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The Weird Week in Review

Water Lowered for Farting Turtles

The staff at the Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre in Norfolk, England learned their lesson last year, when farting turtles set off overflow alarms at another aquarium. The turtles get a Christmas treat of Brussels sprouts, which cause gas in turtles as they do in humans. When feeding sprouts to the turtles this year, the Norfolk aquarium has emptied out thousands of liters and lowered the water level to keep the expected bubbles from splashing water and setting off sensors.

Displays Supervisor Christine Pitcher said: ''Last time an aquariist had to dash to the centre in the middle of the night, so we're not going to take any chances.

''Sprouts are really healthy for green turtles.

''The high levels of calcium in them are great for their shells, the fibre is good for their digestion and they also contain lots of beneficial Vitamin C, sulphur and potassium.''

"Best Job in the World" Still No Picnic

Remember how envious you were of the lucky person who got the best job in the world? Ben Southall, who beat 35,000 job applicants to live in a luxury island home and blog about the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia was stung this week by an Irukandji jellyfish. The venomous jelly is tiny, but its sting can cause shooting pains, vomiting, and (in rare cases) death. Southall was taken to a hospital where he spent the night, but recovered enough to enjoy the final week of his six month assignment.

Police Impound Driverless Car

Police at a checkpoint in Chistchurch, New Zealand were astonished when a car approached them with no one at the wheel! The car stopped, however, and the story was sorted out. The driver had apparently jumped into the backseat when he saw the police. The female passenger then struggled to control the wheel. The "backseat driver" tested positive for alcohol and was arrested. As police were in the process of impounding the car, they found another man in the trunk! He was just along for the ride, but narrowly escaped being impounded with the vehicle for 28 days.

Man Impaled With Knife Orders Coffee

An unnamed man walked into a diner in Detroit and ordered coffee, even though he had a 5-inch knife stuck in his chest. The 52-year-old man said he had been mugged, then walked about a mile trying to get help. He called emergency services from a pay phone, then went to the diner for coffee while he waited for the ambulance. Restaurant employees and customers couldn't believe how calm he was. The victim was taken to a hospital and is expected to recover completely.

Otters Cause Plane Delays

Continental flight 1294 was supposed to take off from Houston at 7:55PM, but was delayed due to otter chaos. A group of caged sea otters got loose in the cargo hold and were tearing their way into some luggage. Passengers saw the otters being taken off the plane in a box, but one otter escaped again and took off across the tarmac. Airline employees chased the otter for 45 minutes before capturing it once again. The plane finally took off at 9:15PM.

Man Charged with Being Drunk on a Mobility Scooter

A CCTV camera caught 37-year-old Nigel Lee Drummond operating his mobility scooter while intoxicated in Darlington, England. Police found his alcohol level was three times the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle. He was charged under an old law against "being drunk in charge of a carriage", since modern drunk driving laws do not apply to scooters. Drummond paid a fine and now helps the police's awareness campaign against using a mobility scooter while drunk.

China's Last Tiger Eaten?

There's no way of knowing whether the tiger that made a meal for five men was really the last Indochinese tiger in China, but no one has seen any others in years. Kang Wannian of Yunnan Province in China claims he killed the tiger in self-defense last February. Then he ate it.

A local court sentenced Kang to 10 years for killing a rare animal plus two years for illegal possession of firearms, the local web portal Yunnan.cn reported. Prosecutors said Kang did not need a gun to gather clams.

Four villagers who helped Kang dismember the tiger and ate its meat were also sentenced from three to four years for "covering up and concealing criminal gains", the report said.

The Indochinese tiger is on the brink of extinction, with only small populations left in Laos, Vietnam. Cambodia, Thailand, and Burma.

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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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