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random news articles

Unread postby pd Rydia » Wed Apr 13, 2005 6:45 pm

springfield.news-leader.com/business/today/20050412-Clocksoundsalar.html

Clock sounds alarm, then hides

By Michael Kunzelman
Associated Press

<hr noshade size=4 align=left width="44%">"Clocky," a robotic alarm clock on wheels, rolls away and hides when it's time to wake up. The clock is the invention of Gauri Nanda, a graduate student who works in the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

Mit Media Lab<hr noshade size=4 align=left width="44%">
Cambridge, Mass. — Before you hit the snooze button a second time on this alarm clock, you'll have to hunt it down.

The shag carpet-covered robotic alarm clock on wheels, called Clocky, rolls away and hides.

The clock is the invention of Gauri Nanda, a graduate student — and occasional oversleeper — who works in the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"I've been known to hit the snooze bar for a couple hours, wake up two hours later and be completely shocked," said Nanda, 25, who created Clocky for an industrial design course last year.

She made a prototype out of foam, a pair of wheels and a circuit board connected to small motors. "It is programmed to tell the motors to move randomly, to generate random speeds and directions so that the clock ends up in a new place every day," she said.

Nanda's adviser, V. Michael Bove Jr., said hundreds of people interested in buying or selling the clocks have called and e-mailed. But the gadget is not yet available for sale.

Nanda is thinking of starting her own business to manufacture and market the clock.

MIT owns the intellectual property rights to Clocky and other student inventions, but Bove said Nanda would receive a share of any revenue generated.

Nanda said she wanted Clocky to remind its owners of a troublesome pet.

"The idea really was to use technology in a more playful way," she said. "It's sort of like a hide-and-seek game."


<hr noshade size=8 align=left width="74%">

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4396387.stm

Brain chip reads man's thoughts

<hr noshade size=4 align=left width="44%">A paralysed man in the US has become the first person to benefit from a brain chip that reads his mind.<hr noshade size=4 align=left width="44%">
Matthew Nagle, 25, was left paralysed from the neck down and confined to a wheelchair after a knife attack in 2001.

The pioneering surgery at New England Sinai Hospital, Massachusetts, last summer means he can now control everyday objects by thought alone.

The brain chip reads his mind and sends the thoughts to a computer to decipher.

-Mind over matter-

He can think his TV on and off, change channels and alter the volume thanks to the technology and software linked to devices in his home.

Scientists have been working for some time to devise a way to enable paralysed people to control devices with the brain.

Studies have shown that monkeys can control a computer with electrodes implanted into their brain.

Recently four people, two of them partly paralysed wheelchair users, were able to move a computer cursor while wearing a cap with 64 electrodes that pick up brain waves.

Mr Nagle's device, called BrainGate, consists of nearly 100 hair-thin electrodes implanted a millimetre deep into part of the motor cortex of his brain that controls movement.

Wires feed the information from the electrodes into a computer which analyses the brain signals.

The signals are interpreted and translated into cursor movements, offering the user an alternative way to control devices such as a computer with thought.

-Motor control-

Professor John Donoghue, an expert on neuroscience at Brown University, Rhode Island, is the scientist behind the device produced by Cyberkinetics.

He said: "The computer screen is basically a TV remote control panel, and in order to indicate a selection he merely has to pass the cursor over an icon, and that's equivalent to a click when he goes over that icon."

Mr Nagle has also been able to use thought to move a prosthetic hand and robotic arm to grab sweets from one person's hand and place them into another.

Professor Donoghue hopes that ultimately implants such as this will allow people with paralysis to regain the use of their limbs.

The long term aim is to design a package the size of a mobile phone that will run on batteries, and to electrically stimulate the patient's own muscles. This will be difficult.

The simple movements we took for granted involved complex electrical signals which would be hard to replicate, Dr Richard Apps, a neurophysiologist from Bristol University, UK, told the BBC News website.

He said there were millions of neurones in the brain involved with movement. The brain chip taps into only a very small number of these. But he said the work was extremely exciting.

"It's quite remarkable. They have taken research to the next stage to have a clear benefit for a patient that otherwise would not be able to move.

