Mad Minute stories from Tuesday, January 16th - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Mad Minute stories from Tuesday, January 16th

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MOSCOW (AP) - Even thermometers can't keep up with the plunging temperatures in Russia's remote Yakutia region, which hit minus 67 degrees Celsius (minus 88.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in some areas Tuesday.
In Yakutia - a region of 1 million people about 3,300 miles (5,300 kilometers) east of Moscow - students routinely go to school even in minus 40 degrees. But school was canceled Tuesday throughout the region and police ordered parents to keep their children inside.
In the village of Oymyakon, one of the coldest inhabited places on earth, state-owned Russian television showed the mercury falling to the bottom of a thermometer that was only set up to measure down to minus 50 degrees. In 2013, Oymyakon recorded an all-time low of minus 71 degrees Celsius (minus 98 Fahrenheit).
Over the weekend, two men froze to death when they tried to walk to a nearby farm after their car broke down. Three other men with them survived because they were wearing warmer clothes, investigators reported.
But the press office for Yakutia's governor said Tuesday that all households and businesses in the region have working central heating and access to backup power generators.
Residents of Yakutia are no strangers to cold weather and this week's cold spell was not even dominating local news headlines Tuesday.
But some media outlets published cold-weather selfies and stories about stunts in the extreme cold. Women posted pictures of their frozen eyelashes, while YakutiaMedia published a picture of Chinese students who got undressed to take a plunge in a thermal spring.

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BERLIN (AP) - Police in the eastern German city of Dresden say two men suffered minor injuries after backing in to one another in two consecutive accidents.
Police said Tuesday that a 49-year-old man pulled into a disabled parking place on Monday afternoon, then reversed out after noticing his mistake.
As he backed out, he accidentally hit a 72-year-old man walking behind him, injuring him slightly.
After the two men exchanged information for a report, the older man got in his car and backed out of his own parking spot, hitting the younger man in the process and slightly injuring him.
Police say it was at that point they were called to the scene of the two accidents in the Saxony capital.

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SYDNEY (AP) - A wayward wallaby disrupted downtown traffic by bounding across the Sydney Harbor Bridge on Tuesday with police in pursuit.
The adult male was captured without any apparent serious injury and is expected to be released back into the wild within days.
Swamp wallabies, which are smaller marsupials than their kangaroo cousins, are common across eastern Australia, but are rarely seen in cities.
The startled wallaby hopped across the bridge's eight lanes of traffic an hour before sunrise then turned onto an expressway on the harbor's southern shore toward the Sydney Opera House. A pursuing police car with flashing lights videoed the animal's steady bounding before police officers captured him near the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and wrangled him into a horse float, police said.
Veterinarian Larry Vogelnest said the wallaby was "quite distressed" but he gave it a tranquilizer before taking it to the wildlife hospital at nearby Taronga Zoo.
"It had some minor grazes on its face and its hind legs," Vogelnest told reporters. "There don't seem to be any major injuries."
Vogel said he did not know where the wallaby had come from or how it found its way to the bridge.
"It's unusual obviously to have a wallaby running around on the Harbor Bridge, but there are more and more of these wallabies turning up in bush land close to the city," Vogelnest said.
Police Inspector Kylie Smith said several police cars plus horse-handlers from the police mounted unit had responded to the wallaby alert.
"When police arrived, the wallaby refused to obey police directions and initially evaded police," Smith joked.
Six officers eventually nabbed the macropod, including the horse-handlers who attempted to calm it down, she said.
"It was a very unusual job for a city police officer to be chasing a wallaby down the Harbor Bridge," she said, adding that the officers involved would likely never be assigned a similar job.
The wallaby was lucky it did not attempt the journey an hour later at 6 a.m. local time when traffic would have been far heavier, Smith said.
A motorist who identified himself as Ray told Sydney Radio 2GB of his surprise at seeing police cars with flashing lights pursuing a wallaby.
"I'm from the bush, I'm used to seeing them running all over the place, but I've never seen one so close in the city before," Ray said.

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WEBSTER, Mass. (AP) - Massachusetts police say they have arrested a man who stole seven manhole covers and put traffic cones in their place.
The Telegram & Gazette reports the 46-year-old Webster man was arrested Friday and charged with larceny.
Police say they first received a call around 2:45 p.m. last Wednesday from a witness who saw the suspect taking a manhole cover in Webster. Authorities received several other calls about missing manhole covers, and they say they stopped a vehicle matching the witness' description later that day.
Police say the suspect acknowledged taking the manhole covers and pointed officers to where he had sold them. Authorities recovered the covers Wednesday from a Millbury salvage yard.
Webster sewer superintendent William Burke says they replaced to stolen covers with spares.

