10 Creepy Reasons Climate Change Is Starting To Look Like A Religion

Since the beginning of Earth’s existence, the climate has changed. It has been influenced by the sun, geological factors, ecological factors, and perhaps even preternatural events (comets, asteroids, and the like).

But recently, largely due to the consequences of the industrial revolution, man’s impact on the climate has come into sharp focus. It is now front and center of all major news outlets and is taken into account—in almost all nations—before new legislation is mooted or passed into law. But after decades of discussion, climate change has recently begun to head in a very unexpected direction . . . toward something resembling a religion.

This list looks at the various elements of climate change (and its advocacy), which most resemble the qualities we find in traditional religions. The aim is not to denigrate or laud the views of either side of the climate discussion (of which both are fervent), but to simply take an objective view of the current state of things.

SEE ALSO: 10 Ways Climate Change Has Affected Us Through History

10 Religious Services & Sacraments

Climate Confessions NBC
Most religions hold services of some kind. They are, in the most formal Christian sense (as sacraments), designed to impart God’s grace on His followers, and in their most basic sense, designed to give psychological health to adherents. Confession removes the feelings of guilt associated with wrongdoing, and funerals help us begin the steps of coping with the grief and loss of death.

In recent days, some people have begun to advocate for, or participate in, climate change related services for much the same reason. The Prime Minister and Minister for the Environment of Iceland installed a plaque in the presence of 100 mourners for the loss of a 700 year old glacier named Okjökull. This “climate funeral” was also attended by former Irish President Mary Robinson. The Icelandic geologist who had pronounced Okjökull dead in 2014 also attended with a death certificate.[1]

But funerals are not the only climate change sacrament! NBC News recently launched “Climate Confessions” for people to confess their climate sins. The site states: “Even those who care deeply about the planet’s future can slip up now and then. Tell us: Where do you fall short in preventing climate change? Do you blast the A/C? Throw out half your lunch? Grill a steak every week? Share your anonymous confession with NBC News.” The confessions are anonymous and can be viewed by others. Pictured above are a few examples.[2]

9 Evangelism

Greta Thunberg
In Roman Catholic parlance, an evangelist is one of the four writers of the New Testament Gospels: Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. In general use the word refers to someone who preaches at religious services. It is also occasionally used in the technology world to describe someone who strongly advocates for a particular brand or thing.

No faith is complete without its enthusiastic preachers or advocates and climate change is no different. Enter Al Gore, various celebrities, and latterly Greta Thunberg. Thunberg is almost something of a Saint Joan of Arc for the climate change movement in that she is young and passionate—she has even been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Her speech this week to the United Nations illustrates her zeal:

“People are suffering. People are dying and dying ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is the money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you! For more than 30 years the science has been crystal clear. [ . . . ] How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words[.]”[3]

8 Tithing

Carbon Tax
“He commanded also the people that dwelt in Jerusalem, to give to the priests, and the Levites their portion, that they might attend to the law of the Lord. Which when it was noised abroad in the ears of the people, the children of Israel offered in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey: and brought the tithe of all things which the ground bringeth forth.” 2 Paralipomenon 31:4–5

Tithes are like a type of tax—often voluntary—in which members of a religion give a percentage of their income to the religious hierarchy (frequently 10 percent). Governments seldom need arm-twisting to impose new taxes, so it was inevitable that climate change would eventually lead to a whole new class of compulsory tithes. Carbon taxes are being enacted all over the world in the name of climate change. The taxes vary in amount but are not insignificant and are levied in many different ways. For example, in Canada, the carbon tax adds around $0.44 per gallon of gas, increases the cost of coal by 100 percent and increases the price of natural gas by 75 percent.[4]

7 Martyrdom

Mark Baumer Climate Martyr
Martyrdom is death for your faith. The pages of history are doused in the blood of those who have died for their beliefs—real or not. And climate change is no different in this regard. In October 2016, Mark Baumer (a “Climate Activist”) began to walk across the United States barefoot in order to draw attention to climate change and water shortages. He had previous achieved the same feat—albeit fully shod—in 2010.

He kept a prolific diary of his activity and became something of a climate change celebrity as a consequence. Tragically, in January 2017 whilst in the middle of his protest, Baumer was hit by an SUV and killed. Saint Peter died for God . . . Mark Baumer died for climate change. Both are deemed martyrs for their respective causes.[5]

6 Heretics

Climate Change Denial
Heresy is the obstinate refusal to accept an established doctrine of a religious faith . . . or denialism. Scientists,[6] professors,[7] and even news reporters[8] have been summarily dismissed from their jobs for disagreeing with the standard views on climate change. They—like heretics in the middle ages—are branded denialists and cut off from their professional communities. There are even name and shame articles on prominent news sites to “out” climate change deniers.[9]

Whether these contrarians are right or wrong matters not . . . it cannot be denied that these excommunications bear a striking parallel to the case of Galileo Galilei who was put under house arrest in the 17th century for stating that heliocentricity proved that the Bible was wrong.

5 Priesthood / Theologians

Like priests, bishops, and theologians who read the Scriptures and disseminate their meaning to laymen, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change takes all of the climate change studies coming out and renders an interpretation for the rest of us. Just as Bishops meet in their synods, the IPCC meets regularly at various places around the world to formulate their pronouncements. World governments use the data produced by this group to direct their environmental policies and taxes.

The panel was formed from the Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases which was founded in 1985 to study the effects of Greenhouse gas on the environment. Yup . . . politicians have been discussing climate change for over thirty years now.[10] The current head is South Korean Economics Professor Hoesung Lee.

4 Fatwas

In Islamic practice, a fatwa is a decree by a Muslim mufti or lawyer on matters of law. A fatwa can be issued to prohibit certain items from being used or to advocate for particular behaviors. Like a fatwa (which is non-binding), the climate change movement has its own set of rules for objects which are effectively forbidden. Despite being voluntary, refusing to adhere to the bans on these items can lead to public scorn and shame (a method historically used in religion to ensure the maintenance of social mores). And, also like religion, many of these items are now on their way to being banned by law—for example straws and plastic bags, which release greenhouse gasses upon decomposition.[11]

So what happens when you ban certain objects? New objects arise to replace them. Objects that are quite distinctive. That leads us to climate change sacramentals . . .

3 Sacramentals

Eco Friendly Shopping Bags
Sacramentals are manmade objects that are meant to remind the user of the benefits of being pious. In the Catholic religion these appear as rosary beads, scapulas, crucifixes, holy picture cards, and more. For Muslims and Buddhists they are prayer beads. They differ from sacraments in that the sacraments are considered to have come from God rather than man.

For those actively seeking to mitigate the effects of climate change, obvious sacramentals include the likes of re-usable shopping bags, metal or paper straws, re-usable coffee cups, and a variety of other recycled or non-plastic items. Of course these objects do also have uses outside of the environmental movement, but, as the NBC climate confessions show, they are very profoundly important when it comes to climate change.[12]

2 Feast Days

Global Day Of Action

We all love holidays and festivals. Many of our modern ones descend from religion: Christmas, Easter, and Halloween to name but three. In this day and age of anointing days to various causes, it is no surprise to find that climate change has a few of its own feast days. Earth Day (April 22) was first celebrated in 1970 and was obviously not connected to climate change. However it was co-opted by the movement in 2016 when it was chosen as the day to sign the Paris Agreement—a worldwide treaty hoping to ultimately halt global warming.

In 2005, the Global Day of Action was launched. Unlike Earth Day, which is a passive celebration of the Earth, Global Day of Action is a day set aside for active protests. The day was selected to coincide with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)—presumably in the hopes of inspiring action at the political level.[13]

1 Eschatology

End Of World

Eschatology is the theological study of the end of times (or of man). Since time immemorial we have foretold (and missed) the end of all civilization. The Jehovah’s Witnesses got their start predicting the exact date of the end of the world. When it failed to occur each time they changed their date, they opted for the now-official position of just stating it will be soon.

But taking over the reigns of the Kingdom Hall religion are a number of climate change advocates who are extremely concerned that the end is nigh. Here are two recent quotes from current sitting US politicians: “The world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change [ . . . ],[14] and “The scientists are unanimous on this. We have no more than 12 years to take incredibly bold action on this crisis[.]”[15]

In 2006, Al Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth” warned of a ten year period in which to save the world from climate change or it was all over. Of course eschatology doesn’t just take form in religion or politics. Let’s not forget that not so long ago many people were waiting for the end of the world on December 12, 2012.

Jamie Frater

Jamie is the owner and chief-editor of Listverse. He spends his time working on the site, doing research for new lists, and collecting oddities. He is fascinated with all things historic, creepy, and bizarre.

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Weird News Roundup: Craziest Stories You Probably Missed This Week (9/21/19)

Welcome back to another week of strange stories, curious chronicles, and aberrant anecdotes. If you missed last week’s list, you can catch it here.

There are two poop stories this week, although they are significantly different. One highlights a pigeon with great comedic timing while the other explores a scientific experiment designed to see if it is possible to make a usable knife out of frozen feces.

We also have a few strange crime stories for you: two Amish men run from the law, a Mummy Marauder is on the loose, and thieves make off with a solid gold toilet.

10 The Three Gorges Water Monster

Videos started surfacing earlier this week showing a long, black figure slithering across China’s Yangtze River. It immediately drew comparisons to the infamous Loch Ness Monster, leading to speculation that China might have its own version of “Nessie” prowling its waters. However, this mystery was put to bed rather quickly and, unfortunately, the truth is far less exciting.

Clips of the Three Gorges Water Monster, as it was nicknamed, first circulated on Chinese social media platforms where they garnered tens of millions of views and, eventually, made their way to the West. After one professor opined that, if real, the creature was likely a large water snake, there was talk of the animal mutating to gigantic size due to the pollution in the river.

A few days later, the “serpent” was discovered to be just a piece of floating debris, although its exact nature is still unclear due to conflicting reports. One Chinese news outlet claimed it was a long piece of rubber tubing which detached itself from a shipyard. Meanwhile, state broadcaster CCTV said it was a mesh sunshade that got dislodged from the nearby ferry terminal and got wrapped up in such a way that it formed a snake-like figure.[1]

9 Pigeon Poop Problem Provokes Politician

A Chicago lawmaker was doing an interview discussing the pigeon poop problem at an infamous bus station when one of the birds made a bold statement to highlight the issue—the pigeon pooped on him.

The Irving Park Blue Line station has a reputation among Chicago residents as the “pigeon poop station”. Located underneath the Kennedy Expressway, the entrance has an underpass right above the commuter path where the birds sit and defecate at will.

There is, at least, one official who is trying to do something about it. State Representative Jaime Andrade has been trying to secure funds to deal with the problem since last year. Recently, he was doing another interview with a local TV station on the matter. Just as he was bad-mouthing the pigeons, one of them pooped right on his head.[2] Not one to miss an opportunity, he pointed out that this is exactly what his constituents have to deal with.

Delays in settling the matter seem to be caused by a technicality over who is responsible for the pigeons. Last year, Andrade secured money from the state budget, but those funds went to the Chicago Transit Authority which has purview over the bus station as it is part of the Kennedy Expressway. The underpass, however, is not considered part of the station and falls under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Department of Transportation, while the sidewalk where the birds poop is the responsibility of the City of Chicago.

