Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Sideswipe

When a photo just won't do: These creepy "forget-me-not dolls" are soft-cloth dolls with the image of a loved one used on the face. Varieties include wedding couples, children and pets.

By Ana Samways

When Nick Lenthall drove past a group of police officers manning a speed check near Bournemouth, England, he honked his horn and gave them a thumbs-up. The entire unit then got into a van, chased him down and gave him a ticket for "unnecessary use of audible warning equipment". (Source: reason.com)

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Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology are working on a high-tech device with potentially a multitude of uses: a boredom detector. A talker, via a wearable camera and software that measures facial expressions and movements, could detect whether he/she has lost touch with a listener (via signals from eyebrows, lips, nose, etc). The device was designed for the autistic (who are typically oblivious to other people's reactions), but would be useful for anyone under-skilled at being interesting. So far, the software is said to be accurate 64 per cent of the time, according to a March report in New Scientist.

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James Bond not licensed to shoot: Darren James Bond faced the consequences of shooting without a licence when the Whangarei District Court fined him $2210 for hunting without a game bird licence in March.

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The Missourian newspaper reported that Columbia resident Adam Ballard, 22, in his second year in the Army, is over-eating and under-exercising so he can gain weight rapidly and exceed the Army's body-fat requirement, which will force his discharge rather than being sent to the Middle East war zone. The Missourian says 3285 soldiers were discharged for excess body fat in 2004 (although not all were war-zone shirkers). Ballard said he had no qualms because recruiters had originally assured him a desk job. (Source: News of the Weird)

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A reader was amused by a police spokesman's statement in the Herald on Sunday that "Interpol and the Henderson fraud office are working together very closely on this one". "I'm sure the Russian skimmers they are after are quaking in their Canadian penthouse at the prospect of the Henderson fraud office being on their trail."

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Kay from Howick says the reason there was a shambles at the Stones concert, and too many people in the general admission/hill area, was because Ticketmaster made a complete balls-up with the ticket printing. "Our group of six had paid $100 for the terrace area and were sent tickets for the hill area. We complained before the concert started and were relocated to the terraces. My neighbour paid $100 for the terraces and was allocated tickets in the front row, which should have cost him $350. Someone at Ticketmaster got it very wrong."

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