14-10-2006

Students at the Technical University in the east Moravian town of Ostrava have developed an intelligent parking system for cities. Czech strongman Rene Richter is determined to break nine world records by December - and, a parrot calls the cops in! Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

It's an embarrassing situation for any country. Of course, it's understandable that in a country the size of the Czech Republic things get mislaid. But to mislay the national emblem is a bit much. Those kind of things should be kept under lock and key. But you know how it is. People borrow things and don't give them back. When the Czech Republic separated from Slovakia in 1993 it was the Legislative Office of Parliament which was charged with keeping safe one of the country's state symbols. However sometime later the President's Office asked to borrow it and somehow or other it failed to get returned. All that Czech officials know is that the national emblem seems to have got lost somewhere between Prague Castle and the lower house of parliament. Or it could be lying buried under a pile of papers somewhere. The President's Office says it is not on their premises. The Legislative Office people say they don't have it either. Moreover they are now in trouble for having lent it without permission. So the hunt is on for the country's national emblem. Maybe it will turn up in a lost and found office. In any case one thing is clear - we cannot go on as we are for very long. Unless the national emblem turns up somewhere soon - its author Jiri Louda will have to paint it again. On second thoughts, maybe he better paint two.

 

The Czech Republic's best known strongman Rene Richter has decided to try to break nine world records between now and December as a way of celebrating his 32nd birthday. Last weekend he broke the existing world record in the heaviest burden that one can lift by one's pinkie, currently held by Britain's Barry Anderson. Rene lifted a beer barrel weighing 91, 1 kilograms, beating the existing record by 1, 5 kilos. "It's incredibly painful, but I like to test my limits and even push myself beyond" Rene said. A video-recording of this and the coming eight events will be sent to representatives of the Guinness Book of Records.

 

Kamil Hamersky from Vir picked a different discipline to excel at - an eating contest in the amount of potato dumplings with poppy seeds he could consume without being sick. In twenty minutes he ate six plates of dumplings - two and a half kilos of cooked dough - and washed them down with a liter of milk. "I am good at eating," Kamil told journalists "and I don't much care what it is. I just put it away and my insides take care of the rest". Well, so far his insides seem to be doing a good job - at 85 kilos Kamil was the slimmest contestant there, although he has eaten his way through dozens of contests in the past three years. However doctors are far from happy about the popularity of eating contests in this country and constantly issue warnings about how harmful they can be.

 

Sometimes time just drags - especially if you happen to be a parrot locked in a cage and there's nobody around to chat with. A cockatoo at the Brno Zoo recently resolved that little problem when he found that if he nibbled at the wire in his cage for long enough he would set off the zoo's burglar alarm which is connected to the local police station. So he proceeded to call in the cops -not once but twice in once day -each time on a wild goose chase. The Brno Zoo has apologized profusely for the disturbance and is looking to provide the parrot with other forms of entertainment.

 

You know how frustrating it is when you are driving around town late for a meeting and have no place to park? Students at the Technical University in the east Moravian town of Ostrava may have solved your problem. They have developed an intelligent parking system for cities, using navigation systems and cell phones. The system can navigate a car from the moment it enters a city to a free parking place as close as possible to the driver's destination. The system has been tested on campus and there are now plans to extend it to a selected car park in the city. The only problem is that it's a costly project. An installation of the system at a single car park would cost about 150,000 crowns (5,000 euros, 6,600 US dollars) depending on its size. The local authorities are hoping that the EU could help cover part of the cost since the system would help improve the environment and ease traffic in the city centre.

 

In the past Czechs could only admire it on film -a computer-run household where everything is programmed, where you switch on the heating with a simple sms message or call the police when a thief breaks in - even if you happen to be at the other end of the globe at the time. Now a firm in Brno is exhibiting a home run by "a home manager" and showing people just how different their lives could be if they didn't have to worry about the slightest detail regarding their home. Instead of an alarm clock - the curtains in your home are pulled back at the time you wish to be woken, the lights go on, soft music starts playing and a pot of coffee is brewing in the kitchen. People are encouraged to try everything in person and there's no question that many Czechs love what they see. The only problem is the relatively high price - the Home Manager which is styled to your needs -comes at a starting price of 400,000 crowns (just over 14,000 euros, close to 18,000 US dollars) but could be twice as expensive depending on how sophisticated you want it to be.

 

A rabbit breeder from East Bohemia could not believe his eyes when he looked at his new brood of rabbits -one of them had no ears. "At first I thought the mother might have bitten them off but there was only bare skin on the spots where the ears are supposed to be," the farmer explained. Experts studied the new arrival and concluded that the missing ears were due to a rare genetic defect. It's not an easy life for a rabbit - for whom ears are a bit of a status symbol - but this earless rabbit has become something of a family pet. And one thing is certain -due to its strange appearance it is not going to end up on the family dinner table anytime soon -unlike many of its brothers and sisters.

14-10-2006

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