• Man beat up nurse for giving his wife a COVID-19 vaccine

    In Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada on Monday, a man walked into a Brunet Pharmacy and allegedly beat up a nurse who he blamed for administering a COVID-19 vaccine to his wife without his permission.

    "Right at the beginning, the suspect was very angry, very aggressive, he asked the nurse why she vaccinated his wife without approval, without his consent," Sherbrooke Police spokesperson Martin Carrier told CNN. "And he punched her right in the face multiple times so the nurse didn't have the time to defend or explain herself … and she fell to the ground and the suspect left running out of the drugstore."

    The nurse was treated at a hospital for "multiple injuries to the face."

    Unfortunately, the asshole's identity is unknown and there's no surveillance video. The police have released a description and hope to charge him with assault.

    From CNN:

    As a result of the incident, the pharmacy told CNN partner, CBC, that they suspended vaccinations. CNN reached out to the pharmacy but they refused to comment on whether or not vaccinations were being administered Thursday.

    Brunet Pharmacy's parent company, The Jean Coutu Group Inc., also declined to comment but told CNN they "fully condemn this act which is unacceptable towards the pharmacy teams who have been providing essential services since the beginning of the pandemic."

    image: Google Street View

  • William Shatner is going to space on Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin rocket

    Captain Kirk is finally headed to space for real. According to TMZ, William Shatner plans to be part of the next civilian crew to fly aboard Blue Origin's spacecraft. If it happens, Shatner, 90, will be the oldest person to visit space, taking the record from Wally Funk, 82, who in July joined Jeff Bezos and two other private citizens for a short jaunt past the edge of space. Wonder if Bezos will rename his rocket the Enterprise.

    From TMZ:

    Our sources say the mission will be filmed for a documentary. We're told Shatner's people were talking to Discovery about the special, but that didn't materialize … but our sources say Shatner and Co. have taken the project elsewhere and are in negotiations.

  • Gunmen disguised as lawyers shoot murder suspect in courtroom

    Today in New Delhi, Jitender Gogi—allegedly involved in 19 murders and attempted murders—appeared in Rohini Court for a hearing. After the court proceedings began though, two men, thought to be lawyers involved in the case, opened fire and killed Gogi. From NDTV:

    "Two from rival gang opened fire at Jitender Gogi inside the court. The police acted swiftly and killed both the assailants," Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana told NDTV.

    According to the police, when Gogi was brought to the court, with heavy police escort, two attackers dressed as practising lawyers, complete with "collar band, black blazer and trouser and black shoes", suddenly started firing at him. 

    I wonder if the shooters were posing as attorneys for the defense or the prosecution.

    image: screengrab from NDTV video

  • These USPS mail carriers must prove they can repeatedly jump on and off a moving boat

    Every year, six "mail jumpers" are hired every summer to repeatedly leap on and off a big moving boat to deliver mail to around 60 homes on Wisconsin's Geneva Lake. Below is a news report on local youth vying for this odd job. The mail jumping began in the late 19th century before roads were built around the lake. From Wikipedia:

    The Lake Geneva Cruise Lines has operated the boat since 1916. It takes approximately 160 tourists along. Most mail runs are at full capacity. Jumpers are expected to be able to speak as tour guides as the tour passes historic summer houses and Yerkes Observatory. The jumpers are privately hired by the cruise line and they work closely with the U.S. Postal Service. The Walworth II is the only mail jumping boat in the United States. Mail has been delivered this way since 1873. A local resident said "There was a time during the war when everyone really counted on the mailboat. We didn't have TV and computers and all of that, so everyone would gather to meet the mailboat.

    (via Oddity Central)

  • Emailing while asleep

    According to a case described in the medical journal Sleep Medicine, a 44-year-old sleepwalker logged onto her computer and emailed out party invitations to friends. Fortean Times magazine looks at this case and several other bizarre episodes of somnambulism. From Fortean Times:

    The mails themselves were perhaps not up to the woman's waking standard; each was in a random mix of upper and lower case characters, badly formatted and containing odd expressions. One read: "Come tomorrow and sort this hell hole out. Dinner and drinks, 4.pm. Bring wine and caviar only." Another said simply: "What the…"

    The writers of the report have dubbed this new variation of sleepwalking 'zzz-mailing'. They say: "We believe writing an email after turning the computer on, connecting to the Internet and remembering the password displayed by our patient is novel. To our knowledge this type of complex behaviour requiring coordinated movements has not been reported before in sleepwalking. She was shocked when she saw these emails, as she did not recall writing them. She did not have any history of night terr­ors or sleepwalking as a child."

    Unlike simple sleepwalking, they argue, the activities the woman engaged in required complex behaviour and coordinated movement, as well being able to remember her login details. She had no memory of the events next day. It's thought that the somnambulistic episode may have been triggered by prescript­ion medication.

