Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News: January 27, 2011

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NEW NEWS…

Diners in China are overcoming their reservations by flocking to a new toilet-themed restaurant where business is booming.  Customers at the Modern Toilet restaurant, in Kunming, Yunnan province, eat on seats converted from toilets.  Owner Xu Liang says the restaurant has proved more popular than expected with students, in particular, keen to try the experience.  ***MARLAR: Just don’t trust the water they pour for you if it’s tinted blue.  Or yellow.

The clue: It’s the size of 10 refrigerators, has access to the equivalent of 200 million pages of information and knows how to answer in the form of a question. The correct response: “What is the computer IBM developed to become a ‘Jeopardy’ whiz?”  Watson, a “Jeopardy”-playing computer that IBM says marks a profound advance in artificial intelligence, edged out game-show champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in its first public test, a short practice round ahead of a million-dollar tournament that will be televised next month.  ***MARLAR: But the computer is limited.  It may be smart enough to compete on “Jeopardy” but it still refuses to wear a giant chicken outfit in order to get on “Let’s Make a Deal.”

A New Mexico man is suing his neighbors, claiming their dog caused $2,000 worth of damage to a car by tearing off a piece of its rear bumper.  Richard Lienau of Pecos claims in his lawsuit against Steve Griego and his teenage daughter Jerica that the family’s dog, which he estimated at about 75 pounds and of unknown breed, caused $2,000 worth of damage to a Volvo parked in his yard.  ***MARLAR: How safe can a Volvo really be if it can be totaled by a dog chewing on it?

A British company said tests carried out on ATMs and public toilets found they contain many of the same illness-causing bacteria. BioCote microbiologist Richard Hastings said, “We were surprised by our results because the ATM machines were shown to be heavily contaminated with bacteria; to the same level as nearby public toilets.  In addition the bacteria we detected on ATMs were similar to those from the toilet.”  ***MARLAR: Some people will resort to using anything if they run out of toilet paper.

RETRO NEWS: FORMERLY NEW, NOW NOT NEW, BUT STILL ENTERTAINING…

A judge in New Zealand is fed up with cutesy names. He’s ordered a new name for a nine-year-old girl. Her parents named her “Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii.” A lawyer says she was so embarrassed by it, she didn’t even tell her friends.  ***MARLAR: Ironically, her friends were named Apple, Rumor, Scout, and Moon Unit.

A new report says last year Americans commuting to work lost over 3 billion hours sitting in traffic delays.  ***MARLAR: What a waste… those are hours that could have been spent at work playing online Texas Hold ’Em or shopping on eBay.

In Australia officials at a maximum security prison were able to negotiate the release of a guard held hostage by delivering pizza to the rioting inmates.  ***MARLAR: But the joke was on the inmates. It wasn’t delivery. It was DiGiorno.

Britain’s National Health Service is using typists in India to transcribe information from doctors, and it’s getting lost in translation. A diagnosis of “phlebitis, left leg” was typed out as “flea bite his left leg.” “Eustachian tube malfunction” became “Euston station tube malfunction.” And “below knee amputation” became “baloney amputation.” A spokesman for a medical secretaries association said it seems funny, until they mistake 15 mg of your drug for 50 mg.  ***MARLAR: It’s hard enough reading a doctor’s handwriting when you DO know English.

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