Anti-Theft ID Breakthrough: For people who become stressed when asked to prove their identities by biometric scans of fingerprints, hand prints or eyeballs,Japan'sAdvanced Institute of Industrial Technology has developed a chair frame that authenticates merely by sitting down: a butt-scanner. Professor Shigeomi Koshimizu's device produces a map of the user's unique derriere shape, featuring 256 degrees of pressure at 360 different points and could be used not only to protect vehicles from theft but also, when connected to a computer, to prevent log-ons by those with unauthorized posteriors.
• Imminent Gay Takeovers: (1) Mayor Jose Benitez of Huarmey, Peru (population 16,000), speaking at the opening of a water works in November, warned residents about strontium in the water, which he said suppresses male hormones. He reminded residents that nearby Tabalosos, which is lately popular with gays and lesbians, shares the water supply and that Huarmey could turn gay, too. (2) A November report by Muslim scholars atSaudi Arabia'shighest religious council (Majlis al-Ifta' al-A'ala), presented to the Saudi legislature, warned that ending the ban on females' driving would cause a surge in prostitution, pornography, divorce and, of course, homosexuality (and the scholars added that, within 10 years, the country would have "no more virgins").
• California state legislator Mary Hayashi of Hayward pleaded guilty in January to misdemeanor shoplifting. Police said she had walked out of a Neiman Marcus store in October with over $2,400 worth of unpaid-for merchandise, caused, said her lawyer, by a benign brain tumor that might have affected her decision-making. (Miraculously, and just in time for the legislative session, the tumor, said the lawyer, is "no longer affecting her concentration or her judgment.")
The Litigious Society
• The two men who heroically pulled a woman out of a burning car wreck in 2009, and surely (according to a highway patrol officer on the scene) saved her life, have sued the woman for the emotional and physical disabilities that resulted from the episode (brought to light in an August 2011 Associated Press report). David Kelley and Mark Kincaid not only stopped voluntarily to help, but were the only ones on the scene capable of pulling the woman to safety. (The fire was so hot that it melted Kelley's cellphone.) Kelley said he has suffered serious breathing problems and cannot avoid horrific dreams reliving the episode. The woman, Theresa Tanner, subsequently admitted that she deliberately crashed the car that day in a suicide attempt.
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