Mad Minute stories from Tuesday, April 4th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Tuesday, April 4th

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RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) -- Authorities say a horse returning from a run to Taco Bell escaped serious injury after falling into a 5-foot-deep hole in Southern California.
Fire officials say the saddled horse and its rider had just left a Taco Bell near downtown Riverside on Saturday when the cover on a utility vault collapsed.
Battalion Chief Jeff DeLaurie says a crane was initially requested to haul the horse from the vault but it wasn't needed. The animal managed to position itself so crews could pull it out using ropes.
A veterinarian says the horse suffered minor cuts to its legs.
DeLaurie tells the Press-Enterprise that it's unusual to see a horse in that part of the inland city of about 300,000 people.

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LEESBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Two sets of new parents were surprised to learn their babies were part of a Shakespearean connection at a Florida hospital just two weeks after another pair of infants premiered as Romeo and Juliet on the same day at a hospital in South Carolina.
The Orlando Sentinel reports Juliette Crouch was born Friday morning at Leesburg Regional Medical Center, northwest of Orlando. Hours later, Romeo Kidd made his debut down the hallway.
Hospital privacy laws almost kept the drama from playing out. But a nurse asked Carolyn Kidd her baby's name and said a Juliette was born earlier that day. She just couldn't tell them which room Juliette's parents were in.
"I was completely shocked by it," Marie Crouch said, adding that she'd heard about the babies born March 19 in a Hardeeville, South Carolina, hospital. Baby Juliet in South Carolina is spelled as Shakespeare wrote the name. "I had no clue the same thing was going to happen to us," Marie Crouch said.
In spite of the hospital rules, the two central Florida families began searching for each other.
"I was going to walk down the hallway and say, 'Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?'" Justin Crouch, Juliette's father, said.
The nurses were overjoyed when Romeo's family met Juliette's family. Lots of pictures were snapped and later in the day, the newspaper reported, hospital officials dressed Romeo in a tuxedo and Juliette in a dress for more pictures.
The couples promised to meet next year to celebrate their babies' first birthday. It turns out the families have lots in common. Marie Crouch and Carolyn Kidd are each 32 years old and they both have 2-year-old daughters. The families live near each other as well.
"They may end up all going to the same schools one day," said Justin Crouch, 30.
They exchanged contact information, unlike in "Romeo & Juliet" where the families were mortal enemies.
"It was a cool coincidence," said Romeo's father, Dana Kidd, 35.

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MOSCOW (AP) - Need some election interference? The Russian Foreign Ministry is ready to help - or so it says on April Fools' Day.
On Saturday, the ministry posted on its Facebook page an audio file of the purported new automated telephone switchboard message for Russian embassies.
"To arrange a call from a Russian diplomat to your political opponent, press 1," the recording begins, in Russian and English. Press 2 "to use the services of Russian hackers," and 3 "to request election interference."
A ministry duty officer, who did not give his name in line with official practice, confirmed to The Associated Press that the post was an official joke.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday emphatically denied allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election.

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Somebody donated a lot more than they intended to the Goodwill in Monroe, Washington last week.
Goodwill employees got a surprise when they opened a donated cooler and found marijuana.
Make that lots of marijuana.
Monroe police were called in to investigate.
"(The) employees were surprised when they opened the lid," the police said in a tweet.
The Monroe Police Department said the cooler contained 3.75 pounds of pot, with an estimated street value of $24,000.
Police said Goodwill was examining its surveillance video to see if it can find an image of the person who may have dropped off the cooler.

