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The skinny

Published May 15, 2007


Big beach blow-up

New Jersey beach vacation is the bomb

One reason people like Florida beaches so much is that there are hardly any large areas fenced off with signs that say "Danger: Unexploded Ordnance Found." Not to suggest that it has never been found, but we don't have the problem they have in Surf City, N.J., where more than 1, 000 pieces of World War I munitions have been found during a $70-million restoration project. The city plans to try to get the beach opened by Memorial Day, but it is considering an ordinance that would limit how deep sandcastle builders could dig. Y'know, just in case. One business owner is embracing the situation, selling T-shirts that say "Our Beaches Will Blow You Away."

Fake news memorable

News junkies get most from satire

The Pew Research Center surveyed 1, 500 people to determine how much they know about the news. And they discovered some interesting trends. Some weren't surprising. Like that people with higher education were more aware of news events. And that older Americans were more likely to know more than younger ones. What was a little surprising was that the most knowledgeable viewers, based on what their news source was, were regular viewers of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report on Comedy Central.

Robots in space

NASA can't give away $250,000

NASA put forth the challenge for teams of eggheads to build moon-dirt-shoveling robots. If a team could get its machine to shovel 330 pounds of simulated lunar loam into a container in 30 minutes, it would walk away with $250, 000 in the competition held Saturday in a huge sandbox in Santa Maria, Calif. Alas, fake-moon-dirt-digging technology is not where we might have hoped, and no one did it. One team, Technology Ranch of Pismo Beach, Calif., managed 143 pounds. But all the other robots died trying. If you have a robot that you think can do the job, the prize next year will be $750, 000.

Dumb criminals

He broke in to jail, then broke out

A man in Matamata, New Zealand, broke into a deserted police station over the weekend, and whatever his plan was, it was pretty much thwarted when he accidentally locked himself in a cell. Police responded to an alarm at the facility. "The offender has almost done the job for us, getting himself locked in our cell, " said Sgt. Graham McGurk. But they weren't fast enough. The man managed to break out before the cops got there. He threw a chair in the cell through what had been thought to be shatterproof glass. Nothing was missing, so police have no idea why he broke in.

Compiled from Times wires and other sources by staff writer Jim Webster.

[Last modified May 15, 2007, 00:26:03]

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