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The Weird Week in Review

Passing Her Driving Test While in Labor

Emma French, of West Lothian, Scotland, wasn't due to give birth for another month, but when she woke up August 30th, she found her water had broken. However, French was scheduled to take her driver's license test that day and didn't want to miss it. The 20-year-old showed up for the test with labor pains, but made no mention of it to the examiner. After the 45-minute test, French earned her license and went straight to the hospital, where she soon gave birth to a healthy girl.

"The nurses in the hospital were very confused because I was getting congratulations cards for both my baby and my driving test," French said. "When I told them, they were all in shock. They couldn't believe it."

Suspect Uses Forklift for Getaway

Sean Faulkner of Ross Township, Pennsylvania was arrested for a bizarre theft that "seemed like a good idea at the time." Faulkner was apparently tired of carrying a case of beer, so he took a forklift from a construction site. He drove about a mile to a sandwich shop, where he ordered a Reuben, but fled before paying for it. Ross Township police responded and were able to stop the forklift escape. Faulkner faces theft charges for both the sandwich (a misdemeanor) and the forklift (a felony).

Snake Slithers Out of ATM

An unnamed man went to get some cash from a Caja Madrid bank machine in Llodio, Alava, Spain and saw his cash coming from the slot -plus a snake! Even though the snake lunged toward his hand, he grabbed his money, then summoned the police. A bank manager activated the cash release that had trapped the snake, which was then boxed and taken to an animal shelter. You can see a video of the snake while it was still stuck in the ATM.

Police Car Stops a Plane

Police in Ribeiráo Preto, Brazil, used a car to stop a plane from escaping with a load of stolen electronics. The Federal Police were told of a scheme in which smugglers fly to Paraguay to pick up hot consumer goods and bring them back to Brazil. One police car smashed into the wing and disabled the plane on the runway, leading to the arrest of five people and the seizure of $150,000 in smuggled items. The collision was caught on police video.

Three-eyed Fish Found Near Nuclear Plant

In a scene that was predicted by the TV show The Simpsons, a three-eyed fish was caught near a nuclear power plant. No, it wasn't in Springfield, but in Córdoba, Argentina. The fish was caught in a reservoir in which a nuclear power plant discharges hot water from the reactor's cooling tower. Julian Zmutt, one of the fishermen, said the third eye wasn't noticed right away because they were fishing after dark. Although they were fishing for food, the men plan to have this particular fish analyzed and preserved.

Found Knife May Be Jack the Ripper's Weapon

Welsh surgeon Sir John Williams was Queen Victoria's surgeon and a suspect in the Jack the Ripper murder cases. He moved to Wales after the murders and was never charged. The doctor's great-great-great-great nephew, Tony Williams, is convinced of his guilt and has published a book in which he reveals a surgeon's scalpel that matches the descriptions of the Ripper's handiwork. The six-inch blade was among possessions left behind when Sir John left London for good. Other possessions that remain are three slides with uterine material and a diary with pages missing.

Stolen Phone Rings in Pocket

A man at Hoboken Terminal in New Jersey told police his cell phone was stolen while he was sleeping. He identified a man he suspected of taking it. Police confronted 26-year-old Antonio Santiago, who insisted he did not take the phone. However, when police dialed the man's number, the phone rang from Santiago's coat pocket. A search revealed the phone and three small bags of marijuana. Santiago was charged with theft and possession.

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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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