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The Weird Week ending February 29th

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Robbers Target Club During Biker Meeting

Two masked men with machetes went to a Sydney, Australia nightclub intending to rob the place. They picked the night that about 50 members of the Southern Cross Cruiser motorcycle club were holding their monthly meeting.

"These guys were absolutely dumb as bricks," Jerry Vancornewal, leader of the bikers, told CNN Thursday. "I can't believe they saw all the bikes parked up front and they were so stupid that they walked past in."

The bikers subdued one robber and restrained him with electrical wire. The other crashed through a glass door and jumped off the balcony to escape. Police arrested him nearby. A third person, waiting in a car, has not been apprehended.

Elephant Fitted with Prosthetic Leg150_elephantleg.jpg

A young elephant in Thailand was the vicim of a land mine near the border with Myanmar and lost one of her front legs. Veterinarians at the Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospital in Lampang province have made Mocha a new leg, and reporting that she is able to walk more easily on all four legs.

Traffic Cops take Ballet Lessons

Police officers charged with directing traffic in Timisoara, Romania have been sent to dance class to get their moves down.

"The aim is to develop an ability to regulate traffic and achieve elegance in their movements, which will not only be agreeable to the eyes but could also help drivers waiting at a red light get rid of their stress or sadness," the head of the community police in the town of Timisoara, Dorel Cojan, told AFP.

The twice-a-week classes are taught by two former members of the Timisoara Opera Ballet. See a video here.

Woman Gives Birth To Child Nearly Her Own Size

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33-year-old Stacey Herald is 28.5 inches tall. She was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease. Five weeks ago, Herald gave birth to an 18-inch daughter! Her first child, Katira, has the same genetic disorder, but the new baby Makaia is expected to grow to normal height. For years, doctors told the northern Kentucky woman that she wouldn't survive a pregnancy. Now, officials from the Guinness Book of World Records are investigating Herald's claim to be the smallest woman who ever gave birth.

Deadly Cactus Found in Australia

An invasive species of cactus, native to Mexico, has been found in Mundubbera, Australia. The spines of the Hudson pear cactus are so tough they can penetrate tires, and pliers are required to remove them from flesh! They have been known to kill koalas who cannot remove the spines and then develop infections. The plant was introduced to Australia as a garden plant, but has spread over hundreds of miles and threatens the value of farmland.

Counterfeit Ferrari Ring Busted150FakeFerrari.jpg

Police in Rome uncovered a business that cobbled together fake parts to produce counterfeit Ferrari sportscars. 21 automobiles were confiscated, including 14 which had already been sold. Authorities believe the buyers knew the cars were not actual Ferraris. The cars were sold for around 20,000 euros, or about a tenth of the price of a real Ferrari.

Large Truck vs. Small Tunnel

A flatbed truck carrying an oversized crane was caught on video entering the Ted Williams Tunnel in Boston Tuesday. The driver didn't stop, despite warning lights that were triggered by overheight sensors. The video shows sparks flying as the crane became detached. The truck finally stopped when the crane ripped the tunnel's ceiling. No one was injured, but it took an hour and a half to clear the wreckage.

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This Just In
Workers in Quebec City Discover Potentially Live Cannonball Dating Back to the French and Indian War
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Lafontaine Inc.

Quebec City is famous today for its old-world European charm, but a construction crew recently discovered a living relic of the city’s military past: a potentially explosive cannonball, dating all the way back to the French and Indian War.

As Smithsonian reports, workers conducting a building excavation in Old Quebec—the city’s historic center—last week unearthed the 200-pound metal ball at the corner of Hamel and Couillard streets. They posed for pictures before contacting municipal authorities, and archaeologist Serge Rouleau was sent in to collect the goods.

Initially, nobody—including Rouleau—knew that the rusty military artifact still posed a threat to city residents. But after the archaeologist toted the cannonball home in a trailer, he noticed a rusty hole through the center of the shell. This made him fear that the projectile was still loaded with gunpowder.

Rouleau contacted the Canadian military, which deployed bomb disposal specialists to collect the cannonball. They moved it to a secure location, where it will reportedly be either neutralized or destroyed. If the cannonball itself can be saved as a historic relic, it might be displayed in a museum.

“With time, humidity got into its interior and reduced its potential for exploding, but there’s still a danger,” munitions technician Sylvain Trudel told the CBC. “Old munitions like this are hard to predict … You never know to what point the chemicals inside have degraded.”

Experts believe that the cannonball was fired at Quebec City from Lévis, across the St. Lawrence River, during the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. This battle occurred on September 13, 1759, during the French and Indian War, when invading British troops defeated French forces in a key battle just outside Quebec City. Ultimately, the clash helped lead to Quebec’s surrender.

[h/t Smithsonian]

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Weird
Sponge-Like Debris Is Washing Up on France’s Beaches, and No One Knows What It Is
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The shores of northern France are normally a picturesque spot for a barefoot stroll. That was until mid-July of this year, when walking down the beach without stepping on a spongy, yellow blob became impossible. As Gizmodo reports, foam-like objects washed up by the tide have covered close to 20 miles of French coastline over the course of a few days.

Unlike the boulder-sized "fatbergs" sometimes found on the beaches of Britain or the snowballs that crowded Siberian beaches last November, the spongy invasion has no known source. Experts have ruled out both organic sponges found in the ocean and polyurethane foam made by people. Jonathan Hénicart, president of Sea-Mer, a French nonprofit that fights beach pollution, told La Voix du Nord, "When you touch it, it's a bit greasy. It's brittle but not easily crumbled. It has no specific odor […] We do not know if it's toxic [so] it should not be touched."

The northern coast of France borders the English Channel, a waterway that welcomes hundreds of commercial ships every day. Strange cargo is constantly falling overboard and washing up on shore. Since the sponges resemble nothing found in nature or an artificial material that's commonly known, it's possible they're a combination of both. They could be a type of foam, for instance, made out of seawater and air bound together with a substance like soap or fertilizer.

Experts won't be able to verify what the mess is made of until the Cedre Association, an organization that studies hydrocarbon pollution, analyzes samples collected from the beach. That process should take about a week. In the meantime, French officials are working to clear the coastline while assuring the public the phenomenon doesn't pose a threat to their health. Nonetheless, beachgoers in northern France should think twice before kicking off their flip-flops.

[h/t Gizmodo]

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