8 Cattle Semen Lost In Fire

A fire at a genetics lab in Yarram, Victoria, Australia, led to the destruction of 100 cryogenic cylinders of cattle semen.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, the storage facility for Yarram Herd Services caught fire. It took firefighters two hours to contain the blaze but, by then, it was too late: everything inside the building had been destroyed.

The biggest loss was 100 receptacles which stored cattle semen. The company offers herd testing, artificial insemination (AI), and other services to many farmers in the region who often choose to store the genetic material from their own animals at the facility.

The value of the destroyed goods is particularly high right now as we just entered AI season. The cylinders themselves were worth between $500 and $1,000 each while their contents were considerably more valuable. Bull semen is worth anywhere between $5 and $95 per straw.[3]

This blaze proved to be a unique challenge for firefighters. Initially, they had to remain in a defensive position. The heat caused the fluid inside the cylinders to expand which, in turn, prompted the lids to fly off as high-speed projectiles. Investigators are still looking into the cause of the fire.

7 The Hunt For The Mummy Marauder

While everyone was focussed on newly discovered photos of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in blackface (which he, weirdly, blamed on “white privilege”), they missed this curious tale of a guy in white face!

On Friday the 13th, a criminal robbed the First Convenience Bank in Harris County, Texas, near Houston. He threatened the teller and left with an undisclosed sum of money, speeding away in a black Mitsubishi Montero SUV. To conceal his identity, the man wrapped himself in white gauze. To further obscure his likeness, he also wore sunglasses, a wig, and a baseball cap. However, it really was the linen wrappings that stood out and subsequently earned the criminal the moniker of the “Mummy Marauder”.

According to the FBI, the culprit was a black male in his early 20s, around 1.8 meters (5’11”) tall and medium build. They released images of the suspect in the hope that someone could help identify him. A $5,000 reward for information leading to his arrest was offered by Crime Stoppers of Houston.[4]

6 Don’t Drink & Jive

Police in Ohio are on the lookout for two Amish men who fled the scene after being stopped by deputies for drinking while driving their horse buggy.

Last Sunday night, an officer from Trumbull County observed an unusual scene as a buggy drove past him. It was fitted with a sound system with giant speakers and there was an open case of ultra-light beer on the roof. Inside were an older Amish man and a teenager who were drinking spiked ice tea while riding in the carriage. A horse & buggy is considered a vehicle which means that the same drinking and driving laws apply so the deputy went to pull the carriage over.

As soon as the vehicle stopped, the men inside made a run for it into the wooded area on the side of the road.[5] At the same time, the horse sped off pulling the empty buggy. The deputy decided to pursue the horse to make sure that the carriage came to a safe stop.

The Amish men got away and, as of this moment, remain unidentified, but they will have to come forward if they want their horse & buggy back.

5 How Viable Is A Poop Knife?

In a new study published in the anthropological journal Sapiens, a scientist experimented to see if it is possible to make a usable knife out of frozen feces.

Back in the 1990s, popular anthropologist Wade Davis from the University of British Columbia told an anecdote of an elderly Inuit man from the 1940s or 50s who refused to leave his igloo out in the wild and relocate to a modern settlement. Even when his family took away all his tools, he made do with what he had. Specifically, he took his own feces and modeled it into a knife, sharpening it using only his hands and saliva. Then, he left it to freeze and ended up with a solid blade which he used to kill a dog.

Experimental archaeologist Metin Eren from Ohio’s Kent State University was one of the people fascinated by Davis’s story. Back then he was still a teenager, but now he had everything he needed to put the tale to the test.

He ate a high-protein diet rich in salmon, beef, and turkey for eight days. He obtained multiple “raw materials” which he shaped into blades both using his hands and with a mold. He even used a metal file to sharpen some of the knives and give them the best chance of success, but it was no use. None of them could cut through hide, instead simply melting and leaving streaks “like a brown crayon”.[6]

4 Neutron Star Too Big To Exist, Almost

Astronomers at the Green Bank Observatory (GBO) in West Virginia have found the most massive neutron star ever detected and it might remain that way for the foreseeable future. It is right at the theoretical limit of how big a neutron star could be without collapsing into a black hole.

Neutron stars are the remnants of massive stars that went supernova and might be the second-most dense objects in the Universe after black holes. To put them into perspective, GBO scientists say that one sugar cube of neutron star matter would weigh 100 million tons on Earth.

Researchers from the NANOGrav Physics Frontier Center were using the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) to observe a rapidly-rotating pulsar called J0740+6620 located 4,600 light-years away from us. They soon realized that it might be, in fact, the most massive neutron star ever detected. It crammed 2.17 solar masses into a sphere just 30 kilometers (18.6 mi) in diameter.[7]

Moreover, scientists believe that neutron stars can’t get much bigger than this. Recent research suggests that 2.17 solar masses might be the limit before a neutron star would crush itself into a black hole.

3 A Lint Ball For The Record Books

A Guinness record six months in the making took place on Thursday as Michigan was briefly the home to the world’s largest ball of lint before it was burned to ashes.

The event was half promotional stunt/half public service announcement courtesy of the Farmington Hills Fire Department and Dryer Vent Wizard, a business that offers dryer vent cleaning and repairing services.

Since April, the company has instructed its employees across 95 franchises to keep the lint they collected on the job in order to save up for the record. The giant fiber ball topped up at 313 kilograms (690 lbs).[8] There was no previous record-holder but, in order to qualify, the ball had to be, at least, 45 kilograms (99lbs) according to Guinness guidelines. After officials certified the record, firefighters set the ball ablaze.

Part of the reason for this move was to show just how flammable lint is and to raise awareness to the importance of regularly cleaning dryer vents. Failure to do so is the leading cause of dryer fires in residential buildings.

2 Storm Area 51, Finally

The date to “storm Area 51” is here. After months of publicity and a successful viral campaign, this weekend will play host to a bizarre event that started out as an online joke to “see them aliens” and turned into a music festival.

This whole thing began back in June when a man named Matty Roberts created a Facebook event to raid the site in search of alien life. Of course, it was all a prank and Roberts has since disavowed it as the U.S. Government warned people against actually trespassing onto the military base.

Even so, over two million people said on Facebook that they will be attending so the even got turned into two music festivals which were supposed to be held in the nearby towns of Rachel and Hiko, Nevada. Roberts has since dropped out completely, but it seems that the concerts will go on without him.

According to Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee, around 1,500 people showed up early Friday morning as music group Wily Savage were getting ready to perform their set.[9] There is concern that the arrival of a giant crowd would generate chaos for the tiny towns that have a population of less than 200 people combined. Lincoln County emergency manager Eric Holt estimated that local authorities could handle a group of 30,000 people, but anything larger than that would cause problems.

It remains to be seen how many people will attend, although it is fair to say that most of the two million Facebook “attendees” only signed up as a joke.

1 Thieves Make Off With Gold Toilet

A solid gold toilet worth $6 million was stolen from the Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, England, in a burglary reminiscent of a “heist movie”.

The toilet is an “art” installation called America by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. Made in 2016, the item is part of the permanent collection of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, but was on loan to the stately home of the Duke of Marlborough which is also the birthplace of Winston Churchill. The 18-carat gold toilet is fully functional and, in fact, visitors to the exhibition were encouraged to use it for its intended purpose.

The theft was discovered in the early morning hours of last Saturday. Blenheim Palace had a sophisticated security system which the criminals managed to bypass. Although investigators are not sure yet how the heist went down, they believe the thieves made their getaway in two separate vehicles.

The first arrest in the case came quickly. That same day, a 66-year-old man was held on suspicion of burglary. Subsequently, a 36-year-old man was also brought in under the same circumstances.[10] Both men have been released, but they are still under investigation. Police are keeping tight-lipped on their progress. They say the main priority is to retrieve the artwork, although they are not discounting the possibility that it could be melted down.

Artist Maurizio Cattelan was “mortified” when he first heard the news, but later tried to look on the brighter side. He enjoyed being part of a real-life “heist movie”.

10 Heartwarming Stories Of Pets Who Survived Natural Disasters (Videos)

Animals have an uncanny ability to know when a natural disaster is about to strike. Sometimes, they run away or hide, and their humans have no way of finding them in time to evacuate. More often than not, a pet owner has no choice but to leave their animals behind in order to save themselves.

At the end of every natural disaster– whether it be a flood, earthquake, tsunami, fire, or tornado, local shelters have to gather abandoned pets and attempt to reunite them with their owners. Many pets go unclaimed, and other times, people learn that their pets are not among the survivors. But in these next ten stories, pets are reunited with their owners in the most amazing ways.

10 Cadie the Cat

Judy Pugh was an elderly woman sitting in her home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama when a tornado hit. A wall fell on top of her, which held her body down as the rest of her house was sucked up into the twister. Neighbors called her name and lifted the wall off of her, and the storm continued to move on and ravaged the rest of the town. Pugh had three pet cats, and finding them after the storm was her only concern.[1]

She managed to find two of the cats soon after. but sadly, she could not find her third cat, Cadie. Her family suspected that the 10-year old feline was carried away in the twister. Despite the fact that over a month had passed since the storm, she did not give up hope. Pugh continued to show up to the wreckage of her home and search for the cat every single day. A local TV station found Ms. Pugh standing by the wreckage and interviewed her. In the middle of the recording, Cadie the cat silently emerged out of the remains of Pugh’s house. He found his way home home after all.

Cadie was skinny, dirty, and could not even muster the strength to meow. Pugh walked over to him, gingerly scooping his tiny body into her arms. “I have everything in the world, now,” Pugh said as she began to cry. She cuddled her pet close to her chest. The TV microphone picked up the loud purring emanating from the tired cat.

9 The Farm in Plum Grove

Lester Morrow had no choice but to abandon his farm animals in Plum Grove, Texas during Hurricane Harvey. He was able to bring his dog with him, but they had no time to hitch a trailer behind their truck, and left behind several horses, donkeys, goats, and a potbelly pig named Patty.[2]

When Morrow returned to his farm, he was recording the devastation on his cellphone, starting at the end of his long driveway. There was still a lot of water on the property, and he commented about the trash and debris that floated onto his land, when he saw in the distance that Patty the pig was so happy to hear Morrow’s voice, she was wading through the water to greet him. He immediately began sobbing, and recorded the animals who had survived the storm.

Many of his horses had broken legs, and over a dozen animals had died, but several of them managed to break down a fence and stand on the porch of the house in order to survive. He posted the video on YouTube to share with friends and family, and it went viral. He made a GoFundMe campaign to help his animals, and he raised $14,000.

8 Ban

On March 11, 2011, Japan was hit by an 9.0 magnitude earthquake that was followed by a tsunami that hit the northern part of the country. Three weeks after the disaster, the Japanese coast guard was still flying over the ocean to search for bodies that may be floating in the water. A mile away from shore, they spotted a dog walking around on top of the roof of a house that was floating in the water. Somehow, it had survived the tsunami. They lowered a man down from a helicopter to rescue the dog, who was later identified as “Ban”. The dog was wrapped in blankets, given food and water, and the rescue team carried him out on a stretcher.[3]

Ban was reunited with his owner, who wished to remain anonymous in the media, so she wore a medical mask in the video of when they reunited to conceal her face. Ban still recognized her, and jumped up, wagging his tail and snuggling into her chest as she hugged him. “Thank goodness…I’ll never let him go,” she told the press.

