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Alcoholic manslaughter

The winner of a vodka drinking competition in Volgodonsk, Russia, died before sampling the prize—10 bottles of the stuff. He drank three half litre bottles in 40 minutes. Five runners-up ended in intensive care and the organiser was charged with manslaughter (contributed by Ian Scott, from The Age (Melbourne) November 2003).

Motorcycle aerial safety system

Philadelphians Tony Jackson and Joseph Leak have come up with a way to make two wheeled road users safer. The Melbourne newspaper The Age reports their 1997 patent (Patent 5593111) as being “as insanely complicated as it is gloriously daft”, involving the rider wearing a large folded up wing or, alternatively, a parachute. A sensor, which the newspaper suggests you would want to be pretty reliable, detects an imminent accident and blasts the rider skyward where the patent says the wing or parachute is “rapidly deployed, thereby causing the velocity of the ejected rider to be reduced and providing the further benefit of lifting the rider away from the crash site”. The newspaper also suggests that riders should avoid crashes in tunnels! (contributed by Ian Scott, from The Age (Melbourne), December 2003).

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