Sunday November 23, 2014




Drones a new worry

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The New Normal

— Since high-rise residents value their privacy, Lisa Pleiss of Seattle said she was frightened on June 22 when she saw a drone hovering outside her 26th-floor window: “You don’t expect to be walking around indecent in your apartment and then have this thing potentially recording you.” According to police, the drone was legal — helping a developer photograph downtown Seattle — but would not have been if the camera had been pointed at Pleiss’ window. (Drones are becoming so widespread that, for instance, the University of South Florida library owns several, for student check-out on certain research projects.)

— In June, as Elizabeth Neufeld, 85, was backing her car out of her driveway in Bel Air, California, it tipped on a curve and rolled onto its side. Elizabeth was not hurt, but was trapped inside while her husband, Benjamin, 87, got out on his own. As they awaited firefighters, she reportedly handed a cellphone to a passerby so that the Neufelds would have a “selfie” (which made the Internet, with Elizabeth having righted herself in the driver’s seat and Benjamin standing sheepishly alongside). (Dr. Elizabeth Neufeld, retired, is one of the world’s most prominent genetics researchers, having won numerous awards during stints at the National Institutes of Health, University of California, Berkeley and UCLA.)

Least Competent Criminals

Failed to Keep a Low Profile: Jacob Close, 25, wanted after jumping bail in New York on a drug charge, but recently on Bloomsburg (Pennsylvania) University police’s radar screen after he was rumored to be in the area, was arrested by the campus cops in June. Close’s name and photograph had appeared in the Bloomsburg Press Enterprise’s “Your Opinion” feature. He apparently could not resist when a street reporter asked him the newspaper’s “question of the week” — whether the Washington Redskins football team should choose another nickname. (His vitally important opinion? No.)

Readers’ Choice

(1) Bill Hillmann, 32, expert on Spain’s bull-running events and author of a chapter in “How to Survive the Bulls of Pamplona” (the most famous festival), was hospitalized in July after being gored during the run, with the horn passing through one thigh, missing his femoral artery by a centimeter. He told the Chicago Tribune from his hospital bed that he would be back for the next one. (2) In June, an unnamed American exchange student visiting Tubingen University in Germany, exploring a large marble sculpture outside the school’s institute for microbiology and virology, was trapped inside and had to be rescued by firefighters. The sculpture was a giant vulva, and 22 responders arrived in five fire trucks to pull the man out of the “vagina.”


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