CLOSE

The Weird Week in Review

Floor Collapses at Swedish Weight Watchers Clinic

Around twenty weight-loss program participants were gathered for a weigh-in when the floor collapsed at the Weight Watchers clinic in Växjö, Sweden. No one was injured, so they took the scales and moved to a corridor to continue checking to see how much weight each had lost. The cause of the floor's collapse is under investigation.

Chimpanzee Investor Outperforms Russian Bankers

A Russian circus chimpanzee named Lusha picked stocks that tripled in value over a year's time. Lusha was presented with cubes representing 30 different stock options and selected eight to invest money in by picking the cubes. Her chosen portfolio outperformed 94% of Russian investment funds.

'She bought successfully and her portfolio grew almost three times. She did better than almost the whole of the rest of the market,' said editor of Russian Finance magazine Oleg Anisimov.

He questioned why so-called financial whizz-kids are still receiving hefty perks for their expertise .

'Everyone is shocked. What are they getting their bonuses for? Maybe it's worth sending them all to the circus.'

Balkan Hippo on the Loose

A female hippopotamus named Nikica swam out of her enclosure at a private zoo in Plavnica, Montenegro when flood waters rose over the fence. The two-ton hippo has remained close to the zoo, but cannot be rounded up until the flood recedes. Officials with the nation's natural disasters commission called for the hippo to be shot before she can endanger human lives, but zoo owner Dragan Pejovic says Nikica is not dangerous. Nikica had stayed close to the zoo, where she is being fed bread and hay outside the zoo's restaurant.

Traffic Reporter Crashes

If anyone should know how slick the roads are, it's a local traffic reporter. Bob Herzog, who reports on traffic for WKRC in Cincinnati, slid on the ice and drove his car against a house around noon last Thursday. Herzog was not injured, and the house sustained only minor damage. The TV station immediately responded to capture video, which became the most popular local story of the day.

Cat Called for Jury Duty

Sal Esposito of East Boston has been summoned for jury duty. He just might be excused for being a cat, but so far he is expected to serve. Sal's owners Guy and Anna Esposito think his name may have been pulled from census records, where he was listed as a pet. They asked that Sal be disqualified from service, but the jury commissioner denied Sal's excuse. It the matter is not straightened out, the cat will have to show up at Suffolk Superior Court on March 23 for his tour of duty.

Woman Keeps Pet Snowball For 33 Years

Prena Thomas of Lakeland, Florida has an unusual "pet" she keeps in her freezer -a snowball! She made the snowball in 1977 and has kept it frozen safe in a bread bag ever since. Thomas occasionally takes it out to show to friends.

Thomas said that over the decades, she has never had a power outage that would destroy the cold hunk she says is precious to her.

"It's just like a little pet," she said.

Industrial Grinder Frees Man

An unnamed man in Southampton, England went to the local hospital to get his penis removed from a metal pipe. Medical personnel were unable to get the pipe off, as the man's penis had swollen, so they gave him an anesthetic and called Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service. Firefighters carefully cut the pipe with a 4.5 inch industrial metal grinder. Hospital staff and the patient all held their breath during the delicate procedure, but the patient was freed without additional injury. The man was left bruised and swollen, but otherwise all right.

Original image
Lafontaine Inc.
arrow
This Just In
Workers in Quebec City Discover Potentially Live Cannonball Dating Back to the French and Indian War
Original image
Lafontaine Inc.

Quebec City is famous today for its old-world European charm, but a construction crew recently discovered a living relic of the city’s military past: a potentially explosive cannonball, dating all the way back to the French and Indian War.

As Smithsonian reports, workers conducting a building excavation in Old Quebec—the city’s historic center—last week unearthed the 200-pound metal ball at the corner of Hamel and Couillard streets. They posed for pictures before contacting municipal authorities, and archaeologist Serge Rouleau was sent in to collect the goods.

Initially, nobody—including Rouleau—knew that the rusty military artifact still posed a threat to city residents. But after the archaeologist toted the cannonball home in a trailer, he noticed a rusty hole through the center of the shell. This made him fear that the projectile was still loaded with gunpowder.

Rouleau contacted the Canadian military, which deployed bomb disposal specialists to collect the cannonball. They moved it to a secure location, where it will reportedly be either neutralized or destroyed. If the cannonball itself can be saved as a historic relic, it might be displayed in a museum.

“With time, humidity got into its interior and reduced its potential for exploding, but there’s still a danger,” munitions technician Sylvain Trudel told the CBC. “Old munitions like this are hard to predict … You never know to what point the chemicals inside have degraded.”

Experts believe that the cannonball was fired at Quebec City from Lévis, across the St. Lawrence River, during the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. This battle occurred on September 13, 1759, during the French and Indian War, when invading British troops defeated French forces in a key battle just outside Quebec City. Ultimately, the clash helped lead to Quebec’s surrender.

[h/t Smithsonian]

Original image
iStock
arrow
Weird
Sponge-Like Debris Is Washing Up on France’s Beaches, and No One Knows What It Is
Original image
iStock

The shores of northern France are normally a picturesque spot for a barefoot stroll. That was until mid-July of this year, when walking down the beach without stepping on a spongy, yellow blob became impossible. As Gizmodo reports, foam-like objects washed up by the tide have covered close to 20 miles of French coastline over the course of a few days.

Unlike the boulder-sized "fatbergs" sometimes found on the beaches of Britain or the snowballs that crowded Siberian beaches last November, the spongy invasion has no known source. Experts have ruled out both organic sponges found in the ocean and polyurethane foam made by people. Jonathan Hénicart, president of Sea-Mer, a French nonprofit that fights beach pollution, told La Voix du Nord, "When you touch it, it's a bit greasy. It's brittle but not easily crumbled. It has no specific odor […] We do not know if it's toxic [so] it should not be touched."

The northern coast of France borders the English Channel, a waterway that welcomes hundreds of commercial ships every day. Strange cargo is constantly falling overboard and washing up on shore. Since the sponges resemble nothing found in nature or an artificial material that's commonly known, it's possible they're a combination of both. They could be a type of foam, for instance, made out of seawater and air bound together with a substance like soap or fertilizer.

Experts won't be able to verify what the mess is made of until the Cedre Association, an organization that studies hydrocarbon pollution, analyzes samples collected from the beach. That process should take about a week. In the meantime, French officials are working to clear the coastline while assuring the public the phenomenon doesn't pose a threat to their health. Nonetheless, beachgoers in northern France should think twice before kicking off their flip-flops.

[h/t Gizmodo]

SECTIONS

More from mental floss studios