Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thursday’s Creme de la Weird
Federal Budget Stewardess: Trapped in one of those free mortgages that were handed out like candy over the last few yrs (er, well, no upfront, out-of-pocket): U.S. Rep. Laura Richardson of California (who also got the seller to front her closing costs), and a reporter found that she just walked away from the house in March, owing all $535k plus $40k in accumulated interest. Capitol Weekly via Los Angeles Times

Hell Will Have Cable TV: A USA Today roundup lists some school districts that have instituted minimum “50" scores for class instead of “0.” Pro: Well, the other letter grades only have a 10-point range (A is 100 to 90) so an F should, too (59 to 50). Con, of course: half-credit for no work.

Brave New Pooch: California’s BioArts International has partnered with a South Korean firm and will auction off, on June 18, the rights to clone five dogs, with suggested opening bids of $100k. BioArts cloned three dogs last yr from “Missy,” who died in 2002. The Korean firm is the one with fraudster Hwang Woo Suk in it, but BioArts said, Oh, well, that was with his human embryo work, and this is dog stuff. (Under-realized fact: A clone of your loving Fritzy will still be a total stranger.)

No Religion Left Behind: A Penn State researcher’s survey of high-school science teachers revealed that about a fourth spend time on something they’d call “creation” science and that half of them (12 percent of all science teachers) teach creationism as a “valid, scientific alternative to Darwinian explanations for the origin of species.”

Update: Undaunted by their earlier defeat in Austria’s Supreme Court to have a chimpanzee declared a “person,” a Vienna-based animal-rights organization has convinced the European Court of Human Rights to consider the case. (Backstory: A sanctuary in Austria has gone bankrupt, and activists fear that its existing chimps will be sold into research outside Austria, where animal abuse laws are more lax. Donations for chimps’ upkeep cannot reliably be handled without a legal guardian, the activists say. [NOTW M010, 6-17-2007])

Civilization in Decline
Handy Road-Rage Kit: In Butler, Mo. (about an hour south of Kansas City), a car dealer offers a premium of either $250 in gas or a semi-automatic handgun (and 80 percent choose the heat) . . . . . Several people have been fired as a result of a Chinese travel magazine’s decision to shoot a photo spread, using scantily-clad women, from around the earthquake sites.

Washington state’s Health Dept. did as ordered and suggested a specific amount of medical marijuana allowed as a “60-day” supply under the law, but it was almost 2 pounds’ worth, and the governor said go think harder . . . . . A man was arrested for abusing the 911 line in Waco, Tex., by calling 15 times because he was tired of waiting for a taxi (the perp: Mr. Kevin Waits) . . . . . A North Carolina high school bus driver is accused of, uh, letting her daughter give a tattoo to one of her riders during the trip . . . . . The Zappos shoe company apparently does many things right, according to a Harvard Business School blog, especially the part about training you for a week, then offering you $1,000 to quit the company (about 10 percent take it, by definition, the meeee! people) [Link from]

Waddah “Martin” Mustapha’s case, before Canada’s Supreme Court, is scheduled to be decided today; he’ll find out whether the Cdn$341k he won at trial in 2005 was enough to compensate him for the great trauma of seeing a fly in his water bottle (actually, a fly's big blue butt, he said) [NOTW Daily, 3-21-2008]. [Update of Update: He lost, 9-0. No money.]

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Not today. Maybe tomorrow.™

Newsrangers: Neil Gimon, Mark Neunder, Ed Duval, Christine Malone, Tom Barker
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2008 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.