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Curses, foiled again

Police investigating a convenience store robbery in Ferndale, Mich., by a man wearing a plastic Darth Vader mask identified Jamie C. Hernandez, 41, as the suspect after a surveillance camera clearly showed him putting on the mask before pulling a butcher knife on the clerk. (Oakland County's The Daily Tribune)

Albanian authorities arrested two men trying to drill a passageway into a bank vault from a store they rented above it. The noise from the drilling alerted authorities, Tirana police chief Tonin Vocaj said, noting, "We moved in when they were in the last stages of finishing the tunnel." (Reuters)

Be afraid

Using artificial lighting at night increases risk of insect-borne disease for humans, according to Brazilian researchers, who observed that light pollution alters human and insect interactions. Scientists concluded nighttime lighting lets people stay outside longer, increasing exposure to insects attracted to artificial lights, possibly because the lights signal human presence. Even when disease-carrying insects don't bite people directly, they may bite pets and animals that co-exist with humans and can pass along disease-causing parasites. (Environmental Health Perspectives)

Drinking-class hero

Anticipating a boost in space tourism, Australian researchers are hurrying to launch the world's first beer to be certified for consumption in zero gravity. The beer, a joint venture by space engineering firm Saber Astronautics Australia and Australian 4 Pines Brewing Co., will test on Zero Gravity Corp.'s modified Boeing aircraft, which flies a series of parabolic arcs that simulate weightless environments. Flight crews will record data on the beer's taste and its effects on the body.

Although NASA has sponsored studies on whether beer can be brewed in space, policy forbids alcohol consumption in the International Space Station. In 2006, Japanese brewery Sapporo teamed with Japanese and Russian researchers to create a beer, called Space Barley, brewed from barley grown from seeds that had flown for five months on the ISS. (Space.com)

Overreactions

Police charged James Lee Frank, 49, with making terroristic threats and threatening to use weapons of mass destruction after he became upset with his son's performance in elementary school and wanted to withdraw the boy from a class. Police said Frank called the school, located in West Sunbury, Pa., and threatened to blow it up and kill the staff. Officials immediately placed the school on lockdown and called state police, who found knives on the front seat of Frank's car after he tried unsuccessfully to enter the building. (Pittsburgh's WPXI-TV)

Kenneth E. Bonds, 45, admitted shooting a 17-year-old boy in the buttock because the youth refused to pull up his sagging pants. Memphis, Tenn., police say Bonds yelled at the victim and a 16-year-old companion to pull up their pants, then pulled a semiautomatic pistol from his waistband and fired at the 17-year-old, missing him. The youths ran, but Bonds fired more shots, and one hit the victim. (The Commercial Appeal)

Food in the news

A load of mayonnaise fell off the back of a truck in Japan's Hyogo prefecture, causing an eight-vehicle pile-up that injured three. "What probably happened is that cars traveling behind the truck squashed the bottles of mayonnaise, spreading it on the road," police official Masaaki Miyazaki said, adding that the dressing's eggs, vinegar and oil make it "more slick and dangerous than snow." (Agence France-Presse)

Missing the mark

The National Republican Senatorial Committee pulled a TV ad opposing West Virginia senatorial candidate Gov. Joe Manchin III because it depicted the state's residents as hicks. The ad, filmed in Philadelphia after a casting call seeking actors with a "hicky blue collar" look, shows men in flannel shirts and baseball caps posing as West Virginia voters worried Manchin will side with President Obama if elected. (Associated Press)

  • All the weird news that's fit to print.

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