Oddities for the Month of August of 2021

This is a list of weird, wacky, and other unusual stories that we found around the web. It is for August, 2021.

The weirdness only continues with this months unusual stories:

Do Not Hammock on Power Lines

It’s amazing what has to be said sometimes. Using a hammock on power lines is not only incredibly stupid, but dangerous too:

The Weber County Sheriff’s Office took to social media after seeing an increase in people hammocking between the power lines on the bench of North Ogden and Pleasant View.

“These lines carry 75,000 kilovolts and that power can jump from the lines,” authorities explained in a Facebook post.

The Sheriff’s Office says they are teaming up with Rocky Mountain Power to conduct extra patrols in the area of the power lines. Anyone who is caught on the towers will be cited for trespassing.

“We would really hate to see someone injured from either a fall or electrocution,” the Weber County Sheriff’s Office said. “Parents, please pass this along to your children.”

The gravity of the stupidity of this idea is shocking.

Bad: Mixing up gas and diesel. Worse: You are the gas station that did that

It’s a bad mistake when you are a rookie driver to fill up a car with the wrong fuel at the pump. The mistake can lead to expensive repairs. You’d think, however, that the person filling those tanks underground would know better, right? Apparently in one Alberta gas station, not so much:

Some drivers in southern Alberta got a nasty surprise this week after filling up their tanks with what they thought was gasoline but actually included diesel fuel — or vice-versa.

Gas Plus in Langdon, Alta., told CBC News on Thursday that its tanks were accidentally filled with the wrong fuel for three days, and anyone using the pumps was getting a mixture of gas and diesel.

“We can now confirm that there was a mix of fuel delivered on Saturday, July 24, 2021, at 9:00 a.m. affecting only the regular and diesel tanks,” GP Fuels Inc. said in a statement. “Diesel fuel was delivered into the regular gas tank, and regular gas was delivered into the diesel tank by the delivery company.”

The company said it discovered the error on Tuesday.

It says customers buying gas received approximately 80 per cent regular gas and 20 per cent diesel while customers buying diesel received approximately 60 per cent diesel and 40 per cent regular gas.

A bit of a whoopsie daisy right there, methinks.

Sheep Farmer Busted for Fraud

A Nebraska sheep farmer has been indicted on six counts of fraud. The report says that he was also under-representing the amount of livestock he had:

The Kearney Hub reports that 43-year-old Brooks Duester, of Ravenna, was charged last week in a six-count indictment for actions he’s accused of taking between February 2017 and September 2018.

Federal prosecutors say Duester obtained lines of credit, promissory notes and loans from Ashton State Bank for purchasing livestock by falsely reporting the number of livestock he already had and failing to report his income from the sale of livestock and wool to the bank.

Prosecutors say Duester wouldn’t allow bank inspectors or the Farm Services Agency access his pastures to verify the number of livestock.

Presumably, the last report counting his sheep shows: “One… two… three… fo- *falls asleep*”

Measures Taken After Parrots Heard Swearing At Guests

A wildlife sanctuary had a rather awkward situation on their hands. While it is normally no big deal to show off the wildlife you are hoping to save, it’s probably not a great idea if said wildlife is learning to swear at the guests:

A UK wildlife sanctuary has been forced to separate five naughty parrots after they wouldn’t stop swearing at visitors.

Billy, Eric, Tyson, Jade and Elsie were removed from public viewing this week due to their inappropriate behaviour.

The parrots are part of Lincolnshire Wildlife Centre’s colony of 200 African grey parrots and were put in quarantine together upon arrival.

But they quickly overwhelmed the staff with their naughty language.

“We are quite used to parrots swearing, but we’ve never had five at the same time,” the centre’s chief executive, Steve Nichols, told AP.

“Most parrots clam up outside, but for some reason these five relish it.”

Rather than being offended, most zoo visitors found the foul-mouthed parrots amusing, with the sanctuary confirming no complaints had been made.

Conquer is, of course, asking a completely relevant question here.

1,500 Plants Stolen in Massive Alberta Garlic Heist

There’s many stories about different heists. There’s diamond heists, gold heists, and money heists to name a few. Out of all the heists I’ve heard of, this is probably the first time I’ve heard of a garlic heist:

An Alberta garlic farm was on track for a bumper crop this summer.

Then the heat wave arrived in early July, scorching almost half the crop. And several weeks later, thieves hit the farm — not once, but twice — making off with about 1,500 garlic plants yanked out of the ground.

“I know times are tough right now, but it’s kind of a shock to see this happen,” said Nina Ulmer, owner of Nina’s Homegrown Hardneck Garlic in Stony Plain, Alta., just west of Edmonton.

The garlic heists resulted in losses of approximately $3,000, Ulmer told CBC Edmonton’s Radio Active. There was also substantial damage to the remaining crops, as the thieves trampled other plants while uprooting the garlic by hand.

We can say for certain that we can’t blame vampires on this one at least.

How Not to Pick Up a Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake

I can readily admit, I do have a soft spot for a Dairy Queen ice cream cake. Still, there are perfectly good ways of picking them up. Landing a chopper in the parking lot to pick up a cake certainly qualifies as a bad method of picking up that cake:

A customer’s unusual arrival at a Saskatchewan Dairy Queen has resulted in a criminal charge.

Around 5 p.m. on July 31, Tisdale RCMP received a complaint that a helicopter had landed in a “high traffic” parking lot in the community, according to a news release.

