The week that was (05-31-19)

“We are now in uncharted territory” said the announcer at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. After 5 and a half hours one day and 3 and a half the next, an unprecedented eight contestants remained and, for the first time, shared the championship.

A motorist in Germany avoided a speeding ticket when a dove flew in front of the automatic speed trap camera. Police will not pursue charges because of what they jokingly said was divine intervention.

Owners of of a theme park that features a life-sized replica of Noah’s Ark are suing their insurance company for rain damage.

The We Build The Wall group was temporarily thwarted from construction of a privately-funded border wall when the city government informed them that the group had not filed the proper work permits. Work resumed later once inspections were passed and permits issued for their half-mile barrier with Mexico.

In an abundance of caution, an elementary school in Scranton, PA closed for the day after reviewing security camera footage showing a naked man strolling the hallways pouring Murphy’s Oil Soap all over the floor.

A rapper in North Carolina is facing life in prison for murder. Part of the evidence are the lyrics in his piece, Cookies, in which he rapped about the incident.

Tornados swept through the Midwest but people would rather watch the Bachelorette.

Photo credit: Reddit user: hobbsarelie83


The week that was (05-24-19)

Police in Edinburgh asked the local McDonalds to halt sales of all milk shakes and ice cream just ahead of a Nigel Farage rally for fear that people would pelt the Brexit Party politician with the milky desserts. Apparently, milkshaking is a thing.

The official definition of the kilogram changed.

Kami Rita, a Nepalese Sherpa, set a new Mount Everest record, making it to the top for the 24th time – with his second summit in only seven days. The feat is even more incredible considering how crowded it gets these days.

A paper plate once used by Kurt Cobain to eat pizza sold for $22,400.

The quilting world erupted in controversy over a pair of scissors.

A technician restoring an old synthesizer from the Sixties absorbed LSD through his fingers and started what became a nine-hour trip. Apparently the avant-garde musician that used the instrument in the 60s used to dip the wires into LSD to inspire the musicians (and music?).

The St. Louis Blues beat the San Jose Sharks and will play in the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1970. In celebration, the local radio station played the Laura Branigan hit “Gloria” for 24 hours straight.

Visitors to Florida woke to discover an alligator in their AirBnB’s pool lounging on top of a blow-up alligator.

President Trump will attend the Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo this weekend. He will present the winner with a custom, “Trump Award” but is causing much consternation because he has asked to sit in a chair and not on a traditional Japanese zabuton cushion like everyone else.

California is debating a law that allows veterinarians to prescribe medical marijuana to pets. No word on when recreational weed for pets will be made available.

Photo credit: Reddit user Splicani_


The week that was (05-17-19)

A man took a submarine down to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest spot in the ocean. Down there, at 36,000 feet below the surface, he found trash.

Burger King has stated a pilot service delivering burgers & fries to those stuck in traffic in Los Angeles and Mexico City. Doesn’t this just make the traffic worse?

A town in Spain was forced to shut down a slide that connected two streets, saving a 10-minute walk. Many people using it hurt themselves after getting ejected off the bottom of the slide’s 33-degree slope.

Arizona followed New York’s lead and lifted a ban on nunchucks. “I find it interesting that a state that allows you to walk around with a gun on your hip worries about nunchucks being a problem,” said Shawn Sample, an Arizona karate instructor. No word on Alabama.

A Key West woman was arrested on a felony charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a coconut.

A student in South Africa apparently got away with posing as “someone from headquarters” as he helped himself to free KFC in the name of quality control. Bold move for sure but bonus points for getting away with it for a year.

Electric driverless delivery trucks began rolling on public roads in Sweden. Don’t get caught behind one though, the trucks are limited to speeds of 5km/hr.

Photo credit: elevator under construction by reddit user Sorktastic


The Week That Was (5-10-19)

Ben Hsu fell asleep with two Airpods but in the morning could only find one. He used his iPhone’s “Find my Airpods” tracking feature which causes the Airpod to chirp so you can locate it. ‘I checked under my blanket and looked around but couldn’t find it – then I realised the sound was coming from my stomach.’

Two teenagers skipping school from Christ’s Church Academy in Florida were pulled out to sea while swimming at the beach. Realizing the gravity of their situation, they cried out to God for help. A sailboat heading up the coast happened to see them and rescued them. The boat’s name? Amen

The Pentagon has decided to end a training program for Afghan Air Force pilots after 40% of them went AWOL while in America and never came back.

