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The Weird Week in Review

Woman Tries to Steal Puppy at Gunpoint

24-year-old Ashleigh Johnson of Kellyville, Australia placed an ad to sell a Chihuahua puppy. An unnamed 26-year-old woman who responded to the ad went to Johnson's home and met the puppy named Diego. While the woman was holding the dog, she pulled a gun and said she "needed love" and was taking the puppy without paying the $1500 price. Johnson's father, a security guard, grabbed the gun. Johnson's brother, a police officer, helped to restrain the woman until she could be arrested. Diego was not harmed and is still for sale.

Rescuing a Parrot with a Cherry Picker

A 13-year-old macaw flew 50 feet up into a tree and was too scared to fly down. Emma Hooper of Botley, England believes that Cleo flew away because she was distressed at moving to a new home. When the RSPCA refused to come, Hooper called to rent a hydraulic lift, but was told it wouldn't be available until the next day. Hooper stayed by the tree all night long. The cherry picker arrived at 7:30 AM, and Cleo was finally brought down. She had spent 16 hours on the same branch.

"Hitler's Skull" Belongs to Woman

Recent DNA tests show that the skull purported to belong to Adolf Hitler is not his. Hitler committed suicide in 1945. His remains were burned the next day by the Russian Army. One year later, bone fragments were recovered from the site and kept by Russian authorities until they were cremated in 1970, with the exception of a piece of the skull, which showed a bullet hole. American scientists who examined the bone found it to be suspiciously small. DNA tests revealed that the skull is from a woman. It is not believed to belong to Hitler's wife Eva Braun because there was no evidence that she was shot.

Fat Skunk Put on Diet

A skunk named Mr. Bumble was turned over to the RSPCA when his owners could no longer handle him. The skunk weighed in at 14 pounds! It is thought that his love, described as an "addiction," to bacon sandwiches is to blame. Mr. Bumble is now at Tropiquaria Animal Park in Watchet, England and is on a vegetarian diet. The regimen includes long walks as well.

It Pays to Dress Nicely for Court

Robbery suspect Ronald Tackman walked out of a Manhattan courthouse before his hearing Wednesday morning. He hasn't been seen since. He had left a holding area and went behind a courtroom. A security guard saw him in his business suit and let him out, assuming he was a lawyer. The 54-year-old Tackman had escaped jail once before, in the 1980s.

Dwarf Village is a Theme Park

120 little people live in a village near Kunming, China. The village was set up to protect the dwarves from discrimination. You can't live there if you are over 4 feet 3 inches tall.
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Now the group has turned itself into a tourist attraction by building mushroom houses and living and dressing like fairy tale characters.
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"As small people we are used to being pushed around and exploited by big people. But here there aren't any big people and everything we do is for us," said spokesman Fu Tien.

Sports Announcer's Goofy Prediction Comes True

Seattle Mariners color commentator Mike Blowers was asked to make a prediction about the Mariners matchup with the Toronto Blue Jays. Blowers got very specific and said that 1. rookie Matt Tuiasosopo would hit his first home run since joining the majors, 2. the hit would come in a 3-1 count, 3. off a fastball 4. in the second inning, and that 5. the ball would land in the second deck. Four of the five predictions came true! The ball barely missed the second deck.

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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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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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