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The 15 Quirkiest News Stories from 2018

While headlines are meant to shock and surprise us, these stories reveal the true wackiness of the world in which we live.

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African parrotPhoto: Natali Glado/Shutterstock

Jessie the Parrot “turns the air blue”

Normally, one would like to thank the person who helps them out of a precarious or dangerous situation. Well, Jessie the parrot just isn’t that kind of girl. In mid-August 2018, she took her independence into her own talons and flew the coop. She remained on the roof of a neighbouring house for three days, and when confronted with a firefighter’s attempt at rescue, the Macaw parrot squawked curses in his direction. She eventually came home on her own.

Here are 12 facts about animals that you have all wrong.

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Heavy metal festival in GermanyPhoto: Queen Soft/Shutterstock

Elderly heavy metal fans escape nursing home to attend festival

The year isn’t over yet, but this story is quite possibly the best of the year. Two elderly friends in a nursing home in Germany decided they deserved a field trip, so they hoofed it to the biggest heavy metal music festival in the world, Wacken Open Air. When the two were found, they didn’t want to leave—true fans—so they had to be escorted by police back to their residence.

Find out what your favourite type of music says about your personality.

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Goats running in fieldPhoto: Olis Design/Shutterstock

The goat invasion of Boise

Yes, this happened: Over 100 goats took over a suburban area of Boise, Idaho when they escaped from a field kept by a company called We Rent Goats—a real company. Apparently, the goats were being employed as weeders, but they got a little overzealous.

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Two ants in antholePhoto: Mr. Winter/Shutterstock

The world’s smallest diamond thief caught

New York City has seen more than its fair share of robberies, but this is probably the only one committed by a creature only a few millimetres in size. A jeweler in the city simply watched in amazement for a few moments as he saw an ant attempting to make off with a small diamond. Ants regularly carry objects more than 100 times their own size, but those objects are usually food or other resources. For whatever reason, this ant just wanted something fancy.

Read up on the most expensive things that have ever been stolen.

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Spaghetti boiling in pot of waterPhoto: Konontsev Artem/Shutterstock

Scientists solve the spaghetti problem

Anyone who has ever made spaghetti knows the problem: Break the hard noodles in half to get them in the pot and watch the fragments scatter around the kitchen. Thankfully, two genius scientists at MIT finally solved the problem. The answer? Twist and snap.

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Close-up of child's earPhoto: Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Yanny and Laurel fight it out

In 2015, there was the dress controversy (what colour did you see?). In 2018, there was the Yanny and Laurel controversy. A clip of a voice saying the name “Laurel” went viral on the Internet when people were split into two separate camps: those who actually heard the word “Laurel” and those who heard “Yanny” instead. Apparently, which word you hear has to do with what range of frequencies your ears pick up best.

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Vivid blue peacockPhoto: Nick Pecker/Shutterstock

Peacocks harass Canadian cars

It’s no secret that peacocks flash their stunning feathers to attract a mate, but who knew they actually can’t stand the sight of their own reflections? Owners of blue or black cars in a neighborhood of Surrey, BC, found this out the hard way when feral peacocks in the area began attacking their cars. The peacocks can see their reflection and believe it’s a rival male—and they attack.

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Zombie apocalypsePhoto: Borkin Vadim/Shutterstock

Zombie alert in—where else?—Florida

The age of the Internet has brought with it cybersecurity issues. Hackers have been able to break into everything from cell phones to government databases. Perhaps the most hilarious was the hacker-issued alert for a zombie invasion that went out to everyone who lived in Lake Worth, Florida during a power outage.

Find out the creepy things your smartphone knows about you.

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Dating app Tinder on phonePhoto: Pe3k/Shutterstock

Woman launches massive Tinder dating competition

Some people use Tinder to meet people for random hookups. Others have managed to find the love of their life on the matchmaking app. In one very unusual case, a woman was able to use the app to lure dozens of men to what turned out to be a giant dating contest in the middle of New York City.

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"Mario Kart" video gamePhoto: Leonel Calara/Shutterstock

Gamers revolt after Luigi’s “death”

The Mario Brothers are icons of the video-gaming world, something their creator—Nintendo—learned it shouldn’t take lightly. In an online trailer, Nintendo showed Luigi falling victim in Dracula’s castle and his soul leaving his body. Gamers worldwide freaked out; the frenzy reached a point where the company had to issue a statement and assure everyone that Luigi would be OK.

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Preamble to the United States ConstitutionPhoto: Eurobanks/Shutterstock

Vermont 14-year-old runs for office

While running for U.S. President requires that you be at least 35 years of age, Vermont neglected to set a minimum age for the office of governor in its constitution—which inspired 14-year-old Vermont resident Ethan Sonneborn to declare his candidacy. He managed to garner 8.2 per cent of the vote in the state’s Democratic primary.

Check out these fascinating facts you never learned about America.

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CowsPhoto: Birkir Asgeirsson/Shutterstock

Felon chased down by cows

Grand theft auto will get you arrested—but hunted down by cows? In Florida, Jamie Young allegedly stole an SUV, was pursued by police, crashed into a stop sign, and began running from the cops. The field she sprinted into happened to have dozens of cows with a high regard for the law—or at least a strong dislike of strangers. The cows chased Young into the relative safety of the police.

Marvel at more stories of criminals who don’t quite qualify as masterminds.

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Barack ObamaPhoto: Evan El-Amin/Shutterstock

High school valedictorian tricks class

A Kentucky high school valedictorian used his moment in the spotlight to make a political point. In his speech, he quoted wisdom supposedly from current president Donald Trump: “‘Don’t just get involved. Fight for your seat at the table. Better yet, fight for a seat at the head of the table.'” When the red-state audience applauded, he revealed that the quote was actually from President Obama.

Here are 10 historical figures you didn’t know were related.

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Iron Man suitPhoto: Anton_Ivanov/Shutterstock

‘Iron Man’ suit stolen

The actual Iron Man suit from the blockbuster Marvel films went missing from a prop house and has yet to be found. It’s hard to imagine someone successfully walking away with the suit—reportedly worth more than $300,000—without being noticed. (This source wonders if Thanos is involved.)

Check out these 15 things you might not have known about your favourite superheroes.

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South Korean robotPhoto: Belish/Shutterstock

Robots take over the slopes in South Korea

The world-class athletes in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang probably didn’t realize that just down the road, robots were taking their best shot at the slopes. Robotics teams from various universities and research institutions built skiing robots to compete in a downhill contest with a $10,000 prize at stake.

Next, don’t miss these true stories that will change how you think about luck.

Originally Published on Reader's Digest