The Weird Week in Review

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Counterfeiter Used Wrong President

Dana Leland of Central Falls, Rhode Island, was arrested in Massachusetts for trying to pass counterfeit $100 bills at a Target store. The bills were discovered to be fake because they bore the portrait of president Abraham Lincoln. Benjamin Frankllin is normally found on a $100 bill. Leland's lawyer says he suffers from mental illness and drug and alcohol abuse.

History Transformed in Exam

If you are in charge of finding graphics for any serious purpose, you might want to slow down and pay attention when you grab something from an internet search. In Australia's year 12 student history exam, a question involved the artwork Storming the Winter palace on 25th October 1917 by Nikolai Kochergin, which depicts the Russian Revolution. What actually ended up in the test was the illustration with a BattleTech Marauder inserted on the horizon. Looks like the revolutionaries had a bit of futuristic help!

A spokesman for the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) said the image was "sourced and acknowledged by the VCAA as coming from the Internet".

"The image has been altered but the alteration of the image won’t impact on the students’ capacity to answer the examination question," he said.

Having an image sourced as "coming from the internet" doesn't quite make it genuine -or original.

Camera Taken from Bird

Karen Gwillim of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, saw a cormorant near the town of Craven that was struggling with something. She was surprised to find the bird with a camera strap hanging on its neck! The camera was still attached, weighing the bird down. The bird allowed her to approach and remove the camera, then flew off. After drying out the camera and its memory card, Gwillim found about 200 photos. That was two months ago. Gwillim posted the pictures on Facebook, hoping to find the owner of the camera. Nothing happened until she told her story on television, then a man stepped forward who says he knows who the owner is, and arranged for the owner to claim it.

Boy Steals Parents’ Savings to Buy Candy

A family in Konotop, Ukraine, had a stash of $3,300 and €500 hidden under the sofa. It was their life savings. When the money was discovered missing, the family's unnamed 9-year-old son admitted he took the money -and spent it on candy. The child had converted the cash into Ukrainian hryvnas with the help of an adult, who is said to have a mental disorder. The boy found that he couldn't eat that much candy, so he shared it with his friends.

Sewage Dropped on Fire -and Firefighters

Firefighters were battling a 30 hectare brush fire in Kew, near Port Macquarie, Australia on Tuesday. A helicopter sucked up water from a pond, flew over the fire, and dumped the water on the blaze. But the pond, at a wastewater treatment plant, was the wrong one to draw water from - it was full of "secondary treatment" water, also known as sewage.

An RFS spokeswoman said 12 firefighters had been directly exposed to the "secondary treatment" water, while a further seven were in the general area.

"All 29 firefighters on the fireground and their equipment were immediately withdrawn and decontaminated by Fire and Rescue NSW," the spokeswoman said. "As a precaution, each firefighter has since been provided with further medical follow-up. At this time, no firefighters have complained of any ill-effects. They will continue to be monitored by the Rural Fire Service."

The fire was fully under control by Thursday.

The Carrot Rebellion

Spain recently raised the value-added-tax (VAT) on cultural activities to 21%, which didn't sit well with theater owners. One theater in Bescanó staged a revolt. Theater owner Quim Marcé decided they would sell carrots instead of tickets. Theater patrons love the idea, and bought plenty of carrots at €13. The theater then gave free theater admission away to patrons who bought carrots, which are taxed at 4%. Marcé also has the support of the local mayor, but other officials say the scheme is plainly tax evasion.

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November 16, 2012 - 4:53am
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