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Tell the public how much our tram tickets cost? Are you mad?

Updated Transport for Greater Manchester, the northern UK city's transport authority, has refused to publish its ticket prices on the basis that telling the public how much they have to pay for riding the trams would "prejudice the Metrolink service". The transport regulator was responding to a Freedom of Information request for next …
Gareth Corfield, 20 Oct 2017

Please replace the sword, says owner of now-hollow stone

The legendary sword has been pulled from the stone – but the owner wants it back and a crowdfunding campaign has been set up to replace the blade. The iron sword in question was sunk into a rock beside Llangorse Lake in the Brecon Beacons, Wales, by local campsite owner Garnet Davies. "The whole purpose is for kids to have a …
Gareth Corfield, 18 Oct 2017
Airsoft rifle closeup with pellets

Man prosecuted for posting a picture of his hobby on Facebook

A man was prosecuted for posting a picture of himself on Facebook posing with airsoft equipment. Christopher Turnbull, of Grangemouth, Scotland, was charged with a criminal offence for posting the picture, which was seen by a Stuart Brodie of Police Scotland. The 45-year-old was eventually cleared at Falkirk Sheriff Court ( …
Gareth Corfield, 17 Oct 2017
Woman attempts to climb rope ladder in business suit

Argh, my loafer just fell down the rope ladder! Yes, I'm in the Microsoft treehouse

“A lot of people are like, ‘Where’s the AV?’ And I’m like, it’s a treehouse,” Bret Boulter said of Microsoft's new tree-based meeting spaces. “We wanted people to intentionally unplug, because they are sitting in front of screens all day long.” Um. Tech company Microsoft's latest trick for keeping employees on site are …
Andrew Silver, 17 Oct 2017

Footie ballsup: Petition kicks off to fix 'geometrically impossible' street signs

A petition has been launched to update the UK Traffic Signs Regulations to include a geometrically correct football. The ball shown on UK street signs to denote football grounds is made up entirely of hexagons. And if you care about your geometry, you'll know it's mathematically impossible to construct a ball using only …
Kat Hall, 10 Oct 2017
Still from Star Wars: The last Jedi

Star Wars: Big Euro cinema group can't handle demand for tickets to new flick

Europe's second largest cinema, Cineworld, is struggling to meet demand for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Fans have taken to Twitter to complain of difficulties booking their tickets for its December 14 release. You website is down? Seriously how can you not have the servers ready for a massive movie like this and a surge of …
Andrew Silver, 10 Oct 2017
Pumpkin spice ingredients

SCARY SPICE: Pumpkin air freshener sparks school evacuation

A high school in Baltimore, USA, was evacuated this week after a pumpkin spice air freshener made four people ill and triggered a hazardous materials scare. Cristo Rey Jesuit High School was emptied out Thursday and searched by police after they got a call that two students and two adults had gotten sick after inhaling strong …
Shaun Nichols, 07 Oct 2017

Blade Runner 2049 review: Scott's vision versus Villeneuve's skill

No spoilers Stepping into the cinema to watch Blade Runner 2049 was a nervous moment; after The Phantom Menace and Prometheus, was another studio about to take a steaming dump on a pivotal film of my youth? The omens were good. Director Denis Villeneuve gave us probably the best sci-fi film of last year in Arrival and his previous film, …
Iain Thomson, 06 Oct 2017

Beach, please... Billionaire VC finally opens way to waves

Billionaire venture capitalist Vinod Khosla has finally backed down in his efforts to stop Californians from accessing a beach via a road on lands he owns. The Sun cofounder has been in a protracted legal battle over the beach since 2009, and despite losing time and time again, he has stubbornly refused to open a gate blocking …
Kieren McCarthy, 05 Oct 2017
elon musk

What does Elon Musk really need? A personal theme tune, of course!

Weezer's former bassist has written a "theme tune" for Elon Musk. Why? He was feeling miserable, apparently. Matt Sharp, erstwhile plucker of fat strings for the pop-punk pack, penned the "mournful ode" to the Tesla gros fromage but then said it was "not a tribute to Musk", according to glossy Wired. "I was trying to get off …
Gareth Corfield, 05 Oct 2017
Harrods. Pic: Shutterstock

Ex-Harrods IT man cleared of stealing company issued laptop

The former Harrods IT worker accused of stealing a laptop from the luxury department store in the UK capital has been cleared of theft – but was fined for trying to remove it from the department store's domain. Pardeep Parmar, of Grove Road, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, previously pleaded guilty to causing a computer to perform a …
Gareth Corfield, 05 Oct 2017
City of the future

Town wants Amazon's new HQ so much it plans to split off new town called 'Amazon'

If you've never heard of Stonecrest, Georgia, you're not alone: the town on the outer fringes of Atlanta only voted itself into existence a couple of years ago. But it's now put itself on the map by offering to rename 345 acres of land “Amazon” in a bid to land Amazon.com's new headquarters. The mall-disruptor and cloud …
Simon Sharwood, 04 Oct 2017

