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The Weird Week in Review

Doctors Remove 50 Pound Tumor

Surgeons at a hospital near Buenos Aires, Argentina removed what may be the world's largest malignant tumor ever successfully excised. An unidentified 54-year-old woman had a tumor weighing over 50 pounds removed from her uterus after suffering constant pain for a year and a half. Doctors said tumors of this type usually weigh between four and seven pounds. The woman left the hospital weighing 67 pounds less than when she entered. Her uterus and ovaries were removed along with the tumor.

Shoplifting Suspects Nabbed During Police Event

If you are going to help yourself to a five-finger discount, the worst of all possible times to do it would be during a "Shop with a Cop" event. But that's exactly what happened Wednesday in Clackamas, Oregon. Portland police were at Fred Meyer to help children shop for back-to-school items when security personnel caught 20-year-old Shane Alexander and 30-year-old Jason Vantress allegedly filling their backpacks with store merchandise. Police assisted store security in arresting the two. They apparently knew the police shopping spree was in progress, but thought no one would notice anyway. Otherwise, the back-to-school event was a big success.

Hitler Could Have Had African or Jewish Ancestors

DNA samples taken from 39 of Adolf Hitler's relatives lead researchers to believe the Fuhrer may have descended from a group that he hated.

A chromosome called Haplogroup E1b1b1 which showed up in their samples is rare in Western Europe and is most commonly found in the Berbers of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, as well as among Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews.

Hitler's obscure family history made him wonder about his lineage during his lifetime.

Beehive-eating Dog Wins Award

Last year Ellie the Labrador ate a beehive containing dead bees and pesticides. This year, she won an award. For bravery? For her remarkable stomach? No, this award went to the pet with the most unusual pet health insurance claim. She beat a border collie that ran through a window and a terrier that bit a chainsaw. All three dogs made a complete recovery before the award was bestowed. Ellie's owners say there is nothing the dog won't eat.

Misidentified Patient Left Before Cancer Surgery

Joseph Wheeler is suing a hospital in Upper Marlboro, Maryland and two security guards who "beat him up" as he tried to leave the hospital.

Wheeler was hospitalized after a car wreck in June. He woke the next day to find he was scheduled for cancer surgery! He was wearing a patient identification bracelet with the wrong name, wrong birth date, and possibly the wrong sex. Wheeler tried to leave the hospital and was confronted by security guards who threatened and manhandled him. The guards took him to a security office where a supervisor admitted the identification bracelet was wrong, but didn't want Wheeler to leave wearing the bracelet. Wheeler spent three days in another hospital recovering from injuries.

Vikings Raid LA Restaurants

A group called the "Norse Hollywood Dining Vikings" dress up as Viking pillagers and gather at Los Angeles restaurants to eat, drink, and be merry. Leader Tony Swatton says the Vikings, wearing chain mail and carrying weapons, go out together about once a month for "extreme dining".

Swatton says it's great fun watching the crowd's reaction to a horde of costumed vikings showing up, but the reaction they will get in Oktoberfest will probably pale in comparison to the reaction they got from IKEA employees during a recent visit.

"We got a group of nine vikings to go there for the Swedish meatballs," he said. "At one point, the security guards came up and asked, 'What are you doing here?' We said, 'We're from the home office in Sweden.' They didn't know how to react."

Woman Puts Cat in Garbage Bin

Lola the cat was trapped in a garbage bin for 15 hours before her owners in Coventry, England found her. Darryl Mann and his wife Stephanie Andrews-Mann reviewed the recording from their security camera and found out what happened. A woman passing by their home stopped to pet the cat, looked around, and dropped her into a garbage bin and closed the lid! The video was posted online and viewed by animal lovers around the world. The woman was later identified as 45-year-old Mary Bale, who is under police protection due to public outrage over the incident. Bale apologized for her actions, but also said she didn't know what all the fuss was about. The RSPCA is investigating the incident.

