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The Weird Week in Review

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For some reason, this week's weird news roundup features many lost and found items.

Fisherman Finds Lost Ring After 21 Years

An unnamed fisherman landed an 8-pound bass on Lake Sam Rayburn in Texas and found a class ring inside it. An internet search led him to the owner of the ring, 41-year-old Joe Richardson, who was surprised to ever see the ring again. He had lost it while fishing only two weeks after his graduation -in 1987! His mother was upset at the time because the ring cost $200. She should be happy with this news.

Newborn Found in Manger

Father Thomas Rein of the Catholic church of St Peter and St Paul in Poettmes, Germany went to the church sanctuary for midday prayers last week and heard a baby crying. The newborn boy had been laid in the manger of the church's nativity scene.
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'We prepared the crib in the pre-Christmas period so children could lay fresh straw in it and ponder on the meaning of Jesus and Lo! There really was a Jesus-child in it!' he said excitedly.
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Emergency services took the baby to a pediatric clinic, where the nurses called him Peter after the name of the church. The baby is doing well, and his 38-year-old Romanian mother has been found. She had left him in the church because of a "difficult personal situation."

2,700-year-old Pot Stash Discovered

A 2,700-year-old grave unearthed in the Gobi Desert near Turpan, China revealed the world's oldest marijuana stash! The grave belonged to a blue-eyed Caucasian man buried with a number of valuable items. DNA tests reveal that two pounds of what was assumed to be coriander is actually marijuana. Characteristics of the plant indicate it was grown and harvested for its psychoactive properties. It has lost its potency over the years.

Snake Survives Week in Car Fan

150fansnake.jpgNoel Padgham of Yarrawonga, Australia wondered what was making that awful noise in her car. After a week of hearing it, she took the car for a check. Mechanics suspected something was stuck in the air conditioning fan. Air-conditioning mechanic Kit Carson found a meter-long carpet python in the fan case.
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"He'd been spinning around like a bloody washing machine, but the end of his tail must have been hanging out - it was all feathered and ratty."
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The snake was taken to an animal hospital, where five centimeters of his tail had to be amputated, but he is expected to make an otherwise full recovery.

Woman Swept to Sea During Proposal

45-year-old Scott Napper met 22-year-old Leafil Alforque on the internet in 2005. On Saturday, three days into her visit from the Philippines to his hometown in Oregon, he took her to Proposal Rock near Neskowin Beach in order to give her a ring and ask her to marry him. As they approached the rock, a wave knocked the 93-pound woman down and swept her into the ocean. As Napper searched frantically, a bystander called rescue workers, who were on the scene within minutes. They looked for Alforque for two days before calling off the search, but her family hopes the body can still be found. Police do not suspect foul play.

World's Oldest Living Animal Discovered

125oldtortoise.jpgA picture of a tortoise taken in 1900 during the Boer War was recently sold at auction. The buyer did some investigating and found the tortoise is still alive and living on the island of St. Helena in the south Atlantic. He belongs to the government of the British territory. Jonathon was a mature tortoise of about 50 years when he was brought to the island in 1882, which makes him around 176 years old! He lives on the governor's plantation and is still active enough to mate with three female tortoises regularly. Jonathon is believed to be blind in one eye, but that hasn't slowed him down.

130,000 Misplaced Inflatable Breasts

The Australian men's magazine Ralph planned a promotion with their January issue: they were going to insert inflatable breasts as a gift. That's not likely to happen now, because the shipment of 130,000 inflatables was lost at sea. Literally lost, since no one seems to know what happened. They were there when the ship left Beijing, but not when it arrived in Sydney. The lost novelties were worth around $200,000, a big blow for the magazine whose parent company is currently $4 billion in debt.

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science
2017 Ig Nobel Prizes Celebrate Research on How Crocodiles Affect Gambling and Other Odd Studies
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iStock

The Ig Nobel Prizes are back, and this year's winning selection of odd scientific research topics is as weird as ever. As The Guardian reports, the 27th annual awards of highly improbable studies "that first make people laugh, then make them think" were handed out on September 14 at a theater at Harvard University. The awards, sponsored by the Annals of Improbable Research, honor research you never would have thought someone would take the time (or the funding) to study, much less would be published.

The 2017 highlights include a study on whether cats can be both a liquid and a solid at the same time and one on whether the presence of a live crocodile can impact the behavior of gamblers. Below, we present the winners from each of the 10 categories, each weirder and more delightful than the last.

PHYSICS

"For using fluid dynamics to probe the question 'Can a Cat Be Both a Solid and a Liquid?'"

Winner: Marc-Antoine Fardin

Study: "On the Rheology of Cats," published in Rheology Bulletin [PDF]

ECONOMICS

"For their experiments to see how contact with a live crocodile affects a person's willingness to gamble."

Winners: Matthew J. Rockloff and Nancy Greer

Study: "Never Smile at a Crocodile: Betting on Electronic Gaming Machines is Intensified by Reptile-Induced Arousal," published in the Journal of Gambling Studies

ANATOMY

"For his medical research study 'Why Do Old Men Have Big Ears?'"

Winner: James A. Heathcote

Study: "Why Do Old Men Have Big Ears?" published in the BMJ

BIOLOGY

"For their discovery of a female penis, and a male vagina, in a cave insect."

