Taping Is Allowed In Court

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Taping Is Allowed In Court


The list of offenses was long when Franklyn Williams, 32, appeared in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Common Pleas Court on July 31 to be sentenced for aggravated robbery, kidnapping, theft, misuse of credit cards and other offenses — including cutting off his ankle bracelet late last year and fleeing to Nebraska, where he claimed he was hit over the head and lost his memory. But it was his courtroom behavior that spurred Judge John Russo to call for an extreme measure. During the hearing, Williams would not stop talking, even interrupting his own lawyers repeatedly during a 30-minute period. Finally, Russo ordered deputies to tape the defendant’s mouth shut. Williams continued to talk until deputies applied more tape. Finally, Russo sentenced him to 24 years in prison.

And You Thought You Were Old

You’re just a twinkle in a nematode’s eye. Russian scientists have revived two ancient, frozen roundworms, or nematodes, from samples collected in Siberian permafrost. The worms, which were found in cores taken from 30 meters and 3.5 meters deep, are believed to be female and 41,700 and 32,000 years old. After collecting the samples, scientists slowly thawed out the worms, which eventually started eating and moving. Scientists from the Institute of Physico-Chemical and Biological Problems of Soil Science in Moscow believe the nematodes have some adaptive mechanisms that may be of scientific importance.

Taking A Rap For Rap

Zemarcuis Devon Scott, 18, of Texarkana, Ark., really wanted to attend a rap concert in another state. On July 4, he executed his plan to get there. Scott was seen by Texarkana Regional Airport security officers around 2:30 am, when he jumped a fence and tried to get into an American Eagle twin-engine jet parked there. When police arrived, Scott was inside the cockpit, sitting in the pilot’s seat. Scott, who is not a licensed pilot, told officers he thought there wasn’t much more to flying a plane than pushing buttons and pulling levers. On July 31, he was charged with commercial burglary and attempted theft; he’s been grounded at the Miller County jail.

Boeing 737 Too Small For Cello

Chicago cellist Jingjing Hu, a student at the DePaul University School of Music, found herself being escorted off an American Airlines flight after trying to return to Chicago from Miami with her instrument. Hu paid in advance for an extra seat for her cello, worth almost $30,000 and housed in a hard case. She had no trouble on her flight from Chicago to Miami, where she participated in a music festival. But on her return trip, after boarding the Boeing 737 and settling herself and her cello into their seats, a flight attendant approached her and told her she would have to leave the plane because the aircraft was too small for her instrument. Hu was booked on a flight the next day on a 767. American blamed the incident on a “miscommunication.” But Hu’s husband, Jay Tang, said, “I don’t think we did anything wrong here, and I think the way they handled it was humiliating.”

Outing Sex Toys

Airport security at Berlin’s Schonefeld Airport evacuated a terminal after spotting “suspicious content in a luggage piece” during a routine X-ray. The bag’s owner was summoned, but he was reluctant to identify the mysterious items, calling them “just technical stuff.” After an hourlong investigation involving the bomb squad, the 31-year-old traveler admitted to federal police that the items were sex toys he had brought for his girlfriend. He was allowed to proceed with his trip, and the terminal reopened shortly afterward.

So Many Questions

When an employee of Sarabeth’s restaurant in New York City opened the walk-in freezer door, a man jumped out, yelling, “Away from me, Satan!” He then grabbed a knife from the kitchen, which he used to threaten restaurant staff. Carlton Henderson, 54, of Cave Creek, Ariz., struggled with workers but eventually fell unconscious and was transported to Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the New York Post reported. Authorities don’t know why and how he entered the freezer or why he died. But they did determine he was charged last year with two 1988 cold-case murders in Boston. He had been released on bail the week before the freezer incident.

Stinky City

West Valley City, Utah, has a malodorous mystery on its hands. The community stinks. For the past year, officials have been fielding complaints about the odor, which city communications director Sam Johnson described as “a musty sewer smell … that you can smell in certain parts of the city stronger.” The city has now launched a campaign recruiting residents to help pinpoint the source of the odor: “If you smell something, say something.” They’re hoping more complaints will spur Salt Lake County and Utah’s Department of Environmental Quality to investigate and take action.

Nerd Alert

Apparently, the unofficial uniform for Bay Area techies and venture capital investors is a vest. The Japanese company Uniqlo is cashing in with a vest vending machine full of vests at the San Francisco International Airport. The airport’s public information officer, Doug Yakel, says the machine is no joke; it earns $10,000 a month on average. At $49.90 a piece, the company is selling 200 of its ultra-light down vests each month. “This is the first time we’ve had clothing available for sale from a vending machine, which we thought was very unique,” Yakel told Business Insider.

The Gangsta Driving Test

A driver’s license examiner in Glen Burnie, Md., got a whiff of something illegal when she approached a car about to be used in a driving test. She called Maryland State Police, who found Reginald D. Wooding, Jr., 22, of Baltimore, waiting in his mother’s car to take his test. But he never got the chance. Wooding was in possession of marijuana; a scale; more than $15,000 in what was to be suspected drug-related money; and a 9mm Glock handgun with a loaded 30-round magazine.

I Mean, I’m Drunk But It’s All Good


In Bluffton, S.C., 32-year-old Lauren Elizabeth Cutshaw informed police officers she was a former cheerleader, sorority member, good student and National Honor Society member after they pulled her over at 1:45 am for running a stop sign at 30 mph over the speed limit. According to The Island Packet, she also told officers she shouldn’t be arrested because she’s a “very clean, thoroughbred, white girl.” She said she’d had only two glasses of wine, then added, “I mean, I was celebrating my birthday.” Police arrested her anyway, and booked her into the Beaufort County Detention Center.

Facial Recognition Default

Among the gazillion other products and services available from Amazon is the behemoth’s facial recognition software, Rekognition, marketed as providing extremely accurate facial analysis. When the American Civil Liberties Union gave it a go, the results were startling. Using Rekognition, the ACLU scanned photos of every current member of the U.S. House and Senate and came up with 28 matches to a mug shot database of people who had been arrested for crimes. The ACLU announced its findings on July 26, stating that it used Amazon’s default settings. To this, Amazon responded, “while 80 percent confidence is an acceptable threshold for photos of hot dogs, chairs, animals or other social media use cases,” Amazon would advise customers to set the threshold at 95 percent or higher for law enforcement. The ACLU told NPR that the legislators who were falsely matched were men, women, Republicans and Democrats of all ages. The software misidentified people of color at a higher rate than others.

Wig Economics


Armed thieves in New Delhi, India, left a craftsman deep in debt after they made off with 500 pounds of wigs and raw hair worth more than $20,000. “People think wigs are cheap, but they cost a fortune to make,” wig-maker Jahangir Hussain said. In fact, in the previous month, he had borrowed more than $17,000 to buy hair from South Indian wholesalers. India exports wigs and hair extensions to the tune of $300 million a year; much of the raw material is collected at Hindu temples where people shave their heads as a religious sacrifice — a practice called “tonsuring.”

I Need To Take This Call

During a July 23 debate among mayoral candidates in Key West, Fla., Sloan Bashinsky, a perennial contender, took a minute to answer a call from God. “Hello? What? God?” Bashinsky said, speaking into his cellphone. According to FLKeys News, it wasn’t the first time he’s heard from a higher power: “I have said every time I ran, I ran because God told me to run,” Bashinsky explained. “I think anyone who wants this job is insane.” Bashinsky has a law degree from Vanderbilt University and was once among the island’s homeless. He joins six other candidates on the ticket.

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