The Weird Week in Review

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Friday the 13th Lucky for the Tattoo Business

At one time, getting a tattoo of the number 13 inked in your skin on Friday the 13th was popular because it was considered an act of rebellion. Some tattoo parlors still celebrate Friday the 13th with special prices on tattoos, as low as $13, and expect great business. London tattoo artist Dan Gold already has 13 tats of the number 13 on his skin, but will get another today. Victor Miller is another who has the tattoo. He considers 13 his lucky number, especially after a movie he wrote, Friday the 13th, became a hit.

Parking Spaces for Men and Women

Gallus Strobel, the mayor of Triberg, Germany, a small town in the Black Forest, has discovered a shortcut to international publicity: political incorrectness. A city parking garage has unveiled parking spaces designated for male and female drivers.

Unlike the 12 spaces set aside for women, which are wider, well-lit, and closer to the exit, the men’s spaces require the driver to pull in at an angle, and avoid hitting cement pillars. They are an “attraction” for any ambitious driver, Strobel told the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.

“But men are, as a rule, a little better at such challenges,” he told the paper.

Strobel is particularly happy with the attention the story brought to his town.

Fruit Flies With the Ability to Count

A team of geneticists at Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada and the University of California held math training sessions for generation after generation of fruit flies. The fruit flies, being not too bright, did not respond to the numbers... that is, until the 40th generation of flies to undergo such training. Finally, flies could recognize the difference between two, three, or four flashes of light. The next step in this research is to figure out what changed in the flies' brains over the 40 generations of math training, and how they managed to pass on those changes to their descendants.

Don't Clear Spiderwebs with a Blowtorch

Eiliya Maida of Chico, California, just wanted to clear cobwebs from his backyard. However, he chose to use a propane-fueled blowtorch to do it. Maida did not notice that some weeds ignited, which spread to the house. Only when his brother-in-law saw smoke coming from the attic did Maida realize what he'd done. Firefighters extinguished the blaze in a few minutes, but not before the fire did $25,000 damage to the house. The attic is burned, and the home's electrical system will have to be replaced.

Chimpanzees Escape, Roam Zoo Freely

Five chimpanzees in Hannover, Germany, took advantage of some debris in their enclosure to climb out and mingle with zoo visitors on Wednesday. Four of the chimps at the Experience Zoo returned to their home after a short time, but the oldest ape went to visit the zoo's gorilla. The zoo evacuated 2,500 people during the escapade. One 5-year-old girl was taken to the hospital with minor injuries after a chimp knocked her down. The last chimpanzee was eventually lured back and was given the use of a ladder to return to the pen. You can see some video of the incident here.

Giraffe Rescued from Septic Tank

A full-grown giraffe became stuck when its weight apparently caused a septic tank to collapse at the Marloth Park wildlife preserve in South Africa. Veterinarian Cobus Raath and a team of rescuers worked to free the animal. They blindfolded the giraffe and stuffed cotton in its ears to calm the beast while they worked. Twenty volunteers heaved the giraffe out of the tank.

"The animal was distressed and had been trying to get out," he said.

"We decided not to incapacitate him but blindfolded him to try and calm him down.

"We then called a load of local people who rushed to help and we used ropes and brute force to pull him out of the hole sideways."

The operation took about 20 minutes to get him out.

The giraffe was treated for shock and was freed after appearing to recover nicely.

Raw Crawfish Transmit Lung Fluke

Protip: when you're river rafting and drinking, try to avoid the temptation to eat raw crawfish. St. Louis hospitals have treated at least nine people over the past year for a flatworm transmitted from the crawfish that travels to one's lungs and can live for up to ten years if not treated. The condition, called paragonimiasis, can take months to exhibit symptoms and is hard to diagnose. A scientist from the CDC said, "In Georgia, we go canoeing and we see crawfish. It never occurred to me to eat one. What's wrong with you people?" Most of the cases were blamed on excessive alcohol intake while camping or rafting on Missouri's rivers. .

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July 13, 2012 - 6:33am
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