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 V.20 No.32 | August 11 - 17, 2011 

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Sweden—An amateur scientist was arrested after causing a small nuclear meltdown in his kitchen. Richard Handl admits he had radioactive elements radium, americium and uranium in his apartment when police showed up and arrested him for unauthorized possession of nuclear material. He claims, however, that splitting atoms was simply a hobby. Handle, 31, said he tried for months to set up a nuclear reactor at home, but was ultimately unsuccessful. He did, however, keep a blog about his experiments and managed to cause a “small meltdown” on his stove. Following the meltdown, Handl came to the conclusion that his hobby might not be entirely legal. So, he sent a question to Sweden’s Radiation Authority. They responded by sending police to his apartment and having him arrested. “I have always been interested in physics and chemistry,” Handl told the Associated Press. The one-man Manhattan Project said his goal was simply to “see if it was possible to split atoms at home.” Police raided Handl’s apartment in late July. He could face up to two years in prison for his experiments. “From now on, I will stick to theory,” Handl told reporters.

Dateline: England—Staff at the Sea Life London Aquarium are trying to wean an overweight fish off his all-Kit Kat diet. Originally, caretakers were baffled when an 8.8-pound giant gourami named Gary refused to eat after being donated to the aquarium. It was later discovered that the previous owners of the exotic Asian fish fed him only candy bars. “I’ve never heard of a fish being fed chocolate, let alone brought up entirely on the stuff,” Gary’s handler Rebecca Carter told London’s The Sun. “Gary doesn’t appear to have suffered ill effects. Most fish wouldn’t be able to survive on Kit Kats, but gouramis are very hardy.” Carter and her colleagues have been trying to get Gary onto a normal diet by feeding him crushed Kit Kat pieces stuffed inside grapes and banana slices.

Dateline: England—Police smashed the window on a car in order to save a baby and ended up rescuing a rubber doll. A passerby reported seeing a baby left inside a hot car in the town of Worksop, Nottinghamshire. Police broke into the vehicle, causing £200 ($325) damage, only to find a lifelike Reborn doll in the passenger floorboards. The doll was left behind by 5-year-old Chanel Christofis, who had just been dropped off at school by her father, Anastasi. After delivering his daughter, the 37-year-old father parked his car and went to work at the fish and chip shop he owns. “I couldn’t believe it when the police turned up holding the doll and told me what happened,” Mr. Christofis told the U.K.’s Metro. “The officer told me not to leave it in the car again.” Chanel’s mother had purchased the £100 ($162) doll, named Sam, for the girl’s birthday in June. “I can’t separate Chanel from Sam,” said Mr. Christofis. “I am a bit worried about what’s going to happen next. She’s only had him a month and already the police have been involved.” Mr. Christofis said he didn’t blame the police for their actions, admitting, “If it had been real, everyone would be thanking them.”

Dateline: Maine—According to a report in the Portland Press Herald, a 44-year-old man with a history of lying in the road won’t be doing that anymore. Police believe Bert Knox was intoxicated and passed out on Route 142, a short distance from his home in the Franklin County town of Carthage, when he was stuck and killed by a pickup truck. Kim Micks, 38, of neighboring Peru, was driving his 2005 Chevrolet pickup at around 5 a.m. when he struck what he believed to be a dead animal in the road. He phoned police to report the incident. Turns out the “dead animal” was Knox, who police say had a history of passing out in roadways. “Over the years, a number of times, he has been located in the roadway,” said Maine Police spokesperson Lt. Donald Pomelow. No charges will be filed against Micks.

Dateline: Pennsylvania—A Pittsburgh man who tried to carjack an unmarked vehicle belonging to a police detective claimed he was only doing it to help out Batman. Detective Robert DiGiacomo told WTAE-4 that he was behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Impala in the suburb of Shadyside, looking for a person involved in an assault the previous evening, when someone climbed into the passenger side of the vehicle. According to DiGiacomo, “A white male wearing a black and gold tank top sits in the car, looks at me and tells me to get out of the car.” DiGiacomo told reporters he was able to draw his gun and arrest 21-year-old Micah Calamosca. Following his arrest, Calamosca “said he was just filming the movie Batman, and that him taking my vehicle was part of the script.” DiGiacomo went on in his criminal complaint to note, “At no point did I think that was the truth.” For the past several weeks, the Batman sequel The Dark Knight Rises has been shooting scenes in the Pittsburgh neighborhoods of Lawrenceville and Oakland. After further investigation, DiGiacomo determined that Calamosca also fit the description of the assault suspect he was looking for. Calamosca was taken to the Allegheny County Jail and is awaiting mental evaluation.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. Email your weird news to devin@alibi.com.
 
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