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The Weird Week in Review

Bride's Dress Falls Apart at Altar

A 30-year-old woman in Italy is suing her dressmaker for 23,000 euros after her wedding dress fell apart. The stitching came undone as the couple stood at the altar, revealing her bottom to the congregation. The ceremony was completed, but proper photographs could not be taken at the wedding in 2006. The bride and her husband have since separated.

Immigrant Cat Survives 7 Days in Locked Truck

A cat named Mia jumped into a delivery truck in Ezstergom, Hungary looking for a place to give birth. The truck driver then drove over a thousand miles to the company's home base in Milton Keynes in the UK. The truck was not opened for the seven day journey, during which time Mia delivered two kittens. The adventure gained Mia a nomination for the 'Most Incredible Story' category at the upcoming Rescue Cat Awards 2008.

Woman Kills Husband with Folding Couch

A woman in St. Petersburg, Russia was upset with her drunk husband and kicked the handle of their automatic folding couch as he was lying on the fold-out bed. The bed folded up, and the husband was caught between the mattress and the back of the couch. She waited three hours to check on him. Emergency service workers responded, but said that the man had died instantly.

Human Pincushion Welcomes Olympics

125olyflags.jpg58-year-old acupuncturist Wen Shengchu planted 200 miniature flagpoles plus an Olympic torch in his head to welcome visitors to Beijing for the Olympics. He had seen people paint flags on their faces and decided to outdo them. He says the piercing needles do not hurt, but he advices others not to try this stunt. Wen plans to put 2008 needles in his head to commemorate the opening ceremonies on August 8th. See a video here.

Naked Man Hijacks Bus

Police were called Tuesday after 35-year-old Charles P. Sell was seen naked and stealing beer in Las Vegas. Sells fled the scene, jumped onto a moving city bus, and broke out the back window to get inside. He threw the driver off the bus and drove it about 200 yards, then leapt off. A police officer had to board to stop the still-moving bus! Sells was arrested and sent for a mental evaluation, then booked on grand larceny and other charges.

Collecting Cow Farts

150cowfart.jpgScientists in Argentina are studying the effect of methane produced by livestock on global warming. To measure the amount of gas produced by cows, animals have been outfitted with pink tanks to collect their farts! Their findings: each cow produces between 800 to 1,000 liters of emissions every day, according to Guillermo Berra, a researcher at the National Institute of Agricultural Technology. Researchers say feeding cows clover and alfalfa instead of grain can reduced emissions by 25%.

Drunk Joins Firefighting Team

When a fire alarm rang out in Berlin, a 38-year-old inebriated man answered the call. He rushed to the fire station and was outfitted by firefighters, who did not know he was an impostor. After arriving at the burning apartment building, the other firefighters realized they had been infiltrated and called police.

"When fire breaks out, it's all hands on deck!" the man told officers when questioned about his motives. He was released without charge after sobering up overnight in a police cell.

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Billions of Cockroaches Are Bred in China to Create a ‘Healing Potion’
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Insectophobes would probably agree that any place that breeds billions of cockroaches a year is akin to hell on Earth.

That place actually exists—in the Sichuan Province city of Xichang—but China's government says it's all for a good cause. The indoor farm is tasked with breeding 6 billion creepy-crawlies a year to meet the country's demand for a special "healing potion" whose main ingredient is ground-up roaches.

While there are other cockroach breeding facilities in China that serve the same purpose, the one in Xichang is the world's largest, with a building "the size of two sports fields," according to the South China Morning Post.

The facility is reportedly dark, humid, and fully sealed, with cockroaches given the freedom to roam and reproduce as they please. If, for any odd reason, someone should want to visit the facility, they'd have to swap out their day clothes for a sanitized suit to avoid bringing pollutants or pathogens into the environment, according to Guangming Daily,a government newspaper.

The newspaper article contains a strangely poetic description of the cockroach farm:

"There were very few human beings in the facility. Hold your breath and (you) only hear a rustling sound. Whenever flashlights swept, the cockroaches fled. Wherever the beam landed, there was a sound like wind blowing through leaves. It was just like standing in the depths of a bamboo forest in late autumn."

Less poetic, though, is the description of how the "miracle" potion is made. Once the bugs reach maturity, they are fed into machines and ground up into a cockroach paste. The potion claims to work wonders for stomach pain and gastric ailments, and according to its packaging, it has a "slightly sweet" taste and a "slightly fishy smell."

The provincial government claims that the potion has healed more than 40 million patients, and that the Xichang farm is selling its product to more than 4000 hospitals throughout China. While this may seem slightly off-putting, cockroaches have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years.

Some studies seem to support the potential nutritional benefit of cockroaches. The BBC reported on the discovery that cockroaches produce their own antibiotics, prompting scientists to question whether they could be used in drugs to help eliminate bacterial infections such as E. coli and MRSA.

In 2016, scientists in Bangalore, India, discovered that the guts of one particular species of cockroach contain milk protein crystals that appear to be nutritious, TIME reports. They said the milk crystal could potentially be used as a protein supplement for human consumption, as it packs more than three times the energy of dairy milk.

"I could see them in protein drinks," Subramanian Ramaswamy, a biochemist who led the study, told The Washington Post.

However, as research has been limited, it's unlikely that Americans will start to see cockroach smoothies at their local juice bar anytime soon.

[h/t South China Morning Post]

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Massive Tumbleweeds Invaded a California Town, Trapping Residents in Their Homes
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For Americans who don’t live out west, any mention of tumbleweeds tends to conjure up images of a lone bush blowing lazily across the desert. The reality is not so romantic, as Californians would tell you.

The town of Victorville, California—an 85-mile drive from Los Angeles—was overtaken by massive tumbleweeds earlier this week when wind speeds reached nearly 50 mph. The tumbleweeds blew across the Mojave Desert and into town, where they piled up on residents’ doorsteps. Some stacks towered as high as the second story, trapping residents in their homes, according to the Los Angeles Times.

City employees and firefighters were dispatched to tackle the thorny problem, which reportedly affected about 150 households. Pitchforks were used to remove the tumbleweeds, some of which were as large as 4 feet tall by 4 feet wide.

"The crazy thing about tumbleweeds is that they are extremely thorny, they connect together like LEGOs," Victorville spokeswoman Sue Jones told the Los Angeles Times. "You can't reach out and grab them and move them. You need special tools. They really hurt."

Due to the town’s proximity to the open desert, residents are used to dealing with the occasional tumbleweed invasion. Similar cases have been reported in Texas, New Mexico, and other states in the West and Southwest. In 1989, the South Dakota town of Mobridge had to use machinery to remove 30 tons of tumbleweeds, which had buried homes, according to Metro UK.

Several plant species are considered a tumbleweed. The plant only becomes a nuisance when it reaches maturity, at which time it dries out, breaks from its root, and gets carried off into the wind, spreading seeds as it goes. They’re not just unsightly, either. They can cause soil dryness, leading to erosion and sometimes even killing crops.

[h/t Los Angeles Times]

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