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News » News Quirks

Game of Drones



Curses, Foiled Again
Cass Alder, 22, bought table napkins made with images of $100 bills on them, then cut out the images, glued them onto paper and tried passing one of the bogus bills at a convenience store. The clerk refused to accept it. Alder exited the store but left the bill behind. It was used in evidence against him at his trial in in Charlottestown, Prince Edward Island, where a provincial court judge sentenced him to 18 months probation. (Charlottestown's The Guardian)
• Micah Hatcher, 36, was charged with auto theft after he drove a stolen vehicle into the Washington State Patrol district office parking lot in Bellevue. Hatcher had been arrested a few days earlier and came to the district office to retrieve some belongings that had been taken then. Troopers said they were alerted to the stolen vehicle by a witness who recognized it from a Facebook post and followed Hatcher to his destination. (Seattle's KOMO-TV)

Game of Drones
The world's first university licensed to grant doctorate degrees in unmanned systems said its students can learn to fly an unmanned aerial vehicle in less than three weeks. Instruction at Arizona's Unmanned Vehicle University consists of three phases, provost John Minor said. The first two allow students to learn at home, using a flight simulator. Phase three requires students to travel to one of the university's flight schools around the country and work with an experienced flight instructor. The school charges students $3,500. (The Washington Times)
• Military researchers plan to test whether drones can be placed on the ocean floor for an indefinite period and then be activated remotely to attack surface targets. The drone operation, named the Upward Falling Payload program, faces three challenges, according to Steven H. Walker, deputy director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which heads the project: how to remotely trigger the launch, how to get the drone to float to the surface and how to power and protect the system on the ocean floor for more than a year. (The Washington Times)
• Drone operators won't need a pilot's license, according to draft rules for commercial drones announced by the Federal Aviation Administration. Instead, the agency proposed that drones weighing less than 55 pounds that are well maintained and checked before flight can be flown by operators who've passed a basic aeronautical test. The drones would have to stay below 500 feet, fly only in daylight and not over people, and remain in view of their operators at all times. Amazon said the last requirement would prevent it starting its drone-delivery service. (The Economist)

Second-Amendment Follies
The National Rifle Association banned working guns from its annual convention this year in Nashville, Tenn. The group will require the thousands of firearms displayed at the event to have their firing pins removed for safety. (Nashville's The Tennessean)

Overeater's Lament
After John Noble, 53, shot and killed himself at a Henderson, Nev., resort buffet, authorities said he left a suicide note blaming the resort for his death by withdrawing its offer of free meals for life. The M Resort Spa Casino awarded him unlimited meals at its buffet in 2010 for being an M "biggest winner." Three years later, it banned him from the property for harassing some of the women working there. "I was unjustifiably kicked out," Noble insisted on a two-hour DVD of him talking about his troubles that accompanied his note. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Nuptial Secrets
An Indian bride dumped the groom after he incorrectly answered an arithmetic problem. Tipped off before the arranged marriage that Ram Baran was illiterate, Lovely Singh asked him to add 15 and 6. He replied 17, according to a police official in Rasoolabad, Uttar Pradesh. Father of the bride Mohar Singh said the "groom's family had kept us in the dark about his poor education." (BBC News)
• Also in Uttar Pradesh, when the groom at a wedding in Rampur had a seizure during the ceremony and was taken to the hospital, the bride and her family learned that he was epileptic and had kept that information from them. The angry bride then asked a guest, a member of her brother-in-law's family, to marry her instead. He agreed. When the original groom, 25-year-old Jugal Kishore, returned from the hospital, he pleaded with the woman to change her mind, but she refused. Kishore and his family lodged a complaint, police official Ram Khiladi Solanki said, "But since the bride is already married now, what can anyone do?" (BBC News)

Not-Pot Follies
Sheriff's deputies who stopped a vehicle in Lincoln, Neb., reported finding a 16-ounce container under the front passenger's labeled "Not Weed." It held 11.4 grams of marijuana. The 21-year-old driver admitted it belonged to him and was arrested. (Lincoln Journal Star)
• After an assistant principal at a middle school in Bedford County, Va., found a plant leaf and a lighter in a sixth-grader's knapsack, the boy was suspended for 364 days and charged in juvenile court with possession of marijuana. Repeated testing, however, determined that the leaf wasn't pot. Prosecutors dropped the charge, but the school upheld the suspension, citing school policy prohibiting not only controlled substances, but also imitations. School officials ordered the boy evaluated for substance-abuse problem, which he doesn't have. The school system also tried to reassign the 11-year-old, who had been enrolled in a gifted-and-talented program, to a program for troubled kids before allowing him to return to a regular school on strict probation. (The Roanoke Times)

Helping Hand
The adult-video site Pornhub posted a promotional video announcing it is developing a wearable device so men can generate electricity while masturbating. Dubbed "Wankband," it straps to a user's wrist and makes electricity when moved up and down, then stores the power, which can be retrieved by using a USB port to charge laptops, phones, cameras and tablets. "We're going to show men how they can save the planet while doing what they do best," the Pornhub video said. (New York Daily News)

Compiled by Roland Sweet. Authentication on demand.