April 09, 2008

And now . . . this - Apr. 9/08

Um . . . silence pollution?

A bill intended to protect blind people and other pedestrians from the dangers posed by quiet cars will be introduced Wednesday in Congress.

The measure would require the Transportation Department to establish safety standards for hybrids and other vehicles that make little discernible noise, including an audible means for alerting people that cars are nearby.

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Great! After 100 years of the automobile, we finally invent a silent car, and we're immediately forced by law to make it make loud "putt, putt" noises. Or maybe car owners should hire some sort of flagman, like the kind that had to walk in front of horseless carriages?

Everything's bigger in Texas

Booyah!

The brightest light on Earth now shines in a laboratory in Texas, one which will enable scientists to create a tabletop star. . . .

The laser is brighter than sunlight on the surface of the sun, but it only lasts for an instant, a 10th of a trillionth of a second (0.0000000000001 second). This is the key to the laser's power - it delivers modest energy in a microscopic unit of time.

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But avoid staring directly into the beam . . . unless you like watching your eyeballs evaporate and float away.

Yes, Arkansas . . . anyone surprised?

Arkansas' marriage-age crisis is over. A law that mistakenly allowed anyone - even toddlers - to marry with parental permission was repealed by a measure signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Mike Beebe, ending months of embarrassment for the state and confusion for county clerks.

Lawmakers didn't realize until after the end of last year's regular session that a law they approved, intended to establish 18 as the minimum age for marriage, instead removed the minimum age to marry entirely. An extraneous "not" in the bill allowed anyone who was not pregnant to marry at any age with permission.

The bill read: "In order for a person who is younger than eighteen (18) years of age and who is not pregnant to obtain a marriage license, the person must provide the county clerk with evidence of parental consent to the marriage."

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Yeah, I blew a lot of tests in school by forgetting the stupid minus sign, too. Hey, I'm an editor - let's discuss rates.

OK, one more. It's been awhile.

Good thing it wasn't a stoat

A New Zealand man has been accused of assault with prickly weapon - a hedgehog. Police allege that William Singalargh picked up the hedgehog and threw it several yards to hit a 15-year-old boy in the North Island east coast town of Whakatane on Feb. 9. . . .

Worst Ending Ever for a news story:

While using a hedgehog as a weapon in an assault is uncommon, Jenkins said, "People often get charged with assault for throwing things at other people."

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Yeah, words fail me too.