The upscale restaurant at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art announced in August that it would soon add a 20-item selection of waters from around the world, priced from $8 to $16 a bottle (except for a $12 “tasting menu”). Martin Riese, general manager of Ray’s & Stark Bar, who is also a renowned water gourmet, will sell his own California-made 9OH2O, which comes in “limited editions of 10,000 individually numbered glass bottles” at $14 each. Said Riese, “[M]any people don’t know that water is just as important to the entire dining experience (as, say, a good wine).” Riese has been certified as a Water Sommelier by the German Mineral Water Association.
A security lab, delivering a report to the makers of software for a luxury Japanese toilet, warned that a flaw in their Android program renders the toilet hackable–even while a user sits on it. The Satis (which retails for the equivalent of about $5,600) includes automatic flushing, bidet spray, fragrance-spritzing, and music, according to an August BBC News report, and is controllable by a “My Satis” cellphone app. But the PIN to operate the app is unalterably “0000,” which means that a prankster with the app could create some very uncomfortable mischief in a public restroom.
HOW NOT TO TEACH ABSTINENCE
The CEO of Christian Schools Australia told the Australian Associated Press in June that Caloundra Christian College in Queensland teaches a range of creative sexual health messages and offered the school’s recent student pamphlet, “101 Things to Do Instead of Doing It,” as evidence. Recommended substitutes: “Pretend you’re six again,” “Have a water fight,” “Blow bubbles in the park” and “Have a burping contest.”
CRISIS AT THE PLAYGROUND
Adult “swinger” clubs occasionally rent commercial facilities like restaurants for an evening in which randy couples can mingle, but a club in Melbourne, Australia, struck a deal with the Casey Kids Play House Cranbourne, where frolickers could enjoy the playtime equipment–until parents of children who play there found out in June. The parents were especially concerned about the partiers cavorting among the plastic balls in the giant ball pit. One parent told the Herald Sun, “My son is one (who) puts balls in his mouth.”
BAD BIRD NEWS
British birdwatchers were especially excited by news earlier this year that a rare White-throated Needletail (the world’s fastest flying bird) had been spotted on the U.K.’s Isles of Harris–only the eighth such sighting in Britain in 170 years–and ornithologists arranged for an expedition that attracted birdwatchers from around the world. A June report in the Daily Telegraph noted that about 80 people were on the scene when the bird appeared again, but then had to watch it fly straight toward the blades of a wind turbine. (As the event might be described by Monty Python, the bird thus joined the choir invisible, left this mortal coil, became an ex-White-throated Needletail.)
HELPFUL DERIVATIVE MILITARY TECHNOLOGY
Manayunk Cleaners in Philadelphia has been testing delivery of customers’ clothing via its own drone (a converted four-blade DJI Phantom quadcopter originally used for aerial photography), guided by GPS. Said one bemused customer, “I was wondering what the hell that was, to be honest.” So far, the payload is limited to a shirt or towel, to be picked off the hovering aircraft by the customer, but owner Harout Vartanian hopes to buy a bigger drone soon. Agence France-Presse news service reported an even bolder drone program in August: delivering beer to music festival-goers in South Africa. The director of the Oppikoppi festival in Limpopo province attested to the drone’s success. A reveler places an order by cellphone, which marks the location, and the drone is dispatched to lower the beer by parachute–usually in the midst of a cheering crowd.
THIS WEEK IN COW BEDS
Contrary to popular wisdom, cows do not sleep standing up, but actually spend 12-14 hours a day lying down, even though their shape makes the position uncomfortable. Conscientious dairy farmers use beds of sand to adapt to the cow’s contour, and since the late 1990s, a Wisconsin firm (Advanced Comfort Technology) has marketed $200 cow waterbeds, which are even more flexible. Waterbeds may be superior, also, because they are built with an extra chamber that makes it easier for the cow to lower herself safely. The founders’ daughter, Amy Throndsen, told Huffington Post in June that her parents endured awkward moments starting the company: “Everyone… is telling them, Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Are you kidding me? Waterbeds?”
LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINALS
A 28-year-old man ordered to submit to fingerprinting in Mason, Mich., in July in connection with a fraud investigation, had another charge added when he decided to pay the $16 fingerprinting fee with a stolen credit card. And sheriff’s deputies in Apopka, Fla., charged Chad Winslow with burglary after finding him stuck in a grease vent (facing outward) on the roof of Sam’s Discount Food Store in June. According to a deputy, Winslow’s first words were, “I’m stuck, and I have to take a poop.”