"It seems that they have cracked the crucial step and arguably the most challenging step to get hand movements.

"Just to be able to grasp an object is a major step forward."

He said it might be possible to hone this further to achieve finer movements of the hand.


<hr noshade size=8 align=left width="74%">

hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/O/OFFICIAL_ENGLISH

W.Va. Makes English Its Official Language

Apr 12, 9:55 AM EDT

By ERIK SCHELZIG
Associated Press Writer

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Two days after the end of the legislative session, state lawmakers are discovering something few were aware of: They voted to make English the official language of West Virginia.

The language amendment was quietly inserted into a bill addressing the number of members that cities can appoint to boards of parks and recreation. Among mundane details about record-keeping, the amendment adds the provision that "English shall be the official language of the State of West Virginia."

Senate Majority Whip Billy Wayne Bailey successfully offered that change to House Bill 2782 amid a flurry of bills moving back and forth between the House and Senate on Saturday, the last night of the 60-day legislative session.

"I just told the members that the amendment clarifies the way in which documents are produced," Bailey, a Democrat, said Monday.

House Majority Leader Rick Staton recommended that his chamber agree with the Senate's changes. But Staton, also a Democrat, said he was unaware of the substance of the amendment until asked about it by The Associated Press Monday evening.

Efforts to make English the state's official language have been introduced annually since the late 1990s. A group called U.S. English has championed the cause.

"I think it's wrong that's something like that was snuck into that bill in the last minute," said House Judiciary Chairman Jon Amores, who helped kill an earlier proposal to forbid any state or local agency from having to print documents in any language but English.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Joe Manchin could not immediately be reached for comment.

Andrew Schneider, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia, said English-only laws are based on the false premise that immigrants will not learn English without government coercion.

"And English-only laws do nothing constructive to increase English proficiency. They simply discriminate and punish those who have not yet learned English," Schneider said.


<hr noshade size=8 align=left width="74%">

news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/4379457.stm

Sponsors 'manipulate' scientists

By Melissa Jackson
BBC News education reporter

<hr noshade size=4 align=left width="44%">One in 10 research scientists is under pressure to tailor findings to suit the work's sponsor, a UK survey suggests.<hr noshade size=4 align=left width="44%">
Women are more likely to be targeted than men, according to the poll of 358 scientists carried out by two unions.

Unions say the findings were "extremely worrying" and called for research to be properly financed, and for an end to fixed-term contracts for scientists.

The Royal Society, the UK's national academy of science, is drawing up guidelines to combat the problem.

More than 10% of scientists have been asked by their commercial backer to tailor their research conclusions to meet the sponsor's requirements, according to the survey of university and government laboratories.

Research, carried out jointly by the Association of University Teachers (AUT) and the public service union Prospect, found that women were under even greater pressure.

However, most (84.5%) of the 358 respondents (58% male and 38% female) said they had never been asked by a sponsor to skew their research.

A total of 7.9% of those who took part in the online poll said they had been asked in general terms to tailor their conclusions to the funder's preferred outcome.

A further 1.2% of the total said they were asked to tailor their results so that they might obtain further contracts, and another 1.7% said they had been discouraged from publishing their findings by their backer.

When the figures were broken down, 11.5% of women (compared with 6% of men) said they had been asked to tailor conclusions to suit their sponsor's preferred outcome; 1.5% of women (compared with 1% of men) were asked to do so to obtain further contracts and 2.3% of women (compared with 1.5% of men) had been discouraged from publishing their findings.

-Contract culture-

Prospect's head of research and specialist services, Sue Ferns, says the findings reinforced union concerns.

"Given that all the survey's respondents considered that their key role was to provide impartial and objective advice, any evidence to suggest some members feel under pressure to modify their results is extremely worrying.

"Prospect has been arguing for some years that the contract culture is a real barrier to developing a long-term strategic approach to science, and it is disappointing that our warnings over the dangers of commercialisation and loss of independence are still going unheeded in some quarters.

"Any request to falsify results brings science into disrepute, threatens the integrity of scientific advice to government and damages public trust in government itself.

