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The Weird Week in Review

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Man in  La-Z-Boy Charged with Drunk Driving

61-year-old Dennis LeRoy Anderson of Proctor, Minnesota pleaded guilty to leaving a bar and crashing his vehicle. The vehicle was a converted La-Z-Boy recliner with a lawn mower engine, decked out with cup holders and a stereo, which he drove into another vehicle in the parking lot. Anderson's blood-alcohol level was measured at .29 percent at the time of the crash. Anderson's lisence had been revoked due to an earlier drunk driving charge. The La-Z-Boy was impounded and is scheduled to to sold at auction.

Cat in a Freezer for 19 Hours

A cat named Krillen survived 19 hours in a freezer in Te Kuiti, New Zealand. Sarah Crombie heard a faint meow when she approached the freezer, which hadn't been used since her partner Sid Sisson shut it the night before. He didn't realize that Krillen had jumped inside. The freezer was set to -18C, the coldest possible setting. Krillen attempted to jump out but was so cold he just rolled over into the bottom of the chest freezer. Sisson put the cold kitty under his shirt and climbed into bed. It took three hours under the covers for the cat to stop shaking. Krillen appears to have recovered without frostbite.

Coyote Struck, Travels to California

Daniel East and his sister, Tevyn were traveling on Interstate 80 near the Utah-Nevada border when a coyote ran in front of the car. They hit the animal, but kept driving as they assumed it was dead. Eight to ten hours later, they stopped in California and noticed the coyote was stuck in the car's grill! They called the Wildlife Rehabilitation and Release office in Penn Valley, which sent a volunteer.

Jan Crowell, a rehabilitation center volunteer, said she brought a catch pole, an animal carrier, gloves and blankets.

When she arrived, East and his sister were taking the screws out of the car's grill in an effort to get the animal out. Once the grill was pulled forward, the coyote poked its head out.

"No broken bones, no internal injuries -- nothing," Daniel East said, adding that the animal only had a few scrapes on one of his paws.

The coyote was kept at the center until it escaped on its own.

Leech Convicts Australian Robber

150leechPolice found a leech at the scene of a robbery in Tasmania eight years ago. They took a sample of the blood the leech had consumed and kept it for evidence. In 2008, Peter Alec Cannon was arrested on an unrelated drug charge. The DNA from his blood matched the blood from the leech! Cannon would have gotten away with the crime if he had not been arrested for the later crime and voluntarily given a DNA sample. A police spokesman said this kind of case validates the use of DNA technology for crime fighting.

XXXXXXX Vanity Plate Spells Trouble

Scottie Roberson went by the name Racer X when he built custom cars in Alabama. So when he got license plates for his everyday car, he bought vanity plates with seven Xs. That led to $19,000 in traffic tickets. It turns out that when Birmingham police ticket a car that has no license plates, they enter seven Xs for the plate number. The tickets have been racking up for Roberson for over a year. A city spokeswoman said officials are aware of the problem, and that Roberson will not be charged. She also said police are looking into changing the system to keep him from receiving more tickets.

Car Thief is a Real Bear

150_bearcarA couple on the outskirts of Florissant, Colorado hard their car alarm go off and called police, after seeing someone moving in the car. Sheriff's deputies instead found a bear in the car! The animal had opened the car door, but once inside, the door shut and it couldn't get out. When officers opened the vehicle door, the bear left in a hurry. There was extensive damage to the car's interior. Mikel Baker of the local sheriff's office said that bears are very hungry in the fall as they prepare for hibernation and will enter any vehicle that smells of food.

Moscow Mayor Promises No Snow

Yury Luzhkov, the mayor of Moscow, has hatched a plan to keep the city snow-free this winter. Usually snow is a problem from November to March. Luzhkov proposes to pay the Russian Air Force to seed clouds before they bring snowstorms to Moscow. That plan is used already to keep rain away from Victory Day and City Day celebrations. The cost of the scheme will be around $6 million, but that's half of what the city usually pays to clear snow from the streets in winter. The Moscow City Council has already approved the idea.

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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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