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Twin car bomb attacks just outside the Green Zone in Baghdad destroyed three government buildings, killed 155 people, and injured 520. The attack was the country’s worst since 2007 and killed an unspecified number of children at the Justice Ministry day-care center. “There were children killed in the swings,” said a rescuer, “others who died right where they sat on the see-saws.” More violence is expected as elections near; three beheaded bodies were found in the province of Babel.BBCThe New York TimesFourteen Americans were killed in two helicopter crashes in Afghanistan, and the Department of Defense announced that 72 members of the U.S. military had recently died while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, the Seychelles, the Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Yemen, as well as at Guantanamo Bay.The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe United States was planning a fact-finding mission to Burma, and North Korean diplomats attended nuclear talks in New York City.ReutersJoongAng DailyDemocratic senators believed that a health-care bill with some sort of public option would soon pass in Congress. “Blue Dogs bark,” explained a disappointed Senator John McCain, “but never bite.”The New York TimesThe Secret Service asked for a budget increase to handle the death threats against President Obama.Boston.comA Minnesota man pleaded guilty to driving a La-Z-Boy while intoxicated,The Smoking Gunand Bernard Kerik was in jail for violating his bail.The New York TimesAn apparition of the Virgin Mary appeared on a football-sized rock in California, and the face of Christ was found in the wood paneling of the men’s room of an Ikea in Glasgow.KansasCity.comSTVJews fought with Muslims at the Temple Mount, and Lebanon announced it had bested Israel’s record by creating a two-ton plate of hummus.BBCFP
In Kyrgyzstan, where the full cabinet resigned after President Kurmanbek Bakiyev took steps to consolidate his power, an ice-skating bear mauled a circus director to death.BBCThe TelegraphA mob in the Indian state of Jharkhand beat five Muslim widows and forced them to eat excrement for their witchcraft,BBC Newsand scientists said that a large meteorite crater in Latvia was likely created by people with shovels.CNNIt was revealed that a British investigation into sex trafficking that lasted six months and involved every police force in the country failed to find anyone who had forced anybody into prostitution.The GuardianBritain replaced its Law Lords with a new Supreme Court whose justices wear no wigs,The Wall Street Journaland Morrissey collapsed onstage in Swindon.BBCA man was set on fire at a pub in Leeds and severely burned; he had been all in cottonballs, dressed as a sheep.Yorkshire Evening PostSweden’s Lutheran church decided to consecrate gay marriages.ReutersNigeria was cracking down on its online scammers,Ars Technicaand Easter Islanders voted to limit the number of visiting tourists.RNWSoupy Sales died.The New York TimesHundreds of bishops called for Catholic leaders in Africa to step down for corruption.BBCCardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana was named to head the Vatican’s justice and peace office, leading to speculation that he could become the first black pope,AP via Yahoo!and after 25 years away from Uganda, Charles Wesley Mumbere, a nursing assistant in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, returned home and ascended the throne as omusinga, or cultural leader, of the Rwenzururu Kingdom, to lead the Bakongo and Bamba peoples of the Mountains of the Moon.The GuardianTimes Record NewsScientists found that death may make the pygmies short.Science News
Microsoft released Windows 7, and Sun Microsystems said it would lay off 3,000 people; economists said that the U.S. economic recovery will not bring back lost jobs.CNETMarketWatchSan Francisco ChronicleChina was accused of cyberspying on American businesses and announced that its GDP had grown at a rate of nearly 9 percent in the third quarter.CNNAbout 100,000 Italian women signed a petition of protest after Silvio Berlusconi made fun of a homely lady,Reutersand Texas researchers found that estrogen regulates fat-cell growth and keeps women’s bellies from growing as fat as men’s, at least pre-menopause. “Nobody ever does female rodent research,” said one scientist, explaining why such basic findings were so long in coming. “Male researchers hate working with female rats.”Science NewsChicago rats fed a diet of sausage, pound cake, bacon, cheesecake, and Ho Hos began to behave like rats addicted to heroin, consuming increasing amounts of food to feel satisfied and continuing to eat even when to do so meant that electric shocks were delivered to their tiny paws. When switched to healthful food (“the salad option”) the rats, which had become obese, their brains numbed by junk, simply refused to eat.Science NewsA man in Iowa punched another man, who was ordering Mexican food, for being a zombie.AP via GoogleResearchers from Oregon determined that ancient beavers did not eat trees,Science Newsand a firm in New Jersey was distributing vaginal mints.Mother Jones
More from Paul Ford:
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.”