In today’s Bulldog wrapup of science and technology news:

  • Seeking attention, Lithuania builds virtual Tesla factory
  • French candidate uses hologram to travel campaign trail
  • Sports official: HB2 could cost North Carolina NCAA events
  • Randy Cross among 30 players to donate brains for research

The details:

  • Seeking attention, Lithuania builds virtual Tesla factory

Lithuanians badly want Tesla Motors to build its next giant factory on their soil, so to grab the attention of the California tech company they built a virtual version of a facility inside the “Minecraft” video game.

Vladas Lasas, who was behind the project, says they wanted to send a message to Tesla CEO Elon Musk that Lithuania “has plenty of skillful” people as well as a perfect factory site. He said Saturday that 41 computer geeks spent two days building the virtual factory in Kruonis in central Lithuania near a hydroelectric plant and two airports.

Tesla tweeted Friday: “Lithuania knows the way to our heart.”

No date has been set for the announcement of where the factory — estimated to cost 5 billion euros ($5.4 billion) — will be built.

  • French candidate uses hologram to travel campaign trail

French presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon can’t be in two places at once.

But the 65-year-old hard-left hopeful is trying his hardest thanks to advances in technology.

As Melenchon held a rally in Lyon on Sunday, a hologram of him was projected by satellite to crowds in Paris.

Critics called it a headline-grabbing gimmick that obscures his firebrand politics.

Meanwhile, supporters of conservative candidate Francois Fillon hit the streets Sunday to try to stem damage to his campaign. They distributed tracts entitled “Stop the Manhunt.”

Prosecutors are investigating the jobs that Fillon’s wife and two of their five children had working as his parliamentary aides. The preliminary probe involves suspicions of embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds

He denies wrongdoing and says he is the victim of a slander campaign.

  • Sports official: HB2 could cost North Carolina NCAA events

(Information from: The Charlotte Observer,

he executive director of a North Carolina sports group says the state could lose dozens of NCAA championship events if legislation limiting protections for the LGBT community isn’t repealed.

Scott Dupree, executive director of the Raleigh Sports Alliance, told The Charlotte Observer cities, colleges and universities have submitted 133 bids to host events through 2022. He said that represents more than $250 million in economic impact.

Dupree said sources at the NCAA have said committees representing different sports will begin eliminating bids from North Carolina if House Bill 2 remains on the books.

Last year, the NCAA withdrew basketball tournament games, and the Atlantic Coast Conference moved its football championship from Charlotte to Orlando.

The law was a response to an antidiscrimination ordinance passed by the Charlotte City Council.

  • Randy Cross among 30 players to donate brains for research

Former 49ers offensive lineman Randy Cross is among 30 retired NFL players who have pledged to donate their brains to concussion research.

Pro Bowlers Keith Sims and Shawn Springs were also among the players. More names will be released later this month.

The pledges are for the Concussion Legacy Foundation, founded by Chris Nowinski, the former WWE wrestler who has been among the most outspoken critics of the way the NFL has diagnosed and treated concussions over the years.

The NFL was long reluctant to acknowledge the link between concussions and CTE, a brain disease that can only be identified in autopsies. One neuropathologist, Ann McKee, has identified CTE in the brains of 90 of the 94 former pro football players she studied after their death.