The Odd Side – October 7, 2014

Buffalo Grain Silos Being Turned Into Huge Beer Ad

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – A cluster of 100-foot-tall grain silos in Buffalo is being turned into the world’s largest six-pack.

Crews are installing rolls of vinyl wrap spelling out Labatt Blue on six silos at the former GLF grain mill operation near the city’s Lake Erie waterfront, home to several long-defunct grain elevators.

The six silos have been painted blue to resemble huge Labatt beer cans. The silos are part of the Buffalo RiverWorks, a former grain elevator that’s being transformed into a brewery, entertainment and recreation complex.

A co-owner of the property says the vinyl being used to display the Labatt name can be removed easily to return the silos to their original look. The owners aren’t saying how much Buffalo-based Labatt USA paid for the huge outdoor advertising.

New Mexico Hopes ‘Singing Road’ Curbs Speeding

TIJERAS, N.M. (AP) – New Mexico transportation officials are hoping a “singing road” along historic Route 66 will curb speeding.

Tigress Productions is creating the road between Albuquerque and the mountain community of Tijeras for a new program dubbed “Crowd Control” that will be shown in November.

The road uses a series of rumble strips to create music. The driver will hear the tune as long as the speed limit is obeyed.

There are only a few such “singing roads” in the world.

Aside from getting drivers to slow down, state Transportation Secretary Tom Church says the rumble strips will keep drowsy drivers from falling asleep at the wheel.

He says the goal of the experiment is to change driver behavior in a fun way by giving them a reward for obeying the speed limit.

Reports: China Body-Searched 10,000 Pigeons

BEIJING (AP) – The 10,000 pigeons released in a ceremony Wednesday for China’s National Day underwent unusual scrutiny, each having its feathers and insides checked for dangerous materials, state-run media reports said, reflecting government jitters over possible attacks.

The symbols of peace were released at sunrise in Beijing’s symbolic heart of Tiananmen Square in a ceremony for the Oct. 1 holiday to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Beijing domestic security police officer Guo Chunwei was quoted in the Jinghua Times as saying workers checked the wings, legs and insides of each pigeon ahead of time to ensure they were “not carrying suspicious material.” The entire process was videotaped, and the birds were then loaded into sealed vehicles for the trip to Tiananmen Square, the newspaper said.

The reports — which did not say what the suspicious materials might be — drew amused and derisive responses from some Chinese readers, and many news sites, including the Beijing News website, later deleted the reports. However, the Jinghua Times report and the People’s Daily tweet were still visible as of midday Wednesday.

Members of the Chinese public responded with sarcasm because they see in the pigeon body searches their own plight in what they consider an oppressive society with tight surveillance, censorship and judicial injustice, independent columnist Zhang Ping said in an editorial that was circulated on social media under his pen name, Changping.

“The liberty and dignity of citizens are increasingly vulnerable, and can be expropriated at any time, like with the pigeons,” Zhang wrote. “They have to go through the pains and insults of the rude [body] check and yet they must appear peaceful and happy on the screen of the state broadcaster.”

The notched-up security measures reflect heightened concern about violence following a string of attacks blamed on separatists from the country’s ethnic Uighur Muslim minority, as well as bus explosions and random slashing attacks attributed to disgruntled individuals.

Beijing authorities also sent police helicopters to monitor highway checkpoints, ring roads within the city, major intersections and areas with heavy traffic, including popular tourist spots such as the Great Wall and the Summer Palace, the Beijing News said. Additionally, the capital mobilized 850,000 citizen volunteers to help keep a lookout in the city of about 20 million people, the newspaper said.

Errant Taliban Tweet Claims Spokesman in Pakistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – An apparently errant online message by the Taliban’s spokesman in Afghanistan gave his location as being in neighboring Pakistan.

On Friday, a tweet by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claiming an attack included geolocation information that suggested he sent the message from Sindh, Pakistan.

Mujahid later sent a message Saturday describing the location leak as an “enemy plot.” He also offered his Afghan telephone number to confirm his identity and wrote: “With full confidence, I can say that I am in my own country.”

Twitter says such geolocation data is based on latitude and longitude data or other information provided by users at the time of their message.

In an explanation of geolocation, they warn: “Remember, once you post something online, it’s out there for others to see.”

Loose crabs in Cargo Hold Delay New York Flight

NEW YORK (AP) — If passengers on a delayed flight from New York to Charlotte, North Carolina, got a bit crabby, no one could really blame them.

Their flight left LaGuardia Airport about a half-hour late Thursday evening because some live crabs got loose in the cargo hold.

US Airways spokeswoman Liz Landau said Friday it’s unclear how the fairly small crustaceans escaped their container or what species they were. She says there were “more than a few” of them.

It’s unknown who was shipping them. The airline carries various cargo shipments, along with passengers’ luggage.

Workers swept the crabs out of the hold, and the flight went on its way.