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Safeway, the supermarket chain, recalled its house brand of corn taco shells after food critics discovered that the shells contained StarLink, a type of genetically modified corn that was not approved for human consumption. Taco Bell previously recalled its shells.The National Grain and Feed Association demanded the names of some 2,000 farmers who have planted StarLink crops; the manufacturer, Aventis Crop Science, refused to provide the names.Advanced Cell Technology, a company in Worcester, Massachusetts, announced that it had cloned an Asian guar; the embryo was gestating in an Iowan cow. The company plans to clone the extinct bucardo mountain goat (from cells collected before the last surviving goat died) as well as the giant panda (using black bears as surrogate mothers).The United StatesFood and Drug Administration imposed a mandatory salmonella testing program on egg farms.German researchers discovered that shy parents tend to breed shy children.Dr. Laura Schlessinger, the talk-radio host, apologized to gays for saying they were the result of “biological error”; gay rights groups said they would continue to pressure advertisers to boycott her program.Admissions officials at a meeting of the National Association for College Admission Counseling said they were considering affirmative action for men due to declining male enrollments.Scientists discovered that releasing iron into largely barren parts of the ocean triggered a phytoplankton bloom that might be useful in absorbing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere; they dubbed the phenomenon the Geritol effect.It was announced that a meteorite that landed in a frozen lake in Canada last January contained primitive forms of carbon that might reveal something about the generation of early life on earth.Two prison guards in Philadelphia were indicted for helping convicted felons smuggle their frozen sperm out of prison to their wives and girlfriends.
Alaskans were debating whether to legalize the personal use of marijuana.William Hague, the British Tory leader, proposed a “zero tolerance” drug policy, then reversed himself after seven members of his shadow cabinet told reporters that they had smoked pot.Yakama Indians were trying to enforce a ban on the sale of alcohol; non-Indian owners of bars and grocery stores were refusing to comply; the occurrence of fetal alcohol syndrome among the Yakama is 500 percent higher than normal.Burma’s military junta declared that caffeine was a narcotic; under Burmese law, narcotics users can be put to death.There were growing suspicions that professional baseball players were using anabolic steroids.Duke University researchers found that exercise is at least as effective at fighting depression as Zoloft, a popular anti-depressant drug.The stock market went down, then it went up.Harvard scientists succeeded in getting a group of people to have the same dream; twenty-seven subjects played Tetris, a computer game, for seven hours over three days; seventeen dreamed of Tetris, including amnesiacs who could not even remember playing the game.
Seventeen American sailors on board the destroyer Cole were killed when a dinghy loaded with explosives blew a hole in the ship as it prepared to refuel at the Yemeni port of Aden.Israelis killed more Palestinians; Palestinians killed more Israelis.Atrocities were televised.Gangs of young men from the Islamic Defenders Front, wearing white outfits accessorized with green scarves and wooden rods, prowled the Jakarta, Indonesia, airport looking, unsuccessfully, for Israeli Jews to kill.Refugees in West Timor, many of whom believe that United Nations peacekeeping forces will rape and kill them if they return to East Timor, were being held in virtual captivity by pro-Indonesia militias.Three young Bronx men were charged with a hate crime after they threw a bottle of vodka at a synagogue.Four young men in Connecticut were arrested for stealing a 340-pound pumpkin.George W. Bush spoke at a sixth-grade level during his debates with Al Gore.Governor Jeb Bush of Florida restored Charles W. Colson’s civil rights; Colson, who was convicted in the Watergate scandal, is a born-again Christian and the author of several apocalyptic Christian thrillers.The director of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press announced that media pundits are less influential than researchers had thought: “There is increasing evidence the American public has an ability to ignore what the pundits say.” Two hundred million gallons of coal sludge escaped from the Martin County Coal Corporation’s coal preparation plant in Inez, Kentucky; the blob of sludge was spreading through the area at a rate of ten miles a day, killingfish and wildlife as it oozed through woods and streams.
More from Roger D. Hodge:
Flor Arely Sánchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.
Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.
Average amount of time a child spends in Santa Claus’s lap at Macy’s (in seconds):
Beer does not cause beer bellies.
Following the arrest of at least 10 clowns in Kentucky and Alabama, Tennesseans were warned that clowns could be “predators” and Pennsylvanians were advised not to interact with what one police chief described as “knuckleheads with clown-like clothes on.”
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”