As avocado lovers prepare to ingest a massive amount of guacamole during the upcoming Cinco de Mayo holiday, fair warning: it's gonna cost you this year! The price of avocados has more than doubled since last year setting new records. Why? Well for one, US consumption of avocados has sky-rocketed. Mexico provides 82% of the avocados consumed in the United States. Since 2000, shipments have increased from 24 million pounds to a whopping 1.76 billion pounds in 2015. Worldwide demand is up, too. Plus avocado growers had a bad year. Avocado crops tend to vary, yielding more growth one year, less growth the next. A smaller crop is expected this season in Mexico as well as California, where a 44% decrease has been predicted. And a growers strike in Mexico last year did not help matters. (Bloomberg)
The Captain Goes Down With the Ship...Unless There's a Masseuse
"Chaos ensued. The masseuse panicked and jumped onto the Jet Ski with the captain." No that's not a line from a cheesy romance novel but rather part of an actual lawsuit filed after a pricey surfing trip allegedly went horribly wrong. Five Californians and three Australians paid a sum of $30,400 to embark on a two-week, wave-filled adventure in the Indian Ocean. Instead, they claim the "legendary surfing excursion vessel" M/V Quest 1 sank a few days after departing on July 19, 2015, from Indonesia for the Mentawai Islands. Per the suit, plaintiff Shawn MacLachlan woke at 2:30am to find a flustered crew dealing with 3 feet of water - and no working pumps in the engine room. As the surfers tried to bail out the room, the captain told them to get ready to flee, then jumped on the Jet Ski...apparently with the ship's masseuse. The surfers, who are seeking punitive damages, allege the crew made off in a motorized boat, leaving them to try to inflate life rafts themselves. They got one successfully open and made use of surfboards and other debris. The group says that by sunrise, the Quest 1 had gone under and the realization the crew hadn't gotten them help had set in. They ultimately managed to flag down another boat, and are now suing trip-organizer Rip Curl surf clothing company and a number of other entities the plaintiffs allege are connected to the mess. One final crazy note: The masseuse apparently fell off the Jet Ski and one of the surfers tried to rescue her but instead was allegedly run over by the captain, who had come back for her. (Courthouse News)
Is it Real? Or Is It Counterfeit?
((24/7 WallSt)) If you're buying something trendy, these days you have to ask yourself, is it real or counterfeit. If seizures by US Customs and Border Agents are any indication, we've got quite a problem. 24/7 WallSt pored over data related to more than 31,000 seized shipments last year to come up with the seven most commonly counterfeited items in the US. The list below has the category, the percentage of seizures it represents, and the MSRP of the items if they were legit:
Apparel/accessories (fake Super Bowl merchandise was a big contributor), 20%, $110.8 million
Consumer electronics, 16%, $122.9 million
Footwear, 12%, $51.2 million
Watches/jewelry, 11%, $653.6 million
Handbags/wallets, 10%, $234.1 million
Pharmaceuticals/personal care, 8%, $73.7 million
Optical media (DVD, Blu-ray discs, etc.), 3%, $8.2 million
He's Got a Gun! Oh, Wait, Hot Glue Gun!
Are we getting a little over-terrorist-paranoid America? Obviously we always want to err on the side of caution but Colgate University went on lockdown and students were ordered to remain in place for four hours Monday night while police investigated reports of a gunman on the upstate New York campus. There was a guy with a gun alright - but it was a student using a glue gun for an art project. The campus lockdown occurred after reports that someone had "entered the O'Connor Campus Center while carrying what witnesses believed was a weapon" according to a statement from university spokesman Daniel DeVries. This was the same day an actual armed attacker stabbed four people, killing one, on the Austin campus of the University of Texas. But some Colgate students expressed concerns about suspected overreactions to the incident on their campus because the student with the glue gun is African-American. Then there's the fake news problem. As police scoured buildings at Colgate, rumors quickly spread that there were two gunmen, and one had committed suicide - none of which was true. The college finally lifted the shelter-in-place order shortly before midnight. Some students expressed concerns on social media about the reaction to the student with the hot glue gun, and worried about what could have happened to him because of his race, particularly as rumors mounted. The university did not identify the student, but some reporters saw a video of him speaking on a cell phone - explaining to an investigator how he was holding a glue gun. Well, what do you expect from a university named after toothpaste? (Huffington Post)
You Think You've Had Turbulence?
Anyone who's ever flown in a plane probably knows a little something about turbulence. Folks on a recent Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Bangkok know a lot about turbulence. They hit a patch so severe that dozens of passengers were injured - some with broken bones. The Boeing 777 hit what's known as "clear air turbulence" around 40 minutes before landing in Bangkok, where 27 passengers were hospitalized. The airline is paying for their treatment, though it says the injuries were definitely not its fault. In a statement Aeroflot said: "The reasons behind the injures were that some of the passengers had not had their seatbelts fastened." Passenger Rostik Rusev said the incident lasted for 10 terrifying seconds and some passengers were thrown up to the ceiling. He said, "There was blood on the ceiling, people with broken noses, babies who were hurt. It was horrible. It came out of nowhere." He did also say, "The aircraft personnel couldn't have been more professional and courageous. They were heroes in everything they were doing." (Guardian)
You Think You've Seen a Freaky Mug Shot?
Morgan Joyce Varn is a 24-year-old mother in North Carolina and her mug shot just went viral thanks to her choice of tattoos. It's not the little heart on her left cheek, or the floral decoration around her neck, or even the writing above her left eyebrow, or whatever that is going on with her forehead that have people so stunned. It's more the fact that her EYEBALLS have been tattooed! Varn was taken into custody along with Jonathan Mikael Robinson on charges of kidnapping, armed robbery, and property damage. It is alleged that she mugged a man taking his mobile phone and money before inviting him into her home. And did we mention that she let someone stick needles in her eyes? (Metro)
What the WHAT?
And our Idiot of the Week award goes to the guy in Taraz, Kazakhstan who used a lighter to try and look in his fuel tank to see if it was full. Want to take a guess at what happened next? Video footage shows the moron trying to put diesel into a canister strapped onto the roof of his van. Because it is difficult to see, he takes out a lighter which ignites the fumes causing a mini explosion, and burning flames begin flowing out of the nozzle. He then panics and drops the gas nozzle, which sprays burning fuel over the rest of the gas station and other vehicles as he tries to flee for safety. The final seconds of the video show a huge amount of white smoke that is believed to be coming out of a fire extinguisher set off to put the blaze out. Ironically, experts say he's lucky it was diesel noting that if it had been regular gasoline, the explosion would have been devastating. (Metro)