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The Weird Week in Review

Runaway Floating Island

An inflated sculpture named "Is Land" was deployed at the Secret Garden Party music festival in Cambridgeshire, England. The £9,000 helium-filled sculpture is seven meters wide and looks like a chunk of land with grass and trees on top. The island drifted off after someone cut the ropes tethering the balloon on July 24th and is now nowhere to be found. Anyone who sees the island is asked to report it to the project's website. Donations at the site will go toward getting a second sculpture ready for Burning Man.

Murder Suspect Found on TV Show

Until this week, Liu Hao was winning his way to a date as a contestant on Happy League, a popular TV dating show in China. The 39-year-old was selected over eight other eligible bachelors after he sang on the show. But police in Jilin city responded to a tip from a viewer who recognized Liu.

Police watched the tapes and indeed Liu resembled Wu Gang – who stabbed a man to death more than 13 years ago outside a restaurant in Jilin, said Li Ang, a police officer from the criminal investigation department of the Jilin Public Security Bureau.

Li told The Associated Press that after a monthlong investigation, Liu was detained as the key suspect in the case.

Liu had become so comfortable with his new identity over the years that he "didn't think twice" about appearing on TV. The show's website has since removed clips that feature Liu.

Turtle with Broken Shell Finally Released

Andre the green sea turtle was found over a year ago with a massive hole in his shell, most likely caused by a boat propeller. Veterinarians at at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Jupiter, Florida, found three pounds of sand inside his shell, which caused internal injuries and a collapsed lung. Local orthodontist Dr. Alberto A. Vargas applied a technique called "distraction osteogenesis," also called "sea turtle orthodontics," to brace and encourage proper shell growth. He attached an expander to the shell and adjusted it a quarter of a millimeter every day as the shell grew, in order to maintain proper pressure and shape. Andre's internal injuries were treated with a skin graft and vacuum therapy to help the wounds. After 13 months of treatment and rehabilitation, Andre was returned to the ocean on Wednesday.

Stiff Fine for Illegal Parking in Vilnius

Arturas Zuokas, mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania, had enough. The mayor was so fed up with illegal parking that he took a spin in a Russian armored personnel carrier, crushing an illegally parked Mercedes along the way. The publicity stunt and accompanying photos made the news worldwide. Zuokas specifically cited illegally parked luxury cars as showing "a lack of respect" for pedestrians and bike riders. That's at least one driver who won't be parking in the wrong place anymore.

Skeleton Driver Pulled Over

A car was pulled over in Plattling, Germany, when police officers saw it was being driven by a skeleton! However, the driver was found to be a 23-year-old British man named Martin Williams. Williams had just purchased a life-size skeleton replica and was afraid it might be damaged in the trunk, so he placed it in the passenger seat. The car was a British model, with the driver on the right side, unlike German cars. No charges were files as no crime had been committed.

Building a Nuclear Reactor in the Kitchen

An unnamed man in Angelholm, Sweden was arrested for attempting to build a nuclear reactor in his kitchen. He was later released. Authorities doubt he would have seen success.

The 31-year-old tells the paper that he was able to buy radioactive waste from foreign companies and picked apart the components in a smoke detector (apparently older smoke detector contain nuclear material). He believes he spent between $5,000 and $6,000 on the project in total.

It was only later when the young man contacted Sweden's nuclear power agency that he realized his project was illegal. Police came to his apartment and confiscated the material. The young man was arrested but later released.

It is uncertain how the project went unnoticed, as the man kept a blog about his experiments.

Fish Goes on a Diet

An 8.8 pound giant gourami fish named Gary was donated to the Sea Life London Aquarium when he outgrew his tank, but the fish refused to eat. He refused to eat fish food, that is. The staff was puzzled until they found out Gary's previous owners had fed him nothing but chocolate cookies! Aquarium workers then started putting pieces of Kit-Kat bars inside grapes and other natural foods to entice Gary to eat. The fish is now being gradually weaned off chocolate.

