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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Weird news - Unwilling to claim large planes

This particular case may be driven totally by economics, but it is really weird no matter whether it is logical. People are loath to give up items of value, and would consider leaving anything of value with somebody else as something to be avoided. Even if the item is not working, it could still be scrapped. And then you read this article where planes have been left at an airport with nobody willing to claim them. The concept being that the pending charges for these planes (including airport charges and others) would be so bad that the owners are not showing up to claim these planes. However, it is weird that the airport has no paperwork or documentation to track who actually owns these planes, and these are massive planes (link to article):
The operators of Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) have placed a bizarre advertisement in a Malaysian newspaper seeking the owners of three 747-200F aircraft apparently abandoned there. "If you fail to collect the aircraft within 14 days of the date of this notice, we reserve the right to sell or otherwise dispose of the aircraft" under Malaysian regulations, said the ad which ran in Monday's edition of The Star. The notice was addressed to the "untraceable owner" of the planes.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Weird news - Man smuggling large number of turtles

Smuggles are known to try and smuggle anything of value across borders, with drugs being one of the most common and value enhancing smuggling activities, and the smuggling of people one of the most tragic smuggling cases (with numerous such activities resulting in the deaths of many of those being smuggled across). Rare and precious animal species also form a large part of such smuggling activities, such as in this case. One can only stop and wonder about how people are able to smuggle a large number of such animals with the expectation that they will be successful, with each smuggling trip making them more confident (till the time that they are caught). Imagine smuggling 41 turtles on your body (just the fact that the ones taped to your body would be squirming and moving would make it so squeamish and ticklish is enough to turn off most people when they think about this). (link to article)
In August 2014, Xu crossed the U.S.-Canada border into Detroit and was watched by U.S. agents as he picked up a package at a parcel center and appeared to transfer items before heading back to the border, according to a criminal complaint. When he passed back through the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, Xu was stopped by Canadian Border Services, which found and seized 41 live turtles taped to his legs and 10 hidden between his legs, the complaint said. The day of his arrest, Xu packed more than 1,000 turtles into suitcases that he sent with a runner he had hired to fly them to Shanghai from Detroit, prosecutors said.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Weird news - Suspected thief stuck in chimney, dies after fire lit

It's always been a horror story. Imagine those scenes in movies where people try to enter a secure place or escape captivity by going through narrow pipes or metal tubes where there is a flame going to come through, or a fan moves at regular intervals that can cut people to pieces, and they manage to make it through everytime. Real life is more dangerous, and people are not successful every time they try to make it through such dangerous entrances. One of the perennial questions about the concept of Santa Claus is about coming in the house through a chimney, and whether Santa would get stuck inside the chimney or if the fire was lit, then it would get real dangerous. In a tragic case, a real life situation ended up where a suspected thief tried to enter the house through a chimney, got stuck, and died when the house owner lit a fire (without knowing that there was somebody stuck in the chimney). What a horrible way to die, although it might be the gases passing through the confined chimney rather than the fire or heat itself (link to article):
The man appeared to have climbed into the chimney during the night while the owner was away and then became stuck, according to the Fresno County Sheriff's Office. The owner of the home in Huron lit a fire in his fireplace on Saturday afternoon but then heard a man yelling inside the chimney as the house filled with smoke, the sheriff's office said in a statement. The homeowner tried to extinguish the flames but firefighters who dismantled the chimney during a rescue effort found the suspect dead inside, the sheriff's office said.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Weird news - Spiders invade a town in US town in Tennessee

Weird indeed. One might have seen some B-grade horror movie that describes the assaults of spiders on a town. These could be deformed or mutant spiders that have grown large and aggressive and attack a small town. Causing huge casualties in the population, put a huge fear within the humans and eventually cause a fightback where some solution is found to get rid of the spiders. In the movies, these are all large spiders, that are very scary. In real life, there are small spiders that don't threaten the population of an entire town, but can be very venomous to individual people and can cause death in some cases.
This was a case out of the ordinary. People suddenly find a huge number (millions) of small spiders that have invaded a small town in the state of Tennessee in the US. These are small spiders that are individually non-threatening and non-poisonous, but it is very unsettling to see so many small spiders (and many humans have an inherent fear of spiders). Where did they all come from and how to get rid of them ? (link to article):
Experts say the presence of the spiders is not a bad thing. The spiders are coming from web, part of what Memphis Zoo Curator Steve Reichling said is a natural "mass dispersal" of harmless, beneficial arachnids. But residents are not happy. "Clean this area up and spray for these spiders and make it safe. There are kids running around. A spider could bite the kids or anything," Lewis said. On Twitter, the editor-in-chief of the Memphis Business Journal called for immediate civic action.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Weird news - Not knowing that you are pregnant and ready to deliver

It is always so weird when you read the news that somebody gave birth but did not really know that they were pregnant. Obviously, the basic criteria is that the person involved either does know what a pregnancy involves, or they believe that they are beyond being pregnant. In this case, the lady did not believe that she could be pregnant, even though she was having regular intercourse with her boyfriend, believing that she would be a parent some time in the future.
So, for many months in the interim, she had no idea that she was carrying a baby inside her, but was having some stomach pains, and decided to get it checked out. What a shock it must have been, when she was informed that the stomach pains was actually a baby getting ready to come out in the world, and within an hour of this information being given to her, she actually gave birth to a healthy baby. Instead of coming back from the hospital with some pills for her stomach pain, she came back with a small baby daughter, an incredible surprise (link to article):
A Massachusetts woman found out the pains in her stomach Tuesday morning were actually a baby who was ready to be delivered.Katherine (Katie) Kropas gave birth to her daughter an hour after being told she was pregnant at the South Shore Hospital in South Weymouth. “It’s just been a rollercoaster,” her mother Karen told the Daily News. “But the mother and daughter and doing great.” Katie told The News she had no idea she was pregnant and had none of the usual symptoms like morning sickness. But when she had stomach pains she checked herself into the hospital Tuesday and awaited the test results.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Weird news - Poo bomb from plane crashes into house

Planes fly at very high altitudes, and as a result, if something falls from a plane, it can reach a high speed when falling down and hence can be very dangerous if somebody is below the falling object. At the same time, planes are closed objects, with the chance of something falling from planes being rare. However, once in a while, incidents are reported, such as this case (if it is true). A couple in their house hear a loud noise, and think it is some incident (car accident) outside. However, they don't see anything outside and instead find a hole in their roof, and a seven inch chunk of ice on their lawn.
The lump of frozen urine and faeces is the component of this ice, and this sounds so icky, that a collection of wastes from people in a flight overhead made its way down to their house and caused them damage. The chance of something happening like this is very rare, and it is tricky for them to convince the insurance company that this damage to their house is because of this reason (link to article):
Keith Mead, 70, and his wife Ruth, 67, heard a loud bang and rushed outside thinking there had been a car accident. But they were surprised when they saw a hole in their roof and found the seven-inch long chunk of ice on the lawn. The lump of frozen urine and faeces, which was seven inches long and weight more than a pound, had fallen from a jet about 30,000 feet overhead after being flushed from a toilet on the plane, they claim. Mead bagged up the ice ball and put it in his freezer to show insurance assessors who visited that day. "It was just as if someone had crashed into our house. I looked up and there was a gaping hole where a large lump of ice had impacted the roof," he said.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Weird news - Toddler takes wheel after mom falls out of car

It sounds so weird, when you see news like that. Driving when under the influence of alcohol is very dangerous, and is strictly punished if somebody is caught when driving drunk. This has increased in the recent years, with a night in the lockup almost guaranteed if something is caught driving drunk. However, people do continue to drive drunk, even though they know the consequences. A person driving drunk is a menace to himself/herself, and to others in the area.
This however is even more problematic when there are children in the vehicle, which is being driven by somebody who is drunk. A mother with children in the car, who are not able to take care of themselves, is so tragic when the mother is drunk, since the consequences of any accident to these children is grave. In this particular case, the mother fell out of the vehicle and it was one of the toddles who managed to take the wheel to some extent and take the vehicle to the side and stop by hitting an embankment (link to article):
Taloa Foster, 33, was charged with child endangerment after being suspected of drunken driving, the Pontotoc County District Attorney's office said. Witnesses said the child grabbed the wheel and steered the truck across lanes of traffic after his mother fell off the vehicle on Wednesday. The boy's twin brother was also in the truck at the time, US media reports said. The vehicle eventually crashed into an embankment along the road near Ada, about 130 km southeast of Oklahoma City.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Weird news - Man declared dead, gets up before post-mortem