  • US Constitution for sale

    A first printing of the United States Constitution is headed to auction in November. It's one of just eleven known copies of the 500 printed for the Constitutional Convention and Continental Congress back in 1787, and the only one still privately-owned. Sotheby's auction house estimates it will sell for $15-$20 million. It currently belongs to Dorothy Tapper Goldman, a philanthropist who is donating full proceeds from its sale to her foundation "which is dedicated to furthering the understanding of our democracy and how the acts of all citizens can make a difference." From Sotheby's:

    The present document emerged in 1988 from a private Philadelphia collector, and was sold at Sotheby's that same year for $165,000, when it was acquired by Mrs. Goldman's late husband, S. Howard Goldman. It has remained in the Goldman collection ever since. Through the Goldman's commitment to philanthropy and education, this edition of the constitution has been on loan at the New-York Historical Society, New York, the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, United States Supreme Court, National Constitution Center, Museum of the American Revolution, and more across the more than 30 years it remained in their collection. 

  • Watch this woman barely—just barely—miss getting hit by a train

    Dutch railway operator ProRail released the video above with the following warning (translated):

    Oh not this! People who come dangerously close to the track are called track runners. Their behavior has major social consequences. More than a third of the number of train delays on the track is caused by people walking along the track, knowingly or consciously. This results in tens of millions of euros in social damage and a large number of missed appointments. In addition, it is an offense to be unauthorized on railway grounds. 

  • Flying microchip with wings to monitor air pollution and airborne diseases

    Similar in size to a grain of sand, this flying microchip could someday monitor air pollution, track the spread of airborne diseases, and, of course, conduct surveillance. While its inventors at Northwestern University call it the "smallest-ever human-made flying structure," it's actually inspired by propeller seeds that fall from trees, catching the wind as they spiral to the ground. From Northwestern Now:

    By studying maple trees and other types of wind-dispersed seeds, the engineers optimized the microflier's aerodynamics to ensure that it — when dropped at a high elevation — falls at a slow velocity in a controlled manner. This behavior stabilizes its flight, ensures dispersal over a broad area and increases the amount of time it interacts with the air, making it ideal for monitoring air pollution and airborne disease.

    As the smallest-ever human-made flying structures, these microfliers also can be packed with ultra-miniaturized technology, including sensors, power sources, antennas for wireless communication and embedded memory to store data.

    "Our goal was to add winged flight to small-scale electronic systems, with the idea that these capabilities would allow us to distribute highly functional, miniaturized electronic devices to sense the environment for contamination monitoring, population surveillance or disease tracking," said Northwestern's John A. Rogers who led the device's development. "We were able to do that using ideas inspired by the biological world. Over the course of billions of years, nature has designed seeds with very sophisticated aerodynamics. We borrowed those design concepts, adapted them and applied them to electronic circuit platforms."[…]

    But what about all the electronic litter? Rogers has a plan for that. His lab already develops transient electronics that can harmlessly dissolve in water after they are no longer needed — as demonstrated in recent work on bioresorbable pacemakers. Now his team is using the same materials and techniques to build microfliers that naturally degrade and disappear in ground water over time.

  • Watch this man with no legs set a world record for running on his hands

    Zion Clark set the Guinness World Record for running the 20 meter on his hands. His time was 4.78 seconds. Clark, 19, is also an accomplished wrestler.

    From Guinness:

    [Clark] was born with Caudal Regression Syndrome, a rare condition characterized by abnormal development of the lower (caudal) end of the spine. 

    "In my case, my birth mother did not take care of her body at all while she was pregnant with me, she was on a multitude of different drugs, and that caused me to have defects," Zion shared.

    "It made my life harder from the get go because I had to go through two different surgeries for my back, just so I could sit up straight." […]

    "Nobody is going to get to that top level if they don't put in the work. I'm willing to put in the work and willing to make the sacrifices."

  • New homeowner finds creepy doll behind wall with note about the murder of former residents

    Jonathan Lewis recently moved into a new home in Liverpool, England and became curious about a wire emerging from a boarded-up section of wall. He cut a hole in the wall and discovered a ragdoll holding a rather creepy note.

    From Coast to Coast:

    The spooky note began by thanking the reader for "freeing me" and went on to reveal that "my name is Emily. My original owners lived in this house in 1961." The weird missive then took a chilling turn as 'Emily' explained that "I didn't like them so they had to go. All they did was sing and be merry. It was sickening. Stabbing was my choice of death for them, so I hope you have knives." After that chilling 'confession,' the message concludes with a presumably sarcastic "hope you sleep well." As one might imagine, Lewis was initially put off by the ominous note, but he later determined that he was likely on the receiving end of an elaborate prank.

