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News Quirks (3/19/14)

Published March 19, 2014 at 4:00 a.m.

Science Schmience

Christian minister Ken Ham's goal of building a replica of Noah's Ark in the Kentucky hills stalled for lack of money until Ham (no relation to Noah's son) engaged in a debate on evolution with PBS "Science Guy" Bill Nye. Ham's Answers in Genesis ministry and the Creation Museum received widespread media attention during the debate, which pitted science against the Bible's explanation of the origins of the universe. Ham said that a flood of donations would allow construction of the Ark Encounter to begin in May and open to the public in summer 2016. (Associated Press)

Commercialized Airspace

A car dealership in Houston, Texas, hired a drone to film its latest commercial. "It's a good technique for getting shots that you normally wouldn't be able to get for advertising purposes, because you get a different perspective," Don Ruguleiski, internet-digital marketing director for Mac Haik Chevrolet, said. "It's tough to get a boom out here with a camera on it." The lightweight unmanned aerial vehicle with six propellers is operated by JAM Aviation. "You know, people used to be scared of it," owner Don Hirsch explained. "Now they're saying, 'Hey, that looks like a UFO. Hey, that looks like a really cool piece of equipment.'" (Houston's KHOU-TV)

After a federal judge ruled that the Federal Aviation Administration has no jurisdiction over small drones, a Michigan florist resumed using unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver flowers. The FAA ordered Wesley Berry Flowers in Commerce Township to stop testing drone delivery, but federal administrative law judge Patrick Geraghty declared that according to the FAA's argument for regulating drones, "a flight in the air of a paper airplane or a toy balsa wood glider could subject the operator" to FAA penalties. "The next step for us," Berry said, "is more testing." (Detroit's WWJ-TV)


Authorities accused David Charles, 21, of breaking into the Indiana Medical History Museum numerous times last year and stealing human brain tissue, then selling it on eBay. A San Diego man who bought six jars of the brain tissue for $600, plus $70 shipping, called the museum after noticing labels on the containers. After Indianapolis police investigators set up a sting to nab Charles, the museum's executive director, Mary Ellen Hennessey Nottage, said the stolen material had been returned and that she had spoken to the San Diego man. "He just said he liked to collect odd things," she explained. (Indianapolis Star)

Virtual Solution

After Los Angeles County passed a law requiring porn actors to use condoms, adult-film production companies fled to Las Vegas, Miami and other less restrictive locations. Some remaining companies responded by turning to technology, specifically computer-generated imagery (CGI), to digitize the flesh over the condoms. Gay porn company Falcon Studios released the first digitally enhanced film, "California Dreamin' 1." "I wanted to give the impression of a pre-condom movie," director Tony DiMarco said, "but use condoms as we do in every scene we film." (Slate)

First Things First

Nyima Dorjee, 39, was sitting in a New York City jury pool for a gun-possession trial when he complained to the questioning prosecutor of chest pains and difficulty breathing, but when a court officer informed Justice Joel Blumenfeld, the judge told him to let the prosecutor finish his questioning. "There's a few more minutes left," the judge reportedly said. "They can wait." The officer decided that Dorjee needed immediate assistance, however, and called an ambulance. Doctors determined he was having a heart attack. (United Press International)


Sheriff's deputies responding to reports of a shooting in Jefferson Parish, La., found Akili Bailey, 20, with gunshot wounds to his buttock, leg and foot. When paramedics tried to help Bailey, he refused to get up and appeared to be "clenching his buttocks together," according to the police report. Authorities attributed his behavior to his injury, but a doctor who treated Bailey at the hospital retrieved a small bag containing 2.5 grams of cocaine from his buttocks. (New Orleans's Times-Picayune)

Everything You Know Is Wrong

A textbook used by more than 50,000 students in India's Gujarat state contains more than 120 factual, spelling and grammatical mistakes, including that "Japan dropped a nuclear bomb on the U.S. during World War II." The Gujarat government hasn't withdrawn the books but did "set up a two-member committee to look into these errors and make changes immediately," according to State Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama. (BBC News)