Bad Week for Beetles, Apostrophes, and Hungry Prosecutors

News of the Weird Daily
Monday, February 2, 2009 [part one]

Britain's Apostrophe Protection Society
Somebody has to speak up for oppressed punctuation marks! The Birmingham City Council decided that all place names will officially not carry apostrophes, e.g., "St. Paul's Square" becomes "St. Pauls Square." That's been official policy in the U.S. since 1890, way before texting. Still, the APS head worries that this is one of those Nazi "First, they came for the apostrophes" things: "If you don't have apostrophes, is there any point in full stops, or semi-colons, or question marks?" Daily Mail
Comments 'apostrophe_protection'

Scared to death
For most people, if a bank robber being chased by police broke into their home, they'd be content to merely soil themselves. However, North Carolinian Larry Whitfield, 20 (and perhaps heretofore a virgin at crime), happened last fall to bust into the home of a 79-yr-old woman with a weak ticker, and she died. He never touched her but has now been charged with first-degree murder under the widely-used (but probably unfamiliar to most bank robbers) "felony murder" rule. Associated Press via New York Times
Comments 'scared_todeath'

CSI from the old days is not working out
In Wisconsin, Robert Stinson, 44, was released Friday after serving 23 yrs for a 1984 murder conviction. The reason was, of course, DNA, but at the trial, the clincher was two "forensic odontologists" who had testified, slam-dunk, that bite marks on the victim came from Stinson's teeth. One problem with that was that Stinson had long been (glaringly) missing one tooth from the bite-mark area, but the expert witnesses were "certified" so the jury sucked it up. In the ensuing 23 yrs, most "forensic odontologists" that you'd respect are much more sophisticated in their analysis, but there is still a courtroom market among prosecutors desperate for convictions, thus assuring survival of some old-schoolers. Associated Press via MSNBC
Comments 'bitemark_analysis'

The Army's big on remote-controlled flying beetles
The Pentagon's fabulous DARPA sci-fi unit is testing actual living beetles' ability to handle a few implanted, teensy-weensy electrodes (and eventually carrying a teensy-weensy camera) so that human controllers can send them impulses to (a) get off their butts and into the air and (b) once there, turn left or right. Multiple uses, actually. DARPA previously researched all this using moths, but, obviously, size matters. MIT Technology Review
Comments 'remote_beetles'

Leading Economic Indicators
(1) Who the hell would hire a laid-off Wall Street finance professional these days? Why, Lehman Brothers, of course (which, in order to liquidate the business, needs people to figure out all that complex bogosity that people like them thought up in the first place). (2) During a debate on how to eradicate poverty in a dismal economy, German finance minister Peter Steinbrueck was caught on camera . . checking his lottery ticket. Wall Street Journal /// Agence France-Presse via Yahoo
Comments 'economic_090202'

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
A man driving a tan or gold Dodge Ram truck with a golden retriever inside is being sought in Airdrie, Alberta, after last week stopping outside of Ralph McCall Elementary School at lunch time and, using a loudspeaker, shouting: "Girls in the field, come over to my truck. Come pet my dog." Playground chaperones approached the truck, scaring him off. CTV Calgary
Comments 'loudspeaker_pervert'

Your Daily Jury Duty
["In America, a person is presumed innocent until the mug shot is released"]
Matthew Reynolds, 34, from around Cullowhee, N.C. (Irrelevant facts: His nickname is "Hippie," and cops said they found 59 hits of Ecstasy, 750 hits of acid, and a half-pound of high-grade marijuana, among other things.) Asheville Citizen-Times
Comments 'matthew_reynolds'
     Posted By: Chuck - Mon Feb 02, 2009

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