Of course one of the true downsides to a storm like Hurricane Irma is the inevitable crime wave that unfortunately comes with it. Here's one of the weirder post-Irma crimes yet. In Jacksonville, Florida, 46-year-old Victor Walter Apeler and 42-year-old Blake Lee Waller were arrested after being pulled over with a Jacksonville Electric Authority utility pole tied down on the top of their KIA SUV. Apeler told officers they were simply getting the downed pole out of the way of traffic, but after cops searched a pawn database, they found Apeler had nearly 75 scrap-metal sales this year alone. Since the pole was worth about $2,500, he and Waller were both charged with grand theft! Then just for fun the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office posted a photo on Facebook of the two shirtless suspects sitting on the curb while handcuffed, with the pole still perched atop the Kia, inviting the inevitable commentary that makes such Florida crimes so much more fun. (Miami Herald)
When the KKK Gives Your School Money
Back in 1921, the Ku Klux Klan made a $1,000 pledge to the University of Virginia. That amount, in today's dollars, would be about $12,400, and with that in mind, the university is allocating an equivalent amount, $12,500, to the Charlottesville Patient Support Fund, which will be used to pay medical expenses for those injured in the rally on campus last month when white supremacists clashed with protesters. U-Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan said, "In other words, we are allocating that century-old pledge from white supremacists to heal the wounds inflicted by the dying vestiges of white supremacy that struck Charlottesville last month." She added, "I hope any remaining members of the KKK will appreciate the irony." Sullivan noted that though U.Va.'s president at the time did acknowledge the pledge, she found no evidence it was actually paid. (Washington Post)
Federal authorities are looking for two jet skiers after receiving tips they were "pursuing and riding over-top" humpback whales in Resurrection Bay back in July. Photos posted on a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Facebook page - alongside a plea for tips - show the jet skiers very close to surfacing whales. The Marine Mammal Protection Act requires people to maintain a 100-yard safety perimeter around humpback whales. Allyson Rogers, a communications officer with NOAA's law enforcement division said officers want to speak with the jet skiers in order to learn why they were so close to the whales in the photos. She noted it is possible the whales emerged unexpectedly near the watercraft and no law was violated. NOAA enforcement officer Nicolai Tykalsky said Thursday the public has been providing additional information since the post was made. (ADN.com)
How Great Thou Art
Two German artists pulling a giant silver writing pen across the Utah desert! The pen is really a sculpture made of foam board in the shape of a giant pen, and Wolfgang Aichner, 51, and Thomas Huber, 52, of Munich, are basically drawing a giant rectangle - about 250 miles total - all in the name or art. The project grew out of the artists' fascination with a conceptual image of a man in a suit with an oversized ballpoint pen in the desert. Philosophically, they were interested in the contrast between humans, who try to create straight lines, and nature, where straight lines rarely exist. The oversized pen, more than 13 feet high, features a small wheel at the point, which will leave a temporary imprint on the dusty ground while also providing visual scale. From a distance, a viewer might perceive the pen as regular-sized, while the man in the suit would appear tiny. The artists trade off in the role of pushing the pen and in capturing the journey on videotape. "One is always the man in the suit, and the other one is doing the filming," Aichner says. Kind of looks like a Pink Floyd album cover if you ask me. (Global Aesthetics Genetics)
The Mother of All Vaccines!
A new technology that could eventually see every childhood vaccine delivered in a single injection has been developed by US researchers. Their one-shot solution stores the vaccine in microscopic capsules that release the initial dose and then boosters at specific times. So in other words, you would conceivably get one shot to handle diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, Hib, hepatitis, pneumococcal, Men B, Hib/Men C, measles, mumps and rubella! A team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology has designed a new type of micro-particle that look like miniature coffee cups filled with vaccine and then sealed with a lid. The design of the cups can be altered so they break down and spill their contents at just the right time. Researcher Dr. Kevin McHugh said, "In the developing world, that might be the difference between not getting vaccinated and receiving all of your vaccines in one shot." And NO - it won't give you autism! (BBC)
What the Hell Facebook???
Until just last week, advertisers could log onto Facebook and target their ads to people interested in the following: "Jew hater"; "How to burn jews"; "History of why jews ruin the world": and "Hitler did nothing wrong." ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest, reports it knows this because it paid $30 to advertise its content to those groups. It says Facebook approved those ads in less than 15 minutes. It wasn't until ProPublica informed Facebook of this that the social media giant removed most of the categories, whose use by advertisers one Facebook official says was "not common or widespread." Facebook says the anti-Semitic advertising categories appeared because users had listed those terms in their profiles, likely "as an interest, an employer, or a 'field of study.'" The ad categories are based on what its users share or do online but Facebook says it will prevent such offensive categories in the future by having human employees review them or by simply having fewer categories. (ProPublica)
Guess Orange Juice is About to Get Expensive
Another unfortunate Hurricane Irma side effect: Orange growers statewide believe the storm, which knocked vast amounts of young fruit from the trees, will cut harvests by at least a third - and with groves flooded, not much of the dropped fruit can be recovered for juice. That's really bad as the state is already reeling from the impact of a disease that has cut harvests by 70% since 2005. The state's eastern seaboard is perhaps the best grapefruit-growing zone in the world, but growers estimate that this year's harvest will be down around 35% from last year, which was the smallest harvest in at least 50 years. Citrus greening disease, which turns the fruit bitter, has hit the grapefruit crop especially hard. Harold Browning of the Citrus Research and Development Foundation said, "We've had many hurricanes, we've had freezes, but this one is widespread. We're seeing the kind of damage we haven't seen, ever." (USA Today)
What the What?
In Milford, Connecticut, 48-year-old Leslie Laing was arrested after police say she put her own poop on her estranged husband's toothbrush and thus violated a protection order. Laing's arrest was the result of an investigation into a complaint filed by her estranged husband that she had tampered with his personal property. Police sent a DNA sample taken from Laing to the state lab for testing along with the toothbrush. The lab confirmed that Laing's DNA matched the feces on the toothbrush.(CTPost.com)