Cobbler Grigore Lup of Cluj, Romania, was disturbed to see people ignoring social distancing guidelines put in place for the COVID-19 pandemic. So he created a pair of size-75 (European) men’s shoes, each of which is about 2 1/2 feet long. The shoes have a regular space for the foot but then a long bill-like section that extends from the toe. Lup told United Press International that the shoes are designed so that two people facing each other (and wearing his shoes) have to keep a distance of about 5 feet.
Security agencies in India thought they may have captured a Pakistani spy after villagers in Manyari, a border town in the disputed region of Kashmir, delivered the courier to police, but the mole wasn’t a mole at all; it was a pigeon. According to Sky News, Kathua Police Superintendent Shailendra Mishra said the bird flew into a home on May 24 and a “ring was seen attached to one of its legs with some numbers on it … Some called it a coded message.” Authorities are trying to decipher the message, as pigeons have been used for espionage in the disputed region in the past. Meanwhile, the BBC reports that a Pakistani man named Habibullah is claiming the pigeon is his, and the number on the ring is his mobile phone number. Habibullah, who lives just a few miles from the India/Pakistan border, has asked for the pigeon’s return and told local media India should “refrain from victimizing innocent birds.”
Another Job Threatened
Boston Dynamics has partnered with the New Zealand robotics company Rocos to develop a robotic dog, Spot, to herd sheep. “The age of autonomous robots is upon us,” Rocos chief executive David Inggs told United Press International. The dog can be controlled remotely as it guides sheep through mountainous and difficult terrain, according to the company. “It just needs to walk with intent toward the sheep and they seem to respond,” said Richard Stinear, Rocos chief technology officer. In other words, they act like sheep.
It’s A Mystery
Folks in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, have been hearing odd, loud banging noises at all hours over the past few weeks. “We’re all hearing it and it’s interrupting our sleep,” Heather Donily told the CBC. “There’s a sense of panic when you first hear it.” Most people believe the noises are “bear bangers” — noisy flares used to scare bears away in the wilderness — and police are investigating, but Councilman Pete Fry has concerns: “Bear bangers actually do have the potential to cause harm. … If they’re being indiscriminately used throughout the city … somebody might actually get hurt.”
Alex Masmej of Paris, France, is a 23-year-old with a strong sense of self-worth. So strong, in fact, that he sold shares of himself via an initial coin offering, or ICO, in April. Masmej sold tokens, called $ALEX, to 30 investors, raising more than $20,000, which he plans to use to move to San Francisco. Investors in $ALEX reportedly receive a share of any money he makes over the next three years, up to $100,000; a vote on some of his life decisions; and promotion from Masmej on his social media channels, Decrypt reported. (He has a whopping 3,200 followers on Twitter and 517 on Instagram.) “Since there are no legal contracts,” Masmej said, “I can technically run away with the money.” But he won’t because “it will hurt my reputation amongst those very people I need help from. It’s more likely that I just don’t make money and pay back very little.” Mmm hmmm.
Some folks never learn. On May 9, a New Hampshire State Police trooper pulled over Nicole George, 31, in Newington. George was driving 90 mph in a 50 mph zone; after the traffic stop, she went on. But only 13 minutes later, a second trooper clocked her doing 111 mph in a 65 mph zone in Rochester. The first trooper responded to assist at the second traffic stop, NECN reported, and she was arrested for reckless operation. However, after her arrest, authorities found about 40 grams of fentanyl and some methamphetamine in George’s possession; they seized her Honda Pilot, and they suspect criminal activity was the reason for her big hurry.
Egyptian talk show host Lobna Asal abruptly fled the studio mid-interview on May 27 after being attacked by the monkey brought to the set by her interview subject, actor Ibrahim El-Samman, United Press International reported. Appearing on Egyptian channel Al Hayat, the monkey co-starred with El-Samman on his latest project, and at first settled in Asal’s lap for several minutes, calmly listening to the conversation, but then jumped down and attacked her legs. As she ran off, another person arrived to wrangle the primate.
As rioters looted and vandalized stores and other businesses in Seattle on May 30, one woman, wearing a cloth mask and a backpack, was caught on news cameras calmly walking out of the Cheesecake Factory with a whole cheesecake, adorned with undisturbed strawberries on top. A KIRO news crew captured the footage as others threw bottles of liquor and broke windows. “With everything going on, sometimes you just have to take a moment to treat yourself,” one Twitter user commented.
I Am Not Dead Yet
Railroad workers became alarmed after spotting a pair of human feet and “no signs of life” near the Chafford Hundred station in Essex, England. The British Transport Police reported that officers who rushed to the scene “found a man in his late 30s enjoying some nude sunbathing.” A spokeswoman for Network Rail punned: “Let me lay it bare, the railway is not a place to sunbathe. Please keep away from the tracks.” Another spokesperson said the episode was “not as uncommon as you might think.” The sunbather received “words of advice” but no citation.
The Foreign Press
Police in Madrid, Spain, caught up with a wanted criminal in late May, AFP reported. Nacho Vidal, a porn star, was charged with manslaughter relating to the death of fashion photographer Jose Luis Abad last year at Vidal’s country residence. According to authorities, Abad died after inhaling “venom of the bufo alvarius toad” during the “celebration of a mystic ritual.” The toad, which is native to Mexico and the southwestern U.S., secretes venom containing a powerful psychedelic substance. Police said Vidal and his cohorts have lured people who are “easily influenced, vulnerable or who were seeking help for illnesses or addictions” to the rituals on a regular basis. One of Vidal’s relatives and an employee were also arrested.
Unclear On The Concept
Julie Wheeler of Beaver, West Virginia, pleaded guilty in February to health care fraud and faced up to 10 years in prison. So she and her husband, Rodney Wheeler, apparently cooked up a plan to keep her out of jail: On May 31, Rodney and the couple’s 17-year-old son reported that Julie had fallen from the Grandview overlook at the New River Gorge National River. Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and rescue crews began a search for her, including use of a helicopter and rappelling into a jagged canyon, to no avail. After three days of searching, however, Julie turned up — hiding in a closet in her home, WVNS reported. Now, in addition to the fraud conviction, Julie and Rodney will face multiple charges of conspiracy and giving false information to West Virginia State Police. “It is hard to hide at home,” remarked U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart.
The Way The World Works
Lowering the Bar reported on June 3 that the divorce rate in Saudi Arabia has climbed by as much as 30% during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a referenced report, at least some of those divorces are the result of women finding out that their husbands are secretly also married to another woman, an apparently not uncommon practice in that country. “The pandemic, domestic isolation and curfew contributed to uncovering the hidden
The 95-year-old Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster at Belmont Park in Mission Beach, California, is a National Historic Landmark, but it, along with all of the other rides in the park, has been closed to riders since March. To keep it in good repair and ready for reopening, the coaster must run 12 times every day, and park mechanics discussing how reopening would happen hit upon an idea: They loaded the coaster’s 24 seats with giant plush animals from the park’s midway games prize stash. “People are loving it,” Steve Thomas, the park’s general manager, told The San Diego Union-Tribune. “We’ve seen tons of videos and pictures that people have been posting online.” Thomas said when the coaster reopens, he may keep the furry riders on board to help with social distancing rules. –