Wednesday, July 19, 2017

WEIRD NEWS

That's Cheesy!

In Somerset, England, a cheesemaker has offered a $500 reward after two of its finest vintage cheddars were stolen during a prestigious show. The judges at the Yeovil show had crowned the two hefty blocks of cheese champion and reserve champion, and the specimens were being left in a marquee overnight so that they could be admired by members of the public next day. But thieves took the blocks, weighing 44 pounds each with a retail value of around $1,000, along with the winners' certificates! The cheesemakers at Wyke Farms were devastated that two of the best blocks they had ever produced have vanished. Rich Clothier, a third generation cheesemaker and the managing director of Wyke Farms, said, "These cheeses could be considered masterpieces; it's a bit like having a valuable painting stolen." No whey! (The Guardian)

Stressed Out?

(Newser) Looking for a great business opportunity? Consider opening a massage parlor in Newark, NJ - the most stressed city in the country according to a new survey. WalletHub looked at 30 stress indicators as they relate to work, money, family, and health to come up with the most and least stressed cities in the US. The top five in each category, with a stress score out of 100:

Most stressed:
  • Newark, NJ: 60 
  • Detroit: 57.5 
  • Cleveland: 56 
  • Jackson, Miss.: 55 
  • Miami: 54.5 

Least stressed:
  • Fremont, Calif.: 29 
  • Plano, Texas: 29 
  • Overland Park, Kan.: 30 
  • Scottsdale, Ariz.: 32 
  • Sioux Falls, SD: 32.5 

Unexplainable Impulse?

Meanwhile in Northern California, Judge Michael S. Williams has lost his job because he apparently couldn't resist the urge to swipe two art deco-style business card holders from a judges' dinner in San Francisco! The Commission on Judicial Performances censured Williams and he agreed to resign effective December. Williams was attending a dinner hosted by a matrimonial lawyers association in March 2016 when he took two cardholders in the art deco decor of The City Club of San Francisco. They were each worth about $30 to $50. The commission says Williams returned the cardholders after being informed that he was caught on video. The judge expressed remorse and said he had an "unexplainable impulse" to take the cardholders. (Newser)

Are Kids Really Learning?

Just because you've got a straight-A student living under your roof doesn't mean your kid is actually smart. A new study reveals that even though a larger percentage of high school seniors than their 1998 counterparts are heading off to college with an "A" average, SAT scores have fallen - meaning that those chart-busting grades might actually be "fool's gold." Per Inside Higher Ed, the study released Monday - which will be included in a book on testing, grades, and college admissions coming out next year by Johns Hopkins University Press - shows that 38.9% of high school seniors graduated with an A average in 1998. In 2016, the figure was 47%. The average GPA score also rose during that period, from 3.27 to 3.38. But SAT scores were another story, dropping from 1,026 points to 1,002 out of a possible 1,600. Inside Higher Ed notes that if GPA were indicative of learning, SAT scores "should be going up, or at the very least remaining stable." Where grade inflation seems to be most prominent: in schools with more white, affluent students, as well as in private schools, where the inflation rate is three times that found in public schools. The study authors warn that leniency in handing good grades could "paradoxically disadvantage" certain students, as OK students may get mixed up with real top performers when college admissions officers review transcripts. (USA Today)

Crosswords Keep Your Brain Younger

Researchers may not be ready to claim that word puzzles can help stave off age-related neurological diseases like Alzheimer's, but a major new study shows that there does appear to be a link between word puzzle play and improved cognition. Analyzing data from more than 17,000 healthy people aged 50 and older, researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School and Kings College London announced that when it comes to tests on short-term memory and grammatical reasoning speed, people who play word puzzles like crosswords enjoy cognitive health that is equivalent to 10 years younger than their actual age. That performance was not only consistently better in people who engage in puzzles, but actually improved incrementally with the frequency of puzzle play. The findings were unveiled at this week's Alzheimer's Association International Conference in London. (University of Exter)

Facebook Saves People in the Most Unusual Ways

A man with a mystery medical condition that caused his genitals to swell to 10 times the average size has had reconstructive surgery-thanks to a Facebook post. Forence Owiti Opiyo, from Kibigori, Kenya, first noticed a cyst "down there" in 2006 when he was just 10 years old. An initial procedure removed the growth in 2007 but the problem re-emerged years later. Over time, the cyst grew so big that Forence struggled to walk. He eventually had to drop out of school because his testicles grew so large that he could no longer wear clothes or walk easily. He began to mend shoes in an attempt to save money but his goal of being able to pay for surgery was still a long way out of reach. Finally, a neighbor took some shocking photographs of Forence's deformed privates and posted them on Facebook with a plea for help. After three days, they got a call from Our Lady of Mercy Ranguma and an ambulance picked Forence up from his village. Surgeons at the hospital scheduled two operations both which they believe will be successful and correct the problem. (Metro)

What the What?

In Manitowoc, Wisconsin, police officers arrested 32-year-old Travis L. Tingler for standing in the street buck naked. While he clearly didn't he was screaming toward one home, claiming that he had a knife and was going to gut people in the house. When told by officers that he couldn't be out in the middle of the street naked, Tingler told officers he wasn't doing anything wrong and wanted to go to a home. Police instead handcuffed him and, finding a pair of pants on the front lawn, tried to put them on Tingler. He refused to get into a squad car so police tried to persuade him to do so with stun guns. But somehow, during the struggle, Tingler picked up a lighter and when the stun gun probe hit the lighter, a combination of lighter fluid and electricity caused Tingler's beard and chest hair to catch fire. As an officer tried to pat the fire off his body, Tingler continued to fight - even after the fire was put out. He then punched an officer in the face. An officer used a stun gun on him from about six feet away, and he then fell and hit his head hard on the pavement. Officers called an ambulance and hospital staff said Tingler tested positive for marijuana and had a blood-alcohol count of 0.177. He'll likely face charges of resisting a police officer, battery to an officer, disorderly conduct, and lewd and lascivious behavior. (Fond du Lac Reporter)

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