QUIRKY WORLD: Game-changer - Arcade-style video gambling

USA: Bragging rights are usually the only reward at the end of a well-played video game. But what if high scores came with cash, too?

QUIRKY WORLD: Game-changer - Arcade-style video gambling

The US state of Nevada — home of Las Vegas — is on the cusp of what could be a casino revolution, drawing up plans to introduce arcade-style video games that would pay winnings based on a gambler’s skill at, say, blasting aliens out of the sky or driving a virtual race car around a track.

The idea is aimed largely at attracting younger people who have been raised on Xbox, PlayStation, and mobile game apps.

Surprise gone wrong


Police say a man who took a 480km cab ride across Pennsylvania to surprise his fiancée has been jailed because he couldn’t pay the $749 (€671) fare.

Police say 35-year-old New York City resident John Williams Jr took the taxi from Philadelphia to Uniontown with his children early on Saturday.

But when they arrived in Uniontown, authorities say, Williams refused to pay the bill, and the cab driver called police. Police say Williams told them he didn’t have cash and “his credit card was maxed out for the day”.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports Williams was charged with theft and jailed on $2,500 bail to await a hearing on July 7.

Grave robber


A Maine woman has pleaded guilty to stealing Christmas wreaths and arrangements from grave sites in a Saco cemetery to decorate her own properties during the festivities.

Saco police announced that 56-year-old Pamela Golarz was fined $950 (€852) after pleading guilty to theft.

Police say Golarz stole 15 wreaths and arrangements worth a combined $800 from Laurel Hill Cemetery. Investigators were led to Golarz by video from a hidden camera installed by someone whose loved one’s grave had been targeted.

Angry bulls


The RSPCA has released video showing fire crews hosing down angry bulls during efforts to free a heifer stuck fast between two tree trunks.

Firefighters were forced to direct water jets at four large limousin bulls to ensure rescuers’ safety during the unusual call-out in Alfreton, Derbyshire. Police contacted the RSPCA after receiving reports that the “weak and dehydrated” cow had its head trapped.

RSPCA animal welfare officer Andy Snowdon said: “I love all animals but I have to admit having four large randy bulls circling around me was quite an ‘interesting’ experience — and one I don’t want to repeat any time soon.”

Sight breakthrough


It may not quite be X-ray vision, but it is the kind of ability that brings to mind superheroes or gifted mutants. Humans have eyes that can sense a third property of light besides colour and brightness.

And a new study shows humans are surprisingly good at detecting polarised light, something most commonly associated with bees and other insects, as well as octopuses and cuttlefish. Far back in our past it may have provided us with a navigational aid.

Today, it could point towards new methods of screening people at risk of age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness. The research was led by Shelby Temple of the ecology of vision group at the University of Bristol.

Cool response


An ice cream company owned by Unilever has apologised for using a derogatory term for gay men in a Facebook posting marking the US Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage.

The post on the Facebook page of Wall’s Thailand sparked uproar, with some commentators calling it “low” and “discriminatory”.

The illustration, which was quickly removed, showed black bean- flavoured ice cream with the caption #LOVEWINS. “Black beans” is a demeaning slang term for gay men that originated from a famous paedophilia case.

Cell with a view


For sale: A 325-acre New York property containing more than 100 structures atop a mountain offering spectacular views. Sleeps hundreds.

And one more thing: It’s a former prison. The economic development office says July 7 is the deadline to submit bids to turn the prison in the Adirondack foothills into a new enterprise.

The state closed the medium-security Mount McGregor Correctional Facility last summer as part of a plan to shut down four prisons because of declining inmate populations.

It’s located in the Saratoga County town of Moreau, just north of Saratoga Springs.

Some of the buildings date to 1915, when the site was home to a tuberculosis sanatarium. It was turned into a prison in the 1970s.

McGregor’s dorms and cells could sleep more than 540 inmates.

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