On Sept. 27, 1986, 1.5 million balloons were released above Cleveland's Public Square. The world-record-setting event was intended as a fundraiser for the United Way. But the publicity turned negative when all those balloons that had floated up eventually came right back down, creating a massive mess throughout the region. Read more about it on cleveland.com.
When Iranian national Golshifteh Farahani decided to take a stand against Iran's notoriously strict rules for women, she wanted maximun exposure. So what better way for the Paris based actress to show Ahmedinejad the finger than to show a whole lot more than than, by posing naked for a French magazine. Well it certainly got their attention (plus the attention of a many others judging by the huge upsurge in visitors to her Facebook page from her home country), the Iranian government has banned her from ever returning home. According to Ms. Farahani, an official from Iran's Ministry of Culture told her that Iran didn't need any actors or actresses, which was especially ironic since Iran won it's first ever Golden Globe award this year for the film "A Separation" (The Independent).
From the nude to the rude now, as popular British daytime quiz “Countdown” stirred up a bit of controversy this week when a contestant won one round with the word “wanker”. The object of the game is to make the longest possible word from a random selection of vowels and consonants in just 30 seconds, and in this particular round this meant the letters RAEPKWAEN. Mark Murphy’s six letter offering left host Nick Hewer at a loss for words, but was the longest and is in the dictionary, hence took the round after his opponent could do no better than 5. Clearly though “wanker” shouldn’t have netted Mark the points, he could have had “reawaken” for eight (Orange).
A slightly more pleasant shock greeted teacher Parijat Saha from Dinajpur in India when he checked his bank account online one evening. In a classic Monopoly moment, a bank error in his favour gave him a balance of 490 billion rupees (about $9.7 billion). Mr. Saha promptly rang the State Bank of India to report the mistake, joking that the bank appeared to have so much money it was overflowing into his account. A bank spokesman later claimed that the funds were uncleared, and in any case couldn’t have been withdrawn (Digital Spy).
Finally, a three-night astronomy special on British television scored two spectacular successes this week. The BBC show “Stargazing Live”, hosted physicist Brian Cox and comedian Dara O’Briain live from Jodrell Bank, encouraged viewers to get more involved with astronomy, both from their gardens and online, and has led to a 500% surge in telescope sales in the UK in the last few days, but more spectacularly, one viewer may have actually discovered a new exo-planet after visiting a website featured on the show. Chris Holmes was one of sixty thousand people who were inspired to visit planethunter.org after watching the show, and despite having no more than a passing interest before, he identified a possible eclipse of the star SPH10066540 by a Neptune sized object in a 90 day orbit (BBC News).
Popular UK tourist attraction The London Dungeon got a little creepier this week, when it turned out one of the skeletons on display at its “creepy crypt” exhibit was the genuine article. The skeleton, since nicknamed “Kate Moss” by staff, has been on display since 1975, but will now require a license to remain on show, at a cost to dungeon owners Merlin Entertainments of £2000 per year. In the short term at least, this will likely be more than made up for by the surge of visitors arising from this fortuitous publicity, occurring just before school break (The Telegraph).
Miss Moss isn’t the only famous beauty to have her image misappropriated this week, with German magazine Focus deciding a photoshopped image of the goddess Aphrodite giving the finger was an apt summation of the current financial crisis among “Eurozone” countries - popularly (in Germany) laid at the doorstep of member country Greece. However although the country is out of money, it is not without pride, and the provocative cover has led to questions being asked in the Greek parliament and widespread outrage. Now a party of six Greek citizens have started legal action against the journalists responsible. Soon to be a major motion picture, My Big Fat Greek Lawsuit (Orange).
Someone else who still has their pride, but only just, is the husband of 69 year-old Virginia Valdez of Palm Springs, California, who after 32 years of marriage, decided enough was enough and tried to cut off her husband’s penis with a pair of scissors. No motive for the attack has yet been released, but this close to Christmas, wives everywhere are sure to insinuate that it was possibly a seasonal condition brought on by lack of jewellery (NBC San Diego).
A weekend outing by Japanese sportscar entusiasts ended abruptly this Sunday, when one of the Ferraris accidentally clipped the center barrier of the Chugoku Expressway and started a series of collisions that ended up writing-off eight Ferraris, three Mercedes, a Lamborghini and a Toyota Prius.
Although 14 cars were actually involved in the accident, there were no serious injuries (those to pride and wallets don't count). The cost of the damage is estimated to be in the region of $1 million (AutoGuide.com)
A visitor to the Boijmans van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam, Holland made quite an impression this week after inadvertently stepping onto one of the exhibits. And if that weren’t bad enough, the exhibit in question was a featureless, floor level tank filled with over a thousand litres of peanut butter.
Much to the amusement of nearby tourists , the startled art lover promptly sank into the installation, a 1962 work by Dutch artist Wim T. Schippers named – appropriately – Peanut Butter Platform, but since the piece is only a few centimetres deep, he was quite able to extract himself, leaving only a few nutty footprints as record of his adventure.
The museum meanwhile has demanded that the unfortunate fellow pay for the damage caused by his impromptu art-criticism, but they may have no solid foundation to do so. This is not the first time someone has accidentally trod on the exhibit, but museum bosses have previously refused to erect any form of barrier around the piece claiming that to do so would spoil its beauty (Herald Sun).