Flipping the Bird at Priests
Sometimes church is boring. But every so often — as happened in Flowery Branch, Georgia — a man stands up to flip off and yell at the pastor for recognizing teachers during a service. The man, a homeschooling father, rose to give the pastor the bird and yell at him following his prayer recognizing teachers. That landed him in hot water with police, who charged him with misdemeanor disorderly conduct. However, in a decision that will be a boon for pew dozers everywhere, Georgia’s highest court overturned the charge this week, stating that his 2014 outburst was protected speech. So go nuts, church yellers and flipper-offers.
Physicists Discover that You Are Real
You are living in actual reality, and not in an incredibly complex computer simulation, at least that’s what a team of theoretical physicists from Oxford University would have you believe. The finding, published recently in the journal Science Advances, centers on the discovery that constructing a computer simulation of a particular quantum phenomenon that occurs in metals is impossible, both practically and in principle. Basically, there would be some kind of anomaly in the underlying space-time geometry. Of course! So this is real, people. Though doesn’t that all sound suspiciously like exactly what the simulation would want you to think?
A Nice New Suit
New York City Police Officer James Frascatore made headlines in 2015 for tackling and wrongfully arresting retired tennis star James Blake. Now he is suing him for defamation. Blake, who is half black, wrote in his memoir about the assault, which the city’s civilian complaint review board called “brutal, unprovoked violence.” Apparently, Frascatore read the book and complained he became “very angry and upset while reading it.” The lawsuit targets not only Blake, but the City of New York, the NYPD, the director of the department’s civilian complaint review board, and HarperCollins, who published Blake’s book. He is seeking $75,000.
Our Awful Country
In case there was any doubt that mass shootings are good for business for the gun industry, stocks for gun companies jumped in the wake of the deadly Las Vegas shooting. Gun companies, including Smith & Wesson parent company American Outdoor Brands Corp., had been sliding since Trump was elected, down from surges during Obama’s presidency. The reason: fears that there would be gun control laws enacted. With Trump in office, that fear has faded, but the massacre that left nearly 60 dead and more than 500 wounded gave a shot in the arm to gun peddlers. A silver lining: casino stocks went down.
No More Hair Of The Dog
While you were catching up on politics, international relations, or local stories of interest, you likely missed the most important story of the week: a scientist has developed a new kind of alcohol that doesn’t give you a hangover. The scientist — his name is Professor Nutt (really) — has been working on his creation for the past decade, according to the British paper the Evening Standard. He is now looking for funding for the final round of tests before he opens 100 hangover-free cocktail bars over the next 10 years. The substance he has been working with mimics the effects of alcohol on the brain, but it does not affect the liver. The Food Standards Agency, Britain’s version of the FDA, hasn’t yet weighed in on the drinks, but Nutt thinks there is early evidence to suggest they are fit for human consumption.
A group of botanists from the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens in London, England, were on a trip to Northern Madagascar and stumbled upon an orchid with big, beautiful flowers and an intoxicatingly pleasant smell. The orchid resembled the scent of champagne. However, the group wasn’t the first the find the unique orchid. Anton Sieder of the Botanical Gardens of the University of Vienna in Italy and his wife Christa Sieder discovered the flower and were astonished that no one had formally reported it. Intrigued by the Sieders discovery, the group of botanists made the rugged journey to the northern part of the island country a year later and found the flowers growing along roads and nearby rock faces. The orchids weren’t anything new to the local people of the area. John Hermans, the lead author of a paper published by the group, said, “It is like a group of people suddenly studying the daisies growing in your front lawn,” according to The English Garden, a U.K. gardening magazine.
Santa Can’t Be Dead
Archaeologists in Turkey have detected what they think might be the remains of a church where the original final resting place of 4th Century Christian saint, St. Nikolas, might be located. St. Nikolas was the inspiration for everyone’s favorite jolly white-bearded, red-wearing, toy-hauling man — Santa Claus. St. Nikolas is believed to have been buried in Myra, located in modern day Turkey. Allegedly a group of merchants stole his bones in 1087 after an earthquake damaged his tomb. However, one theory is that the church survived the earthquake and the bones belonged to another holy man from the region.
Jeremy Bentham’s Getting Heady
The father of modern utilitarianism, a philosophy in which actions are perceived as right if they are useful or benefit the majority of people, was eccentric 19th century English philosopher Jeremy Bentham. During his life he owned a pet bear and had a penchant for showing dinner party guests two glass eyes that he kept in his pocket. Bentham had his head mummified and placed on display after his death and it is set to return on display for an exhibition called “What Does It Mean to Be Human?” at University College London. Researchers are also attempting to extract Bentham’s DNA from his head to shed light on a theory that Bentham was autistic.
Extra Slobbery Dog Kisses
Mochi is a fluffy 8-year-old St. Bernard rescue that lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and officially has the world’s longest dog tongue. The Guinness Book of World Records recorded that her tongue measured 7.31 inches from snout to tip. Although, Mochi is the current world record holder, she doesn’t have the longest tongue ever recorded for a dog. A Boxer named Brandy, who passed away in 2002, had a 17-inch long tongue. If you’re getting a doggy kiss from Mochi, you might want to bring a roll of tissues.
A brewery in Protivin in the Czech Republic has equipped crayfish with high-tech sensors all in the name of keeping their water supply pure. The southern Bohemia brewery placed the crustaceans in fish tanks, in which water is pumped from the same natural source used during the brewing process. The crayfish are equipped with infrared biosensors that monitor their heartbeat and movements. That data is analyzed by a computer and any changes in the animals’ bodies or behavior are red flags that water purity levels might be off. “When three or more crayfish are moving or change their pulse activity, we know that the water parameters have changed. We can react quickly because we have the result within three minutes,” head brewer Michal Voldrich told London-based business and financial news agency, Reuters.
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