Insect on its side, crime scene investigators surround it

Probably not the work of a murder hornet.

If your news diet for the past two months has consisted entirely of Covid-19 updates, don’t feel unhealthily obsessed. Local and national outlets have rightfully focused their attention on the novel coronavirus. Not quite all of it, though. Some stories refreshingly unrelated to the pandemic have still been too enticing for news organizations to pass up. In case you missed these reminders of quirkier, still-pretty-scary times, we selected more than a handful to read between confirmed case counts.

Some "creep" may be to blame for the large cracks in the West Seattle bridge, according to local experts. No, don’t direct your shade toward some sketchy dude. Creep describes concrete’s natural tendency to shrink over time, and in the West Seattle Bridge’s case, this sag may have led to structural weaknesses that broadened cracks in the infamous span. Electronic monitoring to measure those fissures and additional computer modeling will now help city leaders determine whether or not the bridge can be repaired, undoubtedly the next dramatic chapter in an ongoing saga.

Murder hornets, forgive the phrasing, went viral after a New York Times article documented the first sightings of this vicious insect in the U.S., which happened to be in—oh, great—Washington state. Officially called the Asian giant hornet, these flying villains measure roughly two inches in length and wield a quarter-inch stinger that can pierce most clothing. While they're known for destroying entire hives of honeybees in a matter of hours, ripping off the bees' heads and hauling the bodies away to feed their young, murder hornets don't take mercy on humans, either: Dozens of people in Asia die each year from their venomous stings. Locally, scientists at Washington State University have been working to track them since a sighting in Whatcom County last December. If you happen to spot one, report it on the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s website

The Pentagon has officially released clips of UFOs. Last week, the Department of Defense made public three Navy videos of objects flying through the sky in order to “clear up any misconceptions” about whether or not the videos were real. The footage had been previously leaked in 2017 and 2018 to the New York Times. There's still no explanation on what the videos show exactly, so don't say I-told-you-so just yet, E.T. enthusiasts.

The pandemic (just one mention, promise) thwarted a Fremont man’s plans to run a marathon and climb Mount Everest and Lhotse (the world’s fourth-tallest peak) back-to-back this year, so he found a different way to tackle the mountains: at home. Andrew Hughes planned to take on Everest and Lhotse by climbing the four stairs on his front porch (a total of 30 inches in height) 5,683 times in one day. And you thought you were stir-crazy.

UW researchers have discovered that oysters from the Salish Sea may not contain as many microplastics as previously thought. An interdisciplinary team found that many of the particles—which can be harmful to the mollusks' health and, ultimately, ours—were actually shell fragments, minerals, and salts. Only about two percent of the particles were actually confirmed as plastics.

A burglar in West Seattle may have gotten away with his crime had he not been tempted by a bottle of port. Authorities entered a home in disarray and found the suspect passed out in the bedroom, having urinated on the bed and a nearby carpet. Police determined he'd lined up items to steal when he spotted a bottle of port and decided to take a break from his pilfering. Unfortunately for him, he got too soused to finish the job.

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