Mental Floss

The Weird Week in Review

Miss Cellania

There Goes the Neighborhood

In the town of Solikamsk, Russia, there’s a large hole swallowing a neighborhood. The main industry in the area is salt mining, and an influx of water has caused a “failure of the soil,” or in other words, a big old hole. The ground began shifting in 2005, and authorities responded by evacuating the area, so no one lives in these houses. On Tuesday, the mines were evacuated due to shifting earth, and the hole opened up on Tuesday evening. Russian authorities are studying the scene and performing air quality tests to determine whether noxious gasses are being released.

Applicant Stabs Boss During Job Interview

According to police in El Cajon, California, Jose Lopez went to a job interview at a business on South Sunshine Avenue. The proprietor smelled alcohol on his breath and confronted him about it. Lopez then began to fight with the interviewer, who put Lopez in a headlock. Lopez was able to free himself and flee, but not before stabbing the interviewer in the arm. Police arrived to find Lopez gone, but the job application he filled out had his name and address. The interviewer was taken to a hospital for a minor wound. Police arrested Lopez later at his home. He did not get the job.

Half Naked Winnie-The-Pooh Banned From Playground

Officials in Tuszyn, Poland, have a problem with Winnie-the-Pooh. They met to select a new mascot for the municipal playground. They rejected the idea of using literary stuffed bear Winnie-the-Pooh on the grounds that he doesn’t wear pants. A Polish fictional bear who is completely clothed was suggested as an alternative.

One official is heard saying: "It doesn’t wear underpants because it doesn’t have a sex. It’s a hermaphrodite." Councillor Hanna Jachimska then began criticising the Winnie-the-Pooh author Alan Alexander Milne. She said: "This is very disturbing but can you imagine! The author was over 60 and cut his [Pooh's] testicles off with a razor blade because he had a problem with his identity."

Just in case you’ve forgotten, Winnie-the-Pooh is a stuffed toy bear, and not meant to represent a real animal. The council has yet to make a decision on the playground.

Threats Made with Photograph of a Gun

A man walked into a Tesco store in Bar Hill, near Cambridge, England, early Wednesday morning and made threats to kill employees there. Did he have a gun? No, but he had a photograph of a gun, which he brandished as he was making his threats. Maybe he considered that proof that he had one …somewhere. Tesco staff called police, who came and arrested the unnamed 34-year-old man on suspicion of making threats to kill. He was released on bail pending a hearing in January.

An Apartment Full of Sugar Beets

A truck driver lost control of his vehicle while driving through the village of Schwerzenbach, Switzerland, on Tuesday. The truck overturned onto the side of a building, and its load of sugar beets crashed through and filled the living room of a ground floor apartment. No one was injured in the building, but the truck driver was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. A gallery of pictures showing the beets in the home can be found here.

Tapeworm in Brain Leads to Headaches

A 50-year-old man in Britain had been complaining of headaches, seizures, and strange smells for four years. Doctors had taken a series of brain scans over time and were baffled by “strange ring-like patterns” that were slowly moving from one side of his head to the other. A biopsy was performed, and surgeons removed a one-centimeter worm, which they sent to parasite experts.

Geneticists at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge found the creature was a rare species of tapeworm known as Spirometra erinaceieuropaei. Only 300 cases of infection by this parasite in humans have been reported since 1953, with only two previous cases identified in Europe.

The patient is thought to have picked up the parasite on his travels to China, where it may have infected food, and then burrowed its way to his brain.