Monday 1/12/09

Human Interest News   —   Posted on January 12, 2009

By The Editors of

Keystone kriminal
A San Antonio
robbery suspect racked up four strikes as he tried to stick up a
McDonald’s fast food restaurant on Dec. 16. Initially, an employee
working the register thought he was kidding. When the suspect insisted
that he wanted money, the employee suggested that he should get a job.
Riled by such sass, the robber brandished a box cutter and demanded the
employee’s wallet-which was empty. Apparently frustrated, the perp fled
the scene, but police quickly captured him.

Flying High
The Singapore Flyer ferris wheel stands 541 feet high, has 28 bus-sized capsules for riders, and began operation in February as part of an effort to boost tourism to the island nation. What happened on Dec. 23 probably won’t help. A short circuit brought the massive ferris wheel, the world’s largest, to a halt for six hours, stranding 173 passengers high in the air. The passengers were reportedly given food and water during the wait and taken to waiting ambulances after the wheel regained power.

Signal flags
Dennis Shacklock wanted to make a point. He earned a police visit. Last month the Mercer County, Pa., resident flew his flag upside down to indicate his distress about the nation’s economic crisis and the election of Barack Obama, of whom he is wary. When police officers showed up at his door to ask if everything was OK, and then offered some stern words about flag use, Vietnam veteran Shacklock replaced his upside-down message with a white flag signaling surrender.

Does not compute
The United Kingdom’s Department for Transport bought a computer system as a cost-cutting measure, only to find out that parts of the system were exclusively in German. In a Dec. 16 report to Parliament, MPs charged bureaucrats with gross negligence for failing to ensure the pricey computer system would even be understandable to English-speaking government workers. Department officials had once claimed the system would save the British government nearly $85 million in gains after paying for its $80 million cost. Instead, the mostly broken computer system has run up huge cost overruns, creating a $180 million bill for Parliament while only producing $60 million in savings.