Offbeat news from around the world
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.