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The Weird Week in Review

Finally: A Use for Zucchini

An unnamed woman rose to the occasion when her dog was attacked by a bear near Missoula, Montana. The 200-pound bear came up on the back porch of her home. When she tried to separate the animals, the bear bit her in the leg. The woman grabbed the first object she could reach, which was a large zucchini, and struck the bear with it. The bear ran off. The woman did not require medical attention.

US Millionaire Leaves Estate to Wombat Awareness Organisation

An unnamed millionaire traveled to Australia two years ago and visited the people who run the Wombat Awareness Organisation in Mannum, Australia. He was impressed by the efforts the group put into their work. Upon his death, the wealthy American bequeathed the project eight million dollars! Director Brigitte Stevens was in shock when she was notified. She plans to use the money to buy properties and to open a 24-hour veterinary advice phone line. However, the money will be coming in gradually at a million a year for eight years, with the first installment due next year.

Say Hello To "Hostgator Dotcom"

Alaskan prizefighter Billy Gibby is trying for a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as the man with the most corporate tattoos on his body. He sells the space on his skin as corporate sponsorships for his boxing career. But Gibby is no longer Gibby, as his latest sponsorship deal had him legally change his name to Hostgator Dotcom. He already has a tattoo from the company, and now his driver's license reads "Hostgator Mel Dotcom". Dotcom uses the proceeds from his fights to support the cause of organ donation.

Dog Swallows Shot Glass

A woman in Palmerston, Australia went on vacation and left her dog in the care of her housemates. The remaining residents threw a party in which they celebrated with shots of Jagermeister. Billy the German pointer apparently helped himself to the refreshments as well, but the housemates didn't know until he began to vomit blood a couple of days later. A trip to the vet revealed that Billy had taken a shot himself, glass and all. The shot glass was removed from the dog's stomach in a three-hour operation. Billy's owner says the dog will not be invited to any more parties.

Embarrassing Billboard Typo

A billboard bragging about the schools in South Bend, Indiana was erected without anyone noticing a certain misspelled word. The sign directed readers to a website to see a list of the "15 best things about our pubic schools."

Responsibility for the spelling error has been claimed by the Blue Waters Group. The company does work for the city of South Bend's redevelopment commission to promote the city.

"I feel terrible. It's a mistake we made and we're guilty of it, and responsible for it. and we take full responsibility for the error," said Patrick Strickler, president of the Blue Waters Group.

"Four people looked at it, eyeballed it and didn't see the mistake, and those people all work for me,” Strickler explained. “We take responsibility for it. We simply blew it. We did not see the missing "L."

The billboard has since been taken down.

Pot Farm in Zoo Enclosure

It was the perfect place to grow marijuana: a section of the rhinoceros pen that only one zookeeper had access to. A worker at an Austrian zoo though he would never be caught, but Salzburg police raided the rhino pen at the Salzburg Hellbrunn Zoo over the weekend and arrested the 59-year old keeper. Additional weapons charges were added when guns were found in the man's apartment. Police, acting on an anonymous tip from one of the zookeeper's pot customers, seized 33 plants growing in the rhinoceros pen.

Sir Terry Pratchett Acting Like a Knight

Author Terry Pratchett was knighted by Queen Elizabeth last year. That wasn't enough to make him feel like a real knight, however, so he forged himself a sword. A very special sword. He gathered the iron ore from property he owned, threw in a little iron from a meteorite, and smelted it in a kiln he built himself. The 62-year-old fantasy author, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease, hammered out the metal and then took it to a blacksmith for the final shaping.

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This Just In
Workers in Quebec City Discover Potentially Live Cannonball Dating Back to the French and Indian War
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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]

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

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