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The Weird Week in Review

Five Stabbed at Get-out-of-jail Party

A welcome home party for an unnamed teenager released from juvenile detention in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, turned ugly Saturday night. Police responded to reports of gunshots and found a street brawl had erupted. Officers took two people with stab wounds to the hospital, and later found that three others had suffered stab wounds and went to the hospital on their own. In all, four adults and one 17-year-old were wounded. The guest of honor was not among them. No charges have been filed so far, the the investigation is continuing.

Brother-in-law Agrees to Serve Life Sentence

Raj Kumar was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. But 18 months later, Kumar's partner-in-crime notified prison authorities that Kumar was not serving his sentence. Instead, Kumar's brother-in-law Kiran Singh was doing the time in his place! Singh had reported to prison wearing Kumar's name tattooed on his arm to prove identity to prison officials. Singh said that Kumar had convinced him to serve the sentence so Kumar could take care of his five unmarried sisters. Singh's family was unaware of the ruse and thought he had gone missing. After the scheme was uncovered, Kumar was taken into custody and Singh is now charged with fraud.

Alchemy Experiment Leads to Arrest

Paul Moran of Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, has been sentenced to three months in jail for a bizarre incident in July. A fire brigade responded to a blaze at Moran's apartment building that caused £3,000 worth of damage. The fire began when Moran tried to turn his own feces into gold by putting it on an electric heater. The judge in the case said,

“It was an interesting experiment to fulfil the alchemist’s dream, but wasn’t going to succeed.”

The court noted that Moran is now on anti-psychotic drugs and is not considered to be dangerous.

Sesame Street YouTube Channel Hacked with Porn

Hackers took control of the Sesame Street YouTube channel for a time last weekend. For about 20 minutes, graphic pornography replaced the kid-friendly videos. YouTube took the entire channel down when the incident was discovered, and officials from Sesame Street issued an apology to any children who were accidentally exposed to the raunchy videos. The channel remained down for a day until the original content could be restored.

100-pound Scrotum

Wesley Warren Jr. began suffering from a swelled scrotum three years ago. Now it has ballooned to over 100 pounds, leaving him unable to work and restricting his movements. Doctors are at a loss to explain why it happened, and the local hospital in Las Vegas is pessimistic about surgery. Physicians at UCLA think they can reduce his growth while saving his genitals, but Warren's state medical insurance will not pay for surgery in California. That's why Warren recently decided to go public, hoping that donations from the public, or from a wealthy sponsor, can pay for the surgery.

$201,000 Cell Phone Bill

Celina Aarons of Miami, Florida, received a bill from T-Mobile for her monthly phone service and got a shock: it was $201,000! Her phone service usually runs at $175 a month. It wasn't a mistake or a computer glitch; all the charges were legitimate. Aarons has two deaf brothers included in her family phone service plan. They use text messaging and data that is included as part of the monthly deal.

But her brothers spent two weeks in Canada and Aarons never changed to an international plan. Her brothers sent over 2,000 texts and also downloaded videos, sometimes racking up $2,000 in data charges.

When Aarons read the bill -- all 43 pages of it -- she realized she owed $201,005.44.

After the initial shock, Aaarons spoke with T-Mobile, and they agreed to lower her bill to $2,500 and gave her six months to pay.

First Image of a Planet Being Born

Astronomers have revealed an image thought to be the first ever picture of a planet in the process of forming. The planet is now called LkCa 15b. The image was taken by the huge Keck telescope in Hawaii in infrared wavelengths so as to block out the interference from the planet's nearby star. The star itself is only 2 million years old, practically a newborn in astronomical terms. The new planet and its star are about 450 light years away from us.

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iStock
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science
2017 Ig Nobel Prizes Celebrate Research on How Crocodiles Affect Gambling and Other Odd Studies
Original image
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]

Original image
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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