Friday, December 16, 2011

Signs of the times

Just because everything is different doesn't mean anything has changed. ~ Irene Peter
• Frustrated by their inability to capture the Geezer Bandit, who has robbed 16 California banks since August, 2009, police are now investigating buyers of a silicon mask named The Elder. The mask has the appearance of a 70 year old man.

• Mother Nature went on a spending spree in 2011, which will probably be the third-costliest weather year of all time for the U.S.A. It has endured 12 weather and climate disasters with an aggregate damage of approximately $52 billion.

• You can now tweet your insurance company during an accident. Despite the estimation that 30-50% of accidents are caused by driver distraction (OPP), new BMWs allow drivers to access Twitter and Facebook while underway. How socially irresponsible is that? It's now inevitable that you'll see this on most cars within a couple of years.

Babyloid is Japan’s latest therapeutic robot baby, designed to help ease depression among older people by offering them companionship. It's cheeks turn red to let you know when it's happy and content, and it sheds blue LED tears when it is sad.

• Huge amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, are bubbling to the surface from the arctic seabed. Scientists estimate that there are hundreds of millions of tonnes of methane gas locked away beneath the Arctic permafrost. That could lead to rapid and severe climate change if suddenly released.

• The Occupy movement apparently has a win. The New York State Senate and Assembly passed, almost unanimously, an increase in the top tax rate on the state's wealthiest citizens, at Gov. Andrew Cuomo's request. Just two months ago, the governor said such a move was out of the question.
Looking for change? Check the sofa.

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