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Quick Takes


Illustration by Krieg Barrie

Quick Takes
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One-cent ships

Half a century ago, they cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build. Now the USS Kitty Hawk and USS John F. Kennedy, the last two conventionally powered aircraft carriers, are worth just a penny each. That’s what International Shipbreaking Limited paid for the carriers in a deal announced in October. The Texas-based shipbreaker will make money on the deal if it can sell scrap metal salvaged from the massive vessels for more than the cost of demolishing the ships. Both ships joined the U.S. Navy’s fleet in the 1960s. The Navy decommissioned the Kitty Hawk in 2009 and the John F. Kennedy in 2007. Transporting the Kitty Hawk from Bremerton, Wash., to the Gulf of Mexico could take up to 4½ months, as it must be towed around the southern tip of South America. The John F. Kennedy has a shorter trip from Philadelphia. Often the Navy pays millions for contractors to take decommissioned ships away for scrapping. The former Enterprise, the first nuclear-­powered supercarrier, could cost more than $1.5 billion to dismantle.

Beaver-powered outage

City officials in Logan, Utah, blamed a beaver for a power outage that cut electricity to nearly 1,000 residents Oct. 3. According to a letter from the mayor, a beaver felled a tree that crashed into power lines. Emergency crews were able to restore power after an hour. City human resource director Ambrie Darley and her husband set out to capture the semi-aquatic rodent and managed to trap the offending beaver two days later. City officials relocated the beaver to a more suitable location far away from Logan’s power infrastructure.

Bathroom emergency

Ontario, Canada, emergency dispatchers got an unusual plea for help when a motorist stuck in traffic phoned 911 insisting he had an emerging bathroom emergency. In an audio recording released Oct. 8, the man tells the 911 operator, “The thing is I have to pee and these guys are not moving.” He explained the traffic jam prevented him from exiting the roadway. “This is your emergency?” the operator responded. “That you have to pee? And how are the police going to help you urinate?” The Peel Regional Police, which took the emergency call, posted the recording to remind residents that not all personal emergencies warrant a phone call to 911.

Roving jacuzzis

Nashville’s Metro government filed a lawsuit in October to temporarily shut down one of the city’s most unusual attractions. Officials formally asked a judge to ban the Music City Party Tub, a hot-tub-on-wheels business the city says violates local code. Owners of the business debuted the attraction on city streets in 2019, towing the hot tub trailer with a truck. According to Nashville officials, the business is operating a public swimming pool without a permit and does not have a business license in the county. The city issued a health code violation in August.

Adrift at sea

On Sept. 3, Livae Nanjikana and Junior Qoloni set out on a small motorboat to navigate from one island in the Solomon Islands to another. The pair had completed the 124-mile journey in the past. But this time, bad weather blew the sailors off course and knocked out their GPS, leaving them lost in the Pacific Ocean. The pair survived for nearly a month on provisions they brought, coconuts they found floating in the sea, and rainwater collected on board. Eventually the pair drifted to the coast of Papua New Guinea where a local fisherman found them and brought them ashore. Nanjikana told The Guardian one positive of their time at sea was not having to hear the constant COVID-19 news: “I look forward to going back home, but I guess it was a nice break from everything.”

Fool me twice

A suspected bank robber made his capture easy for detectives by attempting to rob the same bank two days in a row, police said. According to Fountain Valley, Calif., police, the 33-year-old suspect entered a Chase Bank branch Oct. 4, handed the teller a note, and fled the bank with a large amount of cash. Police arrived at the bank after the man had already left. But the next day, police received another report of a bank robbery in progress. This time, officers said they arrived in time to catch the very same suspect trying to rob the bank again.

Vikings strike again

Harkening back to coastal raids from a millennium ago, a Viking longboat wrought “devastation” on a coastal Scottish town in October. While being towed through Kirkcudbright, the mast of a Viking longboat replica struck power lines and knocked out electrical service to one of the town’s customers. A reenactment group specializing in bringing the early Medieval period to life decided to put on a show for students at a local elementary school. “We decided—just to keep our time down and make sure we turned up in absolute style—we were going to turn up with the mast up,” one of the group’s volunteers told the BBC. They checked the route for low bridges but forgot to check for power lines. “So, lesson learned, we are never rolling with the mast up again,” the volunteer said.

Find yourself 

After a night of heavy drinking, a Turkish man said he joined a search party to find himself. Beyhan Mutlu went missing after wandering away from a friend in a forest near Inegöl, Turkey, on Sept. 28. After sleeping off his inebriation in a house in the forest, Mutlu awoke the next day to find a group of people forming a search party. Seeking to be helpful, the 51-year-old joined the group only to be confused that members of the search party kept calling out his name. “After a while, they said they were looking for Beyhan Mutlu,” he told Turkish news outlet T24. “I broke into a cold sweat when I heard my name.” Mutlu said he told the group who he was, but the search party didn’t believe him until they found his friend who confirmed it.

Disorder in the court

A Welsh man attempted to place a criminal court judge under citizen’s arrest after refusing to recognize the judge’s authority. Daniel Hughes, 37, appeared in the courtroom of District Judge Neale Thomas to answer for a July assault near his home. During his recent hearing in Swansea, Wales, Hughes crossed through the well and attempted to climb over Thomas’ desk. During the commotion, Hughes told the judge he doesn’t recognize the court’s jurisdiction. Security guards wrestled and subdued Hughes, who was later charged with contempt of court and ordered to serve a 28-day sentence.

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