A Manmade Fatberg Is Floating Off the Coast of Amsterdam

A chunk of the Whitechapel fatberg on display at the Museum of London.
A chunk of the Whitechapel fatberg on display at the Museum of London.

Fatbergs—typically masses made from congealed grease, diapers, wet wipes, and other trash—have a tendency to form where they’re not wanted, but a new one floating in the sea just off Amsterdam was put there deliberately. As Gizmodo reports, designers Mike Thompson and Arne Hendriks constructed the buoyant blob to be a statement-making piece of experimental art.

Their Fatberg (capital F) started in 2014 as a single drop of fat in a glass of water. In the time since then, Thompson and Hendriks have grown it into a 2205-pound behemoth by gradually adding melted-down vegetable and animal fats to the mound. Unlike fatbergs that appear in the wild (a.k.a. city sewers), this monstrosity is pure fat. The two masterminds hope to eventually incorporate human fat obtained from a liposuction procedure.

The project is less a statement about the litter and pollution that leads to fatbergs clogging up our sewers as it is about the meaning of the fat itself. “Basically we’re doing this because fat is a very interesting material—it’s probably the most iconic material of time,” Hendriks told Gizmodo. “It’s organic, but it speaks about energy. It speaks about health. It speaks about over-consumption. It speaks about beauty.”

The two men plan to continue growing their fat island with the goal of getting it big enough to stand on and towing it to the North Pole. But they have a long way to go before they break the record for biggest fatberg—that title belongs to the Whitechapel fatberg, which weighed a whopping 143 tons when it was pulled from a London sewer in 2017.

Floating fatberg.
Mike Thompson, Arne Hendriks

Adding fat to a floating fatberg.
Mike Thompson, Arne Hendriks

[h/t Gizmodo]

South Carolina Coroner Swears Local Dairy Queen Burgers Are Not Made of Human Flesh

Ocskaymark/iStock via Getty Images
Ocskaymark/iStock via Getty Images

Summer may be cooling down, but America's fast food wars are just heating up. While Popeyes and Chick-fil-A continue to debate who sells the best chicken sandwich (editor's note: let's not leave Publix's chicken tender sub out of the mix), a Dairy Queen in Greenwood, South Carolina, has been forced to fight back against a slate of recent claims that their burgers are made of ... people. Just how did these rumors get started? It's complicated.

Complex reports that last week, the FBI, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and state law enforcement officials raided several businesses in South Carolina's Greenwood, Abbeville, and Orangeburg counties—the Greenwood Dairy Queen being one of them. The officials were acting on a complaint that two men were operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, and they did reportedly find $200,000 in an unlocked safe at the Greenwood DQ. Though the name of that DQ's manager, Saif Momin, came up in the initial investigation into the financial crime, authorities have made it clear that Momin has not been charged with any crime, nor were any of his 18 employees in any way connected to the raid. But none of that is the strange part of this story.

In the wake of the raids, dozens of rumors began flying about what the FBI was looking into at the local ice cream franchise. That's when a corporate inspector informed Momin that, in what appears to be a separate incident, someone had lodged a complaint about “human meat being inside a burger” at the same DQ. It didn't take long for social media to catch on, and use Twitter as a platform for confirming whether or not there was a Soylent Green-like situation happening.

Even after Dairy Queen confirmed that their burgers are 100 percent beef and zero percent human being, the matter wasn't quite over. The continued public outcry led the Index-Journal, a local news outlet, to enlist the expertise of Greenwood County coroner Sonny Cox, who seemed taken aback by the question itself.

"I promise you, I’ve never had anything of that nature asked of me," Cox said. "I’ve never suspected anything like that. I can honestly say that’s the first I’ve heard of it, and I don’t see any validity in that at all. There’s little to no chance of anything like that ever being able to happen."

Momin echoed Cox's statement, telling the Index-Journal: "If that was the case, they already would have shut me down."

In November 2018, the Department of Health and Environmental Control gave Momin's store an A grade and a score of 97 percent. So it seems highly unlikely that your FlameThrower GrillBurger has any ground human meat in it—though it's certainly not the first time fast food burgers have undergone a thorough analysis.

Cannibalism accusations aside, one positive thing to come from this story is a reminder of the importance of local journalism.

‘Water’ in Kansas City Woman’s Ear Turned Out to Be a Venomous Brown Recluse Spider

N-sky/iStock via Getty Images
N-sky/iStock via Getty Images

Susie Torres, a resident of Kansas City, Missouri, woke up on Tuesday morning with the distinct feeling that water was lodged in her left ear. She likened it to the swooshing sensation that can often happen after swimming, WDAF-TV reports.

Instead of waiting for the problem to resolve itself, Torres went to the doctor—a decision that might have saved her from some serious pain. The medical assistant was the first to realize something was alarmingly amiss, and immediately called for backup.

“She ran out and said ‘I’m going to get a couple more people,’” Torres told 41 Action News. “She then said, ‘I think you have an insect in there.’” For many people, the thought of having any live insect stuck in an ear would be enough to cue a small- or large-scale freak-out, but Torres stayed calm.

The doctors “had a few tools and worked their magic and got it out,” Torres said. The “it” in question turned out to be a spider—and not just any harmless house spider (which you shouldn’t kill, by the way). It was a venomous brown recluse spider.

“Gross,” Torres told WDAF-TV. “Why, where, what, and how.”

Miraculously, the spider didn’t bite Torres. If it had, she would’ve ended up visiting the doctor with more than general ear discomfort: Brown recluse bites can cause pain, burning, fever, nausea, and purple or blue discoloration of the surrounding skin, according to Healthline.

Torres may have remained admirably level-headed throughout the ordeal, but that doesn’t mean she’s taking it lightly. “I went and put some cotton balls in my ears last night,” she told WDAF-TV. “I’m shaking off my clothes, and I don’t put my purse on the floor. I’m a little more cautious.”

Is this the first time an insect has posted up in the ear of an unsuspecting, innocent human? Absolutely not—here are six more horror stories, featuring a cockroach, a bed bug, and more.

[h/t WDAF-TV]

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