It is hard to visualize this entire concept. If a person has been found dead, then the law mandates that a post-mortem be done to establish the reason of death, and a post-mortem is a pretty tough process where the body is cut open, the various internal organs taken out and sent for analysis, and so on. How do you visualize the concept where a man is declared dead and then wakes up before the post-mortem can be carried out, and the Doctor who declared this man dead tries to cover up the tracks by removing the documentation, supported by the other doctors.
This case has happened before, but it is still weird when it happens. Except for some extra-ordinary cases where a person has supposed to be declared dead and then wakes up later, it is normally pretty easy for a doctor to determine if a person is dead (pulse, heart, brain activity), and unless revival has happened, the person stays dead. Thus, it is weird if the person wakes up after being declared dead (link to article):
In what could have been a scene from a comedy, a patient at Sion Hospital woke up minutes before his post-mortem, after a doctor had mistakenly declared him dead. The reality is far from funny, however, as the incident points to shocking negligence at the civic hospital. What's worse, according to the police, the doctor at fault immediately destroyed all records of the incident in an effort to cover up his mistake. The body was taken to the mortuary on a stretcher, where it was kept near the lift in the lobby. From there, the body was to be taken to the first floor for the post-mortem. But just as morgue staffers Subhash and Surender were about to take the body upstairs, they received a shock: "The dead man was breathing. We saw his stomach moving up and down," said Subhash.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Weird news - Saudi woman divorced husband because he was too short

This one is a weird one, but maybe not so much. Divorce rates are increasing, and the reasons for the divorce may not seem logical for somebody seeing it from much further away, and may be entirely logical and reasonable for somebody who is involved in the whole matter. And divorce based on physical appearances is something very common, even though in many cases, some other reason may be given for the same.
What seems funny in this case is the public perception of Saudi Arabia as a place where women are oppressed, where they have no rights. This may be true to a large extent (for example, they are not allowed to drive), but this case where a wife filed a petition for divorce seems to suggest that there are many rights available to a women. In this case, the wife wanted a divorce since her husband was much shorter than her, and the public reaction to their height differences was enough that she wanted out of this marriage (link to article)
The woman, in her 20s, has reportedly told the endowment department in the country's eastern province that she wanted to separate from her husband because she is painfully uneasy with, and caused distress by, attitudes towards the union from strangers in public. The head of the endowment department in Al Qatif, Shaikh Mohammed Al Jirani, said the case was among the strangest it had dealt with. News of the woman's bold move has received a mixed response on social media, with some blaming her for accepting to marry him to begin with, while a few said she was right to be divorcing the man as his height was not an issue which could be overcome with mere patience.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Weird news - Lady had an explosive shell as her vase

And never knew that it was a live shell. One reads in the newspaper from time to time that during construction or some renovation, live, unexploded bombs and ordnance were found in various towns in Britain or in Germany, and in some of the other European countries (although the number of bombs dropped in countries other than Germany and Britain was far lower). The number of bombs used in both World Wars was incredibly high, and not all of them had exploded; the ones that remained in place, unexploded, have to be treated as lethal since they were unstable and an explosion would result in carnage for many meters all around the bomb site.
In this case, the lady apparently had a close call. She was using a bomb as her flower vase, a heavy metal cylindrical container with a screw on cap to replace the flowers. The bomb had explosive inside it, which made it very deadly; and her 'Oh shit' moment came when she saw a documentary and realized that there were explosives dropped nearby in the First World War and what she had could be one of those. It was when the explosives were removed that she would have had a sigh of relief (link to article):
“I have had the shell on the mantelpiece for three decades now and even took it to university. I used to stick plastic roses out of the top of it when I was dancing around to Madonna. Luckily my husband Chris just thought it was funny,” she was quoted as saying by The Mirror. Rawlins had called the police and experts were brought in to safely remove the explosive before the vase was handed back to her. “I used to unscrew it and put the flowers out of the top. It’s really heavy to hold and has some writing that looks like it could be German around the top. I took it into school to show the kids - they loved it,” Rawlins said.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Weird news - Imagine a cow landing on car bonnet

In odd stories, one has heard of storm systems picking up all sorts of living creatures over the water and then dumping them as part of rain over land. So, from time to time, people see a rain of fish, or even eels. It is surprising, but there has been a scientific explanation, and even though it can be shocking for fish or some other such creatures to land among you, it typically does not have the potential to hurt you (would be a different matter if a shark or a crocodile was picked up and then landed near you - but it is hard to pick up such heavy creatures and carry them for long distances).
But one thing somebody driving on the road would never have expected would be seeing a flying cow (or a cow falling from the skies) and landing on top of the bonnet. A cow is heavy enough that it would be fatal for the cow to land like this, but it also has the risk of causing grave injury or even death if such a cow was to land on somebody. In this case, it was not a flying cow or some storm, but a cow falling off a cliff-side but by coincidence, landing on the bonnet of a car passing by. The impact of the cow was such that it killed the cow, and caused damage to the car (but the people in the car escaped any injury) (link to article):
A man driving in France met with a bizarre accident in which a cow fell on his car’s bonnet. The incident happened when he was driving with his stepson through the Pyrenees mountains near Perthus on the border with Spain. While the father-son duo had a narrow escape after the 500 kg animal crash landed on the car, the cow did not survive the impact. The car which was badly damaged, was halted abruptly.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Weird news: Mother died in pothole, daughter charged with murder

This is a totally weird story. When an accident happens, it is normally treated as an accident, especially when the person driving is following traffic rules, not driving drunk or in similar situations. If the road was in a bad condition, or a large pothole was there which caused an accident, then it would follow logical reasoning that the road owning authorities should be held responsible, whether this be the contractor who built the road and it deteriorated within an expected period of time, or the authority engineers who were supposed to certify the road construction. But it is really weird that the police decided to take the side of these authorities and filed a case against the driver of the two-wheeler (the daughter of the lady who died in this accident) (link to article):
Losing her mother on 26 July was a huge shock for Priti Rathod. The 26-year-old was returning home with her mother when her scooter fell into a pothole in a town near Mumbai. Her mother was thrown off the scooter and died of head injuries. Priti, who works with a multinational company, has now been charged with causing her mother's death by rash driving. "I am too shocked to react. The cops have made me the accused in a case where my mother was killed," she told NDTV. When Priti went to the police to complain against the contractor involved in the construction of the road, they allegedly refused to register her complaint and recorded a case of "accidental death."

