A daily look at life's oddities by Ana Samways

Sideswipe - May 19: Albert Park UFO

Unidentified Fungal Object.
Unidentified Fungal Object.

"Walking through Albert Park last week I noticed a group of tourists crowded in a circle," writes Ted Edwards. "They were pointing to something on the ground, while several were taking photos. I was intending to walk right past, but curiosity got the better of me and I stopped for a look ... Obviously a fungus of some sort - never seen anything quite like!" Maybe readers can help identify the Unidentified Fungal Object.

Post 9/11 flight like a Stephen King novel

Q: What's the strangest incident that's happened on a commercial airline flight?

A: My wife and I were the only passengers on a big commercial airliner (Continental Airlines). It was the Friday after 9/11, and we were flying out of Houston to Hartford, Connecticut. It was one of the first flights after all the aircraft had been grounded in the US. We had scheduled the flight weeks before to go see our son at Yale. We were shocked, just the crew and us. They kept thanking us, we sat in first class of course, they told we we had a choice of any or all the seats on the plane.

They gave us three or four bottles of wine. Before we took off, the pilot, copilot, and maybe four flight attendants sat around talking to us. It was very eerie, and strange with the plane being completely empty.

It felt like we were in a Stephen King novel. (Via Michael L. F. Slavin on Read more airline stories here.)

Make your own fancy helmet

Instructions on how to make your very own Disco Ball Helmet are here.

Duct tape facts

1. The tape has always had a bottom layer of glue, mesh fabric, and a polyethylene plastic coating on top to keep it water-resistant. According to Johnson & Johnson, soldiers nicknamed the material "duck tape" in reference to its ability to repel moisture "like water off a duck's back".

2. Infections from hospitals account for 99,000 preventable deaths in the US each year. To safely fight infection while saving doctors' time and effort, a group of hospitals in the Midwest used duct tape to mark 3-foot-square "safe zones" extending from the doorway into a patient's room. Meaning the doctors could talk to their patients without having to change into full sterile gear every time. This idea saved the hospital system a huge amount of staff time and money. (Via Mental Floss. Read more here.)

This plaque has appeared on a few bench seats in Christchurch (Image credit Adrienne Cody)
This plaque has appeared on a few bench seats in Christchurch (Image credit Adrienne Cody)

Picture this: Stanley Forman received the Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography in 1976 for this photograph and the title of World Press Photo of the Year. The photograph, which is a part of a series, shows 19-year-old Diana Bryant and her 2-year-old goddaughter Tiare Jones falling from the collapsed fire escape of a burning apartment in Boston in 1975. He described his experience of taking the photograph here.

Video: A few days ago the winds at Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire were 175km per hour. Two observatory staff show how windy that really is. Click here to watch the video.

Got a Sideswipe? Send your pictures, links and anecdotes to Ana at

- NZ Herald

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