Mental Floss

The Weird Week in Review

Miss Cellania
West Mercia Police
West Mercia Police / West Mercia Police

Barefoot Burglar Identified by Glow-in-the-Dark Footprints

John Richards of Dinham, Ludlow, UK, pled guilty to burglary charges after confronting the overwhelming evidence against him. An unnamed business in Ludlow had reported several burglaries, and Mercia police turned to SmartWater Technology Ltd to install a security system that uses a liquid containing a unique code to identify the place it was applied. It is only visible under ultraviolet light. A CCTV camera caught Richards in the act of tripping the motion-sensitive security system that sprayed the liquid. He was barefoot at the time in order to make little noise. Police later found the liquid inside his boots and on a stolen cash box. 

The Boney-Eared Assfish

The Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria, British Columbia, has a new specimen in its Finding Fishes exhibit, although it was caught ten years ago. Meet Acanthonus armatus, better known by its common name, the bony-eared assfish. Gavin Hanke, the museum's curator of vertebrate zoology, was with the group that caught the fish, the only one of its species caught off the North American coast.   

"It is an ugly fish. That's why I like it," Hanke said. "It's got a big bulbous head and a tapering body and flabby skin. It almost looks like a glorified tadpole. It felt very gelatinous and soft when we picked it up. "It has a very large mouth, and off the back of the gills there are some very large spines that point backwards," he said. "When we first found the fish there were six or seven of us on the deck of the boat looking at it, and nobody could even guess which family it belonged to, because we had just never seen one before."

The Finding Fishes exhibit is in the museum’s Pocket Gallery, and admission is free.

Prison Official Arrested for Stealing and Selling 31-mile Road

Alexander Protopopov supervised Russia’s prison system in the far north Komi region for five years. Wednesday, he was arrested for dismantling and selling off a 31-mile stretch of road, which will cost the government about six million rubles ($79,000 US) to replace. Protopopov is accused of removing 7,000 concrete slabs, which he sold for personal profit. The scheme went on for about a year. The official charge is “misappropriating of state property while using his official position,” and could lead to a 10-year prison sentence. Several other Russian officials are under investigation in connection with the crime.  

Woman’s Body is a Brewery

An unnamed upstate New York schoolteacher beat the rap in her October DUI arrest when it was determined that she suffered from gut fermentation syndrome, a rare condition in which high levels of yeast in her intestines converted carbohydrates to alcohol. Her blood-alcohol level had registered alcohol at four times the legal limit for driving.

Claiming the condition would be a pretty easy get-out-of-jail-free card for those who actually were drunk driving, so proving it requires serious testing. Among other things, [Attorney Joseph] Marusak had three medical professionals monitor his client for a day, and despite not drinking an ounce of booze, she had a blood-alcohol content of .36, or four times New York's legal limit, he said.

The DUI case was dismissed. A doctor has prescribed the woman a low-carbohydrate diet to keep her body from making her drunk.  

Rail Issues Were Due to Strong Sunshine

Britain undergoes many weather conditions, but it appears that sunny days are something they do not experience often. On Monday, Southeastern railway officials blamed a backup of trains in Lewisham, South London, on “strong sunshine.” Passengers are used to delays caused by snow or leaves on the tracks, but thought “sunshine” was a weak excuse. A spokesman for the service said, “…thankfully for all it doesn’t happen very often.” 

They Were Millionaires for 20 Minutes

Forty-two employees of Grissini’s Restaurant in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, pooled $210 and bought Powerball lottery tickets in time for Saturday’s drawing. The jackpot was at $949 million at the time. Saturday night, a friend texted the latest Powerball numbers to the restaurant (2, 11, 47, 62, 63 and 17) -and all the numbers matched one of their tickets! There was much rejoicing, and one dishwasher threw off his apron and quit his job. Bartender Charles Poveromo called his wife, and she suggested they double-check the numbers. That’s when they found out that the website hadn’t yet been updated after the drawing, and the numbers were that of the previous drawing on Wednesday. The 20 minutes of euphoria were over. There’s no word on the dishwasher who quit his job.