"Science, above all else, is about a pursuit for the truth."

An AUT spokesman said: "These findings are worrying and indicate a possible problem when research projects involve some commercial money.

"The fact that many researchers are also on fixed-term contracts and whose continued employment also relies on the funding of the research is not good for those staff, or for the long-term future of British research.

"One message we think government and employers should take from this is to end the practice of fixed-term contracts and properly finance research."

The Royal Society is equally concerned about the survey results.

Sir Patrick Bateson, chair of the Royal Society working group on best practice in communicating research results, said: "It is clear that some researchers are influenced by their affiliations, be they to funders, sponsors or employers, when carrying out or reporting their work.

"In many cases these biases are introduced unknowingly, but can be avoided if researchers become more aware of the potential problems.

"There are also occasions when biases, for instance on the selection of evidence, are deliberate, and such practices are clearly undesirable.

"The Royal Society will shortly be publishing recommendations to overcome some of the problems of affiliation bias when research results are communicated to the public."

The survey looked at other issues relating to scientists' work, including job satisfaction and volume of work.


<hr noshade size=8 align=left width="74%">

staging.hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/J/JAPAN_PRISON_BEDDING

Japan Brightens Prison Clothes, Bedding

TOKYO (AP) -- Martha Stewart, eat your heart out. Japan is giving its prisoners more brightly colored clothing and bed sheets in the hopes of cheering up the mood behind bars.

The decision, to be implemented next year, was made after consultation with professional color coordinators and will be the first change in prisoners' uniforms since 1966.

"We hope to stabilize the mental states of inmates by giving them warmer and brighter colors," Shigemi Tanimoto, a Justice Ministry official, said in making the announcement Wednesday. "Color experts told us the colors currently in use were too cold and aggressive."

In a survey conducted two years ago, many inmates asked for a change in the color and material of their government-issued clothing, he said.

Japan now provides the country's 71,889 inmates with dark brown and gray clothes and bedcovers in sharply contrasting orange and green. Tanimoto refused to say what specific colors will be used for the new uniforms. <p>
<div style="text-align:center">"Pants are bad!!! We should wear pants only on our head you conformist bastard!!! Pants are the devils work!! Run freee!! And pantless!!!" -- Vulture</div>
</p>

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Re: random news articles

Unread postby Zemyla » Wed Apr 13, 2005 6:50 pm

You know, German was almost the official language of the U.S., but was narrowly defeated. <p>-----
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Re: random news articles

Unread postby pd Rydia » Wed Apr 13, 2005 7:01 pm

I've heard about that! I forget the whole story. Care to (re)enlighten me? <p>
<div style="text-align:center">"Pants are bad!!! We should wear pants only on our head you conformist bastard!!! Pants are the devils work!! Run freee!! And pantless!!!" -- Vulture</div>
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Re: random news articles

Unread postby JasonAB17 » Wed Apr 13, 2005 8:08 pm

I recall being told it was the difference of one vote, German or English.


...


ACH MEIN BREAKDANCING! >_< <p><div style="text-align:center">Image</div></p>

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Re: random news articles

Unread postby FlamingDeth » Wed Apr 13, 2005 8:43 pm

Great, now Ganon is going to kill me some more. :( <p>
<hr width="70%"><center>
This month's "Transformer of the Month" is Grimlock in a Santa hat! He's quite jolly.</center></p>

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Re: random news articles

Unread postby Kai » Wed Apr 13, 2005 11:11 pm

MIT owns the intellectual property rights to Clocky


Educators Teach Their Students To Act Evil,
but the students are really too dumb to know.
MIT students depict great courage to invent Hiding Clocks. <p>-------------------------
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Re: random news articles

Unread postby BrainWalker » Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:06 am

Wow.

That second to last one there about the statistics made me laugh a lot. Those first two articles were pretty damn cool, though. And that last one... wow. God bless Japan. <p><div style="text-align:center">Image</div></p>

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Re: random news articles

Unread postby EKDS5k » Thu Apr 14, 2005 7:18 am

There was never a chance that German would be the official language of the US. If you'll click here, and read down about a third of the way or so, it explains that. And also there's another link that explains it some more, but it's on that page, so I'm not posting it.


