April 22nd, 2015 by www.sightmagazine.com.au
• New Zealand’s PM, John Key, has apologised to a waitress who said he repeatedly pulled her ponytail while visiting a cafe near his home in Auckland. The unnamed waitress said he had pulled her hair over a period of months despite being repeatedly told to stop and wrote on the Daily Blog website that she didn’t like it, felt powerless and tormented and had cried “frustrated tears” over the incidents. A spokesperson for the PM told the New Zealand Herald his actions were “intended to be light-hearted”. “It was never his intention to make her feel uncomfortable and he has apologised to her.”
• The Muppeteers must have known - a new frog discovered in Costa Rica bears an uncanny resemblance to Kermit the Frog. The discovery of the new species of glassfrog - formally known as Hyalinobatrachium dianae - was trumpeted by the Costa Rican Amphibian Research Center and the images tell an amazing story. Meanwhile, in other animal-related news, a life-sized statue of a dugong, weighing an amazing 700 kilograms, has been stolen for the second time from the frontyard of a home in far north Queensland. The bronze statue, which is worth nearly $90,000, reportedly first went missing in February last year but was found in a state forest by a hiker only a few days later. It has now disappeared a second time.
• Star Wars favorite R2-D2 is soon to be seen in the skies. Japan’s All Nippon Airways has announced plans to deck out one of its new 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft in R2-D2-themed decorations in a tribute to the movie franchise, which sees its next instalment, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, hit screens in December. The project is part of a five-year ‘Star Wars Project’ being carried out by the airline in an attempt to “connect Japan to the global market”.
April 8th, 2015 by www.sightmagazine.com.au
• US couple Burger and King are getting married so it seems only natural that fast food chain Burger King should offer to pay for the wedding. Illinois couple Joel Burger, 24, and Ashley King, 23, are reportedly planning a July wedding in Jacksonville and it will now come complete with Burger King sponsorship following an offer from the company to cover expenses. Who knows, they might even throw in a free drink and fries. The agreement came after The State Journal-Register ran a story on the fact the couple had been together since the fifth grade which went viral, becoming (warning - bad pun ahead) what some might call a “Whopper of a story”.
• Still in the US - this time Colorado - and wildlife officials are hunting for the person or persons responsible for dumping goldfish in a lake after the four or five they dumped has now reportedly become an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 fish. Such are their numbers in Lake Teller #5, in fact, that the presence of the goldfish is threatening the entire eco-system of the lake. “Goldfish are not a native species and are very harmful to the local aquatic ecosystem,” said Kristin Cannon, district wildlife manager for Boulder, in a press statement. In 2012, “electro fishing” turned up some 2,275 non-native fish in another lake in Boulder after Koi were found there.
• OK, so we’re all familiar with the idea of furnishings being made out of trees. But what about the idea of furnishings being grown? UK company Full Grown are working on the idea of shaping trees as they grow so that they eventually end up as ‘mature’ furnishings such as tables, chairs and even lamps. These can then be harvested from the tree, seasoned and smoothed before moving into their new use. The first prototypes are startling but be warned, growing furniture is a slow process so you may be waiting a while.
April 1st, 2015 by www.sightmagazine.com.au
• It’s April Fools’ Day and as usual, organisations are outdoing themselves to come up with clever gags. Some of the local offerings this year include a claim by supermarket chain Woolworths that it had created a ‘watermapple’ - a hybrid of a watermelon and an apple, an announcement by the Queensland Police Service that it was to trial kangaroo-inspired “roo shoes”, a new campaign launched by Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten aimed at tackling Australia’s healthcare crisis entitled ‘An onion a day keeps the doctor away’, and the building of a new Vegemite museum in Melbourne in the shape of a giant Vegemite jar (the idea of the museum, itself, however may not be so far-fetched - there have been reports of one to be built in Melbourne for some years). Special mentions also to UK cab app Hailo which has announced a new “Piggyback” function which will see users riding specially trained human carriers, and, one we especially love - in honor of the day, Google has turned its maps into a Pac-Man game. Simply jump on a map page and away you go!
• If you’re a regular McDonalds goer, chances are you’ve ‘worn’ some of their food at some stage - those trays are easily upset as you carefully try to carry your lunch to the table. But now comes an easier way to wear their food. McDonalds in Sweden has apparently launched a clothing line featuring pictures of Big Macs all over them - as well as thermals, the range will include coats and gumboots as well as bedsheets, wallpaper and even dog coats. The line is apparently opening in more countries soon. Given the timing, we’re naturally a little suspicious - so, stay tuned (we’ll let you know if it’s another April Fools’ Day joke!).
• First we had Japan’s cat island where cats outnumbered people. Now comes ’scarecrow village’ (aka Nagaro in southern Japan) where there are reportedly four times as many scarecrows as human residents. The fact there’s so many scarecrows is apparently due to one woman - Tsukimi Ayano - who made her first scarecrow about 13 years ago as a tribute to her dead father. She’s since gone on to make some 350 of them, of which about 150 remain in the village of 35.
