The Night Note: 12/23/09

News you need to know.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The following stories are brought to you by the fine folks on the News4 assignment desk.

    5 HELD HOSTAGE IN RURAL VA POST OFFICE
    An armed man in a wheelchair took five hostages Wednesday at a post office in western Virginia, forcing officials to cordon off three blocks of a downtown filled with holiday shoppers.

    Shots were fired, but there were no reports of injuries. The man made no demands other than to ask for a pizza, said Pete Rendina, spokesman for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. (WTOP)

    PLENTY OF BATHROOMS FOR SILVER LINE
    Access to Metro's restrooms has always seemed like more of a privilege than a right.

    Riders must ask a station manager for the key to a locked bathroom, and a handful of stations don't have them. Many passengers have no idea that restrooms exist in most stations, tucked away as they are behind heavy, brown doors that read "Fire Equipment Cabinet" or "Authorized Personnel Only."

    That will change, though, for riders of Metro's newest line, who will be able to enjoy the system's first fully accessible restrooms at stations from East Falls Church to Dulles International Airport. (Washington Post)

    SAN JOSE GOES ROBOCOP
    San Jose police, under fire for interactions with the public that have turned violent, on Friday launched a pilot project equipping officers with head-mounted cameras to record contacts with civilians.

    Officers will activate the cameras, about the size of a Bluetooth device and attached by a headband above the ear, every time they respond or make contact with a person. At the end of the officer's shift, the recording will be downloaded to a central server. (San Jose Mercury News)

    WEIRD WONDERS 2009
    So much weird science ... so little time. It's time to look back on the past year's research and pick the winners of the 2010 Weird Science Awards.

    In previous years, the top Weirdies have included glow-in-the-dark cloned cats and the rediscovery of an ancient marijuana stash. But if you think those stories are weird, this year's candidates kick it up a notch. Heck, we've got glow-in-the-dark puppies and mushrooms as well as poop armor and gay penguin parents. (The last subject turns out to be surprisingly controversial.) (MSNBC)