7 Izzy

In 2017, wildfires spread across Santa Rosa, California, destroying thousands of homes in its path. The Weaver family was forced to evacuate, and they could not find their dog, Izzy, in time to escape. On October 10th, Jack Weaver and his brother-in-law Patrick Widen returned back to Weaver’s property to see if there was anything left. He began recording on this cellphone, and even from far away, he could see that their home was completely burned to the ground. Even though it was a long shot, they began whistling and calling Izzy’s name, in hope that he somehow escaped the flames.

Their disappointment was almost immediately replaced by joy, because Izzy the shaggy Bernese Mountain dog began walking towards them. Not only did he survive, but the loyal dog was waiting in the ashes of his former home for his master to return. It was totally unexpected, and the brothers began screaming out of joy as their reaction was captured on film.[4]

6 Rica

Charles Trippy gained Internet fame by daily vlogging every single day for several years. He had continued to do this for so long, he even holds a Guinness World Record. When Florida was expected to be hit by Hurricane Irma in 2017, their town was ordered to evacuate. Charles and his family decided to take their chances by staying at home with their dogs and an electric generator. Since vlogging on YouTube is his job, Trippy recorded the experience of living in a town that was almost completely empty before, during, and after the storm.

Just as Charles and his wife Allie were driving home from with supplies from the hardware store to officially hunker down for the night, they spotted a tiny 4-week old kitten standing in the middle of the street. They got out and took her into their car and refused to leave the baby behind. That night, the amount of damage and flooding caused by the storm was worse than they imagined, and they were lucky that their house survived. They knew that if they had not rescued the kitten, there is no doubt that it would have died. They decided to name her Rica, which is short for Hurricane.

5 Junior

A tornado hit Granbury, Texas in 2013. A man named Jerry Shuttlesworth was living in a trailer park. Without a basement or a place to hide, he had no choice but to shut himself in the laundry room with his dog, a pitbull named Junior. The tornado directly hit his trailer, and Shuttlesworth described it like the home was being crushed down, and then sucked up. He flew into the air, and the wind flipped him upside down. He was desperately trying to hold on to Junior, but the tornado ripped the dog out of his arms.

The tornado dropped Shuttlesworth about 20 feet away, but the dog had completely disappeared in the twister. He laid on the ground with broken bones, looking up at the tornado. He described seeing debris circling in slow motion above his head, and it was so surreal, it was unlike anything he had ever seen in his life. After getting rescued and getting Internet access, Shuttlesworth posted a photo of Junior as a missing pet on Facebook.

By no small miracle, the local animal shelter found him. They called the news, and the best friends were reunited on film. He told the reporters that he was going to treat Junior to a meal of Kentucky Fried Chicken. “I think he flew through the air. Y’know, dogs weren’t meant to fly. But he had an angel with him.”

4 Snoopy and Abbey

After Hurricane Harvey, Texas shelters were filled to the brim with pets in cages, waiting for their owners to find them. In August of 2017, reporters rode along with The Humane Society of Dickinson, Texas. They were responding to phone call from people who were displaced from their homes, and pleaded for them to find their missing dog and cat. They arrived to the flooded neighborhood, whistling and calling the names of the pets, and found two dogs.[5]

They were a poodle named Snoopy and English bulldog, Abbey. A kind stranger saw the two dogs swimming through the water together. She rescued them and brought them to her house, which was above the flood line. A man named Ryan Johnson showed up to claim Abbey and Snoopy from the shelter. He knew that they belonged to his father-in-law, who was having nightmares and losing sleep over the fate of his dogs. “He can finally sleep tonight,” Johnson said.

3 Odin

Ronald Handel lived on a ranch in California. He owned two Great Pyrenees mountain dogs who took care of their 8 goats. It was their job to protect the goats from predators in the California mountains. In 2017, when the wildfires were approaching in the distance, Handel scrambled to get his daughter and the dogs into the car so they could evacuate.[6]

One of the dogs, Odin, refused to neglect his doggy duty. He laid down with the goats, and stared at Handel, as if to say, “I’m not leaving.” Handel waited as long as he could for Odin to come around, but they had to leave. He describes a horrific scene of the fire being so close behind him and his daughter as they drove, it sounds like a scene out of an action movie. They could see parked cars a few yards behind them filling with flames, and heard explosions from propane tanks, and the shriek of grinding of melting, twisting metal.

After the flames were put out, Handel and his young daughter did not expect to find anything when they returned to their property, but Odin was still there. He and the goats were slightly burned in a few spots, but he had managed to bring them all to safety, despite the fact that everything else around them was burned to the ground. He was limping, and very tired, so Handel knew that Odin had been on an adventure of his own to save his friends. If only dogs could talk.

2 Mei-Chan

After the 2011 tsunami in Japan, Fuji TV was filming the damage from the disaster, and they spotted a Brittany Spaniel. She walked up to them urging them to follow her. She walked over to an English Setter who was laying on the ground, clearly injured and unable to move. While the men sounded sad and concerned for the dogs, and they sent a message to “please help” to the Nippon SPCA, the witnesses failed to do anything to help the pups themselves.[7]

The video made its way to YouTube, called “Stay together dogs”. It went viral, and people around the world were heartbroken and started sending money to the Nippon SPCA to help their rescue efforts. However, the video started a controversy, and the SPCA began to receive threatening phone calls from people accusing them of not working hard enough to save the dogs. Owners of dog food companies created raising money for their own campaigns to save the “stay together dogs”. People were very invested in the fate of the pups.

The dog’s owner saw the video, and recognized her dog, Mei-chan. The second dog, Lee-chan, also belonged to her. It took eight months for the Nippon SPCA to finally find Mei-chan, and she was reunited with her owner.

1 T2

In 2002, a retired K-9 police officer named Perry Martin adopted a ginger kitten and named it T2. Hurricane Jeanne hit Florida in 2004, and everyone lost their power, and they could not turn on the air conditioning in the summer heat. Martin started leaving his windows open to let some air in. The 2-year old cat climbed through a window and out into the hurricane aftermath. Martin searched for a long time, and notified all of the local shelters, but after enough time passed, Martin accepted that he would never see T2 again.[8]

In 2018, a local animal shelter found a skinny stray cat and brought him in. The scanned him for a microchip, and called up Perry Martin. When they told him that they had the cat that had gone missing 14 years earlier, he did not believe them, but sure enough, he was reunited with his cat, who was now an elderly 16 year old. They have no idea where T2 was for 14 years, or how he managed to survive, but during media interviews, he looks very content curled up in Perry Martin’s lap.

Shannon Quinn (shannquinn.com) is a writer from the Philadelphia area. You can find her on Twitter @ShannQ

Police Arrest Squirrel, Just One Of 10 Crazy Squirrel Facts And Tales

Squirrels make cute cartoons and plush dolls. However, the real rodents glow pink, delay flights and get arrested. They gather mysteries like nuts; squirrel breeders are succumbing to a new virus and there was that purple creature nobody could explain. A dead squirrel was once purchased as art and the Prince of Wales wants to fight them with a sandwich spread.

10 The Home Wrecker

In 2014, a magistrate woke up to noises in her home in Hartlepool.[1] Since the alarm was also screaming, the 64-year-old Margaret Bousfield assumed the worst. Instead of a burglar, she found a squirrel. It was covered in soot, which suggested the critter had entered the house through the chimney. However, the squirrel was desperate to leave. If the living room’s damage was anything to go by, it had been trying to escape for hours. By the time Margaret woke up, the creature had demolished sofas, carpets, curtains, and the window frames. She called a neighbor who opened a window and the squirrel made a speedy exit. The carpets and one sofa had to be replaced. The total damage, all else included, racked up a bill of over £7,000. It was a dark day for the insurance company (who paid).

9 They Glean Safety Levels From Birds

Birds tend to go wild when they see a predator.[2] Other prey species, like squirrels, have learned to hide when bird calls get uptight, even when they themselves do not know where the danger is coming from. This is old news. In 2019, researchers wondered if things went the other way. Do squirrels rely on birds to tell them when it is safe to come out again? To find out, scientists cycled through parks in Ohio until they found the perfect test subjects. A bunch of eastern gray squirrels. Around 54 were chosen to listen to recordings of a red-tailed hawk, a predator that likes squirrel pie. After the hawk cries, the rodents were exposed to either background sounds or songbirds engaged in casual chatter. The latter is very different from “all clear” calls, which were left out of the study. Once the audio part was over, each squirrel’s body language was studied for three minutes. Things indeed went the other way. The squirrels that heard bird chatter after the hawk came out of hiding sooner.

8 New York Squirrels Are Tough

In 2014, a study looked at how urban squirrels adapted to city life.[3] Their rural cousins scurry for safety whenever a person approaches. To them, humans are predators. The study found that city squirrels viewed people differently. In fact, they behaved like New Yorkers. People living in a city with 8 million others are experts on how to avoid contact, even in crowded areas like the sidewalk or subway. The squirrels being studied were Eastern grays and lived in Manhattan’s busy Lower East Side. Just like the city’s people, the squirrels ignored most things on two legs. It would appear that they no longer view humans as true predators. While the rodents have lost most of their fear and even allow people close to them, the study found that they did not like being stared at. That and other small threatening cues made them run away. To live fearlessly alongside humans but knowing when to avoid them is crucial for any species trying to survive in an urban setting. The New York squirrels aced it.

7 The Squirrel Breeder Deaths

Brain inflammation (encephalitis) happen for a variety of reasons.[4] However, when three men died of acute encephalitis, none of the usual suspects were detected. The victims had something in common. They were all from Germany and bred an exotic species of squirrel native to Latin America. Although they lived in different areas, the men would meet to talk and trade the variegated squirrels (Sciurus variegatoides). The hobby turned deadly. Between 2011 and 2013, the breeders all showed symptoms of brain inflammation, slipped into a coma and died. Confused by the lack of the usual causes, doctors did not find out about the squirrels until further tests found a virus that belonged to the borna cluster of pathogens, a group known to exist in mammals, and for its habit of jumping between species. It was only a matter of time before the patients’ hobby surfaced and the squirrels were tested. One tested positive for VSBV-1, the virus found in the men’s brains. Nobody knows where the virus comes from nor how the animal and men were infected.

6 Nutella Birth Control

It sounds like a bad joke.[5] Hey, did you hear that Prince Charles wants to feed squirrels Nutella as a contraceptive? True story. The royal is such a fan of the British Isles’ red squirrel, he had admitted to wanting one as a pet. However, the creature is facing its doom in another squirrel species. Around 140 years ago, the Eastern Gray from North America found its way to the Isles. They proved to be fierce competition for the reds but also arrived with a disease (Parapoxvirus). The pox reduced the native squirrels to a mere 135,000 animals. To give the red population a helping hand, the Prince of Wales hosted a meeting between squirrel experts and officially backed a strange plan in 2017. The Animal and Plant Health Agency suggested the use of traps only gray squirrels could enter. Once inside, the critters will be treated to globs of Nutella. The sandwich spread will contain GonaCon, a contraceptive that dropped fertility in rats by 90 percent.

5 A Support Squirrel Delayed A Flight

Emotional support animals can serve a great purpose.[6] They can bring comfort and companionship to people suffering from emotional or physical issues. When unconventional species make the cut, things get weird. Early in 2018, a “support peacock” and his owner were not allowed to board an airplane. Later the same year, a similar scenario happened but this time the animal was already onboard. The squirrel was with its owner who had booked a flight from Orlando to Cleveland. When the staff found out about the rodent, the woman was asked to leave the plane. She refused. The cops arrived. Things got so hairy that the rest of the passengers had to disembark and stay outside for two hours. The owner argued that she had told Frontier Airlines beforehand about bringing a support animal. However, apparently she never mentioned it was a squirrel and rodents are not allowed on Frontier’s planes. In the end, both the woman and her squirrel lost and were escorted by the police off the aircraft.