March 25th, 2015 by www.sightmagazine.com.au
• Pope Francis happened to mention recently that he missed being able to pop out for an anonymous pizza. Cue Enzo Cacialli, a Naples pizza-maker who decided to address the problem by hand-delivering a specially made Naples-style pizza with ‘Il Papa’ spelt out on top in dough as the Popemobile passed him by. Pope Francis was apparently hungry - he took the pizza and, says Cacialli, said thank you (you can see a video of it on CNN).
• A realistic replica of a bus has been unveiled teetering over the edge of a Hong Kong hotel’s roof in a tribute to the 1969 film, The Italian Job. The installation by artist Richard Wilson, Hang On a Minute Lads, I’ve Got a Great Idea, is based on the last line and shot of the film and has been placed on Peninsula Hotel’s seventh floor terrace as part of the Art Basel international art show. Installed earlier this month, it will remain on the hotel until 8th April.
• Fortunes are being flushed down the toilet, according to scientists who say sifting sewage has revealed gold, silver and platinum in amounts which would normally be deemed commercially viable by prospectors. Kathleen Smith, of the US Geological Survey, told The Guardian that extracting metals from waste could also reduce the release of harmless metals like lead into the environment. The report also referenced an earlier Arizona State University study which found a city of a million inhabitants flushed about $US13 million worth of precious metals down toilets and sewer drains every year.
March 18th, 2015 by www.sightmagazine.com.au
• What songs make you happy? The UN is looking for people to answer that question as it compiles “the world’s happiest playlist” which will be revealed on Friday, 20th March - officially designated as the International Day of Happiness. The #HappySoundsLike campaign this week with fans able to post the songs that make them happiest on social media bearing the hashtag #HappySoundsLike. The day was established in 2012 in acknowledgement that “the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal”. For more, see
• In the Netherlands, furniture giant Ikea has apparently had to take the step of banning people from playing hide-and-seek after safety concerns. Tens of thousands of people had reportedly signed up to play the games in stores in Eindhoven, Amsterdam and Utrecht after the game was played at a store in Belgium last summer. The game organisers are now apparently looking for a new location for the games.
• People all around the world celebrated Pi Day on 14th March - the day when the date (provided you use the month then day format) can be written 3/14/15 - the first five figures of the mathematical figure known as Pi (3.1415). The date only happens once every century and hardcore fans, such as staff at the Museum of Mathematics in New York City, took it a step further, celebrating the day at exactly 9.26am - 3.1415926 (or 9.26.53am if you add the next two figures of Pi - .141592653). Interestingly, Pi has been calculated to more than a trillion digits.
March 11th, 2015 by www.sightmagazine.com.au
• Leonard Nimoy, most famous for his role as Mr Spock in Star Trek, passed away recently. To mark the occasion, Canadians have been transforming the face of former Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier which appears on their $5 banknotes, into that of Mr Spock’s. The ‘Spocking’ trend, which has reportedly taken place for years but apparently increased after Mr Nimoy’s death late last month, has led authorities to ask citizens to kindly stop their scribbling, saying that while it wasn’t illegal, it was inappropriate to deface the notes.
• It’s a novel way of passing on a property. The owner of an historic country inn in the US state of Maine is giving the 210-year-old property away to the winner of an essay contest she’s running. Janice Sage, the owner of the Centre Lovell Inn and Restaurant - a property valued at about $US900,000, has reportedly asked people interested in owning the business to submit a 200 word essay in which they can convey their qualifications and experience. Essay submissions cost $US125 and Ms Sage hopes to get as many as 7,500 submissions from around the globe by 17th May (a figure which would see the price of the property well covered). The idea isn’t new. Ms Sage apparently acquired the property in an essay contest 22 years ago.
• And, of course, we can’t finish without a mention of Japan’s now famous ‘Cat Island’. Aoshima, a tiny remote island in southern Japan, has been over-run with felines after they were introduced a while back to take care of the mice that plagued local fishermen. Only problem is the mile long island’s 120 cats now outnumber humans by a factor of six. Locals have apparently started taking some steps to ensure the population doesn’t grow any more with reports at least 10 of the cats have now been neutered. There’s a great gallery of images on The Atlantic website.
February 25th, 2015 by www.sightmagazine.com.au
• Making the most of the snow in his front yard, a man in Massachusetts in the US has reportedly started a new service selling and then shipping snow out to people who live in warmer areas. Kyle Waring, of the town of Manchester-by-the-Sea near Boston, launched ShipSnowYo.com earlier this winter. Having experimented with how much to send (and ensure it doesn’t melt), he now sells the snow in range of packages, starting at $US19.99 for a 16.9 oz bottle.
• Silent but deadly. This week saw people in some parts of Japan celebrate Ninja Day, a celebration of the history of the men in black. The cities of Iga and Koka are both apparently historic ninja strongholds and in celebration of the day on 22nd February, local tourist officials wore ninja costumes to work and handed out paper ninja stars.
