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Quick Takes

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Issue: "Border gridlock," Aug. 9, 2014

Float to work

If walking, biking, and ridesharing don’t work as alternative commuting methods, the city of Boulder, Colo., has one more idea: tubing. On July 14, reports the Boulder Daily Camera, Boulder residents floated down Boulder Creek on the way to their job in the city’s annual “Tube to Work Day.” According to event organizers, about 20 participants donned their business attire—some wearing suits and ties—grabbed an inner tube, and floated from the city’s western edge into downtown. Cory Katuna, a recent college graduate and first-time participant, called it “the most Boulder thing ever.”

Dream weavers

A judge in the United Kingdom has ruled that a York restaurant owner must split the proceeds from a winning lottery ticket he bought with an employee because the employee claims to have had a premonition about winning. The case decided by Judge Mark Gosnell in July began in January 2012. According to testimony, employee Fatih Ozcan began pestering boss Hayati Kucukkoylu to buy a lottery ticket because Ozcan had a dream in which the pair won. So the owner bought a ticket, which ended up winning a $1.7 million jackpot. Ozcan then demanded half, despite the fact that Kucukkoylu says he paid for it and was acting on his own premonition. But Judge Gosnell ruled that Kucukkoylu wouldn’t have purchased the ticket without Ozcan’s pestering and therefore ruled the award should be evenly split.

Spider overkill

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A Seattle resident trying to kill a spider also very nearly killed his house. Kyle Moore, a spokesman for the Seattle Fire Department, says the man, whom authorities did not identify, used spray paint and a lighter as “a self-made blowtorch” to attack a spider escaping into a wall in his laundry room. The wall caught fire, and the man apparently tried unsuccessfully to douse the fire with water. The blaze then spread and caused $60,000 in damage to the home before firefighters were able to put it out. The cost was high, but the man probably accomplished his objective. “I’m pretty sure the spider did not survive this fire,” Moore told the Associated Press. “The whole wall went.”

The new rich

They may be pint-sized, but a trio of eighth-grade rockers from Brooklyn, N.Y., appear poised to make it to the big time. Record label Sony signed 13-year-olds Malcolm Brickhouse and Alec Atkins and 12-year-old Jarad Dawkins—collectively known as Unlocking the Truth—to a record deal that paid $60,000 up front and could eventually net the boys $1.7 million. A Sony executive who saw a viral YouTube video of the middle-school metal band busking in Times Square contacted one of the boys’ mothers earlier this year to ink the deal.

Dressed to kill

Because mechanically fatigued jeans are just too passé, one Japanese clothier is offering denim that’s a bit more wild. Zoo Jeans, a startup created to help raise money for a zoo in Hitachi City has promised customers a shot at buying jeans “designed by dangerous animals.” The process begins with raw denim tied around old tires and inflatable balls which are then placed in cages with bears, lions, and tigers. From there, the beasts scratch and tear holes in the denim while playing with the objects. Then, after the material is removed from the cages, a seamstress cuts denim patterns and sews together a pair of jeans. The startup promised to auction pairs of the jeans on its website and donate proceeds to the zoo.

Pig’s path

Residents of Oakland, Maine, be warned: An enraged pig may be wandering the streets looking for someone to chase. For about a month, a pig local to the central Maine town has snorted and chased after residents walking along a nearby hiking trail. On July 8, the fugitive black-and-white pig chased a pair of children walking along the way. On July 14, the pig tried to attack a woman in the same location. Both times police were unable to apprehend the 80-pound porker and have since closed off the trail. “It’s a public safety thing,” a police spokesman told the Morning Sentinel. “The pig is out there.”

Kingly quest

Many fathers pretend their daughters are princesses, but one Virginia dad embarked to a sandy nether region of North Africa in a bid to make it a reality. In June, Jeremiah Heaton traveled by caravan into Bir Tawil, an unclaimed portion of desert along the Sudan-Egypt border. Bir Tawil is one of the few places left on earth with terra nullius status—meaning it is not claimed by any government. Sudan considers the 800-square-mile territory to be part of Egypt. Egypt says the uninhabited territory belongs to Sudan. But when Heaton planted a homemade flag inside the territory in June, he claimed it for himself. Calling the land the Kingdom of North Sudan, Heaton has petitioned Egypt, Sudan, and the African Union for official recognition and has styled his 7-year-old daughter “Princess Emily.”

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