Winners: Kazunori Yoshizawa, Rodrigo L. Ferreira, Yoshitaka Kamimura, and Charles Lienhard (who delivered their acceptance speech via video from inside a cave)

Study: "Female Penis, Male Vagina and Their Correlated Evolution in a Cave Insect," published in Current Biology

FLUID DYNAMICS

"For studying the dynamics of liquid-sloshing, to learn what happens when a person walks backwards while carrying a cup of coffee."

Winner: Jiwon Han

Study: "A Study on the Coffee Spilling Phenomena in the Low Impulse Regime," published in Achievements in the Life Sciences

NUTRITION

"For the first scientific report of human blood in the diet of the hairy-legged vampire bat."

Winners: Fernanda Ito, Enrico Bernard, and Rodrigo A. Torres

Study: "What is for Dinner? First Report of Human Blood in the Diet of the Hairy-Legged Vampire Bat Diphylla ecaudata," published in Acta Chiropterologica

MEDICINE

"For using advanced brain-scanning technology to measure the extent to which some people are disgusted by cheese."

Winners: Jean-Pierre Royet, David Meunier, Nicolas Torquet, Anne-Marie Mouly, and Tao Jiang

Study: "The Neural Bases of Disgust for Cheese: An fMRI Study," published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

COGNITION

"For demonstrating that many identical twins cannot tell themselves apart visually."

Winners: Matteo Martini, Ilaria Bufalari, Maria Antonietta Stazi, and Salvatore Maria Aglioti

Study: "Is That Me or My Twin? Lack of Self-Face Recognition Advantage in Identical Twins," published in PLOS One

OBSTETRICS

"For showing that a developing human fetus responds more strongly to music that is played electromechanically inside the mother's vagina than to music that is played electromechanically on the mother's belly."

Winners: Marisa López-Teijón, Álex García-Faura, Alberto Prats-Galino, and Luis Pallarés Aniorte

Study: "Fetal Facial Expression in Response to Intravaginal Music Emission,” published in Ultrasound

PEACE PRIZE

"For demonstrating that regular playing of a didgeridoo is an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea and snoring."

Winners: Milo A. Puhan, Alex Suarez, Christian Lo Cascio, Alfred Zahn, Markus Heitz, and Otto Braendli

Study: "Didgeridoo Playing as Alternative Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome: Randomised Controlled Trial," published by the BMJ

Congratulations, all.

[h/t The Guardian]

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Courtesy of Julia Donovan
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Art
Meet the 12-Year-Old Boy Who Makes Surreal-Looking Dolls Using Found Materials
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Courtesy of Julia Donovan

Some dolls are cutesy, but not Callum Donovan-Grujicich's fantastical creations. As Bored Panda reports, the 12-year-old artist from Whitby, Ontario crafts tiny, surreal-looking figures, some of which have won art show prizes and been featured in national magazines and on TV.

Donovan-Grujicich first began making art dolls around two years ago, when he was 10. The bodies and faces of the dolls are made from clay, and the limbs from stuffed cloth, but the young artist often uses found objects—like bits of old metal—to create facial features or accessories like hats and jewelry.

"Found objects are a big part of his process and often, he says, the inspiration for the whole sculpture comes from some rusted piece of metal," Donovan-Grujicich's mother, Julia Donovan, tells Mental Floss. "He loves to collect old-looking scrap metal and anything else that he finds interesting."

Aside from art classes at a local gallery, Donovan-Grujicich is entirely self-trained. Someday, he hopes to earn a master of fine arts degree to teach and make art, but for now, the preteen continues to hone his unique aesthetic by making dolls and creating stop-motion animation and live-action films with his brother.

Some people might view Donovan-Grujicich's figures as grim—especially for a kid—but his mother thinks they simply provide a different perspective on beauty.

"A lot has been made of the darkness in Callum's work, which I think has been completely overblown and misunderstood," Donovan says. "Callum is sometimes serious, but not a dark person at all."

You can check out some of Donovan-Grujicich's work below, or visit his website for more information.

A sculpture made from found materials and other objects by 12-year-old Callum Donovan Grujicich.
Courtesy of Julia Donovan

A sculpture made from found materials and other objects by 12-year-old Callum Donovan Grujicich.
Courtesy of Julia Donovan

A sculpture made from found materials and other objects by 12-year-old Callum Donovan Grujicich.
Courtesy of Julia Donovan

A sculpture made from found materials and other objects by 12-year-old Callum Donovan Grujicich.
Courtesy of Julia Donovan

 A sculpture made from found materials and other objects by 12-year-old Callum Donovan Grujicich.
Courtesy of Julia Donovan

 A sculpture made from found materials and other objects by 12-year-old Callum Donovan Grujicich.
Courtesy of Julia Donovan

A sculpture made from found materials and other objects by 12-year-old Callum Donovan Grujicich.
Courtesy of Julia Donovan

A sculpture made from found materials and other objects by 12-year-old Callum Donovan Grujicich.
Courtesy of Julia Donovan

A sculpture made from found materials and other objects by 12-year-old Callum Donovan Grujicich.
Courtesy of Julia Donovan

A sculpture made from found materials and other objects by 12-year-old Callum Donovan Grujicich.
Courtesy of Julia Donovan

A sculpture made from found materials and other objects by 12-year-old Callum Donovan Grujicich.
Courtesy of Julia Donovan

 A sculpture made from found materials and other objects by 12-year-old Callum Donovan Grujicich.
Courtesy of Julia Donovan

 A sculpture made from found materials and other objects by 12-year-old Callum Donovan Grujicich.
Courtesy of Julia Donovan

[h/t Bored Panda]

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