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The Weird Week in Review

Woman in Speeding Car Fakes Labor Pains

Police in New Zealand were chasing a car speeding at over 90 miles per hour, and were about to lay spikes in the road to stop it, when the driver stopped near the town of Tauranga. He told officers that he was rushing his passenger, who appeared to be in labor, to the hospital to give birth. An ambulance was summoned to rush the pregnant woman to the emergency room. Later, officers called the hospital and discovered the patient had signed herself out shortly after arriving. The cops, angry at the waste of resources, later found and arrested the 23-year-old driver.

Horse Rescued from Basement

A family in Elbert County, Colorado awoke to find their horse Summer trapped in the home's basement. The horse had fallen into the cellar through a window well.

“We thought of bringing her up the basement stairs,” Heap said. “But the stairs didn’t look safe enough to support her weight.”

A veterinarian sedated Summer, who sustained minor cuts and injuries in the fall, and a coring company was contacted to cut into the foundation of the home. The initial plan was to expose an area around a second window well, remove a portion of the foundation and create enough space to bring the horse out of the basement, Heap said.

When the crew had removed enough material around the window, Summer walked out on her own.

Man Defends Business with Tractor

In Alta, Norway, 66-year-old Harald Mikkelsen stopped a thief who was trying to leave his store. Mikkelsen thwarted a getaway by lifting the perpetrator's car with his tractor! Mikkelson only lowered the car when police arrived, 45 minutes later. The incident was captured on video by tourists, and Mikkelsen has become a national celebrity for his actions last Friday.

21 Tons of Mustard and Ketchup

Thieves in Vienna, Austria made off with 21 tons of mustard and ketchup. A truck driver went to work Monday to find the trailer, which was loaded with the condiments, had been stolen from his truck. Authorities are on the lookout for the missing mustard as well as the $22,000 trailer, which is believed to have been the actual target of the theft.

Boise Hires Weed Eaters

The city of Boise, Idaho is trying a new method for controlling the invasive rush skeletonweed. A herd of 600 goats has been brought in by a company named We Rent Goats to eat the weeds off the 680-acre Polecat Gulch Reserve. City officials say the cost of the goats is comparable to spraying chemicals, but better for the environment. Using goats is also safer as they can reach places in the rocky hills that would be hazardous for humans to roam. The goats are expected to work for about a week, or until the weeds are deemed under control.

"Dumb and Dumber"

Ryan Letchford and Jeffrey Olsen, both of Marlton, New Jersey, thought it would be funny to photograph themselves appearing to get arrested in Radnor, Pennsylvania. They got into a police van belonging to constable Mike Connor and shut the door -and found themselves locked in. A friend tried to free them, but couldn't, and called 911. Responders woke Constable Connor, who unlocked the van.

"I came down and unlocked the doors, and 'Dumb and Dumber' pranced out of the van," Connor said. "They looked a little embarrassed."

Inside the van, officers found cigarette butts and "a large amount of saliva," police said. It's unclear why the men apparently were spitting in the van.

Letchford and Olsen were arrested for real on charges of attempted car theft, criminal mischief, and public drunkenness.

Dachshund Saves Owner and Inspires Recovery

Tom McKinney of Yuba City, California fell off a ladder and couldn't move. His neck was broken. His 10-year-old dachshund Chelse was the one who found him. No one else was around, so McKinney told Chelse to get help -and she did, by waking McKinney's sleeping wife and alerting her to the emergency. Now, Chelse is inspiring McKinney to walk again. After all, the little dachshund learned to walk again after she'd broken her back seven years ago. McKinney said if she could do it, he could, too. Two months after the accident, he is getting around with a walker, and has set his sights on walking without support.

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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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