-- The Future of War: Although India and Pakistan have backed off of their recent potentially nuclear confrontation over Kashmir, computer hackers from both countries have stepped up their wars against each other's government Web sites and networks, according to a July Washington Times dispatch. Retaliating against increased hacking that accompanied the attack on India's parliament in 2001, Indian hackers unleashed the annihilating Yaha virus, which has been answered by a massive flood of Pakistani attacks (at about seven times the Indian attack rate), which has provoked Indian hackers to consider an even-more-devastating Yaha virus.
-- As straphanger Joyce M. Judge, 42, stared out the window of the Boston subway car during morning rush hour on July 30, she started dripping profusely, and a minute or so later, a baby fell out from underneath her skirt and slid around on the car's floor. According to witnesses (some of whom vomited at the sight), Judge at first acted as if nothing had happened, then finally picked up her newborn, declined the help of passengers, nonchalantly continued the ride, and left the train at the next station (stopping only to pick up the placenta when it fell to the ground). She subsequently reported to Boston Medical Center, where the baby was in good condition (and where the mother was referred for a mental health evaluation).
-- According to Houston newsletter publisher and devout Catholic Hutton Gibson, there was no Holocaust; Pope John Paul II is an imposter and a "Koran kisser"; and the church is doomed because, among other things, masses are no longer conducted in Latin. According to a July Houston Press profile, Gibson, 84, believes there is a worldwide plot that began with the 1960s' changes in the church imposed by the Vatican Council, and he is using his 600-reader newsletter to get the word out, even though the Press compares him to the paranoid lead character in the movie "Conspiracy Theory," which starred Mel Gibson, who happens to be Hutton's son. Said Hutton, "I figure that as long as there's one (true) Catholic in the world, (the church) hasn't finished."
-- David Mitchell, 35, was arrested in June in Omaha, Neb., on charges of false imprisonment and making terroristic threats, accused of having locked up his wife, Polly, every time he left the house over a two-year (and maybe longer) period. He was always with her in public, and intimidated her from reporting him. David had always had only a cell phone so he could take it with him when he left the house, but he had recently gotten a home phone for Internet access, allowing Polly to call her sister one day when he was out.
-- The Latest Results From America's Pre-eminent Lawyer Enrichment Program (class-action lawsuits): (1) In a $350 million settlement between AT&T and customers overcharged on telephone leases, lawyers get $84 million, and customers get back $15 to $20 each (December). (2) In a recent settlement between Sears and customers with improperly done wheel balancing, lawyers get $2.45 million, and customers get $2.50 a tire. (3) In a $3.7 million settlement between televangelist Jim Bakker's Praise the Lord Ministries and 165,000 defrauded Christians, lawyers get $2.5 million, and each victim gets $6.54 (July). (4) In a settlement of price-fixing charges against cosmetics manufacturers and retailers, lawyers get $24 million, and each customer gets a free cosmetic (July).
-- ABC News reported in May that it is not illegal in Massachusetts for a man to take surreptitious photographs of his adult daughter in the family home, even though in "hundreds" of the photos, she is nude or partially nude. The Easthampton, Mass., woman was 19 when she moved back into her old bedroom, where her father had been keeping electronic equipment, but later got a tech-savvy friend to examine a camera and computer. The parents are now divorced, but since the father committed no crime, he got to keep the photos.
-- On July 31, a jury in Miami concluded almost simultaneously that a subsidiary of the Chevron Texaco corporation breached a contract with a local company, Apex Development Corp., yet caused Apex not a penny's worth of harm, and yet still had to pay Apex $33.8 million in "punitive" damages. (Apex had charged that Chevron Texaco backed out of a contract to build "express lube" sites after Apex had already built them.)
-- A Rough Summer for Weird India: (1) Doctors at Burdwan Medical College and Hospital reported that black ants were crawling out of the left eye of an 11-year-old boy (June). (2) Six members of a family hanged themselves on a hillside near Tirupati, but the bodies were not discovered until the odor wafted into a nearby village (July). (3) After doctors in Angara found 15 students unconscious following a lightning strike, they covered the bodies in cow dung as per a traditional remedy; 13 recovered within a few hours (but not even cow dung could save the other two). (4) Doctors at Burdwan originally diagnosed parasitic flies emerging from the penis of a 13-year-old boy while he urinated, but doctors at SSKM Hospital in Kolkata disputed that (June).
-- Police, having knocked on a door in Woodlawn, Ky., in June, pursuant to a neighbor's noise complaint, inadvertently stumbled across an apparent family-run retail drug business when three teenagers eagerly answered questions about the marijuana plant viewable from the front door. According to police, the kids invited them in and proudly showed them the entire elaborate hydroponic operation. The mother, Bernadette Dusing, 42, was at home at the time, but according to police, remained silent.
-- In April, apparently dissatisfied with the many dictionaries on the market, the Republican-controlled Oregon House of Representatives passed House Bill 2416, whose sole purpose was to define "science" ("the systematic enterprise of gathering knowledge about the universe and organizing and condensing that knowledge into testable laws and theories"). A commentator for The Oregonian newspaper speculated that the sponsor, Rep. Betsy Close, believes that the definition will somehow halt recent successes by the state's environmental activists.
(1) Most recent mother to fall asleep next to her infant child and accidentally roll over and smother it to death: a 20-year-old woman in Pontiac, Mich., in July. (2) Latest convicted slum landlord to be sentenced (90 days) to live in her own dilapidated, roach-and-rodent-haven apartments: Sandra O'Neale (Los Angeles, July). (3) Latest enrollment figures in Florida's statewide program allowing high school students to take physical education courses by computer: 614. (Administrators say they can detect any student cheating; critics don't think so.)
A July Associated Press dispatch from Jerusalem reported that a 32-year-old woman accidentally swallowed a cockroach and then, after trying to dig it out with a fork, swallowed the fork. Dr. Nikola Adid of the Poria Hospital in Tiberias, Israel, had to remove both items.
(1) The Baltimore Sun (May) and The Wall Street Journal (July) reported on the handful of schools (most prominent, University of Maryland, Baltimore County and University of Texas at Dallas) that vie for supremacy in intercollegiate chess and engage in annual recruiting battles to sign up established chess masters with cushy scholarship offers. (2) And in April, the Saxonia Globe Snippers of Germany beat a British team, the Black Dog Boozers, to win the World Marbles Cup in Tinsley Green, England; the winner of the match is the first team to knock 25 of a circle's 49 marbles out.
A van and an SUV, both transporting undocumented aliens, collided, injuring 28 (Blythe, Calif.). A woman saved her drowning daughter in a backyard pool by mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, which she said she couldn't have performed if she hadn't seen it on "Baywatch" (Brooklyn, N.Y.). A 37-year-old man, having reported to a hospital emergency room with a knife penetrating his brain, waited, conscious, for six hours while doctors planned the complicated surgery (which was successful) (Wellington, New Zealand).
(Send your Weird News to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 18737, Tampa FL 33679 or WeirdNews@earthlink.net or go to www.NewsoftheWeird.com.)