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News Quirks (10/15/14) 

Published October 15, 2014 at 10:30 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

After police released surveillance videos of a carjacking in New Haven, Conn., three probation officers identified the suspect as Gary Harding, 26. To avoid arousing suspicion, they asked Harding to attend a routine probation meeting. He obliged by showing up in the stolen vehicle and was arrested. (Hartford's WFSB-TV)

Police chasing a vehicle that fled a traffic stop lost sight of it but then spotted it parked in Lebanon, Ore. Authorities searching for the driver in the dark noticed a strong scent of cologne that led them to Charles V. Agosto, 35, crouched in some shrubbery, "only about 10 or 20 feet away from his car," Police Chief Frank Stevenson said. (Albany Democrat-Herald)

An Inconvenient Truth

Climate change and overpopulation helped create the terrorist group ISIS, according to researchers at New York's John Jay College Center on Terrorism. Charles Strozier and Kelly Berkell blame catastrophic weather for ruining 800,000 Syrian farmers and herders and knocking two to three million people into extreme poverty, turning many "climate refugees" into terrorists. "Environmental stressors and political violence are connected in surprising ways," the authors said, asking, "If more Americans knew how glacial melt contributes to catastrophic weather ... would we drive more hybrids and use millions fewer plastic bags? (Huffington Post) 

What, Too Soon?

The National Football League's Jacksonville Jaguars apologized after team mascot Jaxson de Ville mocked the Pittsburgh Steelers during their game by holding a Steelers signature yellow "Terrible Towels" next to a sign that read "TOWELS CARRY EBOLA." Team president Mark Lamping said Curtis Dvorak, who has played the mascot since 1996, "made an extremely poor decision" and apologized "to anyone who was offended." (Associated Press)

Ebola protective clothing will be popular this Halloween, according to social media, where users are posting costumes based on Ebola emergency responders wearing goggles, rubber gloves and full-body suits. New York Costumes manager Tony Bianchi said Ebola costumes would be homemade because no manufacturer has produced any. "There are certain things, you just don't go there," he explained. (Reuters)

Not Soon Enough

A robot that hospitals use to disinfect and destroy bacteria and viruses may become a key weapon in the fight against the Ebola virus. The device, developed by Xenex and used in 250 U.S. hospitals, relies on a xenon bulb to emit powerful ultraviolet light, which fuses the DNA of a virus and kills it. Xenex's Mark Stibich added that the germ-zapping robot, dubbed "Little Moe," could rid a hospital room of germs in five minutes and destroy Ebola on any surface in two minutes. (San Antonio's KENS-TV)

Second-Amendment Follies

A 21-year-old man who'd just bought a handgun was openly carrying it on a street in Gresham, Ore., when a stranger approached and asked for a cigarette. As the men talked about the new gun, police said the stranger pulled his own gun from his waistband and announced, "I like your gun. Give it to me." The victim handed over his gun, and the robber ran away. (Portland's KPTV-TV)

Buzz Kills

Looking to broaden their market, Colorado pot shops began selling marijuana aimed at beginners. It's available in edibles, following reports of first-time users becoming ill after eating medical-grade pot without knowing how much of the psychoactive drug THC to consume. New low-dose products include a marijuana-infused soda 15 times weaker than other brands and Rookie Cookie, which contains 10 milligrams of THC, a mild dose for adults. "For a long time, the medical market was a race to the strongest edible," Holden Sproul, who works for the maker of Rookie Cookie, said. "Now it's a new market, and people want something that won't get them so inebriated they're not functional." (International Business Times)

Scofflaw Follies

While writing a speeding ticket for Julius Lupowitz in West Melbourne, Fla., police officer Ted Salem heard a radio call about an attempted murder nearby. Salem was abandoning the traffic stop to respond to the priority call but caught the 911 operator announcing that the emergency caller was Julius Lupowitz. "When she broadcast that information, our officer was standing at the door of Mr. Lupowitz's vehicle and realized it was the same person making the 911 calls," police official Richard Cordeau said. Lupowitz apparently made two anonymous emergency calls, hoping the officer would respond rather than write the speeding ticket, but the operator traced the caller's phone number. Lupowitz now risks a third-degree felony charge that could net five years in jail — and he still received the $209 speeding ticket. (Orlando's WFTV-TV)

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About The Author

Roland Sweet

Roland Sweet was the author of a syndicated column called "News Quirks," which appeared weekly in Seven Days.


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