Off­beat news from around the world

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France Jay­walk­ing warn­ing

Paris pedes­tri­ans are to get the fright of their lives thanks to in­ter­ac­tive dis­play boards that are de­signed to warn them about the dan­gers of jay­walk­ing and give them a very real flavour of the neg­a­tive con­se­quences.

If a walker wan­ders through a red light, they will be greeted with a blast from a horn and the screech­ing of tow­ers. And if that isn’t bad enough, a photo – of­ten of a shocked and ter­ri­fied face – is also taken for pos­ter­ity and posted on the dis­play.

China VPNs made il­le­gal

The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment has made any vir­tual pri­vate net­work tech­nol­ogy that can be used to by­pass its great fire­wall il­le­gal in a move that has earned it more crit­i­cism from civil rights ob­servers.

“China’s in­ter­net con­nec­tion ser­vice mar­ket has signs of dis­or­dered de­vel­op­ment that re­quires ur­gent reg­u­la­tion and gov­er­nance,” a gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial said dur­ing a re­cent press con­fer­ence in Bei­jing.

France Fake face news

An artist has gone to some lengths to get a com­puter-gen­er­ated pho­to­graph of him­self for his na­tional ID card.

Raphaël Fabre sub­mit­ted the im­age of his face mod­elled us­ing 3D soft­ware rather than a photo taken in the tra­di­tional man­ner, and said it was ap­proved with­out question.

The er­satz pho­to­graph is more Hol­ly­wood spe­cial ef­fects than Post Of­fice pho­to­booth, and the artist is proud of his work.

“What in­ter­ests me is the re­la­tion­ship that one has to the body and the im­age,” he said.

“Ab­so­lutely ev­ery­thing is re­touched, mod­i­fied and ide­alised.”

Aus­tralia Rock solid

Aus­tralian chil­dren are re­port­edly ditch­ing tech­nol­ogy in favour of a painted rock craze, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal news re­ports. Ap­par­ently the trend has spread across from Amer­ica, and sees young­sters talk­ing about painted rocks on Face­book and then go­ing out­side to find a par­tic­u­lar rock.

It sounds a bit like a mon­ster-hunt­ing game, but with­out the tech­nol­ogy.

South Korea Wheels of steal

A Sam­sung em­ployee has been ar­rested for steal­ing and then sell­ing smart­phones from his em­ployer and do­ing rather well out of it.

The man, who worked at the Sam­sung head­quar­ters in Su­won, Gyeonggi Province, used his wheel­chair as cover and to swerve the metal de­tec­tors. He was able to steal 8,474 smart­phones and sell them for £550,000.

Ja­pan Ro­bot wars

Japanese com­pany SoftBank has ac­quired the two big ro­bot­ics com­pa­nies that Google uses to ter­rify peo­ple with. Bos­ton Dy­nam­ics and Schaft will go the Japanese way for an undis­closed sum. Bos­ton Dy­nam­ics reg­u­larly shows off its cre­ations, but Schaft is a far more se­cre­tive out­fit.

“To­day, there are many is­sues we still can­not solve by our­selves with hu­man ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Smart ro­bot­ics are go­ing to be a key driver of the next stage of the In­for­ma­tion Rev­o­lu­tion,” said Masayoshi Son, chair­man and CEO of SoftBank.

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