Friday, September 25, 2015

Weird news: Man rips lover when she screams her ex's name out during sex

During sexual intercourse, it is quite natural for people to become animated and passionate. The body is full of hormones during the act, and this also has a huge emotional impact on people. When the feeling of love or attraction to somebody can drive people into high degrees of passion, including negative ones, one can only consider the emotions during the sexual act. This one is a case of passion, where the post sexual experience and the sudden dissonance caused an extreme reaction from the man.
During the act of sexual intercourse, the lady uttered not her lover's name, but her ex-husband's name. This caused such an extreme fit of anger in the man that, being in a drunk position, he could not restrain his fury and decided to attack her. In this case, he actually killed her by attacking her with objects as well as with his own hands (link to article):
Lopez, however, changed his story later, revealing that he had killed Nemeth in a drunken rage after she cried out another man's name during sex. He admitted to having attacked Nemeth, inserting foreign objects inside her, mutilating her with "various objects", and then eviscerated her with his bare hands. Lopez, then, tried to revive her by splashing water on her face. But when that did not work, he called the police at around 3.30 in the morning and gave them the fabricated story. Nemeth, whose naked body was found lying in a pool of blood by the paramedics, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Weird news: Man reveals theft plans through 911 call

The 911 is an emergency service in the United States, allowing residents to call for help from state emergency officials (police, ambulance, paramedics, fire services, etc). These are pretty effective when people need their help, and are part of the overall infrastructure of the country (to the extent, that the phone networks and even new services have to include the 911 service as part of their services). From time to time, there are one-off cases where people misuse these services, and these make the headlines (did not like the pizza delivered, so call the 911 service, or many such similar misuses). These are penalized, but nobody would have expected this kind of 911 call.
The robber had by mistake dialed 911 and revealed the entire plans for the robbery while talking to an accomplice, discussing their plans of breaking into houses, and stealing the house of its contents. When the robbery happened, the police knew who was behind these robberies, and promptly arrested him (news to link)

US police have arrested a man after he mistakenly revealed his burglary plans by dialing emergency number 9-1-1. In what is colloquially known as a "butt-dial", 42-year-old Scott Robert Esser framed himself for his own crime by alerting authorities in New Jersey about his robbery plans. He was talking with a co-conspirator about his plans and has since been caught and indicted by the Somerset County Superior Court. Unbeknown to Esser, police were listening in as Esser and an alleged accomplice discussed their plans for breaking into homes, emptying drawers, stealing watches and smashing a back door, according to an affidavit filed by Branchburg detective Edward Edgar.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Weird news: Teen discovers that he has cockroaches inside the ear

From time to time, children are warned to wash up before they have their food, else they would develop insects inside their body. And for horror movies, a typical scene is that of creatures (from this world or aliens) invading the human body and growing inside the body until they are ready to come out and destroy the body while doing this.
So, if somebody says that they have cockroaches growing inside their body, it would be hard for anybody to believe this. After all, how would the growing cockroaches or the eggs end up inside the human body and how could they grow ? And how could 26 cockroaches end up inside the body ? (Link to article)

A 19-year-old, who went to his doctor complaining of a ear ache, was horrified when he was told that 26 cockroaches were living inside his ear. Li, 19, recalled that he woke up in the middle of the night with an unbearable itch in his ear that grew increasingly painful, reports In desperation, he stuck a finger in his ear and felt a sensation deep inside. However, his room mate found no trace of anything unusual. The next day, Li visited the hospital, where doctors performed an endoscopy and found his ear was packed with cockroaches. A female cockroach had been living in Li’s ear canal for weeks and had laid eggs.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Weird news: Brazilian couple discover that they are siblings

For those who have read classical Greek literature, the story of Oedipus is something that is very stark; inspite of all the efforts to prevent it, the son finally ends up marrying the mother. His family knew of a prophecy that warned of this, and they sent him away when he was a baby so that he could be killed. However, he survived and lived at another king's court; and the prophecy finally came true later when killed his real father in a roadside argument, and then, in another twist of fate, married his mother. When they found out the truth, his mother killed herself and he blinded himself.
In this case, the Brazilian couple were both abandoned at birth. They continued their efforts at individually finding their birth families, When the wife finally found her mother, she also learned to her horror, that her husband had the same mother and hence they were also brother sister. However, in this case, they have accepted their fate and decided to make a success of their marriage (link to article)
Adriana and Leandro, a Brazilian couple, both abandoned by their mothers in childhood, spent their lives anxiously searching for their mothers. They couldn't have imagined in their wildest dreams what their search would lead to. The couple knew that their mothers shared the same name, Maria, but thought it was just a coincidence. When Adriana decided to step up her search, she joined the 'Angel of Meetings', a daily broadcast on Brazilian radio station Radio Globo promoting the reunion of people with relatives and friends who are no longer in contact. Little did she know what was in store for her family.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Weird news - Woman crushed in escalator in China, manages to save child

This is the like a horror story. And yet, it just underscores how so many modern items we deal with on a regular basis can become so dangerous so quickly. And this is not an isolated accident, there have been problems with escalators over the years (why do you think a red emergency stop button was added to escalators for a quick stop of everything). It becomes even more horrifying when you think of how she died (don't watch the video in the attached article if you want to avoid seeing horrifying images). The miracle in this whole episode is how the woman was with her son, and before she died, she was able to hand over her son to 2 employees of the mall, with the son surviving the accident, but seeing his mother dying horribly in front of him.
And why did this accident happen ? Well, seems criminal. A metal plate at the top of the escalator was loose, and as the woman stepped on it, it opened and she was exposed to the machinery. The machinery did not have automatic cut-off to prevent such accidents, and it ground remorselessly on, killing the woman (link to article):
The scene can only be described as horrific: On an otherwise unremarkable morning, a woman is riding up a shopping center escalator in central China with her son. When she reaches the top and begins to disembark, she steps onto a metal footplate covering the machinery. The plate collapses, dropping the woman into the gears. She shoves her child into the arms of two mall employees, and is crushed to death. According to Xiang’s sister-in-law, Xiang apparently was unaware of any problem with the escalator until she and her son had already stepped onto the moving staircase, which was still in motion and not blocked off in any way. People questioned why the escalator was allowed to keep running or was not cordoned off if it posed a danger. Two employees, seen in the closed-circuit video circulated online, were standing at the top of the escalator, apparently trying to talk with Xiang as she and her son rode up.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Weird news: Bees attack aircraft, prevent delays

Well, not in the type shown in horror films where a supposed swarm of killer bees would attack the aircraft and through whatever means, get inside the aircraft and attack the passengers, biting many to death. More of a kind where it was not safe for the plane to take off with so many bees all around. If a bee got into the plane, it would be unsafe, similarly, if a bee got into the wiring or anything like that, it would be unsafe. As a result, the flight had to be delayed until the bees were removed and there was no threat to either the passengers or the flight because of the bees (link to article):
The bees flew from under a wing, some attached themselves to the wing, while others covered windows of the Airbus-319. Two ambulances were called to the plane amid fears that the bees might get inside the cabin. Airport staff then 'efficiently and quickly' removed the bees from the plane's fuselage, '' reported. The flight was delayed by slightly under an hour. It is not the first time bees have caused problems for an aircraft.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Weird news: Thief gets locked inside ATM

An ATM seems such an effective way to get money. You go to an ATM, put in your card, enter a password, and can get your money easily. This also makes it attractive to thieves. Some try to waylay people who are trying to withdraw their money (typically at isolated locations, or when it is darker), although in recent times there have been cases when people just try to steal the ATM machine itself. After all, the machine contains the money inside it, and when there is money inside a box, no matter how strong the box is, one can finally break it open and take the money. One bi variable in the business is about when the ATM is full of money or when it is almost empty.
Given this recent trend, ATM manufacturers and banks try to beat these thieves; some of these include ensuring a CCTV in the ATM room, having any attempts to tamper with the ATM's triggering an alarm, and some automation. This thief below would never have figured out that his attempt to steal from the ATM would ensure that he gets stuck in a dark room unless he was let out by the police (link to article):
"The accused has been identified as Zakhir, a 26-year-old carpenter. He entered the ATM when the guard was not there and tried to break open the machine using his carpentry tools. Failing in opening the machine he entered a small room built inside ATM to which the machine is attached, and tried to open the cash box of the machine from there," police said. "The intrusion detection system installed inside the automated teller machine got triggered by his efforts and the small cabin got jammed. The doors got locked and the lights went off. Zakhir got trapped inside the cabin, and an automatic message was generated by the system to its head office in Mumbai. The branch then informed its Delhi office which contacted the guard to locate his position," said a senior police officer.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Weird news: How many times can you fail a citizenship test ?

