Bizarre News-Gas Fine

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) - Out of gas? Drivers could be out of luck in New Zealand. The country's roads authority is considering a plan to fine people for running out gas in Auckland, the largest city. Police recommend the fines as a deterrent for people trying to squeeze the last mile from their last drop of fuel. Authorities note the dead cars create a traffic hazard. Police want a law similar to one that fines people more than $170 (US) for walking on a highway.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - It's a message from a long time ago and far, far away. Now, University of Kentucky computer experts are trying to read it. The researchers have made CAT scans of Roman scrolls that were buried in a volcanic eruption 2,000 years ago. The scrolls haven't been read, or even unrolled since the year 79 A.D. The researchers tell the Lexington Herald-Leader they'll use the scans to create 3-D images of the scrolls. At first the scientists thought there might be an object wrapped inside the papyrus. Computer scientist Brent Seales says they were a little disappointed when the didn't find something "weird wrapped up in one."

GYPSUM, Colo. (AP) - It's a chance to party on the runway. Soon, the jets will be landing on the upgraded runway at the Eagle County Regional Airport near Vail, Colo. But tomorrow folks will get a chance to ride their bikes on the runway -- or just run. The airport plans a "Romp the Runway" party. There will be a bike race, a 5K run, and a children's obstacle course, among other activities. Airport officials say the tarmac bash is a way of thanking the community for putting up with the inconvenience of the five-year, $40 million project.

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - When it comes to mountain climbing, Kelly Perkins is all heart. She received a heart transplant in 1995. In the years since, the 47-year-old woman from Southern California has conquered some of the world's mightiest mountains. Her most recent effort was climbing 10 peaks in western Wyoming's famous Teton Range. Over four days last week, she climbed 10 mountains, including the nearly 14,000-foot Grand Teton. She says it was exhausting, but her transplanted heart was just fine.

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - Got nothing to do? Well, Craig Hickman has made an art of do nothing. He's a professor of digital art at the University of Oregon. His intricate projects really don't do much of anything, but seem interesting in the process. His latest effort is called "Enigma Gadgets." One is about the size of a thick book. The Eugene Register-Guard newspaper reports it spouts nonsense phrases which change with every shake. But Hickman also has a warning for students who might try to emulate his work. He notes with all the wires and electronic parts, the devices could be mistaken for a terrorist's bomb.

NEW YORK (AP) - The Big Apple wants to be cleaner and greener -- with its garbage trucks. The city is testing hybrid sanitation trucks to see if they can stand up to NYC trash. Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the three new trucks will be picking up residential garbage in Queens next month. Fun City's current trash trucks are fuel hogs, getting only about three miles per gallon. Bloomberg says the hybrid trucks should get 25 to 30 percent better mileage.


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