Bizarro Briefs: Do They Make Hard Hats That Small?

Do They Make Hard Hats That Small?

Ever have one of those days where you just wanted someone else to do your work for you? Well, there are bacteria out there being trained for just that! Researchers at Duke University taught a bunch of bacteria — using gene manipulation — to assemble a three-dimensional, working pressure sensor. The researchers provided the bacteria with gold nanoparticles (these are swanky bacteria), and they did the rest. Researchers point out that many life forms create functional structures by using the materials around them, including mollusks’ shells made from calcium carbonate, and human bones. Researchers claim that using bacteria for manufacturing could be more efficient than traditional processes. Step aside, job-killing robots, and make way for job-eating bacteria.

Not Much of a Getaway Plan

A Pittsburgh man really didn’t want to pay his restaurant bill. After refusing to settle on a tab that included a sandwich on which he ordered ‘double meat,’ according to local television station WPXI, the man tried to bolt. Police were called in, and were on the verge of resolving the situation, when a bomb threat was called in at a nearby restaurant and the man tried to flee once more. He ran down the street until police shocked him with a stun gun and arrested him. He admitted that he had been the one to call in the bomb threat, on the advice of a friend, in order to create a diversion.

No More Mascots

It might not have been the most effective advertising campaign for an electronics store in Austria, but it didn’t deserve a fine of 150 euros (about $176). A man in a shark costume trying to drum up business for a new electronics store in Vienna called McShark, ran afoul of Austria’s new burqa ban, which prohibits people from covering their faces in public. The law came into effect this month. Police said the man’s shark costume violated the law, and when they asked him to remove the shark’s head, he refused, claiming he was just doing his job. Now McShark may scrap its guy-wearing-a-shark-suit ad campaign, but a company spokesman lamented this. “It would be a shame if there were no more mascots from now on,” he said.

Racist with a Twist of Lime-a-Rita

A screaming, childish man was pushed out of a New York City L-train subway car after jumping up and down and yelling “First Amendment” and repeating the N-word over and over again. Caught on video claiming he was a lawyer and a “law scholar” and accusing other people on the train of making fools of themselves and saying they “can’t think,” the man slurred his words and took sips from a Lime-a-Rita, a lame margarita-in-a-can produced by Budweiser company Anheuser-Busch. When the train stopped at the next station, subway riders pushed him out of the car. One said, “Get your hate speech out of here.” Another threw soup at him.

Toxic Chemicals or Pumpkin Spice?

A strange odor was detected on the third floor of the Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Baltimore, at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 5. The high school was quickly evacuated, Baltimore City Fire Department’s hazmat team was sent in, emergency medical teams treated people at the scene, and five people were taken to a hospital. The culprit? A pumpkin spice plug-in aerosol air freshener. “It was a smell that they certainly weren’t used to,” Bill Heiser, the school’s president, told the Baltimore Sun. “It appeared to be getting stronger.”

One Person’s Sewage is Another Person’s Treasure

More than 95 pounds of gold, worth close to $2 million, gets flushed down goldfish heaven every year in Switzerland, according to a new analysis by Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. The gold passes through Swiss wastewater treatment plants and is believed to come from tiny flecks of gold residue from the country’s watchmaking industry and gold refineries. The Swiss gold industry is big business — the small European country deals with 70 percent of the world’s gold. A total of 64 wastewater treatment plants were studied, in which researchers had the job of studying “elements discharged in effluents or disposed of in sewage sludge,” according to the study.

Give a Bird a Lift

A cab driver in Birmingham, England, had an unexpected passenger — an injured pigeon named Lucky. Bird-lover Jeanette Bowron of Erdington, England paid £45, or about $60, to give her pigeon friend a lift to a nearby vet’s office on Oct. 9. “I was driving along and I saw a pigeon on the dual carriageway,” Bowron told British news publication, the Coventry Telegraph. “It was being pecked by two crows. I drove home and got a cat basket and took it home and let it free in my garage.” The vet gave her a choice — put the bird to sleep or send it to the Nuneaton and Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary close to 25 miles away. For her, it was a no-brainer. “They asked ‘how many passengers,’ and I said ‘none, just one pigeon.’” Both the pigeon and Bowron’s £20 food donation made it to the sanctuary A-OK.

This Tastes A Little Old

A food bank in Wales, located in the United Kingdom, received a nonperishable on Oct. 5 that was years past its expiration date. It was a can of Heinz Kidney Soup from 1971. The company stopped making the variety of soup 35 years ago. The Cardiff Foodbank in the city of Cardiff in Wales tweeted out a photo of the rusting can of soup with its original price sticker for a form of currency that wasn’t in use anymore. It’s the oldest donation the food bank has ever received and the food bank has considered selling the Heinz can of to someone who is willing to pay £500 for it.

Hot Under the Collar

A Florida man — and isn’t it always “a Florida man?” — burned his Dallas Cowboys jersey after betting on their game with the Green Bay Packers and losing a bet, but a flag was called on the play when he tried to put the burning garment on, the Sebastian Daily reported. The luckless 27-year-old wound up with third-degree burns and a hospital stay, a fate almost as tragic and embarassing as being a Cowboys fan in Florida.

Say it with us: Illegal. Manure. Dumper.

In the words of Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park, “That’s one big pile of shit.” Or in this case, four of them. The sheriff’s office in Merrick County, Nebraska, was tracking the mystery of the massive manure mounds, the Lincoln Journal Star reported, after a trucking company employee illegally left four deposits on the side of the road.

“It just clogged the ditches,” Sheriff John Westman told the Journal Star. “It was a pretty large dump.” Deputies sniffed out the culprit using social media, flushing this issue into the case-closed tank.

What was that?

Can you remember what Congress voted on today? A better question might be: Can Congressmen? A Washington pharmacist said he filled Alzheimer’s prescriptions for sitting members of the House and Senate, Vox reported after finding the tidbit in a Stat News story. Though he didn’t name any names, Congressmen might want to think about finding a new pharmacist — and their voters might want to think about finding a new Congressman.

Less “Jumping the Shark,” More Tossing the Shark

In what might be the most Australia story of the year, an 50-year-old Sydney woman, noticing a modest-sized shark in her outdoor swimming pool, decided the swimming area wasn’t big enough for the both of them. Rather than leave the pool, however, she decided to evict her swimming companion, the BBC reported. Thankfully, the pool was immediately adjacent to the ocean, so the woman — taking pity on the poor finned beastie, which was unlikely to crack even the top 40 percent of dangerous Australian animals — hoisted her fishy friend into her arms, carried it to the side, and gave it a heave. No word yet on whether the shark was practicing for the Olympic team, or just happened to violate “lap swim time.”

Author: Dave Eisenstadter, Chris Goudreau, and Steve Musal

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