Internet

Brickbats

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To attract new recruits for the traffic police, British officials planned a TV commercial extolling their good works. To film the spot, they cordoned off part of a major highway at rush hour, backing up traffic for miles in several directions.

When Florida Highway Patrol officer A.J. Renard pulled over a Nissan Maxima for speeding, he felt that the driver, who was of Middle Eastern origin, behaved strangely. "Some people yell at us, and some don't say a word. But this man was laughing, and I felt it was suspicious," Renard said. When the man drove away, Renard started hyperventilating and became dizzy. He called for help and was taken to a local hospital, decontaminated and tested for various chemicals and germs. The diagnosis: The patrolman had had an anxiety attack.

Hoping to foil potential terrorism, officials in New York's Dutchess County have removed the names from several government buildings, most prominently the County Office Building in Poughkeepsie. Presumably, the extra security around the buildings, including barriers and restricted parking, will never clue anyone in to the structures' actual importance.

Germany is notorious for its censorship of violence in video games. Many violent games are heavily edited for the market. Others are banned entirely. But that still isn't enough for officials in Goettingen. They've slapped a 700 percent higher tax on violent arcade games than on ones they deem non-violent.

About 20 percent of China's Internet users get their access through Internet cafés. But their ability to view uncensored news and entertainment is being seriously curtailed by a government crackdown on such spots. Some 40,000 police officers have swept across the nation, shutting down almost 2,000 cafés.