    Upon checking with his realtor and some of his new neighbors, Lewis learned that the area of the house where the doll had been discovered was only renovated four or five years ago.

    Likely, Lewis was the target of a longterm prank played by the previous homeowners. Hopefully, anyway.

  • Fantastic animated pitch for King of the Hill (1996)

    Hank Hill introduces the TV executives to the ensemble cast of King of the Hill.

    "I'd say y'all got the makings of a damn good cartoon here," Hank says.

    From Wikipedia:

    In early 1995, after the successful first run of Beavis and Butt-Head on MTV, Mike Judge decided to create another animated series, this one set in a small Texas town based on an amalgamation of Dallas suburbs, including Garland, Texas, where he had lived, and Richardson. Judge conceived the idea for the show, drew the main characters, and wrote a pilot script.

    The Fox Broadcasting Company was uncertain of the viability of Judge's concept for an animated comedy based in reality and set in the American South, so the network teamed the animator with Greg Daniels, an experienced prime-time TV writer who had previously worked on The Simpsons. Daniels rewrote the pilot script and created important characters who did not appear in Judge's first draft, including Luanne and Cotton. Daniels also reworked some of the supporting characters (whom the pair characterized as originally having been generic, "snaggle-toothed hillbillies"), such as making Dale Gribble a conspiracy theorist. While Judge's writing tended to emphasize political humor, specifically the clash of Hank Hill's social conservatism and interlopers' liberalism, Daniels focused on character development to provide an emotional context for the series' numerous cultural conflicts.

    (via r/ObscureMedia)

  • How humans lost our tails

    I find it unfair that humans don't have tails but monkeys do. More than 60 million years ago, the earliest primates did have tails that helped them not fall out of trees. Most primates still have tails but people and other apes lost them along the way. All we have is a pathetic little coccyx. What the hell happened to our tails? Biologists at NYU's Grossman School of Medicine have now identified the genetic mutation that shortchanged us. To test their hypothesis that a spontaneous mutation in a gene called TBXT was responsible, they genetically engineered mice with that mutation. "When these embryos developed, many of the animals failed to develop a tail," writes Carl Zimmer in the New York Times. "Others only grew a short one." Still, while the scientists have uncovered how we lost our tails, the why remains a mystery.

    From the New York Times:

    The first apes were bigger than monkeys, and their increased size would have made it easier for them to fall off branches, and more likely for those falls to be fatal. It's hard to explain why apes without tails to help them balance wouldn't have suffered a significant evolutionary disadvantage.

    And losing a tail could have brought other dangers, too. Mr. Xia and his colleagues found that the TBXT mutation doesn't just shorten tails but also sometimes causes spinal cord defects. And yet, somehow, losing a tail proved a major evolutionary advantage.

    "It's very confusing why they lost their tail," said Gabrielle Russo, an evolutionary morphologist at Stony Brook University in New York who was not involved in the study. "That's the next outstanding question: What on earth would the advantage be?"

  • Plants embedded with nanotechnology to make them glow, and they can be recharged!

    MIT researchers created light-emitting plants that can glow for about an hour and recharged in just ten seconds using an LED. To make the glowing plants, they embedded the plants with specially-engineered nanoparticles that are several hundred nanometers in diameter. (For comparison, a human hair is approximately 80,000 nanometers wide.) The nanoparticles, made from a phosphorescent compound, act as "light capacitors" that absorb light and then slowly release it. From MIT News:

    "We wanted to create a light-emitting plant with particles that will absorb light, store some of it, and emit it gradually," says Michael Strano, the Carbon P. Dubbs Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT and the senior author of the new study. "This is a big step toward plant-based lighting."

    "Creating ambient light with the renewable chemical energy of living plants is a bold idea," says Sheila Kennedy, a professor of architecture at MIT and an author of the paper who has worked with Strano's group on plant-based lighting. "It represents a fundamental shift in how we think about living plants and electrical energy for lighting."[…]

    The particles… can be infused into the plants through the stomata — small pores located on the surfaces of leaves. The particles accumulate in a spongy layer called the mesophyll, where they form a thin film. A major conclusion of the new study is that the mesophyll of a living plant can be made to display these photonic particles without hurting the plant or sacrificing lighting properties, the researchers say.

  • Haruki Murakami on one of his favorite t-shirts

    Record collector (and author) Haruki Murakami also has a penchant for t-shirts. Writing in the New Yorker, he comments on how he "amassed more t-shirts than I can store" and reveals one of his favorites, seen above. From the New Yorker:

    This T-shirt has a straightforward message: "i put ketchup on my ketchup." Now, that's the statement of somebody who is seriously in love with ketchup. It kind of teases those Americans who put ketchup on everything, but I find it interesting that one of the companies that distribute these shirts is none other than Heinz. A little self-deprecatory humor going on here, but you can't help feeling the American spirit in it, the optimistic, cheerful lack of introspection that says, "Who cares about being sophisticated! I'm gonna do what I want!"

