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The skinny

The skinny: Robot waiters in China never lose patience

no tipping please

these waiters will always be patienT with you

Service with a smile also comes with an electronic voice at the Dalu Robot restaurant, where the hot-pot meals are not as famous yet as the staff who never lose their patience and never take tips. The restaurant, which opened this month in Jinan in northern Shandong province, is touted as China's first robot hot-pot eatery where robots resembling Star Wars droids circle the room carrying trays of food in a conveyor belt-like system. More than a dozen robots operate as entertainers, servers, greeters and receptionists. Each has a motion sensor that tells it to stop when someone is in its path so customers can reach for dishes they want.

book report

Here's a story that's long overdue

Mark McKee is lucky a Michigan library isn't charging him for returning a book 76 years late. In 1934, the 13-year-old McKee checked out A Dog of Flanders by English author Marie Louise de la Ramee from the Mount Clemens Public Library. Recently, the former publisher of the Macomb Daily, now 89, said he discovered the book and mailed it to the library. "I was entranced by the book and kept it with my prized possessions, intending to return it forthwith," he wrote in an accompanying letter. "Thus began a 76-year odyssey of missed opportunity and intention." Library director Donald Worrell Jr. said he'll forgo a fine that could total thousands. "We figure the story is better than the money," he said.

generating publicity

Hotel taking its bills too lightly

A Turkish regional electricity company has cut supplies to one of the world's top luxury hotels over unpaid bills. The Mardan Palace, owned by a Russian businessman and voted the leading luxury hotel by the World Travel Awards in 2010, has three weeks to pay nearly $2.6 million in debts or face being referred to a bailiff court, Aksam newspaper reported. The 546-room hotel on the Mediterranean coast, now operating on generators, boasts a huge swimming pool, aquariums and royal suites. It was launched last year with a gala evening, with performances by singers Mariah Carey and Tom Jones.

age of enlightenment

Child scientists create a buzz

It came with wobbly writing and hand-drawn diagrams, but an elementary school science project has made it into a peer-reviewed journal from Britain's prestigious Royal Society. Biology Letters published a report Wednesday conducted and written by 8- to 10-year-olds from an English elementary school investigating the way bumblebees see colors and patterns. The scientific organization — which is more than three centuries old and includes some of the world's most eminent scientists — said the children reported findings that were a "genuine advance" in the field of insect color and pattern vision.

Compiled from Times wires.

The skinny: Robot waiters in China never lose patience 12/22/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 6:12pm]

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