Illustration by Isabel Ríos

Funny Story: Offbeat News from Around the Globe

A selection of the most amusing headlines of late, including robot-made artwork, strange prayers and innovative ways to cook sausage.

Sophia, the humanoid robot created by Hanson Robotics, recently collaborated with an Italian artist on digital artwork. The artwork was sold as a non-fungible token (NFT) for $688,888. The sale of Sophia’s artwork as an NFT is part of a growing interest in the ownership of rights to digital content.
Hanson Robotics’ Sophia is world famous and was granted Saudi Arabian citizenship in 2017, becoming the world’s first robot citizen. Sophia collaborated with Andrea Bonaceto, who drew portraits of Sophia for their collaboration. Sophia then processed the portraits to create a 12-second video that showed Bonaceto’s portraits evolving into Sophia’s digital painting.
The artwork and the accompanying physical painting by Sophia were bought by a digital artwork collector and artist known as 888. 888 sent Sophia a photo of his painted arm which she processed and added additional strokes to her original piece.
Sophia’s digital artwork will not be her last foray into the creative industry. She will continue to paint and is working on a musical career collaborating with human musicians on a project called Sophia Pop.
“My art is created in collaboration with my humans in a kind of collective intelligence like a human-artificial intelligence hive mind,” explained Sophia.
Wedding celebrations for a couple in eastern China took an interesting turn on Mar. 31. The mother of the groom was shocked to find that the woman marrying her son was her long lost daughter.
The woman noticed a birthmark on the bride’s hand and enquired with her parents as to her origin. The parents confirmed that the daughter was adopted after she was found at the side of the road. The daughter had gone missing 20 years before and human trafficking was suspected.
The mother and daughter reunited and wedding festivities seemed to be put on hold. However, the mother revealed that her son, the groom, was also adopted and the wedding continued.
Scientists in Iceland have found a headline grabbing way to cook sausages as they investigate volcanic eruptions. The researchers were investigating Mount Fagradalsfjall near Reykjavik, which has begun spewing 300,000 cubic meters of lava for the first time in 80 years.
The Icelandic people were prepared for the eruption, as they withstood over 50,000 earthquakes in recent months. However, they were not prepared to see a video of scientists cooking sausages over molten lava.
As the world continues to adjust to pandemic life, a new side effect has appeared with an unusual effect on dating apps. Online dating app giant OkCupid, shared data showing how the dating world has changed since the coronavirus appeared. The app shared that mentions of the word “vaccine” rose by 64 percent between November and December 2020, when the first vaccine was approved.
OkCupid recently added a question for Covid-19 vaccination willingness to their app. Since the introduction of the option, the platform saw that those who answered “yes” got 13 percent more likes. In Israel, where an aggressive vaccination campaign has taken place, 83 percent of users who answered the question indicated that they would get the vaccine. It looks like the newest desirable trait will be vaccination.
French monks have launched an emergency online sale of their artisanal cheeses and are praying for deliverance of their dairy problem. The Cîteaux Abbey produces raw-milk artisanal cheeses in the south of Dijon and has won awards.
The abbey and its 19 Trappist monks usually produce the cheese and supply it directly to restaurants or sell it to visitors of the abbey. The Coronavirus pandemic has driven demand down and left the abbey with 4,000 wheels of cheese or 2.8 tonnes.
“We tried explaining to our 75 cows that they needed to produce less milk but they don’t seem to have understood,” said brother Jean-Claude, marketing in charge at the monastery.
In an effort to reduce their stock, the monks have teamed up with startup Divine Box, an online store that sells products made by abbeys across France.
“We’re going to make it,” Jean-Claude said.
Mari Velasquez-Soler is Senior News Editor and Naeema Mohammed Sageer is Deputy News Editor. Email them at
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