The Weird Week in Review

Toddler Falls Six Floors Unhurt

An 18-month-old boy in Paris fell out of a sixth-story apartment window Monday afternoon. He bounced off a canopy over a ground-floor cafe and into the arms of a doctor who was passing by! The man was walking along with his wife and son. The son spotted the toddler falling, and the doctor, identified as Philippe Benseniot, positioned himself to catch the child. The child cried a bit but calmed down and appeared to be unhurt. The boy was taken to a hospital and was released with a clean bill of health.

Man In Breathalyzer Costume Arrested For DUI

Matthew Nieveen was arrested in Lincoln, Nebraska early Monday morning for driving under the influence. The 19-year-old was also cited for underage drinking. He was wearing a Breathalyzer costume at the time.

"He was dressed as a PBT (preliminary breath testing) alcohol sensor and had been attending a Halloween party prior to the stop," the report says.

Police took Nieveen to Cornhusker Place, where, the report says, his blood alcohol measured more than twice the legal limit of .08 percent. The legal limit for minors is zero.

Pizza Chain Offers $31,000-an-hour Job

The Japanese division of Domino's Pizza is making an offer no one could refuse, but will only go to one lucky applicant. To celebrate the chain's 25th anniversary in Japan, one person will be paid the Japanese equivalent of $31,000 to work at a Domino's outlet for one hour in December. The company promises to release details about the application process on November 10th. A spokesman for the company said they were "a little surprised" at the response so far.

Boa Constrictor Mom Gives 'Virgin Birth'

A boa constrictor housed at the North Carolina State University's Department of Entomology has given birth twice, to a total of 22 baby snakes. Researchers at the facility were surprised at the caramel color of all the babies, which is a recessive trait exhibited by no other snakes in the lab. They tested the DNA of the offspring and found they had WW sex chromosomes. Normally, male boa constrictors have ZZ sex chromosomes and females have ZW chromosomes. DNA tests of the mother and all available males followed, which proved the offspring were the result of a "virgin birth" with no paternal DNA whatsoever. The baby snakes are half-clones of the mother, a result of the egg cells splitting and fusing with their own copies instead of fusing with sperm cells.

Coconuts Removed for Presidential Visit

Officials in Mumbai have ordered the removal of coconuts from trees near the Gandhi museum to prevent the possibility that they may fall on US president Barack Obama's head when he visits India.

Mani Bhavan, where Mahatma Gandhi stayed during his freedom struggle against the British, is among five places the US president is visiting apart from a school, college and hotels attacked by Islamic militants in 2008.

"We told the authorities to remove the dry coconuts from trees near the building. Why take a chance?" Mani Bhavan's executive secretary, Meghshyam Ajgaonkar, told the BBC.

People die every year in India from falling coconuts.

Game Show Edits Out Rude But Correct Answer

The British TV game show Countdown resembles Scrabble in that contestants are given letters and make words using them. A recent game saw a Cambridge student presented with the letters 'DTCEIASHF'. Yes, he could have used them all, but answered with a eight-letter profanity. The show's language expert ruled the compound word meaning a "rude or obnoxious person" acceptable, but Channel 4's producers ruled it obscene and rerecorded the round with different letters.

Drive to Memorialize Toto

A terrier named Terry was renamed Toto after he played Dorothy's beloved dog in the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz. Upon the dog's death, he was buried at the home of his owner, Hollywood animal trainer Carl Spitz. Spitz's house was demolished later to make room for a highway, so Toto's grave site was lost. When J.P. Myers heard the story this year, he teamed up with author Steve Goldstein to get a historic marker placed in honor of Toto. The two plan to buy a grave at the L.A. Pet Memorial Park and have a stone placed there so fans can pay their respects. So far, they've launched a Facebook page and plan to take donations at the cemetery on Sunday.

Bizarre New Species of Crabs and a Giant Sea Cockroach Discovered in Waters Off Indonesia
One known species of isopod, or "giant sea cockroach"
One known species of isopod, or "giant sea cockroach"

A crab with green googly eyes, another with "ears" resembling peanuts, and a species of giant sea cockroach are among the dozen new kinds of crustaceans discovered by scientists in the waters off Indonesia, Channel News Asia reports.

