October 20, 2006

LinkNews Digest [10/20/2006]

Squirt-Gun Robbery Foiled in Austria

A struggling Austrian toyshop owner was arrested after he tried to rob a bank with one of his toy guns.

The 44-year-old, from Vienna, stormed into a local bank with a stocking over his head and a gun in his hand, and demanded clerks empty their tills.

But a security guard noticed the 'weapon' was a plastic water pistol and asked him to hand over the toy to avoid "an even bigger embarrassment".

The would-be robber told police: "I was driven to this desperate deed after my toy shop went bankrupt." (LINK )

Tax Dollars At Work: MySpace Police

A girl of 14 was dragged out of class by Secret Service agents for calling President Bush an idiot on her MySpace page.

Julia Wilson's internet page, called "So Bush is an idiot but hey what else is new?", infuriated security experts, reports the Mirror. She also posted the words "Kill Bush" and ran a cartoon of a knife stabbing the hand of the president.

Two federal agents went searching for Julia at her home before finding the teenager at school in Sacramento, California. After pulling her out of class, they subjected her to a 20-minute interview.

Julia said: "I told them I just really don't agree with Bush's politics. I do not have any plans of harming Bush in any way. I am very peaceful. I just don't like Bush." She said the agents warned her she could be locked up for making the threat. Dad Jim Moose added: "I don't condone what she did, but it seems a little over the top. You'd think they could determine that she's not a credible threat." (LINK )

Childhood Obesity Apparently Linked to Litigious Parents

ATTLEBORO, Mass. - Tag, you're out! Officials at an elementary school south of Boston have banned kids from playing tag, touch football and any other unsupervised chase game during recess for fear they'll get hurt and hold the school liable.

Recess is "a time when accidents can happen," said Willett Elementary School Principal Gaylene Heppe, who approved the ban.

While there is no districtwide ban on contact sports during recess, local rules have been cropping up. Elementary schools in Cheyenne, Wyo., and Spokane, Wash., also recently banned tag during recess. A suburban Charleston, S.C., school outlawed all unsupervised contact sports.

"I think that it's unfortunate that kids' lives are micromanaged and there are social skills they'll never develop on their own," said Debbie Laferriere, who has two children at Willett, about 40 miles south of Boston. "Playing tag is just part of being a kid." (LINK )

Haloween Project: Lego Headless Horseman

It's remarkably easy to hack LEDs into Lego minifigures to make awesome, creepy, and tiny decorations for Halloween.

In what seems like a miraculous coincidence, a standard LED fits exactly into the head of a Lego minifigure. It's that easy: grab an LED and a head, slip it in, and it fits perfectly.

The pumpkin head took several hours to carve. The next day I had blisters on my thumb and index finger where I had been holding this little head (tight) while I carved.

While it is often difficult to get this level of detail in something so tiny, the hardest part in this particular case was making the three initial holes through the thick plastic. If I had to make this one over again, I would start by drilling three tiny holes in the head. (LINK )

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