Mad Minute

BOSTON (AP) — An archaeological dig in Boston’s historic Chinatown has been cut short after it turned up a 1980s music cassette, a toy dinosaur and other bric-a-brac.

The city’s Archaeology Program tweeted Tuesday that it was wrapping up its three-week excavation because researchers reached the water table, and it was unsafe to dig further.

The excavation of a vacant lot near the neighborhood’s distinctive gateway had been expected to last until early autumn.

In recent days, researchers have been humorously tweeting some of their “finds,” including a cassette by Boston R&B group New Edition, a dinosaur toy , linoleum flooring and other items from the 1970s and 1980s.

They’ve also showcased small porcelain pieces, some of which likely came from nearby Chinese restaurants as they dug methodically through layers of brick, concrete and other material.

City archaeologist Joe Bagley and other officials didn’t return calls and emails seeking comment Tuesday.

Researchers had hoped to turn up artifacts shedding new light on Boston’s immigrants — not only those from China but also Syria, Ireland and England who sought new lives in Chinatown from 1840 to 1980.

The neighborhood, at the edge of the city’s Theater District, drew thousands of newcomers attracted by cheap housing and plentiful warehouse jobs in the adjacent Leather District starting in the late 1800s.

“Boston is a city of immigrants, and this is an important piece of Boston’s history,” Mayor Marty Walsh said when the dig, the city’s first in Chinatown, commenced.

The city Archaeology Program has excavated dozens of sites over the years.

Two years ago, researchers unearthed an outhouse next door to the home of famed colonial leader Paul Revere in the city’s North End. They recovered fragments of pottery, bottles and a tobacco pipe.

In 2016, they dug at the boyhood home of Malcolm X in the city’s Roxbury neighborhood.

Researchers turned up artifacts from the 1940s to 1960s likely belonging to the slain civil rights activist’s family, but also Native American stone tool pieces dating to the time before Europeans came to Boston.

And in 2015, they surveyed the courtyard at the old Boston City Hall building downtown and found remnants of the original Boston Latin, the nation’s first public school.


LONDON (AP) — Putts are joining prayers at Britain's Rochester Cathedral, where a mini-golf course has been installed inside the medieval house of worship.

The course runs along the central nave and features nine holes designed like bridges. It's intended to teach young people about engineering and also has spiritual overtones.

Rev. Rachel Phillips, the cathedral's Canon for Mission and Growth, said it's hoped "visitors will reflect on the bridges that need to be built in their own lives and in our world today."

The course is open throughout August, though not when services are held.

Not everyone is thrilled with the addition to the cathedral 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of London, parts of which are almost 1,000 years old.

In Tuesday's Daily Telegraph, religious commentator Tim Stanley called the golf course "an act of desecration" that was "making Christianity look ridiculous."

Anglican priest Giles Fraser tweeted that "what people want from the church is the sort of moral and spiritual seriousness they can't get elsewhere. Not this."

But the cathedral's Canon Matthew Rushton said the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, head of the Church of England, had told clergy that "if you don't know how to have fun in cathedrals then you're not doing your job properly."

Rochester is not the only British cathedral to experiment with unorthodox attractions. Norwich Cathedral in eastern England is setting up a helter-skelter fairground ride to help visitors "see themselves, the building and God differently."


STRATHAM, N.H. (AP) — A New Hampshire police officer says the kitten he was trying to pick up in a parking lot turned out to be a bobcat, which then jumped onto the roof of a Burger King.

Stratham Officer Matt Callahan tells he was on patrol Saturday and saw the "kitten" run under a car. It eventually climbed a tree near the restaurant.

Once Callahan realized he was dealing with a young bobcat, he called state Fish and Game officers.

He also stood in the drive-thru line to alert customers in case the bobcat decided to come down, but it climbed onto the roof and took a catnap.

Callahan says he and the conservation officer climbed up and put the bobcat in a crate. The bobcat was released at a wildlife refuge.


PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A driver climbed out of the sunroof of a moving car to flee the scene of a chain-reaction crash in Philadelphia.

Video of the wreck was captured by a camera outside the studios of WPVI-TV on Friday.

The driver of a red Cadillac apparently did not see that the cars ahead of him had stopped and he slammed into one, which hit another car and then another. With the Cadillac still in motion, the man climbed through the sunroof and ran off.

Video showed the driver returned to the scene in the back of a Pennsylvania State Police vehicle nearly 45 minutes later.

Police appeared to ticket the man, who was able to drive away in the Cadillac.

State police have not said what the citation was for.


