News of the Weird

  • Article by: CHUCK SHEPHERD
  • September 21, 2012 - 2:26 PM

In the seaside city of Qingdao, China, many beachcombers wear masks while lounging and sunbathing. The garments are "face-kinis," or light cloth coverings that protect against the "terror of tanning," according to an August report by NPR. While Western cultures celebrate skin-darkening, many Chinese associate it with lower-status and outdoor occupations. They think pale skin suggests having lived a pampered life.

Steve Jobs update

In August, an abbot at the Wat Phra Dhammakaya Buddhist temple in Bangkok, Thailand, reported that Steve Jobs is doing well now as a "mid-level angel." He was reincarnated as "a half-Witthayathorn, half-Yak," which the Bangkok Post took to mean that Jobs continues to be a "giant" and a seeker of scientific knowledge. He apparently resides in a "parallel universe" near his former office in Cupertino, Calif.

Parking space sexism?

The mayor of Triberg, Germany, touted his town's new public parking area in July by noting that 12 of the spaces were wider, and well-lit, compared to the others, and would be reserved for female drivers. The harder-to-access "men's spaces" required maneuvering at an angle around concrete pillars. "(M)en are, as a rule, a little better at such challenges," the mayor said.

Restroom confusion

New signs were posted on doors of single-use restrooms in two medical clinics in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in July and immediately confused a transgender activist interviewed by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News. Three silhouette figures appear on the door: a man, a woman, and what is supposed to be a gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgender person -- represented as a half-man, half-woman, with the right-hand side of the figure wearing a dress and the left-hand side with thick pant legs. Said the activist, "I understand they were trying to ... make people feel included, but..."

'Cap-and-trade' for crime

A centuries-old practice of China's upper crust continues with a new twist, reported in August. Rich people convicted of a crime can still get away with hiring replacements to serve their sentences -- but, because of ubiquitous Internet videos, only if the replacements facially resemble the perps. The rich person winds up paying for his or her conviction, though it's a relatively small price. Slate called the practice, known as "ding zui," sort of a "cap-and-trade" policy for crime.

Who's that guy?

Lowell Turpin, 40, was arrested in Anderson County, Tenn., in July after he became jealously enraged at a stranger's photo on his girlfriend's Facebook page. Demanding to know who the man was, he allegedly punched her in the face and smashed her computer. According to the police report, it was a campaign photo of Mitt Romney.

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