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Re: random news articles

Unread postby Zemyla » Thu Apr 14, 2005 8:20 am

I am corrected!

Also, someone will trip over Clocky and break their neck and sue. Count on it. <p>-----
Do not taunt Happy Fun Zemyla.

<span style="font-size:xx-small;">I think boobs are the lesser of two evils. - Inverse (Pervy)
Dammit, Dan, I'm not dating a damn NPC! - OOC Will (Will Baseton)
Of course! Anything worth doing is worth doing completely wrong! - Travis English
Ultimately, wizards and clerics don't say, "Gee, I want to become a lich because weapons hurt less and I don't have to worry about being backstabbed; that whole 'eternal life' thing is just a fringe benefit."-Darklion
But this one time I killed a walrus with my bare hands, and I suddenly understood spherical coordinates. - KnightsofSquare
Also, when you've worked a 36-hour shift as an intern you too just might pour yourself a catful of coffee and sit down to cuddle with your travel mug. -eirehound
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Re: random news articles

Unread postby BrainWalker » Thu Apr 14, 2005 10:00 am

Oh, of course. Progress and invention are often halted by greed. <p><div style="text-align:center">Image</div></p>

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Re: random news articles

Unread postby Ganonfro » Thu Apr 14, 2005 3:08 pm

*Goes back to killing FD, till said awesome pictures are scanned in from Otakon*


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Re: random news articles

Unread postby EKDS5k » Thu Apr 14, 2005 10:05 pm

While Clocky seems like a neat idea, wouldn't it be cheaper to just get a regular alarm clock, and put it across the room? That way, you're sure that you have to get up to hit the snooze button. That's what I do, because otherwise I'll shut it off (not the snooze button) in my sleep.


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Re: random news articles

Unread postby pd Rydia » Fri Apr 15, 2005 12:57 am

Doc: That's what I do with my alarm clock. I think it'd be even better to have an alarm clock programmed to stop "snoozing" after about half an hour. <p>
<div style="text-align:center">"Pants are bad!!! We should wear pants only on our head you conformist bastard!!! Pants are the devils work!! Run freee!! And pantless!!!" -- Vulture</div>
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Re: random news articles

Unread postby Molokidan » Fri Apr 15, 2005 9:11 am

But where's the fun in that?? You don't get to spend 10-15 minutes tearing apart your room trying to find it! =[ <p>---------------

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Re: random news articles

Unread postby pd Rydia » Fri Apr 15, 2005 10:24 am

Molo: True! And if that doesn't wake you up... <p>
<div style="text-align:center">"Pants are bad!!! We should wear pants only on our head you conformist bastard!!! Pants are the devils work!! Run freee!! And pantless!!!" -- Vulture</div>
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Re: random news articles

Unread postby EKDS5k » Fri Apr 15, 2005 10:35 am

Yeah, but once the clock stopped responding to the snooze button, I'd just turn it right off and go back to sleep. I used to have the clock on the other side of a chair, so that I had to actually engage my brain to get it shut off, by which time I was (usually) awake enough to tell myself to go have a shower.


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Re: random news articles

Unread postby Justice Augustus » Fri Apr 15, 2005 2:47 pm

I once placed Warhammer 40,000 minatures all over my alarm clock area so that, when I was trying to slap the snooze button in the dark, I was awoken by imapling my hand upon an eldar warlock's force sword.

I forget why I thought that was a good idea.
<p>

"Moreover, when on the following night, much to his dismay, [Caesar] had a dream of raping his own mother, the soothsayers greatly encouraged him by their interpretations of it: namely, that he was destined to conquer the earth" - Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars - Julius Caesar, chapter 7</p>

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Re: random news articles

Unread postby pd Rydia » Fri Apr 15, 2005 8:12 pm

http://www.nbc4.tv/irresistible/4379153/detail.html


REDMOND, Wash. -- A kidnapped garden gnome was taken to Las Vegas and Hollywood -- and even had its picture taken with Paris Hilton -- before it was returned to its owner in Washington state.

