A Drug Lord’s Zoo

There likely wouldn’t be hippopotamuses living in Columbia if it weren’t for Pablo Escobar. After his death in 1993, the drug lord’s abandoned zoo was dismantled, and while African animals such as rhinos and giraffes were given new homes, there were four hippos left in the wild. Their numbers have proliferated to over 80, and scientists are warning that they are wreaking havoc on the local ecosystems. And hippos are far from amiable creatures. Most male hippos are at least 3,300 pounds and are known for their territorial nature and their habit of attacking perceived threats with deadly force. There are estimates that hippos kill some 3,000 people a year, and scientists estimate their population will grow to thousands in the next couple decades in Columbia. Hippos can eat up to 200 pounds of vegetation a day, and the amount of dung they are bringing into the country’s lakes and bodies of water are raising concerns for changing nutrient balances in the water, which can cause toxic algal blooms. These are harmful for fish, bacteria, and crustaceans as well as for people who swim or use the water.

Undercover hamburger 

Police in Albuquerque, New Mexico, set up a prostitution sting that nabbed 10 people last week, and in one instance, a man was arrested for attempting to pay for a sexual encounter with a hamburger. According to KRQE, a 36-year-old registered sex offender was riding his bicycle when he spotted an undercover police officer posing as a prostitute and he approached her and asked for a price. The pair agreed on a price, but the man told the officer he could not pay it because he did not get paid from his job until Friday. He asked for her phone number, but the officer noticed that the man was carrying a bag from Chili’s. She asked him what was inside and he told her a hamburger. The officer then proposed the fee could be the burger instead of cash, and once he agreed, the man was promptly arrested for patronizing a prostitute, which carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $500 fine. The burger was seized and placed into evidence.

Boozy ATM 

A bar in London recently celebrated its opening by installing an ATM that dispenses prosecco wine. The bar chain Vagabond recently opened its eighth location in the city of London inside a former Santander bank. Thus, “Vagabank” was born to deliver prosecco to the masses via the ATM outside the front door of the building. The boozy ATM even gave away free wine on opening day, but from here on out, if you want a drink from an ATM, you’ll have to pony up the dough for it.

That’s not a bookmark … 

The University of Liverpool’s Library tweeted a photo of a piece of undetermined cheese wrapped in plastic that hasn’t aged well, writing, “This is not a bookmark.” When the library posted the image, other libraries chimed in by posting images of food that had been used as bookmarks, including a moldy piece of bread, a crispy piece of cooked bacon, a cracker covered with cream cheese, a piece of raw bacon, a condom (thankfully still in its packaging), as well as 85 British pounds, and a taco.

Hey, man, everybody’s smoking it

With marijuana increasingly being legalized across the country, a Tennessee man decided to advocate for the cause in The Volunteer State by lighting up a joint in a courtroom. In Wilson County, a 20-year-old man was recently in court on a simple drug possession charge, according to news reports. But when he approached the bench to discuss his sentence, he instead talked about legalizing marijuana in Tennessee, then took out a joint from his back pocket and fired it up in front of the judge. “One of the craziest things I’ve seen,” said Wilson County Sheriff Robert Ryan. The man was immediately taken into custody by deputies and faces a second charge of simple possession, as well as 10 days jail time for contempt of court.