Robot goes rogue
An artificial intelligence robot (IR77) being taught to avoid obstacles while moving around the Promobot lab in Perm, Russia, apparently learned how to walk out the door undetected, causing a downtown traffic jam when its batteries died. Handlers modified the computer script, but IR77 escaped again several days later, and engineers said they might have to dismantle the program and start over. (News of the Weird)
More boat name brilliance
1. "My high school maths and English teachers were married and owned a yacht based at Sandspit (near Warkworth)," writes Ian Mills. "The yacht was called 'The Rule'. The dinghy was called 'The Exception to the Rule'."
2. "There was a rather unlovely boat at Westhaven called 'Fugly'," writes John L.Vague.
3. "Not a boat, but a camper I saw last summer called 'My Sanity Pad'," writes Barb.
4. "There is a large motor yacht here in Perth named 'On Business'," writes Roy. "When clients are trying to contact the owner, his secretary will tell them, 'Sorry, he's away on business.'"
The skinny about bananas
Can you can really slip on a banana peel as the cliche suggests? MythBusters found that although the slick underside of a fresh banana skin does have some friction-reducing properties, a single peel isn't a guaranteed fall. "If you're determined to see some major slippage, try running on layers of peels. Putting peel upon peel reduces static friction, the force that keeps an object from moving when it goes from 'stop' to 'start'. And the older the peels, the more slippery they will be, because the solid material decomposes into a soft, slimy texture." They also note that the cliche originated in the early 20th century after bananas first became a popular fruit, which led to numerous old skins littering footpaths, and therefore numerous accidents.
"Yesterday my husband, Bernie, and I were celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary at Valentines, Wairau Rd, Glenfield, at lunchtime," writes Ellen Ihaka. "When we got to the counter to pay we were told a couple sitting behind us (whom we did not know) had paid for us. They told staff to wish us a happy anniversary and hoped they might be like us in 20 years' time. As we have gone through tough times, as all relationships do, this was a real boost to us and so kind of the lovely young couple."
Hope you find your dog
A reader writes: "To the stock truck driver heading north through Wellsford at 6pm on Wednesday, your dog escaped its travelling box, tumbled many times on the road and smacked into the kerb before hobbling off down Thomas Rd, Wellsford. Sorry, I couldn't find it - no doubt it hid up somewhere to see how much skin it had lost."
Not really news: Russian woman hangs her out her apartment window to sunbathe, neighbours not comfortable with it (with pictorial gloriousness) ...
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