The foreign minister of Tuvalu, an island whose average elevation is six inches above sea level, addressed the 26th Conference of the Parties via video while standing knee-deep in the ocean and said that the country is exploring means to maintain legal status as a nation even if its land is fully submerged by sea level rise.1 2 The conference concluded with a consensus on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, though the plan’s effectiveness and urgency are questionable.3 Agencies reported a critical shortage of people trained to play Santa Claus over the holidays this year.4 “I had one lady call me up two days ago in tears. She needed a Santa for her country club,” said one Santa trainer. “She said, ‘I’m willing to pay anything.’” U.S. coal prices reached a 12-year high.5 Republican congressman Paul Gosar tweeted an edited fight scene from the anime Attack on Titan that depicts him fatally stabbing Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the neck and attacking President Joe Biden with two swords.6 “The creativity of my team is off the hook,” Gosar wrote in a retweet of his original post. QAnon followers who gathered at Dallas’s Dealey Plaza to await the return of John F. Kennedy Jr., who they believe is working against the deep state and will, once Donald Trump reassumes the office of president, become vice president, have refused to leave the area for the second week in a row.7 8 “We never, ever, ever expected it to go anywhere,” said Korey Rowe, a veteran who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, and was the producer of the internet video series Loose Change, which argued that 9/11 was an inside job.9 “I had seen countless innocent people die for no good reason, for a war that was based on lies,” he added. A metallurgist in Tacoma admitted to faking for decades the results of tests for steel used to make Navy submarines because she thought the negative 100 degrees Fahrenheit requirement was “stupid.”10 “Yeah, that looks bad,” she said when prosecutors presented the evidence against her.
European Union officials accused nonmember Belarus of retaliating against economic sanctions by manufacturing a refugee crisis through, among other tactics, loosening its own visa requirements, increasing the number of flights from Middle Eastern countries, giving asylum seekers directions from Minsk to the borders of Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania, and furnishing them with axes and wire cutters.11 The governor of Wisconsin ordered 500 National Guard troops to stand by near Kenosha in the event of unrest after Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial concludes; a lawyer who had previously been fired as a public defender, in part for fomenting a culture of “fear and intimidation,” and is now representing the man accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery told the judge, “We don’t want any more black pastors coming in [the courtroom],” and argued that such clergy were “intimidating”; and a man representing himself against charges of inciting violence in the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, asked in one cross-examination, “What’s your favorite Holocaust joke?” then paused, laughed along with the testifier, and withdrew the question.12 13 14 15 At a government hearing in Kansas, anti-vaccine-mandate protesters wore yellow stars to compare their plight to that of Jews in the Holocaust, and the Minnesota Department of Health said that there were too many new COVID-19 cases for it to keep count.16 17 18 The widow of a veteran who had donated his own remains to science learned that a website had sold $500 tickets to watch a live dissection of his body at an Oddities and Curiosities Expo in Portland, Oregon.19 PETA asked that a man who shot at his father for bringing home chicken wings he didn’t like to be fed only vegan meals while incarcerated.20 According to a new study from the Journal of Environmental Psychology, an estimated 40 percent of Americans between the ages of four and seven think that hot dogs and bacon grow on plants.21 22 Seattle canceled school citywide because it couldn’t find enough substitute teachers.23 24
A couple in Los Angeles sued a fertility clinic after one of them unknowingly gave birth to a stranger’s baby, who they raised for months.25 In Worcestershire, England, a terminally ill man was forced to the ground and arrested for mooning a traffic camera.26 “The incident was reviewed at the time and, after consideration of the full facts and circumstances, including reviewing officers’ body-worn video, I am satisfied that appropriate action was taken by officers,” said the local area police commander. An abducted girl was rescued after a passing motorist noticed her using a hand signal popularized on TikTok indicating that she was in distress.27 A Maori tribe requested that anti-vaccine protesters stop using the popular “Ka Mate” haka during their demonstrations.28 The largest-ever trial of the benefits of psilocybin showed that the psychoactive compound was highly effective in treating serious depression.29—Cameron French