• Back in the US and a woman in Utah is claiming a new world record for catching bridal bouquets - having caught 46 since 1996. Jamie Jackson, of Salt Lake City, reportedly says she has documentation to prove her catching streak - set while attending an estimated 80 to 100 weddings - which would smash the current record of 11 set in 2004. Jackson has applied to Guinness World Records for official recognition.
February 18th, 2015 by www.sightmagazine.com.au
• Looking for a colder ‘posting’ and don’t mind sharing your island with 2,000 gentoo penguins? The UK Antarctic Heritage Trust is looking for people of any nationality to make up the four staff required to run the post office at Port Lockroy on the Antarctic island of Goudier for five months over the Antarctic summer. The post office handles about 70,000 items of mail during the summer period when as many as 18,000 visitors arrive for a brief stop on ships. Among the qualities the successful applicants need is the ability to carry “a big heavy box over slippery rocks and slushy snow whilst dodging penguins”. Living conditions, meanwhile, are said to be “comfortable though basic with no mains power, heat or water, and limited communications”. You can apply at www.ukaht.org.
• Reckon some of the names celebrities give their children today are odd? Try some of these from the Victorian era. London-based genealogy firm Fraser & Fraser have reportedly released a list of names they’ve come across on Victorian-era documents and they include some that would now be seen as, er, rather odd. Try ‘Friendless’ Baxter, ‘Time of’ Day and ‘Zebra’ Lynes. Then there’s ‘Windsor’ Castle (a girl), ‘Mineral’ Waters, ‘One Too Many’ Gouldstone and the rather long-winded Ann Bertha Cecilia Diana Emily Fanny Gertrude Hypatia Iug Jane Kate Louisa Maud Nora Orphelia Quince Rebecca Starkey Teresa Ulysis Venus Winifred Xenophen Yetty Zeus Pepper - with one name for each letter of the alphabet.
• Melon skiing, ‘melon bungy’ and a melon ironman and iron woman were among the events held at the ‘melon capital’ of Australia, the Queensland town of Chinchilla, during its biennial melon festival earlier this month. The festival, which it’s estimated more than 15,000 people attended, also ran ‘pip spitting’ contests and reportedly used about 20 tonnes of melons.
February 4th, 2015 by www.sightmagazine.com.au
• Every Monopoly player has dreamed of it at some stage (well, at least they used to - rising inflation has meant a $500 note isn’t worth what it once was!) To celebrate the game’s 80th anniversary, the French arm of manufacturer Hasbro is reportedly releasing some copies of the game with real Euros in place of the usual Monopoly money. In one game every note will reportedly be replaced - adding up to $US23,268 - while 79 others will contain smaller amounts.
• It’s a perhaps sad sign of the times that a store has opened in The Netherlands’ town of Eindhoven which sells “fashionable” bullet-proof clothing. Along with the classic bullet-proof vest, the stock reportedly includes suits, leather jackets and ties. The clothes are apparently aimed at people who might feel at risk in their jobs, such as jewellers and petrol station staff, and aren’t supposed to appeal to criminals. Cost may be an issue, however - the cheapest item was reportedly priced at $2,700.
• Win of the Week (a new regular feature of StrangeSights): Congrats to “competitive eater” Patrick Bertoletti who won the 23rd annual Wing Bowl in Philadelphia in the US by eating 444 chicken wings in 30 minutes, blowing away the previous record of 363.
• More than five years after McDonalds closed the doors on its last store in Iceland, a cheeseburger and fries purchased at the store have gone on display at a Reykjavik hostel. And it doesn’t look that changed - you can see for yourselves. The burger and fries - which was bought on 31st October, 2009 - has a dedicated webcam so people can watch it ever so slowly decay.
January 21st, 2015 by www.sightmagazine.com.au
• It may sound like an urban myth but a dog in Seattle has apparently taken to riding city buses without its owner. Eclipse, a black Labrador, has reportedly been using a bus to get to a dog park - a ride of about four stops. Transport authorities and bus travellers have confirmed the story with one saying the dog wagged its tail when it reached the stop where the dog park is. The dog’s owner, Jeff Young, told a local TV station he’s happy with the arrangement. “We get separated. She gets on the bus without me, and I catch up with her at the dog park,” he said.
• A US company has produced a two seat car on a 3D printer and intends putting the plans up for sale later this year. Local Motors says it takes 44 hours to print the car’s frame, panels and some interior features out of a carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (they intend lowering the print time to 24 hours) which is then outfitted with a battery, motor, wiring and suspension from a Renault car. The ‘Strati’ will reportedly sell for between $US18,000 and $US30,000.
• A “Kiss and Ride” sign has reportedly been installed at a railway station in the UK in a bid to keep traffic moving when people are getting dropped off. The sign - located at Preston Station in Lancashire - has apparently gone viral as people post it on social media with some wags dubbing the rather drab station ‘The new Paris’. It’s apparently not the first time such signs have been used - they are said to be a feature at several stations and even airports in Europe.