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NPR News Nuggets: Why The Metric System Matters & The Golden Side Of Darth Vader

A sales clerk introduces a Darth Vader mask gilded with gold leaf, produced by Japan jeweler Ginza Tanaka in Tokyo.
A sales clerk introduces a Darth Vader mask gilded with gold leaf, produced by Japan jeweler Ginza Tanaka in Tokyo.

Here's a quick roundup of some of the mini-moments you may have missed on this week's Morning Edition.

Sir, do you know how fast you were going?

There are a lot of things that get lost in translation, and apparently, speed limits are one of them. Depending on how well you know your geography, you might be familiar with the states that border Canada. One of those states happens to be North Dakota and people do cross the border there often. As Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep said on Wednesday, a man was driving his car on the North Dakota side where the speed limit was 75 mph. Once he crossed over into Canada he saw that in Manitoba the the speed limit signs said 100. While the United States is one of few countries that doesn't use the metric system, a lot of people still don't make that connection when they're in different countries.

It appears that was the case with this man as he thought he could go 100 mph. He did, and he had a bit of a joy ride until the Royal Canadian Mounted Police stopped to tell him the 100 on the speed limit sign actually meant 100 kilometers per hour, and he was in fact speeding. By how much? Well 100 mph is the equivalent of 168 kmph, so as you can imagine, this man paid the price. Canada's CBC news reports the police officer who pulled the man over gave him a $940 ticket. Yikes! That's a hefty price whether it's American or Canadian dollars.

Veep: Watch with caution

Have any of your friends ever told you something and prefaced it by saying "you'll die laughing?" Regardless, odds are you've heard that saying. I don't know of anyone who has actually died laughing, but a member of Australia's parliament did come close. As Morning Edition host Rachel Martin said on Thursday, Graham Perrett enjoys the show Veep. In the show, Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays the president and it's full of laugh-out-loud moments. One episode was so funny that the member of parliament choked on his dinner, knocked his head and fell unconscious. Perrett said he must of been out for only a few seconds because when he came to, he was still laughing. Louis-Dreyfus found out and tweeted some wise words of caution that might need to be played before each episode, or take this as your warning.

Stay golden, Darth Vader

I get it. Star Wars is a big deal. It's a cultural phenomenon that spans multiple generations and has inspired millions, but a question to even the most die-hard fans: Would you spend millions on a collectible? As Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep said on Thursday, a Tokyo jewelry store is selling Darth Vader masks made completely out of 24-carat gold. One will cost you $1.4 million, but the best part? You can't even wear it. Each mask weighs 33 pounds and well, there's not an opening for your head. This is more a piece of memorabilia for your personal Star Wars museum and a great, but costly, way to mark the 40th anniversary of the franchise. Now, you probably think this is going to end with some Star Wars pun, but that could only happen in a galaxy far, far away.

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