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News and Blues

Your weekly dose of weird and funny news.

RoboDealer

Swiss police arrested a robot that bought 10 ecstasy pills on the Internet. The drugs were included in a shopping list given it by the art group that designed it: !Mediengruppe Bitnik. The robot, part of the group’s exhibit in St. Gallen, was allowed a weekly budget of $100 in bitcoins to order merchandise randomly online and also purchased fake Diesel jeans, a baseball cap with a hidden camera, a stash can, Nike trainers, 200 Chesterfield cigarettes, a set of fire-department master keys, a fake Louis Vuitton handbag and Lord of the Rings ebooks. Police released the robot after determining that Bitnik never intended selling or consuming the ecstasy. (Britain’s The Guardian)

Better World Without People

Nevada granted permission for Daimler to test self-driving trucks on public roads. Daimler’s Wolfgang Bernhard said autonomous trucks were likely to be on the road before driverless cars because they operate “in a less complicated traffic environment” on open highways, whereas passenger cars spend more time in congested urban settings. The 18-wheelers still need human drivers to perform more challenging off-highway maneuvers, such as backing into loading docks. Bernhard said he expects other states to join Nevada, resulting in a regulatory framework and providing an incentive to truck operators, who would save on fuel and wages. “These guys have to make money,” he pointed out. (Reuters)

Private Justice

Los Angeles County authorities charged David Henry, Tonette Hayes and Brandon Kiel with impersonating police officers after the three showed up, two of them in uniform, as a “courtesy call” to inform sheriff’s Capt. Roosevelt Johnson they were from the Masonic Fraternal Police Department and setting up operations in the area. The agency’s website claims jurisdiction in 33 states and Mexico and, through the Knights Templar, traces the department’s roots back 3,000 years.

“When asked what is the difference between the Masonic Fraternal Police Department and other police departments, the answer is simple for us,” the website says. “We were here first.” Henry, 46, identifies himself as “Chief Henry 33,” and the website refers to him as “Absolute Supreme Sovereign Grandmaster.” Johnson said the purpose of the purported police department is unclear. (Los Angeles Times)

Crime-Stopper of the Week

A Subway sandwich shop in Knoxville, Tenn., became the first location in the United States to install the Intruder Spray System. The device, which has been used in 30 other countries in the past decade, sits above a door and, when activated, showers a person with synthetic DNA that can’t be washed off, is visible only under ultraviolet light and is traceable for up to seven weeks. (Knoxville’s WATE-TV)

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