4 Police Took A Squirrel Into Custody

In 2018, emergency services in Germany received a call.[7] A man in Karlsruhe said he needed help because a baby squirrel was chasing him with great interest down the street. He was not kidding. The police arrived and found the caller still unable to shake off the rodent’s hot pursuit. The exhausted squirrel suddenly curled up and went to sleep. The panicked man went unnamed for obvious reasons but the officers decided to call the snoozing baby Karl-Friedrich. After they rescued the victim, the squirrel was taken into custody to become a police mascot before being taken to an animal rescue center. The baby squirrel was not psychotic or a little on the weird side. A police spokeswoman explained that when they become separated from their mothers, young squirrels could become fixated on a person as a substitute parent. In fact, when the cops took Karl-Friedrich to the shelter, the center had already received two other baby squirrels on the same day – and they also tried to adopt unwilling human parents.

3 Purple Pete

Squirrel experts know a lot about their favorite rodent.[8] However, nobody could explain Pete. In 2008, this squirrel attended the Meoncross School in Stubbington. Under normal circumstances, he might have gone unnoticed but it is difficult not to see a bright purple animal. Dubbed Pete by staff and pupils, nobody could explain why the normally gray animal looked that way, nor the even distribution of the color. Blotches would have suggested the squirrel encountered paint or dye, but it was like Pete was born purple. As stumped as they were, the experts were sure of one thing. He was not a mutant and there was nothing natural about it. Squirrels nibble on anything, even non-organic stuff. Keeping this in mind, Pete liked to visit an old building near the school where old computer printers were stored. He might have gnawed on a purple cartridge and groomed the ink through his fur. However, it must have been the most thorough grooming in history to even out the color so well.

2 Dead Art

Maurizio Cattelan is an Italian artist with a flair for controversial humor.[9] Among his most famous work is a piece depicting a meteor hitting the Pope. In 2012, Whitechapel Gallery hosted a Cattelan exhibition. The center-stage feature, for some reason, showed a dead squirrel that may or may not have committed suicide. The stuffed creature was slumped over a table with a tiny pistol on the floor, surrounded by a dirty kitchen and signs of drinking – as if he had long since stopped trying to live. The work’s name was Bidibidobidiboo, the spell used by the Fairy Godmother to make Cinderella look great and snag a prince. The title was ironic, suggesting that not even magic could transform this squirrel’s bad life. If you think nobody would buy a dead rodent at a tiny Formica table, think again. The work was purchased 6 years prior to the exhibition and was on loan from its owner, Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, an avid Cattelan collector.

1 Flying Squirrels Glow Pink

In 2019, a professor shone an ultraviolet torch at a squirrel in Wisconsin.[10] The flying squirrel glided away and its color was startling. Under the ultraviolet light, the animal’s fur glowed fluorescent pink. As weird as that was, the moment was significant. Fluorescence is well-known in other corners of the animal kingdom. Reptiles, birds, and arachnids all have species that shimmer. In mammals, however, only opossums from the Didelphidae family have this trait. To discover whether the squirrel was a fluke, researchers descended upon the Field Museum in Chicago and the Science Museum of Minnesota. They pointed ultraviolet light at 135 specimens belonging to different species. Only three types of flying squirrels from the Glaucomys genus turned pink. A clue to the unusual fur could be a characteristic they share with opossums. Both are nocturnal. Non-flying squirrels tend to be day creatures. It is plausible that the glow helps the Glaucomys clan to deal with their low-light environment, including camouflage, communication, and navigation.

60 Stunning Images of The Middle East That Will Make You Forget Its Violent Past

The Middle East was once thought of as a beautiful and exotic far-away land. But unfortunately for those of us alive in modern times, the term now conjures up images of war, terrorism, subjugation, and suffering. The vivid images of the Islamic Golden Age are now gone, and the exciting fantasies in “One Thousand And One Nights” are but a fading memory.

But those far-away lands still contain much of their original beauty and, in many cases, are building upon it to create some of the most awe-inspiring modern architecture. This list takes a tour around the Middle East focussing entirely on the beauty to be found there. Let’s take the journey together and forget—even if for but a moment—the horrible news reports confronting us daily.

15 Bahrain

Bahrain is the smallest of the Arabian states and was the first to discover petroleum in the 1930s. It is thought by some to be the site of the Garden of Eden. In 2002 women received the right to vote in Bahrain and today its constitution guarantees religious freedom. Homosexuality was legalized in 1976 (for people over 21). The incredible twin-peaked building is the Bahrain World Trade Center.

14 Egypt

Home to the ancient culture so loved by the west, Egypt is now a modern democracy (founded in the 1950s). As evidenced above, there is more to Egypt’s beauty than pyramids! Modern Egyptians are largely descended from post-islamic settlers (mid 600s AD) while the Ancient Egyptian people “[were] most closely related to Neolithic and Bronze Age samples in the Levant, as well as to Neolithic Anatolian and European populations”.[1]

13 Iran

Iran (Persia in days gone by) means “the land of Aryans” in the Persian (Farsi) language. Iranians have managed (despite frequent invasion from outside) to maintain their identity. Even the Islamization of the country has not managed to eradicate all aspects of its ancient past.

12 Iraq

For many of us, Iraq stands out mostly due to the Gulf Wars. Enormous amounts of damage were sustained by the nation during those wars, but a strong recovery is now underway, though the area is still relatively unstable. Iraq has been a republic since the dissolution of the Iraqi monarchy in 1958.

11 Israel

The very existence of Israel is a great bone of contention for the Islamic population of the Middle East. Despite the might of the surrounding nations, Israel continues to focus on expanding the amount of land it controls. The recent move of the nation’s capital to Jerusalem has not gone down particularly well with many people and there is no telling whether the conflicts in the region will ever be truly resolved.

10 Jordan

Jordan is a constitutional monarchy and the current King is Abdullah II. Home to some incredibly historic sites, Jordan holds the distinction of having discovered the oldest known statues of humans, the Ayn Ghazal statues. Pictured are Petra, the Roman city of Jerash, Jordan Valley Dead Sea, and Wadi Rum, the red desert.

9 Kuwait

Kuwait is a constitutional monarchy governed by an Emir. Until 1961 when it gained independence, Kuwait was a British protectorate. It was the invasion of this small nation in 1990 by Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi military that led to the gulf war.

8 Lebanon

Lebanon is the oldest country name in the world at 4,000 years of age. It has a unique political system called confessionalism in which the parliament is shared by all religions operating in the country. More peculiarly, the president must be a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim and the Speaker of Parliament a Shiite Muslim. Lebanon has a 40% Christian population—the largest of any Middle Eastern country.

7 Oman

Oman has natural beauty, from the dry Wahiba Sands to the verdant city of Salalah, and historic beauty in the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, and the Nizwa Fort. Oman is one of the oldest inhabited places on earth having been peopled for over 100,000 years. Mountain Dew is the most popular drink in the nation, so much so that Coca Cola products are virtually nowhere to be found. It is also virtually crime-free. Coincidence? I’ll let you decide. Unlike some Islamic nations, alcohol is allowed but you must be licensed to buy it and can spend no more than 10% of your monthly income on it.

6 Qatar

Qatar, like Kuwait, was a British protectorate. Independence was declared in 1971, and from 1995 women were allowed to vote. Qatari men traditionally wear a long white shirt (called a thoub) over white trousers or shorts and women wear a black cloak. The National Museum of Qatar (top image) opening was attended by David and Victoria Beckham and KAWS and Johnny Depp. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and punishable by death.

5 Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia contains virtually no rivers or lakes but has many wadis which are valleys that fill with water during certain times of the year. Pictured above (third image) is the Kingdom Center which is the third tallest building with a hole in the world. Work is underway to build the Kingdom Tower which will be one kilometer tall (0.62 miles) and the tallest building in the world.

4 Syria

Pictured are the Umayyad Mosque, Citadel in Aleppo, and City of Palmyra before its destruction by ISIS in 2015. There are currently troops from over thirty countries fighting in Syria due to its civil war against ISIS. It is the Syrian war that has led to the migration crisis in Europe.

3 Turkey

Turkey is home to some of the most beautiful places in the world. Troy (of the Trojan wars) is located in Western Turkey and many ancient monuments are to be found there due to its important position in Western history. Its capital (Istanbul) was once Constantinople, the capital of the Roman Empire from 330–395 AD and then the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) to 1453. Pictured above are Cappadocia, Pamukkale, Safranbolu,and Hagia Sophia.

2 United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates is a collection of emirates: seven provinces governed by constitutional monarchs called Emirs. The seven emirates are Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain. Abu Dhabi is the capital city and the federation as a whole is governed by a President who is also the ruler of Abu Dhabi. Additionally, the ruler of Dubai is also the Prime Minister of the Emirates. Confused? Me too.

Seen here are Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the amazing Yas Waterworld and the Al Ain Oasis (the first UNESCO world heritage site in United Arab Emirates).

1 Yemen

Pictured here are Socotra, the old town of Sana’a (the capital city), Aden, and Ibb. Socotra is an island with a great variety of alien looking plants and wildlife (as you can see from the picture). It evolved into this bizarre landscape due to being isolated from the African continent six or seven million years ago. It is a UNESCO natural heritage site.

Jamie Frater

Jamie is the owner and chief-editor of Listverse. He spends his time working on the site, doing research for new lists, and collecting oddities. He is fascinated with all things historic, creepy, and bizarre.

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Weird Stories You Probably Missed This Week (9/14/19)

With the weekend comes a look at some of the more unusual stories that hit the headlines this week. If you want to catch up on the previous list, you can do it here.

This is a science-heavy week. Boffins have been busy researching lost continents, discovering interstellar visitors and finding the answer to “life, the Universe, and everything”.

In other news, there is also a crime-fighting seal, a cold case solved by Google Earth, and an unexpected invasion by venomous caterpillars.

10 The Answer To The Meaning Of Life

Douglas Adams fans will recognize 42 as being the answer to “life, the Universe, and everything” but, as it turns out, it was also a dilemma that prevented mathematicians from solving a 65-year-old problem. But now, it seems that two number crunchers managed to crack the code with the help of a planetary supercomputer.

Back in 1954, mathematicians asked if all whole numbers from 1 to 100 could be expressed as the sum of three cubes. Over the decades that followed, they kept finding answers for more and more numbers. At the start of this year, only two were left: 33 and 42.

Andrew Booker from the University of Bristol found the solution for 33, but enlisted the help of MIT mathematician Andrew Sutherland for the final number. The pair wrote an algorithm, but needed a supercomputer to run it. This is where Charity Engine came in, a global effort that harnesses unused computing power from half a million PCs around the world. After over a million hours of computing time, they had the solution.[1] Three 17-digit numbers, one of which is negative, can be cubed and added up to 42. Now, if they have nothing better to do, mathematicians can try going up to 1,000.

9 Disappearance Under The Sea

A possible suspect has emerged in the case of the underwater scientific observatory that mysteriously disappeared a few weeks ago. Researchers believe that a fishing trawler accidentally hooked the installation worth over $330,000 and dragged it away. They never came forward to admit the deed because they were fishing in illegal waters.

