x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Can an astronaut take your call?

The claim that "in space no one can hear you scream" is to be tested by firing a smartphone into orbit.

The claim that "in space no one can hear you scream" is to be tested by firing a smartphone into orbit.

Researchers plan to attach the phone to the outside of a satellite built by the University of Surrey in England.

The satellite will broadcast pre-recorded screams, using a specially-developed app to see if the phone can pick them up.

The tagline comes from the 1979 film Alien, based on the fact that space is a vacuum and, in theory, cannot carry sound.

Chump change

A search for the world's least valuable coin has awarded the title to the Uzbekistan tiyin.

According to calculations by the BBC, 2,000 one tiyin coins would be needed to equal a single US cent.

Other nearly worthless coins include the Burmese pya, which has an exchange rate of 855 to the US cent and the North Korean chon, which needs 132 coins.

The survey was carried out after Canada announced it was to withdraw its penny because it costs more to make than it was worth.

Osama can finally fly

A United Nations travel ban on the late Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has been lifted nearly two years after he was shot dead by US special forces.

A UN Security Council committee has officially lifted the ban, imposed as sanctions against Al Qaeda in January 2001.

Bin Laden was killed in May 2011 while hiding in a compound in Pakistan.

A ring of honesty

After returning a diamond engagement ring accidentally dropped in his begging cup, a homeless man will receive at least Dh508,000.

Billy Ray Harris found the ring while begging outside a Kansas mall after a woman accidentally handed it over with her change.

Sarah Darling had taken the ring off earlier and went back to Harris the next day, who returned it.

Her fiancé later set up a website seeking donations for the homeless man, receiving pledges of US$148,000.

Hairy situation

Muggers in South Africa are targeting victims for their dreadlocks.

Gangs in Johnannesburg are using a tactic called "cut and run" in which they shear the locks using everything from knives to broken glass.

Shoulder-length dreadlocks fetch up to Dh300, but longer ones are sold for more than Dh800.

The stolen locks are used to make hair pieces. Jack Maseko, who was mugged by three men, said: "They had a knife and cut off my hair. I still feel pain when I think about that night."

Fido and firearms

A Florida man has claimed he was shot in the leg by his English bulldog.

Gregory Laine Lainer claimed the dog accidentally kicked his pistol on the floor of his car.

A police spokesman said: "There doesn't seem to be any criminal act involved."

* James Langton