    When I walk around town in this shirt, Americans sometimes call out, "Love the shirt!" The ones who do this usually have that "I love ketchup" look about them. 

  • Sending clowns to hang around elementary schools proves to be a bad idea for a marketing campaign

    The Speech Academy Asia, a public speaking program in Singapore, came up with the brilliant idea of sending clowns to hang around outside elementary schools and promote their offerings. Apparently they hoped the clowns would excite the kids so they'd encourage their parents to sign them up for the speech classes. Not surprisingly, the kids, along with their parents and school staff, were freaked the hell out. School administrators advised the children not to leave the school grounds while waiting for pick-up and to keep their wits about them.

    Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin posted the above image to his Facebook with the comment: "Whoever is doing what I assume to be some viral marketing nonsense, stop it!"

    From The Straits Times:

    Apologising for the commotion caused, [Speech Academy Asia director Kelvin] Tan said the marketing team did not expect the backlash after getting the clowns to hang around outside primary schools as part of a campaign to encourage parents to register their children for their speech classes.

    "There was no evil intention behind the costumes and we sincerely apologise for it," he said. "We will not do it again."

    He denied suggestions that the clowns had persuaded the pupils to follow them. "Our employees wouldn't go around saying such things," he added.[…]

    Mr Kelvin Tan said the company's roadshow team members were asked to don "cute mascots" as part of their outreach efforts but he was not aware that they would be dressed as clowns.

    "Maybe the clowns were too scary. It's wrong and we won't do it again," he repeated.

  • Richard H Kirk, co-founder of Cabaret Voltaire, RIP

    Groundbreaking electronic musician Richard H Kirk, co-founder of Cabaret Voltaire, has died at age 65. From his earliest work in the early 1970s to the present, Kirk was a massive influence on countless artists and genres, from New Order, 808 State, and Scanner to acid house, EDM, and dub techno. From The Guardian:

    Kirk, along with Chris Watson and Stephen Mallinder, formed [Cabaret Voltaire] in 1973, taking their name from the Zurich nightclub that birthed the Dadaist movement and forging their sound via experiments combining music and technology. "Technology was always a catalyst," Kirk told the PRS in 2016. "It allowed you to do things, especially if you weren't the world's best musician […]

    Kirk once described his early motivation to make music as "boredom" stemming from the absence of distraction in early 1970s Sheffield. "You had to find your own entertainment, which turned out to be making weird electronic music."

  • Men happily take vehicle with "FREE CAR" sign only to later find something unpleasant in the trunk

    Two men in Byram, Mississippi spotted a vehicle on the side of the road with a "FREE CAR" sign on it and the key inside. They couldn't believe their luck and drove the car about 30 miles to a relative's house. Unfortunately, they soon realized that the "free" car also included a free corpse. From WLBT:

    The body has been identified as 34-year-old Anthony Mccrillis. [Coroner Ellis] Stuart said his body had been in there for several days and was found without clothes.

    "He was identified through his tattoos and confirmed through his immediate family of his identity," Byram Police Chief David Errington said.

    Errington said the victim's vehicle was seen in Byram, Copiah County, and Jackson over the last few days. Police have not yet determined where the original crime took place[…]

    He said Mccrillis' body had no signs of obvious trauma and that the next step in the investigation is to get the victim's car and process it for evidence.

    image for illustration only: The U.S. National Archives (Public Domain)

  • Police arrest men attempting to drive into locked-down Auckland with a trunk full of KFC… and other things

    On Sunday, police arrested two men attempting to drive into Auckland, New Zealand which is on extreme lockdown due to COVID-19—everything is closed and people must stay home except for essential movement. Apparently these fellows felt that a KFC run is essential travel as their trunk was loaded with several buckets of chicken, a ton of coleslaw, french fries, and other items. According to police, they were also carrying more than NZ$100,000 (US$70,000) in cash—the change from their order, I'd guess—and "empty ounce bags" which I can only assume were to be used to portion out the drumsticks to their friends back home.

    From CNN:

    Police were patrolling back roads near the outskirts of Auckland when they noticed a suspicious looking vehicle, a New Zealand Police spokesperson said in a statement Monday .Upon seeing the officers, the vehicle did a U-turn and sped off before eventually pulling over, the statement said[…]

    The two men, ages 23 and 30, were traveling to Auckland from Hamilton, about 75 miles south of the city, police said.

    The pair will appear in court for charges of breaching New Zealand's Health Order, police said, adding "further charges are likely."