Another installment of completely random newsbits with which I contend that improbable stuff constantly happen.
■ Scotland Yard detectives said they overestimated the number of dead in a fiery London commuter-train crash in October because some survivors had walked away quickly and left town, spontaneously deciding to start new lives. (Detectives know this because several changed their minds and returned home.) After an announcement that some bodies were burned beyond recognition, other people called investigators to say falsely that their estranged spouses were on the train, hoping for official death rulings so they could inherit marital property.
■ In February Bloomberg News reported that the $23 million Internet company NetJ.com, which went public in November, had seen its share price double in recent weeks, to nearly $4, despite the fact that the company plainly disclosed in Securities and Exchange Commission documents that it not only had no profits but no revenues, and in fact that it did no business of any kind. The company told the SEC that it might begin doing business soon, but maybe not, but if it did, it had no specific idea about what kind of work it would do.
■ On July 17, Michael Adams, 13, got his arm caught in an irrigation machine while working alone on his family's alfalfa farm near Crane, Ore., and watched as the arm was severed just above the elbow. He picked up the arm, walked 100 yards to a vehicle, and drove for help. Unable to steer well, he crashed, but walked to another vehicle, which he drove to a friend's home, and still comforted his distraught parents when they arrived. The arm was reattached, and Michael is doing fine.
■ In a video outtake mistakenly telecast on a Cape Cod (Massachusetts) public-access cable channel on July 31, the organizer of a cat-adoption service was shown being yelled at by her cameraman-husband (who was off-camera) to get the adoptable cat she was offering to stop squirming during the taping. One viewer told the Cape Cod Times, "The (cameraman) must have used the 'F' word 50 times, along with verbal threats to the kitten (to strangle it)."
■ Male Stereotypes Come to Life: In January, Quebec researcher Jim Pfaus told the Montreal Gazette that the rat is the "ultimate example" of the male mammal always on the lookout to copulate with new females and that when given alcohol, male rats notoriously re-attempt sex with females who had just rejected them.
■ An off-duty police officer reporting for an MRI while armed had the superpowerful magnet suck his gun away and slam it against the machine, causing one round to fire into a wall (Rochester, N.Y.).
■ Ernesto Alvear, 74, told reporters in Valparaiso, Chile, in December he would never again try to vote after being ruled ineligible for the third time in 10 years because records indicated he was dead.
■ A weaving driver in Jerusalem was ticketed after police discovered he was steering with his elbows while he was having conversations on two cell phones at the same time.
■ Nicholas G. Sober was ticketed for DUI (Allegheny Township, Pa.).
From my ancient weird news archives.