x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Ireland sentences gang leader who locked accomplices in gold vault

Plus students calculate the cost of building Star Wars' Death Star, a bus shelter for a discontinued route and more news you can lose.

An Irish armed robber has been branded one of the "all-time stupidest criminals" after he accidentally locked two members of his gang inside a gold storage vault.

Police arrived at the scene of the robbery to discover the gang members unsuccessfully trying to smash their way out of the scene of the crime.

It later emerged that the leader of the gang, Gary Byrne, had inadvertently closed the security shutters, trapping them inside.

A judge in Dublin described Bryne as "one of the stupidest criminals to come before the courts".

Sentencing Byrne to seven years, he added: "One thing is for sure, his ineptitude and stupidity does not, in any way, reduce his culpability."

 

A long wait for the No 42

After spending more than £5,000 (Dh30,000) on a new bus shelter, a local authority in the north of England discovered that no buses had stopped there for two years.

Durham Country Council demolished an old brick shelter at Framwellgate Moor and replaced it with one made of glass and steel as part of an initiative to improve travel conditions.

Only then did the council discover that bus services on the route had ended several years earlier.

The council, which is under orders to make spending cuts, says it now plans to "relocate" the shelter.

 

Death Star's evil price tag

A group of students has calculated the cost of building the moon-sized Death Star from the Star Wars films.

According to research carried out by Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, the colossal space station carries a US$18.1 quadrillion (one thousand million million) price tag or about 13,000 times the world's gross domestic product.

Their calculations are based on the amount of steel needed to build the Death Star, which was said in the film to have a diameter of 140 kilometres. The rest was estimated on the price tag of a modern warship, based on the density of the interior.

While the Earth has enough iron ore to build a billion Death Stars, on current rates of production it would take more than 800,000 years to turn out enough steel for the venture.

 

Ice Age: the sequel

A seed buried by an Ice Age squirrel has blossomed into a flowering plant 30,000 years later.

Russian scientists used tissue from the seed to revive Sylene stenophylla, a tiny Siberian plant with white flowers.

The seeds were found buried under layers of permafrost that included mammoth and woolly rhinoceros bones and are thought to have been left there by a squirrel.

The plant is the oldest to have been regenerated and has already produced viable seeds.

 

A lesson in dress sense

Officials in an American school district have been forced to issue a new dress code that bans flip-flops, sweatpants, bare midriffs and anything that shows cleavage.

Peoria school district in the American state of Illinois says that its teachers should set a better example to pupils by wearing more appropriate clothing.

jlangton@thenational.ae