A supermarket cashier made history by being the first woman to join Queen Elizabeth’s 359-year-old Household Cavalry. Meanwhile, Prince Charles announced he has opened a B&B in Scotland. Oh, and a baby was born.

An iguana is in protective custody awaiting court permission to receive medical treatment after its owner hurled it at a restaurant owner. After finding 41 small turtles in a bag in the back of her car, police asked a Florida woman if she “had anything else.” That’s when she pulled a foot-long alligator out of her yoga pants.

Fifteen sheep were enrolled at a primary school in the French Alps after parents feared falling student numbers would see some classes closed.

In another shuffle towards self-awareness, Tesla extended the capability of their car to self-diagnose itself so that now the car can even pre-order spare parts in advance.

Presidential candidate Andrew Yang promised to deliver his State of the Union address with accompanying PowerPoint slides. In response, the crowd erupted in what must be the world’s first instance of a collective chant for “PowerPoint! PowerPoint!”

Photo credit: The winning sand sculpture of 2019’s Texas Sand Sculpture Festival


The week that was (05-03-19)

As the Japanese Emperor rides off into the sunset and the country resets the Imperial Calendar, transition products are all the rage including one enterprising vendor who is selling cans of Heiwa-era air.

A Santa Rosa man lost his prosthetic leg while skydiving over the Northern California vineyards. “I tried to watch where it was falling, but I was so overwhelmed in that moment I could not keep track.” The leg was found by workers in a nearby lumberyard and reunited with its owner.

Matt Easton, the valedictorian at the Brigham Young University, came out in front of the entire university as part of his commencement speech announcing publicly, for the first time, that he is “proud to be a gay son of God.”

Cleveland’s very own “semi-pro” Quidditch team had tryouts last weekend. Yes, professional Quidditch is a thing.

Over 193 million citizens cast their vote on April 17th national election in Indonesia. In the two weeks since then, over 7 million people have been counting the ballots by hand. Because of the long hours, the General Elections Commission, said 1,878 staff had fallen ill and 270 people have died from exhaustion. They expect to have a final count by May 22nd.

For the first time, a donor organ was delivered for transplant by a drone. A kidney was flown a few miles from a site in West Baltimore to the University of Maryland Medical Center across town.

Philadelphia residents gathered in an abandoned lot because of a mysterious letter about a “steel furnace” that went viral. People had a lot of fun meeting each other and residents hope to make it an annual event.

Photo credit: Reddit userZzyzzy_ZzyzzysonK


The week that was (04-26-19)

An Easter Bunny broke up a brawl in Orlando.

The Ukrainian comedian mentioned in the April 5th TWTW not only won the runoff election, he is now President. After getting more than 70% of the votes, Volodymyr Zelensky, the man who plays president on a popular tv show, has defeated the incumbent President.

Researchers at the UC San Francisco have developed a set of sensors that can read a patient’s mind and synthesize the words they are thinking.

A group of people in Las Vegas celebrated Earth Day by getting married to the Earth.

Residents in England took to the streets and painted penis graffiti on all the potholes around town to force the city to fill the holes and cover them up. Resident Brad Nicholson said the potholes had been there for more than a year, adding: “The power of the willy.”

For some reason, scientists in China decided it would be interesting to inject human brain genes into monkey embryos.

Brazilian police have taken a parrot into custody after it nearly foiled a raid on its drug dealer owners. “He must have been trained for this,” one officer involved in the operation said of the two-winged wrongdoer. “As soon as the police got close he started shouting.”

A man wearing a Be a Good Human t-shirt broke into a shop and stole $100k worth of jewelry.

Photo credit: Nidhal Selmi’s impossible triangle, via Kottke


The week that was (04-19-19)

An Indiana man is suing his parents for getting rid of his vast pornography collection, which he estimates is worth $29,000.

Game developer Ubisoft carefully documented Notre Dame in order to reproduce it for their video game, Assassin’s Creed. Ubisoft has not only handed over their files to the architects on the cathedral restoration project and donated €500,000 to the effort, they also and are offering a free download of the game so everyone can experience the cathedral for themselves.

A team of Tel Aviv University researchers have “printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers” using 3-D printing technology.

The US Navy is getting serious about commissioning pilotless drone submarines.