The research station was placed in the Baltic Sea in 2016. It constantly checks measurements such as salinity, water temperature, and oxygen, methane, and carbon dioxide levels and sends them back to researchers in Kiel, Germany. On August 21, it stopped transmitting. Initially, scientists believed it was simply a problem with the data connection, but when divers went to check it out in person, they realized that the observatory had completely vanished, leaving behind only the frayed cable that connected it to land.

A natural cause for the disappearance such as currents or a storm were ruled out because the device weighed over 800 kilograms (1,760 lbs). Other ideas included Russian subs and scrap metal thieves. These were also dismissed because the station was in shallow waters where a sub wouldn’t enter and the steel had little resale value.[2]

Current thinking says the culprit was a fishing boat that snagged the observatory by accident. There are marks indicating that it was dragged for a while. The question remains, however, why didn’t the trawler leave the device behind?

8 Out Of The Frying Pan

A hospital’s attempt at deterring birds from nesting in the nearby trees accidentally created a breeding haven for North America’s most venomous caterpillar.

At first, the reasoning seemed sound. Birds like pigeons and grackles liked to congregate in the oak trees that line the sidewalks of Houston’s Texas Medical Center (TMC). They carried diseases and created lots of messes which was not something you wanted in an area highly-populated with sick people. Therefore, the staff put nets on the trees to stop the birds from landing on them.

Consequently, this allowed the local caterpillar population to thrive significantly. A three-year study recently published in Biology Letters showed that the netted trees had 7,300 percent more insects than the regular ones.[3]

These caterpillars weren’t exactly harmless, either. The dominant species was Megalopyge opercularis or the puss moth caterpillar, the most toxic caterpillar in North America. It has spines that can break off if anyone touches them, stick to the skin and release venom. After about ten minutes, the victim feels throbbing pain accompanied by nausea, vomiting, stomach pains, and red spots.

No word yet on if anyone has been stung by these caterpillars or what TMC staff plan to do to get rid of them.

7 Sleepy Seal Stops Drug Bust

According to Australian police, a giant seal helped them apprehend a group of five men who were trying to bring in over a tonne of drugs into the country.

Two of the men, a Brit and a Frenchman, had the drugs onboard their yacht when it ran aground on Stick Island off the coast of Western Australia. They took the illicit goods ashore in a dinghy and tried to hide from search & rescue teams which were out looking for them, believing the pair might be in trouble. Eventually, they were spotted by planes because one of the drug runners was wearing a hot pink shirt.

When officers arrived on the scene, the men tried to make a run for it in their dinghy, but were thwarted by a large seal that they inadvertently woke up.[4] The animal was not in a good mood and the criminals decided that it was safer with the police.

Three other men were later arrested as they were in another boat, waiting to pick up the drug shipment.

6 Exploring A Lost Continent

A new report published in Gondwana Research recreates the long saga of a lost continent that sits today beneath Europe.

Scientists dubbed it Greater Adria, mainly because the remnants of the continent that are still topside form part of the Adriatic coastline. About 240 million years ago, this piece of land started to break away from the supercontinent of Gondwana. A hundred million years later, it was its own landmass about the size of Greenland.

The beginning of the end for Greater Adria started somewhere between 100 million and 120 million years ago when it started colliding with Europe. At blistering speeds of 3-4 centimeters (1.2-1.5 in) per year, it underwent subduction—a geological process where one tectonic plate moves sideways and downwards beneath another plate and into the Earth’s mantle.

Most of Greater Adria is buried now deep within the Earth. The study shows that some portions of the former continent are up to 1,500 kilometers (930 mi) below the planet surface. A lot of the top layer was scraped off during the collision and became part of Eurasia’s surface. In fact, geologists have found rocks from Greater Adria in over 30 countries.[5] Only a few slivers of the landmass survived the impact unscathed and they went on to attach themselves to Italy’s boot and the Istria region of Croatia.

5 Eye In The Sky Solves Cold Case

Google Earth helped solve a cold case from 22 years ago.

Back in November 1997, 40-year-old William Moldt from Lantana, Florida, went out clubbing and was never seen again. His fate remained a mystery until a few weeks ago when a person used Google Earth to look at their former neighborhood in Wellington. The neighborhood contained a pond and, right near the shoreline, something appeared to be submerged. It looked like a car, but the person wanted to be sure so they asked a former neighbor who still lived in the area to check. They used a drone and confirmed that a white sedan was sitting in the water.

Police pulled the “heavily calcified” vehicle out of the lake and found Moldt’s skeletal remains inside.[6] The car had sat in the pond for over two decades as an entire neighborhood was built around it. Some of the houses were feet away from Moldt’s body. Although his car is clearly visible from above, local residents say they never noticed anything from the shoreline.

4 The Loch Ness Eel?

Researchers have published their environmental DNA (e-DNA) survey of Loch Ness, concluding that the notorious monster, if it ever existed, was most likely a giant eel.

The Loch Ness Monster, colloquially known as Nessie, is the most famous lake monster in the world. Sightings date back almost 1,500 years and have continued into the modern era.

One group of scientists led by Neil Gemmill from New Zealand’s University of Otago conducted a study on the lake using e-DNA—the genetic material that all organisms shed which ends up in their surrounding environment. This would have given them a good idea of all the creatures that inhabit Loch Ness without having to actually observe them.

Researchers took 200 one-liter samples from all over the loch and compared them to other samples from nearby bodies of water known to be “monster-free”. They detected over 500 million DNA sequences belonging to 3,000 species of organisms.[7] These included land and air animals that only occasionally enter the loch such as deer, rabbits, birds, dogs, and, of course, humans.

What they didn’t find was any DNA belonging to large, exotic fish such as sharks or sturgeon that could be mistaken for a monster. There was also nothing to indicate that there were reptiles in the loch. Researchers specifically looked for sequences that would have likely belonged to a plesiosaur since that is what many Nessie true believers think the monster is.

Eel DNA was found in almost every sample so the scientists argue that, if any sightings of Nessie were real, they could possibly have been accounted by a large eel. However, they stress that this, in no way, confirms the existence of a giant eel monster living in Loch Ness.

3 A Mind For Crime

A Japanese store cashier has been accused of stealing the credit card details of 1,300 customers by only using his photographic memory.

Thirty-four-year-old Yusuke Taniguchi has been arrested last Thursday, but has not been charged with any crime as of yet. Allegedly, while working as a part-time cashier at a shopping mall in Tokyo’s Koto ward, he made use of his remarkable memory to remember the credit card information of people who shopped at his store. Later, he used the details to make purchases online. Since March, he spent around 270,000 yen ($2,600) on bags which he later planned to sell at pawn shops.

While going through Taniguchi’s apartment, police found a notebook which contained the credit card information of 1,300 people. This included the 16-digit number, expiration date, security code, and the name of the cardholder.[8] The cashier memorized all of them while he processed the purchase and later wrote them down in his notepad.

Taniguchi claimed he could do this thanks to his photographic memory, although experts dismiss the idea that something like this even exists. Far more likely was an eidetic memory, something that allowed him to retain a lot of visual information in a short amount of time.

2 Help In A Bottle

A family trapped above a waterfall was rescued thanks to a message in a bottle which floated down the river and reached the right people.

Curtis Whitson was exploring the Arroyo Seco Canyon in California’s Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park with his girlfriend and 13-year-old son. An avid hiker, Whitson had done the same route years ago. Back then, there was a rope to help climbers descend the waterfall, but now it was gone. In fact, the currents were so strong that the trio couldn’t rappel down anywhere, including the way they came. After they hit a few dead ends, they realized that they were stuck up there, kilometers away from the nearest camp and without a phone signal.

Whitson wrote a message on a bar order pad and placed it inside a green bottle and then scribbled the word “help” on its side. He threw it over the waterfall in the hopes that someone might spot it in time.

Fortunately, someone did. Two hikers stumbled upon the note, in fact, and alerted the camp host who, in turn, called the authorities. Whitson and his family were rescued the next morning.[9] Now, he is trying to find his two saviors who left the camp without giving their names.

1 Another Interstellar Visitor

A few years back, the astronomical community squealed with glee as it discovered the first ever confirmed interstellar object to visit our little corner of the galaxy. It was called ‘Oumuamua and raised a lot of questions about what it actually was. Scientists switched back and forth between comet and asteroid, with a small minority raising the possibility that it could even be an alien spaceship. Now, it seems like we have detected a second interstellar object in our solar system.

The rock was first noticed by amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov on August 30 at the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory in Bakhchysarai. It stood out due to its extremely hyperbolic orbit with an eccentricity of 3.2. For reference, most objects with an elliptical orbit around the Sun have an eccentricity between 0 and 1.The stargazer told Harvard University’s Minor Planet Center (MPC) who made the formal announcement. Initially given the designation gb00234, the object is now called C/2019 Q4 (Borisov).

It differs from ‘Oumuamua in several key ways. For starters, there will be no debates over what it actually is. It’s definitely a comet and has a visible coma and tail.[10] With a width of 20 kilometers (12 mi), it is much bigger than ‘Oumuamua and also brighter.

Most importantly, though, we noticed it early. Barring unforeseen circumstances, it should remain observable for at least one year, giving us a unique opportunity to take a close look at an object from outside the solar system.

Top 10 Incredibly Surreal Places on Earth

On a planet where the pyramids, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus are among the unchallenged greatest wonders of the world, it is often difficult to believe that such bizarre things as rainbow trees, polka-dotted lakes, and waterfalls of “blood” could even be possible.

But venture into the most beautiful, surreal corners of the world and you’ll find a variety of scientific marvels that form delightful and horrifying scenes straight out of a psychedelic novel.

10 Polka-Dot Shores

Although most lakes are formed and maintained by an ever-present source of water, some are instead an accumulation of melted snow, excessive rain, and trace amounts of groundwater. Bodies of water with this easy-come, easy-go nature (here known as an “endorheic” lake) are susceptible to extreme evaporation.

In fact, the lake itself will completely dry up during the summer. For one lake in Canada, this results in a colorful mosaic of spots. Officially named “Spotted Lake,” this remote location within the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia looks like just about any other lake in the country during the winter, spring, and fall months.

However, when summer rolls around, most of the lake’s volume is lost to evaporation. What is left behind isn’t any old patch of land, though. Spotted Lake is rich in natural resources: Calcium, sodium and magnesium sulphates, and titanium are the chief contenders there, and they are responsible for the colorful hue left behind.

When the water surrounding these elements and minerals evaporates, what remains are multicolored alkaline rings that, depending on the concentration of each, will leave varying hues of green, yellow, and blue rings on the dried-out ground.[1]

9 Glowing Lakes

From a tourist standpoint, Thailand is known for its beautiful beaches, exquisite cuisine, and backpacking trails that have the popular islands crammed with sightseers. The country is often advertised as a “deserted paradise.”

The vast numbers of tourists who inhabit the place from November to March are most likely unaware of one of the most extraordinary aspects: the blue, bioluminescent water seen only by night. Looking like something out of a fantasy novel, the waters off coastal Thailand are largely inhabited by microscopic plankton which contain many of the same chemical combinations as fireflies.