Developers' timezone fail woke half of New Zealand

A time-zone mixup has resulted in about half of all New Zealanders being woken by civil defence and emergency management authorities sending a test text message overnight. The victims were all subscribers to Vodafone, which has roughly 2.4 million mobile customers. New Zealand's population is just under 4.7 million. Kiwis who …
Facepalm

ISIS and Jack Daniel's: One of these things is not like the other

A man was reportedly asked if he was an Islamic State sympathiser after his neighbours mistook a Jack Daniel's flag for the black-and-white terrorist insignia. The unnamed Italian hung the whiskey distillery flag outside his home in Regensdorf, Zürich, only to receive an anonymous letter from "concerned neighbours". "Should …
Gareth Corfield, 03 Oct 2017

Computers4Christians miraculously appears on Ubuntu wiki

Ubuntu's wiki page this morning temporarily played host to a bit of info from religious group Computers4Christians, whose aim is to propagate the use of its operating system to spread the word of the Lord. It is not known who is behind the hijack. While many open-source advocates might appear to be on a mission from God …
Kat Hall, 03 Oct 2017

Man with 74 convictions refused permission to fling sueball at Google

A sex offender with 74 convictions who changed his name to escape his past has been refused permission to sue Google by a judge in Northern Ireland. Callum Townsend, 25, who was previously called Stuart Townsend, had his effort to prohibit Google from publishing search results about him squashed by Lord Justice Stephens, …
Gareth Corfield, 02 Oct 2017
Pumpkin, image via Shutterstock

Pumpkin bumpkins battle, 800kg monstrosity wins

Things are getting real for outdoor pumpkin growers ahead of a European championship that starts in less than a week: a German team yesterday won the national heats with a near-800kg orange beast. A team from Bavaria beat 59 other growers from across the country to carve out the top prize at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin festival on …
Paul Kunert, 02 Oct 2017
Satya Nadella

We went to Nadella's launch of Hit Refresh so you didn't have to

As soon as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's book Hit Refresh was introduced as a "masterpiece" of how to scale up the "growth mindset" by his on-stage interviewer, it quickly became apparent this wasn't going to be a Paxman-esque grilling. The book launch was at Lord's Cricket Ground in London, UK, a venue chosen because of …
Kat Hall, 02 Oct 2017

Drunk canoeing no longer driving offence in Canada

Canada is preparing to remove drunk canoeing as an impaired driving offence, ahead of its plans to legalize marijuana. Currently the country's Criminal Code means that police hand out drunk driving charges to tipsy canoeists, according to The National Post. At the moment offenders can continue to canoe, as that does not …
Kat Hall, 29 Sep 2017
Asleep on the sofa image via Shutterstock

Byte Night: Bed down with tech chiefs, celebs ... or stay on your sofa

If you want to sleep rough to raise money to tackle youth homelessness, you’ve got till midnight today (29/9/2017) to register for Byte Night. But if the prospect of spending a night with your peers raising cash for homeless and vulnerable youngsters doesn’t ring your bell, don’t despair. While those plucky types - such as Reg …
Joe Fay, 29 Sep 2017

Ex-sperm-inate! Sam the sex-droid 'heavily soiled' in randy nerd rampage

NSFW In a public showing of Samantha, a sex doll with built-in computing power to make her more realistic, the love droid apparently suffered a terrible fate. The robot was displayed at the ARS Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria and proved a little too popular, it is claimed. The robot was mobbed by attendees who broke two of …
Iain Thomson, 29 Sep 2017
IKEA rage

IKEA flat-packs TaskRabbit to crack assembly code

IKEA's finally acknowledged what plenty of us have learned the hard way: it's stuff can be so wretchedly frustrating to assemble that outsourcing the job is sometimes the kindest and fastest option. The born-in-Sweden, taxed-who-knows-where homewares company has therefore acquired an outfit called TaskRabbit that offers a …
Simon Sharwood, 29 Sep 2017
HUgh hefner and wife crystal harris

Playboy founder and dressing-gown wearer Hugh Hefner dead at 91

As all unabashed masturbators love to point out, pornography has historically driven technological uptake. But before the internet, Playboy was the most famous source in the world. Yesterday its founder, Hugh Hefner, died peacefully at home of natural causes, aged 91. The godfather of the wank mag was born in Chicago in 1926 …
Kat Hall, 28 Sep 2017

Is this cough cancer, doc? No: it's a case of Playmobil on the lung

The British Medical Journal has revealed a mistaken diagnosis of cancer was caused by Playmobil. A quartet of medico-boffins from the Departments of Respiratory Medicine at Wythenshawe and Royal Preston Hospital explain this malaise in a British Medical Journal case note titled “An airway traffic jam: a plastic traffic cone …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Sep 2017
Twitter Trump photo via Shutterstock

