It's been a good week for … bar customers
At the risk of showing my age, I confess to seldom frequenting public houses. When I do, however, I'm always last to be served. But it seems, however, that I'm not alone in failing to master the art of procuring drinks.
A pan-European study - yes, this is important stuff - has found that, despite the many secret strategies the thirsty employ, it is as simple as where and how you stand.
German researchers said busy bar staff choose customers to serve if they are standing facing the bar or are directly in front of them.
Now meet James the robot barman, protégé of the scientists at Bielefeld University in northwest Germany. Named after the European Union-funded programme, Joint Action in Multimodal Embodied Systems, he is being developed to spot who really wants a drink and serve them in the fairest order.
All very high-tech. In my bartending days we used a mirror behind the till. When ringing up a round, you could see in the mirror who approached the bar and in which order. You then served them appropriately. Simple.
Perhaps the scientists could turn their expertise to developing a robot which can count up a round in its head, hence saving a lot of time at the bar.
It's been a bad week for … Hawick
Computer game Grand Theft Auto V, created by Edinburgh-based Rockstar North, broke records when it went on sale, taking £496 million in just 24 hours. A massive Scottish success story, you would assume. But a small Borders town is unhappy about all the fuss, featuring as it does in GTA as one of the less wholesome areas visited by gamers.
The real Hawick is a peaceful Roxburghshire mill town of around 15,000 residents surrounded by beautiful countryside. The virtual Hawick is part of the crime-ridden metropolis of Los Santos and has a "druggie hipster" vibe.
"Disgusted" local councillor David Paterson fears the move could "destroy the reputation" of Hawick.
Best known for rugby and its annual common riding (which commemorates a victory by local youths over English raiders in 1514), Hawick is also famous for a right stramash that ensued when women tried to take part in the latter all-male event. Two women had to go to court in 1996 to have the ban on female participants lifted.
All very macho. Perhaps the world of computer games isn't so far removed from the town after all. How many girls play Grand Theft Auto?
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