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The Weird Week ending January 4th

Hello Kitty Merchandise for Men

After adorning every product possible for women, Sanrio will soon begin to market Hello Kitty merchandise for men. The Hello Kitty logo for men will be changed slightly, with text in the place of the eyes and nose, and an emphasis on black instead of pink. The for-men products will go on sale in Japan next month, and later this year in the rest of Asia and the United States.

Big Panties Save the Day

big-underwear.jpgJohn Marsey and his cousin Darren Lines were frying some bread when the pan caught on fire. Water only made the grease fire worse, so Lines grabbed the largest thing he could find, a pair of his aunt's size 18-20 underpants, wet them in the sink, and threw them over the fire! Jenny Marsey said:

My £4.99 parachute knickers have come in handy for something. We've had a good laugh that they were a bit like a fire blanket.

Anti-Smoking Chief Breaks Ban on Day One

One of the very first documented violators of Portugal's new smoking ban in public places was caught on camera smoking a cigar in a casino. Antonio Nunes, president of Portugal's food standards agency, is charged with enforcing the new law, which bans smoking in restaurants and bars. Nunes said he wasn't aware that the ban included casinos.

Fruit Salad from One Tree!

71-year-old Manabu Fukushima has a lemon tree in his backyard that grows eleven different kinds of fruit! Fukushima, of Onga, Japan, grafted young saplings of different fruit trees onto the more mature lemon tree in order to enjoy the fruit sooner. He plans to further increase the varieties on the tree.

Surgery Saves Snake and Golf Balls

125_phython.jpgA couple in Australia took a 6 foot python they had found to the vet. X-rays revealed the snake had eaten four golf balls! Area residents sometimes put golf balls in their henhouses to encourage hens to lay eggs, which apparently also fooled the snake. After successful surgery to remove the balls, the snake named Augustus is recovering at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.

Precious Purple Pearl Appears in Plate

George and Leslie Brock stopped in Dave's Last Resort & Raw Bar in Lake Worth, Florida for a bite to eat. In a $10 plate of clams, they found an iridescent purple pearl, an very rare find in Florida clams. At least one expert says the pearl could be worth thousands of dollars. The Brocks plan to have it appraised.

Russians Buying Rats for New Year

Chinese New Year begins February 7th, and will usher in the Year of the Rat. Russian pet shops are reporting a shortage of rats as people buy the animals as pets before the new year begins. Vets fear that many of these rats, given as gifts, may end up abandoned on the streets.

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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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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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