Twitter to upgrade from micro-blogging to milli-blogging with 280 chars

Twitter is preparing to double its 140-character limit on tweets to 280 characters. The microblogging site announced Tuesday that it had begun a trial with a "small group" of twits that would allow for twice as many letters, numbers, and symbols to be placed into each individual tweet. Not surprisingly, CEO Jack Dorsey is …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Sep 2017
Nuclear War

Twitter reckons Trump's Nork-baiting tweet was 'newsworthy'

Twitter has defended its position of potentially providing a platform for triggering World War 3, describing President Donald Trump's infamous North Korea tweet as "newsworthy". It follows Trump's tweet on Sunday in which he appeared to directly threaten North Korea with annihilation. He wrote: "Just heard Foreign Minister of …
Kat Hall, 26 Sep 2017

Limp Weiner to get 21 months in the hole

Disgraced American politician Anthony Weiner has been sentenced to 21 months behind bars – and three years of probation – for sexting an underage girl. The former Congressman broke down as he was sentenced in a Manhattan court on Monday for sending penis pics to an unnamed 15-year-old girl and convincing her to undress and …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 Sep 2017

Kebab and pizza shop owner jailed for hiding £179k from the taxman

A kebab shop owner who had sliced off a chunk of his takings and hid it from the taxman has been sent down for 30 months. Mehmet Tekagac, 43, of Viscount Road, Padgate, in Warrington, lied about his shop's takings as part of a £179,000 tax fraud. The fast food owner claimed he made around £9,000 a year from the Top Grill …
Kat Hall, 22 Sep 2017
Desks in a Classroom

You forgot that you hired me and now you're saying it's my fault?

Something for the Weekend, Sir? "I'm sorry, who are you again?" I am being challenged by a polite but slightly baffled receptionist. I repeat the declaration I shouted into the video intercom at street level a minute earlier: that I have been hired for the day to train a number of staff on-site. Not being expected when I turn up at a customer site is an …
Alistair Dabbs, 22 Sep 2017
CHEDDAR CUBES

Quebec takes mature approach to 'grilled cheese' ban

After Caerphilly considering its position, Quebec's French-language watchdog has decided it doesn't give edam about its linguistic ban on using "anglicisms" such as "grilled cheese", a move that has been welcomed as gouda news. A number of English words whose francophone equivalents have never been adopted by québécois folk …
Kat Hall, 21 Sep 2017

Programming in the Middle Ages: Docker makes a lovely pair of trousers

Stob These days we hear a lot about luring the young away from happy, fulfilling careers and into the world of programming. The kids have been freed from the tedious yoke of the boring and 'Microsoft-heavy' ITC syllabuses courtesy of popular hero Michael Gove. Now every child receives more Raspberry Pi than rice pudding; double …
Verity Stob, 19 Sep 2017
Stanislav Petrov

RIP Stanislav Petrov: Russian colonel who saved world from all-out nuclear war

Obit Stanislav Petrov, one of the unsung heroes of the Cold War without whose guts and intelligence you wouldn't be reading this, has died at the age of 77, his son has confirmed. Petrov was a former Lieutenant Colonel in the Soviet Air Defence Forces and was duty commander for the USSR rocket forces on September 26, 1983. His job …
Iain Thomson, 18 Sep 2017
Boba Fett

Jon Hamm of Mad Men to lend his lungs to bounty hunter Boba Fett

Square-jawed chunk of hunk Jon Hamm of Mad Men fame is to play everyone's favourite bounty botherer from a galaxy far, far away – Boba Fett. But before you get too excited at the prospect of Hamm's retro charm smouldering from beneath the taciturn killer's helmet in any of Disney's gazillion upcoming Star Wars films, this is …
Richard Currie, 18 Sep 2017
Adriaen_brouwer_painting

A todger, a 2.5kg dumbbell, the fire brigade... and the inevitable angle grinder

A German chap is in recovery mode after firefighters battled tirelessly for three hours to free his member from a dumbbell weight. The unnamed gent based in Worms, a city nestled in the Rhineland-Palatinate, mid-west Germany, got his spawnhammer stuck in the 2.5kg metal disk on Friday and was transported, ever so gently, to …
Paul Kunert, 18 Sep 2017
dog

Pennsylvania cops deploy electronics sniffer dog to catch child abusers

Sniffer dogs have been used to detect drugs and explosives for years, but now Delaware police have a new type of K-9 – one trained to sniff out hard drives and electronic storage devices. The doggy detective, a two-year-old female Labrador retriever named Charlie, has been trained to detect the chemicals used in the …
Iain Thomson, 13 Sep 2017
In memoriam

Sci-Fi titan Jerry Pournelle passes,
aged 84

One of the giants of “New Wave” hard science fiction, Jerry Pournelle, has died aged 84. His son made the announcement in a simple post at Pournelle's Chaos Manor blog on September 8, saying: "I'm afraid that Jerry's passed away. We had a great time at DragonCon. He did not suffer." As collaborator with Larry Niven, …

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