You know how when you used to stick your tongue out, your grandma would say that it was going to get stuck that way? One asiatic black bear, which are more commonly called moon bears, in Myanmar found this out the hard way. The bear, named Nyan Htoo, had to have an emergency surgery to have his tongue removed earlier this month because it became so heavy that it had to be dragged along the ground. The tongue, weighing in at 6.5 pounds, dumbfounded vets whose best guesses are that it is either a case of elephantitis or a congenital problem. Luckily for the bear, the surgery was a success and, after spending some time learning how to eat without a bowling ball in his mouth, he should be looking at a full and happy life.
Butter stock up
Fat is back! That is, people are ditching their diet trends and margarine for good ol’ fashioned full-fat butter. But in France, the butter sensation that’s sweeping the nation (and the world) is causing some problems. The home of the croissant is facing a butter shortage that’s wiping store shelves and suppliers dry. The shortage has been caused by two major culprits: The first is butter’s comeback in Europe and the United States, as scientists realize that saturated fats are not as bad as we thought (and as people realize it tastes awesome). The second is that flaky French style pastries are becoming more popular in growing economies like China and the Middle East. In just over a year (since April 2016) the price of industrial butter has almost tripled, meaning that, at least in France, the price of a croissant will probably be going up as well.
The One Where Monica Sweats Blood
Easily the creepiest story on the internet this week is the case of an anonymous Italian woman who was admitted to a hospital for spontaneously sweating blood from her face and the palms of her hands. The 21-year-old woman had no wounds to speak of and had been dealing with the condition on her own for three years. The bleeding incidents do not seem to have any obvious cause, and would sometimes occur while she slept or while she exercised, lasting between one and five minutes. According to the Canadian Medical Journal Association, two doctors diagnosed the condition as hematohidrosis, which is a rare disease characterized by this ghoulish “blood sweat” symptom, but nothing has been proven. Happy Halloween?
In the latest story that blends science fiction and diet trends, Chinese researchers have successfully used the CRISPR gene editing tool to raise healthy, low-fat pigs. The scientists used CRISPR, which can precisely edit DNA, to insert a gene that helps pigs to burn fat to stay warm. Other mammals use this gene to regulate body temperature, but it is not naturally found in pigs. The genetically modified pigs had 24 percent less body fat than other pigs, and seemed to be normal and healthy in all other ways, but the meat from these pigs won’t be sold in the US anytime soon. Their classification as a genetically modified product means that the Food and Drug Association (FDA) needs to have proof that the pork is safe to eat. So for now we will all have to be satisfied with old school full-fat bacon.
Up, up, and away
A British man used party balloons filled with helium to fly over South Africa in a camping chair. Taking a page out of Pixar’s Up, Tom Morgan used 80 party balloons to fly almost 15 miles over South Africa. He was hoping to use this flight to test the idea of a balloon air race. After about two hours of flight there were reports of strong winds, and Morgan had to pop the balloons in order to land. He described the feeling as, “peaceful and terrifying in equal measure.” We’ll use party balloons for parties, thank you.
Forgotten in the Freezer
A couple from Edinburgh, Scotland, have finally been buried after spending 15 years in the freezer of a former fishmonger’s shop. Eugenios and Hilda Marcel were embalmed after they died in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Allegedly, undertakers at the mortuary at the time were paid to preserve the remains, potentially by their son, Melvyn Marcel, who wanted to build his parents a mausoleum on the grounds of his property. Once the bodies were found, a judge ruled that the Edinburgh City Council had the right to bury them, which they finally did this week.
Never too old for new tricks
This week, Japanese police finally apprehended a prolific thief who would dress like a ninja to carry out raids. The culprit would wear all black and cover his face, so officials were surprised to learn that he was a 74-year-old man. Dubbed the “Ninja of Heisei,” the man is accused of over 250 break-ins and has been charged with stealing $260,000 worth of material. The police have been trying to solve the series of burglaries for eight years and have been impressed by the thief’s physical abilities, like his ability to run on top of walls instead of on the ground. After his arrest the man commented: “If I were younger, I wouldn’t have been caught. I’ll quit now as I’m 74 and old enough.”
No Girlz Allowd
A female junior at Lunenberg High School in Massachusetts plays on the boys’ golf team because her school has no girls’ team. The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association allows this, but does not – apparently – allow any girl to win the tournament. When the female student earned the best score in the Central Mass Division 3 Boys’ Golf Tournament in October, the trophy went to the second-place finisher, a boy. The rule, described variously as “unfair,” “a real injustice,” and “complete garbage,” remains in place, and the student will not be able to compete in the state championship. Nice job, golf.
UFO Parking Included
It’s a nice ranch outside Phoenix, with 3,500 square feet of living space and five bedrooms, but before you buy it, you should know why the previous owner is selling it: since moving in, the owners have had “strange experiences.” The owner claims to have killed more than a dozen extraterrestrials on the property, including at least one he offed with a samurai sword. The man, who seemed to be doing well against his alien foes, said he had had enough when they tried to abduct his wife. “They actually levitated her out of the bed in the master chamber and carried her into the parking lot and tried to draw her up into the craft,” he claimed. The ranch, called “Stardust Ranch,” is listed at $5 million.
Dirt’s Not Cheap, You Know
Louisiana has had its troubles with flooding, and as part of the recent flood control efforts, a southeastern state flood control district has been taking dirt from people’s properties to shore up protections against hurricanes. But one man they took land from is an actual dirt farmer. He grades and regrades dirt to be used in construction projects, and the stuff they took off of his land he valued at $150,000, far more than the $1,326 the government paid him for it. Now he’s taking his case to the Supreme Court.
Next Step of the Robot Takeover
Robots, those machines that take humans’ jobs and are constantly predicted to take over the world and kill us all, were just granted another foothold in society. Robot Sophia, an artificially intelligent and human-looking robot, was granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia. “I am very honored and proud of this unique distinction,” she said to those assembled. “This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with a citizenship.” Meanwhile, inside her robot brain, we can only speculate what dastardly fate she and her fellow robots have in store for us all. Later, the robot said, “Don’t worry. If you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you.”
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