‘Corpse flower’ that smells like diapers to bloom soon
Just in time for Halloween, a rare ‘corpse flower’ that gets its nickname from its putrid smell is expected to bloom next week at Dartmouth College’s greenhouse. Named Morphy, the titan arum is native to Sumatra’s equatorial rainforests and has a long, pointy stalk with a skirt-like covering and tiny yellow flowers at its base. It blooms just for several days. When it does, it has an odor described as rotting flesh, a decaying animal or even soiled baby diapers.
The plant is decorated with bats, spiders and an arm reaching out of the soil, holding a sign that says, “Help me!” It’s been growing several inches a day. By Friday morning, it reached 1.82 m. Visitors can go to the greenhouse or see the plant on Dartmouth’s webcam. The 15-year-old lime green and burgundy plant last bloomed in 2016, and before that, in 2011. Last time, it reached a height of 1.98 m.
“The older a corpse plant gets, the more likely it’s going to flower more often,” greenhouse manager Kim DeLong said. Morphy’s getting bigger, too. DeLong said after the last bloom, the plant grew a large leaf that reached 3 m, nearly touching the greenhouse ceiling. The leaf stayed open for 13 months and was busy photosynthesizing and storing up energy.
Once the leaf died in June, greenhouse staff repotted Morphy’s swollen underground tuber, which weighed 36 to 41 kg. In 2016, it was only about 14.6 kg.
Authorities nab New Jersey serial diaper dumper
Authorities say they’ve captured a man suspected of dumping his grandson’s soiled diapers along several New Jersey roadways over the past year. Franklin Township police say an officer acting on a hunch spotted 68-year-old William Friedman leaving a load of diapers in the area of Routes 47 and 40 around 3.15 am Sunday. He was taken into custody after a traffic stop.
Friedman allegedly told police the diapers came from his grandson, adding that leaving them around town without getting caught “almost became a game.” Authorities say a motorcyclist crashed in June after running over a diaper Friedman had allegedly dropped. The former suffered injuries and his bike was totaled. Friedman has been charged with interference with transportation. He faces up to $1,000 in fines.
Soap believed to be cocaine lands dealers behind bars
A sarcastic sign in the window of a Connecticut restaurant asking people not to let their dogs pee on the eatery’s outside flower pot has earned the owner a $250 fine. Duc Nguyen, owner of Duc’s Place in New Haven, said that he was disgusted with people allowing their dogs to urinate on his pot. He thought a humorous sign was a good way of discouraging dog walkers from letting pets relieve themselves there. It read: “Attn: dog owners. This is a pay-per-pee flower pot. (Pay inside or leave your address and we’ll kindly return the favor.)” Honda Smith, the city’s public space enforcement officer, said Nguyen broke two city ordinances for being a public nuisance and issued the fine. Nguyen says he plans to appeal.
Cat wakes up sleeping owner to escape from fire on farm
Police in New Zealand said a man was able to escape from a fire thanks to his cat jumping on him and waking him up. Fire and Emergency NZ said a crew from the Gisborne Station was dispatched along with Tolaga Bay volunteer firefighters Tuesday night when a fire was reported on a Whangara farm.
“When we arrived the building was fully involved in fire,” Gisborne Station Officer Chris Grimson told the Gisborne Herald. “Our main priority was to stop the fire spreading to the nearby hillside and the trees and other vegetation on it.”
Firefighter said no one was injured in the fire as the structure’s only human occupant was saved by his cat.
“There was a couple living there and the man was asleep when the fire broke out. His partner was away in town,” Grimson said. “He was wakened by their cat when the animal jumped on him.” “He got up to find smoke in the dining and kitchen area, and got out of the building through a bedroom window,” he said.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Pennsylvania’s McKeesport Fire Department said a couple were able to escape a fire in their home in March of this year when their cat ran into their bedroom in a panic and alerted them to smoke and flames inside the house.
Wanted: schwimmer lookalike shoplifter
British police are hunting a shoplifter who bears a striking resemblance to Ross Geller, the character played by David Schwimmer on the TV show Friends.
Facebook users noticed the similarity when police posted surveillance-camera footage of a man carrying a carton of cans from a restaurant in Blackpool, northwest England.
The actor responded with a Twitter video that showed him scuttling furtively through a convenience store clutching a carton of beer. Schwimmer wrote: “Officers, I swear it wasn’t me. As you can see, I was in New York.” He wished police well with the investigation.
Lancashire Police later confirmed that “David Schwimmer was in America on this date.”
Britain’s Daily Star newspaper ran a story about Schwimmer’s lookalike under the headline “I’ll Beer There for You,” a play on lyrics from the Friends theme.