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Quick Takes

Illustration by Krieg Barrie

Quick Takes
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Not-so-happy campers

Local officials have a new way to deter beach camping in one Southern England vacation destination. Officials with the Bourne­mouth, Christchurch and Poole Council put into action hourly wakeup calls for all campers overnighting on the beach. “Anyone thinking of camping on the beach can expect an uncomfortable night’s sleep,” a council official told the BBC. As part of the new program, council staff combed the English Channel beaches for tents each hour, waking up inhabitants and suggesting they move along. Illegal camping carries a fine approaching $1,400.

Herding habit

A lost dog that survived a traumatic crash fell into old instincts as owners searched for her. Tilly, a 2-year-old border collie and red heeler mix, was thrown clear of owner Linda Oswald’s GMC Yukon when it collided with a Buick on an Idaho state highway on June 6. Though Oswald avoided injury, she couldn’t find Tilly after the collision. Oswald and other volunteers spent 10 hours searching the area of the accident for the lost dog. Eventually, her family took to Facebook, hoping a widely shared message could help them find Tilly. It worked. Sheep farmer Travis Potter, whose farm south of Rathdrum, Idaho, sits 1½ miles from the crash site, saw the post and remembered seeing a similar dog on his property. Potter speculated the dog was drawn to his property because of his sheep. “I think that dog was trying to herd,” he said.

Going crypto

The government of El Salvador announced June 9 it planned to enter the cryptocurrency market. In a post to his Twitter account, President Nayib Bukele announced the small Central American nation would devote energy produced by the nation’s geothermal power plant toward bitcoin mining. Bitcoin miners use the computational power of computers to help keep the cryptocurrency’s ledger accurate. In exchange for aiding in the larger project, miners earn their own bitcoins. Bitcoin’s increased value—the cryptocurrency swelled above $60,000 per bitcoin earlier this year—has enticed larger and larger bitcoin miners to enter the fray. But all that computer usage costs a lot of electricity. According to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, bitcoin mining around the globe consumes as much power as a small nation such as Finland or the Philippines.

Queen of cake-cutting

The queen of England showed her mischievous side during a recent reception for volunteers helping organize next year’s Platinum Jubilee. When the time came for Queen Elizabeth to cut the cake, she borrowed a long, curved ceremonial sword for the job. With the sword, a smile, and a little help from Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Elizabeth, 95, made a clean slice into the cake. When someone reminded the British monarch a cake knife was also at hand, she responded, “I know there is. … This is something that is more unusual.”

Hazards of the road

Police in Ohio blame a bug for causing a June 7 traffic accident in Cincinnati. According to Cincinnati police, a cicada flew into a Chevrolet sedan through an open window and hit the driver’s face. The distracted motorist then lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a utility pole. The cicada was likely part of Brood X, a periodical cicada group that emerges once every 17 years in the East and Midwest. While the driver was unhurt, authorities found the cicada dead on the vehicle’s floorboard.

Much ado about nothing

An Italian artist has made something out of nothing, literally. Salvatore Garau exhibited his artwork, titled Lo Sono (in English, I Am), in an Italian gallery in May. Before long, Garau had found a buyer willing to pay $18,300 for the piece. The catch: Garau’s sculpture doesn’t exist. The artist, billing his work as an invisible statue, left instructions for the buyer to place the void in any empty 5-foot-by-5-foot space. According to Garau, the only material aspect of the statue is the certificate of authenticity delivered to the buyer on receipt of payment.

Waffles for freedom

When Lee Sanderlin entered a 24-hour Brandon, Miss., Waffle House on June 17, it wasn’t because he was hungry. Instead, he was there to carry out the penalty of finishing last place in his fantasy football league. According to the terms of the league, Sanderlin’s last-place finish meant he had to remain in the restaurant for 24 consecutive hours. But for every waffle Sanderlin consumed, he could remove one hour in diner purgatory. After cramming down four waffles in under an hour, Sanderlin posted on Twitter, “Please, somebody, launch me into the sun.” After 15 hours and nine waffles, Sanderlin had paid his debt. “Full of waffles but devoid of life,” he posted to Twitter.

Ham-handed joke?

Harbormasters in Algeria rejected grain shipments from France after discovering two pig carcasses inside the hold of two separate cargo vessels in June. Algeria’s agricultural minister said he’s seeking compensation from the now-banned supplier. Besides the sanitary concerns of including a rotting carcass inside a shipment of milled wheat, Abdelhamid Hamdani argued the pigs were a religious affront to Muslims, whose religion considers pigs unclean. The stunt will cost French wheat farmers who depend on exports to Algeria.

Dumpster diving discovery

Officials in Germany are investigating how two 17th-century paintings ended up in a dumpster beside a German highway. Police say a 64-year-old man discovered the two oil-on-canvas works in Bavaria in the dumpster of a highway service station. After retrieving the two portraits, the man turned in the artworks to police. Art experts identified one of the paintings as a self-portrait by Italian artist Pietro Bellotti completed in 1665 and the other as a portrait of a boy by Dutch painter Samuel van Hoogstraten, whose works have sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Police say they’re working to find the artworks’ owner.


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