The other gas
Argentinian agricultural scientists in 2008 created the “methane backpack” to collect the emissions of grazing cows (with a tube from the cow’s rumen to the inflatable bag) in order to see how much of the world’s greenhouse-gas problem was created by livestock. Having discovered that figure (it’s 25-30 percent), the country’s National Institute of Agricultural Technology announced recently that it will start storing the collected methane to convert it to energy. In a “proof of concept” hypothesis, it estimates that about 300 liters of methane could power a refrigerator for 24 hours.
A black-and-white housecat, Lenny, was turned back to a shelter near Rochester, New York, in April, only two days after adoption because the new owner could not tolerate Lenny’s flatulence. …
When three parrots were stolen from a home in Saxilby, England, in June, the owner provided police with their descriptions, even though all three are African greys, quite talkative and look very much alike. One of the three, however, has asthma and is easily recognized by his chronic cough. …
Miles Jelfs of Bristol, England, was seeking financial help in April to cover surgery for his hard-luck tortoise, Cedric, whose prolapsed penis constantly drags on the ground, partially erect.
Least Competent Criminals
A “stocky” man in his 30s wearing a Cincinnati Reds baseball cap was sought in New York City in June after holding up five banks in the space of about three and a half hours but earning a total of only $449 (still, an average of $128 an hour). (Actually, $399 came from one Chase branch and $50 from another; three banks had shooed him away empty-handed. …
Notorious San Diego tagger Francisco Canseco, 18, was present in a downtown courtroom in June for a hearing on 31 misdemeanor paint-vandalism charges and apparently could not contain his boredom. While waiting (as officials discovered only the next day), Canseco managed to tag numerous chairs in the courtroom, along with benches in the hallway. (Vandalism of a courthouse is a felony.)
It turns out (contrary to a report in News of the Weird on April 20th) that Dayton, Ohio, transit driver Rickey Wagoner was not saved by the religious book in his pocket that absorbed a bullet from an attack by “three black teenagers.” After a thorough investigation, the Dayton police chief told reporters in June that Wagoner’s allegations were “unfounded” and “fabricated.” The chief reported that Wagoner was under financial stress at the time but declined to speculate further, though he did reassure the community that no such attackers were being sought.
New World Order
Plant City (Florida) High School near Tampa announced that its 2014 valedictorian, Ms. Dhara Patel, had graduated with a grade-point average of 10.03. She not only vanquished the students who had fought for the formerly coveted 4.0, but she aced her heavy load of the ultra-competitive “advanced placement” courses for extra credit.
The National Security Agency admitted in a June court filing that it had disobeyed two judicial orders to stop deleting accusatory evidence in its databases (which judges had ordered preserved to help determine if the NSA was illegally violating privacy laws). The NSA’s reasoning for its chutzpah: Its data-gathering systems, it claims, are “too complex” to prevent the automatic deletions routinely programmed into its data, and it cannot reprogram to preserve the data without shutting down its entire intelligence-gathering mission. The challenging party (the Electronic Frontier Foundation) called the NSA’s explanation disingenuous and, in fact, further proof that the NSA is incapable of properly managing such massive data-gathering.
Better than you
Alarmed that its internal rating system revealed that some employees actually perform better than others, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that it was scrapping the system. Agency director Richard Cordray expressed dismay that the system failed to reveal worker disparities that matched up on the basis of age, race, union status and longevity with the agency, and said that until they find a system that proves, for example, that union members work just as well (or badly) as non-members, all employees will be paid as if they were doing excellent work. CV
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