News of the Weird: 5 Odd Topics in News this Week

Phoebe Cohen, Scarlet Staff

1. No ConFusion

A small pond has been no trouble for Jackson Oswalt of Memphis, Tennessee. On the eve of his 13th birthday, Oswalt successfully constructed a homemade nuclear fusion reactor in his own home. The machine was able to convert two atoms of deuterium to make a helium atom and release a neutron; the type of reaction that can be used for steam power and electricity. Oswalt’sachievement, confirmed by organizations like The Open Source Fusor Research Consortium, earned him a Guinness World Record. A true nuclear powerhouse which is not too far-fetched!.

Source: No ConFusion


2. Overbooked!

But also way overdue, apparently. The Middlesbrough Central Library in England had a surprise deposit in their book return box recently, when a book was returned 58 years overdue! The due date listed on the cover was December 1962. The book, a poem anthology by Geoffery Faber, will be returned to the library reference section for use. The return may be somewhat expected; due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, late fees at the library had been suspended, meaning that the anonymous reader who returned the book managed to dodge a late fee of approximately 650 US dollars. Talk about book smart.

Source: Overbooked!

3. Rat Pack

Let’s be honest here when we think of “hero rats” the first thing that comes to mind is Remy from Disney’s Pixar film Ratatouille. Today, hero rats are making big waves, not sewer waves. In Cambodia, a rat named Magawa has been trained to find land mines that had previously been undetected. The Belgium based charity APOPO has trained Magawa to detect landmines through smell and memory. Since rats are much lighter and thinner than humans, they don’t set the landmines off so no rats have ever been harmed under this operation. Magawa has since found 39 landmines and 28 unidentified other explosives. He was awarded a PDSA Gold Medal for his service in a virtual ceremony in late September. Go rats go!

Source: Rat Pack


4. Parrotmouths

When you’re with a group of friends, the crazy just kind of… comes out sometimes. When it came to Billy, Eric, Tyson, Jade, and Elsie, the pottymouth instances got them kicked out of their house. Er, the zoo. These five parrots had to be removed from their zoo habitat because they kept on copying swear words off of each other. They have had to be redistributed to different parts of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Center, separate from the rest of the parrot exhibit and separated from each other so they don’t drop any F-bombs near the young kids.

Source: Parrotmouths

5. Out of this Bowl

NASA will be sending up a new visitor to the International Space Station. The visitor you say? A new titanium toilet! Costing a whopping 23 million dollars, the new toilet is being sent up in preparation for the influx of astronauts set to travel from SpaceX in a few months and within the next few years in the new Boeing expedition. The toilet’s new design, created to add to the old toilets installed, has a new design that slants downwards to allow astronauts to urinate and defecate at the same time. Previous designs meant that astronauts had to do one or the other because otherwise, things would… float. In any case, the astronauts will at least have something to look forward to up there now.

Source: Out of this Bowl