Chuck Shepherd's News Of The Weird
In June, the two aspiring criminals arrested for trying to rob Zhen Yang's convenience store in Gatineau, Quebec, were immortalized by the store's surveillance video. As Yang resisted the masked, knife-wielding men, he unleashed a can of bear spray, temporarily blinding one man and sending the other man running. As the heavily doused man tried to climb back over the counter, Yang punched him, over and over again, on his buttocks. Police picked up both shortly afterward.
A 44-year-old man dressed as Bigfoot (in a military-style ghillie suit) was accidentally run over by two cars on U.S. Highway 93 south of Kalispell, Mont., on Aug. 26. Friends of the man said he was wearing the costume to convince people of Bigfoot's existence.
Bugs to the Rescue
At a conference in August, researchers from North Carolina State University demonstrated their latest technological advance in aiding first responders to peacetime and wartime disasters: cockroaches. The scientists outfitted Madagascar hissing cockroaches with electronic backpacks that included cameras and microphones, and hacked the bugs' nervous systems to steer them remotely into the tiniest of openings—a crucial step toward finding survivors of earthquakes or bomb damage in densely built-up and populated areas. As one researcher said to ABC News, "Somewhere in the middle (of tons of rubble), your kid is crying," and huge machines are "not very efficient" at finding him or her.
The Continuing Crisis
- Weapons for the 21st Century: Thousands of farmers in the northeastern India state of Assam are growing the world's hottest chili peppers and selling them to the army to make weapons, reported London's The Guardian in a July dispatch. One expert said a "few drops" of bhut jolokia "could make you senseless." Blasting a container of it into a terrorist hideout, he said, would "make them all drop their guns" after "just one breath." (Bhut jolokia has also been used traditionally to repel elephant attacks.)
- Because the words were not those ordinarily used by vandals keying a car's paint, police in Newcastle, England, looked immediately to a better-educated vandal and arrested Newcastle University professor Stephen Graham, who had been a prominent critic of neighborhood parking rules that allowed outsiders to use parking spots on the area’s streets. Scratched into the exteriors of several outsiders' luxury cars were words such as "arbitrary" and "really wrong" and "very silly" (as opposed to the usual crude vandal references to anatomy and maternal promiscuity).
Not the Usual Suspects
(1) Arrested in New York City in August on charges that he used a tiny camera in a folded newspaper to crudely peek up female subway riders' skirts: Dr. Adam Levinson, assistant professor at the prestigious Mount Sinai school of medicine. (2) Arrested in Beverly Hills, Calif., in July and charged in a string of vandalism incidents (shooting metal marbles from a slingshot at windows of dozens of businesses and homes): investment banker Michael Poret, 58, of the Rodeo Drive office of UBS Financial Services.
"No. 1" Complaints: (1) In New York in August, Albert Sultan complained about his hard-charging former boss, real estate broker Jack Terzi, accusing Terzi of various workplace abuses, including (allegedly to make a point in front of co-workers) deliberately urinating on an item of Sultan's clothing. (2) In July, Timothy Paez, 22, was arrested in Boulder, Colo., based on an incident at Shooters Grill and Bar, in which, after being rejected by a woman, he later approached her and allegedly urinated on her leg. (3) Australia's Illawarra District Rugby Union reported in July that it was investigating an unnamed Avondale player who had allegedly urinated all over his uniform pants during play so as to discourage his opponents from trying to tackle him.
© 2012 Chuck Shepherd