Mental Floss

The Weird Week in Review

Miss Cellania
Ben Yexley/UNSW
Ben Yexley/UNSW / Ben Yexley/UNSW


Scientists from the University of New South Wales in Australia have instituted a scheme to protect cows from lions in Africa, and to therefore protect lions from being shot by farmers protecting their livestock. The plan involves painting eyes on the cow’s rear ends. Lions tend to sneak up on prey from behind, and will often back off if they believe they were seen. The idea is to convince the lions that cows are keeping their eyes out, so to speak, and will look for dinner elsewhere. The first experiment was on a herd of 62 cattle in Botswana, in which a third of the cows got painted eyes. Ten weeks later, none of the painted cows had been attacked by lions, while three of the unpainted cows were killed. Further experiments are planned for this summer.   


In 1985, notorious Kentucky drug smuggler Andrew Thornton jumped out of his plane with $15 million in cocaine. He became tangled in his parachute and died when he landed in Tennessee, while the cocaine landed in Georgia. Later, a dead bear was found in the Georgia woods. The cause of death was determined to be the 75 pounds of cocaine he ate. That was just the beginning of the saga of Cocaine Bear, or Pablo Eskobear, as he’s sometimes called. After years of travel, the stuffed and mounted bear is now back in Kentucky and on display. Read about that bear, or watch the video, at WLEX. 


A new presidential candidate has thrown her hat into the ring, and her slogan is “#FixAmerica.” Dolly is a cat from Pittsburgh who’s campaigning for the animal welfare organization WearWoof. Dolly’s platform is encouraging Americans to spay and neuter their pets. Dolly has a classic American rags-to-riches story: she was homeless and went through the shelter system, and is now the resident cat at a thrift store that supports WearWoof. If Dolly wins the popular vote, she would not be able to serve as president of the United States because she has not reached the age of 35. But that’s not the point: her goal is to attract campaign donations that will help other animals. 


Three women spent a night on a riverbank after an afternoon of tubing went awry. Three friends from Muskegon Heights, Michigan, went into the Muskegon River with inner tubes at about 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Muskegon Township Deputy Fire Chief Bob Grabinski told Michigan Live,

The women, all in their 20s, had never been tubing before and decided it would be a fun thing to do, Grabinski said. So  they bought some tubes and headed to the popular launch site at the Maple Island Road bridge, Grabinski said. "They were informed by somebody at the bridge that the river goes in a circle and if they put in there they would come back to their car," he said. "Not knowing anything, they set off on their little adventure."

They floated downriver and became lost. They spent the night on a riverbank with no food or phone. Wednesday morning, they were spotted by a fisherman, who summoned emergency responders. The three were treated at a hospital for bug bites and scratches, but are otherwise fine.


A dead whale washed ashore at Dockweiler Beach near the Los Angeles airport in California on the Fourth of July weekend. Authorities used boats to tow the rotting carcass out to sea. But it came back ashore at San Pedro. After another tow, the whale came back to shore at Newport Beach -twice. Both times, Newport workers dragged it back to sea. Then on Wednesday, the whale named Wally washed ashore at Orange County, and the county sheriff’s department towed it away from the beach. But Wally came back, landing on San Clemente State Beach. Park service lifeguards towed the decomposing whale out to sea for the sixth time on Thursday. They took it about ten miles out, hoping this time Wally won’t come back.