News of the Bizarre: May 31, 2017

Related articles

1. Physics: Man hits 88 MPH in a DeLorean, gets a speeding ticket rather than a trip to 1955

Spencer White bought a 1982 DeLorean so he did what everyone wants to do ever since the 1985 movie “Back to The Future” - he cranked it up to 88 MPH. In the movie, bananas science related to that speed and a flux capacitor (which to me looked just like the Oscillation Overthruster from Buckaroo Banzai: Across The 8th Dimension) caused a trip 30 years back in time. 

It was less exciting, and more expensive, in 2017. A California Highway Patrol officer pulled him over and asked if he knew how fast he was going. White knew exactly how fast he was going, and told him, and they both laughed. He still got the ticket. 

2. Ecology: Bestselling author annoys scientists with claims that trees have sex, talk to each other, and care for their children

Peter Wohlleben wrote The Hidden Life of Trees, a bestseller in Germany...but it also got a petition against it by German scientists who call it "a conglomerate of half-truths, biased judgments, and wishful thinking derived from very selective and unrepresentative sources of information.”

Wohlleben says we shouldn't cut them down and that trees in urban areas die prematurely due to the light. 

If you sit on a stool, you are sitting on tree bones.

This inspires a new way to torment people. When someone tells me they don't like eggs for example, I ask "How can you not like liquid chicken?"

So which trees are going to be nicest to you? Beech, he believes. Birch are just pricks.

3. Technology: BlessU-2, a robot priest

500 years after Martin Luther criticized the Catholic Church because it was not conservative enough, he would be shocked to learn that his Protestant Reformation has become so progressive.

In Wittenberg, a robot priest delivers blessings in German, English, French, Spanish or Polish, and with either a male or female voice, and beams light from its hands. It was created to mark the anniversary of the start of the Reformation, when Luther nailed his 95 theses to a church door in the town.

Sorry Germans, the Chinese beat you to it. Last year they unveiled a Buddhist robot in Beijing.

4. Criminal science: British politician wants death penalty for suicide bombers

While I agree there is no recidivism after the death penalty, killing them twice seems like the kind of unnecessary government bloat in health policy that I am against. 

5. Culture: Prisoner avoids new conviction for escaping prison after prosecutor doesn't know where the prison is

Hocking County defense attorney Ben Fickel turned lemons into lemonade for the opposing prosecutors, making their inability to know if the prison that John Modie escaped from was actually in their jurisdiction a win for due process. “What this conclusion … so perfectly demonstrates is that everyone — whether the person is one who has never received a parking ticket or one who is likely to spend the rest of their life in prison — deserves a fair and just trial in which the state is required to prove every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.”

6. Zoology: Fire-starting woodchuck now chucking wood in heaven

If you live in a rural area and you have outdoor pets, you know to check your engine when it's cold outside. Cats will climb into a warm engine and stay there overnight, so the next day they may still be inside.

A woodchuck climbed into the engine of a Toyota 4Runner that had been sold and while the new owner drove it to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get it registered, the engine caught fire. The woodchuck fled but was found the next day, badly burned, and had to be euthanized.

My question: I have to confess I am mystified by this. What could a woodchuck have chewed through to cause a fire? Usually in engine compartments an animal will only have room near the fan, and those start fast but it hits the animal right away, wounding them a little but the fan is stuck. How did this cause a fire?