News and Blues
by Roland Sweet - Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

News and Blues is compiled from the nation’s press.

Curses, Foiled Again
Three masked men failed to break through the roof of the Gator Guns & Pawn shop in West Palm Beach, Fla., with a pickaxe, so they returned the next night with a sledgehammer. The store’s surveillance video had recorded their first attempt, however, and sheriff’s deputies were waiting when the trio returned. They arrested Gabriel Crowe, 20, Marcello Jeter, 19, and a juvenile accomplice. (South Florida’s Sun Sentinel)
When Derrick Mosley, 22, brandished a baseball bat while trying to rob Discount Gun Sales in Beaverton, Ore., the store manager pulled out his personal firearm and ordered Mosley to drop the bat. He held the suspect at gunpoint until sheriff’s deputies arrived. (Portland’s KATU-TV)

Sun Sets on the Light Life
Naveena Shine, the 65-year-old woman who gave up eating to subsist on sunlight in Seattle, abandoned her breatharian lifestyle after 45 days, explaining she’d maxed out her credit cards buying video cameras to install in her trailer home so she could record herself around the clock to prove she wasn’t cheating on her no-food diet. Shine had hoped for contributions to help defray the cost of the equipment but received only $425. She added she didn’t want to be responsible for others trying to live on sunlight without having their “belief systems lined up,” because that would be like “giving a loaded shotgun to a baby.” (Seattle Times)

Bad in a Crisis
A woman crossing railroad tracks in Roy, Utah, stopped on the tracks when the crossing arms lowered. Believing herself trapped, she got out of her vehicle to get help raising the crossing arms, leaving her 6-month-old grandchild was in the back seat. The train ripped off the front of the vehicle, but neither person was hurt. Police Chief Greg Whinham pointed out that the woman could’ve avoided any damage by simply driving forward or backward through the crossing arms, which are “actually designed to break away with very little pressure.” (Salt Lake City’s KSL-TV)

What’s in a Name?
Liberals and conservatives favor different names for their children, according to three University of Chicago political scientists. Names with the soft consonant “l” or that end in a long “a” are more likely to be found in Democratic neighborhoods, while names beginning with hard sounds, such as K, G or B, are more popular in Republican communities. Also, according to the study, “Liberellas vs. Konservatives: Social Status, Ideology and Birth Names in the United States,” high-status liberal mothers more often choose uncommon, culturally obscure birth names, whereas conservative parents rely on popular or traditional names. (The Washington Times)

Second-Amendment Follies
Police accused Thomas Ancrum, 17, of accidentally shooting himself in the leg at his ex-girlfriend’s home in Charleston, S.C., after family members asked him to leave. Police official Charles Francis said the semi-automatic pistol had been in Ancrum’s waistband when it discharged. (Charleston’s The Post and Courier)
When a person attending a gun-safety class at a Lutheran school in Stillwater, Minn., asked the 76-year-old instructor about the different types of safeties on a 1911 Colt 45 handgun in the instructor’s gun case, the instructor unlocked the case and removed the weapon to demonstrate while answering the question. The weapon discharged, penetrating a wall. According to the police report, the person who was asking questions about the gun said the instructor “used good muzzle control” and at no time “was the barrel of the gun ever pointed toward anyone,” but the instructor resigned, telling police “he assumed the weapon was empty.” (Stillwater Patch)

Life Imitating Star Trek
Three-dimensional printers are now able to produce weapons, as well as delicate eggcups and lamps, and may soon make replacement parts, body implants, even ammunition on the spot. “We believe that 3-D printing is fundamentally changing the manufacturing ecosystem in its entirety–how and where products are made and by whom,” said Peter Weijmarshausen, CEO of New York-based Shapeways. The devices, which entered the mainstream in 2007 and represent a $2 billion industry with about 50 printer manufacturers, are about the size of a microwave oven and cost from $400,000 to $500,000. They extrude layers of plastics or other materials, even metal, to create 3-D objects with moving parts. (Associated Press)
The State Department ordered the nonprofit software distributor Defense Distributed to take down online blueprints for a 3-D printable handgun, called the “Liberator.” The single-shot firearm can be created by anyone with the blueprints and access to a 3D printer. The file was downloaded more than 100,000 times in its first two days online. (Forbes)
Replicating devices might be able to feed crews on missions to Mars. NASA awarded Texas-based Systems and Materials Research Corp. a $125,000 grant to develop a 3-D printer able to create “nutritious and flavorful” food suitable for astronauts. The printers will use a “digital recipe” to combine powders to produce the food, according to project manager and SMRC engineer Anjan Contractor, who said he got the idea after using a 3-D printer to print chocolate for his wife. The project’s initial goal is to re-create pizza. Eventually, SMRC said, the technology could allow astronauts to replicate their favorite recipes from Earth or even feed this planet’s hungry people. (The Washington Post)