The aircraft “blew up dust and debris” in an area that includes a school and aquatic centre, RCMP said.

A passenger had climbed out of the helicopter and bought an ice cream cake, RCMP said.

On the one hand, it does sound totally awsome to buy an ice cream cake this way. On the other hand, is losing your helicopter license worth it?

No, a trolley tunnel is not a shortcut

Sometimes, drivers really look like they don’t know what they are doing. An image of a vehicle stuck on a rail line certainly drives that home:

There was no damage after a car drove onto underground trolley tracks in Philly early Saturday morning. But SEPTA officials say they’re still at a loss to explain exactly how or why it happened.

The car made it onto the tracks around 5 a.m., according to SEPTA officials, and photos of the white Jeep SUV stuck — apparently fairly far — underground circulated widely online.

It took about two hours for SEPTA to extricate the car, and another hour to check the tracks for damage — forcing trains to reroute for part of the morning.

Drivers mistakenly enter rail tunnels from time to time throughout the system, he added, though said it happens more on regional rail lines outside the city.

Of a car getting into a University City tunnel, he said, “I can’t remember the last time that’s happened … You would really have to go out of your way to do that.”

Screwing up so well that you perplex the experts? Must be a Jeep thing.

Study About Dishonesty Accused of Being Dishonest

Sometimes, scientific studies can be a rather dry read. Other times, scientific studies are hilariously epic. The latter was certainly the case about a study on dishonesty:

In 2012, Shu, Mazar, Gino, Ariely, and Bazerman published a three-study paper in PNAS (.htm) reporting that dishonesty can be reduced by asking people to sign a statement of honest intent before providing information (i.e., at the top of a document) rather than after providing information (i.e., at the bottom of a document). In 2020, Kristal, Whillans, and the five original authors published a follow-up in PNAS entitled, “Signing at the beginning versus at the end does not decrease dishonesty” (.htm). They reported six studies that failed to replicate the two original lab studies, including one attempt at a direct replication and five attempts at conceptual replications.

Our focus here is on Study 3 in the 2012 paper, a field experiment (N = 13,488) conducted by an auto insurance company in the southeastern United States under the supervision of the fourth author. Customers were asked to report the current odometer reading of up to four cars covered by their policy. They were randomly assigned to sign a statement indicating, “I promise that the information I am providing is true” either at the top or bottom of the form. Customers assigned to the ‘sign-at-the-top’ condition reported driving 2,400 more miles (10.3%) than those assigned to the ‘sign-at-the-bottom’ condition.

The authors of the 2020 paper did not attempt to replicate that field experiment, but they did discover an anomaly in the data: a large difference in baseline odometer readings across conditions, even though those readings were collected long before – many months if not years before – participants were assigned to condition. The condition difference before random assignment (~15,000 miles) was much larger than the analyzed difference after random assignment (~2,400 miles)

The evidence presented in this post indicates that the data underwent at least two forms of fabrication: (1) many Time 1 data points were duplicated and then slightly altered (using a random number generator) to create additional observations, and (2) all of the Time 2 data were created using a random number generator that capped miles driven, the key dependent variable, at 50,000 miles.

Careful now, we are getting dangerously close to dividing by zero here!

Bet They Didn’t Teach This in Driving School

Stop lights are generally very straight forward. Stop on red. Go on green. Yellow means prepare to stop unless you’ve reached the point of no return when it turned yellow. So, what happens when both red and green lights are flashing? Eh, you’re on your own:

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Traffic lights have but one job: To tell drivers, pedestrians and bikers whether to stop, slow or go.

However, one errant stoplight at 20th and Sansom Streets in Center City was giving cars some mixed signals, stuck in “Christmas tree” mode on red and green.

Philadelphia’s chief traffic engineer Kasim Ali says the error was caused by a mechanical problem when a contractor moved the signal’s control box to dig up the street.

It’s a rare sight, as traffic signals installed in the last several decades have been programmed to flash red if there’s a problem. Ali says the light at 20th and Sansom, an electro-mechanical controller, dates back to a whole different era.

“With electro-mechanical controllers, there were some ancient ones,” Ali says. “Companies like Crouse-Hinds which built them, went out of business in the ‘60s! But Philadelphia is as old as the country itself, so we do have our share of electro-mechanical controllers.”

I think this is giving me mixed si- hey! The article beat me to my pun!

Super Death Speed Roller Coaster Closed Due to Near Death Experiences

A roller coaster in Japan has been shut down due to snapping backs and broken bones. Of course, it had to sell itself has having super death roller coaster speed:

Billed as the fastest-accelerating roller coaster in the world, an amusement ride in Japan at Fuji-Q Highland Park has caused at least six riders to suffer bone fractures after reaching “super death speed.”

A release posted by the operators of Fuji-Q Highland’s Do-Dodonpa roller coaster say that as a result of the injuries, they’ve “suspended for the time being” operations of the wild ride. They say the shutdown will last indefinitely from August 12, 2021 “due to a safety overhaul.”

In operation since 2001, the lunatic ride goes from 0 to 112 mph (180 kph) in just 1.56 seconds, and that means the coaster is “the fastest-accelerating roller coaster in the world.” According to the officials at the park, this marks the first time riders suffered broken bones since Do-Dodonpa entered service 20 years ago.

Uh, I think I’ll pass on that ride, thank you.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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