News Quirks (01/21/15) | News Quirks | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice
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News Quirks (01/21/15) 

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. Thomas 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 abandoned 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 that 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)

Fruits of Research

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

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 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)

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Roland Sweet

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Roland Sweet is the author of the syndicated column "News Quirks," which appears weekly in Seven Days.

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