Claw-Licking Good
A man who came across a bear while eating lunch at Alaska’s Eklutna Lake Campground threw it a piece of barbecued meat. The bear ate the meat, but when the man threw the bear a second piece, “it kind of went ballistic,” Alaska State Troopers official Beth Ipsen said, explaining the bear attacked the man, puncturing skin along his jaw and scratching his back. Park rangers who found the man concluded the bear “was pretty much goaded into this,” and Ipsen noted the unidentified victim “had been drinking.” (Anchorage Daily News)

Out of Control
Darrell Moore, 53, walked into police headquarters in Omaha, Neb., and announced that he’d just witnessed a murder. When asked for details, Moore dropped his pants and began masturbating. He spit on one officer who tried to stop him and attempted to punch another. (Omaha’s WOWT-TV)

Foul Is Fair
Chinese students taking their university entrance exams rioted because they weren’t allowed to cheat. The outbreak occurred in Zhongxiang, a small city in Hubei province, which places a disproportionately high number of students in China’s most elite universities and has aroused the suspicions of education officials. This year, when some 800 students showed up to take the exam, they found the proctors weren’t their own teachers but 54 outside ones, who confiscated mobile phones, secret transmitters and other devices used to improve test scores. When the exams ended, an angry mob swarmed inside the building and trapped the examiners in an office area, then went on a rampage. Outside, 2,000 students gathered to vent their rage, throwing rocks through the school’s windows and waving signs declaring, “We want fairness. There is no fairness if you do not let us cheat.” (Britain’s The Telegraph)
Irony of the Week
CIA Director John Brennan announced a new campaign to “reinforce our corporate culture of secrecy” aimed at stopping leaks to the media, according to a secret memo leaked to the media. (Associated Press)

Venue Follies
Indianapolis is spending $6 million to upgrade a park by adding a cricket field, as well as space for Gaelic football, rugby, hurling and other popular sports overseas but relatively unknown among the local citizenry. Mayor Greg Ballard hopes his World Sports Park project will help local companies attract overseas workers by offering them a place to watch their favorite games. (Associated Press)
Britain’s Chelmsford Sport and Athletics Center is turning off the sensors of its automatic doors to stop squirrels from opening them and raiding trash cans inside. Manager Dave Griffin said the super-sensitive doors trap the rodents because they require a push button to exit. (The Essex Chronicle)

Bull Run
A bull escaped while being unloaded at a slaughterhouse in Girard, Pa., and rammed a woman riding a motor scooter. “It looked like a calm bull at first,” the victim’s husband, Kevin Morton, 34, said, “then suddenly it up and charged. . .  and hit her in the face.” (Associated Press)

Happy Ending
After a Chinese court overturned prostitution charges against a Foshan hair salon whose staff provided sexual services, Chinese media and law enforcers began a national debate on whether sexual services that don’t involve actual sexual intercourse count as crimes. The Foshan Intermediate People’s Court ruled that oral sex and other types of sexual services facilitated by body parts excluding genitals fall outside the legal definition of prostitution. On its official microblog, however, the court urged the legislature to clarify the matter, noting that, though legal, such services “significantly damage social order and have a certain degree of social harm.” (Associated Press)

Drive-In Service
Austrian firefighters were doing chores at their station in Pregarten when a car pulled up with flames shooting from beneath it. Fireman Roland Brandl said one firefighter grabbed an extinguisher and doused the blaze, which apparently was caused by a cleaning cloth that had been left under the hood. (Associated Press)

News and Blues is compiled from the nation’s press. To contribute, submit original clippings, citing date and source, to Roland Sweet in care of The Syracuse New Times.