off the Record.
BIG Brother may be watching you, but soon he will be listening to you, too.
Scientists at the University of Portsmouth are working on a new type of CCTV camera that can listen out for trouble as well as observe it.
The three-year project aims to develop software that will enable it to learn things like the sounds of breaking glass or people shouting.
Team leader Dr David Brown said: "We want to get the camera to pivot if it hears a certain sound. So, if in acar park someone smashes a window, the camera would turn to look at them and the camera operator would be alerted."
This may not end well. No doubt the Scottish Government will be keen to order a few, but they will want the equipment to be refined further.
The way things are going, by 2012, the simple rasp of a match or the click of a lighter within ten yards of a bus shelter will have the forces of law and order swinging into action. And if you're under 25 and you want to buy a four-pack of Stella, we would strongly recommend either whispering or writing it down.
ACCORDING to the New York Daily News, Britney Spears' kid sister Jamie Lynn was inspired to call her newborn daughter Maddie Briann because, as a girl, she was a big fan of the Madeline series of children's books, a classic collection written by the late American author Ludwig Bemelmans.
We suppose we should be glad she wasn't a devotee of his big rival, Roald Dahl. We wouldn't put it past either of the Spears girls to name a child Willy Wonka or Big Friendly Giant.
CHINA has just announced that it may restrict the number of climbers allowed to attempt the Tibetan side of Mount Everest to prevent environmental degradation. Damn. Does this mean we'll have to go the long way round? We might not bother.
FROM Washington comes news that the Pentagon has admitted that at least 1000 nuclear missile components are lost or cannot be located. As comedian Jay Leno says, things are going from bad to worse. Now they can't even find their own weapons of mass destruction.
LOST in Translation actress Scarlett Johansson tells website politico.com that she often emails Barack Obama. Not only that, he emails her back. Friends say they've never seen Bill Clinton look so green about the gills.
TV presenter Ben Fogle and Olympic rowing gold medallist James Cracknell yesterday launched a search for someone to join them on a three-month-long race to the South Pole. Please, please let them choose Alan Hansen.
WE see from yesterday's Record that boffins at Bristol University have been given pounds 850,000 to try to find a way to stop hens pecking one another. A worthy project. We'd like to chip in pounds 50 ourselves ... with Mrs Roller's permission, of course.
THIS may, just possibly, be the worst attempt at bird watching we've ever seen... thanks to reader Chris Graham for the picture.