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Future Friend



Curses, Foiled Again
Security guards at a Seattle department store had no trouble spotting a shoplifter. She was carrying 23 purses and handbags. When confronted, the woman dropped the items and ran. Police said the suspect re-entered the store by another entrance and grabbed eight more handbags and purses. A security guard stopped and handcuffed her when she tried leaving by the same door as the first time. (Seattle's KOMO-TV)

• Surveillance video showed two men breaking into a tattoo parlor in Frederick, Md. One man had a large, distinct tattoo on his forearm that the storeowner recognized as one he had done a month earlier. The customer was Max M. Goransson, 20. He refused to give a DNA sample, but police got one from water bottle they gave him after they arrested him. Goransson's DNA matched that found on a flashlight the suspect left at the scene. (The Frederick News-Post)

Future Friend
A robot designed to read and respond to human emotions will be sold at Sprint Corp. stores in the United States by next summer. Marketed by SoftBank Corp., the 4-foot-tall humanoid, named Pepper, dances, tells jokes and estimates human emotions based on observed expressions. SoftBank chairman Mayayoshi Son said the company is investing in robotics to boost Japan's domestic production, adding that he expects to replace 90 million jobs with 30 million robots. (Bloomberg News)

Second-Amendment Follies
George Byrd IV, 31, denied shooting through a neighbor's window in Middletown, Pa., but then told police he did fire the gun, but only because he was unfamiliar with guns and thought firing it was the only way to unload it. (Bucks County Courier Times)

• A restaurant in Port Allen, La., began offering a 10 percent discount to customers who bring their guns with them. "If you have a gun on you, I'm going to give you a discount," Kevin Cox, owner of Bergeron's Restaurant, said, hoping the move will discourage robbers. "As long as everybody has a gun, we're all the same size." (Baton Rouge's WVLA-TV)

Second Amendment vs. First Amendment
A firing range in Hot Springs, Ark., banned Muslims. "This is not a coffee and doughnut shop," Jan Morgan, owner of the Gun Cave Indoor Firing Range, blogged. "People are shooting guns in close proximity to each other, so my patrons depend on me and my discretion regarding who I allow to shoot beside them. Why would I want to rent or sell a gun and hand ammunition to someone who aligns himself with a religion that commands him to kill me?" (Arkansas Times)

Let This Be a Lesson
A judge in Columbus, Ohio, who teaches local high-school students the dangers of drunk driving by moving an actual drunk-driving trial to the school, was charged with drunk driving. Police said Perry County Judge Dean L. Wilson, 60, was driving a Mercedes-Benz loaner when he sideswiped a bus and kept driving until officers stopped him. He is on record as taking pride in helping deter students from drinking & driving by viewing the trials, which have become a tradition and are scheduled each year to coincide with prom season. Wilson refused to take a breath test. (The Columbus Dispatch)

Crises of the Week
The latest food found to cause cancer is toast, especially dark toast or worse, burned. The European Food Safety Authority identified the culprit as acrylamide, a chemical that forms when certain starchy foods are baked, fried or roasted at high temperatures to make them crispy and crunchy and to add taste. It's found mainly in potato chips, soft and crispy breads, cookies, crackers, cakes, cereals and instant coffee. The agency advised eating toast only when it is light yellow. (Britain's Daily Mail)

• Proliferating traffic cameras in the District of Columbia have been so effective at reducing infractions that the city faces a $70 million revenue shortfall because the city isn't issuing enough red-light and speeding tickets. D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson blamed local leaders for becoming too dependent on ticket revenue to balance the city's budget. (The Washington Post)

Swept Away
Mark John Tucker, 54, was seriously injured when he was run over by a street sweeper that he was operating. Police in St. Petersburg, Fla., said Tucker fell when the vehicle began moving while he was trying to climb onto it. The street sweeper continued moving and ran over his upper body. (Tampa's WFLA-TV)

Buyer's Remorse
Police in Japan's Kyoto Prefecture visited the homes of hundreds of customers who bought shoes with built-in upskirt cameras, and requested they voluntarily surrender the shoes and fill out a "disposal request," which asked them to state why they purchased the shoes. Police obtained a list of about 1,500 buyers when they raided the company that specializes in voyeuristic footwear. A 26-year-old company manager was fined $4,500 for violating Japan's nuisance prevention ordinance. (United Press International)

Join the Club
Former Federal Reserve chairman Ben S. Bernake, 60, who receives $250,000 per speaking engagement, told an audience at a conference in Chicago that he recently tried to refinance his mortgage but "was unsuccessful in doing so." (Bloomberg News)

The Customer Always Pays
When Minnesota raised its minimum wage 75 cents, businesses raised prices to offset the added expense, but Stillwater's Oasis Café began adding 35 cents to each check instead. "We're just doing what we have to do," manager Colin Orcutt said of the restaurant's "minimum wage fee." (Minneapolis's Star Tribune)

When Nestlé attached a hidden camera to the bra of a female volunteer in London to count how many times men glanced at her barely concealed breasts, the experiment found it happened constantly. It also found that women were just as likely as to stare as men, only more blatantly and with detectable disapproval. (Britain's Daily Mail)

Sound Move
Detroit police have identified what appear to be 24 shootings since they began a pilot program using light pole sensors to pinpoint where shots are fired. ShotSpotter technology uses the sensors to detect loud, explosive noises then relay information to a computer, which then calculates the shooter's position, speed and direction traveled. ShotSpotter's manufacturer, California-based SST Inc., said the system can give the exact street address, number of rounds, the time shots were fired and whether two types of guns were used. The only glitch, Police Chief James Craig said, is, "We're still doing some testing to determine if what we're hearing are indeed gunshots." (The Detroit News)

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