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Monday, June 11, 2018

WEIRD NEWS

Hero at the Pool

At Brookwood Apartments, a complex in Indianapolis, 35-year-old assistant manager Jennifer Potter and a co-worker were cruising by the community pool in a golf cart when they saw what appeared to be a toddler in trouble in the deep end of the pool, hanging onto a raft. Potter immediately jumped off the cart and raced toward the pool. She later said, "I'm literally throwing my coat off, dropping my phone and keys. It felt like forever to get to the side of the pool." As she was saving the toddler, she then saw the boy's mother, who was six months' pregnant, and unconscious under the boy. Fighting off panic and fear that she couldn't save them both, she did manage to grab the pair and swim to safety. Then she and the co-worker called 911. Firefighters credit her with saving both lives, along with that of the unborn child. Potter, who has a 3-year-old of her own, said she was just acting on instinct and adds, "Everybody keeps telling me I'm a hero. I hope any other person would do the same thing." (WTHR News)

That's One Tough Hiker

In Queensland, Australia, 25-year-old Korean hiker Joohee Han had made it to the summit of Mount Tyson. She took a few pictures and then disaster struck - she fell 60 feet down a steep ravine. She was knocked unconscious for five hours and when she finally came to she crawled to a rocky waterfall and stayed put - for six days. She had no food but a raincoat kept her warm. No one at a youth hostel where she was staying alerted authorities because Han had mentioned that after the hike she was heading out of town for the weekend. Fortunately, she had been working for a banana farmer and one of the farmer's staff noticed that she hadn't shown up for work. The employee went looking for Han at the youth hostel, only to discover that her belongings were still there and sounded the alarm. Eventually, Han's screams led rescuers to her location, and she was lifted out of the ravine by a helicopter. A paramedic later explained, "She couldn't actually proceed any farther and she had no way to get back out, and that's where she stayed for days. She was actually in really good condition and in good spirits." (ABC)

Sore Loser!

Talk about injustice and a sore loser. In Bon Homme County, South Dakota, 31-year-old deputy sheriff Mark Maggs just defeated his own boss, Sheriff Lenny Grankow, in the Republican primary. As the two men were the only people actually running for the office, Maggs automatically becomes sheriff in January. So how did Sherriff Grankow react? Did he take the loss like a man and congratulate the young deputy? Nah - he fired him! No kidding. Maggs, who received 73% of the vote, says the sheriff called him in for a meeting and handed him a letter of termination one minute after polls closed. The letter stated: "As of this moment you are no longer an employee of Bon Homme County," and ordered to turn in county-owned equipment by 5:00PM the next day. Maggs, who has been with the department since 2013 said the news really hit his wife especially hard because they have four small children and this means they'll lose their health insurance. But the story may not be over just yet. While legally Grankow has the power to fire Maggs at will, the move has caused a backlash against the sheriff, and more than 1,600 people have signed a petition urging commissioners to reinstate Maggs. The former deputy says he's glad people are speaking out, but he would like supporters to stop calling the sheriff's office because "those guys still have a job to do." Now that's a true leader. Deputy Maggs - not Sheriff Jackass! (Argus Leader)

The Mount Everest Money Challenge! What Could Go Wrong?

Yeah, we don't see this playing out so well. The website AskFM recently launched its own cryptocurrency and decided to celebrate by hosting an original giveaway. Instead of simply giving away some tokens to randomly selected winners, they buried a crypto-wallet with $50,000 worth of tokens in it on Mount Everest and challenged anyone brave enough to go find it. The Dublin-based start-up is similar to Quora or Yahoo Answers, and is currently the world's largest questions and answers platform in the world. But the bizarre publicity stunt is raising eyebrows and concerns for safety. It gets worse. AskFM had three Ukrainian mountain climbers to take two wallets of ASKT cryptocurrency up on the top of the world. One of them was brought back down, while the other was buried somewhere on Everest. However, what the company's press release fails to mention is that during the decent, one of the two Sherpas accompanying the climbers was left behind, and never made it back down. He is presumed dead. The Sherpa, identified as Lam Babu, was apparently a very experienced climber, having conquered three Everest summits, as well as three other 8,000 meter peaks. Still, something happened, and he didn't make it back to camp. One of the professional climbers involved in the stunt also suffered frostbite to his hands and feet, but he has since made a full recovery. ASKT currently sells at 10 tokens for $1, so the 500,000 token buried on Everest is currently worth $50,000. But what if ASKT proves so popular that prices skyrocket? Concerns are that climbers may needlessly risk their lives to try and get rich at one of the most dangerous places on earth. (Oddity Central)

World's First AI Psychopath?

Believe it or not, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have trained an artificial intelligence algorithm to become a psychopath by exposing it to gruesome and violent images on the popular social network Reddit. Called Norman, after the iconic Anthony Perkins character in Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 classic "Psycho", the AI was trained to perform image captioning, a popular deep learning method of generating a textual description of an image. But for an extended period of time, Norman was only exposed to gruesome and violent images from an infamous Reddit user dedicated to documenting and observing the disturbing reality of death. Researchers then used Rorschach inkblots to compare Norman to other AI which hadn't been shown the gruesome images. Scientists concluded that after being exposed to the darkest side of Reddit, Norman lacked empathy logic, which basically turned the AI into a psychopath. When exposed to the same Rorschach inkblots as other AI, it saw very different things. For example, where a non-tainted AI saw "a close up of a vase with flowers", Norman saw a man being "shot dead", where a normal AI saw "a person holding an umbrella in the air", the digital psycho saw a man being shot "in front of his screaming wife", and where a standard AI saw a heartwarming scene of a couple standing together, Norman saw a pregnant woman falling from construction. By creating the world's first psychopath AI, researchers set out to prove that the method and material used to teach a machine learning an algorithm can greatly influence its behavior, and to illustrate "the dangers of Artificial Intelligence gone wrong when biased data is used in machine learning algorithms". Yeah, I have no idea what you just said, but you're scaring the crap out of me! Stop it NOW! (Oddity Central)

Bison - Yeah, You Need to Stand Back

You know nature can be a wonderful, beautiful thing - as long as you don't get to close. Just ask 59-year-old Kim Hancock of California who thought it'd be cool to get within 30 feet of a wild bison at Yellowstone National park. The park's recommendation is that visitors give bison and elk at least 75 feet of space, but Ms. Hancock had other ideas. That resulted in the bison becoming agitated so it charged her and gored her! Hancock was taken to a medical facility in Big Sky, Montana, with a hip injury and is in good condition. Hers is the second case of a bison attack this year; a 72-year-old woman was butted by a bison that she hadn't spotted in early May near Old Faithful. (Newser)

What the What?

In Connecticut, parishioners of the First Congregational Church of Stamford are a little unhappy and it's all because of Marilyn Monroe's behind! It seems a 26-foot statue of the iconic actress has been placed in a Stamford park across the street from the church. The statue depicts the famous scene from 1955's "The Seven Year Itch" where Monroe attempts to hold down her white dress as air from a subway grate blows it up. So it's the back of the statue that faces the church, clearly showing Miss Monroe's underwear and rear end. At least it's not a permanent situation. "Forever Marilyn" is one of 36 statues by artist Seward Johnson that are on loan and on display in the downtown area through the summer. They're part of the city's annual "Art in Public Spaces" program. City resident Lorri Tamburro told The Advocate newspaper that she found it disturbing to see children climbing on the statue's leg and looking up the skirt. At least Rev. Dr. Todd Grant Yonkman, pastor of the First Congregational Church, has a sense of humor about the whole thing and said, "Maybe the city would let us give her some pants?" (New York Daily News)

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