Its owner, Marianne Severson, said she did not even know the gnome was missing.

"I have four of them out there," she said. "You pull into the driveway and you see them, but ... you certainly don't count them."

Severson said she found a binder on her porch earlier this month. It was full of photos of the sleeping gnome on someone's vacation.

"The first (picture) is a guy we don't know taking our gnome out of the front yard," she said.

Then, the pictures show the gnome leaving Redmond, living it up in Las Vegas and rubbing elbows with the girls from Hooter's.

The prankster also left an issue of People magazine inside the binder -- a photo inside shows hotel heiress Paris Hilton holding Severson's gnome.

"My hat's off to the guy," Severson said. "I think he did a really really great job. ... The next time he does this, he should take my husband and me because we haven't been on vacation in years."

Severson said she is convinced the gnome in the pictures is hers, because it's an original -- she hand-painted it herself.

She also said she's had a phone conversation with the culprit. She still doesn't know who he is, but she thanked him for choosing her gnome for the trip.


Images: Gnome's Vacation http://www.nbc4.tv/slideshow/news/4378986/detail.html
Video: Gnome's Vacation http://nbc4la.feedroom.com/index.jsp?fr ... uto_band=x <p>
<div style="text-align:center">"Pants are bad!!! We should wear pants only on our head you conformist bastard!!! Pants are the devils work!! Run freee!! And pantless!!!" -- Vulture</div>
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Re: random news articles

Unread postby Zemyla » Sat Apr 16, 2005 10:08 am

Gus: That's a damn fine idea.

Dia: Wow. I wish they'd kidnap me like that. <p>-----
Do not taunt Happy Fun Zemyla.

<span style="font-size:xx-small;">I think boobs are the lesser of two evils. - Inverse (Pervy)
Dammit, Dan, I'm not dating a damn NPC! - OOC Will (Will Baseton)
Of course! Anything worth doing is worth doing completely wrong! - Travis English
Ultimately, wizards and clerics don't say, "Gee, I want to become a lich because weapons hurt less and I don't have to worry about being backstabbed; that whole 'eternal life' thing is just a fringe benefit."-Darklion
But this one time I killed a walrus with my bare hands, and I suddenly understood spherical coordinates. - KnightsofSquare
Also, when you've worked a 36-hour shift as an intern you too just might pour yourself a catful of coffee and sit down to cuddle with your travel mug. -eirehound
</span>

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Re: random news articles

Unread postby BrainWalker » Sat Apr 16, 2005 10:18 am

HOLY SHIT! HOLY SHIT!!

That is so completely and totally awesome. Lex knows what I'm talking about. <p><div style="text-align:center">Image</div></p>

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Re: random news articles

Unread postby PriamNevhausten » Sun Apr 17, 2005 1:43 am

People who offer *themselves* up for kidnapping on a gnome-esque travel thing are missing the point.

Also, as for Clocky...I don't know about the rest of you, but I put my alarm clock on a makeshift nightstand. If it rolled off, it would likely hit the floor and immediately cease functioning as designed (as it did when my OSU roommate turned it off a little too eagerly). <p><span style="font-size:xx-small;">"It's in the air, in the headlines in the newspapers, in the blurry images on television. It is a secret you have yet to grasp, although the first syllable has been spoken in a dream you cannot quite recall." --Unknown Armies</span></p>

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Re: random news articles

Unread postby Idran1701 » Sun Apr 17, 2005 2:33 am

Right, but I assume if you bought something like Clocky, you'd be aware of the fact that it moves around, in which case you probably wouldn't put it in the same place specifically to prevent such a breakage from occuring. Or you wouldn't buy a moving alarm clock in the first place. Either way, you wouldn't have that problem. <p>

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Re: random news articles

Unread postby PriamNevhausten » Sun Apr 17, 2005 2:35 am

You assume that consumers are intelligent.