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Little Baby's Ice Cream
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Food
Pizza and Cricket Cake Are Just Some of the Odd Flavors You'll Find at This Philadelphia Ice Cream Shop
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Little Baby's Ice Cream

Ice cream flavors can get pretty out-there, thanks to the growing number of creative scoop shops willing to take risks and broaden their customers’ horizons beyond chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Intrepid foodies can cool off with frozen treats that taste like horseradish, foie gras, and avocado, while Philadelphia's Little Baby’s Ice Cream is pushing the boundaries of taste with chilly offerings like everything bagel, Maryland BBQ, ranch, and cricket cake.

Cricket-flavored ice cream, created by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

Everything Bagel-flavored ice cream, created by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

As Lonely Planet News reports, Little Baby’s Ice Cream launched its first signature “oddball” ice cream—Earl Grey sriracha—in 2011. Since then, its rotating menu has only gotten quirkier. In addition to the aforementioned flavors, customers who swing by Little Baby’s this summer can even try pizza ice cream.

The store created the savory flavor in 2011, to celebrate neighborhood eatery Pizza Brain’s inclusion into Guinness World Records for its vast collection of pizza memorabilia. The savory, Italian-esque snack is made from ingredients like tomato, basil, oregano, salt, and garlic—and yes, it actually tastes like pizza, Little Baby’s co-owner Pete Angevine told Lonely Planet News.

Pizza-flavored ice cream, made by Philadelphia-based Little Baby's Ice Cream
Little Baby's Ice Cream

“Frequently, folks will see it on the menu and be incredulous, then be convinced to taste it, giggle, talk about how surprised they are that it really tastes just like pizza … and then order something else,” Angevine said. “That’s just fine. Just as often though, they’ll end up getting a pizza milkshake!”

Little Baby’s flagship location is in Philadelphia's East Kensington neighborhood, but customers can also sample their unconventional goods at additional outposts in West Philadelphia, Baltimore, and a pop-up stand in Washington, D.C.’s Union Market. Just make sure to bring along a sense of adventure, and to leave your preconceived notions of what ice cream should taste like at home.

[h/t Lonely Planet]

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Nalcrest, Florida: Where Postal Workers Go to Retire
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iStock

You could say that the Nalcrest community in central Florida delivers affordable retirement housing for seniors. And with amenities like a pool and tennis courts, you might even say it has the whole package [PDF]. Or you could just go with the pun that the community itself has landed on: “Nalcrest: A First Class Community.”

Nalcrest, you see, is a retirement community exclusive to members of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC); the village has 500 ground-level apartments available for postal workers to enjoy after they’ve delivered their final Oriental Trading catalog. Garden-style units start at just $374 a month, including water, sewage, trash removal, basic cable, maintenance, and use of all of the recreational facilities.

The idea for an affordable, profession-specific retirement community came to NALC president William Doherty in the 1950s, when he toured Europe and saw similar setups organized by labor unions, religious groups, and fraternal organizations [PDF]. He proposed the idea for U.S. mail carriers as early as 1954, then pounced when Congress passed a law in 1959 that provided loans to build housing for seniors. Doherty was there to break ground on July 1, 1962; Nalcrest officially opened for business less than two years later on January 20, 1964. The dedication ceremony included a band of mail carrier musicians and a separate group called “The Singing Mailmen,” a group made up of—you guessed it—singing mailmen, as well as a female water skiing team that proudly flew pennants spelling out “Nalcrest.” After a stint as the ambassador to Jamaica, Doherty himself retired to Nalcrest, living there until his death in 1987.

Though residents may not be traipsing a daily mail route anymore, they still have plenty of options to stay active. Nalcrest has shuffleboard, horseshoes, bocce, miniature golf, tennis courts, an Olympic-size swimming pool, walking trails, and a softball diamond (home to the Nalcrest Eagles). It also boasts a travel club, a women’s association, and free art classes, among other activities. There’s one thing, however, it doesn’t have—dogs. With the exception of therapy dogs, Nalcrest has a no-canine rule in deference to retirees who were bitten in the line of duty and have an aversion to the animals.

If a dog-free community seems like paradise for postal workers, the other thing Nalcrest lacks cements its status as letter carrier nirvana: There are no mailboxes, because there is no home mail delivery. Each resident has to visit the Nalcrest post office to pick up any correspondence.

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