Feature

Simple solutions, and more

Good week for: Simple solutions, Self-acceptance, Gas guzzlers; Bad week for: Neil Armstrong, Brevity, Listening to the GPS

Good week for:

Simple solutions, after transportation officials in China’s Heilongjiang province began outfitting buses with large orange bricks with a string attached to them. “Passengers caught in an emergency situation can use the bricks to escape by smashing the window,” an official explains.

Self-acceptance, after a camp for kids with Tourette’s syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes uncontrollable noises and tics, opened in Winder, Ga. It’s called Camp Twitch and Shout. Gas guzzlers, after pranksters in Amsterdam started a new fad of picking up Smart cars—which weigh only 1,600 pounds—and tossing them into the city’s canals.  

Bad week for:

Neil Armstrong, a 38-year-old financial-services professional from Ohio, who observed the 40th anniversary of the moon landing with a big spike in the usual number of annoying calls from autograph seekers, reporters, and schoolchildren trying to contact the other Neil Armstrong, who lives in a nearby town.

Brevity, after the British government issued guidelines for civil servants using Twitter. To explain the service, which transmits messages of no more than 140 characters, the government published a 20-page document.  Listening to the GPS, after two Swedish tourists headed for the Italian resort of Capri misspelled the name in their GPS device and ended up in the industrial town of Carpi, 400 miles away, where they were very puzzled by the absence of a beach. “It’s hard to understand how they managed it,’’ said a Carpi official. “I mean, Capri is an island.’’

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