Using the same luciferin-luciferase chemical reaction as fireflies, the plankton found in these coastal waters glow when irritated. The display was once described as “a magical light show [to rival] the brightness of the stars above.”[2]

8 A Waterfall Of Blood

When we think of waterfalls, most of us are probably more inclined to think of the commonly known Niagara Falls, the most prominent (and probably overlooked) aspect of which is its crystal clear water. Yet for all the commonness of clear falls, there is a location where the water that pours forth is eerily crimson in color.

First located in 1911, this area of the remote Taylor Glacier in Antarctica appears to be spouting blood instead of water. The reason for this is rather complex. As opposed to being fueled by melting snow and groundwater, the water source of the Taylor Glacier is the saltwater lake that lies beneath.[3]

Over time, this salt water has picked up trace amounts of iron from constant contact with the bedrock below. What follows is the same chemical reaction that produces rust. The water takes on the deep red hue of iron oxide. When spilling over, the water seems to be made of blood.

7 Rainbow Trees

Looking more like a regular tree splattered with paint, the appropriately named rainbow eucalyptus is most prominently located in the Philippines and Indonesia. It can even be found stateside in Hawaii, California, and Florida.

Wherever you come across this tree, though, its wild coloration is the result of both its unique bark formation and its location. (The most colorful of these trees are found in Indonesia and the Philippines.)

The bark of the tree is formed by dividing cambium cells, each with a high concentration of chlorophyll (the chemical which gives leaves and grass their rich green color). Over the life span of the cambium cells, they become infused with varying levels of tannins, the chemicals which run the visual gamut from red to brown.

The varying combination of these chemicals, along with the relative humidity and the wetness of the bark, creates the rainbow effect.[4]

6 Stone Roses

Neither a stone nor a rose, a phenomenon found in Mexico and Tunisia (and, less commonly, in Arizona) is known as a “stone rose.” Formed from either gypsum or barite, these roses are produced as a result of evaporation when one or the other of these minerals binds with grains of sand in an arid, salt-rich environment.[5]

With an average size of 10 centimeters (4 in) per petal, these roselike formations range in color that is directly related to how they were formed. The ones made in shallower locations typically produce amber petals, whereas deeper formations in a wider space often produce yellow or clear petals.

The unique shape of these roses is not the only unusual thing about them. Regardless of their color during the day or where they developed, all will glow the same opaque white color when placed under an ultraviolet light.

5 Blood Rain

Travel to certain locations within India—namely, Kerala—and you may be treated to the seemingly morbid phenomenon of blood rain. While the name calls to mind some kind of biblical horror film, this state’s spookiest weather affliction is not the result of oxidation within the water. Rather, it is due to the state’s proximity to nearby deserts.

Although rain evaporates cleanly, it can pick up a multitude of things on the way back down. (Acid rain is a prime example and result of this.) But chemicals are not the only thing that can be mixed in with the precipitation.

Airborne particles that are thin enough and high enough can also blend with the moisture in the clouds. When reddish particles of sand get mixed with those clouds, they will fall and pool into puddles of bloodred liquid, even leaving a red hue behind when the rain itself evaporates.[6]

This scientific explanation of particles being mixed with cloud moisture also held true for the same phenomenon experienced in Russia in July 2018. The city of Norilsk was besieged by red rain one afternoon.

The culprit?

A metal processing plant was performing some routine maintenance. Rust shavings which had been scraped from the floor were caught in an updraft which took them high enough to meld with the clouds. Not long afterward, the red rain was pouring.

4 A Lake of Frozen Bubbles

Looking as though it’s full of frozen jellyfish or cartoonish jewels deep beneath its surface, Lake Abraham is an artificial lake located in Alberta, Canada, that dates back to 1972. It is burgeoning with frozen bubbles.

One unique aspect of this lake is that it has high concentrations of methane gas trapped within its surface. Most lakes contain base amounts of methane as a result of decaying matter which sinks to the bottom and is feasted on by bacteria. In turn, that bacteria produces the methane which escapes through the water and eventually goes airborne.

However, Lake Abraham is unique because its water temperature is high enough that methane can still escape into the water but cold enough that escaping gas will freeze into opaque bubbles. They display a hue ranging from white to deep blue depending on their proximity to the surface.[7]

3 Bubblegum Water

For the strawberry lovers of the world, you’re in luck . . . at least visually. There is a vibrant pink lake off the coast of Western Australia by the name of Hillier. Although it is not the only pink lake in the world, Hillier’s water is distinctive for being the only one with water that does not lose its color when collected.

This color is neither a mere optical illusion nor the result of the bedrock below the water. Rather, it is the result of several factors working together.

Discovered in 1802, Lake Hillier is home to a certain type of halophilic (“salt-loving”) algae known as the Dunaliella which generate their energy via use of all visible frequencies of light except those falling in the red-orange spectrum. In addition to “leaving behind” the red light energy, these algae produce variations of carotene that contribute to the lake’s reddish-pink hue.[8]

2 Mummified Lake

At first glance, Tanzania’s Lake Natron seems like a morbid oasis with its bloodred waters surrounded by many peaceful birds lurking at its shores. However, the cause of those deep red depths is more than a little unsettling.

Also known as “Stone Animal Lake,” this body of water in Africa was once rumored to have such a high alkaline content that it could instantly kill and petrify any animal that dared wander into its depths. Rather than being the result of an optical illusion or the presence of halophilic bacteria, Natron’s deep red color is attributed to the presence of minerals formed by volcanic processes in the immediate area.

These processes gradually increased the pH of the water until it became saturated with natron and sodium carbonate, the latter of which was once used in the practice of mummification. The presence of these various minerals—along with the decaying remnants of animals that couldn’t live in such harsh conditions—heavily increased the alkaline nature of the water.[9]

As such, it became favorable to haloarchaea, red-bodied organisms that tint the water of the lake and the plumage of the flamingos which often live by the water.

1 Forest Of Ice Blades

From the childhood favorite of making snowmen to the artisan craft of ice sculpting, the activity of shaping snow and ice into various pleasing formations has been around for a while and seemingly isn’t going anywhere. However, what happens when the Earth itself decides to get in on the fun?

Travel to various regions within Chile, and you will find miniature forests of icy blades . . . that have exactly no snow or ice in the surrounding area. First discovered in 1835, these religiously named “penitentes” can grow to upward of 5 meters (16 ft) tall.[10]

They are the direct result of sublimation, a chemical process by which a heat source transforms a solid into a gas without first melting it. In a process that only builds on itself, the angular formation of smaller spikes further concentrates the sunlight. This increases the rate of sublimation until entire forests of these spikes will overtake the landscape.

Roxanne is the author of mythological fantasy and paranormal horror novels. She is located at twitter.com/rheathwrites.

Top 10 Bizarre Facts About Crocodilians

Caimans, crocodiles, and alligators are among Earth’s most successful reptiles. Despite being intensely studied, crocodilians manage to keep their mysteries. For some reason, insects love their tears and orange crocodiles are evolving in caves.

The reptiles also hang around in trees, use pool noodles, and make for surprising mummies. While they continue to eat people at a disturbing rate, crocodiles could help mankind in unusual ways. They have a future as prison guards, and their blood holds the key to defeating HIV.

10 Bloody Baptism

Ethiopia’s second-biggest lake is called Abaya. The murky water obscures a vast population of crocodiles. The reptiles are underfed because the lake’s fish are disappearing. Starving, hard-to-see crocodiles might deter most people from wading into the water. But not a Protestant congregation from the nearby town of Arba Minch.

In 2018, 80 people trooped down to the lake for a mass baptism. The event baptized only one person . . . because things went terribly wrong. When the vicar, Docho Eshete, was about to baptize the second individual, a crocodile exploded from the water. During the attack, the civilian was knocked aside but the reptile snatched Eshete.

Fishermen tried to net the creature before it could swim deeper into the lake, and church members ultimately succeeded in pulling the clergyman away from the crocodile. Sadly, Eshete was already dead.[1]

9 Butterflies Drink Their Tears

In 2013, researchers floated down the Puerto Viejo River in Costa Rica. During the boat ride, the crew took photographs of wildlife. Something odd turned up. Several times, butterflies and bees fluttered around the eyes of crocodilians.

In one case, the insects could be seen drinking the tears of a spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus). The team wondered what was going on. Their research revealed that they were not the phenomenon’s first witnesses.

Back in 2012, scientists documented bees slurping the tears of turtles. Other studies reported that butterflies also visited turtle eyes. Photographs from tourists and wilderness photographers had already recorded the unusual behavior.

Clearly, the insects use reptile tears as a survival source of some kind. The likeliest explanation was salt mining. Sodium is critical to the metabolism and breeding of insects. They may also benefit from other elements like micronutrients, proteins, and enzymes. It remains unclear whether the reptiles receive any perks in return.[2]

8 They Climb Trees

Crocodiles roost in trees. This is not as rare as one might think. Four species of tree-basking crocodiles have been identified across three continents.

In Mississippi, an American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) was photographed on a branch 2 meters (6 ft) above the Pearl River Delta. In Central Africa, a slender-snouted species scaled a 4-meter-tall (13 ft) bank to clamber onto a branch. Most climbing crocodiles were small juveniles, but the biggest case involved a Nile crocodile measuring 2 meters (6.5 ft) long.[3]

Researchers believe that two things encourage odd behavior. Most climbers were recorded in areas with limited basking areas. The cold-blooded creatures need the Sun’s warmth. Lacking the space on the ground, a branch will do.

Also, when approached, the reptiles fell off the branches and disappeared underwater. This suggested that they also used the high vantage point to survey their environment and, if necessary, to make a quick escape.

7 Death Row Guards

In 2015, Indonesia became tired of human guards. Prisoners often bribed guards to allow inmates to escape. Additionally, despite Indonesia’s narcotics laws that execute offenders by firing squad, jail officials are regularly arrested for drug-related offenses.

The country’s anti-drugs chief, Budi Waseso, hit upon a novel idea. To solve the crisis, he needed scary guards with no interest in bribes or snorting cocaine. So why not use crocodiles?

The agency wants to build a prison on an island where the only residents would be drug convicts on death row. Instead of human officials, the island would be crawling with the reptiles.[4]

According to Waseso, the idea is still in the early stages. But he is dedicated to finding the most aggressive crocodiles he can and carting them off to the island in huge numbers.

6 A Half-Albino Crocodile

In Australia, a rare crocodile cruised the Northern Territory’s Adelaide River. The large male was a semi-albino. Most of his body was the normal dark color one would expect of these reptiles. The head, however, was hypo-melanistic. It had a yellow color that resulted from abnormally low pigment levels. The lethal creature was the dominant male in the region.

In 2014, he attacked and killed a fisherman who ventured too deep into the river. Hours later, the crocodile was shot dead. An examination of the body showed that he was a formidable survivor.

Few albino crocodiles survive into adulthood because their bright bodies fail to provide camouflage. Not only did this male mature but he also participated in horrific battles. His body was covered in scars, limbs were missing, and a particularly violent opponent had torn a large chunk out of his flank.[5]

5 A Possible Cold Case

MJ the crocodile lived at Koorana Crocodile Farm near Rockhampton in Queensland. MJ was a big reptile, measuring 4.7 meters (15.4 ft) long. In 2019, the animal died after a brawl with another beefy crocodile at the farm. An autopsy was done to determine the cause of death. Surprisingly, the stomach contents included an artificial device.

It was an orthopedic plate with six stainless steel screws. The sheet’s age (it was an older model) suggested that it was ingested as long as 50 years ago—along with the person or pet it belonged to. Unfortunately, decades of drifting around in stomach acid had eroded the serial number that could have identified the patient. The only additional clue was that it was manufactured in Switzerland.

