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The New Torture: In August, Glasgow hosted the sixth annual World Pipe Band Championship, with 200 bagpipe bands competing. (Professional piping often hits a sound level of 100 decibels and can go to 120, which is louder than a pneumatic drill.)

Two musician-beggars in the village of Moseley, England, were banned from performing in the area in August after a magistrate court heard complaints by desperate residents that the pair played only two songs (Oasis' "Wonderwall" and George Michael's "Faith") over and over and over.

Animals Gone Wild: In July, scuba divers around San Diego were forced out of the water by the estimated 1 million human-sized Humboldt squid that infested the area. Usually deepwater dwellers, they swarmed near the shore for several weeks, flashing their "razor-sharp beaks and toothy tentacles," according to a KABC-TV report.

In June, in Ana Lee Spray's garage in Riverside County, Calif., a full-grown mountain lion was cornered and held at bay for 45 minutes by Spray's three Chihuahuas, yapping at it relentlessly. Eventually, animal control officers arrived and removed the grateful lion.

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