Chuck Shepherd

Le Plat Sal (The Dirty Plate) restaurant in the Marais district of Paris features specialties actually containing dirt — or as Chef Solange Gregoire calls it, "the mud of the earth that caresses our toes, the sand kissed by the sun, and rocks." Mused a Food Network host in April, "What's left? People are already eating snout-to-tail, leaves-to-roots. ..." Gregoire extolled her four-star dishes, including pastry crust à la Mont Lachat rock and a Boue Ragout stew simmered with silt from the Seine River.

Entrepreneurial spirit!

• Goldman Sachs analyst Noah Poponak's 98-page paper (leaked to Business Insider in April) touted the wealth obtainable by capturing the platinum reputed to be in asteroids. The costs to mine the stone (rockets, launch expenses, etc.) might have dropped recently to about $3 billion — a trifle next to the $50 billion worth of platinum that Poponak said a single asteroid might contain. On the other hand, experts point out, such abundance of platinum might crash the worldwide price.

• The Twisted Ranch restaurant in the Soulard neighborhood of St. Louis saw crowds swell in March after it revamped its menu with more than two dozen items made with ranch dressing (including ranch-infused Bloody Marys). As one satisfied visitor put it, "Ranch is everyone's guilty pleasure."

Cool heads didn't prevail

• Police in Cleveland are searching for the woman whose patience ran out April 14 awaiting her young son's slow haircut at Allstate Barber College. She pulled out a pistol, took aim at the barber and warned: "I got two clips! I'll pop you." She allowed him to finish up — more purposefully, obviously — and left without further incident.

• Barbara Lowery, 24, was arrested for disorderly conduct in Cullman, Ala., in May after police spotted her standing on a car, stomping out the windshield and smashing the sunroof. She said it was a boyfriend's car, that she thought he was cheating on her, and that she had spent the previous night "thinking" about what to do, "pray about it and stuff." However, she said, "I did it anyway."

The drone economy

• A Netherlands start-up company announced in March its readiness to release drones capable of tracking freshly deposited dog poop (via an infrared glow from the pile) and, eventually, be guided (perhaps via GPS and artificial intelligence) to scoop up the deposits and carry them away.

• Researcher/inventor Eijiro Miyako announced in the journal Chem in March that he had created a drone that pollinates flowers (though requiring human guidance until GPS and AI can be enabled). Miyako's adhesive gel lightly brushes pollen grains, collecting just enough to touch down successfully onto another flower to pollinate it.

Clearing the conscience

In February, a 52-year-old man who, arrested for DWI and taken to a police station in Germany's Lower Saxony state, wound up spontaneously confessing to a 1991 cold-case murder in Bonn. Police confirmed that after reopening the files, they found details matching the man's account, though the man himself was "not quite clear" why he had confessed.

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