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FRONTIERS OF FLIGHT Wednesday, October 1
Dutch inventors Bart Jansen and Arjen Beltman struck again recently when Pepeijn Bruins, 13, asked them to help him grieve over his pet rat, Ratjetoe, who had cancer and had to be put down. Having heard of the inventors’ work, Pepeijn asked if they could have Ratjetoe stuffed and turned into a radio-controlled drone.
HOW TO CONFUSE AN ARIZONAN Wednesday, October 1
In August, a state appeals court overruled a lower court and decided Thomas and Nancy Beatie could divorce, after all. The first judge determined their out-of-state marriage wasn’t valid in Arizona because they were both women, but Thomas has had extensive surgery and hormone therapy and become a man — though he’s also the spouse who bore the couple’s three children, since he retained his reproductive organs.
SQUAAAAWWK Wednesday, October 1
Regulatory filings revealed in August that AOL still has 2.3 million dial-up subscribers (down from 21 million 15 years ago) paying, on average, about $20 monthly. Industry analysts, far from rolling on the floor laughing at the company’s continued success with 20th-century technology, estimate AOL’s dial-up business constitutes a hefty portion of its quarterly “operating profit” of about $122 million.
DEFINITIONS Wednesday, October 1
Commentators have had fun with a new system of medical diagnostic codes (denominated in from 4-10 digits each) scheduled to take effect next October, and the “Healthcare Dive” blog had its laughs in a July post. The codes for “problems in relationship with in-laws” and “bizarre personal appearance” are quixotic enough, but the most “absurd” codes are “subsequent encounters” (i.e., at least the second time the same thing happened to a patient) for events like walking into a lamppost, getting sucked into a jet engine, receiving burns from on-fire water skis, or having contact with a cow beyond being bitten or kicked — those have separate codes. Also notable was S10.87XA, “Other superficial bite of other specified part of neck, initial encounter,” which seems to describe a “hickey.”
PLAY IT AGAIN, DOC Wednesday, October 1
For patients who are musicians, deep brain stimulation (open-brain) surgery can provide entertainment for operating-room doctors as they correct neurological conditions such as hand tremors. In September, concert violinist Naomi Elishuv, who’s performed with the Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra, played for surgeons at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center so they could locate the exact spot in the brain for inserting the pacemaker to control the hand-trembling that had wrecked her career.
WHO YOU CALLIN’ SHRIMP? Wednesday, October 1
Buddhists believe in the wholesale “mercy release” of living creatures, with smaller and less consequential animals making even stronger statements of reverence, according to a July New York Times story from Yushu, China, describing the freeing of river shrimp the size of a fingernail clipping.
TAKE A LOAD OFF Wednesday, October 1
University of Arizona Medical Center surgeons removed a 47-pound tumor from a woman’s stomach in April — not even close to being the largest ever mentioned here, but likely the only such large tumor held in the arms of a member of the surgical team, as pictured in a post-op photo.
WHAT’S THE MAGIC WORD? Wednesday, October 1
A September report from Rhone, France, tells of a 33-year-old man sentenced to prison for 10 months for harassing his ex-girlfriend with 21,807 phone calls and texts over the 10 months following the split (a daily average of 73). The man insisted he only wanted the woman to say thanks for carpentry work he’d done on her apartment.
SIZE MATTERS (SOMETIMES) Wednesday, October 1
A court in Leer, Germany, ordered a medical examination of the manhood of Herbert O., 54, to help decide a criminal charge of exhibitionism. The man’s wife testified Herbert’s organ is “too short to hang out of [his] trousers,” as claimed by the victim of the flashing. The judge asked a local health official to make an exact measurement.
CLUES AT THE SCENE Wednesday, October 1
Alfred J. Shropshire III was charged in June with burglarizing a home in Lakewood, Washington, identified by his having accidentally dropped at the scene a plaque from a local Mazda dealer naming Alfred J. Shropshire III Salesperson of the Month. John Martinez, 68, was arrested for allegedly robbing a Wells Fargo bank in Denver in July, having been identified by bank personnel who recalled the robber wore a black T-shirt with “John” on it and in part because video revealed a silver Honda registered to “John Martinez” was outside for a getaway.
 
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