Monday, April 25, 2011

They hate our freedom

Maybe you missed this: A guy from Kazakhstan, while on a flight from Paris to Rome, pulled out a nail clipper and attempted to coerce the flight crew into diverting the plane to Tripoli. His first name is Valery. There was a brief altercation and Valery's nail clipper was confiscated. They gave him a sedative, and he was arrested when the plane landed in Rome. My guess is that he's in the most trouble you can get in with a nail clipper. Someone should dig deeper to bring you the story behind the story. That would be good, I suppose.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Apparently, size matters.

Scientists at University College London studied the brains of people with liberal and conservative political views. They found conservatives are amygdala-driven, while liberals have a more developed anterior cingulate cortex; that's linked to rational cognitive functions. Wait. There's more. The University of Iowa reports on a woman with a damaged amygdala who is literally without fear. Yet a study at Harvard Medical School shows that folks with bigger amygdalas have more extensive and complex social networks. Normally, I would punctuate each of these little stories with a joke. But I won't insult your anterior cingulate cortex by spelling them out.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ice Cream Mondae

Remember those "Strange Old Laws" features with funny archaic ordinances? "In Zanesville, Ohio it is illegal to humiliate a raccoon?" Here's a brand-new one. With certain specified exceptions, you're not allowed out in public in France with your face covered. That's the law, and the legislators who made it up assure us they do not intend to target Muslim women. So don't be all, "I'm a Baptist and also I'm a dude, so probably I can stroll around downtown France in this here burka without fear of legal repercussions." Because nuh-uh. You can't. That's why the law is fair.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Fool me once

Last Friday there was a item in the Times-Picayune about Mikhail Gorbachev's 80th birthday celebration. Held at London's Royal Albert Hall, this party went on for over four hours. There were live performances by The Scorpions, Andrei Gavrilov, and Shirley Bassey, among others. Large-screen monitors showed video greetings from Bill Clinton, Sting, and Bono. Arnold Schwarzenegger gave a short speech, as did Shimon Perez. The entire event was hosted by Sharon Stone and Kevin Spacey. This story appeared on April first; I assumed it was a joke - a pretty far-fetched one. Once again, reality beats absurdism at its own game.