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I attend auctions primarily to study the behavior of the kill buyer, whose main client is a slaughterhouse, and to provide more transparency to this aspect of the horse industry. Occasionally I buy a horse. — “The Path to Slaughter at a Horse Auction,” Alex Brown, The New York Times
[Primatologist Chris] Beard was also puzzled that the authors did not compare Darwinius to an important early anthropoid fossil Beard found, known as Eosimias. In fact, he was underwhelmed by the entire comparison of Darwinius to other primates (a phylogenetic analysis): “The phylogenetic analysis is not very complete, and I would certainly interpret many of the characters they do cite very differently than they do. But one of the most shocking things of all about the technical paper is that they found room to cite 89 references, but there is not one mention of Eosimias to be found there. This is bizarre indeed. In a paper that purports to tell us something about anthropoid origins, the authors have conveniently ignored the single most significant fossil that has been published to date. Incomprehensible.” — “Darwinius: It delivers a pizza, and it lengthens, and it strengthens, and it finds that slipper that’s been at large under the chaise lounge for several weeks…” Carl Zimmer, Discover/The Loom
The Squid, a lightweight disc about the size of a manhole cover, lies on the road and ejects rubbery tentacles on command to ensnare fleeing vehicles and drag them to a stop. –“In the Spirit of Spider-Man, the Border Patrol Casts Its Web,” Stephanie Simon, The Wall Street Journal
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:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”