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The Weird Week in Review

Naked Shopping is a Hit

A new Priss supermarket opened in Süderlügum, North Frisia, Germany, on Saturday with a special promotion offering €270 worth of groceries to the first 100 shoppers who showed up in their birthday suits. The offer went over much better than expected, with around 250 naked people waiting as the store opened. Supermarket manager Nils Sterndorff was surprised, as he had expected maybe a dozen people to take advantage of the promotion. He was pleased with the gimmick's success. The shoppers were mostly Danish, who often cross the German border to shop because prices are generally lower.

When Camera Traps Go Bad

Camera traps are hidden in the forest to record wildlife without disturbing their natural behavior. The cameras are equipped with infrared lights and motion detectors. But some folks think they should be clearly labeled after one caught an unnamed Austrian politician having sex on film. However, the organization managing the traps say they are camouflaged specifically to preserve the animals' natural habitat and to not draw attention. On the one hand, the politician is guilty of trespassing, as the area was clearly posted as forbidden. But the tape will not be made public, as its release is against Austrian law and carries a $25,000 fine.

UK Airport Auctions Off Jewelry Instead of Returning It

Lost airline luggage is so common as to become a cliche, but this case is no joke. The Duchess of Argyll flew into Glasgow Airport in 2006, but her luggage containing $150,000 in jewelry did not make it. She notified the airport authority and the police. Two months later, the luggage was found, but instead of returning it to its rightful owner, the British Airports Authority auctioned off the contents! The Duchess only discovered what happened when she recognized one of her heirloom pieces in an auction catalog this year. The jewelry had been sold years earlier and the proceeds went to charity. But now the BAA had to reimburse the Duchess an equivalent sum from the sale. And most of the jewelry, as well as the documents related to the case, cannot be found.

Woman Beats Up Husband Over Onion Magazine

Lynne Rasbornik of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, was looking through her husband's car when she found copies of the satire magazine The Onion and a local alternative newspaper called the Shepherd Express. Rasbornik was enraged, as she considers both publications to be pornography, and attacked her husband so violently that police were summoned. Officers at first thought Rasbornik was the victim, but noticed she kept picking and scratching at herself to make her minor wounds look more serious. Rasbornik was arrested for domestic abuse.

Train Engineer Adopts Owl from Track

Guo Zuchun drives a train in Chongqing, China. One day he saw three tiny owls on the track and managed to stop the train before hitting them. They were too small to fly, and are believed to be victims of a storm that destroyed their nest.

Two were given to a local wildlife centre to be raised, but Guo was allowed to keep one as a pet.

Now the young owl thinks his new life is a hoot, says Gou.

"I take him to work every day and he sits on the dashboard in front of me having a good look at what's going on around us," he said

"He seems to like riding the train more than he likes flying," laughed the driver.

You can see pictures of the baby owl riding the train with Guo at Austrian Times.

Three Teens and a Deputy Injured in Drunk-driving Simulation

Drinking and driving don't mix. You know what else doesn't mix? Teenage drivers and drunk-simulating goggles. A group of Explorer's Club members in Elkhart, Indiana, were taking turns driving around a parking lot Monday in a golf cart wearing the goggles, which distort the wearer's vision. A 14-year-old driver turned hard and tipped the cart over. The driver, two teenage passengers, and the instructor all sustained minor injuries. They were treated at a hospital and released. The golf cart sustained some damage, and was taken out of service.

Woman Finds $6500 Ring in Goodwill Jeans

Deb Thompson of Coon Rapids, Minnesota, picked up a pair of blue jean capris at her local Goodwill store. In the pocket, the clothing donor had left a diamond engagement ring! An appraisal set the value of the ring at around $6,500. Thompson reported the ring to Goodwill, and the staff posted the story on its Facebook page. Within a short time, seven different people had claimed the ring, but so far no one has a concrete claim. Thompson hopes to find the correct owner and hear the story behind the ring, but if not, she will be able to keep it.

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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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