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August 18-31
VOL.14 ISSUE. 26

News Quirks

Rolland Sweet
Published Wednesday March 4, 01:51 am
Only a turkey would let homemade hash oil explode its house

Photo Credit: Illustration by Myron Campbell

One byproduct of legalized marijuana is a rash of exploding houses, according to Colorado authorities, who reported 32 such blasts across the state last year. The incidents result from people using flammable liquids, mostly butane, to extract hash oil from marijuana. “They get enough vapours inside the building, and it goes off,” Grand Junction fire marshal Chuck Mathis said. No one has been killed, but the fires have injured dozens of people, including 17 who received skin grafts and surgery at the University of Colorado Hospital’s burn centre. Arguing that such tragedies aren’t crimes because of the 2012 constitutional amendment that legalized marijuana use, including processing, attorney Robert Corry said using butane to make hash oil is “the equivalent of frying turkey for Thanksgiving,” where “someone spills the oil, and there’s an explosion.” (The New York Times)


Hard Work Is Its Own Reward


Two thieves broke into a closed casino in Calgary and made off with an ATM. Security footage shows the two masked crooks loading the machine onto a dolly and wheeling it to their vehicle. On the way, it toppled onto one of the thieves, but they loaded it and made their escape. “There’s no money in the machine,” Staff Sgt. Travis Baker said, explaining that ATMs are unloaded several times daily and at the end of the business day. Noting that stealing ATMs requires heavy lifting and then “tools like grinders, axes and chisels” to break through to the cash box, Baker called it “a very ineffective way to make a living.” (The National Post)


Selfie-Inflicted Accidents


Investigators concluded that the crash of a single-engine aircraft near Watkins, Colorado, was caused by the pilot photographing himself and his passenger and becoming disoriented by the camera flash. “It is likely that cellphone use during the accident flight distracted the pilot and contributed to the development of spatial disorientation and subsequent loss of control,” the National Transportation Safety Board report said. Explaining the NTSB is seeing “more and more” distractions from personal devices in all forms of transportation, board official Keith Holloway added, “but the self-photographs in an airplane, that’s something new for us.” (The New York Times)


Parachute Club


When a small plane’s engine failed over Lake Taupo on New Zealand’s North Island, all 13 people on board were able to escape before the aircraft crashed into the lake because they were skydivers intending a tandem jump. Six crew-members jumped with the six passengers strapped to them as planned, followed by the pilot. All landed safely. (BBC News)


Naughty Drones


Air traffic control officials received reports of 193 incidents of “drone misbehavior” in 2014, according to the US’s Federal Aviation Administration. Several were close calls involving aircraft with people on board, including one pilot who had to take evasive action above Oklahoma City when a 2-foot-wide drone came within 10 feet of his plane at 4,800 feet. Some incidents involved drones flying as high as 15,000 feet. (Mother Jones)


Holy Cow


Cleaning crews at Indian government buildings in New Delhi are switching to a new cleaning liquid derived from cow urine, which is in abundant supply and whose anti-microbial and antifungal properties make it possible to avoid using synthetic products. The product, named Gaunyle, also contains neem tree extract and pine scent and costs about the same as conventional cleaners. “It is a win-win situation for us,” said Minister of Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi, who came up with the idea. “No harm to janitors by way of daily exposure to chemicals, and cows will be valued more.” Buoyed by the product’s acceptance, Anuradha Modi, who heads the Holy Cow Foundation, which supplies Gaunyle, said her organization is looking for other ways to market the “piles of cow dung and cow urine” that go to waste in India. (India’s The Economic Times)


National Insecurity


Ottawa firefighters responding to an alarm at the construction site of one of the Canadian government’s most secret installations discovered an “extreme vulnerability” that allowed them to enter the $800 million building: a back gate secured only by a simple padlock. The small fire, caused by cans of tar and a heater left by construction workers, was quickly extinguished. Afterwards, the Toronto Star requested documents pertaining to the incident, only to be told by Communications Security Establishment Canada officials that the information would make the spy agency vulnerable to “attack from a hostile entity” if it were revealed “that there is nothing but a padlock protecting our gates.” The agency then mistakenly provided all the information to the paper, including security patrol schedules, names of CSEC employees, the number of broken surveillance cameras and other top-secret details. (The Toronto Star)


Irony Illustrated


Adam Wisneski, 31, rode his bicycle to a Chicago police station to report a stolen iPhone. He didn’t have his lock, so he asked if he could leave his bike inside the station. After filling out a police report, he turned around to find someone had stolen his bike. (Chicago’s WBBM Radio)


Forgive and Forget


After Charlene and Charles Earle drove to a hospital in Orange City, Florida, for treatment of injuries from a fight at home, sheriff’s deputies described the couple as “mutual combatants.” Charlene Earle is 83, 4 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 88 pounds. Charles Earle is 87. They’ve been married 64 years. They told authorities they didn’t remember the incident or why they were arguing. (The Daytona Beach News-Journal)


Curses, Foiled Again


Police thought Luis Moreno Jr., 26, was driving solo in a carpool lane in Fort Lee, New Jersey, but when they stopped him, he showed he was legal by pointing out two men in the back of the SUV. The men said they were kidnap victims. Moreno tried to flee, but rush-hour traffic stalled his getaway, and he was arrested. (New York Daily News)


Shirking-Class Hero


A.K. Verma, an assistant executive engineer at India’s Central Public Works Department (CPWD), went on leave in 1990 but declined to return to work. “He went on seeking extension of leave, which was not sanctioned, and defied directions to report to work,” a government statement said, noting that an inquiry found Verma guilty of “willful absence from duty” in 1992. He remained on unauthorized leave for another 22 years, however, before Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu finally ordered his dismissal to “streamline the functioning of CPWD and to ensure accountability.” (The Guardian)


Never Give Up


Dwayne Jackson, 48, forced his way into a home in Ewing, New Jersey, found a spatula in a kitchen drawer and tried to slit his throat with it. When that failed, police Capt. Rocco Maruca said, Jackson used a butcher’s knife to stab himself in the stomach. At that point, the 76-year-old homeowner appeared with a loaded .357 handgun, which Jackson wrestled away from him and used to shoot himself in the face. Jackson survived and was hospitalized in stable condition. (The Times of Trenton)



Compiled from mainstream news sources by Roland Sweet

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