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Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013 02:55 pm

News Quirks 8/22/13

Curses, foiled again
Sheriff’s deputies hunting robbery suspect Matthew Oliver in Pasco County, Fla., posted his wanted picture on their Facebook page, naming him their “Fugitive of the Day.” Oliver replied, posting daylong comments, along with his photo and personal details, including his address. Insisting he was set up by a “crack head,” Oliver elicited such comments as, “Ur runnin from the popo & post on your picture? Lol.” Deputies arrested Oliver leaving his apartment. (Tampa Bay’s WTSP-TV)

Police named West Virginia University football player Korey Harris their armed robbery suspect after the victims recognized Harris, who was wearing WVU-issued football sweatpants with his uniform number, 96. Harris was arrested and dropped from the team. (Charleston’s Metro News)

Snoop proof
Russia’s Federal Protective Service offered to pay $15,000 for 20 typewriters. The agency, a KGB successor assigned to protect President Vladimir Putin and other top officials, explained that it began using typewriters after Edward Snowden’s disclosures about U.S. National Security Agency secret surveillance to print drafts of official documents intended for Putin. (Associated Press)

Thanks for nothing
To point out to voters how much Canada’s Conservatives are doing to improve life for disabled citizens, the party mass mailed a flyer headlined “Supporting Jobs for All Canadians.” It repeated those words in a series of Braille dots. Only instead of being raised, the dots were printed on the flyer’s flat surface, making them unreadable to blind people. Jim Tokos of the Canadian Council of the Blind called the flyers “baffling.” (Toronto Star)

Second-Amendment follies
Police reported that a man’s ex-girlfriend dropped by his home in San Antonio, Texas, while he was with his current girlfriend. During the ensuing argument, the man aimed a gun at the ex-girlfriend but accidentally shot the current girlfriend in the chest. She was hospitalized in critical condition; the ex-girlfriend wasn’t injured. (San Antonio’s KSAT-TV)

Charged with killing a 5-year-old girl with an assault rifle, Jon Andrew Meyer Jr. explained that the rapid-fire weapon fired accidentally while he was using it as a crutch to help him stand up from a couch while visiting a friend in Grants Pass, Ore. The fully automatic weapon fired out of control; one burst blasted through the ceiling, killing the girl and wounding an adult with her. (Grants Pass Daily Courier)

When neighbors confronted Rhonney Jacobs, 43, for speeding through a community in Norfolk, Va., he left but returned brandishing a gun. Police official Chris Amos said Jacobs then accidentally shot himself in the leg. (Norfolk’s WAVY-TV)

First is worst
First-class airline passengers are nine times more damaging to the environment than coach passengers, according to a study by the World Bank. The report noted that first-class seats are bigger than other ones, meaning planes can hold fewer people, thereby requiring more fuel per passenger to fly and increasing carbon emissions. First-class passengers are also likelier to have more luggage per person, requiring even more fuel. The report calculated that average coach passengers have a 0.76 carbon footprint, business-class passengers 2.30 and first-class passengers 6.89. (Britain’s Daily Mail)

Cursive’s last gasp
Two German entrepreneurs invented an ink pen that recognizes misspelled words and bad handwriting. Its name is Lernstift, German for “learning pen,” according to Daniel Kaesmacher, co-founder of the company that spent 18 months developing the digital pen. It’s a regular pen with real ink, but also contains a tiny motion sensor and a battery-powered Linux computer with a WiFi chip. “The pen will have two functions,” Kaesmacher said, “calligraphy and orthography mode.” In the spelling mode, the computer compares words it writes to its language database; when it doesn’t recognize a word, it vibrates. If it senses bad letter formation or messy handwriting, it also vibrates. The company intends testing the digital pen with a whole school class before selling it, for 130 to 150 euros ($170-$200). The device will work with smart phones and tablets eventually, but its “basic functionality is all in the pen,” Kaesmacher said, pointing out “there’s no app needed” or special paper. (ABC News)

Horseless-carriage follies
An automobile killed a woman and injured three other people when it overturned outside Zion National Park in Utah. The vehicle was a 1915 Ford Model T. “There’s no rollover protection,” said Russ Forstnow, chairman of an international Model T club’s annual outing in which the soft-top vehicle was taking part. Troopers said it went off the pavement, causing the wheel’s wooden spokes to separate, then flipped, ejecting all four occupants. (Associated Press)

You be the judge

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Karen Nudell ordered Arman Samsonian to stand trial for manslaughter in the deaths of two women who tried to rescue him after he crashed his sport utility vehicle into a utility pole and a fire hydrant. Irma Zamora and Stacey Schreiber were killed when they stepped into a pool of water that had been electrified by 4,800 volts from the fallen power line. Nudell said Samsonian, 20, “was definitely driving negligently,” but defense attorney Andrew Flier argued that his client couldn’t have foreseen the “intervening acts” once he crashed and that the victims should have known the dangers created by downed power lines and standing water. (Los Angeles Times)

Tennessee Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew was listening to the parents of a 7-month-old baby who couldn’t agree on the child’s last name, but when she heard that the boy’s first name was Messiah, she promptly ordered it changed to Martin. “The word Messiah is a title and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ,” Ballew said, explaining that her decision is best for the child, especially while growing up in a predominantly Christian community. Meanwhile, according to the Social Security Administration, Messiah ranked fourth among the fastest-rising baby names in 2012. (Associated Press)

Beaten to the punch
Tony Gesin, 50, called police in Fairbanks, Alaska, to report that his neighbor had assaulted him. He repeated his story to troopers who responded but then admitted punching himself in the face because he wanted his neighbor arrested. Department of Public Safety official Megan Peters said Gesin and his neighbor are engaged in a civil dispute about property. (Fairbanks News-Miner)

Do the math
Several students at Virginia’s George Mason University signed a petition urging the legalization of fourth-trimester abortions “so that women have a choice,” according to Dan Joseph of the conservative Media Research Center, who circulated the petition. (CampusReform.org)

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

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