Cops smash traffic light conspiracy

Plus: Wii remote in murder attempt and more in this week's Weird Tech

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An Italian programmer and 108 individuals – including policemen and government officials – are being investigated for rigging a 'smart' traffic system, Ars technica reports.

Stefano Arrighetti stands accused of manipulating Italy's T-Redspeed system to have shorter yellow lights, causing more motorists to run red lights.

Reports claim that the traffic-light rigging conspiracy generated up to 1,439 fines over two months, at a tidy 150 euros each. According to police, who were alerted by the higher-than-average violation figures, some 300 municipalities and other companies across the country have been happily sharing the revenues since the system was implemented in 2007.

Arrighetti's lawyer insists that he is innocent, and a "genius whom the world envies".

Wii assault

In other news, a Texas man has been arrested on charges of aggravated assault for allegedly trying to strangle his girlfriend with a Wii controller. Christina Alvarado told police that she was attacked when she angrily confronted her sleeping boyfriend, 21-year-old Daniel Alvarez, about a missing stash of cookies.

Upset at being woken, Alvarez apparently pinned her down in an escalating assault that culminated in him attempting to strangle her with the cord of the controller. If convicted, Alvarez, who fled the scene but was found soon after, could face up to 20 years in prison.

Guitar Hero world record

Meanwhile, a 14-year-old boy has broken the point record in Guitar Hero – and 80 plastic guitars in the process. Danny Johnson recorded a score of 973,954 and says he could have smashed the world record by more, if his equipment had stood up to the challenge.

Poop-and-ride

Last week we brought you planes powered by raw chicken; this week, the UK got its first rubbish truck running on rubbish. Yesterday, Norway blew them both out the water in the green stakes with the news that 80 buses in Oslo are soon to be fuelled by raw sewage.

Officials intend to convert the sewage to biomethane, which can then be used in trials around the city by slightly modified engines. Jokes aside, an average saving of €0.40 per litre of fuel is expected, coupled with a yearly 40-ton reduction of carbon dioxide per bus.

Gadget therapy

It's been a while since we've seen such an array of concepts of this calibre: the laptop suitcase (or 'Poor Man's Netbook'), the washing machine-TV, and the Pizza Pro circular saw-style cutter for your pizza – to name but a few.

All pale in comparison next to the Recompute PC: an every-day PC, in a corrugated cardboard body. With a 2.5-inch hard drive, four USB ports and a micro ATX motherboard, Recompute would boast all the usual PC components – plus an internal venting chamber to help cool down the PC. Just don't spill your coffee on it.

And finally…

According to unconfirmed reports, a man has died after his mobile phone exploded and severed a major artery in his neck.

The unfortunate accident supposedly happened after a shop assistant inserted a new battery into his phone, having finished charging it. The man had just placed it into his breast pocket when it exploded, reported Chinese daily Shin Min Daily News.

Rumours suggest that the phone and battery may have been fake. If the report is correct, this will be the ninth recorded mobile phone explosion in China since 2002.