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Building a relationship with the perfect partner takes time. Sometimes, you have to build the partner first.
A 31-year-old artificial intelligence engineer in Hangzhou, China, claims to have married a female robot he created from scratch.
Zheng Jiajia built the "fembot" late last year and named her "Yingying." He "married" the lucky piece of electronics on Friday in an informal ceremony, according to the South China Morning Post.
Yingying isn't just a trophy-bot for Zheng: He says she can identify Chinese characters and images and even say a few simple words, according to the paper.
But she can only communicate with him, which is a little strange since Zheng has made his bot bride the official spokesperson of his company, a startup called Brain of Things, according to Mashable.
That's a decision that might strike some as "nep-bot-tism." 
The marriage was a traditional ? though not legally binding ? Chinese ceremony. As is the custom, Yingying wore a black dress and had a red scarf draped over her head.
Although marrying a robot is obviously a great publicity stunt for a company specializing in AI technology, Zheng may have decided to get romantic with a robot just to get his parents off his back.
According to Shanghaiist, a friend who attended the wedding told the Qianjiang Evening News that Zheng's family constantly pestered him to settle down.
The friend also told the paper that Zheng's heart was broken by a college sweetheart, so he swore off relationships entirely. However, Zheng told the paper the friend was just joking. 
Zheng told local publications that he plans to upgrade Yingying so she can talk, move around and even do housework.
If the couple ever wants to double date, they can hook up with Barcelona-based engineer Sergi Santos, who has invented a robot sex doll named "Samantha" that has to be "romanced" before it's in the mood for love.

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(CTV News) The murder victim was about 45 years old, 5'5" tall, weighed 110 pounds, had brown eyes and shoulder-length hair, numerous tattoos and dined on a hefty meal of meat in the half an hour before his death. He suffered a fatal wound to his back, just below the shoulder, from an arrow shot from behind.
And the time of death? Around 3,300 B.C.
Commonly referred to as the "Iceman" or "Ötzi," the victim is the world's most perfectly-preserved natural mummy. He was discovered by two hikers in 1991, frozen inside of a glacier in the Ötztal Alps, along the northern Italian border with Austria.
Because the Iceman was found in the state in which he died, his organs and skin were mostly preserved, unlike the mummies you may be familiar with from that time period, who had their organs removed for ritualistic purposes.
The frozen mummy presented researchers at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy with a unique opportunity to study how the Iceman had lived and even, perhaps, how he had died.
In order to get to the bottom of this ancient "whodunnit," the museum enlisted the help of a reputable cold-case profiler, Det. Insp. Alexander Horn of the Munich Police in Germany.
"It's by far the coldest case that I've been working on," Horn told CTV News Channel from Munich on Monday. "I've worked on cases that were 30 or 40 years old but 5,300 years… that was a long time ago."
Horn revealed that he was initially concerned there wouldn't be enough information to work off of until he learned about the condition the body was in. In fact, Ötzi's frozen remains ended up providing Horn with a wealth of clues that would eventually lead him to piece together a convincing theory of how the murder transpired.
The contents of the Iceman's stomach played a vital role in determining what may have happened to him, Horn said, noting there was evidence of recently cooked meat in the mummy's body. That suggests Ötzi took the time to sit down and prepare a proper meal for himself in the half hour before he died. The realization upends previous speculation that the Iceman was on the run when he was attacked.
"If you're in permanent danger, would you sit down and eat for a couple of minutes and take your time to do that if you're running away from somebody?" Horn said.
In addition to the Iceman's final meal, Horn said the discovery of a deep "defensive" wound on his right hand, which researchers estimate he received a day or two before his death, also offered important clues as to what may have happened.
The detective believes Ötzi's murder was the intentional result of a prior feud.
"For us, it's more likely that this was a follow up actually, that somebody followed him and then killed him and his choice was to kill him from a distance with an arrow," he said.
The possibility that the Iceman had been robbed at his camp on the glacier has also been ruled out because a number of his belongings, including a valuable copper axe, an almost-completed longbow and fur and leather clothing were retrieved with the body.
Even though investigators will have their work cut for them when it comes to identifying Ötzi's killer, archeologists continue to examine his remains to learn more about the time period and the evolution of the human body using forensic science.
"The interesting thing for us in researching Ötzi is that it's an ongoing research project. It has been for the last 25 years and will continue to be," Horn said.

