Quick Takes: Promoted to the pump | WORLD
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Quick Takes: Promoted to the pump

Oregon is poised to join 48 other states that allow drivers to refill their own gas tanks

Illustration by Krieg Barrie

Quick Takes: Promoted to the pump
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Pending a signature from Gov. Tina Kotek, Oregon drivers may soon be trusted to pump their own gas. Oregon’s state legislature approved a bill in late June permitting self-service pumps at gas stations and banning owners from charging more for full service. In 2015, Oregon began allowing self-service pumps in rural counties, and amid COVID-19 restrictions the state temporarily allowed the practice statewide. New Jersey is the only other state to outlaw the practice. But some Oregon lawmakers don’t believe Oregonians have the competence to operate gas pumps. “We have young people in our world that have no idea what to do with a rotary telephone, if they had to have one,” state Rep. Tawna Sanchez told The New York Times. “They can’t read a map. I think the potential for the type of thing that could go wrong is there.”

Overdue discovery

More than a century after it was checked out, a scientific volume arrived back at the New Bedford Free Public Library in Massachu­setts. A curator at West Virginia University found the book titled An Elementary Treatise on Electricity in a stack of donations and noticed it wasn’t stamped with the customary “withdrawn” marking. That meant the book was long overdue at the New Bedford library. It was last checked out in 1904 or 1905. Despite the passing of so many years, the negligent borrower only would have owed $2 thanks to the library’s maximum late fee.

Spike swipe

The spikes were supposed to keep the birds away. Instead the birds stole them. According to Dutch biologist Auke-Florian Hiemstra, magpies pilfered about 1,500 anti-roosting spikes from the roof of an Antwerp, Belgium, hospital and then used them to build a well-defended nest in the hospital courtyard. The result, he said, was “an impregnable fortress”: “The magpies appear to be using the pins exactly the same way we do: to keep other birds away from their nest.”

Tiny tote

Most knockoff luxury goods are cheaper. But one fake Louis Vuitton handbag sold for more than $63,000—and it can’t even be used. Brooklyn-based art collective MSCHF created and sold a microscopic 3D-printed handbag with Louis Vuitton branding during a June 27 online auction. The art piece, described by the group as “smaller than a grain of sea salt,” measures less than 0.03 inches wide. Helpfully, MSCHF included a microscope in the sale so the buyer could inspect the work.

When in Rome

Perhaps too lovestruck to absorb any history, a tourist who defaced Rome’s Colosseum alleges he had no idea the ancient structure was that old. In an apology letter dated July 4, United Kingdom tourist Ivan Dimitrov, 27, apologized for using a key to carve “Ivan + Hayley 23” into a wall at the arena in June, saying, “I admit with profound embarrassment that only after what regretfully happened did I learn of the antiquity of the ­monument.” The Colosseum first opened for gladiatorial bouts and beast hunts in A.D. 80. Roman police identified Dimitrov after another tourist uploaded a video of him defacing the site.

Aging backwards

South Koreans all got younger June 28. That’s when the South Korean government adopted the international system of age reckoning in place of the traditional Korean age system that counted infants as a year old at time of birth. Under the traditional system, South Koreans turned a year older every Jan. 1 rather than on their actual birthdate. That means under the old system, a South Korean baby born on New Year’s Eve would be considered 2 years old a day after birth. Government surveys indicate 86 percent of adults plan to use the new system. Seoul resident Choi Hyun-ji, 27, told Reuters, “It’s just great to feel like getting younger.”

Solo flight

After a nearly 18-hour delay, just one passenger made it on board American Airlines Flight 1952 from Oklahoma City to Charlotte, N.C., June 26. Whereas the rest of the passengers booked other flights or simply gave up waiting, Phil Stringer never lost hope the flight would depart. So when the Airbus A321 finally took off just after midnight, Stringer had the airliner to himself. Outnumbered by the flight crew, the real estate agent and social media influencer took the opportunity to record his unique flight, garnering millions of views on TikTok. But when the plane landed, Stringer still had one more ­problem: He said the airline misplaced his bag for about 45 minutes.


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