Workers misspelled the word, “School” on a road outside a school in Florida.

Scientists say that it’s only a matter of time before the rapidly shifting magnetic North Pole moves from Canadian to Russian territory.

Proprietors of the mobile app Car2Go were shocked to discover that more than 100 vehicles have. . . gone missing.

Photo credit: Mueller Report – Axios has a searchable version


The week that was (04-12-19)

A California store is looking for the man who stole a chainsaw by stuffing it down his pants and walking calmly (and gingerly) out the door.

It took less than five minutes for a group of men in balaclavas to operate an excavator to scoop up a gas station ATM and drop it into a waiting getaway car.

“We breached the bathroom door and encountered a very thorough vacuuming job being done by a Roomba,” said a sheriff’s deputy after responding to a 911 call from an Oregon woman reporting that someone was in her bathroom with the door locked and that she could see shadows moving under the door.

Election hacking was uncovered at Berkeley High School when the student commissioner discovered irregularities in the leading candidates’ electronic ballots.

The BT Tower in London was lit up last weekend not with its usual bands of color but the Microsoft Windows start up message.

A skull and a pair of pants were all that was left of a suspected rhino poacher who was attacked and killed by an elephant and then devoured by lions.

A Dutch F-16 somehow managed to hit itself when the jet accelerated into a dive and caught up with and passed the 20mm rounds it fired and was shot by said rounds as the plane pulled out of its firing run.

The Swiss have determined that coffee is no longer vital for survival and therefore will be removed from the nation’s emergency stockpile.

Legalization of marijuana in Oregon and federal restrictions against transportation across state lines has resulted in a surplus of weed (1 million pounds), enough to last for the next seven years.

Photo credit: xkcd


The week that was (04-05-19)

Monday was April Fool’s Day which is always busy day at SmartNews because even the most sophisticated artificial intelligence algorithms have a hard time detecting satire. Now, onto the news that was, unbelievably, real.

Scientists published a paper that concluded that music by dubstep star Skrillex can keep mosquitoes from biting.

“By coincidence, and rather amusingly, they recognised each other in the sauna,” said the Swedish police officer after his colleague apprehended a fugitive while they were both naked.

In the Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, who plays the Ukrainian president on TV, got twice as many votes as the current leader Petro Poroshenko, and will face him in a runoff vote on April 21st.

A 64 year-old civilian man was injured last month when, during his ride with a French Air Force military jet, his ejection seat fired, sending him soaring into the sky.

Residents of a Seattle suburb are dealing with a unique problem. Majestic Bald Eagles are swooping down, picking up trash at the local dump, and raining it down on houses in the area (perhaps in protest?).

A man who just left jail was re-booked into the same prison he just left. He was booked for burglary, grand theft, and possession of stolen property. He was caught trying to steal a car from the prison parking lot.

As far as the British Passport Authority is concerned, Brexit has already happened and the UK has already left the EU. New passports issued on March 30th did not have the “European Union” label on the cover.

Elon Musk shared future plans that will help offset the costs of owning a Tesla. The auto-piloted cars will drive themselves around, picking up passengers, competing with Lyft and Uber and earning money for their owners while they sleep.

Photo credit: Reddit user O1oll

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The week that was (03-29-19)

A truck spilled several bags of marijuana across a San Francisco area freeway (880 in Emeryville if you must know). CHP posted on twitter, “Roses are red, violets are blue, your spilled weed is green and we have a citation just for you!”

A Florida man decided he wanted to get all his neighbors high and set fire to a bunch of pot in his backyard. Meanwhile, in Houston, the DEA is looking for someone that can burn 1,000 pounds of marijuana an hour.

A Verizon worker was suspended for three weeks without pay for using a company bucket truck to rescue a cat that was stuck on top of a utility pole. The neighborhood rallied and raised over $3,000 to tide him over.

Organizers of the annual Philly Naked Bike Ride moved their event one month earlier to mid-August because September is too chilly.

“Welcome to Edinburgh!” announced the sflight attendant cheerfully as a British Airways flight touched down. The only trouble was the flight was supposed to be landing in Düsseldorf.

As England stumbled towards the EU door like an unwanted guest, a new study says that one in three polled in the UK look forward to a day when Artificial Intelligence can replace politicians.

People in Northern France finally figured out why vintage Garfield phones keep washing up on their beaches.

Photo credit: Reddit user ectofooler

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