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Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011

Chuck Shepherd's News of the Weird

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Nuclear Meltdown, Home-Style

Richard Handl, 31, was arrested in southern Sweden in July after a raid on his home. He had been trying for months to set up a nuclear reactor in his kitchen, but became alarmed when a brew of americium, tritium and beryllium created a nuclear meltdown on his stove. Only then, he said, did it occur to him to ask the country's radiation authority if what he was doing was legal (the subsequent police raid answered that question). No dangerous radiation level was detected, but Handl still faces fines and a maximum two-year prison sentence for unauthorized possession of nuclear materials.

Least Competent People

(1) Authorities in Roseville, Mich., arrested a 24-year-old man in August and charged him with reckless driving after he hit four cars. He had noticed that his brakes had failed but tried to continue driving by extending his left leg out the driver's side door and braking "manually" (yes, as in "The Flintstones"). According to police, the man was completely sober. (2) In Durango, Colo., Sean Ogden, 19, was seriously burned in July when he tried to break down fireworks he had purchased in order to build even bigger ones. He was mixing them in a coffee-bean grinder.

Leading Economic Indicators

Augustin James Evangelista is only 4 years old, but he nevertheless has certain financial needs—which amount to about $46,000 a month, according to the child-support request filed by his mother, supermodel Linda Evangelista. A Wall Street Journal reporter concluded that the figure is about right for rich kids in New York City, what with needing a driver, designer clothes, around-the-clock nannies and various personalized lessons. And soon, according to a consultant-to-the-rich interviewed in August by the Journal, Augustin James' needs will become even more expensive, as he graduates from his exclusive preschool and enters his exclusive kindergarten.

Medical Marvels

  • The first published instance of a woman's nipple appearing on the sole of her foot was noted in a 2006 report in the journal Dermatology and reprised in a series of U.S. and British press reports in July 2011. The reporting physicians, led by Dr. Delio Marques Conde, acknowledged that out-of-place breast tissue, while extremely rare, has shown up before on the back, shoulder, face and thigh. The foot nipple was "well-formed," with areola and sebaceous glands.
  • British college student Rhiannon Brooksbank-Jones, 19, recently had her tongue surgically lengthened so that she could better pronounce the Korean letter "L." London's Daily Mail reported in August that the student had become fascinated with Korean culture and intends to live and work in South Korea, and thus would need to speak like a native to succeed. She is now satisfied that she does.

Our Animal Sidekicks

What took them so long to think of this? "Most wineries rely on the human nose [to detect out-of-place odors]," said the vintner of the Australian boutique wine Linnaea, "but that is time-consuming, costly and nowhere as reliable as Belle." Miss Louisa Belle is a 7-year-old bloodhound, possessing a nose that is reportedly 2,000 times more sensitive than the human nose. Her primary job, the vintner told Melbourne's Herald Sun in July, is to sniff out tainted corks during the bottling process.

Pervs on Parade

At an August medical board hearing in Manchester, England, anesthesia consultant Dr. Narendra Sharma was accused of placing the hand of a sedated female patient underneath the operating table so that he could fondle his own private parts using a "stranger's" touch. Two medical workers claimed to have seen him, with one of them saying she saw Sharma "exposed." Sharma later explained that his pants had inadvertently fallen down during one procedure because a previous patient had kicked loose the tape holding them up.

© 2011 Chuck Shepherd