New In London: Wet Wipe Island

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New In London: Wet Wipe Island

In London, an island the size of two tennis courts that’s composed entirely of used wet wipes has appeared in the Thames River that meanders through the city. Government ministers have asked people to stop using the wipes and are considering a ban. Fleur Anderson, a Labour Party MP, said she has visited the site: “I’ve … stood on it — it’s near Hammersmith Bridge in the Thames and it’s a meter deep or more in places. It’s actually changed the course of the Thames.” Environmental minister Rebecca Pow asked citizens not to flush the wipes and said a proposal for dealing with the problem would be forthcoming “very shortly.”

Vintage Speakeasy Trinkets

In Evansville, Ind., Your Brother’s Bookstore has more to offer than just great reading material. As the new owners were preparing to open last year, they discovered a trap door that led to a room under the store. It was just a dusty opening with a hole in the wall, and they didn’t give it much thought until the Evansville African American Museum contacted them, thinking it might be related to the Underground Railroad. Museum officials investigated and learned the hole led to a tunnel that runs under the town’s Main Street. While there was no evidence of the abolitionist route, the owners did find artifacts related to Prohibition: a still, glass bottles, and tables and chairs that might have been part of a gambling den. The owners said they will make a small exhibit in the store.

How Do You Lose A Restaurant?

At the Concord Mall in Wilmington, Dela., a vendor discovered a hidden treasure locked behind a wall: a fully intact Burger King from 2009. Thomas Dahlke, general manager of the mall, uploaded a video tour of the restaurant, including a bag containing well-preserved french fries. Current and former employees posted that the space has been used for storage and for running a hose through to water plants in the mall. One poster quipped: “In Europe they’ve been finding remnants, artifacts and towns of the Roman Empire. Here they find Burger Kings.”

World’s Biggest Light Show

In July, residents of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, got a weather show. Because of a phenomenon known as a derecho, the sky turned bright neon green as thunderstorms moved through the area. “The green in this thing is insane!” tweeted storm chaser Tanner Charles. The green occurs when blue light from the rain clouds combines with red and yellow light from a sunset, the National Weather Service explained.

I Feel Like I’m Forgetting Something

Tennis pro Ugo Humbert of France turned up at Number Two Court at Wimbledon on June 29 without key equipment for his match against Norway’s Casper Ruud — his rackets. Humbert had to tell the umpire, “I don’t have any rackets. Sorry for that.” Fortunately for him, someone turned up with three rackets in just a few minutes. After losing his first set, Humbert won the match.

Everything Comes In Plastic These Days

In Schleiden, Germany, high school students laid to rest a classmate who had been with them for generations: Anh Bian, the human female skeleton that had dwelt in the school’s biology classroom since the 1950s, and to whom they had given the Vietnamese name for “mysterious peace.” Students, teachers and town officials buried the skeleton in the town’s Protestant cemetery in a coffin marked with symbols of all the world’s major religions. Before doing so, they collected DNA so that they might later learn her identity. The Associated Press reported that they had hoped to bury her earlier, but the pandemic had slowed plans to put her to rest. Future biology studies will be undertaken using a plastic skeleton.

Hold It Fearlessly

New Yorkers who battle weekend traffic to get to their Long Island enclaves are rushing to urologists for a cure for “Hamptons bladder:” prostate artery embolization for men, which reduces the size of the prostate, and “bladder Botox,” which decreases urinary frequency for women. “They come out to the Hamptons and have to stop four or five times on the way, but can’t find a restroom,” said David Shusterman, a Big Apple urologist. “When they’re in a car with a bunch of people, they’re embarrassed because they have to go to the bathroom every hour. I’ve lost three friends because I’m the driver and refuse to stop for them.” One happy customer said he’s “like a kid” after the procedure. “There’s no dread now.”

Just Having A Little Fun

During a flight from Detroit to Denver, an unidentified passenger was reprimanded by a flight attendant and other passengers after he AirDropped a sexually explicit photo of himself to all the other passengers, the New York Post reported. One passenger, @DaddyStrange333, posted a video to TikTok documenting the incident; in the video, the flight attendant asks the man, “Why are you doing that?” “Just having a little fun,” he replies. His fun came to an abrupt end when the flight landed and FBI agents escorted him off the plane. A Southwest Airlines spokesperson confirmed that the “unfortunate incident” occurred and that the airline “maintains zero tolerance for this obscene and unacceptable behavior.”

Just Drive Around Us

Colombian cyclist Luis Carlos Chia won a stage of the Vuelta a Colombia race and threw his arms out wide to celebrate after crossing the finish line. But he was immediately forced to grab the handlebars again in an attempt to avoid hitting a group of photographers that included his wife Claudia Roncancio. Chia struck his wife with his bike, knocking her to the ground, where she lay unconscious as medical staff attended to her. “I don’t understand why she didn’t get out of the way,” Chia said after the accident. Roncancio needed four stitches and was kept under observation in a local hospital.

The Spirits Told Me To

When Thanh Ha, 54, allegedly set fire to his boss’s house, he did so because “spirits” told him to, he told deputies. Ha was arrested in Pinellas County, Fla., on second-degree arson charges. Authorities say surveillance cameras caught him riding a bike to his boss’ new St. Petersburg home; securing his bike to a nearby stop sign; and approaching the home on foot while trying to cover his face with his shirt. 

Five minutes later, he can be seen running back to his bike and riding away. Ha told deputies he was not upset with his (presumably former) employer.

People With Issues

When fire erupted at the Church of St. Basil the Great in Pargolovo, Russia, parishioners first assumed it was faulty wiring that had sparked the blaze. 

As it turns out, however, a 36-year-old local man, who was tired of his wife donating all their money to the church, splashed the walls of the church with gasoline and lit a match. 

“He worked 24/7. They have four children and his wife works at the church. Everything he earned, she brought to temple,” a Russian newspaper reported. “Because of this, they had a conflict.” The man admitted his guilt but was allowed to await sentencing at home.

Robotaxi Setback

On the evening of June 28, at the intersection of Gough and Fulton streets in San Francisco, more than a half-dozen Cruise robotaxis stopped operating as they should and stalled, blocking the intersection for several hours. 

The Cruise vehicles were launched just the week before. “The first thing I say to my co-worker is that they’re getting us together to murder us,” one online poster joked. 

Check Out My Pebble Collection

Neruno Daisuki, a Japanese illustrator and manga artist, stumbled into a new hobby as he tried to pass the time during the COVID-19 lockdowns. He started collecting the various little items that become stuck in the tread of one’s shoes — pebbles, glass fragments, etc. — and laying them out neatly on boards with grids. 

“When I was removing the pebbles caught in the groove on the back of my newly bought sneakers,” he said, “I felt that it was a waste to just throw them away, and I thought, ‘It would be interesting to collect them.’” He ended up with 179 pebbles, 32 glass fragments and one nut.

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