National Public Radio has a popular program called “Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me.” During part of the show, celebrity guests tell far-fetched stories and try to fool listeners who have to guess which stories are true and which are false. Wanna play? Let’s. Here is a series of “breaking news reports.” Try and guess which are real and which ones might be fake.

1. According to Axios, an online news organization, President Donald Trump has repeatedly floated an idea for preventing hurricanes from reaching American shores. “I got it. I got it. Why don’t we nuke them?” one of the anonymous sources paraphrased the President as saying during a hurricane briefing. He suggested dropping a nuclear bomb in the eye of a threatening hurricane to diffuse it.

Rollie Atkinson Column Photo

Rollie Atkinson

2. Japanese engineers at the Keio Institute have built a robotic tail for humans. They named it Arque and it is one-meter long and mimics monkey and large cat tail motions. It is meant to be strapped on to elderly people who are prone to falling, giving them an extra balancing accessory.

3. Scientists at UC San Diego are worried about one of their inventions that has taken on a life of its own. The scientists shipped tiny clusters of stem cells called “organoids” to the International Space Station. Lead scientist Alysson Muotri now says the clusters are “replicating like crazy” and are giving off brain waves similar to those of premature babies. Muotri said she’s not sure whether she should be elated or horrified.

4. Speaking of brain computers, guess what Facebook has been up to. Since 2017, the social media giant has been experimenting with a headset people can wear that can decode unspoken thoughts. The headset can transmit the thoughts onto a computer or paper by directing typing on a keyboard. “Imagine a world where all the knowledge, fun and utility of today’s smartphones were instantly accessible and completely hands-free,” said a Facebook spokesman.

5. The Chinese are very competitive people. Molecular biologists elsewhere have “cloned” cats and dogs in laboratory settings. But China’s Sinogene Biotechnology Company has gone a few steps beyond. They recently unveiled their first cloned cat which they will next use artificial intelligence to transfer memories from a beloved pet to its clone. They will use man-machine interface technology they already have tested. Soon pet owners can have immortal pets with ageless memories. Any issue with tariffs was not mentioned.

6. A small city that shall go unnamed recently withdrew plans to build new high-tech public toilets in a park. The toilets were to be self-cleaning and feature a slew of security features — including one that would put a stop to “inappropriate sexual activity” by sounding alarms and spraying any would-be lovebirds with water. Public backlash on social media led the city council to disavow it ever planned to pay for anti-sex toilets. New sets of plans are being drawn.

7. All our quiz participants who have read this far will probably get this entry correct. Kentucky Fried Chicken has announced it may soon introduce “meatless” fried chicken at its fast food outlets. KFC has teamed up with Beyond Meat and is testing the plant-based fake chicken in Atlanta. Is there a nugget of truth here, or not?

8. Room for one more. Sono Motors of Germany has built a new solar-powered automobile that also has moss on its front dashboard to serve as part of the car’s air filtering system. The moss is not alive but it apparently does the trick.

RESULTS: Unlike the NPR version of this quiz where true and fake stories are intermingled, all of our entries here are real news stories from verified news sources including the New York Times, Business Insider and London’s Daily Mail.

As they say, “you can’t make this stuff up.”

— Compiled by Rollie Atkinson

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