ball of confusion

Even in a state accustomed to strange things washing ashore — like cocaine bricks, corpses, sharks and unexploded military ordnance — the floating contraption that beached itself in Florida over the weekend had the authorities doing a double-take.

A man popped out of the top hatch of the contraption, a makeshift human hamster wheel. He had made it only 25 miles on what was supposed to be a 1,000-plus-mile journey from St. Augustine, Fla., to New York, using the power of his two legs and, if all had gone according to plan, the Gulf Stream. Read on.