xxxNews Of The Weirdxxx
Bizarre but true stories about real people collected by syndicated columnist Chuck Shepherd.
In April, two former Cornell University entomologists, in what they said was a show of respect, named three new species of beetles that feed on slime mold after President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. “We admire these leaders,” said Quentin Wheeler, for their “courage” “to do the very difficult and unpopular work of living up to principles of freedom and democracy ….” The Agathidium bushi are found in Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina, while the cheneyi and rumsfeldi are native to Mexico.
A French biologist, writing in an April issue of the journal Nature, described a species of Amazonian tree ant that not only builds complex traps (using plant fibers, regurgitated vegetation and organic mold) but then lies in wait to grab a passing insect with its jaws so that it can stretch it out in the trap in a manner resembling (according to an Agence France-Presse report on the article) “a victim on a medieval rack.”
In 2001, News of the Weird, summarizing a report in the Chicago Tribune, wrote that physician Krishnaswami Sriram of Lake Forest, Ill., had been charged with 64 counts related to Medicare fraud based on billings for, among other improbabilities, two 70-hour days, one day with 131 house calls, and 32 patient-visits subsequent to their dates of death. In April 2005, following hearings on the charges and the sorting out of Sriram’s records, federal judge John Darrah absolved Sriram of trying to cheat the government and found him guilty only of “chronically inept” bookkeeping (at a total loss to the government not of $15 million, as prosecutors claimed, but $1,258). Sriram pleaded guilty to three counts and was put on probation.
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