News that Matters
Friday July 25th 2014

On Sale:

Follow the Blog

Archives

News of the Weird 5/10/12

by Chuck Shepherd

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines … and Your Stereos Sophisticated automobile technology makes high-performance engines purr in relative silence, but automakers fear that their most demanding drivers are emotionally attached to the engines’ roar. Consequently, as Car and Driver reported in April, the 2012 BMW M5, with 560 horsepower tempered with sound deadeners, has installed pre-recorded engine noise, channeled into the car’s cabin via the stereo system. A computer program matches the amplitude of the engine’s growl to the driver’s accelerator-revving. In other automobile tech news, Peugeot technicians announced in March that they were preparing “mood paint” for the body of the company’s iconic RCZ model. The paint’s molecular structure would be alterable by heat sensors in the steering wheel and elsewhere that measure a driver’s stress levels. A calm driver might see his car turn green, for instance—but watch out for road-rage red!

Not Your Classic Perps: (1) In October, Dr. Kimberly Lindsey, 44, a deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control’s Laboratory Science, Policy, and Practice Program Office, was charged with two counts of child molestation and bestiality involving a 6-year-old boy. (2) In April, Yaron Segal, 30, a post-doctoral researcher at a physics lab at MIT, was arrested upon arriving in Grand Junction, Colo., after arranging with a woman online to have sex with the woman’s underage daughter (an adventure that was the product of a law enforcement sting). (Two weeks later, Segal was found dead in his jail cell of an apparent suicide.)

Names in the News (1) Arrested for felony battery in Bloomington, Ind., in April: Ms. Fellony Silas, 30. (2) Announced as eligible for parole in June by the Kansas Prison Review Board: Mr. Wilford Molester Galloway. (3) Arrested for hit-and-run in April in Roseville, Calif.: Mr. Obiwan Kenobi, 37. (4) Arrested on drug and weapons charges in Clarkstown, N.Y., in April, Mr. Genghis Khan. (5) Among the silly town names uncovered in an April report on SmarterTravel.com: Why, Ariz., Whynot, Miss., Hell, Mich., Pig, Ky., Elephant Butte, N.M., Monkeys Eyebrow, Ky., and Embarrass, Minn. The report also found towns in Wales and New Zealand that are 58 and 57 letters long, respectively.

Bright Ideas Following her recent holiday in the United States, in which she passed through Boring, Ore. (pop. 12,000), Scotswoman Elizabeth Leighton returned home to suggest that officials in her hometown of Dull, Scotland, arrange for the two towns to become “sister cities,” even though they did not qualify under normal protocols because of Boring’s larger size. (The Oregon town was named for a Civil War soldier, William H. Boring.)
• Some villagers in China’s Shandong Province who are too poor or isolated to hook up to home heating fuel service have an alternative, according to a March report by China News Center. They take giant, heavy-duty balloons that resemble 15-foot-long condoms and walk to filling stations to inflate them with natural gas every four or five days. The danger of explosion is high, but the balloons remain many villagers’ best option.

Oops! At the 10th Arab Shooting Championships in Kuwait in March, as medals were presented and winners’ national anthems were played, officials were apparently ill-prepared for medalist Maria Dmitrienko of Kazakhstan. Consequently, her “national anthem” was, inadvertently, the humorous ditty from the movie “Borat.” (Instead of such lyrics as “sky of golden sun” and “legend of courage,” the audience heard “Greatest country in the world / All other countries are run by little girls” and “Filtration system a marvel to behold / It removes 80 percent of human solid waste.”) Dmitrienko reportedly kept a mostly straight face throughout, although Kazakhstan later demanded, and received, an official apology.

People Different From Us Lawrence Cobbold, 38, has a house in Plympton, England, but has to make living arrangements at his parents’ home or elsewhere because his place is totally taken over by his 21,000-item collection of bird ornaments and doodads. Before heading off to sleep elsewhere, he spends an average of four hours a day tidying up the collection. His dad (who described his other son as “completely normal”) said, “I just hope I die before (Lawrence). I don’t want to (have to) clear all this out.”

Least Competent Criminals Questionable Strategy: Robert Strank, 39, was arrested in Beavercreek, Ohio, in April and charged with trying to rob the Huntington Bank. According to police, he had approached the bank’s counter but become ill and asked a teller to call 911 to summon medics. There were conflicting news reports about when medics arrived to treat Strank, but there was agreement that Strank recovered and subsequently presented the same teller his pre-written holdup note demanding cash. He was arrested in short order. {in}