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August 18-31
VOL.14 ISSUE. 26

News Quirks

Roland Sweet
Published Thursday February 5, 04:03 pm
A supercool, solar-powered inter-city speed tube? Hell yeah.

Photo Credit: Illustration by Myron Campbell

A company called Hyperloop has teamed up with graduate students at the University of California, Los Angeles to develop a solar-powered “speed tube” that will let passengers in a hovering capsule inside a low-pressurized tube make the trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 35 minutes for about $30. The tube technology could be used to link other cities less than 300 miles apart, Hyperloop CEO Dirk Ahlborn said, noting, “It could be very easily put together. It’s more about figuring out how to make it a good business.” (Los Angeles’s KCAL-TV)


Lizard Rage

Workers at a reptile pet shop in Delray Beach, Florida, accused owner Benjamin Siegel, 40, of slapping them with a bearded dragon lizard. The victims said Siegel placed the lizard in his mouth and began hitting them with it. He also threw Gatorade at them, and tossed the large lizard into the air and swung it around. Siegel was arrested on battery and animal cruelty charges. (Broward-Palm Beach New Times)


Drone On

Michigan lawmakers introduced a ban on using drones to hunt deer and other game animals. “This came from hunters and outdoor enthusiasts” who felt the use of drones “takes away from the spirit and tradition of what hunting is supposed to be about,” chief sponsor Sen. Phil Pavlov said. Concerned that anti-hunting groups might also use drones to interfere with hunting, lawmakers are considering companion legislation to ban the use of drones to harass or interfere with hunters. (Detroit News)


Slippery Slopes

China earmarked nearly $90 million to divert water to make snow in Chongli, a provincial town in an arid region on the edge of the Gobi Desert, in an effort to win its bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics. As a result of the government’s recent emphasis on winter sports, the number of skiers in China has risen from 10,000 in 1996 to 20 million, according to the Chinese Ski Association. High water demand for snowmaking by existing ski facilities around Beijing has led to a government crackdown on new golf courses. (The Economist)


When Guns Are Outlawed

Irish police detective Paul Johnson thwarted two men he observed robbing a convenience store in Dublin by arming himself with a traffic cone, which he used to push the men down when they exited. (The Irish Times)


Non-Surprise Of The Year

The Central Intelligence Agency admitted that at least half of the reported UFO sightings in the 1950s and 1960s were actually test flights of its super-secret U-2 spy plane. (United Press International)


Saving Butter

Researchers investigating reports of Canadian lobsters off England’s northern coast concluded that passengers on cruise ships have been ordering live lobsters and then, in an animal-rights gesture, asking their waiters to throw the shellfish overboard. Local fishermen have even found some of the lobsters with rubber bands around their claws. Removed from their native habitat, however, the lobsters “won’t last much longer than if the passengers had eaten them for dinner,” according to Mike Cohen of Holderness Fishing Industry Group. (Britain’s Daily Mail)


Overcome by Technology

A New Zealand couple spent nearly 13 hours trapped in their new “keyless” car in their garage. Brian and Mollieanne Smith had left the car’s instruction manual in their Alexandra home, and the transponder outside the car, when they realized that without the transponder, they couldn’t start the engine to unlock the power doors. They tried to attract attention by honking the horn and then tried smashing a window with a car jack. Neighbours found them the next morning with only enough air left to survive for less than an hour, emergency workers told Mollieanne Smith, 65, who was hospitalized for three days. After their rescue, Brian Smith, 68, learned that the door could have been unlocked manually. “Once I found out how simple it was to unlock it, I kicked myself that I did not find the way out,” he said. (New Zealand’s Otago Daily Times)


Canned Fury

An Alabama middle-school principal asked students to bring canned food to school to throw at possible intruders. In a letter to parents, Priscilla Holley of W.F. Burns Middle School in Valley said an 8-ounce can of peas or corn “could stun the intruder or even knock him out until the police arrive. The canned food item will give the students a sense of empowerment to protect themselves.” (Associated Press)


Fruits of Research

Fast food might be making people stupid, according to researchers at Ohio State University who compared fast-food consumption and test results among children in grades five through eight. “Our results show clear and consistent association between children’s fast-food consumption in fifth grade and academic growth between fifth and eighth grade,” the researchers reported. (The Washington Post)


Curses, Foiled Again

A masked man tried to rob a convenience store in New Haven, Connecticut, by pointing a finger at the clerk to “simulate” that he had a gun, police Officer David Hartman reported, noting, “But he didn’t have his hand in his pocket.” The clerk “grabbed the man’s finger and told him he’d break it if he didn’t get out of his shop,” Hartman said after the would-be robber fled. (New Haven Independent)


Know-It-All Follies

During her trial for defrauding landlords, Toronto resident Nina Willis, 50, pleaded “the fifth,” only to have prosecutor Craig Power point out the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution doesn’t apply in Canada. (Toronto Star)

Compiled from mainstream news sources by Roland Sweet

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