Links — April 29, 2009, 8:54 am

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For several years, rights activists have recognised that closing Guantánamo is only half the battle. The next question is: where will the 241 remaining detainees go? One option is to send them home. However, more than 40% of the detainees are Yemeni, and negotiations between the US and Yemen to repatriate those prisoners have reached a ‘complete impasse.’ Yemen is combating an extremist insurgency already, and it is not keen to accept dozens more men who have been described as ‘jihadist foot soldiers.’ Moreover, approximately 60 detainees from various nations have said that they fear torture or abuse if sent home. In short, repatriation is no panacea.”

Shin Lim Kim alleges the leader of a church service on Aug. 11, 2008 asked her to catch another congregant ‘who was going to be “blessed” or who would be “slain in the spirit.”’ The leader then laid hands on Hyun Joo Yoon, who ‘fell backwards and began flailing, falling on and injuring plaintiff.’ The church was negligent, the complaint says, in not providing multiple catchers; failing to discuss ‘safe catching strategy’ with congregants; selecting Kim– ‘a small and not particularly strong person’– as a catcher; and failing to instruct congregants on ‘the correct procedures to fall, so that they would not injure themselves and injure the person assisting and/or catching them.’”

Most centenarians attribute their great age to some magic elixir or other. The longevity of Dr Levi-Montalcini, the Italian scientist who last week became the first Nobel Prize-winner to reach the age of 100, might be the result of a potion that is a little out of the ordinary: Professor Levi-Montalcini puts her mental vigour down to regular doses of nerve growth factor (NGF)– the discovery that made her famous.” (via)

When she received the invitation to attend her 10-year [high school] reunion… she hired Amy Bernadette “Cricket” Russell, whom she met at a Los Angeles strip club, to impersonate her. Cricket showed up in a slinky dress, fishnet hose and spike heels. As the drinks flowed, Cricket’s clothes came off, and Wachner watched from a hotel room above the event, linked to her impersonator via wireless radio, TV cameras and a monitor. Wachner coached Cricket through the night, telling her the names of people she met and providing her with little secrets that only Wachner and her former classmates would know. (via)

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I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:

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“Defining 'native' and 'invasive' in an ever-shifting natural world poses some problems. The camel, after all, is native to North America, though it went extinct here 8,000 years ago, while the sacrosanct redwood tree is invasive, having snuck in at some point in the past 65 million years.”
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“College is seldom about thinking or learning anymore. Everyone is running around trying to figure out what it is about. So far, they have come up with buzzwords, mainly those three.”
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Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:

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