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The Weird Week in Review

Tossed Pot Lands on Police Cruiser

A New York state trooper saw a man standing up in a car with his upper body sticking out of the sunroof on interstate 190 near Buffalo. When he began to follow the car with his flashing lights on, 20-year-old Sean Schmidt threw a small bag of marijuana away. Unfortunately for him, the bag landed on the hood of the police car. The pot was easily retrieved, and Schmitt was charged with marijuana possession in addition to a seat belt violation.

Man Robs Bank To Get Health Care

Richard James Verone of Gastonia, North Carolina walked into an RBC Bank and handed the teller a note demanding one dollar. It also said he had a gun. The teller handed him the money, and Verone sat down to wait for the police to arrive. Police arrested Verone without incident, as he was not armed after all. The 59-year-old Verone suffers from two ruptured discs and a growth in his chest, but could not afford medical care. His plan was to be convicted of armed robbery and receive treatment while incarcerated. However, the charge was only petty larceny, and as Verone's first offense, may get him only probation. While he awaits trial, his medical problems are being treated. Those who know say he should have thrown a brick through a post office window, which would have guaranteed a federal charge.

Snake Lost During Camping Trip

A camper at Addison Oaks County Park in Michigan reported that he had lost his 5-foot-long boa constrictor. The man was staying in a pop-up camper in the park's campground when the snake went missing. County officials called on herpetologists from Michigan zoos for help in determining whether the snake was a danger. A boa constrictor that size is a juvenile, and would be no threat to humans, but would look for small animals such as rodents. The camper was cited for violating park rules in bringing the snake to the campground.

Guy Fowlkes Arrested in "Gunpowder Plot"

The headline makes it sound as if history is repeating itself, but this happened in Ocoee, Florida. Guy Swindell Fowlkes was working at a fireworks tent and got into an argument with his girlfriend, who also worked there. According to the police report, the 33-year-old Fowlkes hit the woman, then went into the tent and began to light fireworks. He also lit firecrackers and placed them into the gas tank of a co-worker's car. As police approached, they could see explosions in the distance. Fowlkes was charged with arson and battery. Many of the fireworks explosions were caught on video.

37 Years Without a Bath

A farmer in India, Guru Kailash Singh, has neither bathed nor cut his hair since just after his wedding day -37 years ago! His wife says the family has tried to force a bath on him several times, but he manages to run away each time. Singh has nothing against bathing, but he was told by a priest years ago that giving up hygiene would help him produce a son. In the years since, seven daughters have been born into the family. Apparently Singh is holding onto that promise, even though his wife, Kalavati Devi, is now 60 years old.

Thief Wears Stolen Coat to Court

Stephen Kirkbride went to court in Kendal, Westmorland, England to answer charges of shoplifting from a sporting goods store. The expensive waterproof Craghopper jacket he wore to court was recognized by the store manager as the one that was stolen from the shop.

Kirkbride’s defence solicitor Judith Birkett argued her client ‘wouldn’t be so stupid’ as to turn up in stolen goods, but Kendal magistrate Jenny Farmer found him guilty of shoplifting, dismissing his excuses as ‘completely implausible’.

Store manager Deborah Robson said: “I pointed the jacket out to the police officer and he seized it straight away.”

Kirkbride claimed he bought the jacket from a thrift store, then said he got it from an unnamed friend. Security cameras had recorded Kirkbride taking the jacket from the store.

Dead Man Exhumed for Dentures

Kenneth Ray Manis of Chattanooga died while in the care of Parkridge Medical Center on June 12th, and was buried three days later. Only afterward did the hospital realize they had given Manis' family not only his personal effects, but those of his hospital roommate as well. The roommate's dentures had been buried with Manis. Two weeks later, arrangements were made at the family's request to exhume the grave and retrieve the dentures, to make sure Manis is buried with the correct teeth. The hospital will pay the cost of the exhumation.

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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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