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Two hundred couples were selected by an Italian embryologist to take part in a human cloning project; the human clones will be made using a technique similar to that which produced Dolly the sheep. The United States House of Representatives voted to ban human cloning for both reproduction and medical research; the measure also prohibits the sale of treatments derived from such procedures. Some British and Indianscientists claimed that they had positively identified alien bacteria entering Earth’s upper atmosphere from space, which would tend, they said, to confirm the Panspermia theory of life’s origin. Hundreds of pounds of such bacteria, they estimated, are falling to earth every day. An 1859 first edition of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection was returned to a Boston public library eighty years after it was due. Divers recovered most of the 190-million-year-old dinosaur footprints that a group of Boy Scouts pried up and threw into a lake. China decided it was time to start screening donated blood for HIV. Many people in Thailand were still drinking their own urine. In Bangkok, a complete set of male genitalia was found inside a garbage can. A single snake, which reportedly can be seen only by women and which disappears after striking, was being blamed for killing seven women in Kano, Nigeria. The American Bar Association was thinking about revising its ethics rules so that lawyers would no longer be bound to keep their clients’ secrets but would be permitted to have sex with them. Canada’s very cool medicalmarijuanalaw went into effect.
First Lady Laura Bush went on CNN and scolded the news media for violating the privacy of her twin 19-year-old daughters, who have repeatedly made the news for violating liquor laws. Mrs. Bush also denied that she smokes cigarettes. President Bush told the National Urban League that education is important. “An equal society,” he said, “begins with an equally excellent schools.” Chris Morris, a British comic, tricked several politicians and celebrities into saying absurd things on television about the Internet and pedophilia. “Using an area of the Internet the size of Ireland,” a Labour member of parliament said, “pedophiles can make your keyboard release toxic vapors that can make you more suggestible.” North Carolina’s governor said he would sign a bill outlawing the execution of retarded people. Al Goregrew a beard.Prince Charles was knocked out when he fell off a horse while playing polo. Vice President Dick Cheney was still refusing demands by the General Accounting Office to turn over records concerning the White House energy plan. Cheney’s aide, Mary Matalin, formerly a television personality, said the energy task force had nothing to hide but would continue to hide it anyway. Texas began deregulating its market in electricity; prices immediately shot from $45 per megawatt hour to $1,000. A couple in New York was trying to sell naming rights to their newborn baby boy to a corporation for $500,000.
The Southern AfricaCatholic Bishops Conference condemned the use of condoms to prevent AIDS because using rubbers is sinful and dangerous. Weavers in India were using condoms to speed up the process of weaving silk saris: “It is the fine quality lubricant on the condom,” said one weaver, “that does the wonder trick of speeding up the spin of the bobbin while preventing frequent snapping of the yarn.” Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s anti-cockfighting bill was approved. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani of New York announced a crackdown on the improper honking of horns. Palestinian worshipers hurled their shoes at Israelipolice outside Al Aksa mosque on the Temple Mount; others threw stones at Jews worshipping at the Western Wall. An Israelideath squad assassinated two Hamas leaders along with six others, including two young boys (seven-year-old Bilal Abu Khader and his five-year-old brother, Ashraf) who happened to be walking by when the missiles exploded. “Today is a day of one of our most important successes,” said Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. In Yugoslavia, Serbs were still digging up mass graves. In Valhalla, New York, a six-year-old boy died after a metal oxygen tank that was accidentally left in the room during an MRI test became magnetized and hurtled through the air at 30 feet per second, crushing his skull. After two weeks of flying lessons, a Pizza Hut employee took off in an airplane from the Florida Keys on his first solo flight and ended up in Cuba, where he suffered a “hard landing” and was hospitalized. Germanbeer consumption was down to 1.4 billion gallons during the first half of this year. Water consumption was up, however, which probably upset executives at Coca-Cola. The coordinator of a New Mexico drunk-driving prevention program was arrested for driving drunk as she left a drunk-driving awareness picnic. Wildfires were burning in Wyoming. A family of dwarves won 11 medals in the World Dwarf Games. Nigeria announced a new $100 million space program. The general in charge of the United States Air Force said that he favored “weaponizing” space. Thousands of corn husks fell from the sky in Kansas.
More from Roger D. Hodge:
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word “hallway” must have a nautical name. Why didn’t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet he’d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands they’d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you don’t belong to, that doesn’t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isn’t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members — because ocean life pays better than money! — who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Number of people stopped and frisked by the NYPD in 2011 for “furtive movements”:
The faces of Lego people were growing angrier.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature