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Off the News

For Tuesday, April 19, 2011

LAST UPDATED: 06:26 p.m. HST, Aug 05, 2011

Auto-sharing stock zipping along

What's not to like about the Zipcar auto-sharing business model? The stock market's gone gaga over it. And mogul Steve Case, formerly of Hawaii, seems to love it, having invested his money in that venture. So when's it coming here?

No projections yet for the 50th State — 32 states are listed on zipcar.com now. All the pieces seem to be in place for Honolulu, at least: For starters, there are hotels and several college campuses filled with people who want occasional quick transport without the parking hassles. We can only think that having a local boy owning a piece of the action will help this city make its case, so to speak.

The serious side of robotics

In the fun-and-games world of children, robots can be the coolest things. Rig together a small battery, a toothbrush head and some wires and — voila! — a brushbot. Keep heading up the robotics evolutionary scale by adding Legos, wheels and myriad other devices and we have some serious scientists budding on the horizon.

Then, there's the sometimes-grim world of adults. In Japan, robots exploring reactor buildings at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant yesterday detected intense radiation levels. Here in Hawaii, a robot was sent into the Waikele cave bunker after the April 8 fireworks tragedy that killed five men, doing reconnaissance before it was deemed safe for officials to enter.

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