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The Weird Week in Review

"Thelma Lou" is Victim of Robbery

Betty Lou Lynn is the actress who played Thelma Lou, deputy Barney Fife's girlfriend on the TV series The Andy Griffith Show. The 82-year-old retired actress moved from Los Angeles to Mt. Airy, North Carolina in 2007 in order to escape the crime of the big city. Mt. Airy is Andy Griffith's hometown, and was the model for Mayberry in the show. Last Sunday, Lynn became a crime victim after all when a man grabbed her wallet containing $130 in a shopping center. Police investigated and arrested Shirley Walter Guynn of Virginia. Guynn was lodged in the Surry County Jail. Only $43 of the money was recovered.

A Rare Fly-and-Run Accident

Ken and Carol Marcoux of Boulder, Colorado were parked on the side of a road to watch planes take off from the local airport. They saw a small plane approach, buffeted by the wind.

To the couple's horror, the plane -- whose pilot was later identified as Joe Curtis, 67, of Commerce City -- was pointed right at their car and approaching at what Marcoux estimated was 100 mph. Carol Marcoux screamed "Ken!" and her husband stepped on the gas, moving the Prius forward just enough to spare them a potentially fatal hit.

Carol Marcoux said she heard "a big sound of glass breaking" as the right wingtip of the plane slammed into the back of the car -- shattering the rear passenger window and denting the rear quarter panel -- just inches behind her head.

The plane stopped in a field. Pilot Joe Curtis jumped out, grabbed a mysterious bag, and ran away toward the airport! Curtis contacted the FAA about the accident hours later.

Roadside Assistance from an Elephant

Lawrence Bates, a zookeeper at West Midlands Safari Park in England, was set to leave an animal enclosure, but his jeep wouldn't start. As he began pushing, an elephant named Five gave the jeep a good shove to get it started again. For an encore, the elephant spray washed the vehicle with its trunk! Director Of Wildlife Bob Lawrence believes that Five may come in handy if a vehicle breakdown ever happens again at the park.

Runaway Boy Lived at Retail Store

A 15-year-old boy from Roseville, Michigan ran away from home and went to live at a Bed, Bath, & Beyond store. He managed to stay in the store four nights as employees locked up each day. The boy left the store in the morning and would return before closing time at night, hiding from employees so that they never knew he was there. When discovered, he was charged with larceny and truancy, and is undergoing a psychiatric examination at a juvenile facility.

Goose Picked the Right Garden

A Canada goose landed in a garden in Toms River, New Jersey with an illegal hunting arrow stuck through its chest. The garden happened to belong to retired veterinarian Bernard Levine. Dr. Levine captured the goose and removed the 26-inch arrow, including the six inches that was embedded in the bird's flesh. Levine also removed several air-rifle pellets from the goose. Then he took the goose to a bird rehabilitation center, where it recovered and was released on the grounds.

How NOT to Mail a Ferret

The package was en route from Appomattox, Virginia to Puerto Rico. At the post office in Lynchburg, Virginia, postal workers noticed the box was moving. They had to get a search warrant, and when they finally opened the package, postal inspectors found a ferret inside. Postal workers promptly named its Stamps.

Photos from the Postal Inspector's office show someone stuffed Stamps into a makeshift cage, doped him up on Benedryl, and tried to mail the ferret to the U.S. Territory.

The Postal Inspector handling the case, David McKinney, believes whoever tried to mail Stamps knew they were up to no good.  The return address on the package is an abandoned house, and the sender doesn't exist.

A local family with 15 other ferrets has adopted Stamps, who is healthy and estimated to be about two years old.

Driver Backs Through 6th Floor Garage Wall

An unnamed driver in Tulsa, Oklahoma was backing out of a parking space when his foot became stuck in the pedals. The car backed across the building and struck a wall, punching a hole through it. The back end of the car was sticking through to the outside of the 6th floor of the parking garage! Several cars on the ground below were damaged by falling bricks. The driver was not injured. With video.

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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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