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The Weird Week ending February 29th

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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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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