Roundup We at The Register are constantly on the lookout for important technology and science news to bring you, our smart, funny and data-hungry readers, because we know you need to be kept up to date.
However, we know you also like to know about daft people doing strange, absurd or unusual things for no obvious reason, so here’s a roundup of some of that.
The Texas lawnmower non-massacre
An unidentified resident of Fort Worth, Texas, became involved in a four-hour armed standoff with police on Friday over the state of his lawn.
According to local news outlet Fox 4 KDFW, under the Fort Worth city code, grass on residents’ lawns has to be kept shorter than 12 inches (30cm).
This particular homeowner had received seven citations for his overgrown lawn in only two years so police arrived at 8:30am with representatives from a city-appointed gardening company to enforce the statute and cut the grass.
Police knocked on the door a number of times but got no response so the mowers started mowing. At this point the homeowner opened fire on the assembled police and landscapers, fortunately without hitting anyone.
“We heard like around five to six shots,” said witness Melissa Sandoval, who lives nearby. “And that’s whenever I actually screamed because I never heard that before.”
“Nobody was struck by gunfire, but it appears that some of the code compliance vehicles were struck by bullets,” added Fort Worth Officer Jimmy Pollozani.
Everyone involved then took cover, the police were reinforced with a SWAT team and a standoff developed, during which the homeowner opened fire at least twice more. The stalemate lasted for nearly four hours, before police deployed tear gas and forced the man out of his house, allowing him to be detained.
When he was arrested, police said he was armed and wearing a hazmat suit of uncertain origin.
“This is the first I’ve ever heard of it in my 15-year career,” Officer Pollozani said. “Being shot at trying to make the community look better? That just proves the dangers of this job.”
The lawn was later successfully reduced in height by suitably wary gardeners.
Quarantine hotel ciggy raid
A woman in COVID quarantine in a hotel on Australia’s Gold Coast may have become the first person to ever violate the terms of her stay due to the intervention of a drone.
On 11 June a drone was spotted by a hotel staff member delivering a packet of cigarettes to the balcony of her room, according to Australia’s 9 News.
The hotel notified police, who interviewed the recipient of the unconventional drop-off. She was later fined AU$1,300 (£697, US$955) for breaching her quarantine conditions.
If he is identified, the drone pilot could also face prosecution for unsafe flying by Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
It is not known whether it was a smoking or non-smoking room.
North Korean accordionists take on charts
Norwegian artist Morten Traavik has collaborated with an unlikely group of musicians to release a truly unique recording.
Take On Us! Pyongyang Gold Stars Play Great Popular Hits Vol. 1 is a rerecording of the 1985 album Hunting High and Low by Norwegian pop sensations A-ha, performed by a quintet of accordionists from the Pyongyang Music School No.1 in North Korea.
Traavik told NK News that the album came about as part of a cultural collaboration with the DPRK, and evolved from a video of the school’s students performing a chipper version of A-ha’s global hit “Take On Me” that went viral on YouTube in 2012.
“The impact of that clip inspired me to return to DPRK some time later and record the full A-ha debut album Hunting High and Low,” he said. “I dare say that the Kum Song Music School didn’t disappoint this time around either.”
The music on the album was originally recorded in 2013, but Traavik feels it is unlikely a follow-up will be recorded anytime soon due to the worsening political climate in the isolated nation.
“The internal political climate in the DPRK has regrettably become far less permissive and liberal – if one can use such a word – since the Seventh Workers Party Congress in 2016,” he said. “Culture and the public space is now more tightly controlled than in a long time.”
The album was released earlier this month on the Ship to Shore PhonoCo. label.
Mosquito tornado darkens Russian skies
Finally, after US president Joe Biden managed to survive a presidential decapitation attempt by a terrifying monster insect swarm of Brood X cicadas, Russia has decided to prove to the world that it is the equal of the United States in all things by revealing its own hexapod apocalypse: a tornado of mosquitos.
While reporting on the phenomenon, the New York Post quoted a worryingly unbothered Russian entomologist called Lyudmila Lobkova, who said: “These are male mosquitoes swarming around one of several females in order to mate – there is nothing wrong with this.”
Not to you, maybe.
This is how it is now. Horny mosquitoes form terrifying Biblical weather phenomena and boffins shrug and say “there is nothing wrong with this.”
If, like me, your 2021 news bingo card is now full, please join me in murmuring an apprehensive “House?” from under the table.
It’s not even August yet. ®