Engineers at Japan's Gifu University have developed a robotic device that re-creates the experience of holding another person's hand — without the other person. "My Girlfriend in Walk" attaches to the user's forearm, and the metal hand is covered with a soft gel material that simulates human skin, even allowing custom fragrances to be added to the artificial sweat. A heater provides warmth and a pressure sensor duplicates the strength of the wearer's grip, according to Oddity Central. An accompanying smartphone app can emit sounds including footsteps, breathing and the sound of clothes rubbing against skin.
An arresting ruse for chicken
Kimberly Ragsdale's apparent plan to get free food at a Chick-fil-A in Rockmart, Ga., ended in her arrest on charges of impersonating a public officer on Nov. 5. According to police, Ragsdale, 47, of Dallas, had repeatedly visited the restaurant, telling workers she was an FBI agent and threatening to arrest them if they didn't serve her a complimentary meal. Ragsdale continued her charade, the Associated Press reported, telling arresting officers her credentials were electronic and talking "into her shirt like she was talking into a radio," the arrest report noted. Rockmart Police Chief Randy Turner said in a statement to news outlets, "You will not hear a real officer demand a meal anywhere."
Wishes not granted
Two men have been arrested on suspicion of conning an unnamed doctor in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh into paying $41,600 for an "Aladdin's lamp" that the sellers promised would bring him "wealth, health and good fortune." The two con artists even conspired to conjure a genie from the lamp, which turned out to be one of the men, to convince the doctor of its authenticity, the BBC reported. According to local police, the con men had duped other families in the same way.
Joe Biden, meet Jo Baiden
Mayor Yutaka Umeda of the Japanese town of Yamato was puzzled when his name started trending on social media after the U.S. presidential election, but he is now hoping his newfound fame will help him "promote the town," United Press International reported. The extra attention online came because the Chinese kanji characters used to spell Umeda's name can also be pronounced "Jo Baiden" — strikingly similar to President-elect Joe Biden. "Although there are differences in the positions of a U.S. presidential candidate and the mayor of Yamato ... our passion is the same," Umeda said.
110-year-old message found
A couple hiking in Ingersheim in northeastern France in September came across a tiny aluminum capsule that turned out to contain a message in German dropped by a carrier pigeon 110 years ago, CNN reported. Curator Dominique Jardy at the nearby Linge Memorial museum, dedicated to a battle between French and German forces in 1915, determined the message was sent from one German officer to another, detailing military exercises taking place in the area. The find, Jardy said, "is really very, very, very rare," and the message will go on display at the museum.
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