Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends

Joshua Lee
5 min read
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Dateline: Kansas

A man is offering $25,000 to anyone who can set him up with a girlfriend—and he’ll also donate that amount to an animal shelter. According to
KCTV in Kansas, Jeff Gebhart is looking for someone special with whom to share his life, and he’s willing to pay. “The main objective of this is to find the right girl for me, wherever she is,” Gebhart told reporters. He says he’s tried more traditional venues, like online dating, and hasn’t been happy with the results. Gebhart, tired of dealing with the toxic nature of modern dating, decided to try buying his way into a relationship instead. He announced earlier this month that he is offering $25,000 to any matchmaker who can find him a girlfriend. He says he will also donate $25,000 to a local animal shelter if his perfect woman is found. “Well think about it, if you’re in a happy marriage, what monetary value could you ever place on meeting the right person … ever?” Gebhart asked reporters. “My time and frustration and disappointment definitely is worth some sort of dollar figure but [$25,000] was roughly what I’d spend in dating,” he said. According to Gebhart’s website, there are some stipulations, though. “The Dating Female” will have to take a compatibility survey developed by a clinical psychologist before meeting Gebhart, and prospective matches are not eligible for the cash prize—only matchmakers. The $25,000 will not be awarded in a single lump sum, either. Instead, the money will be split into $5,000 payments that will be paid each year for five years following an initial year-long trial dating period—during which the potential match must “exclusively” date Gebhart. If the relationship ends during that five-year period, the payments to the matchmaker will also end. But the third party will be allowed to keep all of the money paid up to that point.

Dateline: Tennessee

A highly organized burglar accidentally left his crime journal at the scene of a burglary. It detailed homes he’d allegedly robbed as well as future targets. The
Tennessean reports that Robert Shull Goddard was arrested by Nashville police earlier this month for allegedly breaking into a home and stealing multiple items, including a television and a firearm. According to court records, prosecutors said officers found a notebook at the crime scene that listed multiple addresses, including one that belonged to a home a few miles away that had been burglarized earlier that day. The notebook reportedly appeared to belong to Goddard. Investigators found notes within that were believed to have been written by his daughter as well as her address. Prosecutors claimed the addresses were a list of future targets that Goddard was planning to rob. A security camera reportedly captured footage of Goddard kicking in the back door of a third home the next day. Goddard was eventually arrested for felony burglary and theft and is currently being held in Davidson County jail on a $15,000 bond.

Dateline: New York

The US military is studying gamers’ brains to train advanced AI for use in future warfare.
UB Now reports that the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently awarded a team from the University of Buffalo’s Artificial Intelligence Institute a $316,000 grant to study human reactions to a video game. Researchers say the data will help programmers improve current robot swarm technology by increasing coordination between autonomous robots. The study will track players’ decisions and biometric readings—like brain waves and eye movement—while they play a time-based strategy game developed by the research team. The game involves using resources to build units and defeat opponents. The data will be used to create algorithms that will guide autonomous robots. “The idea is to eventually scale up to 250 aerial and ground robots, working in highly complex situations,” said Souma Chowdhury, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at University of Buffalo’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “We don’t want the AI system just to mimic human behavior; we want it to form a deeper understanding of what motivates human actions. That’s what will lead to more advanced AI.” Swarm robotics focuses on the creation of large group of robots that work together, like bees or ants. The team says it will eventually test the AI in more sophisticated virtual environments.

Dateline: China

A Chinese runner isn’t letting a coronavirus outbreak interrupt his training. Pan Shancu from Hangzhou has reportedly run 6,250 laps around his living room since the city went into lockdown earlier this month to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.
The Guardian reports that after weeks of confinement, Pan said he “could not bear sitting down any more.” Earlier this month, Pan posted a video on social media site Weibo that showed his living room set up and screenshots taken from his running app as proof of his stunt. In the video, Pan has turned his living room into a makeshift track by placing two large tables in the center and running around them. “One lap is about 8m—I ran 50km, did it in 4:48:44, sweated all over, feels great!” he wrote. In January, the Asian Athletics Association canceled the Indoor Championships in Hangzhou due to a major coronavirus outbreak. The new coronavirus—named Covid-19 by the World Health Organization—has killed over 1,100 people in China this year. As of February, there have been 159 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in Hangzhou, and a total of 1,131 in the Zhejiang province.

Compiled by Joshua Lee. Email your weird news to josh@alibi.com.

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