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Important Safety Lesson

Nov. 12, 2007
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Leading Economic Indicators
A new condominium development in New York City, near 11th Avenue and West 24th Street (with prices starting at $6.25 million), features in-unit garages that allow residents to drive into the En- Suite Sky Garage System at street level and be lifted to their own units. Guests and residents who don`t own cars will have to use the ordinary elevators.

Spectacular Errors:
(1) The Kuala Lumpur phone company Telekom Malaysia acknowledged in April that it mistakenly sent a bill for the equivalent of $218 trillion. The account was for the late father of Yahaya Wahab, whose final bill should have been the equivalent of $23.
(2) Jayantibhai Patel, 57, was arrested in Foster City, Calif., in October after admitting that he hit his father in the head with a hammer, requiring his hospitalization. Patel told police that he wanted his father to be put in a nursing home, but was under the impression that only a hospital could assign him to one—and thus, he needed to get him into a hospital.

News That Sounds Like a Joke
(1) In October, after some mild bickering during a delivery at a Wal-Mart in Indiana County, Pa., a Pepsi-Cola deliveryman repeatedly punched a Coca-Cola deliveryman in the face, according to police.
(2) Reuters reported in September that a 50-year-old man who bought two large sausages at a butcher shop in Mannheim, Germany, returned shortly afterward to have them wrapped for a flight to Dubai. On inspection, the butcher found that the man had stuffed each sausage with a latex dildo, in order to smuggle them into Dubai.

Least Competent People
 (1) Coast Guard officials said they rescued Louis Pasquale, 35, near Freeport, N.Y., in September as he was towing his disabled 35-foot fishing boat back to port. The boat was 20 miles away from shore, and Pasquale was attempting to drag it back by paddling an inflatable boat against the current. He had covered about 100 yards in three hours.
(2) In August in Middlesex Township, Pa., police detained two men from Virginia for public intoxication in a motel parking lot. The men were fighting over the question of whether Virginia is north or south of Pennsylvania.
 Vincent Schettner, 63, a municipal parking-meter worker in St. Paul, Minn., was under investigation at press time on suspicion of theft, after a local credit union reported that he had been depositing enormous amounts of coins into his account for the past year.

More Things to Worry About
 In Washington, D.C., several sightings were made of tiny, suspicious items hovering in the air at political events, raising concerns that they were tools used for spying. Government agencies denied that they had released any small surveillance robots, according to an October Washington Post investigation. "I look up and I`m like, `What the hell is that?`" asked a college student at an antiwar rally in Washington. "They looked kind of like dragonflies or little helicopters. But, I mean, those [were] not insects." Several agencies and private entities admitted to the Post that they were trying to develop such devices, but no one took credit for having them in the air yet.
 Air Safety: (1) Nepal Airlines, which was having technical trouble with one of its two Boeing 757s in August, announced that it had fixed the problem by sacrificing two goats to appease the Hindu sky god Akash Bhairab. (2) As passengers boarded a Vueling Airlines flight from Madrid, Spain, in June, they noticed that 29 of the 32 rows of seats on one side were out of service, and they could hardly have been comforted when the captain announced, "We have a safety problem with the door at the front. Don`t worry, it`s only a safety problem." (No incidents were reported on the flight.)


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