News of the Weird: Downturn in tourism blamed on weather forecasters

  • Article by: CHUCK SHEPHERD
  • June 7, 2013 - 4:02 PM

The chairman of the National Showcaves Center in a Welsh national park, aiming to halt a recent downturn in tourism, threatened in April to sue the U.K. National Weather Service for its “all too [frequent] … gloom and doom reports.” The NWS had called for snow and cold weather over Easter weekend, but no snow fell, and the cold weather was tempered by sun and blue skies. He also suggested adding “health”-type warnings to forecasts — as in, beware that weather reports might be wrong.

Police BFF: Facebook

Christopher Robinson, 23, became one of many suspects whose addiction to Facebook did him in. Robinson had never made a child support payment in the three years since a court order was issued in Milwaukee, and the case had languished over how to prove that he was hiding money. Using other evidence for probable cause, the prosecutor got a warrant to search Robinson’s private Facebook information and discovered a candid photograph of him, laughing over a pile of cash.

Thrifty gifts for the dead

The annual Chinese “tomb sweeping” celebration has experienced a resurgence since 2008, when the government reinstated it as an official holiday. The theory is that people bring valuable items, such as jewelry, to ancestors’ grave sites and bury them with the bodies, which will upgrade the ancestors’ afterlife. Now, however, practitioners seem convinced that paper images of items are sufficient (and, of course, less expensive). Many simply leave signed — and generous! — checks for the dead, according to the New York Times.

Barking works

In New Haven, Conn., in March, police had trapped two car-theft suspects in a multifamily building whose occupants were hiding from the suspects, thus requiring urgency in ending the siege. Officers ordered a K-9 unit but were told it would be delayed. In a tactic departments occasionally employ, officers threatened to release the dogs immediately and, to make the threat credible, officers began barking. The suspects surrendered.

Wand con

Briton James McCormick caused the deaths of hundreds of Iraqis after convincing a Baghdad police official that his “electronic” wands could detect bombs at 400 security checkpoints, in spite of U.S. officials’ many warnings that they were useless. In October 2009, for example, suicide bombers walked past two wand-equipped checkpoints into a neighborhood and killed 155. McCormick, who sold 6,000 of the devices to Iraq and the country of Georgia at prices of up to $40,000 each, was convicted of fraud in April.

Read News of the Weird daily at Send items to

© 2018 Star Tribune