Hopefully, the design process will bear this in mind. <p><span style="font-size:xx-small;">"It's in the air, in the headlines in the newspapers, in the blurry images on television. It is a secret you have yet to grasp, although the first syllable has been spoken in a dream you cannot quite recall." --Unknown Armies</span></p>

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Re: random news articles

Unread postby Idran1701 » Sun Apr 17, 2005 2:38 am

Oh, no, I meant you specifically. Consumers in general, yeah, I'm sure something like that'd happen at least occasionally. <p>

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Re: random news articles

Unread postby Justice Augustus » Mon Apr 18, 2005 1:02 am

Customer Service: "What's the problem?"
Customer: "I put the alarm clock on a stool, and when it moved it fell off and broke. I demand compensation."

Yeah....
<p>

"Moreover, when on the following night, much to his dismay, [Caesar] had a dream of raping his own mother, the soothsayers greatly encouraged him by their interpretations of it: namely, that he was destined to conquer the earth" - Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars - Julius Caesar, chapter 7</p>

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Re: random news articles

Unread postby Vampire Jester Jinx » Mon Apr 18, 2005 8:39 am

............THE AWESOME THAT IS AMELIE LIVES ON! <p><div style="text-align:center">

I rule the fanart forum with a fist of irony. .....I have nothing else witty to say. Or quote. I'm a sad person.</div></p>

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Score!

Unread postby pd Rydia » Thu Apr 28, 2005 9:52 pm

• http://print.google.com/googleprint/library.html
• http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/002109.html


Score! 24 national libraries for the price of none! <p>
<div style="text-align:center">"Pants are bad!!! We should wear pants only on our head you conformist bastard!!! Pants are the devils work!! Run freee!! And pantless!!!" -- Vulture</div></p>

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Re: random news articles

Unread postby pd Rydia » Sat Apr 30, 2005 6:18 pm

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7683168/

Bum wrap

School mistakes huge burrito for weapon, goes into lockdown

The Associated Press
Updated: 7:43 p.m. ET April 29, 2005


CLOVIS, N.M. - A call about a possible weapon at a middle school prompted police to put armed officers on rooftops, close nearby streets and lock down the school. All over a giant burrito.

Someone called authorities Thursday after seeing a boy carrying something long and wrapped into Marshall Junior High.

The drama ended two hours later when the suspicious item was identified as a 30-inch burrito filled with steak, guacamole, lettuce, salsa and jalapeños and wrapped inside tin foil and a white T-shirt.

"I didn't know whether to laugh or cry," school Principal Diana Russell said.

State police, Clovis police and the Curry County Sheriff's Department arrived at the school shortly after 8:30 a.m. They searched the premises and determined there was no immediate danger.

--Worried parents gather at school--

In the meantime, more than 30 parents, alerted by a radio report, descended on the school. Visibly shaken, they gathered around in a semicircle, straining their necks, awaiting news.

"There needs to be security before the kids walk through the door," said Heather Black, whose son attends the school.

After the lockdown was lifted but before the burrito was identified as the culprit, parents pulled 75 students out of school, Russell said.

Russell said the mystery was solved after she brought everyone in the school together in the auditorium to explain what was going on.

"The kid was sitting there as I'm describing this (report of a student with a suspicious package) and he's thinking, 'Oh, my gosh, they're talking about my burrito.'"

Afterward, eighth-grader Michael Morrissey approached her.

--‘I think I’m the person they saw’--

"He said, 'I think I'm the person they saw,'" Russell said.

The burrito was part of Morrissey's extra-credit assignment to create commercial advertising for a product.

"We had to make up a product and it could have been anything. I made up a restaurant that specialized in oddly large burritos," Morrissey said.

After students heard the description of what police were looking for, he and his friends began to make the connection. He then took the burrito to the office.

"The police saw it and everyone just started laughing. It was a laughter of relief," Morrissey said.

"Oh, and I have a new nickname now. It's Burrito Boy."

© 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. <p>
<div style="text-align:center">"Pants are bad!!! We should wear pants only on our head you conformist bastard!!! Pants are the devils work!! Run freee!! And pantless!!!" -- Vulture</div></p>

Archmage144
 

Re: random news articles

Unread postby Archmage144 » Sat Apr 30, 2005 10:42 pm

............

CHIPOTLE = WEAPON <p>
<div style="text-align:center">Image</div>

</p>


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