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The Weird Week in Review

Curry-Eating Contest Sends Two To Hospital

Kismot in Edinburgh, Scotland is a restaurant known for its hot chili pepper curry. It staged a curry-eating contest this past Saturday to benefit the Children's Hospice Association Fund. Contestants ate spoonfuls of increasingly hot curry until they dropped out. Local patron Mike Lavin make it to fifth place and American Curie Kim came in second as others cried, screamed, and threw up, then dropped out. Both were later taken to a hospital (Kim twice). Although the restaurant may have to pay the medical bills, they raised £1000 ($1546) for the charity.

Koala Survives Impact and Grill Ride

Mark and Caroline Harris of Eagleby, Queensland, Australia, were driving along the Pacific Motorway Tuesday night when they hit an animal. Mark Harris thought it was a cat, and he pulled over at the next off ramp to check for damage. He was surprised to find a koala lodged in his car's grill. The koala was alive, but choking on a piece of plastic around its neck. Harris pried the plastic away with a tire iron and took the koala, now named Kenny, to a veterinary hospital. Harris returned to visit Kenny a couple of days later and was pleased to see the koala is recovering from his mishap.

The Homecoming Queen's Got a Kick

For the first time ever, Pinckney Community High School in Michigan crowned a homecoming queen they had to summon from the locker room. Brianna Amat received the title while wearing her football uniform, complete with shoulder pads. But that wasn't the end of the 18-year-old field goal kicker's big night last Friday. She also won the game.

A short while later, with five minutes to play in the third quarter, Amat was called to the same field to attempt a 31-yard field goal. She split the uprights.

The kick proved decisive as Pinckney held on for a 9-7 victory against a Grand Blanc team that had come into the game ranked seventh in the state in its division. It also earned Amat the nickname the Kicking Queen.

Amat, who maintains a 4.0 GPA and is active in student government, is an experienced soccer player and the first girl to make the school's varsity football squad.

Cat Leads RSPCA to Kittens

A witness in March, Cambridgeshire, England saw a black cat being thrown from a car. It took two weeks of feeding to capture the cat, which was then taken to an RSPCA shelter. Animal advocates cleaned and treated the cat (and named her Jolie), but discovered she had recently given birth, so she was returned to the area from which she was captured. Jolie called out, but it became apparent she wasn't calling the kittens, but to RSPCA inspector Jon Knight who accompanied her! The mother cat only moved forward when Knight moved to follow. Jolie led Knight to a stash of four dehydrated kittens behind a pile of wood. Knight said the kittens were so far from their starting point that there was no way he would have found them without Jolie's guidance. The kittens, so young their eyes were not open, were taken to the shelter and nursed back to health.

Whale Beached a Half-Mile Inland

A dead whale was found over 800 yards from shore in East Yorkshire, England. It was a relatively rare whale, too, a 33-foot-long female Sei whale. Sei whales have only been sighted three times in the past 20 years around England, as they normally stay in deep water. Experts believe the whale swam up the Humber estuary during the high equinox tide, and was stranded on land when the tide went out again. That explanation did not deter some from speculating that the whale dropped from the sky, or was placed on land by aliens.

Driverless Car Doing Doughnuts

Emergency crews responded to a report of a driverless car running in circles in Wildwood, New Jersey on Sunday. Wildwood Fire Captain Chris D’Amico eventually stopped the vehicle.

"I've never corralled a car before," D'Amico said.

D’Amico said that he found an opportunity to jump into the passenger-side window while he was standing inside the circle the car was making.

Comments at the story remembered Ford having recalls of vehicles from that era that would slip out of park into reverse gear. See a video of the car in action.

Girl Eats Muffin Containing $800 Gold Necklace

Xaio Li of Qingdao, Shangdong province, China, bought an $800 gold necklace for his girlfriend's 22nd birthday. He baked her a muffin and hid the necklace inside. You can see where this is going. The girlfriend, Wang Xue, ate the muffin and its contents in one gulp before he could warn her. Xaio described the necklace to Wang on the way to the local hospital, where the necklace was retrieved by endoscopic surgery, which involved putting a probe down her esophagus into her stomach.

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Animals
Bizarre New Species of Crabs and a Giant Sea Cockroach Discovered in Waters Off Indonesia
One known species of isopod, or "giant sea cockroach"
One known species of isopod, or "giant sea cockroach"
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A crab with green googly eyes, another with "ears" resembling peanuts, and a species of giant sea cockroach are among the dozen new kinds of crustaceans discovered by scientists in the waters off Indonesia, Channel News Asia reports.

