x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

From a man who ate only potatoes to policemen who ate the evidence

After living on a diet of nothing but potatoes for 60 days, the executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission announced a weight loss of nine kilos.

After living on a diet of nothing but potatoes for 60 days, the executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission announced a weight loss of nine kilos.

Chris Voight was attempting to prove that potatoes could not be held responsible for America's obesity crisis. Mr Voight said he ate about 20 potatoes a day but avoided fatty extras like butter and sour cream. He added: "I've baked, boiled, broiled, fried, smashed and shredded potatoes."

 

Eaten evidence

Police attending a hostage scene accidentally ate some of the evidence. A gang who held a drug dealer hostage in Hertfordshire, England fled after the alarm was raised but before pizzas they had ordered could be delivered. Officers attending the scene took delivery of the Domino's pizzas and then threw away the boxes after eating the contents.

They later realised that the boxes contained the mobile phone number of a member of the gang. Another detective later recovered the empty boxes from the boot of a police car, leading to arrests and a successful prosecution.

 

Pedagogical chewing

Children at a primary school in southern Germany are being encouraged to chew gum in class in an attempt to improve their scores. According to Wolfgang Ellegast, of the Bavarian education ministry, "chewing gum is good for the children's health and improves their cognitive performance". The headmaster of the Volkenschwand school says: "The prerequisite for learning with fun is that kids come to school without fear and that they feel happy. Therefore we are encouraging them to chew gum in break and in lessons."

However, pupils must keep their mouths closed when chewing and have been given special containers for used gum, rather than the traditional method of sticking it under their desks.

 

Ancient desert lake

Evidence of a huge lake that once filled the heart of the Sahara Desert in Egypt has been uncovered by space photographs. The lake, to the west of the Nile, would have been wider than Lake Erie in the Great Lakes of North America. It first appeared 250,000 years ago and finally vanished 80,000 years ago, according to a report in Geology magazine.

The images, taken using a radar camera from the space shuttle, detected the lake's ancient shoreline. Scientists say the lake could have played an important part in early man's migration from Africa.

 

Should have stayed home

A passenger on a cruise ship who dropped the ship's anchor because he wanted to extend his Caribbean holiday is facing a long prison sentence. Ryan Ehlert released the rear anchor on the MS Ryndam while it was sailing through the Gulf of Mexico to Tampa, Florida. Although the ship escaped damage, the owners, Holland America, say his actions could have punctured the hull and endangered the lives of the 1,200 passengers.

Ehlert, from California, was spotted on a closed-circuit television camera and now faces a fine of US$250,000 (Dh918,000) and up to 20 years in prison.

Stars galore

A new study has tripled the number of stars believed to exist in the universe. The survey, by a Yale astronomer, has concluded other galaxies have significantly more smaller red dwarf stars than our own Milky Way.

It estimates the number of stars at 300 sextillion or 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

jlangton@thenational.ae