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Friday October 31st 2014

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News of Weird 4/4/13


by Chuck Shepherd

Wait … What? A startup company in Austin, Texas, also serving San Francisco, promises to take its customers’ incoming U.S. mail three times a week, photograph it and deliver it back to the customers via mobile phone app, for $4.99 a month. The company, Outbox, provides some value-added services, removing the customer from junk-mail lists and paying bills. Still, Outbox’s unorthodox business model assumes that a growing number of people absolutely hate opening, filing or discarding pieces of paper. Co-founder Will Davis told CNN in February that at least he does not fear competition: “No one is crazy enough to do what we’re doing.”

Oops! College basketball player Shanteona Keys makes free throws at a 78 percent rate for her career, but on Feb. 16, she weakly shanked one of those 15-foot shots, causing it to thud to the floor about eight feet short of the rim—the worst collegiate free-throw attempt of all time, according to several sports commentators who viewed the video. Keys explained to Deadspin.com that she always brings the ball close to her face when she shoots, “and my fingernail got caught on my nose, so I couldn’t follow through correctly.” Her Georgia College (Milledgeville, Ga.) team lost to rival Columbus State, 70-60.

Research Hurts Between 2002 and 2010, according to the March BJU International (formerly British Journal of Urology), an estimated 17,600 patients came to U.S. hospital emergency rooms reporting genital injuries from trouser zippers (presumably by accident, but researchers took no position on that). Seven authors (six from University of California, San Francisco) took credit for the report, funded by a National Institutes of Health grant, and found that “zip” wounds were only about one-fifth of emergency penile injuries.

Family Values Rachel Hope and Parker Williams, both apparently intelligent and attractive, decided to procreate and fully raise a child together—even though neither has romantic intentions toward the other. Their relationship is likened to a business one, according to a February New York Times profile, in which they do their respective biological duties, separately, and then each basically outsources half the subsequent child-rearing to the other. Said another parent in a similar relationship: “When you think about the concept of the village, and how the village was part of child-rearing for so many cultures … it makes total sense.”

•Robert Burton, 34, got a 15-year prison sentence in February for forcing women into prostitution, with evidence including a police report quoting Burton’s 7-year-old son, who was in the car with Burton and two women when Miami police stopped them. The kid had earnestly identified the women: “Those are my daddy’s hoes.”

The Continuing Crisis Professor Peter Froehlich, who teaches computer science classes at the highly competitive Johns Hopkins University, contractually grades “on a curve,” automatically marking the highest grade an A, with other grades trailing based on their proximity to the class’s best. One clever student tried to organize the entire class for December’s final exam, to persuade everyone to do no work at all—thus rendering the “highest” grade a zero, meaning an A for everyone. (Of course, if a single student broke ranks, everyone except that student would receive an absolute zero.) Fortunately for the students, according to InsideHigherEd.com, the class held together, and a shocked professor Froehlich nonetheless honored his contract, giving everyone an A (but subsequently closing the loophole). {in}