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News Quirks (10/8/14) 

Published October 8, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.

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 reentered 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)

Future Friend

A robot designed to read and respond to human emotions will be sold at Sprint stores in the United States by next summer. Marketed by SoftBank, the four-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 v. 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?" (Little Rock's 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 and 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. (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)

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)

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." (Detroit News)


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)

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About The Author

Roland Sweet

Roland Sweet was the author of a syndicated column called "News Quirks," which appeared weekly in Seven Days.


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