NOISE IS GOLDEN
The Formula One circuit is generally thought to attract fans as a showcase of motorcar technology and racing skill, but organizers of the Australian Grand Prix (the first of the 19 races on the annual circuit) threatened a lawsuit in March against Formula One management because the races should also be showcases of noise. Formula One has softened cars’ power this year in order to make breakthrough achievements in fuel efficiency, but that also tamped down Formula One’s “trademark ear-shattering roar,” according to a Business Insider report. Fans are less likely to buy tickets, the organizers fear, if they lose the deafening, 100-decibel vroom that is a “visceral element of the fan experience.”
FINE POINTS OF THE LAW
In some cultures, and now in Florida, apparently, the act of urination carries no special modesty protection. A judge ruled in March that video of Justin Bieber expelling for a urine test following his January drag-racing arrest in Miami Beach was a “public record” and had to be released to the press under Florida law. A perhaps overly generous black box was edited into the video to make it somewhat less explicit. In the video, only one officer is present, observing, based on protocol that respects the suspect’s “privacy”–though the Florida judge in essence invited the entire world to watch Bieber urinate, as the video quickly made the Internet.
The Lakemaid brewery based in Stevens Point, Wis., acknowledged in January that it has been testing drone technology, with an eye to eventually delivering beer to isolated ice fishermen on Lake Waconia, Minn. The brewery reportedly found that a six-bladed drone would be necessary to carry a 12-pack for up to a half-mile. The Federal Aviation Administration bans commercial drones, but is thought to be reconsidering the rule–though not just yet, as it quickly ordered Lakemaid to cease the flights.
Richard Wright of Canada’s Prince Edward Island was busy in March handing out $50 and $100 bills to strangers during a visit to Halifax, Nova Scotia, urging the recipients to “thank God” for the gift and to pass it along to others if they could not use it themselves. Wright’s spree was soon broken up as Mounted Police detained him for a “wellness check,” which led to his transfer to a mental-health facility. Wright’s daughter Chelsea told reporters that her dad worked hard for his money, had no mental-health issues and simply wanted to help people, and a friend described him as a “generous individual wrapped up in the acts of kindness.” However, at press time, Wright was still hospitalized.
THIS WEEK IN CLOWN CRIMES
England’s Manchester Evening News reported in March that local police had handled 19 cases of “clown-related” crimes in the area in 2013, ranging from a clown in the town of Bury peering into the windows of at least two homes, to a boy’s report in Rochdale that a clown holding balloons had tried to grab him on the street. The secretary of Clowns International lamented the “stupid people” who damage the reputation of the clowning “profession.”