MJ had lived at Koorana for six years and had come from another farm. However, the crocodile was born in the wild. The general feeling is that he ate a human before he was captured and that the plate could solve a cold case involving a missing person.[6]

4 The Noodle Case

The home of Victor Perez was located in Key Largo, Florida. In 2018, Perez was on his balcony when he noticed something floating in the nearby canal. It was a bright yellow pool noodle. With their buoyancy and bendiness, these devices double as pool toys and swimming aids. Only this pool noodle was not being used by a human.

To Perez’s shock, a crocodile lounged on the tube and used it to cruise through the water. While crocodiles are known to visit the canal, this was the first time that one floated by looking cool on a noodle.[7]

It was not clear how the swimming aid ended up in the canal, what happened to its human owner, or why the large reptile was so casual about the whole thing. Perez posted photos of the sighting on his Instagram account.

3 Baby Crocodile Stuffing

Since 1828, a crocodile received visitors at the National Museum of Antiquities in the Netherlands. The 3-meter-long (9.8 ft) “creature” was mummified around 2,500 years ago. During the 1990s, X-rays proved that two adults were used to make it look like one big crocodile. The images also showed blue anomalies. But the plates lacked detail, and they remained unidentified.

In 2016, the museum staff decided to scan the mummy again. Nobody thought about the blue blips. Instead, the artifact was scanned to create a program that would allow visitors to perform a virtual autopsy on the mummy. However, when the cutting-edge images returned, they held an unexpected surprise.[8]

The blips were 47 baby crocodiles that had been mummified and stuffed inside the adult. The collection was probably created to honor Sobek, an Egyptian god with the body of a man and the head of a crocodile.

2 Bright Orange Crocodiles

In 2008, Central Africa produced a unique crocodile. Discovered in Gabon, the dwarf crocodiles lived in dark caves and ate crickets and bats. They also had orange scales. Soon, genetic tests showed that their DNA was unlike that of any other crocodile.

The exciting part was that they were still evolving into a new species and researchers could be there every step of the way. The rapid mutation rate was unusual, but it likely stemmed from their dark habitat and isolation.

As to why they look like pumpkins, you can blame (or thank) bat excrement. The bats drop guano into the water where it releases large amounts of urea, a chemical that tans their hides. This could also explain why the crocodiles turn more orange with age.[9]

Strangely, only the younger crocodiles go outside to reproduce. They need rotting vegetation to incubate their eggs, a material that is unavailable inside the caves. Nobody knows if the older ones keep breeding inside the caverns. If so, they are using an unknown incubation method.

1 HIV Suppressant

According to researchers, the key to curing HIV and antibiotic resistance could be crocodile blood. In 2019, a study noticed something interesting. Crocodiles inflict grievous wounds on each other, but despite living in bacteria-infested water, they heal.

Curious about this super bacterial resistance, researchers took blood samples, created two serums, and threw hard-core bugs at them. The serums—made from human and crocodile blood, respectively—were exposed to 23 bacterial strains. The human serum killed eight.

The crocodile version took to the strains like a reaper and destroyed all of them, including the deadly MRSA. It also significantly shrank HIV in human blood. Additionally, when human cells were infected with HIV while the reptile blood was present, the infection was suppressed. This discovery could help unravel how HIV tampers with the body’s immune system and how to defeat the virus.[10]

10 Uplifting Stories To Get You Through The Week (9/8/19)

As the end of the week approaches, here is the list that aims to put a few smiles on faces. If you prefer to start with a more quizzical expression, check out the offbeat list here.

This week, we are inspired by children doing awesome things. One young girl raises money to protect police dogs, while a boy sacrifices his Disney World trip to feed hurricane evacuees. At the opposite end of the spectrum, we also honor an officer who has been serving the community for almost seven decades and marvel at a veteran who became the oldest scuba diver in the world on his 96th birthday.

10 World’s Oldest Scuba Diver

Former World War II radio operator Ray Woolley turned 96 last week. To celebrate, he set a new record as the world’s oldest active scuba diver. This broke the previous record, also set by him last year.

Woolley dived alongside a group of 47 other swimmers to a depth of 42.4 meters (139 ft) for 48 minutes, exploring the shipwreck of the Zenobia, a cargo vessel that sank in 1980 off the coast of Cyprus.[1]

The veteran has been exploring the depths of the oceans for 59 years and has set the record for the oldest diver for the third straight year. Naturally, he hopes that he can break it again next year as long as his “buddies” are still willing to dive with him.

9 Pooch Protection

The K-9 units from Wright County, Minnesota, will be better protected from now on thanks to one 10-year-old girl who raised funds with a lemonade stand to buy them all special vests.

A few weeks ago, fifth-grader Josie Larson from Monticello found out that police dogs need protective vests just like people, but the sheriff’s department didn’t have enough money to buy them. She took it upon herself to equip the officers of “paw & order” by doing what she did best—selling lemonade.

Josie’s goal was to raise $1,000, but she made over $1,600 in the end. Last Friday, she presented the Wright County Sheriff’s Office with a check for $1,500. The rest of the money was spent on bonus toys and treats for the K-9 pooches.[2]

8 Going Out With A Bang

The final Weengallon Pink Ladies Day ended on a high note, setting new records for the charity event that has been going on for 20 years.

Normally, the Australian town of Weengallon is just a tiny blip on the radar, nestled between bigger cities on the border between Queensland and New South Wales. Once a year, however, it plays host to a women’s charity luncheon that has grown bigger and raised more money with each subsequent edition.

The Weengallon Pink Ladies Day first occurred in 2000 when 60 local women hosted a barbecue and a tennis day to raise funds for a kindergarten. This year, a record 740 tickets were sold in 10 minutes. Over 900 people ended up attending, raising over $60,000 for local breast and prostate cancer services.

The luncheon had always been organized exclusively by local volunteers, but the committee in charge decided that this will be the last year due to the affair growing so much in size. Even so, a third party has offered to take over the event. While nothing is definitive at the moment, there might yet be more editions of the Weengallon Pink Ladies Day to come.[3]

7 Dorian Over Disney

One six-year-old chose to use the money intended for his birthday trip to Disney World to feed people forced to evacuate their homes due to Hurricane Dorian.

Today is Jermaine Bell’s seventh birthday. His family has been saving up all year for a vacation at Disney World. However, the young man from Allendale, South Carolina, thought that there were ways to put that money to better use.

Specifically, he was thinking about all the evacuees who had to flee their homes along the coast to get out of the way of the massive storm. He wanted to make sure they had something to eat and drink to make it easier for them to “enjoy the ride.”

Jermaine bought hot dogs, water, and chips. He set up a stand along Highway 125 and held up signs offering free food for evacuees who were driving by. The boy first went out on Labor Day and served over 100 people. He says that he has served “a lot” more since then and promised to keep doing it until the end of the week.[4]

As far as Disney World is concerned, Jermaine wasn’t too disappointed. He says that he will simply visit it another time.

6 A Reunion Decades In The Making

A New Jersey transit officer helped reunite a homeless man with the two daughters he hadn’t seen in 24 years.

Decades ago, Jose Lopez separated from his wife and moved to Florida. He had lost contact with them after suffering multiple strokes which made him unable to work. He became homeless.

Recently, Lopez’s situation was stable enough that he was determined to see his daughters again. He made it to New Jersey and was at the Secaucus Junction train station when Crisis Outreach Officer Sean Pfeifer approached him and asked if he needed any help.[5]

Indeed, he did. Lopez needed to get to the town of Bradley Beach. More importantly, he needed a way of tracking down his daughters. Pfeifer started making calls. Before long, he found Kristy and Angela Viviani, who were eager to see their dad again. The transit officer also arranged for Lopez to get a shave and a haircut.

Earlier this month, father and daughters finally reunited after more than two decades apart. Lopez even got to see his grandchildren for the first time. He described the situation as being “in heaven.” Pfeifer was on hand for the reunion and admitted to “tearing up” behind the camera.

5 Serving The Community

The state of Ohio recently celebrated 91-year-old Howard Mullen for being the “longest-serving officer” in the state.

Living in the town of Pomeroy for almost his entire life, Mullen has dedicated himself to helping the community and he has been doing it for 67 years. Recently, he went to the Meigs County Courthouse for a retirement party, but it wasn’t his.

When the 68th year comes around, Howard wants to still be working. He is doing what he loves, and he is convinced that he will die sooner if he slows down and starts spending his days sitting on the couch and watching TV.

Mullen first joined the Pomeroy Fire Department in 1952, and he became a deputy the following year. After five decades on the force, Howard couldn’t work full time anymore. But that didn’t stop him from serving. Since then, he has volunteered with the North Fort Myers Fire Department.[6]

Just a few weeks ago, a sergeant with the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office said that Mullen responded with him to a disturbance complaint. Mullen was the first to notice a woman brandishing a gun and alerted the sheriff.

4 Max The Tiny Hero

A six-year-old student is being hailed as a hero. He saved his teacher’s life after she collapsed at the front of the classroom.

Joyce Darr was serving as a substitute teacher for a class at Frostproof Elementary School in Polk County, Florida. She suddenly fell ill and crumpled to the floor in front of several young students.

One of them, Max Meza, did not panic or start crying. Instead, he ran out of the classroom and started looking for another adult who could call 911. He found one, and the emergency services got there in time to save Darr’s life.[7]

Max went to the hospital to visit her. There, the teacher’s adult son, Derek, was eager to show his gratitude. He called Max the “real MVP” and presented him with his first pair of Air Jordans.

More recognition came from Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd who credited Max with saving his teacher with his quick-thinking actions. The “tiny hero” received a citizens certificate as well as a brand-new bike.

3 Act Of Kindness Rewarded

A Missouri officer was successful in his quest to find and reward a young man after his random act of kindness was caught on camera and went viral.

Last week, Officer Joe Holt with the Independence Police Department was sitting in his vehicle in the parking lot of a grocery store while a torrential rain was pouring outside. Suddenly, he noticed a teenager run across the lot with his jacket off. He was rushing to the exit of the store to escort an elderly woman to her car and shield her from the rain.

Holt was touched by this gesture and snapped a photo of the teenager in action. Then he followed the young man to his own car where his mother was waiting for him. The officer informed her of her son’s good deed and said that she should be proud of him.

Later, Holt decided that the teen deserved a reward for his kindness—something like a nice dinner. However, Holt didn’t know the teen’s name or how to get in touch with him. The officer posted the photo he had taken on the Independence PD Facebook page hoping that someone would recognize the boy in the picture.

In a subsequent update, a new post revealed that the teen was identified as 14-year-old Tyrea and that he and his mother had gone out to dinner with Officer Holt over the weekend.[8]

2 Love Letters Returned

Photo credit: BBC

A shoebox full of 70-year-old love letters was returned to its original owner thanks to an online campaign and a determined stranger with a strong sense of romance.

Twenty years ago, a woman named Cherry Vallance obtained the letters from her neighbor who found them in the attic and wanted to throw them away. Subsequently, they ended up in Cherry’s attic where they were once again forgotten until her daughter, Kim Rowe, rediscovered them.