If you want to take citizenship of a country, a lot of countries insist on a test where you can show that you have the learnt the culture and the ethos of the country, know its history to some degree, and so on. This is because this would show that you are willing to assimilate in the culture of the country. One would expect that you would pass this test mostly the first time, since you would have done some preparation for this, but even if you were to fail it once, you would understand that there is a lot more needed to be done, and you would be allowed to give the test again, so that you could prepare more and be ready the next time.
The idea being, that if you fail this test multiple times, it shows that either you don't know enough about the country, or you could not be bothered with trying to learn more about the country. But no limits for how many times you can give this test ? That seems a bit strange. 60+ times, something is weird. And for 50 pounds per test, it is not such a small amount. (link to article):
Woman has spent more than £3,000 repeatedly sitting the £50-a-time exam Citizenship test asks 24 questions about British traditions and customs Individual case reveals that questionnaire can be completed infinite times Tory MP blasted situation, insisting that it just cannot be justified

Monday, July 6, 2015

Weird news: Mayor of Mexican town marries a crocodile for more fish

And this is not the first time he has done it, this being the second time (one does not know whether he got a divorce the first time). In a number of places around the world, there are some customs that seem weird, but which have been going on for so much time that they seem natural. For example, in the Philippines, during festival times, a person gets nailed to the cross to reenact the scene of Christ's Crucifixion, in some places in India brides are first married to some inanimate object so that a curse is transferred before they get married to the groom, and so on.
In this case, the custom is that for trying to ensure a good fishing season, the mayor of the place gets married to a crocodile in a proper marriage ceremony, including the crocodile being put in proper bridal gear and going through all the rituals. After the ceremony, the groom even dances with the bride (the crocodile) (link to article):
The mayor of a Mexican fishing town 'married' a crocodile dressed in a white gown yesterday, in a symbolic ceremony that's part of a local tradition. Before the union, the wedding party walked with the crocodile bride through the town of San Pedro Huamelula, in the south of the country. Town mayor Joel Vasquez Rojas married the reptile at the city hall then danced with it in his arms during a colorful party packed with local residents.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Weird news - World war 2 bomb kills digger operator

The amount of bombs that were dropped in various parts of Europe during the Second World War was incredible. During the bombing campaigns over Germany and Britain, and in other countries as well, there were a large number of casualties caused by these bombs. During days of the Blitz, when the German Air Force attacked Britain, a single night raid could cause thousands of dead; similarly, the aircraft raids on Berlin and other cities were mass killers, with the most powerful of these raids killing 10,000's of thousands of people in a single night. And this was not the only such event; the movement of the allies from both the east and west into Germany to defeat the Nazis were incredibly violent actions, and the amount of bombs used were massive.
These bombs did a lot of damage then, but many of them remained unexploded, and still cause a nuisance now and then. They would burrow down into the ground, and would remain there, a threat to the whole area around them for hundreds of yards, liable to go off if some kind of disturbance caused them to trigger. In many cases, with digging of areas for buildings or other such kind of construction, these bombs would be exposed and all work would stop until the bomb had been retrieved and then only the work would resume. The threat of such bombs is exposed in events such as these (link to article):
A second world war bomb exploded in a western German town on Friday, killing the driver of an excavator and wounding 13 other people, police have said. The explosion happened in an industrial area of Euskirchen, near Bonn, at a property used by a construction firm to sort and dispose of rubble. It wasn't immediately clear whether the explosives had long been buried in the ground or had inadvertently been brought to the site in a delivery of demolition waste. The driver of the mechanical digger was fatally injured after it hit the device, and two people nearby were seriously hurt. Another 11 people who were in the area suffered minor injuries. Windows, roofs and doors up to 400 metres away were damaged in the blast, police said.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Weird news: Man killed by automobile plant robot in Germany

Modern factories have a lot of automation that needs to happen. If you consider the assembly line of a modern automobile plant, there are a number of steps that need to happen again, which would include assembling various metal plates, bolting and welding them together, spray painting, etc. These used to be done by people earlier, but mostly these are repetitive operations that can be done by automation. Over the years, these assembly line operations have been taken over by robots; machines which do not look anything like the robots shown in movies, but essentially machines that have been built for such custom operations. These machines are expensive, but can work much faster than humans, have lower amount of errors and can easily earn back the amount invested in them.
One of the problems with robots or machines such as these is that they have been designed for a customer purpose which they do very well, but are not really designed for sudden or unusual events that happen, in which case their response would be nothing like how a human reacts. And the power that these machines have is pretty huge, being powered by machinery and being able to lift large weights easily and manipulate them. In this particular case, a contractor was killed in a mishap involving such a robot, where the robot grabbed the human and pushed him against a metal plate, killing in the process. And no, the robot is not being sent for a murder charge, but they would do well to investigate as to how the robot came to be in such a process (link to article):
A robot has killed a contractor at one of Volkswagen’s production plants in Germany, the automaker has said. The man died on Monday at the plant in Baunatal, about 100km (62 miles) north of Frankfurt, VW spokesman Heiko Hillwig said. The 22-year-old was part of a team that was setting up the stationary robot when it grabbed and crushed him against a metal plate, Hillwig said. He said initial conclusions indicate that human error was to blame, rather than a problem with the robot, which can be programmed to perform various tasks in the assembly process. He said it normally operates within a confined area at the plant, grabbing auto parts and manipulating them.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Weird news: Dangerous animals in the loose, due to floods

If one stops to think about it, zoos hold many wild animals, many of whom are dangerous to humans if they were to meet without any barriers. A number of zoos hold tigers, lions, hippos (which are the largest killers of humans in Africa); in several case, tigers or lions who have killed people in the wild have been captured and placed in zoos. They provide a way for people and children to see these animals in relative safety, but there have been many cases where people have either died or got injured; they entered the enclosures or the animals got free in some way.
A wild animal is on a hair trigger in the sense that an untrained person would not know the actions or gestures that could provoke action in the wild animal; if you consider a scenario where massive flooding causes the enclosures of the zoo to break open and the animals to get free, the animals would be in totally unknown conditions and stressed out, which is extremely dangerous for humans exposed to or near these animals. This is what happened in a zoo in Tbilisi, the capital of the country of Georgia (link to article):
Georgia mobilized its special forces on Sunday and warned residents in the capital not to leave their homes after lions, tigers and bears — among other animals — escaped during floods that have claimed at least 12 human lives. Heavy rains and wind hit Tbilisi overnight on Saturday, turning a normally small stream that runs through the hilly city into a surging river. Officials said 12 people were known to have died and about two dozen others were missing. The surging floodwater destroyed enclosures at the zoo, killing some animals and letting loose others. Georgian Culture Minister Mikheil Giorgadze told NBC News: "The special forces are doing everything to control the situation. We are all mobilized"

Friday, June 19, 2015

Weird news: Possible to be convicted for storing rain water

It sounds so weird, but must be normal for those who live in the region. Places that have a lot of water scarcity can have extensive legal arrangements for accounting for every drop of water; but, but, water that falls from the sky is also accounted for ? You live in a place, have a yard, but if you were to store the water falling from the sky in a water barrel for watering the garden, you have committed a crime ? That sounds so weird ? If having a water barrel is illegal and could lead to you being charged, building a water harvesting and recharge system would lead to long prison sentences ?
However, this legal arrangement is something that has been arranged by the law-makers of the state, and a process to try and change this to allow home-owners to save rain-water was defeated. (link to article):
Water is precious in the arid West, now more than ever as the worst drought in decades bakes fields in California and depletes reservoirs across the region. To encourage conservation, cities and water agencies in California and other states have begun nudging homeowners to use captured rain for their gardens, rather than water from the backyard faucet. But Colorado is one of the last places in the country where rainwater barrels are still largely illegal because of a complex system of water rights in which nearly every drop is spoken for. And when legislators here tried to enact a law this spring to allow homeowners to harvest the rain, conservationists got a lesson in the power of the entrenched rules that allocate Western water to those who have first claim to it. Even if it is the rain running down someone's roof.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Weird news: Too much tofu ?

