Dangerous driving

People drive more dangerously after playing video games, say German researchers

Payment priority

One close to the E-Tales had a frustrating encounter with the Inland Revenue Department’s voicemail recently. Calling to get information on his GST account, he was told if calling about a payment to “press one now”. For all other enquiries, he was told to hold — so he did, only to then be told his call could not be answered due to overloading. The phone system then abruptly cut him off. Phoning back he pressed one — for payments — and his call was answered straight away. He was then transferred to the correct area for service. Clearly the IRD’s phone system is designed to keep the tills a-ringing. Chi-ching.

IT goes mainstream

Chris Lowe of the Pet Shop Boys is reported by email gossip newsletter Pop Bitch to have rung fellow band member Neil Tennant in a very excited state earlier this month, and told him to rush out and get a copy of the UK magazine Private Eye because the eight-page pull-out on the National Health Service IT scandal was so fascinating. When did they last have a hit?

Police boob-boo

A get-well message sent from a mobile phone has landed an Australian police officer in hot water. Sky News reports police chiefs are investigating after a picture of the police woman’s breast were circulated by email.

According to the reports she had sent the picture to her boyfriend from her mobile phone but the image eventually found its way onto emails and into the inboxes of senior officers in the Victorian police ethical standards department (the what?).

The picture shows the constable in her uniform and with her badge visible. Her shirt is undone and her breasts are exposed.

“She has sent an image to her boyfriend and obviously he has done the wrong thing and forwarded it on,” a spokeswoman said.

Rights message

A Scottish court has ruled a recorded message on phone calls from prison breached a prisoner’s human rights. Armed robber Stewart Potter took a case against the Scottish Prison Service over the message which says “This call originates from a Scottish prison”. He complained the message inhibited his rehabilitation and was embarrassing.

An Edinburgh judge agreed with him, holding the message was unlawful under Article 8 the European Convention on Human Rights, which defines the right to respect for private and family life. Potter is serving a 21-year sentence for separate convictions for assault and robbery.

Dangerous driving

German researchers have found people drive more dangerously after playing video games. UK technology site The Register reports driving games encourages people to take more risks on the road.

The article says racing games increase the accessibility of thoughts that are positively related to risk taking; increase risk-taking behaviour in critical road traffic situations; and, perhaps most worryingly, lead to enhanced arousal and excitement. Men were most susceptible to the changes.

However, the report has been criticised. One Register correspondent says the study is flawed by testing the effects on a computer rather than in a real driving situation.

“As it stands, the results really paint a picture of ‘you will take more risks in Gran Turismo if you play it after Burnout, rather than after a different game,’ ” the correspondent commented.

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