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News Quirks (7/29/15)

Published July 29, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated July 30, 2015 at 10:41 a.m.

Problem Solved

San Francisco-based Flight Car began offering travelers free parking at airports in San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle and Washington, plus a ride to the terminal and a car wash. In return, the owners agree to let FlightCar rent their cars to other drivers and receive a share of the rental fee. "Everyone goes to the airport, everyone has trouble parking, so it just makes sense," FlightCar president and cofounder Kevin Petrovic said. (Washington Post)

Them That Has, Gets

Although China owns at least $1.3 trillion of the U.S. debt, the U.S. government sent it $12.3 million in foreign aid last year and is handing it another $6.8 million this year. An official for the State Department's USAID program said the money is earmarked to help Tibetan communities "preserve their threatened cultural traditions" and to help China "address environmental conservation and strengthen the rule of law." (Washington Times)

Slightest Provocation

California authorities accused Kathy Rowe of harassing a couple who bought a house in a Carmel Valley neighborhood that Rowe had placed an offer on, calling it her "forever home." The criminal complaint said Rowe signed the wife up for sex ads online that encouraged visitors to drop by unannounced while her husband was at work. The couple also received unwanted magazines, books and junk mail, and Rowe allegedly sent romantic Valentine's Day cards from the husband to his female neighbors. "Losing that house was devastating to my family and broke our hearts," Rowe said, calling her actions "stupid pranks." (ABC News)

Deputies arrested Kristin Howard, 31, for attacking her 50-year-old mother at her home in Bunnell, Fla., during an argument over who was entitled to a plate of chicken and biscuits. Deputies reported that Howard punched her mother in the face and threw tea on her. (Daytona Beach News-Journal)

Secret Secrets

The National Security Agency informed the Federation of American Scientists that a report to Congress on authorized disclosures of classified intelligence to the media is classified and thus exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. Congress requires government officials that authorize "disclosures of national intelligence" to notify it so congressional committees can tell authorized disclosures from unauthorized disclosures, or leaks. The NSA explanation was a response to a FAS FOIA request to learn which disclosures were authorized. (Federation of American Scientists)

Stating the Obvious

Steve Wadsworth won an "exciting competition" to name the new leisure center in Selby, England, scheduled to open this spring. "I was really surprised and excited," said Wadsworth, who came up with the name "Selby Leisure Centre." (Selby District Council News)

No Place Like Home

Utah's Housing First began a program in Salt Lake City to end homelessness by giving homeless people homes. Instead of spending more than $20,000 a year on care, Housing First reckons putting someone into permanent housing costs the state just $8,000. The program not only saves money, but also provides stability that allows the recipients to turn their lives around. After 22 months, none of the 17 people placed in homes around the city when the program started was back on the streets. Subsequently, the number of Utah's chronically homeless fell by 74 percent. (New Yorker)

The Italian company WASP has developed a 20-foot-tall 3D printer than can turn mud and fiber into homes. WASP CEO Massimo Moretti said that the process will provide cheap housing in impoverished regions, starting this year in Sardinia, which has abundant wool to use as a fibrous binder in the printer's mud. Moretti said that using the machine to work more closely with natural forms rather than the common square-shaped brick dwellings will help people express the power of their minds, rather than just of constructing something by hand. (MAKE Magazine)

Good News, Bad News

Talking on hand-held cellphones while driving has declined in the past six years, according to a survey by State Farm insurance company. But the percentage of drivers who admit to accessing the internet while driving has doubled, from 13 percent in 2009 to 26 percent in 2014, and the share of drivers who said they read email while behind the wheel rose from 15 percent to 25 percent. Those who said they read social media while driving went from 9 percent to 20 percent. (USA Today

Lightning Justice

Lightning set a house on fire in Cape Coral, Fla., but firefighters contained the blaze. While clearing the house, they uncovered a marijuana-growing operation, prompting police to arrest homeowner Jaroslav Kratky, 65. (Fort Myers's WBBH-TV)


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