Human Zoo Coming to a Mall Near You?

What's your favorite part of the zoo? The monkeys? The elephants? The four Australian men living in a glass box in a mall?

Thanks to the Urban Dream Capsule, the latter will be available for your viewing pleasure in Shanghai, China, this June, the Associated Press reports.

The human zoo, which has already drawn crowds (mouths agape, no doubt) in London, Montreal and Hong Kong, is a 650-square-foot glass capsule in which the four exhibitionists will dwell for two weeks, going about their daily business — and we mean all of their business — for all the world to see.

"They won't turn off the lights or pull down the curtains. They show their whole life, from getting up to going to bed," Karen Chang, the event's organizer, told the Shanghai Daily newspaper.

"People like to watch them taking a shower, so they have to shower at least two times a day," Chang said. "Of course, one can't see the key parts, because there is nontransparent glass in the bathroom."

To give the event a little local flavor, the un-shy quartet will be sleeping, eating, bathing and pretty much any other kind of "ing" they fancy in a capsule that's decorated in a Shanghainese theme.

They've also been learning Chinese, so they can communicate with fans and voyeurs alike through faxes, e-mails or notes taped up on the glass.

"Interaction is a key element of the performance," Chang said.

Show me an elephant that can do that.

An Alien Communiqué a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Some say they’re messages from aliens. Others say they’re part of a guerilla art project. Still others say they’re just the product of crazy talk from some dude in Philadelphia.

At any rate, the so-called "Toynbee tiles" are a worldwide phenomenon — and a perplexing one at that.

Slightly bigger than a license plate, the Toynbee tiles are little artsy messages that can be found imbedded into sidewalks, freeway access ramps and roads — the bulk of which are in New York and Philadelphia, KSDK in St. Louis reports.

Most of the cryptic displays, which have also been reported in St. Louis, Washington D.C. and cities in South America, consist of some variation of the following phrase: “Toynbee idea in Kubrick’s 2001. Resurrect dead on planet Jupiter.”


A prominent Internet theory says they were created by a guy named James Morasco, a social worker in Philadelphia who believed — for whatever reason — that historian Arnold Toynbee and filmmaker Stanley Kubrick had discovered how to colonize Jupiter with the Earth’s deceased.

The problem with that is, Morasco died in 2003, and the tiles keep popping up.

Could it be guerilla art?

Art historian Jeffrey Hughes of Webster University thinks that might be the case.

"It carries its message out. It confronts the public, but it's still somewhat cryptic. The artist knows what they're doing, but we don't," he said.

Whatever they are, the mysterious markers were first discovered in the 1980s, and roughly 130 of them are known to exist.

"Somebody put a piece of art that's going to last many years in public without getting permits, without any kind of permission. They just came in at night, stuck it down and disappeared," Mark Plattner, a graphic artist who found one of the markers in St. Louis, said.

Identity Theft Is for the Boobs ... I mean ... Birds

LIBERTY LAKE, Wash. (AP) — A woman stole her employer's credit cards and identity to steal more than $12,000, some of which went for breast enlargement surgery, police allege.

Jerri Ann Cozza, 35, was booked into the Spokane County Jail on Monday for investigation of 27 counts of first-degree identity theft, 26 counts of forgery and three counts of second-degree theft.

While working for Liberty Lake Medical Supply last year, Cozza stole her boss's identity, money, credit cards and a payroll check, court documents allege.

Cozza misappropriated $12,734 for breast implants, repairs to her Dodge Durango, new furniture, telephone bills and a variety of other purchases, Liberty Lake police Officer Erin Lance alleged in a report.

Cozza's surgery occurred about the time Christy and Daniel Chamberlain, owners of the medical supply company, noticed office supplies and petty cash were disappearing, Lance wrote.

One of the Chamberlains' credit cards were used to charge $5,136 worth of breast implant surgery. The total came to $8,433 because 19.9 percent interest was added to the unpaid balance, Lance reported.

Cozza told Christy Chamberlain the breast surgery was being covered by insurance because one of her breasts had to be removed because of cancer, the police report said. But the Chamberlains later discovered there was nothing medically wrong with Cozza's breasts and the surgery was for cosmetic implants.

Unaware they had paid for Cozza's surgery, the Chamberlains went to her home on Dec. 15 to fire her for the other alleged thefts. They sat on new furniture bought with one of their credit cards, according to Lance's report.

Two weeks later, someone using Cozza's address applied for credit cards under Christy Chamberlain's name, court records indicate.

Do Not — Under Any Circumstances — Eat My Dust

ANDERSON, S.C. (AP) — Two men trying to flee from police in a van left behind what authorities said was a cloud of heroin.

An Oconee County deputy tried to stop the van this week on Interstate 85 about two miles from the Georgia state line, but the driver sped away, authorities said.

When the van crossed into Georgia, a passenger started ripping open plastic bags and dumping powder out the window, said Sheriff Mike Cleveland, of Hart County, Ga.

The van was stopped a few miles down the road and the men were arrested, deputies said.

A thick residue of what appeared to be heroin covered the side of the van and the patrol car that chased it, Cleveland said.

Authorities plan to test the powder and four plastic bags found on the highway to confirm it is heroin. Deputies could not collect enough of the suspected drugs to charge them with trafficking, so they would be charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin instead, authorities said.

Not to Worry, 'It Was Just a Little Boom Thing'

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — A man who pleaded guilty to lobbing a homemade bomb at his girlfriend said he was actually aiming for a beaver dam. In the end, he was the only person injured, and he now faces 10 months in prison as well.

Otis Cecil Wilkins, 45, pleaded guilty Wednesday to assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to 300 days in jail. He had been charged with attempted first-degree murder.

According to sheriff's deputies, Wilkins had threatened the ex-girlfriend, then threw the bottle bomb at her car as she drove into her yard in Rougemont, about 30 miles north of Raleigh. Witnesses said the bomb exploded in "a large fireball," and then rolled back toward Wilkins, igniting his shorts.

Public Defender Lawrence Campbell said Wilkins' target was a beaver dam that blocked a waterway, and that the bomb was ignited by ash from his cigarette that fell onto the fuse.

Wilkins spent more than a week at a hospital burn center.

"I ain't no terrorist," he was quoted as saying in a law enforcement report from the incident last year. "It was just a little bit of black powder. It was just a little boom thing."

Wilkins pleaded guilty to three assault counts, one for his ex-girlfriend and two for other people nearby, including the woman's 3-year-old granddaughter. Prosecutor Mitchell Garrell said he pursued a plea-bargain because the ex-girlfriend was uncooperative.

Thanks to Out There readers Jennifer H. and Chad A.

Compiled by's Taylor Timmins.

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