Weird week: Leave the radioactive rhinos alone

Plus: A gaming dispute gone wrong and pre-K iPhone owners.

  • A New Jersey gamer flew to Florida to attack another player with a hammer over a dispute. Edward Kang, 20, who allegedly told his mother he was going to visit a friend he’d met online, was arrested on charges of attempted second-degree murder and armed burglary. Prior to the IRL attack, Kang and the victim had only met virtually through the online game “ArcheAge,” a medieval fantasy role-playing game. Though he failed to sway prosecutors, Kang, who’s being held without bond, told them the victim was a “bad person online.”
  • South African conservationists are implanting radioactive pellets in Rhino horns to deter poachers. The Rhisotope Project’s method is the latest being employed to combat Rhino poaching, which reached a four-year high in 2023. According to conservationists, the pellets could help catch poachers trying to leave the country — there are 11k+ radiation detectors installed at entry points globally — and aren’t harmful to the animal, though they can be to humans if eaten. Since 2008, 10k+ rhinos have been poached for their horns and sold in Asia, where they’re seen as status symbols and consumed as cancer remedies (which they aren’t).
  • Spain is cracking down on iPhone kids after learning that one in five toddlers (ages 3-4) own a smartphone. The alarming stat comes from a study spanning Spain, Ireland, and the UK, where growing groups of parents online are likening the dangers of smartphone use to those of cigarettes and alcohol. Now, Spain’s government is taking steps to prohibit smartphones in schools, starting with elementary schools, where they’ve been banned since January — thanks to which these tots might one day have actual childhood memories that don’t live in the cloud.
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