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Thursday, October 1, 2009

In the News: October 1, 2009

This first story is incredible.

Malawi windmill boy with big fans

William Kamkwamba and one of his windmills

"The extraordinary true story of a Malawian teenager who transformed his village by building electric windmills out of junk is the subject of a new book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind."

"His against-all-odds achievements are all the more remarkable considering he was forced to quit school aged 14 because his family could no longer afford the $80-a-year (£50) fees."

"Unable to attend school, he kept up his education by using a local library.

Fascinated by science, his life changed one day when he picked up a tattered textbook and saw a picture of a windmill."

"When not helping his family farm maize, he plugged away at his prototype, working by the light of a paraffin lamp in the evenings."

""People thought I was smoking marijuana," he said. "So I told them I was only making something for juju [magic].' Then they said: 'Ah, I see.'""
(Science? Ridiculous. Magic? Oh, of course.)

"The finished product - a 5-m (16-ft) tall blue-gum-tree wood tower, swaying in the breeze over Masitala - seemed little more than a quixotic tinkerer's folly.

But his neighbours' mirth turned to amazement when Mr Kamkwamba scrambled up the windmill and hooked a car light bulb to the turbine.

As the blades began to spin in the breeze, the bulb flickered to life and a crowd of astonished onlookers went wild.

Soon the whiz kid's 12-watt wonder was pumping power into his family's mud brick compound."


Pilot accused of stalking ex-girlfriend from air

It's exactly what it sounds like.
And then throw in some defamatory leaflets for fun.

"A California man was arrested on suspicion of stalking after he allegedly used his airplane to violate a restraining order by buzzing a neighborhood, police said Thursday.

In recent weeks, Concord, California, police were investigating an incident in which leaflets were dropped over a residential neighborhood, possibly by a low-flying airplane, police said in a statement.

"The leaflets referenced a specific person and contained defamatory language and racial slurs. As the investigation has progressed, it appears that the motivation behind this situation is a failed domestic relationship," the statement read."


Beating Death of Derrion Albert, 16, Caught On Video

This story has gotten a lot of press coverage, with good reason.
I still can't believe how brazen those kids were.

"Four teenagers have been charged with first-degree murder in Derrion Albert's beating death.

Silvanus Shannon, 19, Eugene Riley, 18, and Eric Carson, 16, all of Chicago, were charged as adults ordered held without bond. Eugene Bailey, 18, was also charged with first-degree murder and will appear in court Tuesday.

Prosecutors declared Albert an "innocent bystander" in the fight that led to his death.

See the video here:


Video: DARPA's Remote-Controlled Cyborg Beetle Takes Flight

Creepy mind-controlled beetles...

"In January, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, told a stunned conference audience that they had managed to create a remote-controlled cyborg beetle by attaching a computer chip to the brain of a giant insect."

"The cyborg beetle was designed as part of a DARPA project that looks to equip insects with cameras and other sensors in an attempt to turn them into tiny, biological UAVs. The rhinoceros beetle was selected because, as one of the world's largest insects, it could carry the biggest payload."


The Beatles 'bigger than Jesus' on Google

John Lennon was right!

"In the last four weeks more computer users have typed in the search word "Beatles" on the Google website than "Jesus". The popularity of The Beatles has increased substantially during September thanks to the re-release of all of their albums digitally-remastered."

"In March 1966 Lennon caused uproar when he told the Evening Standard: "I do not know what will go first, rock'n'roll or Christianity … we're more popular than Jesus now"."


And now the story everyone has been talking about! (at least in the Tufts community)
Although it's on CNN, so apparently it warrants national attention.

Tufts University: No sex in room while roommate is present

"A new policy at Tufts University prohibits students in dorms from having sex while their roommate is in the room, according to the university's 2009-2010 student handbook. The Massachusetts university's formal rule also bars so-called "sexiling" -- exiling a roommate from the room so the other roommate can engage in sexual activity. The new policy "is really about consideration and respect for others and the need for students to be mindful of their roommates' need for privacy, study and sleep," university spokeswoman Kim Thurler told CNN."

"The new guidelines for students hosting overnight guests say, "You may not engage in sexual activity while your roommate is present in the room. And sexual activity within your assigned room should not ever deprive your roommate(s) of privacy, study, or sleep time.""

"Thurler wouldn't comment on possible disciplinary action by the university if a student breaks the rules."

Oh dear Alma Mater...

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