Chuck Shepherd

Google filed a U.S. Patent Office application on April 28 for a vision-improvement device in liquid form that, once inserted (i.e., injected directly into the eyeball!), solidifies into not only a lens replacement for the eye but an instrument that carries its own storage, radio and wireless power supply. The idea, according to inventor Andrew Jason Conrad, is to better focus light onto the retina. The patent process does not assure that the device will ever come to fruition, but it might indicate that Google's parent, Alphabet, is concerned that other inventors might be doing similar work.

The entrepreneurial spirit!

• Before new parents ruin their baby daughter's chances of future success by giving her "weak" names (such as Polly), they should consult one of several services that recommend more powerful ones (such as Elizabeth). A New York City woman offers personalized naming research for fees starting at several hundred dollars, but a Swiss agency whose primary work is helping to name product brands now offers parents suggestions on their offspring's "brand" — for corporate-like fees beginning at around $29,000.

• reported in April the surprising success of "Ship Your Enemies Glitter," in which, for about $10, the start-up sends an envelope full of glitter that, when opened, scatters, irritating the recipient. The concept was an overnight sensation, but quickly petered out and was seemingly worthless — until a prescient businessman offered $85,000 for its two assets: a valuable list of customers who might buy similar pranks (such as a cupcake that's really horse manure) and an opportunity at additional waves of customers newly discovering the original glitter product. The $85,000 purchaser now reports sales "in the high six figures."

Dueling dozers

As China's real-estate construction boom fades, tempers have flared, and according to a local government officer in Hebei province, two companies' officials angling for a contract wildly dueled each other in their bulldozers in an incident captured on video. The losing driver was seen running from his toppled machine.

Starvation not an option

Italy's top appeals court ruled in April that a homeless man stealing cheese and sausage from a grocery story in Genoa, and who received a six-month jail term for it, was actually not guilty of criminal behavior at all. The court set him free using a traditional Italian legal principle that no one is required to do the impossible — which, the court surmised, would be to allow himself to starve.

Cliches come to life

• The British broadcast censor Ofcom declined to punish a January edition of "The Jeremy Kyle Show" on which a guest used a "well-known swearword" — because the speaker has a Scottish accent and, Ofcom said, probably no more than two or three people thus comprehended what he was saying.

• The body of Peter ("Petey Crack") Martinez, 28, who had a long rap sheet, washed up on a beach in Brooklyn, N.Y., on May 2 — with his feet encased up to his shins in a bucket of hardened cement. It was the first time veteran New York detectives could ever recall seeing actual "cement shoes."

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