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August 18-31
VOL.14 ISSUE. 26

Rise Of The Robots

Roland Sweet
Published Wednesday October 15, 06:18 pm
Pepper knows how you feel but still wants your job

Photo Credit: Illustration by Myron Campbell

A robot designed to read and respond to human emotions will be sold at Sprint Corp. stores in the United States by next summer. Marketed by SoftBank Corp., the four-foot-tall humanoid, named “Pepper,” dances, tells jokes and estimates human emotions based on observed expressions. SoftBank chairman Masayoshi Son said the company is investing in robotics to boost Japan’s domestic production, adding that he expects to replace 90 million jobs with 30 million robots. (Bloomberg News)


Breaking News

KTVA-TV news reporter Charlo Greene concluded her report on the Alaska Cannabis Club by revealing on air that she was the owner of the Anchorage medical marijuana business. She announced she would put “all of my energy toward fighting for freedom and fairness, which begins with legalizing marijuana here in Alaska,” and informed viewers, “and as for this job, well, not that I have a choice, but fuck it, I quit.” Then she walked off camera. (Anchorage Daily News)


An Ill Wind Blows Good

Stormy weather this summer resulted in record production for Britain’s wind farms. Hurricane Bertha especially helped drive wind energy to its highest portion of the United Kingdom’s energy mix ever: 17 per cent. That compares with 11 per cent for coal power and 30 per cent for gas and nuclear energy combined. As a result of the 53 per cent growth of offshore wind energy this year, energy secretary Ed Davey approved a $3.5 billion wind farm off the Sussex coast, featuring 175 turbines built nine miles out to sea. Critics, including the National Trust, insist that the wind farm will “unacceptably spoil” the views from the coast. (International Business Times)


Euphemistically Speaking

Plagued by repeated recalls, General Motors directed its engineers to avoid using 69 words when discussing GM automobiles. Among them: asphyxiating, deathtrap, disemboweling, genocide, grenade-like and powder keg. (Detroit Free Press)


Blame Caesar

India’s state television channel Doordarshan fired a news anchor who referred to Chinese President Xi Jinping as “Eleven Jinping,” confusing Xi’s name with the Roman numerals XI. “It is an unpardonable mistake,” a Doordarshan senior official said. (Reuters)



When Nestlé attached a hidden camera to the bra of a female volunteer in London to count how many times men glanced at her barely concealed breasts, the experiment found it happened constantly. It also found that women were just as likely as to stare as men, only more blatantly and with detectable disapproval. (Britain’s Daily Mail)


Law And Order: DIY

Police forces in England and Wales have begun asking crime victims to carry out their own investigations after having their car stolen or property damaged, according to a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary. The watchdog agency found that police instructed victims to look out for potential fingerprint evidence, check for witnesses and search second-hand websites for their stolen property. The HMIC also said that 37 of the 43 forces investigated dealt with cases over the phone without victims ever meeting a police officer. “They’re the cops,” HMIC inspector Roger Baker said, “and we expect the cops to catch people.” (Britain’s The Independent)


Gun Rights > Religious Rights

A firing range in Hot Springs, Arkansas, banned Muslims. “This is not a coffee and doughnut shop,” Jan Morgan, owner of the Gun Cave Indoor Firing Range, blogged. “People are shooting guns in close proximity to each other, so my patrons depend on me and my discretion regarding who I allow to shoot beside them. Why would I want to rent or sell a gun and hand ammunition to someone who aligns himself with a religion that commands him to kill me?” (Little Rock’s Arkansas Times)


Crisis Of The Week

The latest food found to cause cancer is toast, especially dark toast or worse, burned. The European Food Safety Authority identified the culprit as acrylamide, a chemical that forms when certain starchy foods are baked, fried or roasted at high temperatures to make them crispy and crunchy and to add taste. It’s found mainly in potato chips, soft and crispy breads, cookies, crackers, cakes, cereals and instant coffee. The agency advised eating toast only when it is light yellow. (Britain’s Daily Mail)


1,500 Creeps

Police in Japan’s Kyoto Prefecture visited the homes of hundreds of customers who bought shoes with built-in upskirt cameras, and requested they voluntarily surrender the shoes and fill out a “disposal request,” which asked them to state why they purchased the shoes. Police obtained a list of about 1,500 buyers when they raided the company that specializes in voyeuristic footwear. A 26-year-old company manager was fined $4,500 for violating Japan’s nuisance prevention ordinance. (United Press International)


Y’all Talk

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory canceled plans for a six-week course in “Southern Accent Reduction” after workers complained. The east Tennessee facility employs more than 4,000 people. The class promised to give employees “a more-neutral American accent, and be remembered for what you say and not how you say it.” The class was canceled within hours of its announcement, according to the lab’s communications director, David Keim. “Given the number of staff here who have Southern accents, this was clearly not received well,” Keim said. “We’ve offered accent reduction training to foreign nationals for years, but this one obviously surprised some folks.” (Knoxville News Sentinel)


There Clearly Was No Other Way

George Byrd IV, 31, denied shooting through a neighbour’s window in Middletown, Pennsylvania, but then told police he did fire the gun, but only because he was unfamiliar with guns and thought firing it was the only way to unload it. (Bucks County Courier Times)

Compiled from mainstream news sources by Roland Sweet

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