These finds are the result of a two-week expedition by Indonesian and Singaporean scientists with the South Java Deep Sea Biodiversity Expedition (SJADES 2018), which involved exploring deep waters in the Sunda Strait (the waterway separating the islands of Sumatra and Java in Southeast Asia) and the Indian Ocean. Using trawls, dredges, and other tools, researchers brought a huge variety of deep-sea life to the surface—some species for the very first time.

"The world down there is an alien world," Peter Ng, chief scientist of the expedition, told Channel News Asia. "You have waters that go down more than 2000 to 3000 meters [9800 feet], and we do not know … the animal life that's at the bottom."

The giant sea cockroach—technically a giant isopod, also nicknamed a Darth Vader isopod—is a new species in the genus Bathynomus, measuring almost a foot long and found more than 4000 feet deep. The isopods are occasionally seen on the ocean floor, where they scuttle around scavenging for dead fish and other animals. This marked the first time the genus has ever been recorded in Indonesia.

Another find is a spider crab nicknamed Big Ears, though it doesn't actually have ears—its peanut-shaped plates are used to protect the crab's eyes.

More than 800 species were collected during the expedition, accounting for 12,000 individual animals. Researchers say it will take up to two years to study all of them. In addition to the 12 species that are completely new to science, 40 were seen for the first time in Indonesia. Creatures that the scientists dubbed a chain-saw lobster, an ice cream cone worm, and a cock-eyed squid were among some of the rarer finds.

A "Chain-Saw Lobster"
Nicknamed the "Chain-Saw Lobster," this creature is a rare blind lobster, found only in the deep seas.

Researchers took to the giant sea cockroach quickly, with some of the crew members reportedly calling it “cute” and cradling it like a baby. Check out Channel News Asia Insider's video below for more insight into their creepy finds.

[h/t Channel News Asia]

The Mysterious Case of the Severed Feet in British Columbia

While walking on the beach, many people look out for a number of things: Shells, buried treasure, crabs, and dolphins among them. But if you’re on a beach in British Columbia, you might want to keep an eye out for something a little more sinister—about 15 severed feet have washed up on the shores there in the past few years. The latest was found on May 6, wedged in a mass of logs on Gabriola Island, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The feet have been surprising unlucky British Columbians for over a decade. The first appeared back in 2007 on Jedediah Island; it was eventually matched to a deceased man whose family declined to provide additional information. Bizarre, but not particularly alarming—until another one showed up on Gabriola Island less than a month later. More feet followed, and though some were matched to missing persons, most remained anonymous (feet, unfortunately, don’t contain much identifying information). Instead, police focused on the fact that each foot was encased in a running shoe—though sizes, genders, and brands differed.

This seems like a real-life episode of The X-Files, but it turns out there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for the severed feet: They’re not really “severed,” which would indicate cutting or slicing, at all. According to scientists who tested the theory, the feet likely belong to suicide, drowning, or plane crash victims. It’s common for decomposing bodies to come apart at the joint, making it natural for the foot to come apart from the leg. But if that’s the case, wouldn’t hands be similarly susceptible to washing up on beaches? Nope, that’s where the shoes come in.

While the rest of the body naturally decomposes in water, feet are surprisingly well protected inside the rubber and fabric of a shoe. The soles can be pretty buoyant, and sometimes air pockets get trapped inside the shoe, making it float to the surface. Most of the “severed” feet have been clad in jogging shoes such as Nikes and Pumas, but at least one case involves a hiking boot. In that instance, the boot (and foot) was matched to a man who went missing while fishing more than 25 years ago. The most recent case also involves a hiking boot.

That leaves the question: Why British Columbia? According to Richard Thompson, an oceanographer with the federal Institute of Ocean Sciences, it’s connected to ocean current. “There’s a lot of recirculation in the region; we’re working here with a semi-enclosed basin. Fraser River, False Creek, Burrard Inlet—all those regions around there are somewhat semi-enclosed. The tidal currents and the winds can keep things that are floating recirculating in the system." Several feet have also been found further south, in Washington state, which shares a network of coastal waterways with British Columbia.

Others aren’t so quick to accept this scientific analysis, however. Criminal lawyer and crime author Michael Slade still wonders if a serial killer is afoot. "We also have to consider that this could be a serial killer," he said. "Somebody who right now is underneath the radar. That has to be on the table."


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