Sat nav chaos stops train in tracks

Garmin satnav
Satnav chaos spreads. It's no longer limited to the roads...

A British train heading from East Croyden to Caterham, Surrey, has become the latest victim of GPS-induced transport turmoil, after losing its satellite link mid-route. Passengers were astounded when they were told the service would be skipping six stations to stop directly at the end of the line.

Due to differing platform lengths at each station, the loss of signal prevented the driver from recognising how many doors he could safely open at each stop. Passengers who wanted stations in-between were forced to wait for another train.

"It's absolutely bizarre," said one. "We now have trains that can't let the passengers out because they fail to pick up signals from outer space."

Facebook riots

Another trend that took hold in 2008, the rise of the Facebook gatecrasher, reared its head again this week, with reports of a mass brawl in South London on Wednesday when over 500 youths tried to storm a girl's 18th birthday, which was advertised on the site.

Police were dispensed to calm the thugs, who resisted for more than two hours, after the group was refused entry to the event at Club 791 in Thornton Heath.

Last month, a £1million house was trashed when louts flocked to privately-educated Georgina Hobday's 16th birthday party in Brighton, East Sussex.

In other news, Facebook also hit the headlines this week for a page hosted on the site devoted to top mafia bosses. Boasting over 2,228 fans, admirers wished Salvatore "Totò" Riina, the "boss of bosses", a Happy Christmas through the page, to the disgust of victims' relatives.

Gadget therapy

On the bright side, 2009 looks to be the year of increased functionality. Just take the NanoBrewMaster Home Brew Station, which incorporates an entire brewery inside a two by six-foot kitchen counter. A user-friendly all-in-one system, the beer-brewing process is handled entirely by an onboard computer system. You hardly need to lift a finger.

Caffeine frauds

That's not all. Do questions of caffeine consumption bother you? Studies of decaf coffees have shown that up to 30 per cent of those bought from coffee houses and restaurants contain unacceptably high levels of caffeine, or are not decaf at all.
But fear not. Thanks to the D+caf caffeine test strip, you can now test your decafs on the go. You'll have to sacrifice a few coffees for the peace of mind though - a 20-pack will set you back $9.95.

And finally...

In an effort to curb the amount of smoke emitted from its crematorium, a Swedish town has resorted to routing excess heat to local homes. "[The warmth] was just rising into the skies for nothing," said Lennart Andersson, director of the cemetery in Halmstad, of the unusual measures.

While more squeamish members of the community might find the idea of 'people heating' their homes uncomfortable, the public heating system will benefit greatly from saved costs, claim reports. And for others, it'll be just like a hug from the dearly departed from beyond the grave...

Julia Sagar
Content director, special projects

Julia specialises in ecommerce at Future. For the last four years, she’s split her time between leading TechRadar’s crack team of deal editors - covering all the biggest sales of the year including Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Amazon Prime Day - and helping the audiences of Future’s consumer tech and lifestyle brands (TechRadar, Tom's Guide, T3, Marie Claire, Woman & Home and more) find the best products and services for their needs and budget.

A former editor of global design website Creative Bloq, she has over 15 years’ experience in online and print journalism, and was part of the team that launched TechRadar way back in the day. When she isn't reviewing mattresses (she’s tested more than she cares to remember), or sharing tips on how to save money in the latest sales, she can usually be found writing about anything from green energy to graphic design.