By The Editors of WorldMag.com
A real blast
A British ship in early March stumbled-safely-upon something meant for British ships of long ago: a .75-ton German mine from World War II. The vessel was reportedly conducting a routine survey in Portland Harbour in Dorset when sonar equipment spotted a “huge” object. As the crew lifted the object, crew members realized what it was and slowly put it back in place. It took an Explosive Ordinance Disposal team seven hours to tow the mine to a remote location and detonate it. “At the end, though, it is a good result,” Chief Petty Officer Diver Kas Kasapi told the BBC. “There has been no damage and everybody is safe.”
Four cents none the richer
Aaron Zeff says that when he realized the dark-suited men approaching his Sacramento, Calif., car-wash business were IRS agents, he had a sinking feeling. And when he discovered they were there to collect delinquent taxes, he felt even worse. “They were deadly serious, very aggressive, very condescending,” Zeff told the Sacramento Bee. But the feeling went away as soon as he opened the agents’ envelope. It turns out the government tax agency had sent two operatives to shake down Zeff for a four-cent bill. “It’s hilarious,” he says, “that two people hopped in a car and came down here for just four cents. I think [the IRS] may have a problem with priorities.”
Playing dress up
A civilian dressed in police clothes had the misfortune of “pulling over” a cop dressed in civilian clothes. Authorities in Maricopa County, Ariz., say 62-year-old David Word-with a siren and lights for his black Ford Crown Victoria-had a habit of impersonating a police officer. Last May, he pulled over Matt Lydic, told him to slow down, and drove away. Lydic, an off-duty police officer suspicious of the cop pulling him over, wrote down the car’s license plate number, which led authorities to Word. A jury on March 16 convicted Word of impersonating a police officer.
Produce the body
Cynthia Lacy of Treasure Island, Fla., had a simple request for the telecom giant Verizon after her father died in June: Please shut off his telephone service. Lacy even sent the company a copy of her father’s death certificate, but Lacy said customer service agents told her that she needed her father’s secret PIN number to shut off service. Even after Lacy explained to agents that she couldn’t exactly ask her deceased father for his PIN number, Verizon refused to help. “Well, there’s nothing else I can do for you,” Lacy said a representative told her before laughing and hanging up. Higher-ups at Verizon eventually sided with Lacy, but only after she took her complaint to the local newspaper. The company said it has disciplined and placed in coaching the offending customer service representative.
After a dozen years and nearly $300,000, officials in the United Kingdom are still not able to declare victory over the island’s last remaining colony of termites. British authorities discovered the colony in two infested homes in North Devon in 1998. Scientists tasked with eradicating the island’s only termite infestation said the wood-devouring creatures probably arrived in Great Britain aboard a potted plant shipped from the Canary Islands. The scientists spent 12 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to finish off the North Devon termites, treating the colony with growth-inhibiting chemicals that would prevent them from reproducing. But despite years of silence from the wood-eating bugs, a new colony has sprung up in the same location. The scientists say the new termites are probably from a subterranean splinter colony that avoided the original chemical attack.