7 Sensational News Stories from 2018 You Maybe Missed

In 2018, Childish Gambino made music videos relevant again, Kayne West decalred that 400 years of slavery “sounds like it was a choice,” and apparently Cardi B threw a shoe at Nicki Minaj at a red carpet event.

While celebrities stole the headlines as always, these tales of average Jills and Joes barely made a peep, somehow:

The Foul-Mouthed, Shopaholic Parrot Named Rocco

There is an African Grey Parrot named Rocco, who was rejected from an animal sanctuary because he kept chirping human swear words at the crowd. After being taken in by a new owner, Rocco took up another uncontrollable habit: ordering things online via an Amazon Alexa device. The Times of London reported the parrot also asks Alexa to play him music and tell him jokes. Rocco has placed orders for things like strawberries, ice cream, and a kettle, before getting bared from Amazon by a parental control feature.

A Spanish Author Built a Spaceship to Visit a Non-Existent Planet He Created

Lucio Ballesteros spent roughly 100,000 Euros to build a spacecraft. It’s not for him though. He says he doesn’t think anyone will be able to use it until sometime in the near-but-distant future. He says humanity will have to “evolve psychically and spiritually” before people can figure out how to power his technology, and fly the thing. It’s entirely likely it’s all a publicity stunt for his novels, but it’s an awesome one. If it sounds like the basis of a documentary, stay tuned:  Documentary filmmaker Xoel Méndez is making a film about Ballesteros and his work, called 10/7.

People in Cuba Are Stinging Themselves with Blue Scorpions

There’s this 78 year old Cuban farmer, Pepe Casanas, who’s been hunting down a blue scorpion once a month to sting himself with. He claims it relieves him of the pain of his rheumatoid arthritis. He’s not alone. Curious, the scientific community explored the claim, and it’s true. In fact, blue scorpion venom may also prevent the growth of cancer tumours. The prized venom is now the basis of Vitadox, a new-ish drug for sale in 15 countries. 2018 saw that number really ramp up. In Cuba, tens of thousands of patients enjoy it for less than a dollar a vial, but outside of Cuba, on Amazon say, it costs over ten times as much.

The Fart That Ended in Aggravated Assault

According to the Miami Herald, 37-year-old Shanetta Yvette Wilson let out a loud fart in a dollar store, and when someone called her out on it, she pulled a knife on him; said she was going to gut him. She wound up charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The case is being touted as an argument for shouting the classic, defensive line, “you smelt it, you dealt it” (as opposed to reaching for your knife. Seldom an appropriate social response).

Seals Keep Getting Eels Stuck Up Their Noses, and Nobody Knows Why

^^ That headline is a direct copy and paste from Live Science, and says it all. Young seals in Hawaii are getting eels stuck in their noses – the right nostril it seems – and no one knows why. “In almost 40 years of monitoring, we have actually never observed this until a few years ago,” said Charles Littnan, a monk seal conservation biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries. He added that it’s probably just a weird anomaly or statistical quirk, but who knows, right? Maybe snorting eels is the Monk Seal equivalent of the Tide Pod Challenge.

China is Making Its Own Moon?

City officials in the Chinese city of Chengdu announced their plans to build and launch its own artificial full moon by 2020. It’s not looking to overshadow the real moon or anything – the fake moon will be built in a way that complements or accentuates the light of the existing moon. In addition to the obvious, picturesque aesthetic appeal, the intention is to save the city money by replacing the need for streetlights. Russia announced a similar idea in the 1990s, dubbed a “space mirror,” capable of producing light “equivalent to three to five full moons.” Some people love the idea, most people are worried about how it will interfere with air travel navigation, astronomical observations, or wildlife (for example, in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, hundreds of coral species simultaneously release their eggs and sperm in response to moments of intense moonlight).

A Guy Got Stuck in a Greasy Restaurant Vent for 48 Hours

It is assumed his intentions were dodgy. A skinny man stripped down to his pants and a tee, and jumped into a Chinese restaurant’s grease vent, presumably to get inside the locked restaurant. The article in NPR explains what went wrong: “It turned out it wasn’t a straight drop from the roof to the floor. After making it about 5 feet down the chute, the 5-foot-9-inch man hit a turn in the vent, forcing him into a semi-crouched position with his arms reaching up, immobilized over his head … Trapped and unable to move in any direction, he started calling out for help. But his desperate cries were muffled in the layers of rancid oil that surrounded him.”

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