BERLIN (AP) — This caiman went: Swiss authorities say they're calling off the hunt for an alligator-like reptile spotted in an inland lake, declaring it "a phantom."

The meter-and-a-half (5-foot) long caiman was spotted by a fisherman in Lake Hallwil, about 50 kilometers west of Zurich, on July 14 when it briefly surfaced and scarfed down a duck.

Police considered the report credible, saying the caiman — indigenous to Central and South America — was likely an abandoned pet.

But spokesman Bernhard Graser told news site 20 Minuten Tuesday searches have been called off.

He says "he isn't doing any harm, it's like a kangaroo roaming around freely here — it doesn't belong, but it doesn't hurt either."

Graser says: "He'll probably remain a phantom, making it the summer story of the year."


NEW YORK (AP) — All those hours playing video games have paid off for a 16-year-old.

Kyle Giersdorf, of Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania, won $3 million as the first Fortnite World Cup solo champion. The competition took place Sunday at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.

That payout is more than Tiger Woods made for winning the 2019 Masters Tournament.

Giersdorf, who goes by "Bugha" in the gamer world, says "words can't explain it."

Some 40 million players competed for a chance to play in the finals.

The tournament offered $30 million in cash prizes.

In second place, 24-year-old Harrison Chang, of the United States, won $1.8 million.

The duo competition was won by 17-year-old David Wang, of Austria, and 16-year-old Emil Pedersen, of Norway. They'll split the $3 million prize.


It might seem obvious, but don't bring explosives or devices that shoot explosives on airplanes. Even if they're just replicas, it's still a bad idea.

The TSA recently tweeted out two photos of items that passengers attempted to bring onto planes with them. Based on the information, it does not appear that either traveler intended to use these items for no good, but they were still clearly against regulations.

On Saturday, a passenger at Newark Liberty International Airport was caught with what appeared to be a grenade in his checked luggage. According to the TSA, the authorities were called and the man was removed from the flight. Explosives experts eventually determined that it was actually a highly realistic replica of a grenade.

Of course, something like that still isn't allowed on airplanes.

The TSA tweeted out a photo of the object, with the caption, "The right way to pack a grenade is not to pack it at all. Passenger at EWR airport had this in his checked bag on Saturday. TSA contacted police, who removed the man from the plane for questioning. Explosives experts determined that it was a realistic replica, also not allowed on planes."

On Monday morning, TSA agents discovered a missile launcher in a checked bag at Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport. This one was not a replica.

Apparently, a passenger claimed he was bringing it home from Kuwait as a souvenir. According to the TSA's Tweet, "TSA officers at BWI Airport detected this missile launcher in a checked bag early this morning. The man said he was bringing it back from Kuwait as a souvenir. Perhaps he should have picked up a keychain instead!"

Neither passenger was charged, although both devices were confiscated and will not be returned.


July 30 (UPI) -- A man who collected $25,000 from a Washington, D.C., lottery drawing using the numbers 6-6-6-6-6 won a second payout, this time using the numbers 3-3-3-3-3.

The D.C. Lottery said Adewale Awofala was one of several $25,000 top prize winners in the July 22 DC5 drawing, when the numbers 3-3-3-3-3 were drawn.

Officials said the drawing marked a new record for the game, with more than $2.5 million being paid out to winners.

He previously took home a $25,000 top prize from the drawing game in 2014, when he played the numbers 6-6-6-6-6. The more than $2 million paid out to winners from that drawing was a previous record for the game.


July 29 (UPI) -- A college student in India captured video of a stray cow wandering through a classroom in the middle of a session.

The video, recorded at the Indian Institute of Technology's Bombay campus in Powai, shows the cow causing surprise and confusion among the students and their teacher when it walks into the lecture hall and strolls across the room.

Students said the cow had apparently wandered into the building to escape heavy rains.

IIT officials said they are investigating the incident and looking into ways of keeping the numerous animals that live wild near the campus from wandering into buildings.


July 29 (UPI) -- An adhesives company in Germany set a new Guinness World Record when its heavy duty glue kept a 37,919 pound truck suspended over the ground.

Guinness said the company, DELO, applied its glue to an aluminum cylinder about the size of a soft drink can and attached it to a crane.

The glue cylinder was then able to lift the truck more than 3 feet off the ground, where it was suspended for one hour.

DELO said the glue was developed special for the attempt and is high temperature resistant.

"The great result is an absolute team success, which also shows how we work every day. We don't shy away from challenges and we know our adhesives can live up to extremes," said Sabine Herold, managing partner of DELO.