How to catch a penguin
A Humboldt penguin that escaped from a Tokyo aquarium in March (Social Studies, March 6), has been repeatedly spotted swimming in Tokyo Bay, The Daily Yomiuri reports. “Though park officials are brainstorming ways to recapture the penguin, it is a difficult task as Humboldt penguins can stay underwater for nearly five minutes and swim at speeds of 30 kph to 40 kph. Because penguins return to land at around sunset to sleep, officials are hoping to recapture the penguin when it is asleep. However, there are many areas along the coast of Tokyo Bay where a penguin can go unnoticed by humans. The penguin has yet to be spotted on land. As a result, No. 337 [the penguin’s ID]will likely continue enjoying life on the run for the time being.”
The Queen doesn’t sweat
“‘Horses sweat, men perspire, and ladies gently simmer,’ went the old expression, and now, one of the Queen’s dress designers, Stewart Parvin, has indeed confirmed that Her Majesty does not perspire,” writes Tom Sykes for The Daily Beast. “‘We always choose fabrics that don’t crease, we go to extra lengths to line them so they don’t. I am somebody who creases all their clothes. I’m always hot, the Queen is very lucky, she doesn’t crease her clothes (because) she doesn’t glow. If you are a cold person your clothes don’t crease,’ Mr. Parvin, who has worked for the Queen for 11 years, said in an interview published in [The Sunday Times of London] Mr. Parvin also revealed the Queen has an assistant to wear in her new shoes and prevent chafing during public duties.”
A British mobile telephone service that allows parents to read their children’s text messages, control who they add as contacts and remotely switch their phone off has been developed, The Daily Telegraph reports. “The safety system gives adults total control over a mobile phone via a computer, and is intended to protect children aged eight to 16. The telephone, developed by the company Bemilo, is said to be aimed at worried parents, who fear their children may access unsuitable material on their personal handsets. Until now, they had been reliant on safety settings on the phones themselves, which critics claim are confusing and not readily accessible.”
Can kids teach themselves?
“Imagine children learning to read without a school, teachers or books,” writes Eric Steuer in Wired magazine. “Impossible? Nicholas Negroponte aims to find out. This spring the One Laptop per Child founder, with researchers at Tufts University and the MIT Media Lab, arranged for a bundle of solar-powered tablets … to be dropped into the Ethiopian village of Wolenchite, where there is no electricity and essentially zero literacy. With no instruction, kids ages four through 12 began using the devices. ‘It took the first child 15 minutes to figure out how to turn it on,’ Negroponte says. … Two weeks later [the children]were reciting the alphabet out loud. But can devices alone help kids go from ABCs to critical reading and comprehension? ‘That is the question,’ Negroponte says. ‘We’ll know in six months to a year.’ ”
A laid-back robbery
“A man in Manchester, England, has been nicknamed the ‘world’s most casual robber’ after holding up a shop with a cup of coffee,” reports The Warwick Weekly Trader. “Police have released CCTV security footage of a robber calmly asking a shop assistant in the Oasis News store in Wythenshawe to fill bin bags with cigarettes and tobacco. The masked man can be seen standing at the till holding a cup of black coffee. Meanwhile his even more laid-back accomplice approaches the cameras without even bothering to cover his face in any way. … ‘It’s typical of the way robbers behave these days,’ a local complained.”
Should bank robbers tip?
“When a Dallas firefighter was charged with robbing a bank last month – as if that wasn’t bizarre enough by itself – news outlets seemed fascinated with reports that he tipped the teller $20 before fleeing,” writes Avi Selk in The Dallas Evening News. “Debbie Regina Norman is not a firefighter, so it’s understandable that she did not become a major news story when she robbed a Chase bank near Fair Park last year. But she did tip. And hers wasn’t even U.S. currency. … She wore sunglasses, carried a dark plastic bag and handed a note to employees. ‘Ima shoot you geme money,’ read the note … A frightened teller handed over $3,900 in cash. … Norman handed back an unknown quantity of Mexican pesos.” She was sentenced this week to 13 years in federal prison.
Thought du jour
“Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.” – Mark Twain (1835-1910), American author