Funny old world: The week's offbeat news

From the joys of mermaiding to men queuing up for the snip. Your weekly roundup of offbeat stories from around the world.

- Get a head -

What could be better after a hard night's partying than a nice juicy, roasted lamb's head?

Bolivians swear by the delicacy as a hangover cure.

"My grandmother sold them with the skin, the wool and everything" still on, said Doris Cuba, who runs a famous sheep's head eatery in the western city of Oruro.

These days they peel the baked skull while it is still hot, and then break it open to make it easier to get at the creamy "butter-like" brain and the tongue, which many see as the "dessert".

In the past, customers would split the skulls themselves "on the ground or against a wall".

Late-night diners savour every bit, using their fingers and forks to pierce the eyeballs to get a squirt of the delicious black liquid from the pupils.

Bolivians are far from the only ones to adore sheep's heads. In South Africa they are called "smileys" due to the way the teeth form a grin when the head is cooked.

- Let the scales fall -

The thoroughly modern world of mermaiding has never been more woke.

MerMagic, the world's largest gathering of mermen and mermaids in Virginia included workshops on "Diversity in Mermaiding", "MerMakeup for All Shades of the Lagoon" and a panel boldly titled "Fat Mermaids Make Waves".

"Anybody -- any age, race, body type, disabled people, anyone -- can be a mermaid," said mermaid Merlot as she wriggled into her red and white glittery monofin.

Helena McLeod, 33, who has a nerve disease that has left her unable to swim freely, even transformed her wheelchair into a purple and gold clamshell carriage.

"It's just fun self-care," said fellow American mermaid Coral Koi. "Where else can you find so much magic?"

- The talking dead -

Artificial intelligence bots can already make you an Old Master and do your homework, but now a Japanese tech company is offering us no less than virtual "eternal life".

Alt Inc makes "personalised AI clones" so that you can "continue to speak and interact with your descendants even after your death."

To properly haunt your family, you have to upload as many videos, images and audio samples of yourself as you can while still alive to generate an AI mirror.

"It will look like you, it speaks in your voice and it even thinks like you," said Alt Inc's Memori Yamato.

- Japan gets grossed out -

Japan's mania for hygiene has been severely tested this week with the news that a posh traditional inn that once hosted Emperor Hirohito only changed the water in its hot spring bath every six months.

It came as police arrested three people over the waves of "sushi terrorism" that have revolted the nation, with teenagers posting videos of themselves fingering food as it passed on restaurant conveyor belts and licking the tops of shared soy sauce bottles.

- 'Snip snip, hooray!' -

TikTok's latest trend is men filming themselves while they are having vasectomies.

More and more American men are getting the snip since the Supreme Court scrapped the federal right to abortion last year.

In one video, a man squeezes his eyes shut and breaks into song as the crucial incision is made.

Another from comedian Jimmy McMurrin called "You're getting neutered" has garnered more than five million views.

And wives have also gone viral, cheering their husbands with clips called "Snip-Snip! Hooray!" and "Closing the baby factory".