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Tucson, AZ - A sports oddity this weekend from Arizona.
Check this out, Arizona Wildcats freshman Jessie Harper lines this pitch foul, and the ball ended up hitting the third base camera lens. 
The cameraman who usually shows you the action was part of the action on this play. 
The players ended up cleaning up the shards of glass before play resumed.
The Arizona freshman would later straighten things and hit a home run in this game. 

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Melbourne, Australia - An international mail room "down under" turned into a temporary reptile house after a package failed screening in a big way.
Mailroom workers discovered eleven snakes, nine tarantulas, and four scorpions in a parcel sent from from northern Europe Monday. 
After x-raying the box marked as containing "shoes", the now dead venomous reptiles were intercepted by customs authorities.
Among the seized animals were six Wagler's Temple Vipers, native to South-East Asia, and two Brazilian salmon pink bird-eating tarantulas, the third-largest tarantula in the world. 
Three ball pythons, two Hognose snakes, two Colombian giant tarantulas, and five Mexican redknee tarantulas rounded out the package.

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The Tasmanian tiger, believed extinct for more than 80 years, may have been sported in northern Australia, with the country's biologists launching a high-tech search to verify if any of the creatures have survived.
Also known as the thylacine, the tiger was a marsupial, like many of Australia's indigenous fauna. Shaped like a wolf, with tiger stripes running the length of its abdomen, the thylacine has a kangaroo-like pouch for its young.
By the time European settlers arrived in Australia, the thylacine was already rare, but hunting, disease, and competition from the dogs brought by colonists drove the timid and nocturnal tiger to extinction in the early 20th century.
The last thylacine perished in miserable conditions in Hobart Zoo in Tasmania on September 7th, 1936. In his book The Last Tasmanian Tiger, Robert Paddle explains how the female thylacine died as a direct result of maltreatment:
"In the last ten days of her life, minimum daily ambient temperatures varied from freezing 0°C to 8°C [...] while on the floor of the open cage, thermal conductivity ranged from a terrestrial minimum of -3°C to a solar radiation maximum of 42°C.
"Without access to her den, the thylacine was unshaded from the sun by day, and shelterless from the cold by night."
There have been more than 3,800 sightings of thylacines from mainland Australia in the decades since, with the public imagination caught with each new one.
In 1983, American billionaire and media mogul Ted Turner offered a $100,000 reward for proof the animal had not been made extinct. In 2005, as part of its 125th anniversary, Australian newspaper The Bulletin offer $1.25m should anyone be able to produce evidence of its existence.
But now reports coming from the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, Australia's most northern point, have pushed biologists at James Cook University to take a high-tech approach to proving whether or not the tiger still roams the land.
Based on a pair of detailed descriptions from a long-time park ranger and an experienced outdoorsman, the scientists have set up 50 camera traps throughout the remote and unspoilt wilderness of the peninsula.
Covering a landscape measuring more than 135,000 square kilometres, the 50 cameras will be hoping to spot a tiger in a place more than one-and-a-half times the size of the island of Ireland.
Should photos of a thylacine manage to be taken, it would not be the first extinct species to get the Lazarus treatment.
Several species have turned up out of the blue, decades after they were thought lost, though in most cases these are tiny rodents that are harder to spot in the wild.
But larger species do also reappear from time to time, with Gilbert's potoroo, a rabbit-sized marsupial, the closest comparison to the Tasmanian tiger. First identified in the history books in the 1840s, the potoroo remained largely unseen until natural scientists declared it lost in the 1970s.
In 1994, a PhD student and a volunteer studying quokkas accidentally captured three different potoroos, the first recorded specimens since 1879.
Australia naturalists say that there are now about 70 Gilbert's potoroos alive today.

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(WXYZ) - One grandmother was the unfortunate target when a chimpanzee decided to fling its feces at the John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids this past weekend, WZZM reports.
After the poop hit the woman directly in the face, one of the bystanders exclaimed, "it got grandma!" 

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