Alibi V.29 No.3 • Jan 16-22, 2020 

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

Dateline: Colorado

Swarms of mysterious drones have the residents of eastern Colorado on edge. Now the state's governor says he wants the mystery solved. According to Huffpost, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis told reporters last week that he would “get to the bottom” of the strange drone sightings reported in Colorado and Nebraska since mid-December. The swarms have been spotted flying by multiple witnesses and even the Phillips County Sheriff’s Office, which tracked 16 of the flying machines in late December. So far, the drones haven't caused any harm, but residents say they're nervous about the intentions of the machine's operators. The swarms reportedly fly in formation, but some witnesses have reported observed them hovering in the air while shining a spotlight. Michael Yowell, a sheriff’s captain in Lincoln County, told reporters that police estimate around 30 drones are being deployed each night in the area. Some of the drones are reportedly larger than 6 feet in diameter. Polis told reporters that the Department of Public Safety is investigating but hasn't released “any substantial information” on the case. A number of government agencies and private drone companies in the area have denied any knowledge of the drones' origins or purpose. It is likely that the operators are violating Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations by failing to register their drones, failing to maintain line-of-sight on the drone while in flight and by flying over third parties. The FAA also prohibits pilots from operating more than one drone at a time—a possibility in this case.

Dateline: United Kingdom

A village in England has been targeted by mysterious dumpers who have left piles of manure in public areas. The Sun reports that the villagers of Bishopton, Co. Durham are trying to suss out the identities of the fecal dumpers but have so far failed. According to local reports, the mystery perpetrators strike only at night and have reportedly left dozens of mounds in public areas around town. Some of the piles have measured up to 50 feet long and 6 feet high. Some of the mounds were left where they would block motorists from using roads. Locals told reporters that at first it appeared a farmer was illegally dumping the mess out of neglect, but then the piles began to appear in different parts of town, leading many to believe the act is malicious. Many of the roads into town are reportedly impassable. It's unclear if authorities in the area have any leads as to the identity of the culprit. Councilor Brian Jones told reporters: “We’ll have to catch the guilty party in the act — it’s the only way we’ll get to the bottom of this.”

Dateline: Denmark

Danish scientists say that tapping a shaken beer can does not reduce the risk of it fizzing over. Ars Technica reports that researchers from the University of Southern Denmark in Odense published a paper recently titled “To beer or not to beer: does tapping beer cans prevent beer loss?” According to the paper: “Preventing or minimizing beer loss when opening a can of beer is socially and economically desirable. One theoretically grounded approach is tapping the can prior to opening, although this has never been rigorously evaluated. We aimed to evaluate the effect of tapping a can of beer on beer loss.” To test the method, the researchers split 1031 beer cans of 330ml into four groups: unshaken/untapped, unshaken/tapped, shaken/untapped and shaken/tapped. The “tapped” cans were each given three taps on the side with a single finger. “Shaken” cans were shaken for two minutes each. The scientists weighed the cans, tapped or did not tap them, opened the cans, absorbed any beer loss using paper towels, then weighed the cans one last time. At the end of the experiment, they found that “there was no statistically significant difference in the mass of beer lost when tapping compared to not tapping.” It appears the common belief that tapping a beer can will lessen foaming is incorrect. According to the paper's authors, the only way to make certain that no beer is lost is to “wait for bubbles to settle before opening the can.”

Dateline: Florida

Police who were responding to what they believed were cries for help found a parrot instead. Newsweek reports that four sheriff's deputies were sent to a residence in Lake Worth Beach, Fla. in late December after a neighbor thought they'd heard a woman screaming, “Help, help, let me out!” In a video clip that has since gone viral, the officers can be seen approaching the home of a man who can be seen working on his car in the driveway. In a Facebook post made by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, the man's statement was reproduced. “I was changing the brakes on my wife's car and had my 40-year-old parrot, Rambo, on his outside perch where he sings and talks” he said. “Sometime later four police officers showed up … I promptly introduced the officers to Rambo … Sometimes Rambo yells 'help, help, let me out'. Something I taught him when I was a kid and Rambo lived in a cage.” The misunderstanding was explained to the man's concerned neighbor. It is unclear if Rambo is currently facing any charges.

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