Friday

December 19th, 2014

Diversions

Weird Old World

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published August 29, 2014

Weird Old World

"The Chinese fondness for napping in odd places is a well-documented phenomenon, one that's spawned a popular website and even a book," wrote The Wall Street Journal in a July dispatch. In a recent photo essay, a Getty Images photographer captured a series of shots of customers catching 40 winks in various furniture departments of IKEA stores, which officially does "not see it as a problem," according to a spokesman. Maybe "we can sell an extra mattress or two." [Wall Street Journal, 7-8-2014]

Five siblings in a rural Turkish family near the Syrian border were discovered by researchers in 2005 to be natural, fluid quadruped walkers (hands and feet to the ground, rear ends up), which was thought at the time possibly to mark the first known "turnaround" in human evolution. However, the siblings were re-characterized by recent PLOS One journal research as merely accommodating a musculo-skeletal imbalance in the brain. Other members of the family have normal gaits, and the five quadrupeds show additional developmental issues. [Washington Post, 7-17-2014]

Also, from the foreign press: (1) Moscow Times reported the arrest of "Tomas" in Moscow in March for allegedly stealing a mobile phone, noting that he was referred to adult court even though family members claim he is only 13. Officials decided he must be at least 16, based on medical examination -- especially "of his genitals." (2) Turkey's Hurriyet Daily News reported in May that a 62-year-old man on an Istanbul TV dating show said he was just "an honest person looking for a new wife" -- while also casually mentioning that he had served two prison terms, one for murdering one wife and the other for murdering a girlfriend. "Bad luck always found me," he said. "This time I'll leave it to God." [Moscow Times, 6-3-2014] [USA Today, 5-8-2014]

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