These finds are the result of a two-week expedition by Indonesian and Singaporean scientists with the South Java Deep Sea Biodiversity Expedition (SJADES 2018), which involved exploring deep waters in the Sunda Strait (the waterway separating the islands of Sumatra and Java in Southeast Asia) and the Indian Ocean. Using trawls, dredges, and other tools, researchers brought a huge variety of deep-sea life to the surface—some species for the very first time.

"The world down there is an alien world," Peter Ng, chief scientist of the expedition, told Channel News Asia. "You have waters that go down more than 2000 to 3000 meters [9800 feet], and we do not know … the animal life that's at the bottom."

The giant sea cockroach—technically a giant isopod, also nicknamed a Darth Vader isopod—is a new species in the genus Bathynomus, measuring almost a foot long and found more than 4000 feet deep. The isopods are occasionally seen on the ocean floor, where they scuttle around scavenging for dead fish and other animals. This marked the first time the genus has ever been recorded in Indonesia.

Another find is a spider crab nicknamed Big Ears, though it doesn't actually have ears—its peanut-shaped plates are used to protect the crab's eyes.

More than 800 species were collected during the expedition, accounting for 12,000 individual animals. Researchers say it will take up to two years to study all of them. In addition to the 12 species that are completely new to science, 40 were seen for the first time in Indonesia. Creatures that the scientists dubbed a chain-saw lobster, an ice cream cone worm, and a cock-eyed squid were among some of the rarer finds.

A "Chain-Saw Lobster"
Nicknamed the "Chain-Saw Lobster," this creature is a rare blind lobster, found only in the deep seas.

Researchers took to the giant sea cockroach quickly, with some of the crew members reportedly calling it “cute” and cradling it like a baby. Check out Channel News Asia Insider's video below for more insight into their creepy finds.

[h/t Channel News Asia]

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Weird
The Mysterious Case of the Severed Feet in British Columbia
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While walking on the beach, many people look out for a number of things: Shells, buried treasure, crabs, and dolphins among them. But if you’re on a beach in British Columbia, you might want to keep an eye out for something a little more sinister—about 15 severed feet have washed up on the shores there in the past few years. The latest was found on May 6, wedged in a mass of logs on Gabriola Island, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The feet have been surprising unlucky British Columbians for over a decade. The first appeared back in 2007 on Jedediah Island; it was eventually matched to a deceased man whose family declined to provide additional information. Bizarre, but not particularly alarming—until another one showed up on Gabriola Island less than a month later. More feet followed, and though some were matched to missing persons, most remained anonymous (feet, unfortunately, don’t contain much identifying information). Instead, police focused on the fact that each foot was encased in a running shoe—though sizes, genders, and brands differed.

This seems like a real-life episode of The X-Files, but it turns out there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for the severed feet: They’re not really “severed,” which would indicate cutting or slicing, at all. According to scientists who tested the theory, the feet likely belong to suicide, drowning, or plane crash victims. It’s common for decomposing bodies to come apart at the joint, making it natural for the foot to come apart from the leg. But if that’s the case, wouldn’t hands be similarly susceptible to washing up on beaches? Nope, that’s where the shoes come in.

While the rest of the body naturally decomposes in water, feet are surprisingly well protected inside the rubber and fabric of a shoe. The soles can be pretty buoyant, and sometimes air pockets get trapped inside the shoe, making it float to the surface. Most of the “severed” feet have been clad in jogging shoes such as Nikes and Pumas, but at least one case involves a hiking boot. In that instance, the boot (and foot) was matched to a man who went missing while fishing more than 25 years ago. The most recent case also involves a hiking boot.

That leaves the question: Why British Columbia? According to Richard Thompson, an oceanographer with the federal Institute of Ocean Sciences, it’s connected to ocean current. “There’s a lot of recirculation in the region; we’re working here with a semi-enclosed basin. Fraser River, False Creek, Burrard Inlet—all those regions around there are somewhat semi-enclosed. The tidal currents and the winds can keep things that are floating recirculating in the system." Several feet have also been found further south, in Washington state, which shares a network of coastal waterways with British Columbia.

Others aren’t so quick to accept this scientific analysis, however. Criminal lawyer and crime author Michael Slade still wonders if a serial killer is afoot. "We also have to consider that this could be a serial killer," he said. "Somebody who right now is underneath the radar. That has to be on the table."

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