide, drowning, or plane crash victims. It’s common for decomposing bodies to come apart at the joint, making it natural for the foot to come apart from the leg. But if that’s the case, wouldn’t hands be similarly susceptible to washing up on beaches? Nope, that’s where the shoes come in.

While the rest of the body naturally decomposes in water, feet are surprisingly well protected inside the rubber and fabric of a shoe. The soles can be pretty buoyant, and sometimes air pockets get trapped inside the shoe, making it float to the surface. Most of the “severed” feet have been clad in jogging shoes such as Nikes and Pumas, but at least one case involves a hiking boot. In that instance, the boot (and foot) was matched to a man who went missing while fishing more than 25 years ago. The most recent case also involves a hiking boot.

That leaves the question: Why British Columbia? According to Richard Thompson, an oceanographer with the federal Institute of Ocean Sciences, it’s connected to ocean current. “There’s a lot of recirculation in the region; we’re working here with a semi-enclosed basin. Fraser River, False Creek, Burrard Inlet—all those regions around there are somewhat semi-enclosed. The tidal currents and the winds can keep things that are floating recirculating in the system." Several feet have also been found further south, in Washington state, which shares a network of coastal waterways with British Columbia.

Others aren’t so quick to accept this scientific analysis, however. Criminal lawyer and crime author Michael Slade still wonders if a serial killer is afoot. "We also have to consider that this could be a serial killer," he said. "Somebody who right now is underneath the radar. That has to be on the table."

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