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The Weird Week in Review

Women Rescued After Truck Lands in Tree

Erin Dawn Bowser was apparently driving too fast along Route 68 in Evans City, Pennsylvania Monday morning. She hit a car and a guardrail and then her car launched off the side of the highway and into a tree, where it became stuck -30 feet above the ground! Rescue workers say Bowser was not only conscious, but calm as they set up equipment to retrieve her from the tree. The road was closed for several hours while a crew extracted Bowser. She was taken to a hospital with only minor injuries, and is facing several traffic citations. See a video report as well.

Oswald's Coffin for Sale

The coffin that Lee Harvey Oswald was buried in back in 1963 is up for sale at an auction house in California. The coffin spent 18 years underground until Oswald was exhumed in 1981 so that his identity could be confirmed. The presumed assassin who was shot and killed before going to trial for the murder of president Kennedy was then reburied in a different coffin. The wooden coffin is not in great shape, but experts say it can be restored. Bids will be taken until December 18th.

Lawnmower + Boat = Shortcutter

John Hinton of Horsham in West Sussex, England, combined a boat and a riding lawnmower to make a vehicle he can drive around traffic jams by slipping into a canal. The vehicle is completely amphibious. However, with a top speed of 6 miles per hour, the "shortcutter", as its called, is more likely to cause a traffic jam than to circumvent one. Hinton says his vehicle is a prototype and he will continue to improve it.

Dentists Repair Elephant's Tusk

A 27-year-old elephant named Devidasan developed a painful 19-inch crack in his tusk over the past five years. C.V. Pradeep, a dentist in Kerala, India, did some research and decided to fill the crack with the same resin used to repair human teeth. The difference: repairing the tusk took 47 tubes of resin in a two-hour operation!

"It was literally an elephantine task, because we had to find specialist equipment and modify it," Dr Pradeep said.

"The main difference between this and a similar operation carried out on humans is that we were not able to use X-ray screening, because none of our mobile X-ray units was large enough to suit the elephant's needs."

The elephant was not tranquilized, and remained cooperative through the procedure. The repair seems to have eased his toothache.

A Family of Three with One Birthday

Jamal White of St. Paul, Minnesota fell in love with a woman who had the same birth date as he did, November 24th, although she was a year older. Tiara White also had the same last name as Jamal even before they were married. The couple welcomed their first child, Jamal, Jr. into the world on -you guessed it- November 24th. The odds of all three family members having the same birthday were calculated at 1 in 133,225. And none of them will have any excuse for ever forgetting each other's birthdays.

Corn Flood

A grain silo in Norwalk, Ohio collapsed on Tuesday, sending a "sea of corn" into the area, covering a block of neighborhood. The over 100,000 bushels of spilled corn was 12 feet deep in some places. The rushing grain pushed a nearby house off its foundation and knocked over a fire hydrant. No injuries were reported, and officials don't know what caused the silo to collapse.

Teenager Swallows Bag of Cocaine

Massachusetts police pulled over 18-year-old Art Taylor in Framingham for failing to signal a turn. Taylor acted strangely when confronted and reached for a small bag containing white powder. Despite a struggle, he swallowed the bag containing what appeared to be cocaine. Taylor was arrested for assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest. You will understand why this item is in the weird news section only when you see his mugshot.

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Thanks to a Wet Winter, New Zealand Faces a Potential Potato Chip Shortage
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New Zealand has plenty of unique and tasty snacks, but kiwis also love potato chips. The universal comfort food is in danger Down Under, however, as an unusually wet winter has devastated the island country’s tuber crops, according to BBC News.

Twenty percent of New Zealand’s annual potato crop was wiped out from a series of major storms and floods that ravaged the nation’s North and South Islands, The Guardian reports. In some regions, up to 30 percent of potato crops were affected, with the varieties used to make chips bearing the brunt of the damage.

Potato prices spiked as farmers struggled, but the crisis—now dubbed “chipocalypse” by media outlets—didn't really make the mainstream news until supermarket chain Pak’nSave posted announcements in potato chip aisles that warned customers of a salty snack shortage until the New Year.

Pak’nSave has since rescinded this explanation, claiming instead that they made an ordering error. However, other supermarket chains say they’re working directly with potato chip suppliers to avoid any potential shortfalls, and are aware that supplies might be limited for the foreseeable future.

New Zealand’s potato farming crisis extends far beyond the snack bars at rugby matches and vending machines. Last year’s potato crops either rotted or remained un-harvested, and the ground is still too wet to plant new ones. This hurts New Zealand’s economy: The nation is the world’s ninth-largest exporter of potatoes.

Plus, potatoes “are a food staple, and this is becoming a food security issue as the effects of climate change take their toll on our potato crop,” says Chris Claridge, the chief executive of industry group Potatoes New Zealand, according to The Guardian.

In the meantime, New Zealanders are preparing to hunker down for a few long months of potential potato peril—and according to some social media users, kale chips are not a suitable alternative. “Chipocalypse” indeed.

[h/t BBC News]

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Supermarket Employees to Compete in National Bagging Competition
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In today’s busy world, efficiency is king—especially at grocery stores, where long checkout lines can turn even the most patient shopper into a petulant purchaser. It only makes sense, then, that a nationwide competition exists among supermarket employees to determine the country’s best bagger.

As the Associated Press reports, Alysha Orrok, a teacher from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, recently won her state’s Best Bagger competition. She’s now headed to the U.S. finals, which will take place in Las Vegas in February 2018 and is sponsored by the National Grocers Association (NGA).

In Las Vegas, finalists from more than a dozen states—ranging from Washington to Florida—will duke it out onstage to see who’s truly king or queen of the checkout line. Competitors will be judged on weight distribution, appearance, speed, and technique (no smushed bread or bruised fruits allowed).

Orrok, who works evenings and weekends at a local grocery store, says she was initially clumsy on the job. “My first day as a bagger I dropped a soda and it exploded everywhere,” she told NBC Boston.

Over time, though, Orrok got so good at her side gig that she decided to compete in the New Hampshire state bagging competition earlier this month. At the tournament, "I was like 10 seconds faster than the next person," Orrok said. "I feel like I get in the zone and I just fly."

Competitors heading to 2018’s Best Bagger competition will face off to see who can achieve the best customer service in the shortest time span. The grand prize is $10,000, which will be awarded to a deserving grocery store employee “with infectious company pride and an enthusiastic commitment to customer service,” according to the NGA.

[h/t NBC Boston]

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