Man’s phone stops bullet
Smartphone manufacturer HTC Corp confirmed yesterday that one of its products helped save the life of its owner by blocking a bullet, but urged its customers not to try to replicate the act. HTC said the smartphone was an EVO 3D, which was released two years ago and has a 4.3-inch touchscreen. The company described stopping a bullet as “an individual’s non-standard use” of the smartphone. According to an Associated Press report, the cellphone saved the life of an employee of a gas station outside Orlando, Florida, early on Monday. Quoting local police, the report said that a robber armed with a revolver ordered two employees to open the safe at the gas station. When they failed to comply, the robber fired a shot at one of the clerks’ abdomen, but the cellphone stopped the bullet, police said. Police said the worker had no idea the bullet had hit his cellphone until he pulled it out of his shirt pocket.
Expo tickets on sale
Tickets for the Yunlin Agriculture Exposition in December are now on sale at the nation’s four major convenience store chains: 7-Eleven, Family Mart, Hi-Life and OK Mart. People who order a ticket before Dec. 24 will be entitled to a 20 percent discount, while those who buy in bulk will obtain a discount of between 0.4 and 0.6 percent, Yunlin County Commissioner Su Chih-fen (蘇治芬) said. A full-priced ticket to the expo on weekdays costs NT$150, while entry on weekends and holidays costs NT$200. Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) has booked 100 tickets for the event, event organizers said. The expo in the south-central county will showcase organic and environmentally friendly concepts in the local agricultural and arts sectors. It is scheduled to open on Dec. 25 and run until March 6 in Yunlin’s Huwei Township (虎尾).
Surfing event to be held
The Taiwan Open of Surfing, to be held from Nov. 15 until Nov. 17 in Taitung County, is expected to give a boost to the nascent sport in Taiwan by increasing international participation. Now in its third year, the event has been elevated to an Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) one-star event, making it the most important surfing competition to be held in the nation to date. Approved as an event on both ASP and the Asian Surfing Championships (ASC) calendars, the Taiwan Open includes categories such as ASP international professional men’s longboards, ASC professional women’s shortboards and ASC mixed professional longboards.
Tires added to inspections
Tire tread depth will be included on the list of license plate application inspection items and on the list of vehicles’ regular inspection items starting on Jan. 1 next year, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said yesterday. Insufficient tire tread depth reduces the friction between running tires and the road, degrading performance and increasing fuel consumption, the ministry’s Department of Railways and Highways said, adding that cars with worn tires and shallow tire treads may even slip when driving in rainy weather. The new regulation will require tire tread depth for cars to be at least 1.6mm, and car drivers with tire tread depth less than 1.6mm will be asked to replace them with new tires and apply for re-inspection within a month, or face having their license plate suspended, the ministry said.
Taipei to hold noodle event
This year’s Taipei International Beef Noodle Festival is to take place on Nov. 9 and Nov. 10 at the entryway of Taipei Expo Park’s Yuanshan Park Area. The event is aimed at promoting one of the city’s best-loved dishes and is now in its ninth year. The festival features beef noodle competitions and an area where vendors can offer visitors their award-winning noodles for NT$50 (US$1.70), the Taipei City Government said. The highlight of this year’s edition will be an international competition that is being held for the first time and will see nine foreign contestants showcase their beef noodle cooking skills. In addition, three local winners from previous festivals are to compete with chefs from countries including the US, India and Singapore. Taipei officials said they hope to boost business for local vendors, adding that beef noodles generated more than NT$1.1 billion in revenue last year, compared with NT$780 million in 2008.
New tech makes waste fuel
Taiwan has developed a hydrolysis technique that can turn agricultural waste into biofuel, Academia Sinica researcher David Ho (賀端華) said. Taiwan produces more than 2 million tonnes of agricultural waste a year, consisting of 1.5 million tonnes of rice straws, 350,000 tonnes of sugarcane waste and 220,000 tonnes of woodchips, Ho said. Burning this type of waste pollutes the air and burying it produces methane, which is considered a greenhouse gas. By contrast, the locally developed technique converts waste into bioethanol or biowood, Ho said. However, he said the process still needs to be refined before it is commercially viable, since the cost of bioethanol it produces is about NT$55 (US$1.86) per liter, compared with NT$35 per liter on average for gasoline.