News of the Weird: The Man With the Golden Mop
Feb20

News of the Weird: The Man With the Golden Mop

San Francisco’s best-paid janitor earned more than a quarter-million dollars cleaning stations for Bay Area Rapid Transit in 2015, according to a recent investigation by Oakland’s KTVU. Liang Zhao Zhang cleared almost $58,000 in base pay and $162,000 in overtime, and other benefits ran his total income to $271,243. He worked at San Francisco’s Powell Street station, a hangout for the homeless, who notoriously sullied the station 24/7...

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News of the Weird: EWWWWW!
Feb13

News of the Weird: EWWWWW!

On Jan. 31, doctors at Stanley Medical College and Hospital in Chennai, India, removed a live, full-grown cockroach from the nasal cavity of a 42-year-old woman whose nose had been “itchy” earlier in the day. Two hospitals were unable to help her, but at Stanley, Dr. M N Shankar, chief of ear-nose-throat, used an endoscope, forceps, and, for 45 minutes, a suction device — because, he said, the roach “didn’t seem to want to come out.”...

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News of the Weird: Work of a Researcher
Feb06

News of the Weird: Work of a Researcher

Field work is always challenging, explained Courtney Marneweck of South Africa’s University of KwaZulu-Natal in a recent journal article, but studying the sociology of a white rhino’s dung meant developing a “pattern-recognition algorithm” to figure out “smell profiles” of 150 animals’ feces — after tracking them individually to observe them in the act. Wrote Marneweck, “I think my record for waiting for a rhino to poo was 7½ hours.”...

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News of the Weird: Suspicions Confirmed
Jan30

News of the Weird: Suspicions Confirmed

Schools’ standardized tests are often criticized as harmfully rigid, and in the latest version of the Texas Education Agency’s STAAR test, poet Sara Holbrook said she flubbed the “correct” answer for author motivation — in two of her own poems that were on the test. Writing in Huffington Post in January, a disheartened Holbrook lamented, “Kids’ futures and the evaluations of their teachers will be based on their ability to guess the...

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News of the Weird: Post-Truth Society
Jan23

News of the Weird: Post-Truth Society

In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals finally pulled the plug on Orange County, California, social workers who had been arguing in court for 16 years that they were not guilty of lying under oath because, after all, they did not understand that lying under oath in court is wrong. The social workers had been sued for improperly removing children from homes and defended their actions by inventing “witnesses” to submit made-up testimony....

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News of the Weird: Leading Economic Indicator
Jan16

News of the Weird: Leading Economic Indicator

The salary the Golden State Warriors pay to basketball whiz Stephen Curry may be a bargain at $12 million a year, but the economics is weirder about the prices Curry’s fans pay on the street for one of his used mouthguards retrieved from the arena floor after a game. One used, sticky, saliva-encased teeth-protector went for $3,190 at one August auction, and SCP Auctions of California is predicting $25,000 for another, expelled during...

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