Tofu is supposed to be healthy for a person, and is an important of the Chinese and Japanese diet. In fact, it is a high source of protein and has been recommended for people in order to get a diet where their protein deficiency has to be helped. Tofu helps a lot in this area.
But like any other item, too much of any item can be a problem. This is true of any kind of item, no matter how beneficial. And protein excess has been supposed to have health problems, so doctors do recommend minimum and maximum levels of protein that a person should consume.
But what happens when a person is fond of tofu and consumes it excessively ? Well, one expects that this will lead to health problems, and so it happened in this case (link to article):
Doctors in China had a tough time removing 420 kidney stones from a man's body who loved tofu. He Dong diet was high in protein due to the high intake of tofu which resulted in formation of kidney stones. Dong was diagnosed with this problem long time back but decided to stay away from the surgery.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Weird news: Woman sues for rights to sell space on the sun

There are a ton of jokes on the internet about fast dealing people tricking other people in all sorts of weird sales - the most famous jokes describing somebody being able to sell another person the Golden Gate Bridge or the Brooklyn Bridge, and this in fact is part of popular lore now; where somebody is presumed to be so naive or stupid that you could sell such a person a famous bridge.
The concept being that there will be some items you know are not for sale, such as a famous building or a famous bridge, but you could always find somebody who could be persuaded that indeed such items are for sale. However, in this modern age, trying to sell such an item on an ecommerce site or an auction side can put the site up for being liable for fraud, for selling something that they would know cannot be sold. As a result, you would find that these sites keep a track of items that are being sold on their sites, and quickly remove those that are objectionable in some way or the other - illegal, something that seems like fraud, or some other item that seems to violate their policies.
Suppose you were to see a listing where space on the sun was being sought to be sold; the reaction would be that you would be very surprised that something like this was being sought to be sold, or that the site was allowing something like this. To protect itself, the site would quickly remove such an item. However, the owner of the listing has challenged this removal and actually sought damages from the auction site over this removal, claiming that this has resulted in lost revenues. Weird (link to article):
Maria Duran, from Vigo in the Spanish region of Galicia, has been claiming ownership of part of the Sun since 2010 when she threatened to bill solar power users. She registered the star in her name at a notary office in Spain, before opening an eBay account selling square-metre plots for one euro each. But two years later eBay pulled her listings, noting it violated its intangible goods policy and her account was blocked. She threatened to sue, and now one Spanish court has recognised her claim, 'Sky News' reported. A trial will take place next month, with Ms Duran demanding around 7,500 pounds for payments she says she has not received.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Weird news: Arizona woman sentenced to prison for 3.5 years for driving over husband

Now, you might think that there might have been some reasons for this to happen ? Maybe she was being persecuted for such a long time by her husband that she finally burst and took this action, or maybe she was just plain loco and hence did this ? Well, the second one seems more likely, since the reason why she did sounds plain crazy. On a different note, even friends can get into arguments over politics, when they are passionate about it. And you do find a lot of people passionate about politics, since the right leader and the policies followed by them can sometimes make a difference to your lifestyle; or when you have a leader who follows policies that are different from the ones you follow, it can cause a lot of unease, and in extreme cases, you can even get into arguments with people who disagree with you (you just have to look at the comments section of news about politics and leaders to figure out the amount of passion some people have).
However, to take this passion into violent action is something that most people would consider out of normal, and to take this violent action against somebody in the family, or in this case, the husband, would seem weird. The lady tried to run her husband down with a jeep over a reason that most people would consider weird considering the action she tried to take; she was finally sentenced for 3 and a half years in prison for the injuries she caused (and it is of course to be expected that they were divorced) (link to article):
PHOENIX: An Arizona woman was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison on Thursday for running over her husband with the family car because he failed to vote in the 2012 presidential election, court officials said. Holly Nicole Solomon, 31, pleaded guilty in April to two counts of aggravated assault under a plea agreement with prosecutors over the incident at a parking lot in Gilbert, a southeastern suburb of Phoenix. Police said Solomon was upset with her husband, Daniel Solomon, in the days following the November 6 re-election of US President Barack Obama and believed the family would face hardship from his winning another term in office. The 36-year-old man suffered a fractured pelvis from being run over following a wild chase on November 10, 2012, that left him pinned beneath the Jeep.

Weird news: Boy attempted to be smuggled into Spain in a suitcase

Human smuggling is something that is famous in the United States, primarily due to the attempts of people from Mexico and from Central America to try to reach the United states, where they feel that they will get a better life. There is a whole organization that is in charge of such smuggling attempts, dealing with getting them across the border at points where there is no fence, or over a river, at times when border guards would not be there; and ensuring that there would be further supplies for them as they move inland away from the border. There are numerous cases where people do manage to get in, there are other cases where they are caught, and there are some tragic cases where people lose their lives in the process.
This is not only true of the US, but numerous other locations in the world where people attempt to better their status by reaching places that are promised to them as a much better place; in recent news, the attempts by people from North Africa to get into Italy through boats crossing the Mediterranean makes news, there are numerous cases where they are unable to get in, or are in the boat without food and water, or the boat has capsized and lives are lost. Spain is another place where people attempt to get in, such as this case where a woman tried to take a kid across the border with him curled up inside a suitcase, and the X-ray of the suitcase proved sensational (look at the image in the referred article):
The lawyer said in a phone interview that his client had then gone to Casablanca, Morocco, to find an alternative way to bring his son into Spain, by buying a visa there. Ouattara, the lawyer said, believed that his son would be brought into Ceuta by crossing the border with his Ivory Coast passport and the visa, for which he paid 5,000 euros. "Do you think any father would really allow his son to travel in a suitcase?" the lawyer asked. "He is just another victim of the mafias" that control Africa's human trafficking networks.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Weird news: Utah mom sentenced to atleast 30 years for killing her babies

It is an accepted fact that parents are very protective of their children. As an example, it is a stated fact that in the wilderness of the North American wilderness, there is no more certain way of coming close to being killed than coming inbetween a mother bear and her cubs. The same instinct comes into humans, with the mother of the species being very protective towards her children. So, it is something that most people are not able to understand when it comes out that a mother in fact was responsible for harm coming to her children, even more problematic when the mother was responsible for killing her children, not one, not two, but 6 of them.
It is equally worrisome that the state agencies responsible for ensuring the safety of children (because there have been cases of children coming into harm even in their homes) were not able to detect or prevent the death of these innocent children. It is very hard to understand as to how a mother could kill so many of her children, soon after giving birth. The most natural conclusion that most people would draw is that there is something not right in the head of this woman. When she came to trial, she was not sentenced to death, but will serve atleast 30 years before being considered for parole (link to article):
Megan Huntsman, 40, pleaded guilty in February to six counts of felony murder. She will spend at least 30 years in prison before she is eligible for parole. "I really thought I had seen it all until this case," Judge Darold McDade said during sentencing on Monday. Utah authorities were called to a Pleasant Grove residence a year ago after Huntsman's estranged husband, Darren West, found a baby wrapped in a plastic bag in the garage. Police eventually found the bodies of seven infants. Huntsman told police she strangled or suffocated at least six babies immediately after she gave birth to them between 1996 and 2006. The seventh, she said, was stillborn.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Weird news: Man did not get a sandwich, punches stewardness

The amount of anger and rage that is seen in society has been increasing for quite some time. This is also seen in the air, where the incidence of some sort of anger directed at other passengers or at the cabin crew has increased. At the same time, while in earlier decades, this was tolerated or not treated harshly, with the 2001 hijacking attacks at the World Trade Center, air security has been incredibly tightened up and tolerance for any kind of problems in the air has reduced significantly.
So, while earlier troubles would have been hushed up, now, at the sign of trouble, other passengers get involved; if there is an air warden on board, he or she would also get involved; and the pilot could make a quick unplanned landing at the earlier airport in order to deboard such a person; and the report from the pilot while requesting the landing would ensure that security was available at the airport to arrest the offending passenger (link to article):
An easyJet flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Rome after an infuriated passenger allegedly assaulted a flight stewardess ‘because he was waiting too long for a sandwich’. A male passenger on a flight travelling from Geneva to Pristina in Kosovo on Tuesday morning allegedly punched the female flight attendant and knocked her to the floor. A witness told the Mail Online he had shouted: “I’ve been waiting for hours, I’m hungry,” and claimed that he carried on hitting her while she was on the floor. The witness said fellow passengers quickly stepped in and restrained him.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Weird news: Food factory worker cooked alive after being neglected

