x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Turks aren't gullible, just trusting - of fake doctors and pretend robbers

Police in Turkey say they are astonished at people's gullibility after a crime prevention campaign; and other news you can lose

Police in Turkey say they are astonished at people's gullibility after a crime prevention campaign that saw undercover officers knocking on doors and calling out: "I'm a burglar, please open the door."

Officers in Adana, a province in southern Turkey, say a large number of homeowners immediately opened their doors.

In another test, police disguised themselves as doctors, wearing white coats and stethoscopes, following a series of robberies by a local gang who tricked people into taking sedatives before ransacking their homes.

Out of 100 households tested, 86 people swallowed fake sedatives after being told by the disguised officers that they were being screened for high blood pressure.

Names that raise hackles

Pets should be called "companion animals" and wild creatures described as "living free" or "free-ranging animals", according to the editors of a new academic journal.

According to the Journal of Animal Ethics, even the word "animals" is a form of abuse, while "critters" and "beasts" are just as bad.

Referring to wild animals, the editors say the phrase is "synonymous with uncivilised, unrestrained, barbarous existence".

They also say expressions like "sly as a fox" and "drunk as a skunk" should be dropped.

The journal, published by the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics and the University of Illinois, concludes "'pets' is surely a derogatory term both of the animals concerned and their human carers".

Hello? Oh, they hung up

A search for aliens has been abandoned because of budget problems.

Funding cuts have forced Californian researchers to shut down an observatory used by the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), made famous in the film Contact.

Since 2007, the University of California at Berkeley's Hat Creek Radio Observatory has been using 42 giant radio antenna dishes to search the stars for evidence of aliens, so far without result.

Capable but jobless

A centre to help the unemployed in the US state of Florida has been criticised for spending US$73,000 (Dh268,125) of taxpayer money on superhero capes for the jobless.

To collect one of the capes, unemployed workers were required to pose with a cut-out of "Dr Evil Unemployment" as part of Workforce Central Florida's "Cape-A-Bility Campaign".

After a storm of protest, the campaign was halted and an inquiry into the misuse of public money launched.

The agency has insisted that it simply wanted to "generate awareness" and did not mean to "minimise the difficulties of unemployment".

Glad he ran into a tree

A driver has survived with minor injuries after his car went over the rim of the Grand Canyon.

After his car slipped over the edge of the South Rim, the 21-year-old driver said his vehicle was stopped by a tree, enabling him to climb back to safety.

Park police found a car wedged in a tree about 61 metres from the top and only a few feet from a second precipice on the canyon wall, which is up to 1,800 metres deep.

jlangton@thenational.ae