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Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2009

Sweden’s Male Breast-feeding

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A male Swedish college student, Ragnar Bengtsson, 26, has begun pumping his breasts at three-hour intervals in a 90-day experiment to see if he can produce milk. If he succeeds, he said, it could prove “very important for men’s ability to get much closer to their children at an early stage.” A professor of endocrinology told the daily Aftonbladet that male lactation without hormone treatment might produce “a drop or two,” but suggested that men instead consider offering their breasts to babies as a matter of comfort and warmth, rather than as a source of food. Bengtsson, who will report regularly on his progress via Stockholm’s TV8 channel and the station’s Web site, acknowledged that his timetable would sometimes require him to pump during classes.

Compelling Explanations

  • Improbably Successful Pickup Line: In September, school officials in Australia's Queensland state said they were investigating an incident earlier in the year in which two teenagers had consensual sex that was recorded on a cell phone camera by a third party. The girl reportedly said she was convinced to lose her virginity out of fear that the world would end with the start of the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland.

  • In August, police in Deer Lake, Newfoundland, decided not to pursue charges against three boys they previously believed had harassed a young moose (which ultimately had to be put down). The decision against prosecution followed evidence from the father of one of the boys, who vouched that the three could not have committed the crime because they had been busy vandalizing a nearby church at the time.

  • Not My Fault: (1) In July, a 60-yearold highway worker was injured when he was struck by motorist Catherine Stotts, 62, who was speeding down a lane that had been blocked off for road construction near Willits, Calif. The worker required hospitalization, but Stotts complained about receiving a traffic citation: She told officers that the man could have jumped out of the way faster. (2) In May, Alexander Kabelis, 31, was arrested for slashing tires on almost 50 vehicles in Boulder, Colo., but he offered several explanations, including being overwhelmed by radiation from the nearby Rocky Flats nuclear facility and having been forced by his mother to wear braces on his teeth as a child.

Ironies

To Fight Sin, One Must Know Sin: In April, the Arizona State Parks Board unanimously chose Renee Bahl—thought to be a dynamic, experienced professional—to be director of state parks. However, her employment record while an assistant parks director in California included an incident 10 years ago in which she was disciplined for etching “Renee ’99” into the wall of one of the parks’ historic adobe barns.

Update

A longtime saga in News of the Weird came to an end this summer. In August, the annual Gotmar festival in India’s Madhya Pradesh state was finally banned, after centuries of “tradition.” Residents of two neighboring villages would come together once a year to bombard each other with rocks for an entire day (resulting in dozens of bloody injuries and, most years, some deaths as well), but at the sundown cease-fire, both sides would bandage their wounded and celebrate with each other (only to do it all over a year later).

Copyright 2009 Chuck Shepherd