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Thursday, July 26, 2018

WEIRD NEWS

You Can No Longer Fly to "Taiwan"

While the White House called the request "Orwellian nonsense," the three biggest US airlines appear to have caved to a demand from China on how they reference Taiwan. Just ahead of yesterday's deadline imposed by Beijing, Delta, American, and United changed the way they refer to Taiwan on their websites. Taiwan is not be listed as an entity separate from China. As of Wednesday morning Taipei's airport code and city was listed, but "Taiwan" is now gone. An American Airlines rep explained, "Air travel is global business, and we abide by the rules in countries where we operate." Taiwan and China have been ruled by separate governments since a break in 1949, but China has continued to claim Taiwan as its own territory. In April, the Civil Aviation Administration of China sent a letter to dozens of airlines across the globe mandating they modify their websites if they referred to Taiwan, Hong Kong, or Macau as separate nations. Most international airlines-including Lufthansa, Air Canada, British Airways, Qantas, and Air India-have since given in to the request. The Washington Postnotes that while the US airlines' acquiescence doesn't actually affect Taiwan's status, the scrubbing of "Taiwan" is a "symbolic victory for Chinese leaders and an example of the nation's business leverage." Or in other words, when money talks, our principles walk. (Reuters)

Beat the Heat with Dog?

The summer is not good for dogs - in North Korea that is. With the country sizzling, North Korea's biggest brewery is pumping out twice as much beer as usual, Pyongyang residents are lining up to get a "bingsu"-the North Korean equivalent of a snow cone, and restaurants are serving up bowl after bowl of the season's biggest culinary attraction: spicy dog meat soup. Known as sweet meat, dog has long been believed to be a stamina food in North and South Korea and is traditionally eaten during the hottest time of the year, though demand appears to be especially high this year as a heatwave sends temperatures north of the 100-degree mark in several cities in the North. One waitress explains, "People believe that heat cures heat, so they eat dog meat and spicy dog soup on the hottest days." Actual statistics for how much dog is eaten in the North are not available, but in South Korea, at least 2 million canines are slaughtered and eaten each year. If all this just breaks your dog-loving heart, the good news is that the popularity of dog meat is waning. While many older South Koreans believe dog meat aids virility, younger citizens generally are either against the practice or indifferent to it and there has been increasing pressure to ban it altogether. (Newser)

Chick-fil-A Meal Kits?

You probably know meal kits are all the rage: The $2.2 billion business supplying consumers with fresh ingredients to be turned into a delicious dish at home is likely to see 25% to 30% annual growth over the next five years so Chick-fil-A wants some of that action. A 12-week trial in Atlanta will begin on Aug. 27 and the fast-food company says it will offer meal kits at 150 restaurants across the city. The two-person meals will run $15.89 and take about half an hour to cook and come in five varieties, including Chicken Parmesan, Chicken Enchiladas, Dijon Chicken, Pan Roasted Chicken, and Chicken Flatbread. Side dishes include kale salad and macaroni and cheese. If all goes well, the kits could be made a nationwide menu item, but one food consultant has his doubts. Noting his surprise that a company known for fast and simple food would offer more complicated meals to its customers, Aaron Allen tells CNN that the trendy trial has the feel of a publicity stunt "a little bit like IHOB." (USA Today)

Racist Road Rage Insanity

A pathetic story out of Columbus, Ohio. A new video appears to show a heating and cooling worker in Columbus follow a black man home and unleash a racist tirade after a road dispute. Charles Lovett posted video on Facebook of the encounter with a man seen driving a white pickup truck advertising Uriah's Heating, Cooling Refrigeration. Lovett gets out of his vehicle Tuesday morning, walks to the end of his driveway and asks the driver, "Is there a reason why you just followed me to my house?" The driver, whose window is down, begins to back away and as he replies "I didn't follow you to your house." He then says, "I just want to let you know what a n----- you are," the driver replies in a gruff voice. A stunned Lovett replied, "You said what?" The driver repeats: "I just want to let you know what a n----- you are," later adding "I want to let you personally know how much of a n----- you are." The driver justifies his racist rant saying Lovett is rude and cut him off. As the two men argue about street signs and how many lanes there were on the interstate, the driver then tells Lovett he feels "entitled." The driver says, "You feel entitled because you get everything for free." Lovett wrote in his Facebook post - since viewed more than 24,000 times - this sort of encounter is becoming more and more common in the U.S. recently. So far, no comment from Uriah's Heating, Cooling Refrigeration. The video of the incident is online. (Patch.com)

Armed Scarecrow? Really?

It seems someone in Navarro, Texas actually thought an armed scarecrow would be enough to scare off the law from messing with their marijuana farm. It wasn't. The Navarro County Sheriff's Office got an anonymous tip and discovered the five-acre wide farm. While searching the site, they came across a scarecrow laying in a hammock holding what looked like a gun. The department posted on Facebook that the dummy was fully dressed, boots and all, and holding "an assault-type rifle" to ward off unwelcome visitors (although people in the comments say it's actually a pellet gun.) Clearly, the diversion didn't work, as authorities found 10,000 marijuana plants and a fairly sophisticated operation with campsites, portable generators and water pumps. The discovery was so well hidden, a bulldozer had to be brought in to even reach the site. The growers haven't been found yet. (WTVR)

Weird Japan

Of all the places to advertise on a living human being, the armpits are probably at the bottom of the list for most people, but one Japanese company believes they are prime real-estate and is currently recruiting young female models willing to walk around with ads on their armpits. The Wakino advertising agency is running ads saying, "If you're an executive who's had enough of traditional advertising, maybe you'd like to give armpit ads a try. For a fee as low as 10,000 yen ($89.99) per hour, Wakino will plaster your custom ad on the armpits of a young model who will do her best to make it as visible as possible." It's a little unclear how that will work though, as apart from holding on to the handrail on public transportation or stretching your arms up from time to time, there aren't too many ways of making your armpits visible. But nevertheless, they've even landed their first client, a beauty treatment and dermatology chain that is using armpit ads to promote its painless underarm hair removal procedure. (Oddity Central)

Is That Ye George Yeardley?

Scientists working in Jamestown, Va., have unearthed remains they believe just might belong to Sir George Yeardley, the first governor of Virginia, one of the Colonies' first big slaveholders, and the man who established the first representative assembly in the New World. The grave, found where one of Jamestown's first churches stood is 3-feet-wide, and the grave shaft was 50 percent wider than the graves previously found in the church leading them to suspect it was no usual burial. Smithsonian reports there are indications they are on the right track: Yeardley died in 1627 at age 39; the skeleton belongs to a man of that age, the condition of the grave suggests it was dug before the church was deconstructed in 1639, and the grave's position in the church's central aisle means someone of prominence was likely buried there. Researchers hope to have the final word on whether they've found Yeardley by the middle of next year. (Williamsburg Yorktown Daily)

What the What?

Meanwhile in jolly old England, 75-year-old Colin Mitchell received a knock on the door from police. Apparently a neighbor had called about a number of "offensive human noises" coming from the house in St Albans, Hertfordshire. The noises in question were apparently coming from a toy "fart machine" that Mr. Mitchell had given to his great-grandson to play with. And it seems every time the neighbor would walk by, little three-year-old Charlie would hit the fart machine and laugh. The officers were none too happy about wasting their time and Mitchell concurred saying, "The police do an amazing job but it is ridiculous when they don't have the manpower or money that someone can call them out for such a stupid job." Then it was learned that Mr. Mitchell has had a long-running dispute with his neighbors of 25 years. So police gave each of them a strong warning about abusing the emergency call system. (Metro)

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