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - An Albuquerque resident says new bells and the constant playing of "Amazing Grace" by a Latino Catholic church have created a living hell for her.
KOB-TV in Albuquerque, New Mexico, reports Bernadette Hall-Cuaron says she can no longer stand the regular ding-dongs coming from Our Lady of Guadalupe Church's new electronic bell system.
Hall-Cuaron says the bells ring about 20 to 25 times a day and its keeping people from church because the sounds are so annoying. She says bong songs make it hard for her to sleep.
Pastor Rev. Joe Vigil says he's responded to the complaints by lowering the volume and moved the bells from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.
The church is located in Albuquerque's North Valley neighborhood.

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BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) - When a Florida couple stopped for a quick hamburger while returning from a visit with their grandchildren, they left a purse containing $1,500 in cash hanging on the back of a chair.
Nineteen-year-old busboy Matt Cureton found the purse while cleaning tables Monday at Wendy's restaurant in Fort Pierce. He told the SunSentinel that per store policy he didn't open the purse before handing it over to manager Betsy Hersha.
Francis and Peggy Humanick noticed the purse was gone when they got to their Boca Raton home. They canceled their credit cards before finding out the purse was safe, then drove 80 miles (129 kilometers) back to Wendy's.
Hersha says she hugged Cureton and told him he did the right thing, encouraging him to take a $100 reward.

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On a recent evening in Las Vegas during the CES technology show, robot strippers offered a window into technology's gender fault lines - not to mention our robot future.
From a distance, the mechanical humanoids on a strip-club stage looked something like real dancers in robot drag. But close up, they were clearly mannequins with surveillance-camera heads and abstractly sculpted feminine chests, buttocks and backs, shimmying and thrusting their boxy plastic hips.
On one level, this was a classic Vegas stunt, a cheap way for the club to cash in on the presence of the world's largest tech convention. After all, the android dancers weren't really strippers, since they wore no clothes; in fact, they were barely even robots, since they were tied to their poles and only capable of a limited set of motions.
But they still provided some striking parallels to the much bigger tech show nearby. The robots served a racy but utilitarian function by drawing gawkers to the club, much the way provocatively clad "booth babes" lure CES visitors to wares on the convention floor. And they offered a glimpse of futurism crossed with sex, the sort of thing previously provided by the porn expo that used to overlap with the final days of CES.
"I see robotic strippers and I see half-naked women on the showroom floor promoting products," said Ashleigh Giliberto, a CES attendee who works at a public-relations firm. "It's like, aren't we worth more than that?"
Last year was a watershed moment for women speaking out against sexism and sexual abuse, much of which reverberated through the tech industry.
Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick was forced to step down as CEO after he fostered a startup culture rife with alleged sexual misconduct. Several prominent venture capitalists likewise left their firms following accusations that they'd made unwanted sexual overtures to female entrepreneurs.
CES itself has long had a boy's club atmosphere. Only about 20 percent of attendees this year are women; just two of the 15 keynote speakers at CES are female, as are only a quarter of the roughly 900 total speakers.
The conference took pains to note that it has no affiliation with the strip club nor its temporary robot workers. In a statement, organizers said they do not tolerate "inappropriate behavior on our convention grounds or at official show events." Unsanctioned events, the statement said, aren't reflective of CES "or the tech industry at large."
Yet critics point out that CES doesn't do much else to create a positive environment for women. For instance, while the convention prohibits sexual harassment and other misbehavior, it doesn't lay out its policies in a formal code of conduct for attendees the way many other large tech gatherings do.
Neither has it ever instructed attendees, participants and hosts "to not have booth babes, strippers, objectified, sexualized women as part of the 'entertainment,'" said Cindy Gallop, a former advertising executive turned sex-tech entrepreneur. (CES policies do forbid the use of escort services, though. CTA also says exhibitors must be "suitably dressed" and bans "inappropriate" displays, although it didn't provide further details.)
CES participants didn't have to visit the club to come across the robots; images were prevalent on social media searches for CES-related posts. Their presence during the show reflects "a tone-deafness about women and gender within the industry," said Elizabeth Ames, a senior vice president at the Anita Borg Institute, a nonprofit aimed at advancing women in the technology business.
Executives from the Consumer Technology Association, which oversees CES, have promised to "redouble" efforts to add women's voices to the speaker lineup next year. But those same officials have said they're hamstrung by a policy that restricts keynote slots to company CEOs - most of whom are men.
Tania Yuki, CEO of the social analytics firm Shareablee and a speaker at CES, said she doesn't think the show's organizers are purposely sexist, just trapped in status-quo thinking that worked for years. The dearth of female speakers and the presence of scantily clad show floor models are more "lazy" than "deliberately offensive," she said.
The robots are the work of artist Giles Walker, who made them seven years ago after he found two surveillance cameras on a warehouse floor. "I wanted to do a sculpture about voyeurism and the power between the voyeur and the person who's being watched, " he said.
Walker acknowledged that bringing the robots to the strip club for an undisclosed fee has led the project astray from his initial vision. "I'm not going to pretend," he said. "They're paying my bills and giving me the chance to do other art that I do which is much less commercial and is much more underground."
But his sexualized androids also point to a future in which robots might not just take on many jobs now held by people, but are also likely to become companions - even intimate companions, a subject that squicks out many actual humans. Some of these robocompanions are already here; high-end sexbots with ultra-realistic silicone "flesh" and artificial-intelligence personalities are available online for as much as $15,000.
As robot technology advances, that future could get very weird very quickly. For instance, academics are already wrestling with the ethical implications of sexbots designed to look like children, not to mention practical questions such as whether they might deter actual pedophilia.

