News of the Weird

Bits and pieces of the odd, the strange and downright bizarre gathered for your reading pleasure…and ours

Yamaha warns to stay out of large musical instrument cases after Ghosn escape

Yamaha has warned people not to try and squeeze inside musical instrument cases after reports former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn fled Japan concealed inside in one.

“We won’t mention the reason, but there have been many tweets about climbing inside large musical instrument cases. A warning after any unfortunate accident would be too late, so we ask everyone not to try it,” the Japanese company said in a post on its twitter account on Jan. 11.

Ghosn, who is accused of hiding earnings, transferring investment losses to Nissan and misappropriating company funds, escaped from Japan at the end of December for Lebanon. Japanese authorities have vowed to pursue him and have issued an international wanted notice for him and his wife Carole.

The former auto executive and fugitive has declined to reveal how he slipped past Japanese airport security, or confirm media reports accomplices smuggled him through a private jet lounge in Kansai Airport in western Japan hidden in large speaker box that was too large to fit through the facility’s X-ray scanner.

Earlier reports, which Ghosn has dismissed, said he was carried out of his home in Tokyo in a double bass case.

Yamaha, which makes instruments and equipment ranging from pianos and double basses to drums, electronics and heavy duty speakers, thanked people in a second tweet for liking its first post, which was retweeted more than 50,000 times. It also reminded followers again that instrument cases are designed for instruments and not people.

Retrieved January 14, 2020:

A whopper of a fishing story. 

Ice fishing. It can be a relaxing way to spend a winter’s day, until you realize your lure isn’t the only thing of yours that’s underwater. That’s exactly what happened to dozens of fisherman in Russia on January 4, after a crack developed on Voevoda Bay in the far southeast reaches of the country not far from Vladivostok. And as the headline already reveals, this mishap wasn’t limited to just a couple of cars.

According to a report from Metro, upwards of 37 vehicles were involved in the incident. Apparently, fishermen had parked just offshore in a neat row, and the ice was clearly a bit too thin for such weight in one area. From what we can gather in video footage, once the ice started to crack it followed the row of parked cars quite neatly from one end to another. Some were only partially stuck but other vehicles were completely submerged.

Fortunately, the report states there were no casualties but there’s no mention of possible injuries. It’s unclear if anyone was around – or in – any of the cars as the ice gave way. We suspect it must’ve been a crazy spectacle to see and hear, as it’s not every day an entire freaking parking lot succumbs to the sea. Emergency workers had freed 27 vehicles as of January 5. The fate of the remaining vehicles is unknown.

Voevoda Bay empties into the Sea of Japan and is just south of Vladivostok. In addition to the weight of all the vehicles, mild temperatures in the region apparently contributed to the ice being a bit soft. Here’s hoping everyone affected by this chilling experience enjoys slightly better luck as we move forward into the roaring ‘20s.

Thor would be proud

Tesla sent a “Holiday Software Update” to owners just before Christmas that included a haul of tech upgrades and features. Included were hard-news features like the improved Tesla Neural Net for identifying traffic lights and signs and rendering road marking and vehicles, convenience additions like more voice commands and hands-free launching of applications, entertainment options like Twitch streaming and support for farming sim “Stardew Valley” expanding Tesla Theater, and the Easter egg Camp Mode. There was also an unusual safety feature included — the ability to automatically save a dashcam video clip by honking the horn. The idea for that novelty apparently occurred to a Twitter user going by the handle “Brandon HW2.5Bernicky.” In November, Brandon asked Tesla CEO Elon Musk via tweet, “Thoughts on saving dashcam footage when honking the horn?” Musk replied, “Yeah, makes sense.” Six weeks later, it’s a real thing.

The new software began rolling out December 24. On December 28, a YouTube video revealed what could be one of the first real-world applications of honk-and-save. Picked up by Inside EVs, and as narrated by the YouTube channel Tesla Revolution, a two-minute clip from a Model 3 dashcam shows a driver minding his own business in the middle lane of a three-lane highway. After a taxi passes the Model 3 on the left, the taxi runs over a hammer that looks to have been left on the road, presumably after falling off a work truck. The hammer skitters down the road a bit, then takes a huge hop and flies into the Model 3’s windshield. As Tesla Revolution tells it, the only reason we have the footage is because the Model 3 driver honked the horn.

Thankfully, the hammer only bounced off the windshield and no one in the Tesla was hurt. However, the tool did leave an autograph in the form of a spider web of cracks almost square in the middle of the glass. No matter what the driver decides to do, a simple toot gives him the footage so that everyone, insurance and authorities included, can deal appropriately with the aftermath. This feature gets two thumbs up.

One of our favourite stories from the Darwin Files circa 2019…

And to close out this issue’s installment of weird car news, here’s one of the “greatest hits” from the previous year….

A customer at a supermarket in South America faced the wrath of disgruntled employees when they parked their car in the wrong spot.

According to Fox News, the driver parked their small Peugeot 208 hatchback in the shopping cart area of a COTO shopping centre in Temperley Argentina, in the Buenos Aires province.

That’s a top score in the being-a-jerk department, so employees responded by putting the shopping carts in their rightful spot anyway, all around the vehicle, boxing it in.

A witness, Arnold Angelini, said he noticed the scene at around 11am on his trip to the store.

“What I saw generated surprise and indignation because I said ‘park wherever’,” he said. “The weird thing is that the car was really badly parked and the (shopping carts) were put later. He parked wherever he wanted.”

Photos of the prank were posted on Facebook, courtesy of Angelini. The post has now gone viral with almost 7,000 shares.

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