It's a horror story beyond thought; being cooked alive in the same factory where you have been working for a long time. For factories where food is processed, or where boilers are used, or in steel furnaces, and so on, places which are hazardous and could be dangerous for the people who work there; there are strict conditions to prevent workplace accidents. However, even when such processes are in place, there can be cases when industrial accidents do happen, and can be very dangerous for the people who are caught there.
Major problems that happen are due to such incidents such as boiler explosions, or gas fumes / leakages, but there can be accidents such as the ones describes in this post. Imagine doing cleaning work up in a large cooker, suddenly to find that the cooker has been switched on and no way to get out of there. One wonders how somebody could have a situation where the cooker could be switched on without confirming that nobody was inside, but it happened. But as the article mentions, there are many cases of industrial accidents, but charges are laid in very few of these incidents (link to article):
Los Angeles prosecutors say the men and the company itself violated safety regulations, which resulted in the tragic death of Jose Melena in October of 2012. Melena, 62, was performing maintenance in a 35-foot-long oven at the company's Santa Fe Springs plant before dawn Oct. 11, 2012, when a co-worker, who mistakenly believed Melena was in the bathroom, filled the pressure cooker with 12,000 pounds of canned tuna and it was turned on. When a supervisor noticed Melena was missing, an announcement was made on the intercom and employees searched for him in the facility and parking lot, according to a report by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health. His body was found two hours later after the pressure cooker, which reached a temperature of 270 degrees, was turned off and opened.
This was a horrible death, and preventable.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Weird news - A hacker could make the plane fly sideways by getting into the network

There are hacker movies a dime a dozen, which claim that hackers can do anything. If you are a fan of such doom movies, then they occupy prime time movie status, with the Die Hard version 4 showing a hacker bringing the United States down to its knees through a systematic attack on the infrastructure. And if you read articles that appear once in a while, they promise that eventually Chinese hackers will be able to get into everything - will be able to stop power networks, hobble infrastructure, stop water movements, basically at some point, when your household instruments are also connected to the internet, then you could see your fridge also being taken over by hackers.
These stories are mostly ignored by people, being seen as something out of the world, too far into the future and maybe with a belief that the Government will be eventually able to stop things like this from happening. However, then you see a news story which seems pretty horrifying. Already, with the recent plane crash of a German airline, where the co-pilot locked the pilot out of the cockpit and then crashed the plane, flying suddenly got much scarier (where you can't even depend on the pilot); now you read a news story where a person on board the flight was able to hack into the plane though the entertainment system and then control the engine; this is going to make you even more scared than you thought (link to article):
A computer security expert hacked into a plane's in-flight entertainment system and made it briefly fly sideways by telling one of the engines to go into climb mode. Chris Roberts of One World Labs in Denver was flying on the plane at the time it turned sideways, according to an FBI search warrant filed in April. The warrant was first publicized on Friday by APTN, a Canadian News Service. Roberts told the FBI he had hacked into planes "15 to 20 times," according to court documents first made public on 15 May. Roberts first made news in April when he was told he couldn't fly on United Airlines because of tweets he had made about whether he could hack into the flight's onboard computer settings.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Weird news - Saudi woman takes revenge on husband by putting huge traffic fines

In Islamic societies and in many other countries where there are significant number of Muslims, multiple marriages are allowed for those men who are capable in terms of their abilities to support multiple wives. There is a limit on the number of wives a person can have, this limit being 4 wives (4 existing wives, divorced or dead do not count). When a person wants to marry again, the existing wives cannot oppose this, it is sanctified as per law and religious authority. And there are a number of people who do exercise this right, marrying multiple times. In Saudi Arabia, this is exemplified by the royal family, where the king and his male family members would have multiple wives and hence multiple children.
What does a wife do when she is notified by her husband that he is taking another wife ? Well, she really cannot oppose it, no authority in the country would support her. This wife took an interesting approach; she literally decided to make her husband pay for taking a second wife. So, when he was off celebrating his second marriage, she, along with her brother, decided to take the family vehicle, and break traffic rules. Now, crossing a red light would automatically be picked up by traffic cameras, and she got her brother to do this multiple times (she cannot drive since as per Saudi law, women cannot drive, another weird fact) (link to article):

The disgruntled wife took her husband's pickup truck as he was celebrating his second marriage and asked her brother to deliberately drive it through red lights where the licence number could be picked up by cameras. A video clip that went viral on the internet shows the vehicle driving through a red traffic light, getting caught by the camera and then reversing to repeat the violation, Gulf News reported. The total fine tally amounted to around 300,000 Saudi riyals, or $80,000.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Weird news - Woman falls into a ravine, develops genius like abilities in some areas

The brain is a strange and wonderful organ, not fully understood as yet, and highly complicated. When researchers feel that they have understood something, some new occurrence happens which makes everybody feel that there is a lot left to be understood. Why somebody is born a genius while others are of normal capabilities is not fully understood; in fact, why somebody is a genius in terms of chess vs. a gifted musician is also not understood. But what is being written here is even less understood. A fall into a ravine could cause severe injuries, or in some cases, depending on the height and the method of falling, even death could happen. But for the brain to be impacted in such a way that capability changes have happened while most of the life before the accident is forgotten is not totally unknown, but is extremely rare. In this case, this rancher fell into a ravine, and has forgotten most of the past life, but has developed what is called the Savant syndrome, and is extensively interested in the arts and in mathematics. Such an occurrence is very rare, and besides the impact on the person, the impact on others who were close to the lady would also be severe (link to article):
A former rancher has developed enhanced cognitive ability following a brain injury and is now an artist and poet who 'hears' colour and 'sees' sound. Leigh Erceq, form Northwestern Colorado, was diagnosed with Savant Syndrome after falling into a ravine and suffering spine and brain injuries. She remembers nothing of her life before the accident, not even the name of her mother, but since her fall she has developed new capabilities. The 47-year-old is alleged to have been a 'tomboy' NASCAR fan with no interest in the arts or mathematics, prior to the accident. She is now said to "see" sound and "hear" colours when she listens to music and enjoys tackling mathematical equations, according to ABC News Nightline.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Weird news - Toddler burned because her parents owed money

Sometimes you read news which makes you feel that people can be incredibly cruel, heartless. When you consider the case of toddlers and infants, they are essentially helpless to protect themselves or take care of themselves. In such a case, if there is news of somebody torturing a toddler for punishment of what their parent would have done, it seems something that only a heartless person could do, and the punishment for such an action needs to be accordingly harsh. One does know that people feel strongly when they see such mistreatment, and when you consider the parents, they can put whatever effort it takes to ensure that their children are safe. It is all the more problematic when the child has been tortured because of debt that their parents owed; however, no matter what the reason, it is not permissible to torture a small child who does not know what is happening and whose screams would surely be traumatic to hear (link to article):
According to police, Seema and her husband Ranith tortured a two year-old girl, Bhuvaneswari, daughter of Lakshmi and Ashwin Kumar of Bengaluru after they reportedly failed to repay a debt of Rs 3,000. Seema and Lakshmi worked together in a brick kiln near Bengaluru five months ago. “Lakshmi borrowed Rs 3,000 from Seema while they were working in the kiln. After the contract work in the kiln got over, Seema asked Lakshmi to come to Tirupattur and work here to repay the debt. She came along with her husband and two children and was living in rented house in Ambedkar Nagar in the town,” said the police official.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Weird news: Come naked to class to pass the exam

