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Thursday, July 18, 2013 03:29 pm

News Quirks 7/18/13

Problem solved
• Harmful carbon emissions from coal plants could be greatly reduced or eliminated by storing as much as 3,000 metric gigatons of carbon dioxide in underground rock formations all over the country, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Its study shows that the United States has enough storage capacity to handle more than 1,000 years worth of CO2 from power plants after it’s pressurized into liquid form. The Department of the Interior said that nearly half the nation’s “energy-related” CO2 emissions come from the power industry, much of it from coal-fired plants. “This is good news for the fossil fuels industry because it means that fossil power can continue to operate in the future without its carbon footprint,” Bruce Hill, a scientist with the Clean Air Task Force, said. (The Washington Times)

Curses, foiled again
• To support her claims that Waffle House Chairman Joe Rogers Jr. forced her to have sex to keep her job, former housekeeper Mye Brindle produced video and audio recordings that she secretly made of the pair having sex. Cobb County, Ga., Judge Robert Leonard declared that the recordings violated Rogers’ privacy and Georgia law. As a result, the recordings are inadmissible, and Rogers’ attorneys want criminal charges brought against Brindle and her attorneys. (Atlanta’s WXIA-TV)

• After being told that a man ordered to stay away from an address in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., had returned, police got permission from the woman occupant to search the apartment. An officer spotted a large ottoman in front of the couch and observed several items that might be stored in an ottoman sitting on the couch. The officer then removed a glass of freshly poured chocolate milk and other items from the top of the ottoman and lifted the lid to discover the trespasser hiding inside. (Northwest Florida Daily News)

Irony of the week
• Volunteer firefighters in Dundee, Ky., could only watch as their firehouse burned to the ground. “Of course, there was nothing we could do,” fire chief Danny Pogue said. “All of our equipment was inside.” (Evansville, Ind.’s WFIE-TV)

Life imitating ‘Star Trek’
• Three-dimensional printers are now able to produce weapons, as well as delicate eggcups and lamps, and may soon make replacement parts, body implants, even ammunition on the spot. “We believe that 3-D printing is fundamentally changing the manufacturing ecosystem in its entirety -- how and where products are made and by whom,” said Peter Weijmarshausen, CEO of New York-based Shapeways. The devices, which entered the mainstream in 2007 and represent a $2 billion industry with about 50 printer manufacturers, are about the size of a microwave oven and cost from $400 to $500,000. They extrude layers of plastics or other materials, even metal, to create 3-D objects with moving parts. (Associated Press)

• The State Department ordered the nonprofit software distributor Defense Distributed to take down online blueprints for a 3-D printable handgun, called the “Liberator.” The single-shot firearm can be created by anyone with the blueprints and access to a 3-D printer. The file was downloaded more than 100,000 times in its first two days online. (Forbes)

• Replicating devices might be able to feed crews on missions to Mars. NASA awarded Texas-based Systems and Materials Research Corp. a $125,000 grant to develop a 3-D printer able to create “nutritious and flavorful” food suitable for astronauts. The printers will use a “digital recipe” to combine powders to produce the food, according to project manager and SMRC engineer Anjan Contractor, who said he got the idea after using a 3-D printer to print chocolate for his wife. The project’s initial goal is to re-create pizza. Eventually, SMRC said, the technology could allow astronauts to replicate their favorite recipes from Earth or even feed this planet’s hungry people. (The Washington Post)

Filial duty
• When authorities circulated surveillance photos of a woman robbing a bank in Michigan’s Byron Township, wearing a bright red T-shirt with a large American flag on the front, a man notified police that the robber was his mother. The FBI said Dee Ann Sanders, 53, admitted handing a teller a note demanding $2,500 for her children and grandchildren. She got $1,092. Her son got nothing. (Associated Press)

Victim of progress
• Dozens of birdwatchers traveled to Scotland’s Isles of Harris to glimpse a rarely seen white-throated needletail swift, the world’s fastest flying bird, only to watch it fly straight into the blades of a wind turbine. “It had a blow to the head,” ornithologist John Marchant, 62, said, “and was stone dead.” (Britain’s The Telegraph)

Food abuse
• Roughly a third of the children responding to a survey reported in Pediatrics said they had been bullied for their food allergies. Pediatricians and educators explained that classmates sometimes switched a victim’s lunch or spit milk or smeared peanut butter on a child’s face, causing a swift anaphylactic shock. “Food allergy bullying is really not a joke because someone can be taken to the emergency room,” said John Lehr, chief executive of the nonprofit group Food Allergy Research and Education, which labeled school cafeterias a “scary place.” (The New York Times)

The gig is up
• Someone called 911 to report a man with a history of frog gigging was missing after he spotted the man’s unoccupied parked car on family property in Hawkins County, Tenn., and thought he heard someone calling for help. Fearing the worst, more than 30 rescuers searched for the missing frog gigger for nearly three hours, according to Emergency Management Agency director Gary Murrell, before “somebody thought to ‘ping’ his cell phone, and we found out he wasn’t even in the county.” The frog gigger explained he had left his car to ride with a friend for a covert romantic liaison. After the search was called off, the 911 caller admitted that the call for help could have been coyotes yelping. (The Kingsport Times News)

Pursuit of happiness
• Oregon State University received permission to use drones to fly over its potato fields looking for unhealthy plants. The two drones are equipped with small infrared cameras that can detect plants that aren’t getting enough water or fertilizer. “When plants aren’t happy, they look different, but not necessarily different to our eyes,” Phil Hamm, director of the OSU extension center at Hermiston. “We want to recognize plants that aren’t happy before there’s a reduction in yield.” (Pendleton’s East Oregonian)

Rainy day woman
• Naveena Shine, 65, announced that she was giving up food to live only on sunlight. Shine lives in Seattle, Wash. (Seattle Times)

Compiled from mainstream news sources by Roland Sweet. Authentication on demand.
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