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The Weird Week in Review

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Cop in Charge of Drunk Driving Caught Driving Drunk

A deputy police inspector in Tokyo was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol on Monday. He had bumped another car and ran off the road. Local media identified the inspector as the officer in charge of a campaign against drunk driving that had involved police handing out stickers at bars and restaurants.

"It is inexcusable for a member of the police to have caused this case and we plan to deal with it strictly," Tsutomu Sato, the head of the National Public Safety Commission told reporters.

Two-faced Kitten Born in Perth

A kitten with two faces was born yesterday at a veterinary clinic in Perth, Australia. A newspaper photographer was at the clinic to shoot pictures of greyhounds when the birth occurred, and took the opportunity to snap pictures of the newborn kitten. The kitten's two mouths meow simultaneously, controlled by its single brain. It eats only from one mouth, as the other has a cleft palate.

Former Prisoner Settles in Lost Penis Case

The State of Washington will pay $300,000 to a man who lost his penis and one testicle to flesh-eating bacteria while in prison. 61-year-old Charlie Manning was incarcerated in 2004 and developed a rash that was first diagnosed as an allergic reaction. By the time he was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, or flesh-eating bacteria, surgeons had to remove several pounds of flesh in order to save Manning's life. Manning filed suit in 2007, and the settlement was reached in October.

World's Tallest Mohawk

150mohawk.jpgEric Hahn, a musician in Omaha, Nebraska, has the new Guinness World Record for the tallest mohawk hairdo. His locks stand 27 inches above his head, 3 inches taller than the previous record holder. Hahn donated the hair that was cut to produce the mohawk to Locks of Love, a charity that provides wigs to cancer patients who have lost their hair. Hahn's band also staged a concert last Friday to benefit Locks of Love and a local charity.

Hold the Toilet Handle Down

A 91-year-old woman in Jersey City, New Jersey was robbed by a man who impersonated a water company employee. He told her there was a water emergency, and instructed her to hold the handle of her toilet down or else the house would explode. The victim obeyed and held the handle for about two minutes. When she gave up and came out of the bathroom, the woman found that the man had ransacked her house and made off with $3,650 in cash.

Lost Cockatiel Identifies Owners by Phone

150cockatiel.jpgA lost cockatiel perched on passerby Sue Hill's shoulder in Wrexham, England. Once home, she phoned the local veterinarian to see if anyone had reported a missing bird. Someone had, and soon Hill was on the phone with Carole Edwards. Hill put the phone up to the cockatiel's ear and when he heard Edwards' voice, he spoke for the first time, saying his name Smokey.
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"It was so amusing. When she shouted 'Smokey' he just responded straight away. It was hysterical, and there was no doubt in my mind they were the owners."

Doctors Find Worm in Woman's Brain

Doctors in Phoenix, Arizona thought the worst when they saw the results of Rosemary Alvarez' MRI scan. She was taken into surgery to remove a tumor on her brain stem. Once they got inside, surgeons were surprised to see not a tumor, but a worm! Dr. Peter Nakaji even laughed when he saw what the problem was.

"I'm sure this is a very strange response for the people in the operating room," he told MyFOXPhoenix.com. "But because I was so pleased to know that it wasn't going to be something terrible."

The surgeons removed the worm, and Alvarez has recovered completely.

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London's Sewer-Blocking 'Fatbergs' Are Going to Be Turned Into Biodiesel
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UK officials can't exactly transform the Whitechapel fatberg—a 143-ton trash mass lurking in London's sewer system—into treasure, but they can turn it into fuel. As The Guardian reports, Scottish biodiesel producer Argent Energy plans to convert parts of the noxious blockage into an environmentally friendly energy source.

For the uninitiated, fatbergs (which get their names from a portmanteau of "fat" and "icebergs") are giant, solid blobs of congealed fat, oil, grease, wet wipes, and sanitary products. They form in sewers when people dump cooking byproducts down drains, or in oceans when ships release waste products like palm oil. These sticky substances combine with floating litter to form what could be described as garbage heaps on steroids.

Fatbergs wash up on beaches, muck up city infrastructures, and are sometimes even removed with cranes from sewer pipes as a last resort. Few—if any—fatbergs, however, appear to be as potentially lethal as the one workers recently discovered under London's Whitechapel neighborhood. In a news release, private utility company Thames Water described the toxic mass as "one of the largest ever found, with the extreme rock-solid mass of wet wipes, nappies, fat and oil weighing the same as 11 double-decker buses."

Ick factor aside, the Whitechapel fatberg currently blocks a stretch of Victorian sewer more than twice the length of two fields from London's Wembley Stadium. Engineers with jet hoses are working seven days a week to break up the fatberg before sucking it out with tankers. But even with high-pressure streams, the job is still akin to "trying to break up concrete," says Matt Rimmer, Thames Water's head of waste networks.

The project is slated to end in October. But instead of simply disposing of the Whitechapel fatberg, officials want to make use of it. Argent Energy—which has in the past relied on sources like rancid mayonnaise and old soup stock—plans to process fatberg sludge into more than 2600 gallons of biodiesel, creating "enough environmentally friendly energy to power 350 double-decker Routemaster buses for a day," according to Thames Water.

"Even though they are our worst enemy, and we want them dead completely, bringing fatbergs back to life when we do find them in the form of biodiesel is a far better solution for everyone," said company official Alex Saunders.

In addition to powering buses, the Whitechapel fatberg may also become an unlikely cultural touchstone: The Museum of London is working with Thames Water to acquire a chunk of the fatberg, according to BBC News. The waste exhibit will represent just one of the many challenges facing cities, and remind visitors that they are ultimately responsible for the fatberg phenomenon.

"When it comes to preventing fatbergs, everyone has a role to play," Rimmer says. "Yes, a lot of the fat comes from food outlets, but the wipes and sanitary items are far more likely to be from domestic properties. The sewers are not an abyss for household rubbish."

[h/t The Guardian]

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Kevin Burkett, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
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Restaurant Seeks Donations to Big Mouth Billy Bass Adoption Center
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Kevin Burkett, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

If you’ve ever wondered where all those Big Mouth Billy Bass singing fish that flew off shelves in the early 2000s have gone, take a look inside a Flying Fish restaurant. Each location of the southern seafood chain is home to its own Big Mouth Billy Bass Adoption Center, and they’re always accepting new additions to the collection.

According to Atlas Obscura, the gimmick was the idea of Dallas-based restaurateur Shannon Wynne. He opened his flagship Flying Fish in Little Rock, Arkansas in 2002 when the Big Mouth Billy Bass craze was just starting to wind down. As people grew tired of hearing the first 30 seconds of “Don’t Worry Be Happy” for the thousandth time, he offered them a place to bring their wall ornaments once the novelty wore off. The Flying Fish promises to “house, shelter, love, and protect” each Billy Bass they adopt. On top of that, donors get a free basket of catfish in exchange for the contribution and get their name on the wall. The Little Rock location now displays hundreds of the retired fish.

Today there are nine Flying Fish restaurants in Arkansas, Texas, and Tennessee, each with its own Adoption Center. There’s still space for new members of the family, so now may be the time to break out any Billy Basses that have been collecting dust in your attic since 2004.

And if you’re interested in stopping into Flying Fish for a bite to eat, don’t let the wall of rubber nostalgia scare you off: The batteries from all the fish have been removed, so you can enjoy your meal in peace.

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