Seems very weird, right ? The background to a lawsuit for emotional damages, but this is apparently something that has been happening for some time. But this is part of a visual arts class, an elective that is not mandatory for graduating (as specified by the University when there was an uproar after this information became public and became viral). The course itself makes things somewhat clear in its description, referencing to an erotic self assignment. And the professor talked about the exam where the exam-takers are supposed to be naked, as conducted in candle-light (and hence low light) and with the professor also being without classes.
However, even though the students may know what is happening and what the course is about, the parents of students would certainly not be so familiar, and being parents, it would be expected that some of them would get very agitated about a school course expecting their children to get naked in order to pass, and the mother of one of the students made an uproar about this. However, the professor is standing his ground and seems unfazed by the uproar (and maybe the uproar would die down quickly) (link to article):
Professor Ricardo Dominguez of UC San Diego has taking an elective course on "performing the self" for 11 years now with the same drill and he says no one had ever complained - until this week when the mother of a student flipped when she heard about it and went public. She accused the professor of "perversity" and said the final test was "just wrong." "To blanketly say, 'You must be naked in order to pass my class' - it makes me sick to my stomach," she told a local television station while declining to reveal her identity or that of her daughter. But Prof Dominguez was least fazed by the resulting uproar on social media as the story went viral. He said the class would be dimly lit with candles and he too would be in the buff with the students as part of the assignment. "It's a standard canvas for performance art and body art," Dominguez said. "If they are uncomfortable with this gesture, they should not take the course."

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Weird news - Baby born with abnormality, called 'plastic skin'

The joy of human birth, of the arrival of a new life, can sometimes be marred by some problem that has occurred during the development phase of the baby. Genetics and the chance mutation of one or more genes can cause weird conditions to happen; and sometimes these conditions are so rare that they are unknown to many doctors and reference to journals would be required. It can be very painful for parents who joy is suddenly marred due to fear and uncertainty, such as in this case.
Imagine a baby who is born with a condition where the skin looks like a yellow or shiny film which then peels off at regular intervals, which makes it painful.
The disease is relatively rare, happening only once in every six hundred thousand babies (link to article):
Ever heard about a "plastic baby" who looks like a rubber doll and sheds skin like that of reptile scales. A plastic baby born in Amritsar has become the centre of attraction in the region as birth of such babies is rare and occurs once among six lakh newborns. The plastic newborns are scientifically known as collodion babies. He said that plastic babies develop cracks in their skin after birth and baby's membrane gets peeled off automatically within a period of 15 to 30 days. In some cases, the plastic coating-like skin makes the life of the child miserable. The baby remains under constant threat of infection when the body sheds skin. This threat remains all life. Collodion babies, who are often premature, are also known as plastic babies. They are born encased in a skin that resembles a yellow, tight and shiny film or dried collodion (sausage skin). The collodion membrane undergoes desquamation or peeling, which is very painful.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Weird news:Girl student prevented from attending school because of long skirt

When a state gets into the business of defining a rule that is somewhat subjective in nature, there will be many cases which will act as a test of the law; there will be people having differing interpretations and hence there will be controversy. This is enhanced when this involves religions, such as is the case in France right now. For years, France struggled with how to reconcile religious practices with personal liberty. One of the biggest challenges was the restrictions imposed in Islamic society and culture balanced against the concept of personal liberty that France holds dear. So, the concept of veil or the full body cover worn by Muslim women was grating, and as a result, France mandated a law in 2004 due to which no obvious religious symbols could be worn - the yarmulke, the Christian cross, the Muslim veil, the Sikh Turban, all were banned under this law.
The law is clear in the most part, but there are cases when it comes upto the interpretation of the person who is in a position to decide, such as in this case. A muslim girl student wore a full length black skirt, which could be seen as a form of style, but it was seen as a religious symbol and she was sent home under this law. This has created a controversy, since the religious symbolism of a long black skirt is not so apparent (it could be argued that the girl was following fashion rather than a religious / cultural diktat) (link to article):
France is facing a fresh backlash against its strict secular policy after it emerged a 15-year-old Muslim girl was sent home from school because she was wearing a long black skirt. The student, named as Sarah, was twice blocked from classes because the principal said her skirt broke a ban on religious signs in schools. The girl removed her headscarf but said the skirt was not a religious symbol. Nicolas Cadene, an official advising the prime minister on secular issues, has said that wearing a long black skirt to school does not break the rules. A ban on Muslim headscarves and other "conspicuous" religious symbols at state schools was introduced in 2004, and widely welcomed in a country where the separation of state and religion is enshrined in law.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Weird news: A speeding ticket that cost 54,000 euros

That's right ? Don't fall off your chair, even when a speeding ticket in the US can cost around $400 plus, it seems a lot and is painful. However, in Finland, the fines are not on a fixed amount basis, but based on a formula that involves the person's income. So, the higher the income, the higher the pain involved. There has been a of principle about how a fixed amount as speeding ticket hardly matters to a rich person, after all, for a person who earns more than a million every year, a speeding fine of $400 hardly will send any message while it will be problematic for a person who earns less than $60,000 per year.
But when you see this principle in operation, the outcome seems very weird. For example, in this case, the person clocked an annual income of 6.5 million euros in the previous year, and hence when factoring that into the formula, the speeding fine was calculated to 54,000 euros. The person was so shocked at this fine that he posted the fine in disgust, although many people felt that the ticket amount was fine, that it was only an amount such as this which would impact somebody so rich (link to article):
Finland's speeding fines are linked to income, with penalties calculated on daily earnings, meaning high earners get hit with bigger penalties for breaking the law. So, when businessman Reima Kuisla was caught doing 103km/h (64mph) in an area where the speed limit is 80km/h (50mph), authorities turned to his 2013 tax return, the Iltalehti newspaper reports. He earned 6.5m euros (£4.72m) that year, so was told to hand over 54,000 euros. The scale of the fine hasn't gone down well with Mr Kuisla. "Ten years ago I wouldn't have believed that I would seriously consider moving abroad," he says on his Facebook page. "Finland is impossible to live in for certain kinds of people who have high incomes and wealth."

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Weird news - Girl calls off wedding because groom did not know counting

In today's world, education and literacy is all important, and is the key to making your life and increasing ones position in life. However, there are many places where education remains a problem, especially in poorer parts of the world. Educational facilities are not in place, people do not place the same premium on getting educated as do people in more educated parts of the world. The Government in place also does not use all the instruments in its power to ensure that people get an education. However, people do realize the necessity of having an education, such as this would be bride who realized that her groom (in an arranged marriage) was illiterate, and she did not want to spend her life with an uneducated person; so she did a small test which the groom failed (I am sure it would have been different if she had selected the groom herself, but in an arranged marriage, she wanted to ensure that she got the best) (link to article)
His inability to count had cost a would-be-groom his marriage as the bride refused to tie the knot in Ballia district of Uttar Pradesh. The incident took place on Friday when the groom, Manoj, was to get married in Maritar village in Ballia. However, after initial rituals, the bride, who is a graduate, suspected the groom to be illiterate, the girl's family said. The girl then asked him to count currency notes in which he failed after which she refused to marry him.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Weird news: Swim in your own pool, go to jail

Sometimes when you read the headline, the news can feel so weird. The headline was about a person probably going to be sentenced for swimming in his own pool; and that seems so weird. It obviously could not be a case of a person breaking into somebody else's house, nor could it be a case of violating the conditions of a public pool.
But it turns out to something simple, and yet so typical of the way Government works. A former footballer, a hero who was part of the World Cup winning side of 2006, had constructed a house in Naples, and the problem  - the problem was that the house violated local norms and had not taken the requisite permission; something that can get a person into a lot of trouble when the laws are strictly applied. In his case, the law was applied, and the house and property was sealed and taken over. Once this was done, he was denied access to the house, and that is what he refused to do - since he apparently broke in along with wife and family and went swimming. And it is for this that he is sentenced to a 10 month jail term, currently suspended (link to article):
The retired footballer, who captained Italy to World Cup glory in 2006, had been ordered to stay out of his Naples address after prosecutors claimed that elements of the property breached planning regulations. They said that Cannavaro hadn't properly applied for planning permission for development of the house and surrounding grounds, which was seized by authorities. Prosecutor Luigi Cannavale said that Cannavaro, along with his wife, Daniela Arenoso and brother Paolo, who is a professional footballer in Italy's top division, broke a seal restricting entry to the property and went swimming in the pool. His sentence, along with jail terms for his wife and brother has been suspended pending appeal.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Weird news: In South Korea, you can now have an extra-marital affair

