One of the big villains in the past few months has been evil 5G technology, which some people hold responsible for everything bad in the world. Don’t blame the current state of things on the sunshine, nor the moonlight, nor even the good times, blame it on the 5G
Before that paragraph is taken out of context and used as evidence in Facebok groups of conspiracy oddballs we should stress that we do not agree that 5G is evil, nor even particularly worrying. In fact, in Thailand, it’s being used delightfully.
The tech is behind a robotic dog which is scurrying around shopping malls to dispense hand sanitiser.
The dog, named K9 (Doctor Who’s lawyers watch on with interest) is controlled with the technology, which allows for extremely quick internet speeds and response time. This means it’ll bring you a cleaning product far more reliably than a non-robotic dog. As we all know, most actual dogs are barely capable of 3G, even on a clear day in a reception hotspot.
K9 has been designed to behave like an excitable puppy and is currently operating at the Central World mall in Bangkok.
Shopper Lapassanan Buranapatpakorn was unconvinced, telling AFP: “I think the execution, like the robot itself, is a bit scary.” the 29-year-old said, though she admitted that giving out hand sanitiser is a “good idea”.
Fortunately you’re more than welcome to simply tell K9 to go away:
Elsewhere, this truly is the news we’ve all been waiting for. Unless you’re bald. Haircuts could be possible again later this month. Your barber / hairdresser / highlights technician might have to look like a well-protected dentist for a bit, though.
If you’re a club cricketer you could be back in the business of cover-driving, leg-spinning and, let’s face it, drinking thanks to expected rule changes from the English Cricket Board to allow shortened games and fewer than 11-a-side. And here’s Shane Watson (not the cricketing version) with seven reasons to feel cheerful about your non-abroad holiday this summer.
Over to Harriet with the rest of today’s good news.
Nigerian director Obi Emelonye has found a creative way to continue filming, inspired by his wife’s teleconferencing calls in lockdown. He wrote a short feature about a couple separated between London and Lagos, arranged one day of rehearsals and asked relatives of actors to shoot the feature on mobile phones. “I said to myself, ‘What if I shoot a film remotely? I can direct my actors and produce it from home, and the cost is zero,” he told AFP. “I wanted to show young people that despite the countless difficulties of our profession, despite the coronavirus, you can make a film without funding, without even a real camera.”
Lockdown is prompting people to seek help for alcohol addiction in Germany. A spokesman for Alcoholics Anonymous said that enquiries on the national helpline have roughly doubled since early March when restrictions were first introduced.
The popularity of baking during lockdown has given small flour mills a boost. For one mill in Wales, production doubled in a month.
As Italy enters its final stage of easing lockdown restrictions, the prime minister Giuseppe Conte gave a message of hope: “We deserve to smile, to be cheerful, after weeks of great sacrifice.” Domestic travel is now permitted between regions and international borders are starting to reopen.
In Italy, tourist boards are looking at new ways to welcome back visitors. Archeological sites have reopened with temperature checks, one-way routes and visitor number restrictions. Apps have been developed with alerts for when too many people are gathered in one place.
Over 200 volunteers have been paired up with isolated elderly people in rural Cheshire through a new befriending phone line, OPAL. The service is planned to continue after lockdown has ended, with users calling it a “lifeline for older residents”. The group received royal recognition on Tuesday with a Queen’s Award for the Voluntary Service.
More than one third of people say they have improved their financial knowledge during lockdown – three in ten are actively researching financial advice or guidance on how to manage their money.
Pop-up cycle lanes in Greater Manchester have been praised for helping cyclists feel safe, with one user saying it’s the “first time they have felt safe in 40 years of commuting”. More routes and new speed restrictions are now being added.
In Florida and LA, drive-through Botox stations have been set up as lockdown measures have eased. One plastic surgeon, who goes by the name of Dr Miami, is administering Botox injections out of his clinic’s garage.
In the UK, a gym chain is expanding its offering to launch socially-distanced outdoor fitness classes. Fifty of David Lloyd health clubs will offer outdoor activities, with classes ranging from boot camp-style workouts to yoga.
French winemakers are turning their unsold wine into hand sanitiser and ethanol. The end products will be reserved for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry and winemakers will receive compensation for doing so. “From tomorrow, 33 licensed distillers will be able to collect the wine and distil it,” said Didier Josso, head of the wine branch in the farming agency FranceAgriMer.
British architecture practice Curl la Tourelle Head has proposed creating pop-up classrooms to help social distancing within schools. Their plans involve reusing festival marquees and equipment – which would otherwise be dormant – to build temporary classrooms and portable bathroom facilities.
By Harriet Barber
Three pleasant things to put into your head
Some young swallows letting their mother know what’s what, in Cyprus:
Canoeists take advantage of relaxed lockdown rules in Johannesburg:
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