Greetings, and thanks for joining me for another week. First, what’s a court to do? A 2015 decision of the Georgia Supreme Court has created a dilemma for drunk driver enforcement. In Georgia (and other states), blood alcohol tests are “voluntary” (to bypass the issue of whether drivers can be forced, or even pressured, to endure a test that ultimately helps to convict them), but the Georgia court has ruled, against custom, that a “consenting” driver might be “too” drunk to appreciate the consent — in which case, the test results would be inadmissible in court. Equally awkwardly, prosecutors would be forced to argue that the drunk driver — too drunk to handle a motor vehicle — was still sober enough to give knowledgeable consent. Atlanta’s WSB-TV reported last month that judges statewide are grappling with the issue.
Next, it’s a miracle, a Wall Street Miracle: Earlier this year, two instances of gleaning insight and using it to buy stock “options” were executed so quickly (1 to 3 seconds each) that experts consulted for a Slate.comanalysis said they couldn’t possibly have been made by human securities traders. Their conclusion: A robot so intelligent exists that it can “read” a news wire report, “analyze” it for hints whether to place bets on a company’s future price, and execute the order — before human traders even finish reading the news report. Profits on the seconds-long trades: $2.4 million on one and “between $1 million and $2 million” on the other.The game IS rigged!
Finally, picking up the slack; I may not have to find a second job…. Already, healthy people can donate blood, sperm and eggs, but now the nonprofit OpenBiome offers donors $40 for bowel movements — to supply “fecal transplants” for patients with nasty C. difficile bacterial infections. (“Healthy” contents are transplanted into the infected gut via endoscope or frozen swallowed capsules so that the good bacteria drive out the antibiotic-resistant bad.) Over 2,000 transplant units have been shipped to 185 hospitals so far, and OpenBiome allows daily “donations” so that, with bonuses, a donor could earn $13,000 a year. However, extensive medical questioning and stool-testing is required, and only about 4 percent of potential donors have exquisite-enough feces to qualify. [Washington Post]
What was briefly believed to be a terrorist attack in Sweden turned out to be no more than a household accident. Police, ambulances and the fire-department rushed to Södermalm in Stockholm after receiving reports of a loud boom and a shirtless man seemingly brandishing a weapon. Police canvassed the area, but found no damage to any of the surrounding property or any other evidence that would hint at an explosion. The lone oddity was a man hanging a piece of plastic in his window. Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet reports that a tactical operations team approached the man but quickly backed down after he produced a hand-written note. “The apartment owner had a broken window; it doesn’t seem to be connected to any bang. He was at home himself putting up curtains,” police spokesperson Albin Näverberg told local television station SVT, according to The Local. Authorities shut down the street for a time, but promptly reopened it after no threat was found. The Aftonbladet report states that the man in the window had dropped his power drill while attempting to hang curtains. The drill shattered the window and went on to land on a tin roof below producing the loud noise. Nervous, anyone?
Drivers, start your mowers? A Norwegian team brought their souped-up lawn mower to speeds of nearly135 mph to take on the 117 mph world record. The Norwegian Speed Factory team said they started with a Viking T6 lawnmower and rebuilt it into “The World’s Fastest Viking” for the speed run at Torp Sandefjord Airport. The team said the rebuilt mower features 408 horsepower with a V8 engine and has the wheels of a Formula 3 car. The reservoir for collecting grass clippings was converted into a fuel tank and cooling system. The team said their record-breaking 133.5 mph run was initially in doubt due to weather conditions at the airport. Driver Pekka Lundefaret said the runway was slippery during the initial test run and the engine filled with water, but he was able to exceed the former record of 117 mph during a subsequent run. “This is so great, and I just have to thank Viking, our team and everyone who has believed in this project. I had never imagined that we might make a new world record today under these conditions,” Lundefaret told Norwegian website Conpot. The company said the record has been verified by Guinness World Records.
An Austrian woman shredded her 950,000 euro ($1.02 million) fortune in spite because she didn’t want her family to have it, AFP reports. According to German-language newspaper Kurier, the 85-year-old woman neatly cut the euros and some savings account books before leaving them on a nursing home bed, days before she died. Authorities theorize she turned her fortune into the world’s most expensive confetti to upset her family, though the reason why is unclear. Prosecutors can be of only limited help to her successors. “The damage of the money in the woman’s property is not a criminal matter, so we have not begun any investigation,” Austrian state prosecutor Erich Habitzl told AFP. Luckily for the heirs, Austria’s central bank (OeNB) should be able to replace the cash. Friedrich Hammerschmidt, deputy head of the OeNB cash division, told Kurier, “If the heirs can only find shreds of money and if the origin of the money is assured, then of course it can all be replaced.” “If we didn’t pay out the money then we would be punishing the wrong people,” he said. (Of course, if any reader share this woman’s views and want to get rid of money, send it to me; I can use it.)
Finally, (1) A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months. (2) When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, U.C.L.A. (3) The batteries were given out free of charge. (4) A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail (5) A boiled egg is hard to beat. Bonus: Did you hear about the fellow whose entire left side was cut off? He’s all right now. (Sorry.)