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News Quirks 

Published August 7, 2013 at 7:08 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

Michigan’s Ingham County District Court ordered a 28-year-old man convicted of fraud to be fingerprinted at his own expense. He paid the $16 cost with a credit card that had been reported stolen, according to Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth, and was taken into custody. (Associated Press)

Anthony J. Thomas, 33, walked into a gas station in Ocala, Fla., to apply for a job, but when the clerk turned away, Thomas stole $130 from the cash register. Sheriff’s deputies identified Thomas as their suspect by using information he had provided on his job application. (Orlando’s WESH-TV)

Waste Not, Want Not

Human urine can be used to charge cellphones, according to scientists at the University of West England. Their report in the journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics explains that as urine passes through microbial fuel cells, bacteria consume it and release electrons, which generate an electrical current. (ScienceNow)

Inside Jobs

Misconduct by Transportation Security Administration workers has increased by more than 26 percent in the past three years, according to the Government Accountability Office. The GAO report identified the most serious of the more than 9,000 documented violations as employees sleeping on the job, letting family and friends pass through security without being screened, leaving work without permission and stealing. (CNN)

Authorities accused United Airlines employee Sean Crudup and his fiancée, Raychas Thomas, of stealing luggage in the confusion following the July 6 crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport. Prosecutors said the couple helped themselves to unclaimed luggage piling up in the baggage area and then exchanged some of the contents for $5000 cash at a nearby Nordstrom department store. (CNN)

Fuel for Thought

Because homeowners who lease rooftop solar panels to reduce their monthly electricity bills are costing the Arizona Public Service Co. money, the utility has proposed charging customers who install the panels anywhere from $50 to more than $100 a month. APS said solar customers don’t pay enough for its services, which include providing electricity at night and during the day when power consumption exceeds the amount the panels supply. “What we are hearing from solar-leasing companies is that you are picking an alternative to your utility when you go solar,” Jeff Guldner, APS senior vice president of customers and regulation, said. “You actually need the grid 24 hours a day.” (Phoenix’s Arizona Republic)

Incendiary Devices

A New York City woman tried ridding her two-room apartment of insects by setting off 40 foggers, or bug bombs. According to Robert G. Byrnes, the city’s chief fire marshal, she failed to turn off her oven’s pilot light, and the resulting explosion blew out the back wall of the apartment and caused a partial collapse of the building. It also ignited a fire that injured 12 people, three of them critically. (New York Times)

Authorities charged Oklahoma mother Shana Suggs, 25, with child abuse after she poured gasoline over her 5-year-old daughter’s head to treat head lice. According to an affidavit filed in Pittsburg County District Court, a space heater ignited the gasoline and burned the girl and Suggs, who faces a life sentence. (Oklahoma City’s KWTV-TV)

This Ain’t No Karaoke

American tourist Bobby Ray Carter Jr., 51, was killed at a bar in Thailand’s Krabi province after he insisted on singing with the band. “Witnesses said Carter got angry when the band played ‘Hotel California’ instead of the song he requested, and he refused to step down,” Krabi city police chief Col. Taksin Pochakorn said. The band then stopped playing and argued with Carter until at some point one of the musicians stabbed Carter in the chest. (Associated Press)

How the One Percent Play

Some wealthy visitors to Disney World are hiring disabled people to pose as family members so they don’t have to wait in lines. Social researcher Wednesday Martin, who said she uncovered this underground network while studying New York City’s Park Avenue elite, said the black-market Disney guides charge $130 an hour. Instead of having to wait hours in lines, Disney allows guests with wheelchairs or mobility scooters to bring up to six guests to a “more convenient entrance” at the front of each attraction. “It’s insider knowledge that very few have and share carefully,” Martin said. (New York Post)

Lost and Loster

Amy Stiner, 37, and Melissa Moyer, 38, got lost while hiking in Maine’s Rogue Bluffs State Park and called for help. After a landowner found them, a park warden drove them to their vehicle. Instead of returning to town, the women headed in the other direction and followed a boat ramp into the ocean, where, Washington County Sheriff Donnie Smith said, they drowned. (Associated Press)

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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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