Believe it or not: Boy, 4, bids to buy train

A four-year-old boy bid the equivalent of £15,00 to buy a real train from public transport officials in New Zealand.

Metlink, the public transport arm of Greater Wellington Regional Council, thought its dreams had come true when it received an opening bid of $29,990 for the old train.

But it turned out the bid on the Trade Me auction website was from an enthusiastic child whose mother was alarmed at the prospect of owning a full-sized two-carriage train.

“I’m really sorry,” the mum, whose username is smiley134, wrote in an email.

“My four-year-old was playing and placed a bid. I don’t actually want to buy the train. Can my bid please be removed?”

MetlinkCustomer Services Manager, Zelda MacKenzie, replied: “For a moment I thought I was falling in love with you, smiley! But then you blew it all.”

Trade Me allowed the bid for the English electric train to be removed after warning smiley134 to start looking for loose change down the back of the sofa.

MacKenzie said: “I find it fascinating, because when you bid on something you have to click two or three times to confirm. The child has to be exceptionally bright if they can read all that.”

The train, which had operated in the Wellington area since the late 1940s, was taken out of service this week and put up for sale.

A step slightly out of step

The entrance to a subway station in New York has been closed because one of the steps is a fraction higher than the others.

Dean Peterson noticed the irregularity after repeatedly tripping on the same step at 36 Street subway station, in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

He decided to set up a camera to see how many other passengers did the same and transport chiefs acted after he posted the footage on YouTube.

“My girlfriend and I would walk up all the time, and we would always trip,” he explained.

“We just thought we were kind of klutzy. But then I kind of noticed that other people were doing it, too,” he said.

In the clip, uploaded on YouTube, he explains: “The subway station I use every day has something very peculiar about it… something that makes it unique from any other station in the city.One of the stairs is a fraction of an inch higher than all the others, making it just high enough so that everyone trips on it.”

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority has closed the station entrance to investigate the offensive step.

Robot can play rock and scissors

Researchers in Japan have invented a robot that can play ‘rock, paper, scissors’ – and win every time.

It uses a high-speed camera to follow the shape and position of its human rival’s hand to predict their next move.

Determining whether the resulting hand sign will be rock, paper or scissors, the technology’s system changes the angle of the robotic hand’s wrist joint accordingly.

Researchers at the University of Tokyo are behind the robot, called Janken, which means ‘fist games’.

It is hoped that similar technology may be applied to motion support of humans and cooperation work between people and robots.

Cop texts tip about SWAT raid

The Swat team was suiting up to storma career criminal’s house when the suspect started receiving text messages from one of the cops.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that Officer Robert “Bobby” Edwards sent 20 texts and four calls over three hours. “Delete me from your phone, you know, erase my messages, don’t call me,” he texted. The officer’s messages helped the career criminal evade the Swat team and cost Edwards his job, according to Internal Affairs documents released Tuesday.

The planned arrest was called off after the Swat team lost track of their suspect and the FBI suggested the mission be aborted for “safety reasons.” It turns out the suspect, accused of running a prostitution ring, was also an informant for the FBI. He surrendered the next day.

Edwards, 30, won’t face prosecution because the State Attorney’s Office offered him immunity in exchange for explaining what had happened.He later resigned, documents show.

Post published in: Opinions & Analysis

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