strange stuff

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Female Ferns Can Turn Their Neighbors Male

Plants communicate via pheromone

(Newser) - If you're a Japanese climbing fern, your sex may be up to those living around you. That's thanks to communication between the plants involving a pheromone called gibberellin, Vox reports. Early-maturing plants, which tend to become female, start developing the pheromone, but they don't finish. Instead, these... More »

City's Pest Control Chief One-Upped by Cockroach

Chicago official 'mortified' as one appears during his budget testimony

(Newser) - A big cockroach embarrassed a Chicago official in charge of pest control when it took a stroll near him in full view of some aldermen, and its stunt just might have cost it and its buddies their lives. After Thursday's hearing in the City Council chambers, Fleet and Facilities... More »

500-Pound Suspect Can't Fit Inside Police Car

Florida cops say he sat down to resist arrest

(Newser) - Today's this-must-be-Florida entry from the crime blotter comes from the city of Deltona, where police say a 500-pound man resisted arrest simply by sitting down and challenging deputies to move him, reports WKMG . They did manage to get 45-year-old Howard Hendrix out of the house, but then ran into... More »

Aussie on Dream Trip Finds She's 38 Weeks Pregnant

She had been 'jumping off cliffs, drinking, eating anything' in jaunt through Europe

(Newser) - Kate Hudson, 22, had been traveling through Europe for a while, so it didn't seem strange that she'd gained a little weight. "Any belly I had I thought was just a food baby from all the eating I’d done in Europe over two months," the... More »

Woman's Entire Cabin Gets Stolen

She was building it in the Yukon

(Newser) - It's not too often that your house isn't where you left it. But that was the case for Josie-Anne Pilotte, who spent three weeks building a cabin in the Yukon. Earlier this month, Pilotte headed to the building site to transfer the 200-square-foot cabin to her friends' property,... More »

Deadly Spider Found in Family's Bananas

World's most dangerous arachnid gnawed its own leg off in escape attempt

(Newser) - The last thing you'd expect to find lurking in your bananas is a creature whose Greek scientific name means "murderess." But that's exactly what one London family found after a grocery delivery from the Waitrose supermarket chain, the Daily Mail reports. The family patriarch (known only... More »

Teacher's Disciplinary Tool: 'Wheel of Misfortune'

Punishments included 'Koosh ball firing squad'

(Newser) - A Washington high school chemistry teacher had an unconventional means of doling out discipline in her classroom: Kem Patteson used a "wheel of misfortune" to determine what punishment a student would face, and one of those punishments involved being pelted with rubber Koosh balls by other students. Students say... More »

Scientist Stumbles Upon Spider as Big as a Puppy

Goliath birdeater has 2-inch fangs

(Newser) - Strolling through a Guyana rainforest one night, a scientist heard some rustling and thought he'd encountered a furry mammal. Well, he was right about the furry part. The creature was actually a Goliath birdeater spider, LiveScience reports—the world's biggest type of spider, according to the Guinness Book ... More »

Man Escapes Alimony After Wife Admits She's a Genie

So rules a court in United Arab Emirates

(Newser) - This story about a divorce in the United Arab Emirates begins in not-so-unusual fashion: A wife refuses to sleep with her husband, and he is not pleased. Then it gets weird: She tells him to talk to her parents, who explain that their daughter can't have sex with him... More »

$84M Lotto Check Collected by Guy in Bear Suit

Winner of China's 3rd-biggest jackpot dodges freeloaders

(Newser) - A guy who can now afford a lot more than just the bare necessities of life turned up in a bright-yellow bear suit to collect a lottery prize worth $84.4 million. The 520 million yuan jackpot the Shanxi province man collected is the third biggest in Chinese history, reports... More »

X-Ray Scanner Reveals Mystery of Star Wars Toy

And it's a bit of a letdown for UK collector

(Newser) - He wanted a Boba Fett, but he's got to settle for a Palpatine. If that sentence makes no sense, you probably won't have much sympathy for UK toy collector Dave Moss. About five years ago, Moss bought an unopened box that contained a Star Wars figurine—part of... More »

87-Year-Old Who Doesn't Drive Gets $1.5K in Tickets

California's Joyce Silva doesn't even own the Acura that got ticketed

(Newser) - Joyce S. Silva of Manteca, Calif., doesn't drive, nor does she own a white Acura. So it's understandable why the 87-year-old woman with arthritis was scratching her head after receiving a total of 18 traffic tickets costing $1,475 for a white Acura, CBS Sacramento reports. For the... More »

'Vampire Grave' Found in Bulgaria

Man buried in 13th century had stake through his heart

(Newser) - An archaeologist in Bulgaria has found what he calls a "vampire grave" from the 13th century—so named because the middle-aged gent inside the coffin had a stake driven through his heart, reports UPI . That, of course, is the age-old and evidently successful way to keep someone from returning... More »

Home Buyers Pay Extra $122K for Family's Cat

Australian family agrees to throw in Tiffany

(Newser) - It's difficult to put a price on a family's love for their cat, unless you're in Australia, where $122,000 seems to do the trick. A buyer bid that amount over the asking price for a home valued at about $1.8 million—as long as the... More »

Ocean-Front Home Built on Wrong Lot

Builder didn't catch survey mistake in Florida

(Newser) - A brand-new 5,000-square-foot-home in a gated Florida community has a lovely view of the ocean—and of the vacant lot next door where the home was supposed to have been built. Yes, a builder put up the $680,000, five-bedroom home on the wrong lot in Flagler County, reports... More »

New Cure for Terrible Diarrhea: Frozen Poop Pills

Now available frozen

(Newser) - Might want to put down your sandwich while you read this one: Clostridium difficile, an infection of the intestines associated with terrible cases of diarrhea, is linked to some 14,000 American deaths each year. But researchers have found a promising treatment in the form of fecal transplants , in which... More »

Woman Examines 'Dried Blood' in Nose, Finds Leech

Daniela Liverani apparently picked it up in Vietnam

(Newser) - After a Scottish woman suffered a motorcycle accident during a backpacking trip to Vietnam, she figured the dark thing sticking out of her nose was just dried blood. Instead, it was something even less appealing: a three-inch leech that had been in her nostril for a month, the Daily Mail... More »

'Wasco Clown' Terrorizing California ... Kind Of

Clown posting on social media inspires rash of apparent prank calls

(Newser) - For the past week or so, authorities in California's Central Valley have been fielding calls about clowns supposedly terrorizing locals. On Wednesday, a clown with orange hair was reportedly chasing people with a club, for example, but when sheriff's deputies responded, there was no evidence of a clown... More »

At This Comedy Club, It's 38 Cents a Laugh

Barcelona venue using facial-recognition tech to spot guffaws

(Newser) - Audiences beware: If you laugh too much at this comedy club, you'll pay for it—literally. Barcelona's Teatreneu is using facial-recognition technology to charge visitors by the laugh, the BBC reports. Come to the club, and the seat in front of you will have a tablet tracking your... More »

Woman's Fire-Breathing Stunt Goes Wrong

Ashley Keach burned at Blood Run 5K in Ohio

(Newser) - If you've always equated "fire-breathing" with "unnecessarily and insanely dangerous," well, your point was proven yesterday in Ohio. A 23-year-old woman was hospitalized after what the AP terms "performing a fire-breathing act at a Halloween-themed running event." The woman, who has identified herself via... More »

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