Weird news of the week: January 17, 2014

MSN News | NASA/JPL-Caltech
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'Hand of God' seen in space

Strange and wonderful news stories from this week include ... See gallery

This striking hand-shaped formation in space, dubbed the "hand of God," was released by Nasa scientists. Located more than 17,000 light years away from Earth, the unusual formation of space matter was created when a cloud of gas and material was ejected from a star that exploded.


Rex Features: Solent News
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'Tortilla Baby' swaddling blanket and hat

This beautiful baby looks good enough to eat. That's because this little one is wrapped up in the new Tortilla Baby swaddling blanket and matching hat, designed to make your tot appear to be wrapped in a giant flour tortilla. You know, if that's your thing. Just don't get confused when hunting for snacks in the kitchen late at night — we know what lack of sleep can do to you parents ...

AP Photo
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Longest name ever?

It's been a long battle for Hawaiian woman Janice "Lokelani" Keihanaikukauakahihulihe'ekahaunaele to get her first drivers license. Not because of any written tests or tricky manoeuvres — but because of her name. Janice's full name runs to 36 characters and 19 syllables (including a mark used in the Hawaiian alphabet called an okina) too long for the computer system. After she pursued the issue for months, local officials gave in and revised their policy. Licenses in Hawaii will now be able to accommodate 40 characters for last names, 40 for first names and 35 for middle names.

Getty Images: Vladimir Vladimirov
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Man lets Internet name daughter

Against his better judgment, a father decided to let the Internet name his baby daughter (due April 2), and so far the results are predictably wacky. was set up by Stephen McLaughlin to let people vote for their choices and, at the time of writing, Cthulhu All-Spark McLaughlin was the favorite to win. Cthulhu, for those not in the know, is a fictional squid-faced humanoid devised by horror writer H. P. Lovecraft. Stephen has allowed himself a get-out clause though, putting an asterisk on his statement and adding: "Unfortunately Internet I know better than to trust you. We will ultimately be making the final decision, Alas my daughter shall not be named WackyTaco692. Sorry, guys, the wife wouldn't go for a free for all."

Rex Features: Espresso Veloce
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Get your motor running

This Grand Prix-inspired espresso maker will be sure to get its users' motors running, but this limited showpiece by Italian inventor Paolo Mastrogiuseppe comes with a hefty price tag. There are only 380 of them being made, and they cost close to $18,000. The super-sleek machine is made in South Africa and comes in V12 and V10 configurations.

Getty Images
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Squirrel trashes home

Englishwoman Margaret Bousfield, 64, had a surprise visitor down her chimney this winter. But unlike Santa Claus, this unexpected squirrel guest caused damage totalling about $11,500. After falling down the chimney in Hartlepool, UK, the panicked rodent clawed, bit and soiled its way through curtains, carpets and furniture, even scratching through the plastic double-glazing window frames. The creature set off the burglar alarm, and Bousfield and a neighbor finally managed to get the squirrel off the premises. Luckily, the damage was covered by insurance.

Reuters: Jason Reed
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Giant rubber duck reaches Sydney

Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman's giant inflatable Rubber Duck installation has floated around the world since 2007, visiting everywhere from Hong Kong to Sao Paulo. On Jan. 10, it reached Parramatta River in Sydney, where the five-story tall, creation floated downstream as part of the 2014 Sydney Festival.

Getty Images: Central Press
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China to build full-size replica of Titanic

Plans this week to build a full-size replica of the Titanic — complete with iceberg simulation — in a Chinese theme park were slammed as being in bad taste. The attraction in Sichuan province, far from the sea, will let hundreds of visitors at a time experience the shipwreck. Actor Bernard Hill, who played Captain Edward Smith in the 1997 movie "Titanic," attended the launch of the project in Hong Kong. Rejecting suggestions that the attraction was inappropriate, Hill told the BBC, "It's been approached in a very delicate and a very sensitive way, and they're very aware of the extent of the disaster in 1912. I don't think it will belittle that disaster."

Rex Features: NASA
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Contour Crafting can print a home in 24 hours

A brand-new process called "Contour Crafting" allows computer-controlled machines to "print" houses within 24 hours. Concrete is applied in a pre-determined design by a nozzle on a moveable gantry, reports Rex Features. NASA is supporting the development of the technology in hopes of using lunar soil to make concrete on the moon.

Reuters: Thomas Peter
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New 'Superhobo' comic hits Berlin

A new superhero hit the streets of Berlin this week, and he's not your typical comic-book hunk. Superhobo's torn bodysuit and shaggy beard speak of his hard life on the streets, not to mention the bottle grasped in his fist . The comic is a supplement to the "Strassenfeger" (Street Sweeper) newspaper sold in Berlin, sold by the homeless who get to keep the profits. The dark humor might not be to everyone's tastes — the superhero sleeps on a bench and the people he rescues gag at his foul breath — but it's hoped that a sales boost will help the vendors, just as a superhero should.

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