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Creme de la Weird 

A weekly roundup of international news oddities

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Creme de la Weird
The Design Museum in London has included a "DIY meal kit" featuring steaks that could be grown from a diner's own human cells among the nominees in its Beazley Designs of the Year exhibit. Developers of the Ouroboros Steak envision that an individual will be able to harvest cells from their own cheek and feed them with serum derived from donated blood that has expired, Dezeen.com reported. After about three months, the steaks would be fully grown. "People think that eating oneself is cannibalism, which technically this is not," said Grace Knight, one of the designers. Researcher Orkan Telhan added, "Our design is scientifically and economically feasible but also ironic in many ways," he added.

Inexplicable
Officers from Utah's Department of Public Safety were helping the Division of Wildlife Resources count bighorn sheep from a helicopter on Nov. 18 when a shiny object in the desert landscape caught their eye. "Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around," one of the biologists shouted, according to pilot Bret Hutchings. KSL reported the crew landed and found a 10- to-12-foot-high silver monolith planted in the ground and tucked into a red-rock cove. After joking about extraterrestrials, the crew decided it looked man-made and took pictures, chalking it up to "some new wave artist ... a big 2001: A Space Odyssey' fan," Hutchings mused.

Collateral Damage
Police in Corvallis, Oregon, said Dylan Milota was high on marijuana when he crashed the 2019 Tesla S he was driving at more than 100 mph into a utility pole on Nov. 17, breaking the pole and spraying hundreds of small batteries through the windows of two nearby residences. One landed on a bed, starting a fire in the bedsheets, KMTR reported. A tire from the car struck the second story of a nearby apartment building so forcefully it broke water pipes inside the wall, destroying the bathroom on the other side and causing flooding in the lower level, police said. Citizens were warned not to pick up any stray batteries, which can stay hot for up to 24 hours and release toxic fumes. Milota fled on foot but was quickly apprehended and charged with various offenses.

News You Can Use
• College student Benjamin LaRose of Millis, Massachusetts, is recovering from third-degree burns he suffered at an outdoor party with friends this fall when someone used hand sanitizer as an accelerant in the fire pit they were gathered around, Boston25 reported. "It was rather sudden how quick it reacted," LaRose said, "very much like napalm," catching his leg and shorts on fire and requiring skin grafts to treat the burns. LaRose's pediatrician, Dr. Lester Hartman, warned of the dangers of using hand sanitizer and then being exposed to open flames: "Alcohol is very volatile and explosive ... and people that are doing a barbecue or even lighting a cigarette or lighting a candle" need to let the alcohol evaporate first. Or, experts say, use soap and water.

• "Do not let moose lick your car," say the flashing electronic signs along roads in Jasper (Alberta) National Park, where park spokesman Steve Young told CNN: "(Moose are) obsessed with salt. ... They usually get it from salt lakes in the park, but now they realized they can also get road salt that splashes onto cars." Officials say if moose become accustomed to licking cars, they'll lose their fear of vehicles, putting the animals in danger. In Jasper, where drivers often stop to get photos of the moose, officials recommend driving away if the animals start to approach.

Awesome!
Josua Hutagalung, 33, was working outside his home in Sumatra in August when he got a surprise delivery: A meteorite crashed through his roof and landed outside. "When I lifted it, the stone was still warm, and I brought it into the house," the coffin-maker told local media. United Press International reported the 4.5-pound meteorite was a rare variety, valued by experts at almost $1.9 million, which attracted American expert Jared Collins, who paid more than $1 million for the rock. "I have also always wanted a daughter," Hutagalung said, "and I hope this is a sign that I will be lucky enough now to have one." He also plans to donate some of the funds to his local church's new building project.

Compelling Explanations
French police in Lannion, Brittany, became suspicious when they spotted a man lurking near a parked car at a time when France's COVID-19 lockdown rules required him to be at home on Nov. 20. Upon questioning, the 39-year-old unnamed man produced the legally required "attestation," including his full name, the time he left home and his written-in reason for being out: to "smash a guy's face in." Local police chief Daniel Kerdraon said, "He was trying to fulfill the letter of the law, in his own way," The Guardian reported, "but we told him his reason for going out was not valid." He was fined not only for violating the curfew but also for being drunk in public.

Bright Idea
Matthew Piercey, 44, has been indicted on 31 federal felony counts related to a suspected Ponzi scheme, but when FBI agents tried to arrest him in Redding, California, on Nov. 16, he took off, authorities said. NBC News reported agents followed him to Lake Shasta, where Piercey pulled a $1,200 Yamaha 350LI Seascooter out of his vehicle, then disappeared into the frigid water, spending about 25 minutes "out of sight underwater where law enforcement could only see bubbles," Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Hales wrote in court papers. The agents waited him out and arrested him when he resurfaced. Piercey faces up to 20 year in prison if convicted.

The Way the World Works
Evidence of election rigging in New Zealand's Bird of the Year competition has set organizers all atwitter, NPR reported. Officials at Forest & Bird, a conservation organization, noticed that more than 1,500 votes in the annual event had come from one email address on Nov. 9, all in favor of the spotted kiwi. "That is an amazing bird," spokeswoman Laura Keown said, "but ... these votes had to be disallowed, and they've been taken out of the competition." The disqualification cleared the way for the competition's eventual winner: the kakapo, or moss chicken, a rare nocturnal bird and the world's only flightless parrot.

Signs of the Times
• Alexios Gerakis, 37, a candlemaker in Thessaloniki, Greece, has updated his Santa Claus candles for 2020 with blue surgical masks covering the big elf's beard. "Because of the times, we are trying to convey a message that health comes first, then everything else," Gerakis told Reuters Television. His snowmen candles also sport masks.

• And in Lajosmizse, Hungary, confectioner Laszlo Rimoczi can't keep up with the orders after he added tiny marzipan surgical masks to his chocolate Santas. He has simplified the design, Reuters reported, and has increased production to about 100 Santas a day in his rural workshop. Father Christmas "will have to wear a mask because Santa has to show a good example to people," Rimoczi said.

Send your weird news items to WeirdNewsTips@amuniversal.com.

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