Wednesday, February 21, 2018

"News of the Weird: Feb. 22, 2018"

From The Shepherd Express:

Accent on Weird
Michelle Myers of Buckeye, Ariz., suffers from blinding headaches, but it’s what happens afterward that until recently had doctors stumped. Myers, who has never been out of the U.S., has awakened from her headaches three times in the last seven years with a different foreign accent. The first time it was Irish, the second time it was Australian, and both lasted only about a week. But Myers’ most recent event, which was two years ago, left her with a British accent that she still has. Doctors have diagnosed her with Foreign Accent Syndrome, a rare condition that usually accompanies a neurological event such as a stroke. Myers told ABC-15 that the loss of her normal accent makes her sad: “I feel like a different person. Everybody only sees or hears Mary Poppins.”
Get Your Goat
A new golf course at The Retreat & Links at Silvies Valley Ranch in Seneca, Ore., will take “the golf experience to a new level” in 2018, owner Scott Campbell announced in early February to the website Golf WRX. This summer, golfers will be offered goat caddies to carry clubs, drinks, balls and tees on the resort’s short seven-hole challenge course, McVeigh’s Gauntlet. “We’ve been developing an unprecedented caddie training program with our head caddie, Bruce LeGoat,” Campbell went on, adding that the professionally trained American Range goats will “work for peanuts.”
Fatberg, Dead Ahead!
News of the Weird reported last September on the giant “fatberg” lodged in the sewer system beneath the streets of London. The huge glob of oil, fat, diapers and baby wipes was finally blasted out after nine weeks of work. On Feb. 8, the Museum of London put on display a shoebox-sized chunk of the fatberg, the consistency of which is described by curator Vyki Sparkes as being something like “Parmesan cheese crossed with moon rock. It’s disgusting and fascinating.” The mini-fatberg is enclosed within three nested transparent boxes to protect visitors from potentially deadly bacteria, the terrible smell and the tiny flies that swarm around it. The museum is also selling fatberg fudge and T-shirts in conjunction with the exhibit, which continues until July 1.
Least Competent Criminals
n Kenneth R. Shutes Jr. of New Richmond, Wis., bolted from a midnight traffic stop on Feb. 6, but he didn’t make it far before having to call 911 for help. The Twin Cities Pioneer Press reported that Shutes got stuck in a frozen swamp in rural Star Prairie and, after about an hour, became unable to walk as temperatures dipped to 8 below zero. Fire and rescue workers removed Shutes from the wooded area, and he was later charged in St. Croix County Circuit Court for failing to obey an officer, marijuana possession and obstructing an officer.
n Marion County, Fla., sheriff’s officials were surprised to get a text from David W. Romig, 52, on Jan. 30 about a murder scene at his home in Dunnellon. The Ocala Star Banner reported that detectives were called to the home after Romig reported an intruder had killed his girlfriend, 64-year-old Sally Kaufmann-Ruff. Some of the evidence they found didn’t match Romig’s story, and their suspicions were confirmed later in the day when Romig texted a detective, saying, “I think they are going to arrest me”—a text he had intended for his wife. On Feb. 12, Romig admitted he may have killed Kaufmann-Ruff. He was charged with homicide, making a false report and tampering with evidence.
Evolution in Action
Frank Lyko is a biologist at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg with a narrow field of study: the marbled crayfish. But as Dr. Lyko and his colleagues reported in a study published Feb. 5, there’s more to the six-inch crustacean than meets the eye. Until about 25 years ago, this species didn’t exist, The New York Times explains. One single, drastic mutation created a whole new species of crayfish—one that can clone itself. Since then, it has spread across Europe and other continents, threatening native varieties. The eggs of the crayfish all produce females, which do not need to mate to produce more eggs. Dr. Lyko’s DNA research offers new insights into why most animals have sex, because there are so few examples of sex-free species (they don’t last long). He admits that the marbled crayfish “may last only 100,000 years. That would be a long time for me personally, but in evolution it would just be a blip on the radar.”


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