Eating disorders have such a hold on many young women that some Internet sites glorify anorexia and bulimia as a quasi-divinity, using religious language to command obedience to a goddess of thinness known as “Ana,” according to a May story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Said one Minnesota college freshman, “Ana is definitely a higher power, not higher than God, but higher than myself.” There are Ana prayers, Ana psalms and Ana commandments. One site has instructions for a ritual at an altar, culminating in a blood contract “with the anorexia deity.” An Arizona doctor reported that a 13-year-old anorexia patient suddenly spoke “an incantation, like a hex, as if to scare me off.”
THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT
Almost ready for release is Spanish designer Pep Torres’ “Your Turn” washing machine, developed to encourage sharing of housework. Household users, such as a husband and wife, initially register their fingerprints, and Your Turn will not then operate by the same person’s print twice in a row. Another product, still in development, is Briton James Larsson’s use of lie-detector technology on restaurant utensils so that socially incompetent diners can better gauge how their dinner dates feel about them, by measuring stress as they eat. Reasoned Larsson, “Geeks have major challenges dating.”
CUTTING EDGE MEDICINE
Professor Mikhail Sokolshchik of Russia’s National Medical Surgical Center performed a two-stage penile lengthening early this year on a 28-year-old virgin, adding 5 inches to what was an almost dysfunctionally small organ. Sokolshchik first removed the tip and stitched it onto the patient’s forearm so that he could graft more tissue onto it from elsewhere on the arm. After the tip lengthened, he reattached it to its proper place. According to an April dispatch from Moscow in London’s Daily Telegraph, Sokolshchik is optimistic that all functions will be restored, though he said the man will probably be permanently semi-erect.
In April, two former Cornell University entomologists, in what they said was a show of respect, named three new species of beetles that feed on slime mold after President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. “We admire these leaders,” said Quentin Wheeler, for their “courage” “to do the very difficult and unpopular work of living up to principles of freedom and democracy ….” The Agathidium bushi are found in Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina, while the cheneyi and rumsfeldi are native to Mexico.
LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINALS
Vickey Siles, 35, was arrested in New Haven, Ind., last year and charged with altering a check from the Globe Life and Accident Co. The check was for $1, but Siles had badly obliterated the amount and written in “$4,000,000.00.” Furthermore, she believed that she could cash a check for that amount at a neighborhood check-cashing shop. Instead, the clerk alerted authorities. The job was so pitifully done that in March 2005, a judge gave her only a suspended sentence and probation.
NOT SO TENSE NEGOTIATIONS
In Gang Mills, N.Y. in March, neighbors reported a disturbance at the home of Billy Abbey, 31. Police surrounded the house and, for the next 11 hours, tried to coax him out. But Abbey slept through the whole thing, oblivious to the siege. MTW