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News Quirks 

Published March 5, 2014 at 4:00 a.m.

Curses, Foiled Again

Police investigating a burglary at a church in Chula Vista, Calif., found a cellphone at the crime scene with a photo that the thief apparently took of himself. After identifying Adam Howe, 26, from the "selfie," they arrested him and recovered some of the stolen property. (U-T San Diego)

Problems Solved

Giant walls could protect the Midwest from tornadoes, according to Rongjia Tao, a physicist at Temple University. "If we build three east-west great walls in the American Midwest — one in North Dakota, one along the border between Kansas and Oklahoma to the east, and the third one in south Texas and Louisiana — we will diminish the threat in the Tornado Alley forever," Tao said, explaining that the walls would need to be about 1,000 feet high and 150 feet wide. He estimated that they would cost $60 billion per 100 miles. (USA Today)

Mammoth offshore wind farms would protect coastal regions from hurricanes, according to Mark Jacobson, an engineering professor at Stanford University. He calculates that grouping 78,000 wind turbines, each 50 feet tall, in a strategic location, such as the Louisiana coast, could lower a hurricane's maximum wind speed 50 to 80 percent (up to 92 mph) and reduce its storm surge up to 80 percent, all while generating pollution-free electricity. Jacobson explained that the plan would work because the turbines produce power by taking energy from the wind, thus slowing it down. (USA Today)

Below Zero Tolerance

Administrators at a high school in suburban Chicago objected to a state law requiring that 4-by-6-inch stickers warning guns are not allowed be posted in schools, as well as in churches, government agencies and liquor stores. But officials at Tinley Park High School oppose the notices banning guns because an image of a gun appears on them. "You can't look at this and not think of Sandy Hook," principal Theresa Nolan said, adding that she would prefer "something more subtle." (Southtown Star)

Flammability Issues

German police blamed a fire at a dairy farm in Rasdorf on methane gas from 90 flatulent cows. High levels of the gas had built up in a farm shed, then a "static electric charge caused the gas to explode with flashes of flames," the report stated, noting that one cow was treated for burns. (Reuters)

When Weight Watchers Isn't Enough

Venezuelan beauty queen Wi May Nava, 18, revealed that she had a mesh patch stitched to her tongue to help her stay thin. "It makes me lose weight quicker," the 2013 first runner-up Miss Venezuela said, explaining that the plastic patch made eating solid food too painful. "You eat the same, but liquefied." (New York's Daily News)

An alternative to liposuction lets people lose fat through urination. The treatment, called Aqualyx, involves injecting a water solution into specific areas of the body. It liquefies fat cells, which are then eliminated over a three-week period. "Aqualyx isn't an injection for weight loss," its British supplier, Mills Medical Services, said. "It is used for contouring the body and slimming down those stubborn fat areas." One session, which is sufficient for chin areas, costs $417, Mills Medical said; larger areas require several treatments. (Britain's Daily Mail)

Second-Amendment Follies

A 36-year-old man shot himself in the head while demonstrating gun safety at his home in Independence Township, Mich. The man's girlfriend told Oakland County sheriff's deputies that the man, who had been drinking most of the day, was using his three handguns to prove how safe guns are when they're empty. The first two he pointed at his head didn't fire, but the third one did. Calling the situation "pretty unique," Undersheriff Michael McCabe remarked, "I have never heard of anyone testing out the safety of a gun by pointing at their head and pulling the trigger." (United Press International)

Clint Galentine, 37, was practicing turkey calls while walking with a friend in a wildlife management area in Tampa, Fla., when a hunter shot him twice with a high-powered rifle. Michael Trott, 43, told Fish and Wildlife Conservation officials that he mistook Galentine for a deer. (New York Times)

An off-duty corrections officer reaching for his valet parking ticket at a crowded restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., accidentally triggered his concealed handgun, firing a round that sent ricocheting shrapnel into a group of patrons. One was injured, according to police Detective DeAnna Greenlaw, who identified the restaurant as Shooters Waterfront. (South Florida Sun Sentinel)

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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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