The letters were from 1948 and 1949 and detailed the budding romance between a Norma Hall in Kent, England, and Bob Beasley, a soldier fighting overseas. That was the only information she had, but Kim heard various tales about people and things being found through Facebook decades later. She shared the story online and told Facebook to “please do your stuff.”[9]

The Internet delivered and tracked down Norma Beasley living in Lincoln. She was astonished to discover that her cherished love letters still existed, not to mention that they were in their original shoebox.

The moment is bittersweet, though. Norma admits she hasn’t looked at the letters yet. Bob passed away late last year, and she is still not ready to go through them alone.

1 Breakthrough For Malaria

Kenyan scientists are touting a malaria breakthrough as they gear up to start human trials on a new class of drugs that could become available in less than two years.

The basis for this new treatment is Ivermectin, a conventional medication used for parasitic diseases. Trials conducted in Burkina Faso showed that Ivermectin treats the symptoms and reduces transmission rates by making the blood of people vaccinated with it lethal to mosquitoes. Moreover, the drug is capable of killing Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite responsible for malaria which is carried by female mosquitoes.

Development of the new class of drugs is being conducted in Kenya, although the human trials will be performed by the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to Dr. Simon Kariuki, head of Kenya’s malaria research programs at Kemri, the focus of the research will be children and pregnant women as they are the most vulnerable.[10]

This is particularly good news at a time when the World Health Organization announced that the resistance against traditional malaria drugs is on the rise.

10 Offbeat Stories You Might Have Missed This Week (9/7/19)

Here is a look at some of the strangest and most original stories that hit the headlines this week. If you missed the previous offbeat list, you can check it out here.

This week, we explore a few unusual crimes that range from horrifying to bizarre. There is a look at historical child sacrifices and a modern rivalry between two pastor’s wives. The Holiday Bandit is finally apprehended, and a TV helicopter unwittingly uncovered a rooftop weed plantation.

In non-crime news, scientists find a new mineral and marvel at a weird planet. An island is on the lookout for a Napoleon impersonator, and a man pays a fortune for one beer.

10 Sacrifices For El Nino

Photo credit: AFP

Archaeologists in South America have made an incredibly disturbing but significant discovery in Peru—the largest child sacrifice site in the world.

Teams of researchers have been digging near the beach town of Huanchaco since last year. In that time, they have uncovered the skeletal remains of 227 children aged between four and 14, and it doesn’t look like they will be the last. Chief archaeologist Feren Castillo with the National University of Trujillo described the situation last Tuesday as “uncontrollable,” as everywhere they dig, they find another skeleton.

The victims belonged to the Chimu culture. Experts believe that the sacrifices were performed in an attempt to appease the gods at a time when the Peruvian coastline was being thrashed by El Nino. The skeletons were all posed facing the sea, and there were signs that they were killed during wet weather.[1]

The details get even more disturbing. Tiny footprints that have survived indicate that the children were marched to their doom from the large, ancient city of Chan Chan. Lesions on the breastbones suggest that they were killed with a blade, likely a ceremonial knife. Their rib cages were subsequently dislocated, perhaps in order to extract their hearts.

9 Bathtub Opera

Photo credit: AFP

Opera lovers from Prague got to enjoy a unique experience last Thursday night—Mozart’s Don Giovanni was played on the roof of the Lucerna Palace in the historic city center to an audience who watched it while sitting in bathtubs.

The initiative belonged to cafe owner Ondrej Kobza, who likes the challenge of presenting culture in unique, innovative ways. This specific idea came from an anagram—in Czech, “Don Giovanni” can be turned into “John do vany,” which means “John into the tub.”[2]

The performance included selected arias instead of the whole opera but was played by top opera singers, including soloist Adam Plachetka from the Vienna Opera, who enjoyed trying something that had never been done before. Spectators arrived dressed in full evening attire but didn’t mind getting soaked for this unusual experience. Fortunately, the water was warm, and the weather was pleasant.

8 Wanted: French Emperor. Suit Provided

The tourism board of the island of Saint Helena is looking for a Napoleon impersonator to attend multiple events for the next few years in anticipation of the 200-year anniversary of the emperor’s death.

Saint Helena is a tiny British overseas territory in the South Atlantic with a population just over 4,500 people. It is mainly notable for being the place where the famed French emperor spent his last years after being exiled and where he died in 1821. Unsurprisingly, Napoleon plays a big part in the island’s tourism, and officials would like a good impersonator to attend events for the next two years, culminating with a big bicentennial bash.

The ideal candidate has to be shortish, male, well-presented, and have the ability to “engage with individuals at all levels, especially dignitaries.”[3] Moreover, the candidate has to fit in the Napoleon suit that the tourism board already owns. Saint Helena used to have a different impersonator, but he has left the position. The deadline for applicants is September 27.

7 The Holiday Bandit Is Caught

New York authorities have finally caught the so-called “Holiday Bandit,” who could be responsible for a decade-long burglary spree of luxury apartments in Manhattan. The perpetrator is 81-year-old Florida man Samuel Sabatino.

When New Yorkers left the city for warmer climates, Sabatino drove up from the Sunshine State and targeted their apartments. He was always careful and methodical: He would stake out buildings before robbing them and would pay for everything in cash to avoid leaving a paper trail. He focused mainly on affluent areas in the Upper West and Upper East Sides. After picking the lock of an apartment, he would typically steal small, valuable items, such as watches and jewelry.

Sabatino was finally caught after failing to sneak by a doorman, who reported him to the police.[4] Authorities believe he has stolen around $400,000 worth of goods since 2014. Moreover, he remains a suspect in other crimes that go back a decade, and investigators are still working to connect him with multiple burglaries.

6 The Real Pastor Wives Of Oak Hill

The rivalry between two pastor’s wives escalated to the point where one of them was arrested after accidentally discharging her gun during an argument.

Melinda Frye Toney (pictured above) is the wife of Earl Toney, the pastor at the New Life Apostolic Church in Oak Hill, West Virginia. Lori Haywood is the wife of David Haywood, the youth pastor at the same church. For an unspecified reason, these two ladies do not get along.

According to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department, the two pastors thought that it would be a good idea to get the wives together at the church so that, perhaps, they could bury the hatchet in public.

This turned out to be the opposite of a good idea because, predictably, the women got into an argument. This time, it was over a T-shirt that Haywood was wearing.[5] Fed up, Melinda Toney stormed out of the church and walked toward her car, where she retrieved her handgun. She was going back into the building when she was intercepted by her husband, who tried to pry the pistol away from her. During the struggle, the weapon discharged once.

Melinda Toney was arrested, although it is unclear what charges she will be facing. While Haywood claims she was the intended target, the surveillance footage doesn’t show the pastor’s wife aiming the gun at her before it went off.

5 I Spy With My Camera Eye

Catalan police confiscated dozens of marijuana plants after a helicopter filming crew covering a cycling race unwittingly broadcast footage showing the weed plantation on the rooftop of a residential building.

The Vuelta a Espana is currently taking place. The 21-day race will see cyclists make their way through Spain, France, and Andorra. Last Saturday, during the eighth stage, racers were speeding through the streets of Igualada, a town northwest of Barcelona. A helicopter crew was on hand to take some nice aerial shots of the Vuelta and, in the process, also captured footage of the nearby buildings.

Eagle-eyed viewers quickly pointed out that the large, bushy plants covering one rooftop were, in fact, marijuana. Regional force officers from the Mossos d’Esquadra conducted a raid and confiscated over 40 plants, although they are still trying to determine who owned them.[6] The terrace was not connected to any apartments, so numerous people could have accessed the roof.

4 Victory For Maurice

A French tribunal ruled in favor of Maurice the rooster on Thursday, ending a two-year issue over whether the bird’s early morning crowing constituted a nuisance or not.

The problem began in 2017, when the rooster hatched to Corinne Fesseau, a woman who lives in the countryside on the island of Oleron. Soon enough, as you would expect, Maurice began singing his cock-a-doodle-doo early each morning. This bothered Fesseau’s neighbors, an elderly city couple who bought a second vacation home on the island. They complained that the noise was disturbing the peace.

The two sides could not see eye-to-eye and, eventually, went to court. Since then, people have framed this issue as being city vs. town, a symbolic clash between urban and rural residents. Those who supported the French cock argued that a rooster’s crowing is a typical sound of the countryside, one that all city folk who want to live there should get used to.

The court seems to agree. Not only did it rule in favor of Maurice, but it also ordered the plaintiffs to pay €1,000 in damages to the bird’s owner.[7] The defense lawyer stated that his opponents lost the case because they failed to prove there is a nuisance. There’s no word yet on if the couple will appeal the decision.

3 Scientists Find Edscottite

Scientists examining the center of a meteorite have discovered a mineral never before found in nature called edscottite, which, likely, came from an ancient planet with a molten core.

The mineral itself was not unknown to us. Edscottite appears during the smelting of iron, but we never saw it form naturally. However, researchers from Caltech found some while examining samples from the Wedderburn meteorite, which was found in Australia back in 1951. Fittingly, the scientists were checking to see if the space rock contained any rare minerals.

According to convention, minerals can only be named officially if they are found to form naturally. This means that the Caltech researchers also got the opportunity to designate a moniker for their exceedingly rare chemical compound. They named the mineral edscottite in honor of Edward R.D. Scott, a cosmochemist who did pioneering work on meteorites at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.[8]

Planetary scientists speculate that the meteorite was once part of a planet’s molten core. The presence of hot metal combined with heat and pressure likely led to the formation of edscottite. Afterward, the planet was destroyed by a collision, and bits of it ended up in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. One of those bits was knocked out of its orbital path and made its way to Earth.

2 World’s Most Expensive Beer, Possibly

Australian cricket writer Peter Lalor got the shock of his life when he discovered that he paid roughly £55,000 ($67,000) for one bottle of beer.

Lalor went to England to cover the Ashes cricket series and stopped by the Malmaison Hotel in Manchester. He fancied a beer and ordered a bottle of Deuchars IPA. He wasn’t wearing his glasses when he paid, so he entered his details without looking at the sum. Otherwise, he might have noticed that, due to an error, he was being charged £55,262.96, which is nearly 100,000 AUD.

Subconsciously, he might have noticed something was off because, after paying, he asked the bartender how much he was charged for the beer. She looked at the bill and, after a stunned silence, showed him that he might have just purchased the most expensive beer in history. Lalor’s wife later called him in a panic, confirming that the money was missing from their mortgage account.

The hotel manager promised to help rectify the situation with the card company, but it will still take a while before Lalor gets his money back. Looking back on it, the journalist opined that the beer was good, “but not that good.”[9]

1 The Wacky Whiplash Planet

A newly discovered planet is puzzling scientists, who say it is unlike anything they have ever seen before.

The uniqueness is caused by the object’s egg-shaped orbit. Dubbed HR 5183 b, the massive exoplanet is roughly three times the size of Jupiter and located 100 light-years away from us, swirling around a star in the constellation Virgo.

We have seen other planets that have a highly elliptical, or eccentric, orbit. However, none of them are as extreme as HR 5183 b. At its closest approach (periapsis), it is about the same distance from its star that Jupiter is from our Sun. But it experiences a “whiplash” effect which causes it to speed up as it swoops around the star. It then slows down as it moves away, reaching its furthest distance from the star (apoapsis), which is greater than that of Neptune to the Sun.[10]

Lead author Sarah Blunt described this planet as “a wacky object.” Astronomers are still studying the possible scenarios that could have given HR 5183 b its extreme orbit. Plausible explanations include another object with a lot of gravity that deflected it, such as a secondary star or a neighboring planet.