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As Tropical Storm Isaac accelerated northward through the Gulf of Mexico, officials at the Republican National Convention in Tampa postponed the formal nomination of Mitt Romney as the party’s presidential candidate from Monday to Tuesday, and Florida governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency. “Preparation is a key to success,” said Scott. “Cigarettes,” said one resident. “I’m stocking up on those.” The storm, which killed several people as it passed over Haiti and temporarily halted ferry service to the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay, was expected to become a Category 1 or Category 2 hurricane by the time it makes landfall along the Florida panhandle and Louisiana coast. Supporters of Ron Paul, who was denied a speaking slot at the Republican convention after refusing to fully endorse Romney or allow Romney’s team to vet his speech, held a rally on Sunday near the site of the Republican convention. “Isaac is a distraction,” said the master of ceremonies. “This is liberty.” Senate candidate Todd Akin (R., Mo.), who recently said that women’s bodies are capable of preventing pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape,” affirmed that he would not bow out of the race despite calls for him to do so by prominent Republicans. Romney told supporters during a campaign rally in Michigan that “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate,” in reference to President Barack Obama. “Humor,” Romney later explained. “We’ve got to have a little humor.” The United Nations denied that it would invade Texas in the event that Obama was elected and a second U.S. civil war broke out, following speculation by a Lubbock County judge that it would. “Not even the United Nations,” said a spokesman for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, “would ever mess with Texas.” In Nepal, a man bit to death a cobra that had bitten him, and in Delaware, three employees of the Hands of Our Future Daycare were arrested after police obtained video showing the workers encouraging two toddlers to fight one another. “He’s pinching me!” complains one child in the video. “No pinching,” responds a worker. “Only punching.”
A Norwegian court declared Anders Behring Breivik sane and sentenced him to indefinite “preventative detention” for the massacre of 77 people last summer. “I wish to apologize to all militant nationalists,” Breivik told the court, “that I wasn’t able to execute more.” Activists reported that hundreds of Syrians had been killed during a government assault on a suburb of Damascus. Nineteen people were shot in seven incidents during a single night in Chicago, and in New York City, police inadvertently wounded nine bystanders in the course of shooting down a suspected murderer outside the Empire State Building. Ethiopian president Meles Zenawi died at 57. Police in Nicaragua caught 18 people smuggling $7 million while disguised as a crew from Mexico’s Televisa television network. Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa announced that the United Kingdom had withdrawn a purported threat to enter his country’s London embassy and arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been sheltered there for two months while facing extradition to Sweden. The website TMZ published photos of a nearly nude Prince Harry carousing in Las Vegas. “The real scandal,” said London mayor Boris Johnson, “would be if you went all the way to Las Vegas and you didn’t misbehave.” A young male mountain lion tried to enter a casino in Reno, but was foiled by a revolving door.
A California jury ordered Samsung to pay Apple $1 billion for infringing on six of Apple’s patents for mobile devices, a Massachusetts judge upheld an order requiring a former Boston University student to pay $675,000 in damages to the Recording Industry Association of America for pirating 31 songs in the mid-2000s, and the United States Anti-Doping Agency banned seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong for life and stripped him of all titles he won after August 1, 1998, citing evidence that the cyclist had used performance-enhancing drugs. A Los Angeles comedian confessed to having been drunk and on magic mushrooms when he appeared as a contestant on The Price Is Right in May. “We go to local high schools,” he told host Drew Carey after claiming he worked as a skateboard rabbi, “and try to turn religious extremism into religious X-TREMEism!” Researchers discovered that hermaphroditic Siphopteron quadrispinosumsea slugs engage in self-harming nonreproductive sex. A study of Icelandic nuclear families showed that men pass on nearly four times as many new genetic mutations to their offspring as do mothers, and that older fathers pass on more such mutations than do younger ones. White-handed gibbons who were observed calling out after inhaling helium were found to display operatic vocal technique. Neil Armstrong, the first human to set foot on the surface of the moon, died at age 82. “May his vision for our human destiny in space,” said Apollo 11 crewmate Buzz Aldrin, “be his legacy.” On Mars, the rover Curiosity lifted its robotic arm for the first time and went for a test drive across the planet’s surface.
More from Jeff Ernsthausen:
Years ago, I lived in Montana, a land of purple sunsets, clear streams, and snowflakes the size of silver dollars drifting through the cold air. There were no speed limits and you could legally drive drunk. My small apartment in Missoula had little privacy. In order to write, I rented an off-season fishing cabin on Rock Creek, a one-room place with a bed and a bureau. I lacked the budget for a desk. My idea was to remove a sliding door from a closet in my apartment and place it over a couple of hastily cobbled-together sawhorses.
Average number of bacteria living in a pound of U.S. mud:
Canadian doctors saved a baby from drowning in his own drool by using Botox on his salivary glands.
A black bear named Pedals, famous for walking upright on his hind legs through Rockaway Township, New Jersey, was reported killed by a hunter, and a hiker in California was attacked after he interrupted two bears mating. It was a “pretty good bear attack,” said the local police chief.
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"She never thanked me, never looked at me—melted away into the miserable night, in the strangest manner I ever saw. I have seen many strange things, but not one that has left a deeper impression on my memory than the dull impassive way in which that worn-out heap of misery took that piece of money, and was lost."