FUNDING THE REVOLUTION
Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks publisher of state secrets who remains holed up in the embassy of Ecuador in London, has signed on with an Icelandic licensing agent to sell Assange-branded high-end clothing, shoes and various household goods in India and much of Europe, and is negotiating to put his logo on apparel in Japan and the U.S. The agent told The New York Times in October that “WikiLeaks” and “Assange” “can be as big as Coca-Cola.” A 46-page book sets out licensing standards (e.g., no tacky slogans, such as “We Steal Secrets”) and includes the one approved Assange portrait (an “idealized line drawing” of him “gazing soulfully into what is presumably a better future,” wrote the Times).
A PRACTICAL USE FOR TRIGONOMETRY
When a stampede killed pigs and induced sows’ abortions on a farm near York, England, two years ago, the operator of a noisy hot-air balloon denied responsibility, referring to a court order keeping balloons 500 meters away. Using GPS coordinates and the location of dead pigs, a mathematics professor at York University (employing trigonometry, he said) proved that the balloon could not have been more than 300 meters away. After the professor “showed his work” on the problem, the balloon’s insurer upped the settlement to almost four times its initial offer.
Lucky Dog Retreat Rescue in Indianapolis reported in October that, even after many heroic saves, they had never heard of a dog like Adam, who is apparently allergic to humans. Following a blood test to determine why he remained so sickly despite therapies, a doctor reported that Adam is allergic to human dander, and researchers told WRTV that a special serum was being prepared.
THINGS YOU THOUGHT WOULD HAPPEN
Britain’s The Guardian reported in October that repairing the “fashion” holes in earlobes is one of the fastest-growing cosmetic procedures in the U.K., as millennial generation radicals tire of their half- to 3/4-inch, see-through lobes. Doctors charge up to $3,000 to remove the entire area around the hole (originally created by stretching the tissue) and connect the healthy parts back so they fuse together. A Hawaiian man, not currently a patient, supposedly has the largest ear hole, nearly four inches in diameter.
George Byrd IV was charged in September in Middletown, Pennsylvania, with shooting a gun into an occupied structure when he fired a round that accidentally broke a neighbor’s window. Byrd told police that he fired because it was the only way he knew to “unload” the gun. And police in Bayonne, France, were contemplating charges in October against Kappa Clinic anesthetist Helga Wauters, 45, after a patient died from an improperly placed breathing tube. Wauters, appearing inebriated, said she requires vodka so that she doesn’t “shake” when she works.
When U.K. newspaper executive Rebekah Brooks was arrested in 2011 in the notorious “News of the World” phone-hacking case, so was her husband. Charles Brooks was ultimately acquitted after convincing a jury that he is “too stupid” to have been part of such a complicated case. But in October 2014, after Charles petitioned under British acquittal rules to have his legal fees reimbursed, Judge John Saunders turned him down–citing Charles’ admitted stupidity in causing prosecutors to suspect him in the first place. As Rebekah was being arrested, Charles aroused suspicion by clumsily trying to hide his pornography collection in a parking garage.
A man named John Thornton was arrested in October after, for some reason, grabbing a mop from an employee at the DoubleTree Hotel in Bristol, Connecticut, and (according to the police report) “aggressive[ly]” mopping the floor in a threatening manner, backing the employee into a corner and mopping over her shoes.
South Carolina is one of at least 20 states to have enacted “stand your ground” defenses for use of deadly force, but prosecutors in Charleston are refusing to recognize it in one logical category–”standing your ground” in the home against life-threatening assaults by one’s spouse. The legislative history of the South Carolina law, and a recent state Supreme Court decision, show (said a prosecutor) that it was to be used only against intruders and not against people with a right to be there, even to ward off a vicious assault by, for example, a husband against a wife.
LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINALS
Jonathan Warrenfeltz, 24, and a buddy were charged with robbing five sunbathers in Dania Beach, Florida, at gunpoint in October. Police quickly picked up the two based on a lookout for the only man around with the word “Misunderstood” tattooed in large letters across his forehead (as Warrenfeltz had). And Brandon Aaron, 27, charged with statutory rape of a 15-year-old girl in Panama, Oklahoma, in October, initially denied having sex, but changed his story when the girl remembered that her attacker had the name of an ex-girlfriend tattooed on his penis (as Aaron had).