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London's Sewer-Blocking 'Fatbergs' Are Going to Be Turned Into Biodiesel
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UK officials can't exactly transform the Whitechapel fatberg—a 143-ton trash mass lurking in London's sewer system—into treasure, but they can turn it into fuel. As The Guardian reports, Scottish biodiesel producer Argent Energy plans to convert parts of the noxious blockage into an environmentally friendly energy source.

For the uninitiated, fatbergs (which get their names from a portmanteau of "fat" and "icebergs") are giant, solid blobs of congealed fat, oil, grease, wet wipes, and sanitary products. They form in sewers when people dump cooking byproducts down drains, or in oceans when ships release waste products like palm oil. These sticky substances combine with floating litter to form what could be described as garbage heaps on steroids.

Fatbergs wash up on beaches, muck up city infrastructures, and are sometimes even removed with cranes from sewer pipes as a last resort. Few—if any—fatbergs, however, appear to be as potentially lethal as the one workers recently discovered under London's Whitechapel neighborhood. In a news release, private utility company Thames Water described the toxic mass as "one of the largest ever found, with the extreme rock-solid mass of wet wipes, nappies, fat and oil weighing the same as 11 double-decker buses."

Ick factor aside, the Whitechapel fatberg currently blocks a stretch of Victorian sewer more than twice the length of two fields from London's Wembley Stadium. Engineers with jet hoses are working seven days a week to break up the fatberg before sucking it out with tankers. But even with high-pressure streams, the job is still akin to "trying to break up concrete," says Matt Rimmer, Thames Water's head of waste networks.

The project is slated to end in October. But instead of simply disposing of the Whitechapel fatberg, officials want to make use of it. Argent Energy—which has in the past relied on sources like rancid mayonnaise and old soup stock—plans to process fatberg sludge into more than 2600 gallons of biodiesel, creating "enough environmentally friendly energy to power 350 double-decker Routemaster buses for a day," according to Thames Water.

"Even though they are our worst enemy, and we want them dead completely, bringing fatbergs back to life when we do find them in the form of biodiesel is a far better solution for everyone," said company official Alex Saunders.

In addition to powering buses, the Whitechapel fatberg may also become an unlikely cultural touchstone: The Museum of London is working with Thames Water to acquire a chunk of the fatberg, according to BBC News. The waste exhibit will represent just one of the many challenges facing cities, and remind visitors that they are ultimately responsible for the fatberg phenomenon.

"When it comes to preventing fatbergs, everyone has a role to play," Rimmer says. "Yes, a lot of the fat comes from food outlets, but the wipes and sanitary items are far more likely to be from domestic properties. The sewers are not an abyss for household rubbish."

[h/t The Guardian]

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Restaurant Seeks Donations to Big Mouth Billy Bass Adoption Center
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Kevin Burkett, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

If you’ve ever wondered where all those Big Mouth Billy Bass singing fish that flew off shelves in the early 2000s have gone, take a look inside a Flying Fish restaurant. Each location of the southern seafood chain is home to its own Big Mouth Billy Bass Adoption Center, and they’re always accepting new additions to the collection.

According to Atlas Obscura, the gimmick was the idea of Dallas-based restaurateur Shannon Wynne. He opened his flagship Flying Fish in Little Rock, Arkansas in 2002 when the Big Mouth Billy Bass craze was just starting to wind down. As people grew tired of hearing the first 30 seconds of “Don’t Worry Be Happy” for the thousandth time, he offered them a place to bring their wall ornaments once the novelty wore off. The Flying Fish promises to “house, shelter, love, and protect” each Billy Bass they adopt. On top of that, donors get a free basket of catfish in exchange for the contribution and get their name on the wall. The Little Rock location now displays hundreds of the retired fish.

Today there are nine Flying Fish restaurants in Arkansas, Texas, and Tennessee, each with its own Adoption Center. There’s still space for new members of the family, so now may be the time to break out any Billy Basses that have been collecting dust in your attic since 2004.

And if you’re interested in stopping into Flying Fish for a bite to eat, don’t let the wall of rubber nostalgia scare you off: The batteries from all the fish have been removed, so you can enjoy your meal in peace.

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