This Week in Other News: Week of December 31

We look back on the week in headlines we’ve seen around the web. They may not quite fit in other sections, but they will certainly fit here.

It’s so hot in Australia, the roads are melting

We’ve been through heat waves before. Some days, it feels like you are melting in the heat. Of course, that feeling of melting is just that, a feeling. In Australia, it turns out, the roads are literally melting:

Bushfires in Australia destroyed buildings and threatened lives on Saturday as a heatwave in three states brought temperatures strong enough to melt the bitumen on a highway.

The heat was strong enough to melt the bitumen on a 10-km (6-mile) stretch of freeway in Victoria, national broadcaster ABC News reported.

Maybe I won’t complain quite as much about the Summer heat this year.


Road signs are important to pay attention to while driving. Failing to do so may lead to embarrassments, tickets, or worse. In this case, a truck driver in Great Falls found out one way “or worse” might mean. His truck got stuck under a 12’6″ underpass. Not only did he make the news, but there are also plenty of pictures and a video of the wedged truck now online for all to see.

Bad idea: snorting any old white powder you find

You might have a drug problem if you do cocaine every day. You might really have a drug problem if you try snorting any white powder you happen to find. According to the BBC, backpackers were taken to hospital after a package of white powder was mistakenly delivered to them. From the story:

They decided to open the package and found a white powder inside, wrapped in a piece of paper bearing the word “scoop”, said the man, who said his first name was Simone.

“Scoop” may have been a reference to “Scopolamine”, another name for Hyoscine.

Believing the powder to be cocaine, they divided it into nine doses and snorted it up their noses – only to quickly become paralysed and unable to summon help.

It turns out the substance was actually Hyoscine, or the date rape drug. The report says that three remain in critical condition.

If the snow on your vehicle is hitting overhead wires, yes, you need to sweep it off

If you live anywhere where snow accumulates sometime during the year, you’ve likely seen it. Some people just don’t bother clearing the snow off the roof of their car. This is dangerous because, as anyone who understands physics knows, if you stop, that snow can slide onto your windshield. So, it’s not just lazy, it’s dangerous. How bad can people be with this sort of thing? Well, at least one truck driver took it to the extreme of leaving a whole 6 feet of it on top of his truck. The problem was so bad, it was hitting overhead wires on the road:

The driver was on Prince Edward St. on Dec. 28 at about 11 a.m., but failed to stop and continued northbound out of town, before OPP officers located the trailer with the snow on top near County Road 30 and County Road 26.

The driver, a 51-year-old man from Tweed, was charged under the Highway Traffic Act section 109(14) ‘Over height vehicle.’

Normally, judges are the ones hearing pleas involving DUI charges… normally

A police officer spotted a driver speeding. The driver also ran a stop sign. So, he pulled the driver over. The driver did a breath test and, it turns out, he blew more than twice the legal limit. It may not sound like much of a story, but one can imagine the officers surprise when it turned out that the driver in question is a district court judge:

“I can’t express in words the remorse I feel,” said G. Tony Atwal when he appeared in court on the charges Tuesday.

Atwal said he apologized to his colleagues, fellow citizens and everyone in Minnesota.

“I’m humbled and shamed by what happened,” Atwal also said in court, adding that he accepted responsibility for the “poor decision” he made and for putting people in jeopardy.

Something tells me the news in Minnesota was a little less dull because of this.

Faceless money

It’s pretty easy to take for granted what goes in to producing money. A note has the usual security features, a bit of art, and some other things on it. You can give it, spend it, or do whatever you want with it without much thought. For some people in the Philippians, however, they noticed that their money seems to have no face value whatsoever:

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) yesterday confirmed the existence of “faceless” banknotes and assured the public that such are legal tender.

The bills were withdrawn from the automated teller machines of Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), resulting from a glitch in one of its printing machines. These notes were delivered just last month.

Carlyn Pangilinan, managing director of the currency management sub-sector at the BSP, said in a press conference that initial investigation showed the bills originated from the central bank.

Definitely a bit of a manufacturing glitch.

Now how does someone like that steal 4 cars in a week?

Stealing a car? Yeah, you’re probably a criminal. Stealing four cars? Definitely a repeat offender. Doing that in a week? That is definitely building up your rap sheet quickly. What is particularly unusual about this? The person stealing the car is 7 years old:

The mother of a 7-year-old who wrecked a stolen car this week says this is not the first time her son has gotten behind the wheel.

Cyndi Nichols said she has been fighting for custody of her son for three years now.

She said Chance has stolen four cars in the last week, trying to get back to her.

Seven-year-old Chance is bruised and sore.

Police said he’s lucky to be alive after he drove a stolen car more than 100 miles per hour, ran off the road and flipped the vehicle three times all while not wearing a seatbelt.

… and you thought your had reason to worry about your kid.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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