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August 18-31
VOL.14 ISSUE. 26

News Quirks

Roland Sweet
Published Thursday June 25, 05:27 pm
Police consider deploying latest in stink bomb technology

Photo Credit: Illustration by Myron Campbell

American law-enforcement agencies seeking ways to disperse rioters non-violently are considering importing a chemical product that Israeli police insist “prevents casualties to protesters and security personnel.” Called Skunk, it smells like raw sewage mixed with a putrefying cow carcass. Israeli soldiers regularly spray Skunk from water cannons at Palestinian protestors. The manufacturer, pesticide specialist Odortec, says the mixture of yeast and protein is non-toxic. The only reported side effect is difficulty getting the stench out of clothing and off bodies. (The Economist)



An audit of the Hartford, Conn., police shooting range revealed that 200,000 rounds of ammunition were missing. The report said range administrator Officer Louis Crabtree purchased 485,000 rounds per year over the past six years, when only 240,000 rounds were required and 180,000 rounds actually used. What’s more, Crabtree circumvented the budget process by buying some ammunition on credit to push payment into the next fiscal year. Even so, at the time of the audit, the ammo vendor was owed more than $186,000. (Hartford Courant)


Canadians now have shorter attention spans than goldfish, thanks to widespread use of mobile digital devices. After reviewing surveys of more than two thousand Canadians, Microsoft Corp. researchers determined that attention spans had fallen from an average of 12 seconds in 2000 to eight seconds today. Goldfish average a nine-second attention span. (Ottawa Citizen)


Among the assets for sale as part of RadioShack’s bankruptcy is customer data that the retailer collected over decades. The records include names, e-mail addresses and phone numbers for 117 million people. Hedge fund Standard General, which bought 1743 RadioShack store leases to co-brand with Sprint, is the leading bidder for the customer data. (Washington Post)


Deputies investigating the theft of a cash register at the Build-A-Burger restaurant in Mount Morris, N.Y., caught up with suspects Matthew P. Sapetko, 34, James P. Marullo, 35, and Timothy S. Walker Jr., 23, by following “a steady trail of macaroni salad” which they’d also stolen and were taking turns eating during their escape. After the arrest, the restaurant posted a sign claiming it had the best burgers and “mac salad worth stealing for.” (Rochester’s Democrat & Chronicle and WHAM-TV)


Following the world’s first penis transplant in South Africa in December — a 21-year-old man whose penis was amputated following a botched ritual circumcision three years earlier — the head of the surgical team, urologist Dr. Andre van der Merwe, 46, said nine more patients are waiting for the same surgery after losing their penises in similar circumstances. And he’s been flooded with requests from around the world. “I had someone e-mail from America who wants his penis removed,” he said. “He wants to be genderless and donate his penis to somebody.” The doctor said he was wary of such a donor, though, because the man might later change his mind and hunt down the recipient. Van der Merwe had anticipated his first patient would need two years for sex to be viable, but it took only five weeks. (South Africa’s Times and Britain’s The Guardian)


Suicide bombers Ghulam Rasul and Muhammad Sultan got into an argument while sitting on benches near a traffic circle in Sargodha, Pakistan, according to local police, who reported that during their brawl one of the terrorists accidentally triggered an improvised explosive device in his vest. The explosion killed both men. (Pakistan’s Express Tribune)


A 70-year-old woman delivering the Kitsap Sun newspaper outside Bremerton, Wash., died after a 62-year-old man delivering the Seattle Times newspaper to the same address accidentally ran over her. Sheriff’s investigators said the victim had parked her car and got out to carry the paper to a customer’s driveway, where the other carrier was backing out. (Associated Press)


Police in Henrico County, Va. received a call that a woman had left her children in a car while she shopped. By the time an officer arrived, the woman had returned to the car, so they were unable to arrest her. Instead, the officer swore out a warrant and told her to turn herself in. The woman, Laquanda Newby, 25, arrived at the county courthouse as promised, but she again left her children, ages one and six, in the car with the windows rolled up when she went inside. She was arrested when surveillance video showed them alone for more than an hour. (Richmond’s WTVR-TV)


Visible minorities may perceive entering a room full of white people as a “microaggression,” says a report by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Students of color reported feeling uncomfortable and unwelcomed just walking into or sitting in the classroom, especially if they were the only person of color, or one of a few,” the report stated. Academics define “microaggressions” as “brief, everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to certain individuals because of their group membership.” (National Review)


Clarence Sturdivant, 64, shot his 66-year-old neighbour in Harvey, La., because he wanted a Budweiser, but the neighbour handed him a can of Busch instead. Witnesses said the two then argued over the merits of the respective brands, until the victim threatened Sturdivant with a gun, and the Bud-lover responded with a shotgun blast that wounded his neighbour in the arm. (Reuters)


Indiana’s Hoosier Lottery unveiled a game featuring bacon-scented tickets. Cash prizes in the Bringin’ Home the Bacon game go as high as $10,000, and five players will win a 20-year supply of bacon, valued at $5,000, and paid in annual installments. (Associated Press)


Compiled from mainstream news sources by Roland Sweet. 

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