Alibi V.28 No.15 • April 11-17, 2019 

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

Dateline: Arkansas

After an alleged night of drinking, two men decided to test their bulletproof vests by shooting each other. According to KFSM in Arkansas, Charles Eugene Ferris and Christopher Hicks were arrested last week after Ferris was admitted to the hospital complaining of chest pain. A Benton County sheriff's deputy took a report from Ferris at the hospital. Ferris said he'd been hired to protect an “asset,” who'd paid Ferris to follow him into the woods at Hobbs State Park to meet someone. According to the statement he gave to police, Ferris and the “asset” entered the woods late in the evening and met the third man. A gunfight supposedly broke out and Ferris said he was struck six time by a bullets. He claimed to have fired back at the man before successfully extracting the “asset” and escaping the situation in his vehicle. Soon after telling police his story, however, Ferris' wife arrived at the hospital and told investigators that her husband and Hicks had shot each other while drinking on the back porch of Ferris' home. Ferris eventually admitted that he'd made the whole story up to protect Hicks from legal trouble. According to Ferris' second story, he and Hicks had been drinking when put on a bulletproof vest and asked Hicks to shoot him with a .22-caliber semi-automatic rifle. The vest protected Ferris, but the gunshot still caused him pain. Ferris said he became “pissed” and “unloaded the clip into Christopher's back.” Hicks was also wearing a bulletproof vest at the time and reportedly only suffered minor bruising as a result. Both men were arrested last week for aggravated assault—a felony—and are free on $5,000 bonds.

Dateline: The Amazon

The governments of eight South American countries are fighting online retailer Amazon for the right to use the “.amazon” web address extension. According to BBC News, the legal battle has been ongoing since 2012. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)—the agency in charge of the world wide web's address system—decided to expand its list of generic top-level domains to allow companies to apply for personalized address extensions. But Amazon's attempt to use the “.amazon” extension was met with concern from eight countries that contain the Amazon rainforest. The Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO), which includes the governments of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela as members, says that allowing the retailer to exclusively use the extension could negatively impact tourism in the area. It proposed an agreement that would allow Amazon to share the extension with the countries. That proposal was rejected by the company, however, which proposed that each country get a version of the extension that is preceded by a two-letter abbreviation of each country—br.amazon for Brazil, for example. ICANN will be making its final decision on the case within the next few weeks.

Dateline: The Earth

A recent study found that the music of Skrillex causes mosquitoes to suck less blood and stop having sex. Researchers in Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan and Thailand published a study in the journal Acta Tropica last month looking at the effects of loud music on mosquito behavior. During the study, scientists loudly played the Skrillex song “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” on repeat from a speaker placed near a cage of female mosquitoes who'd gone 12 hours without eating. The cage also included a virgin male mosquito and a restrained hamster. Every 10 minutes, a group of 10 female mosquitoes was removed and replaced by a new batch. When compared to a control group of mosquitoes who underwent the same cycle in silence, the group that was exposed to Skrillex's song sucked significantly less blood from the hamster and had less sex. It was discovered that these mosquitoes took longer to start looking for food—two or three minutes, compared to 30 seconds—and made fewer feeding attempts than the control group. They also had five times less sex than those in silence. It is believed that these behavioral changes were the result of the mosquitoes' confusion, caused by the song's constantly rising pitch and excessive noisiness. According to the study, “both males and females produce sounds through the beating of their wings. For successful mating to occur, the male must harmonize its flight tone with that of its partner using auditory sensitivity.” The introduction of loud and disorienting music presumably interrupts this ability and hampers attempts at reproduction.

Dateline: The Moon

NASA scientists want to study feces left on the moon by astronauts nearly 50 years ago. Vox reports that 96 bags of human waste were left on the moon by the six Apollo missions that have traveled there. The bags include fecal matter, urine, vomit and diapers. Some have remained untouched for almost five decades. NASA scientists are reportedly interested in collecting these bags for analysis. Human waste is fertile ground for bacteria, and questions about how that bacteria has fared in the harsh environment of the moon could shine light on the resiliency of Earth-borne life in space. Experts are unsure if the bags have even been left intact, as the extreme temperature shifts experienced on the moon could have had an effect on the materials from which they were constructed. It is also unclear if the bacteria have survived at all. If the bags remained intact, the possibility that internal temperatures reached higher than 100°C could mean the bacteria only survived for days or weeks. Researchers say even dead microbes could provide useful information about bacterial mutations and resiliency. Data taken from this experiment could also prove useful to the planning of future Mars missions. Mars could be a hospitable environment for our world's bacteria, and the potential for contamination will be better understood after analyzing the waste left on the moon.

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