Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends

Joshua Lee
5 min read
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Dateline: United Kingdom

arishioners at a medieval church in Essex are relieved now that their first public restroom has been blessed by a bishop. According to a press release issued by the Church of England in Essex and East London Diocese of Chelmsford, the Reverend Derek Clark, a semi-retired farmer and roofer, decided to do something about his dwindling congregation when he realized that a lack of public facilities was driving them away. To remedy the situation, he purchased a 23-foot long and 7-foot wide refurbished portable restroom with his own funds. The reverend reportedly tows the lavatory behind his tractor three miles to All Saints’ Church in the hamlet of Ulting from his farm twice a month. Bishop of Chelmsford Stephen Cottrell was called to the church last month to bless the portable john. He said it was the first time he’d been asked to bless a toilet. The new restrooms have reportedly attracted more people to the church in recent weeks. The reverend says attendance has gone from around 6 or 8 people to between 20 and 30 people since their introduction. Clark told reporters at The Sun that the idea came to him from God, but he also said he’d seen examples of the portable restrooms at agricultural shows.

Dateline: Hawaii

A man who has survived being attacked by a bear and a rattlesnake was attacked by a shark last month. Dylan McWilliams, of Grand Junction, Colo., told local news
KJCT8 in Colorado that while body boarding off the island of Kauai in Hawaii, he was attacked by a tiger shark that was reportedly six to eight feet in length. He told reporters that he saw the underwater predator swimming beneath him and managed to kick it before swimming to shore. According to BBC News, McWilliams required seven stitches in his leg to treat the wound left by the distinctive shark bite. While speaking to local reporters, his mother clarified that this was not the first incident in which her son had been attacked by wild animals. She claims he has been attacked by skunks, raccoons, a rattlesnake and a mother moose. It was also revealed that he escaped a bear attack in 2017 while camping in the Colorado wilderness. The bear reportedly grabbed McWilliams by the back of the head before the man began “poking it in the eye,” driving the animal away. He was badly mauled and received nine staples in his head as a result. He told reporters that the attacks can be blamed on “bad luck.” McWilliams is currently waiting for his wounds to heal so he can return to bodyboarding. McWilliams is a survival training instructor. He teaches students how to survive in the wilderness and “live off the land like the explorers did.”

Dateline: Sweden

Sweden has admitted publicly that Swedish meatballs are, in fact, Turkish. The official Twitter account of Sweden
said last week that the famous Swedish dish was actually derived from a Turkish recipe given to King Charles XII in the early 18th century. “Let’s stick to the facts!” the tweet exclaimed. It is unclear what prompted members in the government to make the admission. The New York Times reported that the tweet led to media attention in Turkey, where it has been suggested in a tongue-in-cheek fashion that Sweden has stolen other Turkish cultural staples. The account responded to comments, noting that the traditional combination of lingonberry jam and meatballs is specific to Sweden. According to South China Morning Post, Swedish meatballs aren’t the only dish whose country of origin is often misrepresented. They report that spaghetti might have come from China before making ts way to Europe thanks to Marco Polo.

Dateline: Scotland

Scientists have developed a contact lens that will allow users to
shoot laser beams from their eyes. According to a study recently published in Nature, researchers at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland have created an ultrathin and flexible membrane that measures less than a thousandth of a millimeter thick that can be attached to a contact lens and worn on the eyes. The membrane is made from an organic semiconducting polymer that emits very low-powered laser light when illuminated by another laser. The membrane is able to produce a scannable barcode with a series of unique laser lines projected from the surface. It requires no battery, since the semiconducting polymer fluoresces when exposed to light and will theoretically not harm the user’s retina, as the emission is of low intensity. The technology has not been tested on a human eye, yet. Researchers instead used a cow’s eye for experimentation. It is unclear what the membrane will be used for, but it has been suggested that it could be used to authenticate currency and as a reliable identification marker for people.

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

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