World News ... the NextStop Way

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World News ... the NextStop Way

Crime Up? Hmm … Maybe it’s Adult Ed

Oakland, California, residents observing a 40 percent increase in burglaries in 2012 were startled to find out that the city government was offering classes on lock picking — how else would residents be able to get in their homes when they locked themselves out? Usually lock picking kits were offered for sale after each class. Said one irate citizen, “What next? The fundamentals of armed robbery?” The class was cancelled in February 2012. — San Jose Mercury News, February 28, 2012

And You Thought it Was Just Littering …

Birds living in cities fill their nests with cigarette butts to use the properties in tobacco as a pesticide. And the cellulose in the filters provides insulation as well. Scientists in Mexico City studied nests of house sparrows and house finches that each contained, on average, about 10 used cigarette butts. Birds who stored larger numbers of butts saw their nests significantly less infested by mites. — The Telegraph (UK;

Oh, Those Whacky Brits!

Back on December 27, 2012, a man was attacked by — honest — three men dressed as Oompa Loompas, the characters from the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie based on the Roald Dahl book. Two 20-year-olds and a 19-year-old were charged in March for the attack and released on bail. As Wonka was wont to say, "No, no, don't speak — for some moments in life there are no words."— BBC News Norfolk, March 23, 2013

Forget Same-Sex Marriage, We Found the Real Debate

Dr. Brett Mills of the University of East Anglia (UK) says wildlife documentaries should be offering viewers a wider perspective on animal behavior. Commenting on three BBC wildlife documentaries, The Life of Birds, The Life of Mammals, and Life in the Freezer, he noted that the wildlife needs to be portrayed as homosexual and other “complex and changeable forms of sexual activity,” rather than solely heterosexual. —Published in the European Journal of Cultural Studies

“I’ll Be Back”

Seeming oblivious to all previous sci-fi warnings, DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — the people who, among other things, helped give the world the Internet — apparently are not heeding the warnings in movies such as the Terminator franchise or the Sarah Conner Chronicles. Instead, DARPA has decided it’s not happy with machine learning and has launched research into “probabilistic programming languages,” which is far too hard for this writer to explain in this space. Regardless, the end result is they wish to develop computers that can teach themselves. Can you say Skynet? — DARPA; and a variety of science publications

Dumb Criminal Tales; Take 97. Action …

So waitress Brianna Priddy is working her shift in a Colorado Applebee’s when she “proofs” a woman ordering a margarita. Ms. Priddy, who had her pocketbook stolen two weeks previously, managed to stay dead pan when she checked the ID … her’s. Telling her “new self” she’d be right back with the drink, she called 911. “I put on my server smile and tried to take care of them, but I was shaking like crazy,” she said about the wait for police to show. The “new” Brianna Priddy was arrested for a variety of crimes as well as narcotics possession. The clincher to this tale? The suspect was 26. — Yahoo! News, March 7, 20213

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