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The Weird Week in Review

Robber Writes Note on Personal Check

33-year-old Patrick Johnson was arrested on bank robbery charges after he demanded and received money from two Bank of America locations in Ocala, Florida. In both instances, he passed a note to the teller that said he had a gun. Police were able to find Johnson with the help of witnesses on the scene. Officers then noticed that both notes were written on the backs of printed checks from Johnson's personal checking account!

Vet Pulls Hook out of Shark's Mouth

A female nurse shark was struggling with a large gaff in her mouth in the Cape Byron Marine Park in New South Wales last week. Three divers set out to reach her, and were surprised to find the shark on their first dive. The 9.8-foot shark was lassoed and brought to the surface. Four men straddled the shark to restrain her while Sea World veterinarian David Blyde reached down inside to remove the hook. The operation took about two hours. See more pictures here.

World Santa Claus Congress Held in Copenhagen

136 Santas from around the globe met this week in Denmark for the annual World Santa Claus Congress. The event has been held annually for since 1957, and includes a bicycle parade, singing, and a "yula-hoop" event. See a gallery of photographs from this year's event here.

Hailstones Blast Man Off Toilet

125toilet.jpgMartin Bierbauer was on the toilet at his apartment in Eisenstadt, Austria when hundreds of thousands of hailstones exploded out of the fixture. The hailstones were from an earlier storm that blocked municipal drains. Several toilets in the building were affected in the same way.
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Martin Bierbauer said: "I heard the pipes rumbling a bit, and suddenly hailstones the size of golf balls started exploding out of the toilet like it was a popcorn machine.
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"There was an avalanche of ice that quickly filled the toilet, then the entire flat, and eventually the entire building."

"Lesbian" Can Legally Mean What You Think

Three residents of the Greek island Lesbos filed an injunction with a Greek court to define "Lesbians" as those who live on the island. They argued that using the word to refer to gay women was "insulting" to local residents. Lats week, a court in Athens rejected the notion, saying that gay groups in Greece and elsewhere could use the term. The plaintiffs were fined court costs, but can appeal the decision. Lesbos is the birthplace of the ancient poetess Sappho, whose poetry inspired the popular use of the term lesbian.

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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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