Alibi V.27 No.32 • Aug 9-15, 2018

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

Dateline: United States

Parents have begun paying tutors to give their children lessons for the video game Fortnite Battle Royale. According to The Wall Street Journal, high-stakes tournaments offering tens of thousands of dollars in winnings and social pressures placed on children have caused thousands of parents to seek out professional help in training their kids to become better at Fortnite Battle Royale. The free-to-play game is a cartoonish action shooter with mining elements that has attracted more than 125 million worldwide players. Coaches for the game can be found through social media and on websites like Gamer Sensei for prices reportedly ranging from $15 to $50 an hour. A report from Goldman Sachs predicted that viewership for eSports will surpass that of Major League Baseball and National Hockey League this year, giving some parents extra incentive to pay for the extra training. It has also been suggested that becoming better at the game will increase a child's social standing. Some coaches were reportedly surprised by the increased number of students being enrolled by their parents. Typically, students were adult enthusiasts before the current trend began. Bloomberg reported that Epic Games, the software company that developed Fortnite, is set to generate around $2 billion dollars this year.

Dateline: United Kingdom

A meadow of wildflowers, specifically preserved for England's Big Butterfly Count, was destroyed when a civil employee accidentally mowed it down. The East Devon District Council apologized last week after a worker mowed the field at The Knowle, in Sidmouth, Devon. The field, which covered nine acres, was home to a large number of wildflowers. It was being used to attract butterflies as part of Sir David Attenborough's Big Butterfly Count—a survey in which the British public is being asked to find and record 17 species of butterfly across the country. Conservationist Ed Dolphin told reporters with the BBC that he had counted 40 butterflies made up of 8 different species at the site a day before the unnamed government employee destroyed the field. He said all of the butterflies have since left the area. According to the district council, the employee was instructed to mow a path through the field to allow easier access for sightseers. The worker misunderstood the instructions, however. The council has apologized and said it will be taking steps to ensure that a similar incident does not occur in the future.

Dateline: Michigan

Experts have yet to determine the source of a strange white foam that has been bubbling up from the ground and causing road closures in Michigan. According to Local 4 Detroit, a mysterious substance has been discovered coming up from the ground in Melvindale, Mich. The material was first seen earlier in the month oozing out of the ground near Schaefer Highway, and street sweepers were sent in to clean up the mess. But when rainwater caused more of the substance to bubble up to the surface last week, officials sent in inspectors with the Detroit Water and Sewage Department to investigate. The road was shut down and samples of the material were taken for further analysis. What the foamy substance is has yet to be determined.

Dateline: United Kingdom

A man is being called a hero after urinating on a fire to extinguish it. The Sun reports that Thomas Watson was visiting the world's longest pier in Southend, England, with his partner and child near the tourist site's closing time when he saw a fire had broken out among some dried out wooden boards. The pier was reportedly deserted, and Watson decided to take matters into his own hands. Reports say he immediately dropped to his knees and urinated on the fire. “I had a full bladder so I felt confident,” he told reporters. When firefighters arrived at the scene, they found the blaze had been completely extinguished and reportedly called Watson a “hero.” It was determined that the cause of the fire was an improperly extinguished cigarette. Watson's family was rewarded with a free trip back in the future for his good deed. But officials were quick to point out that the pier is outfitted with a sprinkler system that they said would have taken care of the fire if it had grown any larger.

Dateline: United States

As the number of people infected with sexually-transmitted diseases rises, the Center for Disease Control has reminded people not to reuse old condoms. Last week, the CDC posted on Twitter, writing, “We say it because people do it: Don't wash or reuse #condoms! Use a fresh one for each #sex act.” Experts say washing and reusing a condom compromises its integrity and can lead to condom breakage, slippage or leakage.” Soap and water can reportedly cause latex to become more prone to tear, and is unable to destroy the microorganisms found inside a used condom. When utilized correctly, condoms can reduce the risk of contracting STDs and prevent pregnancy.

Compiled by Joshua Lee. Email your weird news to josh@alibi.com.