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The Weird Week in Review

Burglar Holds Garage Sale at Victim's House

On June 17th, Greg Kemmis of Sarnia, Ontario was out of town when his home was broken into and robbed. According to witnesses, the thief stole tools and equipment, put price tags on them, and sold them at a yard sale in front of the burglarized house! He put up a sign that said "Tools for sale" and stayed with the "merchandise" from 9:30AM until 4PM. One shopper bought a $3,000 machine for $110, and then turned it in to police when he realized it was stolen property. Last week, police arrested 26-year-old Kail Russell Stokes in connection with the theft.

Swedish Woman had One Foot in the Grave

In a scene that we've seen in horror movies, a graveyard in Sweden tried to suck a woman under. The unnamed woman was tending to family graves at Brågarps church in Skåne, Sweden on Wednesday when her leg sank into the earth softened by recent rains. Fortunately, there were other people around, and emergency services were summoned to extract the frightened but uninjured woman. The parish says the grave will be repaired.

Freezing Man's Skull Saves his Life

After 25-year-old Kyle Johnson suffered a horrific longboard accident, his brain swelled so badly that doctors in Ogden, Utah had to remove parts of his skull in a procedure called a bilateral decompressive craniectomy to relieve the pressure.

"Most neurosurgeons do a decompressive craniectomy on one side of the head, where the trauma was," Welling said. "In this case, Kyle had such a global brain injury that we needed to take both sides of his head off, and you just leave a small strip of bone right down the middle."

After Welling and his team removed Johnson's fractured skull, they put it back together with micro-screws and plates. And then "“ they put it in the freezer.

Three weeks later, when the swelling went down, they thawed the skull fragments and replaced them in Johnson's head. He regained consciousness after another week and is recovering.

Royal Descendant Sues Russia for Kremlin

Valery Kubarev can trace his lineage back to the Rurik dynasty, the royal family who ruled Russia during the time the Kremlin building was erected. Kubarev founded an organization called the Princes' Foundation for the Advancement of Religious and National Consensus. The foundation is suing the government for the use of the Kremlin in perpetuity, claiming ownership of the building. The lawsuit sounds like long shot, but the Russian government is currently returning buildings that the Soviet government took from churches, so the courts have agreed to hear the case. In another twist, there is no existing documentation on who actually owns the Kremlin, so Kubarev's claim may have merit.

Wing Falls Off Plane; Pilot Walks Away

A stunt pilot survived a bizarre accident during an air show in Santa Fe, Argentina last weekend. Dino Moline flew a RANS S-9 Chaos plane into a maneuver when one of the wings broke off! The 22-year-old Moline managed to deploy the plane's ballistic parachute, which slowed its plunge to the ground. The pilot burned his foot, but was otherwise fine. The incident was captured on video.

Bears Guard Canadian Pot Farm

Police raided a farm in Christina Lake, British Columbia to find that black bears had been enlisted to scare intruders away from the premises. Two people were arrested for running a marijuana plantation. The ten or so bears did not pose a threat to police.

"They were tame, they just sat around watching. At one point one of the bears climbed onto the hood of a police car, sat there for a bit and then jumped off," said Royal Canadian Mounted Police sergeant Fred Mansveld.

In Canada, feeding bears is illegal as it leads to bears associating food with humans and increases the likelihood of bears coming into towns and cities to look for food.

One has to wonder whether the bears were guarding the marijuana or helping themselves to it. See a video news report.

Paint Huffer Guy Arrested Again

Patrick Tribett of Wheeling was arrested Wednesday night in New Martinsville, West Virginia for huffing paint -again. Tribett is internet famous for his 2005 mugshot showing gold spray paint on his face. This is at least the ninth time Tribett has been arrested for inhaling chemicals. The news article contains a slide show of seven mugshots, most featuring evidence on Tribetts' face.

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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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