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Police in Washington State say they're trying to find the rightful owner of an urn "with cremated remains" that was donated to a Goodwill location.
In a tweet the Vancouver Police Department sent on Wednesday, authorities said they were "seeking assistance to locate anyone associated with an urn with cremated remains inside that was donated at a local Goodwill."
Authorities told KIRO 7 that the urn was brought to the store and found by an employee on Sunday as they were sifting through donated items. Police reportedly think that the donation was accidental.
In photos provided in the police's tweet, the urn appears to be a wooden box with a handle. Two letter M's with the name "Michelle Miller" are seen on the front.
Anyone with information regarding the item is asked to call the police evidence department at (360) 487-7404.

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(AP) TRENTON, NJ - Drunk driving has been a social taboo for decades, but New Jersey has now added drunk droning to the statute books: outlawing the flying of unmanned aircraft after one too many drinks.
The law makes it an offense to operate a drone under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug or with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more.
Infractions can be punishable by up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine.
The legislation, sponsored by Democrats in the state legislature, was signed into law by outgoing Republican Governor Chris Christie late Monday.
It also outlaws drones being flown in a manner that could endanger life or property, on or close to prisons, in pursuit of wildlife or interfering with a first responder.
"Drones have become increasingly disruptive, causing near-misses with airplanes, interfering with firefighter operations and being used to smuggle drugs and other contraband into prisons," said New Jersey assembly member Annette Quijano.
Small remote-controlled drones range from being a toy to a sophisticated machine capable of performing acrobatic flights or shooting aerial footage.
It was one of more than 100 pieces of legislation signed by Christie on his last day in office before newly elected Democrat Phil Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive and US ambassador to Germany, takes office on Tuesday.
All drone activities within the United States must already follow Federal Aviation Administration rules and guidelines.
So far 40 states have enacted some kind of laws addressing drones, and threes have adopted resolutions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The Consumer Technology Association says total drone sales are expected to increase 20 percent to a record 3.7 million units in 2018, bringing in revenue of $1.2 billion.

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STOCKTON, Calif. (KCRA) - A 9-year-old Stockton boy beat out tens of thousands of third-graders to win a national prize for growing a giant cabbage weighing nearly 30 pounds.
Tino Bruno was given a tiny cabbage seedling in a little Dixie cup last January while on a field trip with his third-grade class. The assignment was to grow it as large as they could.
"Once we planted it, watered it, fertilized it, picked off snails and bugs, it grew and grew," said Tino, who is now a fourth-grade student at Cathedral of Annunciation School in Stockton. "I put it in our recess yard in a wagon, so when the kids had recess, they could go and see it."
After growing it for several months, Tino's cabbage ended up almost bigger than he is -- 29.5-pound, with a 38-inch circumference. Tino submitted photos of the giant cabbage to the nationwide cabbage growing contest, beating out more than 41,000 other third-graders in California.
The nationwide contest, by Bonnie Plants of Alabama, awards one winner in every state with thousands of dollars and encourages kids to pursue their interest in agriculture.
A year after getting his seedling, it was announced that Tino's "humongous cabbage" won first place, with Tino bringing home $1,000.
Tino is going to take his winnings, which he gets during a ceremony on Feb. 3 -- eight days before his 10th birthday -- and do two things with it to help build his future.
"I'm going to save it for college, but first, buy a Lego set," Tino said.
 

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