The latest “companion robot” from Japan is called Ifbot, and is already in America waiting for you to take it home. It’s a small, cute robot that really wants to be your friend. It shakes your hand, dances for you, hugs you, learns your favorite colors, offers to teach you Japanese, and says things like, “You seem to like me, and I like you – let’s play together” and “I’m feeling pretty sad – maybe if we talk for a while, you could cheer me up!” The price tag is a hefty $5,000. ***MARLAR: Holy cow! $5,000?!? You can buy HUMAN friends for that! ($5,000 – for a robot that suffers from depression. Can I get a robot that needs no cheering up for $6,000?)
Nestle USA will begin using heat-treated flour in its Toll House refrigerated cookie dough, months after the company temporarily pulled the product off of store shelves after the Food and Drug Administration found evidence of E. coli contamination. ***MARLAR: Aren’t they heat-treated already when you take them out of the oven?
One southern Illinois city has an idea to combat high fuel prices: golf carts. The city of Sesser has passed an ordinance that lets golf carts and similar vehicles with steering wheels on city streets. Sesser alderman Bob Woll came up with the idea, saying he can drive his electric golf cart for 25 miles on a 10-hour charge that costs $1.30. The golf carts need a $35 annual permit, must be inspected and have certain safety features, like headlights and a horn. Woll doesn’t expect hundreds of carts, but says he hopes the ordinance catches on. ***MARLAR: The only difference is that if you’re about to hit a pedestrian you have to yell “Fore!”
Parents, teachers and activists lined up last week for the chance to help shape the way history will be taught to millions of Texas children for the next decade. The State Board of Education began taking testimony, and early quibbles over how much prominence to give civil rights leaders such as Cesar Chavez and Thurgood Marshall, and the inclusion of Christmas seem to have been smoothed over. But board members are still crafting dozens of amendments to be raised for consideration before the tentative vote, expected Thursday. The 15-member board won’t adopt final standards until March. ***MARLAR: That’s right parents, your kids are being taught true American history – so long as it’s approved by popular vote. (Can you imagine the History Channel being organized like this? Suddenly our history would consist of nothing but Bigfoot, Britney Spears, and the words “wardrobe malfunction.”)
One Florida juror is heading for the wrong side of the bars. Authorities report Sarah Muller cursed at a Marion County judge when he refused to excuse her from jury duty. The judge charged her with criminal contempt of court. She’s been sentenced to three days in jail and ordered to pay a $50 fine. ***MARLAR: The punishment would’ve been more severe, but finding a jury of her peers would’ve proven too much for the prison system.
According to an insider, the Hershey Co. is assembling a bid to acquire British candy maker Cadbury PLC without the help of Italian candy maker Ferrero International. ***MARLAR: Meaning Hershey could be the owners of the Cadbury Bunny. However, kiddies, don’t let that fool you. If you see a bunny laying chocolate eggs, DON’T EAT ‘EM!
In Wausau, Wisconsin, a 78-year-old man crashed his car through the glass door of a Burger King, backed up, parked, came inside and ate breakfast. ***MARLAR: They say you can have it your way – and apparently that’s the way he wanted it.
English woman Daisy Hales pled guilty to stealing books to feed her oddball addiction. Her addiction? Eating the paper! ***MARLAR: She’s a voracious reader.
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