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Flights of Fancy


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Curses, Foiled Again
Police charged Kahlif Aleem Buggs, 32, with fraudulent use of debit cards after Tamara Thomas noticed a family "shopping like it was Christmas" at a Family Dollar store in DeKalb, Ga., got behind them at the register and saw Buggs pay with her missing card, which she recognized because it had been customized with a picture of her, her daughter and their puppy. When she confronted Buggs, he forgot his $200 purchase and told his family to start running. Thomas followed, leading police to their location. Besides Thomas' card, police found another missing debit card, which Buggs had used to buy $80 in merchandise. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

• Chacarion Avant, 19, tried to enter a bakery in Groveland, Fla., through the ceiling, but his plan was thwarted when he fell through the ceiling tiles and landed on top of a rack of potato chips. Police said Avant was badly hurt and took him to the hospital before charging him with armed burglary. (Orlando's WKMG-TV)

Flights of Fancy
The Defense Department announced it successfully tested a .50 caliber bullet that changes direction in midair. Officials said the "first-ever guided small-caliber bullet" will be especially useful to military snipers in windy and dusty conditions and at night. (Stars and Stripes)

• 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)

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)

• Evidence cited against accused murderer Faramarz Bakhshi, 23, at his bail hearing in Cook County, Ill., included his Facebook post: "It's only murder if they find the body; otherwise, it's a missing person." (Chicago Tribune)

Slightest Provocation
Sheriff's deputies in Traill County, N.D., said Brian Cutshall, 40, threatened to kill his 9-year-old son if the boy didn't call 911 while the parents argued over a game of Yahtzee. The boy told deputies that his mother was beating up his father when the dad made the threat. (Fargo's The Forum)

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. Neighbors 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)

Fruits of Research
Researchers linked the decline of marriage in the United States to the rise of free Internet pornography. One of the study's authors, Michael Malcolm, a professor at Pennsylvania's West Chester University, explained that the reason is tied to the relationship between marriage and sexual gratification. If pornography is seen as an alternate means to sexual gratification, Malcom said, then it could be undercutting the need for marriage to serve this function. (The Washington Post)

• Fast food might be making people stupid as well as fat, according to researchers at Ohio State University who compared fast-food consumption and test results among children in grades 5 through 8. "Our results show clear and consistent association between children's fast-food consumption in fifth grade and academic growth between fifth and eigth grade," the researchers reported. (The Washington Post)

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)

Instant Indulgence
The brewer of Bud Light introduced an e-commerce app that lets drinkers in Washington, D.C., order 12-packs or 24-packs for delivery within an hour. The move by Anheuser-Busch InBev SA follows that by MillerCoors to provide free delivery of Miller Lite in Boston, New York, Seattle and Washington. The companies view e-commerce as a way to market their products to young consumers who have become accustomed to clicking an app to have food and other products delivered. (The Wall Street Journal)

• Pizza Hut and Domino's are developing ways to order pizza faster. Claiming to have "the world's first subsconscious menu," Pizza Hut incorporated retina-scanning technology and "psychological research" to create a special eye-tracking tablet at its 300 locations across the United Kingdom. The digital menu shows 20 toppings and computes orders based on which ones the customer looks at the longest. "Finally, the indecisive orderer and the prolonged menu peruser can cut time and always get it right, so that the focus of dining can be the most important part: the enjoyment of eating," a Pizza Hut official said, noting that the menus feature a "restart" button to ensure accuracy.

U.K. customers can also order directly from Domino's by using the voice-ordering function of its mobile app. Xbox One gamers can order by announcing "Domino's, feed me," to the voice-activated console, which then places the order. (The Washington Post)

Legalize, Schmegalize
Although Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, Rhode Island topped the nation in the percentage of residents who reported using pot in 2012-13, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. (The Denver Post)

Compiled from the press reports by Roland Sweet. Authentication on demand.