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August 18-31
VOL.14 ISSUE. 26

News Quirks: Kill It With Fire

Roland Sweet
Published Thursday April 30, 06:40 pm
Igniting mice? It’ll be fine. What could possibly go wrong?

Photo Credit: Myron Campbell

Verlin Sexton, 48, told authorities investigating a fire that destroyed his garage and damaged his house in Fremont, Ohio, that it started while he was using spray paint and a lighter as a torch to kill a mouse. He also said he went to the garage to smoke, noticed black smoke filling the garage and saw flames in the corner, so he ran to get a pan of water; when he returned, the fire was out of control. Then he said he saw flames in boxes and tried to kick the fire out, but it spread. He was charged with intentionally setting the fire. (Fremont’s The News-Gazette)

Bugs One, Rental Car Zero

Scott Kemery, 44, told authorities investigating a car fire in Eastport, New York, that he believed his rental car was filled with bedbugs, so he doused the interior with rubbing alcohol. Confident it worked, he got back in the car and lit a cigarette, igniting the alcohol. He fled the vehicle but suffered first- and second-degree burns. The rental car was destroyed, and intense heat from the fire badly damaged two other cars. (Newsday)

The Dirtiest Clean Energy

The adult video site Pornhub posted a promotional video announcing it is developing a wearable device so men can generate electricity while masturbating. Dubbed “Wankband,” it straps to a user’s wrist and makes electricity when moved up and down, then stores the power, which can be retrieved by using a USB port to charge laptops, phones, cameras and tablets. “We’re going to show men how they can save the planet while doing what they do best,” the Pornhub video said. (New York Daily News)

A Master Of Forgery

Cass Alder, 22, bought table napkins made with images of $100 bills on them, then cut out the images, glued them onto paper and tried passing one of the bogus bills at a convenience store. The clerk refused to accept it. Alder exited the store but left the bill behind. It was used in evidence against him at his trial in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, where a provincial court judge sentenced him to 18 months probation. (Charlottetown’s The Guardian)

Damp Drones

U.S. military researchers plan to test whether drones can be placed on the ocean floor for an indefinite period and then be activated remotely to attack surface targets. The drone operation, named the Upward Falling Payload program, faces three challenges, according to Steven H. Walker, deputy director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which heads the project: how to remotely trigger the launch, how to get the drone to float to the surface and how to power and protect the system on the ocean floor for more than a year. (The Washington Times)

Tourist Traps

Now that affluent Chinese have become big-spending travelers, the China National Tourist Administration announced it would document “uncivilized” behaviour by travelers abroad who have “tarnished” China’s image and need to “learn a lesson.” Inappropriate behaviour includes violating customs, destroying public infrastructure and historic sites, causing disturbances on public transport and participating in gambling and prostitution. The agency said it would compile reports from local tourism bureaus, media reports and the general public and keep records for up to two years. It didn’t specify the nature of any punishment. In February, Thai authorities issued thousands of Chinese-language etiquette manuals after Chinese tourists were caught drying underwear at a temple, kicking a bell at a sacred shrine and washing their feet in a public restroom. (Reuters)

Arranged Marriages Are Awesome

An Indian bride dumped the groom after he incorrectly answered an arithmetic problem. Tipped off before the arranged marriage that Ram Baran was illiterate, Lovely Singh asked him to add 15 and 6. He replied 17, according to a police official in Rasulabad, Uttar Pradesh. Father of the bride Mohar Singh said the “groom’s family had kept us in the dark about his poor education.” (BBC News)

Arranged Marriages Are Awesome 2: Epileptic Boogaloo

Also in Uttar Pradesh, when the groom at a wedding in Rampur had a seizure during the ceremony and was taken to the hospital, the bride and her family learned that he was epileptic and had kept that information from them. The angry bride then asked a guest, a member of her brother-in-law’s family, to marry her instead. He agreed. When the original groom, 25-year-old Jugal Kishore, returned from the hospital, he pleaded with the woman to change her mind, but she refused. Kishore and his family lodged a complaint, police official Ram Khiladi Solanki said, “But since the bride is already married now, what can anyone do?” (BBC News)

(No) Crime And (Lots Of) Punishment

After an assistant principal at a middle school in Bedford County, Virginia, found a plant leaf and a lighter in a sixth-grader’s knapsack, the boy was suspended for 364 days and charged in juvenile court with possession of marijuana. Repeated testing, however, determined that the leaf wasn’t pot. Prosecutors dropped the charge, but the school upheld the suspension, citing school policy prohibiting not only controlled substances, but also imitations. School officials ordered the boy evaluated for a substance-abuse problem, which he doesn’t have. The school system also tried to reassign the 11-year-old, who had been enrolled in a gifted-and-talented program, to a program for troubled kids before allowing him to return to a regular school on strict probation. (The Roanoke Times)

That’s Not Not-Pot

Sheriff’s deputies who stopped a vehicle in Lincoln, Nebraska, reported finding a 16-ounce container under the front passenger’s seat labeled “Not Weed.” It held 11.4 grams of marijuana. The 21-year-old driver admitted it belonged to him and was arrested. (Lincoln Journal Star)

Hypocrisy On Parade

The National Rifle Association banned working guns from its annual convention this year in Nashville, Tennessee. The group will require the thousands of firearms displayed at the event to have their firing pins removed for safety. (Nashville’s The Tennessean)

No Room For The Dead

California’s death row, the United States’ largest, has run out of room. With 738 inmates in lethal limbo since a court invalidated the state’s lethal injection method nearly a decade ago, Governor Jerry Brown asked the Legislature for more than $3 million to open 100 new cells for condemned men at San Quentin Prison, which already has 715 inmates facing execution. Brown’s request, the Los Angeles Times said, “anticipates an average of 20 new arrivals on death row yearly” without a decrease in the existing condemned population. (NPR)

Problem Solved

Authorities concerned with large numbers of boarded-up homes in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area because of widespread foreclosures launched a pilot program to disguise the vacant houses by installing vinyl siding with painted doors and windows over the plywood. The program aims to upgrade the aesthetic condition of the buildings to reduce vandalism and improve nearby property values. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Profit Center

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration last year collected almost $675,000 in loose change left behind by travelers at security checkpoints. According to TSA figures, that amount is up from $638,000 the year before. Travelers at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport left the most change, $43,000. Overall, the agency has collected $3.5 million in loose change since 2008. (Time)

Overeater’s Lament

After John Noble, 53, shot and killed himself at a Henderson, Nevada, resort buffet, authorities said he left a suicide note blaming the resort for his death by withdrawing its offer of free meals for life. The M Resort Spa Casino awarded him unlimited meals at its buffet in 2010 for being an M “biggest winner.” Three years later, it banned him from the property for harassing some of the women working there. “I was unjustifiably kicked out,” Noble insisted on a two-hour DVD of him talking about his troubles that accompanied his note. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

When Guns Are Outlawed

Aaron Anthony Doney, 19, an inmate at Montana’s Cascade County Detention Center, was charged with possession of a deadly weapon after he reportedly sharpened a plastic spork. (Great Falls Tribune)

Compiled from mainstream news sources by Roland Sweet.

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