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The Weird Week in Review

The Town that Loves Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin has a fan club in Adipur, Gujarat, India called the Charlie Circle. A couple hundred local people are members, and have a celebration every year on April 16th, Chaplin's birthday. For this year's party, more than 100 people attended dressed as Chaplin's character the Little Tramp. The man behind the town's fascination with the actor is film buff Ashok Aswani, who became a Chaplin fan in 1966 when he watch The Gold Rush four times in one day. He started the Charlie Circle in 1973. The annual celebration includes a street party and procession and the showing of a Chaplin film.

Bear's Head Stuck in Can

It was a scene reminiscent of Winnie the Pooh and the honey pot. A young bear was spotted in Reading, Vermont wandering about, bumping into things, with his head stuck in an old-fashioned milk can. State biologist Forrest Hammond freed the bear with help from police and firefighters.

Hammond had to tranquilize the bear and first tried to soap up his head and pull the milk jug off, but that didn't work and he eventually had to use metal shears to get it loose. "He just did an excellent job of getting out there," Hall said. "It's important, too, that nobody got hurt," he said, adding that the bear was released into the wild.

Officials think the can had been used as a bird feeder because there was birdseed in the bottom, which may have attracted the young bear.

Fugitive Hides in Manure Pool

The Noble County Special Operations Group, the local SWAT team in Noble County, Indiana came to the farm where 52-year old Thomas Hovis Jr. was living to serve warrants from Steuben County. Hovis fled to the barn, where he pulled up the grate covering a manure pit and jumped in. Officers did not find him for about an hour, when they saw his head sticking out of the frigid feces. Deputies from the two counties immediately began discussing who would have the dubious honor of transporting Hovis in their vehicle. As Hovis showed signs of hypothermia, he was instead taken to a local hospital by ambulance.

Shark Bits Surfboard; Surfer Rides Shark

Jim Rawlinson was riding the waves at Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii on Monday when a tiger shark attacked his surfboard. The 68-year-old surfer slid backwards and found himself riding on the back of the shark! He estimates that he was on the shark for ten to 15 seconds, then took the surf leash off his leg and slid off the rear of the fish. From the bite marks left on the surfboard, Rawlinson and marine biologist Terry Lilley, who was shooting video underwater nearby, estimate the shark was around 14 feet long.

Burglars Break Into Prison

A minimum security prison in Hoorn, the Netherlands was the site of a break-in, not once but twice in the last six weeks. The facility is for inmates about to finish their sentences, and many have weekend passes. While the inmates were gone, thieves came in and stole their TV sets. Authorities have not yet determined how the thieves got inside the prison, and there have been no arrests.

New Mexico Cat Gets Ride Home from Chicago

Robin Alex, of Albuquerque, New Mexico went to New Orleans to built a Habitat for Humanity house. When she returned, her cat Charles was gone. That was eight months ago.

Then earlier this week, Alex received a call telling her Chicago Animal Care and Control had picked up her wandering cat as a stray. Staffers reached out to Alex after finding that Charles had a tracking microchip embedded between his shoulder blades, said the agency's executive director, Cherie Travis.

But Alex said she could not afford the round-trip ticket to Chicago to bring Charles home, so she was afraid he might be euthanized.

Enter fellow Albuquerque resident Lucien Sims. Sims said he has a tabby cat who strongly resembles Charles, and was moved when his mother sent him an online story about Alex and her pet.

Sims volunteered to pick Charles up and bring him back to New Mexico, as he was traveling to a wedding in Chicago. American Airlines did not charge a travel fee for the cat, and another company donated a pet carrier. Alex is happy to have her cat back. Still, no one knows how Charles came to be 1300 miles away in Chicago.

Stranded Couple Take Vows Via Skype

Sean Murtagh of London, England was scheduled to marry Natalie Mead of Brisbane, Australia surrounded by family and friends in England. They had a civil ceremony in Australia already, and were on the way to the big British ceremony when they were stranded at an airport in Dubai due to the volcanic ash cloud that canceled many European flights. Instead of canceling the wedding, they were married via Skype! Assembled wedding attendees in Ealing, west London, watched the couple take their vows aided by a laptop and a webcam at the airport. The airport donated flowers and a wedding cake for the celebration.

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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
Original image
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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