Vaev, a Los Angeles-based internet startup, is offering consumers the “luxury to choose” when to become sick with a cold, gushes 34-year-old Oliver Niessen, the company’s founder. For $79.99, Vaev will send you a box containing a petri dish, which houses a facial tissue used by a sick person. Niessen explained to Time magazine that the recipient wipes their nose with the provided tissue and contracts a cold virus to get it out of the way before, say, leaving on a vacation. But Charles Gerba, professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, debunked Niessen’s theory: “There are more than 200 types of rhinoviruses … getting inoculated from one doesn’t protect you against all the others.” He adds that Vaev’s customers will never know what exactly is on the provided tissues, which Niessen says are produced by a “stable” of 10 go-to sneezers, some recruited on the internet. Still, Neissen claims to have sold about 1,000 used tissues, although the company’s website currently shows the product as sold out. “We’ve had some supply-chain issues,” Niessen said, without offering details.
Gift With Purchase
A shopper at a Primark store in Essex, England, was startled to discover a human bone in a sock on Dec. 10. Essex police reassured the public that the bone “did not appear to be a result of recent trauma,” and it did not have any skin attached to it, according to Sky News. A Primark spokesman said the company is checking with its supplier, and “No evidence of any kind exists to suggest that any incident has occurred in the factory, so it is highly probable that this object was placed in the sock by an individual for unknown reasons.”
A motorist in New Canaan, Connecticut, called police on Jan. 23 after spotting a woman stopped at an intersection in the driver’s seat of her car with her eyes closed. When officers arrived, they found Stefanie Warner-Grise, 50, “unable to answer basic questions,” according to the arrest report. They “detected an odor of vanilla coming from her breath (and) her speech was slurred. … In addition, several bottles of pure vanilla extract were located inside the vehicle.” The Hour reported Warner-Grise failed field sobriety tests and she was charged with driving under the influence of vanilla extract. The Food and Drug Administration requires that pure vanilla extract must be at least 35 percent alcohol, which makes it 70 proof.
It’s Good to Have Goals
Pavol Durdik added another Guinness world record to his collection Aug. 3 in Puchov, Slovakia by extinguishing 62 lighted matches with his tongue within one minute, according to United Press International. In a video posted by Guinness World Records on Jan. 25, Durdik had the matches laid out in front of him and lighted each one before putting it out on his tongue. He also holds the record for most socks put on one foot within 30 seconds.
So much for advanced Russian security. As art lovers browsed an exhibition at Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery on Jan. 27, Euro News reported, a thief nonchalantly strolled in, plucked a 1908 landscape by Arkhip Kuindzhi off the wall, and walked out of the building. Police quickly viewed surveillance video and arrested a 31-year-old man, who admitted he hid the painting, worth an estimated $185,000, in an unfinished building nearby. The gallery was able to recover the painting and announced that “security measures have been reinforced … at all venues of the Tretyakov Gallery.”
Least Competent Criminal
Police in Austin, Texas, caught up with 19-year-old suspect Luca P. Mangiarano on Jan. 24, a month after a bank robbery in large part because of his choice in getaway vehicles. According to police, Mangiarano stepped into the BBVA Compass bank on Dec. 18 and handed a note to a teller, reading: “This is a robbery, please give me all your 100’s and 50’s in a envelope and everything will be ok.” The employee did as directed and the robber left the building, then hopped on a Jump electric scooter and took off down the sidewalk. He perhaps failed to consider that the scooters are linked to GPS tracking systems and online accounts with phone numbers, email addresses and credit card information, which, after police obtained them from Jump, led them to Mangiarano. Austin Detective Jason Chiappardi told The Washington Post: “We had never had a scooter involved in a robbery.”
Outdoorsman Scott Ritchie of Loveland, Colorado, has a new lease on life thanks to 3D printing. Ritchie, 52, was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer in early 2018 after noticing pain in his hip after fly-fishing. CBS4 in Denver reported Dr. Ronald Hugate of the Panorama Orthopedics and Spine Center in Highlands Ranch took an aggressive and creative approach to treating Ritchie: He made a 3D virtual model of Ritchie’s pelvis, then designed an implant to exactly replace the area of bone that would have to be surgically removed. Made of titanium, the implant was produced using a 3D printer. Two weeks later after surgery, Ritchie was walking with crutches and is expected to walk on his own in a few weeks more, although he was warned he might have a limp. “If I do have a limp, it’s better than nothing,” Ritchie said.
On Jan. 29, the Chenoa (Illinois) Police Department put a call out for volunteers to help with a training session taking place that evening. “Officers are undergoing their annual Taser training tonight … and are looking for members of the public who are willing to volunteer for the experience,” announced WEEK-TV. Volunteers were required to sign an “exposure waiver” in order to participate, but it was unclear whether the Tasers would be live.
Penny Pospisil, 47, of Sumter County, Florida, was arrested on Jan. 25 for the alleged murder of her boyfriend, 55-year-old Anthony Mitchell, according to WFTV. Investigators believe that last August, in the Lake Pan RV Village where Pospisil and Mitchell lived, she killed Mitchell and cut his body into pieces, living with the remains in their camper. When neighbors asked about him, she explained that Mitchell had died of natural causes and she had him cremated. But they also noticed a foul odor coming from the camper and that Pospisil was regularly showering at the pool. When police arrived in December to investigate her overdue lot fee, she told them that she was a victim of domestic violence and had killed Mitchell in self-defense. She faces charges of second-degree murder and abuse of a dead human body.
Blame It on the Meth
Debra Lynn Johnson, 69, of Searles, Minnesota, suffered from heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and mental illnesses, according to the Mankato Free Press, and was a patient at a transitional care center before her husband took her home to have a “death party,” he later told authorities. Brown County sheriff’s officers responding to a 911 call from Duane Arden Johnson, 58, on Jan. 24 found the words “Death Parde God Hell” spray-painted on the front door. Duane came out of the house naked, yelled that his wife was dead and ran back inside, where officers found him in the bathtub picking “things” from his skin. Debra’s body, still warm, was wrapped in a sheet. Duane told police his wife had begged him to take her home to die, so they had staged the party, “rocking out” to Quiet Riot’s “Metal Health” and taking methamphetamines. After her death, Duane said he washed and wrapped her “like the Bible told me to do.” Police found stolen guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in the home, and Duane was charged with felony counts of theft and receiving stolen property.
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