Getting his computer stolen was the most fun thing ever to happen to this guy, who sounds like a bit of a tech geek. Thanks to a remote-access program he’d installed, he was able to screw with the thief’s head, while gathering info to help the police track the guy down.

Also in today’s links: hungry badgers feed on a lawn, malnourished plants feed on human hair, and more.

  • This must be why “ooh la la” is so popular: French speakers more frequently make rounded-lip motions, according to an analysis of distinctive facial movement patterns by people speaking different languages. The information has helped develop a computer that can read lips and detect visually what language a person is speaking. The program could be used to develop a system to automatically lip-read and provide translations for the hard-of-hearing.
  • New nuclear energy facilities are in the works to help lighten the country’s dependence on fossil fuels, but the cost of the new construction may already have worked its way into your electricity bill.
  • Remember those human-hair mats being used to soak up oil spills? Apparently, the human hair is a bit of a miracle product. It also can help grow healthier, happier plants by providing nutrition and eliminating the need for pesticides. Mats of human hair are commercially available to growers, and one businessman has stockpiled a warehouse filled with 10,000 pounds of hair, valued at $40/pound. And while blondes may have more fun, the plants blanketed by a blonde hair mat might not — darker hair appears to be “slightly” more nutritious.
  • These people really don’t need no steenking badgers. The stripey-faced creatures tore up a big lawn in Britain, but a solution was found that did not involve any men having to pee in copious quantities to ward off the protected species.

Image by Nevit Dilmen (GNU Free Documentation License)