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Oddities News Archive - June 25, 2009

In the run-up to Canada's 142nd birthday on July 1, a survey Thursday found much of the population isn't aware Canadians invented light bulbs and the zipper. The Interac banking group, launched by the country's five largest banks in 1984 linking automated banking machines, commissioned the Strategic Counsel poll of 1,000 citizens June 4-10.

The sports and recreation committee in Malmo, Sweden, has voted to allow women to go topless in the city's swimming pools.

A British woman said her seven years of combing fields and beaches with a metal detector paid off with a 15th-century piece of gold valued at about $400,000. Mary Hannaby, 57, said she and her son, Michael, 33, were walking in a Hertfordshire field when they discovered the item, believed to be part of a reliquary or pendant, four inches below the ground, a position experts said it has likely been in for about 500 years, The Daily Telegraph reported Thursday. You can literally miss things by inches, Michael Hannaby said.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office in Florida said no one has claimed a box left at a Toyota dealership with $40,000 inside. James Farrell, general manager of the Toyota dealership where the box was found Monday, said it was left untouched until Tuesday while employees waited to see if anyone would claim it, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported Thursday. He said two employees opened the box Tuesday and turned it over to authorities after finding it full of cash. I was in disbelief that somebody would, one, carry around that much cash in a box and, two, that they would leave it on a public display counter, Farrell said Wednesday. Jim Solomons, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Office, said deputies are reviewing security camera footage to attempt to identify the owner of the cash. Farrell praised his employees for turning the money in to authorities. People rank us (car dealerships) up there with going to get their teeth cleaned or going to talk to a lawyer, Farrell said.

A New York couple cheated death twice in 24 hours, first when their canoe upended in surging rapids and then when a tree crushed their windshield as they drove. I should live in a protective bubble, Kieran Liggan, 24, told the (Kingston, N.Y.) Daily Freeman. When the couple escaped uninjured from a back window of their Nissan after an 80-foot tree fell through the car's windshield, I was like, 'Seriously, are you freaking kidding me?' Liggan said. A day earlier, they were stranded for 40 minutes in the Esopus Creek, a Hudson River tributary 85 miles north of New York City whose rapids were swollen due to recent rains.

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A North Carolina-based group has announced the 10th annual Take Your Dog to Work Day, a day to encourage workers to bring their pooches to the office.

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An animal rights group has been granted permission to bring three hogs in narrow metal crates to the Ohio Statehouse as part of a factory farm protest. The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board approved the request from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for the July 9 protest, but it rejected other parts of their plan, including requests to bring gallons of urine, tons of manure and a fan to blow the odors around, The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch reported Thursday. The board also gave PETA approval to bring a sound system to play actual recorded screams of piglets, a video booth to display undercover footage of factory farms and a large banner reading: Ban Factory Farms: Go Vegetarian.

An Oregon judge Thursday ordered a woman to move out of her rural home for three years as part of her probation for feeding bears from the neighboring forest. Karen Noyes, 61, of Yachats, also was ordered to stay out of the neighborhood, which has become a hangout for black bears who wandered in for the tasty handouts. Noyes was convicted in a Newport courtroom on charges of chasing and harassing wildlife after Oregon wildlife agents testified they had warned Noyes as early as 2003 that she should not be feeding the bears that lived in the nearby woods. Bears are not your pets to do with as you please, Judge Thomas Branford said from the bench. The (Portland) Oregonian said Noyes insisted after the hearing that no one had ever told her the bears were a problem, but neighbors told the newspaper they were relieved that they would no longer have to keep a wary eye out for them. The newspaper said one homeowner discovered a bear trying to squeeze into the house through a doggy door.

The students behind Florida Atlantic University's bike-sharing program said all of its community-use Green Bikes have been stolen. Alexander Van Mecl, 19, a member of FAU's sustainability committee, said the Green Bike system worked on the honor code -- find a bike not in use, ride it to your destination, and leave it -- but not all users were entirely honorable, the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post reported Thursday. They were done, it worked, and they got stolen, Van Mecl said.

An official on Australia's Tasmania island says wallabies have been wandering into poppy fields and getting high as a kite from eating the plants. Tasmanian Attorney-General Lara Giddings told a parliamentary budget estimates committee in Hobart Tasmania is facing an increasing problem with wallabies going after their next fix, The Times of London Web site reported Thursday. The one interesting bit I found recently in one of my briefs on the poppy industry was that we have a problem with wallabies entering poppy fields, getting high as a kite and going around in circles, Giddings told the committee.

Word of the Day
barratry
  • The offense of persistently instigating lawsuits, typically groundless ones.
  • An unlawful breach of duty on the part of a ship's master or crew resulting in injury to the ship's owner.
  • Sale or purchase of positions in church or state.
This word ultimately comes from the Old French word 'barater,' to cheat.
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