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Chuck Shepherd's News Of The Weird

Oct. 16, 2013
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The Bar Is Always Open  

A 61-year-old Texas man admitted to a hospital not long ago appearing to be falling-down drunk, even though denying having had even a single drink, was discovered to be unintentionally manufacturing beer in his stomach. With “auto-brewery syndrome,” stomach-based yeast automatically ferments all starches (even vegetables or grains) passing through, converting them into ethanol. Normally, natural stomach bacteria control the yeast, but if, for example, antibiotics had inadvertently eliminated the bacteria, the yeast would prevail. The case was reported in a recent International Journal of Clinical Medicine.                                                                                            


Great Art!            

The missing element in obtuse doctoral dissertations in science is that they cannot be danced to, according to writer John Bohannon and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which has established an annual “Dance Your Ph.D.” video competition. Sarah Wilk was an entrant, featured in a Wall Street Journal report using glowing green balls and a hoola hoop to help illustrate her “Odd-Z Transactinide Compound Nucleus Reactions Including Discovery of 260-Bh.” So was Peter Liddicoat, using a chorus line of a juggler and a ballerina and others for “Evolution of Nanostructural Architecture in 7000 Series Aluminum Alloys During Strengthening by Age-Hardening and Severe Plastic Deformation.”                                    


Police Report      

■ Use What You Have: (1) Abbott Griffin, 57, was arrested in Toledo, Ohio, in August and charged with robbing a Circle K convenience store, during which he had allegedly grabbed the clerk and bashed him repeatedly with a Bible. (2) One resident of a shelter in Seattle was charged in August with assaulting another in a dispute over TV-set volume, using a tub of butter-substitute. (3) Honesty Keener, 37, was convicted in Gloucester County, N.J., in August of a 2011 break-in during which she demanded money from the female resident under threat of rubbing her open sores over the resident’s skin.    

■ New Kinds of Field Sobriety Tests: (1) Deaaron Hearn, 22, was arrested in Iowa City, Iowa, in October after the traffic officer told him to summon a friend to drive his car home, and Hearn responded by reaching into his pocket, clumsily placing a $20 bill to his ear, and attempting a phone call. (2) In October, with her two children waiting in the car at a Holyoke, Mass., Shell gas station, Brenda Diaz, 26, allegedly attacked the store’s Slushie machine, naked (before police arrived to Taser, pepper-spray and arrest her).                                            


People Different From Us               

“We Treat Them Like Family”: Deborah Cipriani, 55, of North Ridgefield, Ohio, runs from her home America's only rescue center for skunks, and naturally, she told London’s Daily Mail in October, some of her companions like to sleep with her in bed (which is reportedly fine with partner, Kevin).               


Undignified Deaths           

(1) A 68-year-old hiker with a broken ankle was killed in Mansfield, Australia, in August following his “successful” lift from the bush by an Ambulance Victoria helicopter. Moments after he was raised, airborne, about 30 yards off the ground, he fell to his death. (2) A 52-year-old man was killed in an explosion in Rowan County, Ky., in July when he lit a cigarette while hooked up to an oxygen supply. The man had survived three explosions under the same circumstances.                                           


A News of the Weird Classic (June 2008)     

Leading Economic Indicator: Rising prices of synthetic fertilizers and organic foods have intensified the collection of bird droppings on around 20 climatically ideal islands off the coast of Peru where 12-inch-thick seabird guano coats the land. In the 19th century, China fought with Peru on the high seas for the right to mine the guano, which at that time was 150 feet high in places. Said an official of the Peruvian company that controls guano production (to a New York Times reporter in May [2008]), "Before there was oil, there was guano, so of course we fought wars over it." The exceptionally dry climate means that 12,000 to 15,000 tons of guano are available yearly.




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