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October 30 -November 12
VOL.13 ISSUE. 5
HOME / STORY

Buckled Bull

Roland Sweet
Published Thursday November 15, 10:38 am
Airline safety isn’t going to the dogs

Photo Credit: Illustration by Myron Campbell

When Virgin America submitted a pre-takeoff safety video to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for review, the video showed a dog fumbling with its seat belt, with the voice-over: “For the 0.0001 per cent of you who’ve never operated a seatbelt before, it works like this.” Expressing concern that passengers would think dogs on flights had to wear seatbelts, the FAA made the airline change the dog to a bull because bulls aren’t allowed on planes, whereas dogs sometimes are. (The New York Times)

 

FOLLOW YOUR FEET

Computer engineer Anirudh Sharma, 24, has invented a device to guide blind people to their destination. Dubbed “Le Chal” (“take me along” in Hindi), it uses Bluetooth technology to link a smartphone app with a small actuator sewn inside the sole of a shoe. The user tells the phone the desired destination, and voice-recognition software translates the request into electronic commands. The phone’s GPS directs the actuator when to turn, causing the shoe to vibrate on the side of the direction of the turn. The shoe also alerts the wearer of any obstacles in the path and guides the wearer around them. (The Economist)

 

NO SHOE FOR YOU

Despite Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s assurance that advances in scanning technology would soon allow all air travellers to keep their shoes on, the Transportation Security Administration has rejected four different scanning devices aimed at letting passengers keep their shoes on, after spending millions of dollars to test them. All four failed to detect explosives and metal weapons, according to TSA official Lisa Farbstein, who said removing shoes “is going to be a part of air travel for the foreseeable future.” (The New York Times)

 

DANGER DOME

Martin Gustafson, inventor of the BioDome, promises that the device “can protect anyone from dangerous chemical/biological agents, in the event of a terrorist attack, accidental chemical spill or biological emergency.” BioDome comes in two 60-pound cans and inflates itself in 10 minutes into a 10-foot-square room that can accommodate six adults for “up to several days.” (Time)

 

NO PAY, NO PRAY

Germany’s Roman Catholic bishops warned that believers who decline to earmark eight per cent of their income tax for the church won’t be able to receive the Eucharist, become godparents or receive a church burial. The religious tax option, which affects all religions, renders more than $4 billion a year unto Germany’s Catholic and Protestant churches. (BBC News)

 

RENDER UNTO CAESAR

Thousands of public officials throughout Europe see the Catholic church as a source of revenue to solve their financial crises. Local governments in Spain, Italy, Ireland and England have proposed taxing church property used for non-religious purposes and eliminating subsidies that support church commercial and educational efforts. “The costs of the crisis should be borne equally by every person and institution,” said Richardo Rubio, 36, a city councillor in Alcala de Henares, Spain. (The Washington Post)

 

NO REFUNDS

After a man demanded $20,000 at a bank in Syracuse, New York, the teller handed him money, and he left. When the robber discovered that the teller hadn’t given him the full $20,000, he returned to the bank to get the rest. Investigators noticed him standing at the front door, trying to get back in. They arrested Arthur Bundrage, 28. (Syracuse’s The Post-Standard)

 

A LONG TIME, WE’RE GUESSING

Sheriff’s deputies in Sumter County, South Carolina charged John Scott, 32, with stabbing a 23-year-old man while they were watching football and arguing over how long Scott’s girlfriend had been in the shower. (Sumter’s The Item)

 

FENCES AND NEIGHBOURS

Police charged Mahmoud Yousef Hindi, 55, with killing one man and critically wounding another when he opened fire at a homeowners’ association meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, during a dispute about the height and direction of a fence around his house, as well as a recently constructed driveway. (Associated Press)

 

THAT’S CHUTZPAH

While burglarizing a home in Greenbrae, California, Samuel Cutrufelli, 31, shot the homeowner, 90-year-old Jay Leone, in the face, according to authorities, who said Leone returned fire, hitting Cutrufelli several times. Both men were hospitalized for an extended period. During Cutrufelli’s trial for attempted murder, his father and his defence attorney filed a lawsuit on Cutrufelli’s behalf, claiming Leone “negligently shot” Cutrufelli, causing him “great bodily injury, and other financial damage, including loss of Mr. Cutrufelli’s home, and also the dissolution of Mr. Cutrufelli’s marriage.” (Marin Independent Journal)

 

ARMED AND ABSENT-MINDED

The number of guns found at U.S. airport security checkpoints has been rising for the past couple of years, from 1,123 in 2010 to 1,320 in 2011 to 1,105 through September of this year. Security experts attributed the trend to two factors: an increase in gun sales and the spread of right-to-carry laws, which lead to more people showing up with weapons at checkpoints because they’re used to carrying them all the time. (The New York Times)

 

NOBODY LIKES A CRITIC

Police in Winter Park, Florida, charged restaurant owner Quoc Trong Tran with shooting at a car occupied by two customers who complained about their meals. (Orlando’s WKMG-TV)

 

NEXT TIME, STEAL A MAP

After responding to a call that two men were carrying items from a house before dawn, sheriff’s deputies in Manatee County, Florida, spotted the men driving by the crime scene. They had returned, the sheriff’s report noted, because “they were lost in the neighbourhood and trying to find their way out.” Deputies who stopped the car noticed the stolen items and arrested Darien A. Caruso, 19, and James Hardy, 19. (Bradenton Herald)

Compiled from mainstream news sources by Roland Sweet.

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