When tech attacks! 13 grizzly tales of killer kit

Homicidal hardware in halloween blitz

10. Rogue robots

In 2006, a South African army exercise went badly wrong when an anti-aircraft cannon malfunctioned, killing nine soldiers and seriously injuring 14 others. Human error was quickly ruled out, with investigators trying to discover whether the fault was a physical problem or a software malfunction. According to Brigadier General Kwena Mangope, "it appears as though the gun, which is computerised, jammed before there was some sort of explosion, and then it opened fire uncontrollably, killing and injuring the soldiers." One pundit told the Weekend Argus paper that "if the cause lay in computer error, the reason for the tragedy might never be found."

11. PlayStations versus pets

Pugsley, a Jack Russell cross belonging to 22-year-old Jemma Scott, has been repeatedly smacked with a PlayStation. As soon as he spots dogs on the TV he hurls himself at them, getting entangled in the console's cables and bringing it down on his stupid doggy head. According to a survey by pet insurer PetPlan, who brought Pugsley's plight to public attention, iPods are most likely to injure cats, rabbits should fear PlayStations and guinea pigs are frequently injured by DVD players and remote controls.

12. FryPod

In 2005, a Vancouver man was hurled nearly three metres when he was struck by lightning - and because he was listening to his iPod at the time, "the combination of sweat and metal earphones directed the current to, and through, the patient's head." iPods have also been blamed for cyclists crashing into buses and pedestrians being hit by cars.

13. Hot pants

In 2002, a 50-year-old scientist suffered serious burns to his penis after using his laptop for an hour. No, he hadn't been sitting naked at the keyboard. His laptop's battery became so hot that it burned him through his trousers and underpants, causing "irritation and oedema of his penile prepuce" and a "blister with a diameter of about 2cm". Are you sitting comfortably? "After the first 2 days, the penile and scrotal blisters broke and developed into infected wounds that caused extensive suppuration." OUCH!

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