A few newsy things

British Transport Secretary Alistair Darling (don’t you just love that name? Alistair Darling. Wow) is proposing replacing a sales tax on fuel with a charge for how much driving people do. I read a similar proposition for California that involved GPS devices awhile back.

It’s still an interesting idea. I haven’t been to England, so I don’t know if viable alternatives to driving exist there. Hopefully they do; I’d like to see how this would be implemented, how privacy concerns would be dealt with, and whether or not the measure would ultimately succeed in its goal of cutting down on driving. You never really know until you try.

MSN has a piece up called Why Employers Like Liberal Arts Grads. The answer seems to be: “Because they can read and write.”

Japanese convenience stores are totally wasting food. I’m not sure why they’re not allowed to discount items that are close to expiration–maybe they’re afraid soon-to-expire items will take up too much of the combini‘s limited space.

“In the dozen or so years this store has been running, we’ve never sold all of our packed lunches,” the head of the store says. It’s because the store stocks up about 10 percent more goods than it expects to sell.

“We don’t want to throw stuff out, but customers will desert us if we run out of stock,” the store official says. It seems that this harsh view by consumers is creating a mountain of garbage.

“The food can still be eaten and I think it’s really wasteful,” confesses the head of the store. “We hear that there are lots of starving children in the world, so can’t anything be done?”

Meanwhile: Aphids!

Entomologists say the leap in the number of aphids this year was triggered by several climatic conditions, including a warm weather and low rainfall.

The aphid problem became so bad in some areas that measures had to be taken.In mid-May, a public elementary school in Tokyo’s Kokubunji cut off branches from a zelkova tree on the school yard after residents complained about the countless number of aphids there.

“We have never seen anything like this before,” the school’s principal said. “We had to cut the branches because pesticide wouldn’t be good for the children.”

The Pieman investigates hamburgers on the streets of Vietnam today. They actually look pretty good, despite the lack of grilling.

Speaking of burgers…yow. (…I want to try one o_o)

And finally, here’s a funny story:

An off-duty police officer on a Sunday drive saw something awfully familiar – his recently stolen Volkswagen Jetta.

North Charleston patrolman Ethan Bernardi whipped his cruiser around and pulled over the stolen vehicle. He called other deputies, who arrested three suspects, police said.

That is awesome. The title of the article is pretty good, too.