Lazy bugger fakes burglary to avoid going to work

Florida-man-stages-home-burglary-to-avoid-going-to-work

A Florida man may have gotten out of going to work after staging a fake burglary at his home, but the place he ended up is probably worse — jail.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office received a call from Dwayne Yeager on Monday morning informing them that his house had been broken into.

“My door’s open, my windows to my son’s bedroom are wide open,” Yeager said in his call. “My TV’s in there on the ground.”

The 31-year-old even had a suspect in the burglary.

“On the corner, right when I pulled up, a white, kind of little Honda Civic pulling away,” he said. “White, it had kind of like a black fender.”

When neighbors provided deputies with information that indicated Yeager was lying, he was “confronted with the discrepancies” and then confessed to faking the entire thing.

“He stated his wife was adamant that he go to work and he didn’t want to,” according to the arrest report.

Yeager was hit with one count of providing false information to law enforcement and released on $500 bail.

My guess is his wife had already left for work and he staged this while she was gone. The man is an obvious dim bulb.

3D-printed skull implanted into woman’s head

A 22-year-old woman has had the whole top of her skull replaced with a customized 3D-printed implant. The patient had been suffering from severe symptoms as a result of a condition that causes a thickening of the skull. It is believed that the procedure was the first of its kind.

Dr. Bon Verweij of University Medical Center Utrecht, whose team carried out the procedure, first had to familiarize himself with reconstructions and 3D printing, in particular of partial skull implants. Implants have often previously been used when part of a skull has been removed to reduce pressure on an patient’s brain. Either the removed piece of skull or an implant is used to fill the gap once the situation has improved.

Verweij says that cement implants are not always a good fit, however, and that 3D printing can now ensure that the required components are an exact fit. “This has major advantages, not only cosmetically but also because patients often have better brain function compared with the old method,” he explained…

“The thickening of the skull puts the brain under increasing pressure,” said Verwei. “Ultimately, she slowly lost her vision and started to suffer from motor coordination impairment. It was only a matter of time before other essential brain functions would have been impaired and she would have died. So intensive surgery was inevitable, but until now there was no effective treatment for such patients.”

The surgery, only just announced, was carried out three months ago and was a success. According to Verweij, the patient has fully regained her vision and has no more complaints, which has allowed her to return to work with almost no trace of any surgery. The work undertaken on the procedure means that UMC Utrecht is now is a position to carry out other similar work.

The wonders of modern medicine truly are becoming wonders. I have a few friends walking around with titanium – or old-fashioned steel – plates in their head for repairs. They’d love something like this, no doubt.

German cabinet agrees on $11.75/hr minimum wage


Demonstration by Confederation of German Trade Unions for minimum wage

Germany’s cabinet agreed on Wednesday to a national minimum wage of 8.50 euros ($11.75) per hour – a flagship project for the Social Democrats who share power with Angela Merkel’s conservatives.

The minimum wage will take effect in Europe’s biggest economy from 2015 but will not cover minors, trainees and some interns. Some employers can continue to pay their workers less until the end of 2016 if they are covered by certain collective agreements…

The Bundestag lower house of parliament is due to debate the law in June before passing it in July. The Bundesrat upper house is expected to wave it through after the summer break.

Employer lobbies say blah, blah, blah.

Of the 28 states in the European Union, 21 have minimum wages. EU states without minimum wages tend to have smaller low-wage sectors than Germany and a bigger proportion of their workers are covered by collective wage deals between unions and employers.

Then, we have the United States where our courageous Democrats are considered too radical for Republicans and the rest of the right-wing crowd for offering a proposal that wouldn’t match inflation since the last update years ago – by the time the change took place. Assuming it ever gets past the Party of No in Congress.

Just one more moment to look back over the half-century or so since the end of WW2 and consider our victory in the War in Europe and what the losers have achieved compared to the winners.

Computers teach each other Pac-Man

Researchers had the agents — as the virtual robots are called — act like true student and teacher pairs: student agents struggled to learn Pac-Man and a version of the StarCraft video game. The researchers were able to show that the student agent learned the games and, in fact, surpassed the teacher.

While it may sound like fun and games, helping robots teach each other to play computer games is an important area of research in robotics — and it’s not easy. If robots could teach each other tasks, then people wouldn’t need to; for instance, a housecleaning robot could teach its replacement the job.

If you’re worried about robots taking over the world, though, don’t be…”They’re very dumb,” says Matthew Taylor, an expert on robots, agents and helping them to learn.

Even the most advanced robots are easily confused, he says. And when they get confused, they stop working. He says it often takes two or three times longer than he thinks it will to get a robot to work at all.

The easiest way to successfully teach a robot new skills is to remove the “brains” of the old one and put them in the new one, says Taylor. Problems occur, though, when hardware and software don’t work in the new model…

As anyone with teenagers knows, the trick is in knowing when the robot should give advice. If it gives no advice, the robot is not teaching. But if it always gives advice, the student gets annoyed and doesn’t learn to outperform the teacher.

“We designed algorithms for advice giving, and we are trying to figure out when our advice makes the biggest difference,” Taylor says.

I’m not courageous enough to give personal advice on teaching robots – or teenagers. I’m pleased to note the progress, though.