When living with the practices of the modern world, the presence or absence of love in a marriage is a private affair between the married people, and it cannot be a criminal offence if one of them decides that the love between them is lost and strikes out for an extra-marital affair. The only one who has a right to feel affected is the spouse who has been cheated, and he/she is the one who can take further steps - such as filing for separation, seeking alimony, etc. However, when nations and laws get guided (or forced) by religious considerations, then society steps in and decides what is wrong and what is right, and specifically this case of extra-marital affairs is deemed adultery, and there can be numerous punishments.
In the case of societies run on strong Islamic laws, there are severe laws against adultery, which can be extremely barbaric such as the one followed by the Taliban, and more so by the recent terror Islamic State, where a woman could be accused of adultery and sentenced to be stoned to death (with lashes happening before that), and men can also be accused and sentenced for the same 'crime'. However, it was surprising that a country seen to be extremely developed, such as South Korea had a similar law on its books, with the sentence for adultery being 2 years in prison. Even though being sent to jail was rare, there were numerous people charged with the law. Finally the courts have realized that an affair is not a criminal act, and has decided to drop the law. (link to article):
A South Korean court on Thursday abolished a 62-year-old law that criminalized extramarital affairs, and the stock price of a prominent condom maker immediately shot up 15%. The Constitutional Court's ruling that the law suppressed personal freedoms could affect many of the more than 5,400 people who have been charged with adultery since 2008, when the court earlier upheld the legislation, according to court law. Any current charges against those people could be thrown out and those who have received guilty verdicts will be eligible for retrials, according to a court official who declined to be named, citing office rules. Under the law, having sex with a married person who is not your spouse was punishable by up to two years in prison. Nearly 53,000 South Koreans have been indicted on adultery charges since 1985, but prison terms have been rare.
The co-relation was interesting though. With the striking down of this law, the share price of a leading condom maker shot up significantly.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Weird news: Man sentenced to centuries for multiple rapes

Rape is treated as a very serious crime, being treated as a heinous crime, and because of the horrific effect it has on the woman (in terms of actual physical injuries as well as the effect on the psyche of the woman). Sentences for this crime can vary, but a sentence of 10 years to life is typical in a number of countries (and in some Islamic countries, it is possible that execution may result in case of conviction).
However, inspite of the heavy sentencing due to this crime, it is also seen as a method of punishment for the woman, as well as a way of subduing the lady in question. And in many cases, it is weird where people have been convicted for multiple such crimes, as if the criminal had got used to the idea of doing this crime and then getting a high, which led to doing this crime again. But, what do you when a person is convicted for a large number of such crimes. The sentencing for rape does not lead to a sentence of death in many countries, so when a person is convicted for many rapes, what can the judicial system do ? You can maximum hold the person in jail for their entire lifetime (and for such a person, their mental make-up may be such that it is not safe that they be let outside).
However, when you sentence a person for many centuries, with each punishment being added, then it also becomes a farce to some degree. For example, when this person was convicted for 30 counts of rape, and sentenced to 1535 years, it is weird. (link to article):

A 35-year-old serial rapist has been jailed for 1,535 years by a South African in Johannesburg for sexually assaulting as many as 29 women over a period of five years, media reports said on Friday. Albert Morake's reign of terror in the Tembisa area of Gauteng province began in 2007 and ended with his arrest in 2012. He was sentenced by the Johannesburg high court on Thursday to 1,535 years of imprisonment including 30 life terms for 30 counts of rape, 360 years for robbery and several hundred more for crimes including attempted murder, kidnapping and robbery.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Weird news: Widow wants to sue herself for accident that killed husband

When something as weird as this happens, it is necessary to try and figure out why a person would want to file a case against herself. One can think of this as something emotional, since this lady wants to file a case to force a trial for negligence; after all, it was a road accident where her husband was thrown from the vehicle and died of his injuries, and it would be simple to think that she wants compensation as well as some kind of action for this negligence. But where it gets weird is that she herself was the driver. She has been trying to file this case for some time, and it got rejected in a court, but then she got permission for this case from the Utah Court of Appeals.
One possible reasoning for this case is that it will provide a path for some kind of financial settlement - as mentioned in the article, it could be because this action will provide a way for a jury to decide on a financial settlement for this negligence, against herself, which in turn will be provided by her insurance companies. Obviously, a lot of people anyhow suspect such kind of motives behind the case, and there are efforts to prevent this kind of case from proceeding, but how successful such efforts will be, will need to wait and see. (link to article):

Bagley's attorneys say she is advancing this lawsuit for the benefit of her husband's estate because creditors will have to be paid before the widow can receive any money as her husband's only heir. But other lawyers are looking to once again dismiss the suit, saying if it is allowed to continue, a jury would then be called upon to figure out if Bagley's negligence caused her own trauma. "The jury would be asked to determine how much money will fairly compensate Barbara Bagley for the harm she caused herself," attorneys Peter Christensen and Kathryn Tunacik were quoted as saying. "The jury will be highly confused -- it cannot order a person to compensate herself," they said. John Holcomb, professor in the Department of Business Ethics and Legal Studies at the University of Denver's Daniels College of Business, said the lawsuit is "quirky and also clever."
If this case does proceed and come to some kind of financial award, it could act as a precedent, and not a very nice precedent.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Weird news: Plane crashes because the pilot was taking selfies

Selfies are all the rage now. You can see selfies everywhere, whether these be in the street, in parties, on top of tall buildings, in dangerous places, anywhere people can carry a phone (and sometimes have a selfie stick for this purpose). At the same time, the obsession with selfies can sometimes get too much; when a person is thinking about the location and the timing of taking a selfie, all other thought gets suppressed during this time. This can get dangerous when the person involved is doing some task that needs a lot of attention. This is similar to the dangers involved when a person has been wearing headphones and listening to music, and does not care about whether there are vehicles moving around and so on.
What can you say when a pilot, somebody who needs to focus entirely on his machine, suddenly apparently is busy trying to figure out how to take selfies, and endangers the entire flight and the lives of other people on board (link to article):
A pilot who died when he crashed his small aircraft was distracted because he was taking cell phone selfies in the cockpit, likely contributing to the fatal accident, US investigators have said. The 29-year-old and a passenger were killed instantly when his Cessna 150K smashed into a field on May 31 last year. A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) probe, using GoPro video taken in the cockpit, on Tuesday indicated that the pilot repeatedly took selfie photos with his phone leading up to the accident. "The evidence is consistent with an aerodynamic stall and subsequent spin into terrain," said an NTSB report.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Weird news: Snowman declared anti-Islamic by Saudi cleric

Building a snowman is an activity much liked by children and even adults. After all, when there is snow falling and a lot of snow on the ground, what can be more interesting than building a snowman and decorating the snowman with hat, muffler and other items to make it more lifelike. What can be more innocent ? So what would you say if people in Saudi Arabia, who managed to get some snow, decided to ask a religious cleric about whether it was within religious principles to make a snowman ? Sound a bit off, doesn't it ? After all, what would be the need to get religious approval for this ? Well, if this was not weird enough, the religious cleric came back with the advice that since Islam does not approve the creation of the human form (only God is allowed to make the human form with a soul), and hence the advice was that this is not allowed as per Islamic principles. (link to article)

Asked on a religious website if it was permissible for fathers to build snowmen for their children after a snowstorm in the country's north, Sheikh Mohammed Saleh al-Munajjid replied: "It is not permitted to make a statue out of snow, even by way of play and fun." Quoting from Muslim scholars, Sheikh Munajjid argued that to build a snowman was to create an image of a human being, an action considered sinful under the kingdom's strict interpretation of Sunni Islam.

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