A true friend
"Swedish authorities said an international arrest warrant has been issued for a man who had a friend pose as him to avoid a prison term," reports United Press International. Police said the 37-year-old was sentenced to one year in prison in 2008 after being convicted of charges including copyright infringement, breaking Swedish medical laws and handling smuggled goods. However, the man was not remanded in custody before his prison term and he convinced a friend to serve the sentence for him, police said. They said the other man had served the majority of the sentence by the time the ruse was discovered. The man was set free. "We were the victims of advanced con," said Ulf Jonson of the Swedish Prison and Probation Service. The convict is believed to have fled to the Philippines.
A husband's allowance
In Japan, where husbands often hand over their entire salary to their wives, 74 per cent of household budgets are controlled by women, says BBC News. "47-year-old Taisaku Kubo has been getting 50,000 yen [$630] a month from his wife Yuriko for the past 15 years. He has tried to negotiate a pay rise each year but his wife makes a presentation to explain why it cannot be done. 'She draws a pie chart of our household budget to explain why I cannot get more pocket money,' says Taisaku. On the hand-drawn chart, his pocket money is stated at 8.8 per cent of the monthly budget. 'The biggest expenditures are home loan and taxes,' says his wife Yuriko. 'We don't have children so I want to make sure that we'll have enough money after his retirement.' Just like that, Taisaku loses his argument for a pay rise."
Name that phone
"It is a device that three-quarters of the world's inhabitants have access to, according to the World Bank," says CNN.com. "In the UK it is called a mobile, in the U.S., cellphone, in Japan keitai (portable), in China shou-ji (hand machine), in Bangladesh muthophone (phone in the palm of your hand), in Sweden nalle (teddy bear), in Israel Pelephone (wonder phone) and in Germany a handy."
"Electronic medical devices [that] dissolve inside the body could be implanted into patients to monitor them after surgery, scientists say," The Daily Telegraph reports. "The technology would allow doctors to monitor patients' condition and apply appropriate treatment from inside the body, without the need to remove it afterwards. Devices [that] could internally measure patients' temperature and muscle activity, and apply treatments such as heat therapy or release drugs, would help doctors spot and treat problems like infection after surgery. … Most electronic devices are built to last indefinitely, but researchers from Northwestern University in [Illinois] designed a silicon and magnesium circuit just a few millions of a centimetre thick which is easily and harmlessly absorbed by body fluids."
A gator for your kid's party?
"A Florida man is offering entertainment with a difference for children's parties – swimming with alligators," says Orange News UK. "For $175, Bob Barrett, from Tampa Bay, takes an alligator to people's backyard pools to swim with their children. … Mr. Barrett, who runs the local Alligator Attraction, came up with the idea during the summer when business was slow. … Mr. Barrett tapes the young alligators' mouths shut before the parties, which he insists are safe. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed that he isn't doing anything illegal, but added: 'We will say that this is not something that we encourage.'"
Thought du jour
"No human being – not even a hermit in the desert – can contract out of being a social creature; sociality is a built-in feature of human nature."
Arnold Toynbee, British historian (1889-1975)