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Odd News Archive - July 2006

formerly Revelations from the Webjockey

Note: Stories from some news services expire after a few weeks. If you click on a link to the original story it is possible that you will be re-directed to an archives page with the option to access the news item for a small fee.

July 21st, 2006

NZ cop moonlights as hooker: A woman police officer moonlighting as a prostitute has got off with a caution, New Zealand police said Thursday.

The unidentified officer, stationed in the country's biggest city Auckland, was discovered last year to have been a prostitute for a short time.

The police officer, who was understood to be having financial difficulties, had not sought permission to have a second job. Such applications are considered on a case-by-case basis.

New Zealand made prostitution legal in 2003....full story from Reuters

Talking urinals in NY: Drunks in Nassau County, New York, are advised that the traditional dash to the john, normally accompanied only by sighs of relief and cries of "jeez, that feels better" may in future be interrupted by public messages broadcast from talking urinals.

Safety officials in said county have bought 100 examples of Dr Richard Deutsch's "Wizmark Urinal Communicator" - a "waterproof, disposable drain cover embedded with electronics that senses a visitor and then relays an audio message".

The device boasts a proximity sensor which detects someone approaching "within about 30 to 60 centimetres". After a suitable pause to allow the customer to position himself, the Communicator gives forth with a "pre-recorded audio announcement"....full story from The Register

Snake swallows electric blanket: It took surgery to save a 3.6m(11.81foot) Burmese Python in Ketchum, Idaho after it swallowed an electric blanket - with the electrical cord and control box.

The blanket must have become tangled up in the snake's rabbit dinner, owner Karl Beznoska said. Mr Beznoska said he kept the blanket in the 27kg(59.52lb) reptile's cage for warmth.

"The prognosis is great," veterinarian Karsten Fostvedt said after yesterday's two-hour operation on the python, named Houdini....full story from The Australian

July 19th, 2006

"Smart" washers and dryers: Whirlpool Corp. is looking to speed up the day when most consumers will be able to monitor and control appliances from their computers and cell phones.

The pilot project, called "Laundry Time," is designed to making doing laundry easier by sending alerts to consumers via televisions, computers and cell phones.

In a recent demonstration of the project at a Whirlpool studio in Atlanta, messages from a specially equipped front-loading washer popped up in real time on a television screen in a different room.

Consumers can also get instant messages from computers or cell phones telling them, for instance, that a wash cycle is completed or that a dryer has not been turned on.

At the press of a button on a cell phone, families participating in the test can extend a drying cycle and perform other laundry tasks while running errands....full story from Reuters

New gadget for absent-minded doctors: Technology that helps airlines keep track of baggage and sounds an alarm when a shoplifter tries to leave the store may be able to stop surgeons from losing a sponge inside a patient, a study said on Monday.

Doctors at Stanford University School of Medicine who tested sponges embedded with radio frequency identification tags said the system accurately alerted surgeons when they deliberately left a sponge inside a temporarily closed surgical site and waved a detector wand over it.

But they said the size of the chips used - 20 millimeters or about 0.8 of an inch - was too large and would need to be reduced to be practical on sponges and surgical instruments....full story from Reuters

July 17th, 2006

Barry Manilow music used to disperse late-night partyers: It could be magic for some, but the use of loud Barry Manilow music to drive away late-night revelers from a suburban Sydney, Australia, park is getting on the nerves of nearby residents.

In a move reminiscent of U.S. efforts to drive former Panama strongman Manuel Noriega from the Vatican Embassy where he took refuge in 1989, the local council in Rockdale, in Sydney's southern suburbs, started a six-month trial of high-volume hits by Manilow and Doris Day to chase away car enthusiasts who were gathering on weekend nights at Cook Park Reserve.

"Barry's our secret weapon," Rockdale Deputy Mayor Bill Saravinovski told The Daily Telegraph newspaper, four weeks after the start of the effort. "It seems to be working." But some people living near the park are less than enthralled. They say the barrage of "Copacabana," "Could It Be Magic" and "Que Sera Sera," blasting from 9 p.m. to midnight every Friday, Saturday and Sunday is driving them crazy....full story from CBS News

July 16th, 2006

Putty knife now in orbit: NASA is tracking a new item of space junk that is streaking through orbit at 8km a second: astronaut Piers Sellers's putty knife.

The $2700 spatula drifted out of Sellers's tool kit while he was conducting repair tests outside the shuttle Discovery on Wednesday.

NASA and the US Space Surveillance Network, a system of high-powered military radars based at 20 sites worldwide, is tracking the object, which weighs 350g, to check that it does not become a hazard to Discovery or the International Space Station.

The tool was orbiting Earth every 90 minutes on Thursday, travelling 6.4km ahead of the space station....full story from The Australian

July 14th, 2006

Zidane headbutt revisted: While the original video clip of the Zidane headbutt is in the funny video section of this website, the folks at The Register along with some of their readers have outdone themselves in adding seven new perspectives to the incident: "Zidane Headbutt Outrage"

July 14th, 2006

UK women told to dress properly before drinking: Women going on boozy nights out have been warned by police to "wear nice pants" in case they fall down drunk in the street.

A Suffolk police safety campaign magazine shows pictures of young women slumped on the ground next to messages urging them: "If you've got it, don't flaunt it."

"If you fall over or pass out, remember your skirt or dress may ride up," the magazine says. "You could show off more than you intended - for all our sakes, please make sure you're wearing nice pants and that you've recently had a wax."

Readers are also told to stick with friends, book a taxi home and watch the amount they drink....full story from Reuters

July 13th, 2006

Group gets ATV's to battle cane toads: A Western Australian group fighting the incursion of cane toads has been given a four-wheel-drive and two quad bikes to help track toads in remote areas of the Northern Territory. The equipment is part of a AU$225,000 federal grant.

The founder of the Kimberley Toad Busters, Lee Scott-Virtue, says the group catches up to 90 toads each weekend and the funding will help it continue its trapping expeditions....full story from ABC News (AU)

Meanwhile, a "biological" warfare weapon may have been discovered: Kimberley Toad Busters have made a remarkable discovery that could help scientists find a way to eradicate cane toads.

During their weekly sorties over the NT/WA Border two weeks ago, the volunteers discovered toads with parasites in the forms of leaches and ticks attached to them.

Anecdotal evidence at this stage would suggest that neither parasite attaches to native frogs, although ticks are seen on reptiles.

The discovery gives scientists a "vehicle" to deliver any disease or bio solution to curtailing the spread of the toads....full story from The Kimberly Echo

More news on the impending invasion of Western Australia as soon as it becomes available -Webjockey

Note: Stories from some news services expire after a few weeks. If you click on a link to the original story it is possible that you will be re-directed to an archives page with the option to access the news item for a small fee.

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