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For almost half the world’s population, water-related dreams and fears intersect in the Himalayas and on the Tibetan plateau. Other regions have their share of conflicting claims over water issues: Turkey, Syria and Iraq over the headwaters of the Tigris; Israel and its neighbours around the Jordan basin; the U.S. and Mexico over the Colorado River; the riparian states of the Paraguay, the Parana or the Nile. But none combine the same scale of population, scarcity of rainfall, dependence on agriculture, scope for mega-dam projects and vulnerability to climate change as those at stake within the greater Himalayan region. Here, glaciers and annual snowmelts feed rivers serving just under half of the world’s population, while the unequalled heights from which their waters descend could provide vast amounts of hydro-power. At the same time, both India and China face the grim reality that their economic and social achievements since the late 1940s—both ‘planned’ and ‘market-based’—have depended on unsustainable rates of groundwater extraction; hundreds of millions of people now face devastating shortages. –“The Great Himalayan Watershed,” Kenneth Pomeranz, New Left Review
The Moose Dropping festival is an annual benefit for the Talkeetna Historical Society. This year’s was the 37th celebration and residents say it drew record numbers who overwhelmed the tiny town, population 850… Things got bad at night, troopers said… Lauri Stec, a 15-year-resident of Talkeetna and the manager of Nagley’s General Store, said the weekend was not a good time. “There was a lot of drunken, high, stupid people doing stupid things.” Stec’s bicycle, always parked unlocked outside the store, was stolen. The thief “was one of those ‘groovy people,’ who pretends to be all groovy, kind and good. Well, if he was so good, why did he steal my bike?” –“Talkeetna Festival Turns to Mayhem,” Megan Holland, Anchorage Daily News
In the speech delivered to the San Juan chapter of NOW, Sotomayor said, “I want to be perfectly clear about this next comment so that there is no mistaking my words to mean something other than what they plainly say: the time has come to end white male oppression by castrating every white male until they are no longer dominant in Western culture. That means forcible removal of their testicles. I realize the brutality of my comment, and I don’t know how to say it more clearly.” –“Sonia Sotomayor,” Snopes.com
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