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The Weird Week in Review

Marines To Ban Audible Farts In Afghanistan

Silence is golden. A new order for U.S. Marines serving in Afghanistan bans audible farting. The ruling, meant to prevent offense to Afghans, was added to other injunctions against swearing and talking about politics or girls around local citizens. Marines may have a hard time conforming to the new policy, but are warned that the U.S. is trying win the hearts and minds of Afghans, some of whom view Americans as unwelcome occupiers.

Escaped Kangaroo Steals Underwear

Police in Prague, Czech Republic, began receiving calls about thefts of women's lingerie from clotheslines, at about the same time a man called to report his pet kangaroo, Benji, had escaped. It all made sense when one caller said she had witnessed a kangaroo hopping off with her underwear. The marsupial was picked up shortly afterward.

Benji's owner Petr Hlabovic, 35, said: "I'm very relieved to have him back. I've got no idea what he thought he was up to - he certainly didn't pick up the habit from me."

There is no mention of whether the unmentionables were returned to their rightful owners.

Man Regains Hearing After Earthquake

Robert Valderzak suffered a fall on Fathers Day and became completely deaf. Dr. Ross Fletcher at Veterans Affairs Hospital said the 75-year-old Valderzak's hearing loss was a combination of nerve damage and a conduction problem. However, on Tuesday while his four children were visiting, an earthquake shook Valderzak's home in Washington, D.C. and he felt something happening in his head. When the shaking stopped, he could hear again! Dr. Fletcher speculates that Valderzak may still have some hearing loss, but his patient can hear and understand what people are saying around him.

Paintball Ruptures Silicone Implant

A 26-year-old woman in Croydon, England, suffered a rupture of her breast implant when she was hit with a paintball. The game center, UK Paintball, had never seen such an injury before. They have since updated their consent forms to warn that customers should inform the center if they have breast implants before playing, and such players will be issued extra padding. The unnamed woman is expected to fully recover.

Memorial Bandit Caught in the Act

A series of thefts has been solved at the Toledo Police Memorial Garden. Officers had noticed small flags went missing over several days, but found no clue as to the identity of the perpetrator. On Wednesday, two policemen saw who was doing it. One of them snapped a picture of a squirrel in the act of grabbing a flag and a pink flower from the garden. The squirrel fled the scene and took the loot to its nest, which was discovered to be already festooned with stolen flags. No arrest were made, and the suspect is still at large.

Rogue Panda Fears Calmed

Someone got hold of an Arizona Department of Transportation electronic sign on Fort Valley Road in Flagstaff this week, and changed the message about left turns to "Rogue Panda on Rampage."

"We want to assure all citizens of Flagstaff that there is no problem with rogue pandas," said Lt. Ken Koch with the Flagstaff Police Department.

He does, however, encourage anybody who spots a member of the endangered species roaming Flagstaff streets to call the police department.

The sign, which was altered in the middle of the night, was corrected by 11 AM. No suspects have been identified. The good news is that the publicity may cause motorists to read electronic signs more carefully in the future.

The Dog Ate the Diamonds

A dog named Honey Bun is the mascot at John Ross Jewelers in Albany, Georgia, but he was caught eating up the profits a couple of weeks ago. While owner Chuck Roberts spoke to a customer, Honey Bun climbed on his desk and ate an entire packet of loose diamonds! An x-ray confirmed their suspicions. The dog had ingested about $10,000 worth of stones and the back of an earring, all of which were recovered the next day. Roberts says he will be more careful of leaving his desk chair where the dog can reach it.

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Weird
The Origins of 25 Monsters, Ghosts, and Spooky Things
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Though dressing up as an angel is acceptable, it’s ghouls and goblins that truly capture our imaginations during the Halloween season. As lit jack-o’-lanterns beckon and monsters lurk in the shadows, we explore the origins of 25 frightful things that go bump—or boo—in the night.

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Food
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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