World's most inept art heist, hot new Facebook fails, the sky spiders are coming - 10 ThingsWater: it's going to be around forever and now that dams are full we can piss it up a wall. That's Sydney Water's new policy - and, we're hoping, slogan - with the news that its abandoning its recycling programmes and campaigns to reduce water usage since they're just going to cost money. Sure, some people might say that the for-profit private company may have its own income-maximising agenda here with an essential natural resource that people die without, and may even remember that Australia occasionally has these "drought" things where water is not as easily obtainable, but it was raining in Sydney yesterday so obviously things are going to be fine all the time forever. And that, friends, is why privatisation of public utilities is such a gosh-darn great idea.
NASA and other space agencies are all a bit embarrassed about having missed the asteroid that exploded over Russia last Friday (as well as another fireball that streaked across the Californian skies the following day), not least because finding small dark rocks moving quickly against a black background is tricky, especially when no one's willing to fund you to actually do it. However, there are moves afoot to privately fund and build Sentinal, an orbital telescope that can locate small asteroids well before they lob in, and with a name that will be perfect once it becomes sentient and starts threatening we puny biologicals with the super laser we inexplicably equipped it with. Oh, hubris, why do you mock us so? Meanwhile, here's some actual radar footage of the asteroid we DID know was coming, DL14, which reveals that giant floating space rocks are made of Lego.
We have a certain standard that we expect here at TheVine when it comes to art heists: rappelling through skylights in daring midnight raids on galleries, using high-tech gear to evade state-of-the-art security systems, close fitting catsuits, you know the drill. So Phivos Istavrioglou wandering into a New York gallery, lifting a a Salvador Dali watercolour in full view of the cameras, popping it in a shopping bag, walking out, then getting scared and posting it back in a panic after getting home to Athens… well, it doesn't have the sort of high-octane drama and intrigue that we demand. Istavrioglou has been charged with grand larceny and is being held in NYC, with police matching his fingerprints on the painting to one on a juice bottle he shoplifted last year and then luring him back to the US by pretending to offer him a job as an art consultant. Seriously, Istavrioglou? We're all for self-improvement, but maybe there are a few steps missing from "dude that can't pinch a Passiona" and "suave international art thief".
Speaking of ineptitude: police, when next you're trying to contact the next of kin for someone who's been killed in a car accident, maybe use some of those detective skills you've been trained with and find a number for their mum rather than sending a message via a fake Facebook profile. Rickie Lamb had been hit by a car when crossing the street in late January and Georgia's Clayton County police couldn't find a contact for his family. So rather than crack a phone book they sent a message on Facebook - under the name "Misty Hancock" - to his mother Anna Lamb-Creasey asking her to call them asap. Except since Anna wasn't FB friends with Misty, said message went straight to her other folder, which nobody ever checks, and thus it was weeks before Lamb-Creasey noticed. She's claiming that the police didn't try hard enough, they're claiming that they couldn't find any other contact for her, and we're checking our Other folder on Facebook, just in case.
And while we're on the subject of Facebook, always remember kids: when you're going to abuse a protected species, set your subsequent Facebook pictures to Friends Only if you don't want the Feds involved. That's the rookie error made by Ryan William Waterman, who decided to have a little cuddle with a baby manatee and let his daughters climb all over it, while taking some snaps of this adorable interaction with a terrified endangered animal. Just a heads up there before any readers decide to go find a bridle nail tailed wallaby and take it for a joyride.
Look, we're big old nerds here so let's just get the latest bit of Star Wars rumourmongering done: Jurassic Park 4 is now reportedly in need of a producer since Star Wars have pinched Kathleen Kennedy to do the making-things-be-paid-for duties on the new flicks, but all the speculation about who's going to be on the screen should settle down a bit, according to no less an authority than Luke Skywalker. Mark Hamill has said that he, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford are still in talks with Kennedy but that no-one's signed on to reprise any Skywalker, Organa or Solo roles as yet. He's also claimed that if he's coming back he also wants the likes of Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) and Anthony Daniels (3-CP0) on board, which suggests a film in which a lot of the main characters sit around talking about how hot it is and why the young people's music doesn't even have a proper tune.
Pakistan and Afghanistan do not typically see entirely eye-to-eye over things, so it's nice to see that every so often they can play nice and capture a high-ranking Taliban official in a daring ambush. Pakistani Taliban commander Maulvi Faqir Mohammad and his bodyguards were captured by Afghan forces on Monday in the Kunar province near the Pakistan border, suggesting that maybe the forces between the two countries can find some common ground after all in this crazy, mixed up world. As happens in so many romantic comedies, all it takes is a joint project to bring down a key figure in international terrorism to make everyone discover the love that's right in front of them. We're working on a script right now.
In a move that's less an election campaign and more what you might call a bribe, Silvio Berlusconi has sent a massive mailout to Italian voters offering them billions back in previously-paid tax if his Freedom People party are returned to power in the upcoming elections. And yes, Italy's economy is in complete turmoil at the moment, having almost gone bankrupt from the profligate spending of the previous (Berlusconi) governments, so the EU are a little surprised at this strategy what with all the bailouts they've been giving the country over the last few years, and also since Berlusconi's still got a couple of fraud cases in the pipeline. Still: whoo, Italy! Free money!
David Cameron isn't going to play by your so-called rules, Johnny Marr. The British PM had gone on record as saying that he was a fan of the Smiths, leading their former guitarist to ask that he never, ever listen to them ever again. Well, Cameron isn't going to take this implied criticism lying down, telling the BBC that "When I've got the complete and full set, even then, I'm afraid, I will go on and listen to The Smiths." Oh, a complete set, you say? Even that Belgian-only 12" of 'The Headmaster Ritual'? Pfft. Nice try, Cameron. When you want to trade bootlegs of the aborted Troy Tate sessions from the first album, then we'll talk.
And finally, you're not feeling weirdly itchy, by any chance? Then watch this video of the rain of spiders that happened in Brazil last week. Happy Thursday!
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