NEWS YOU CAN USE
Researchers from Cornell University, inspired by the book World War Z, recently computer-simulated the spread of a “zombie apocalypse”–and now advise the anxiety-prone to head for higher ground if infections break out, recommending Glacier National Park in Montana or, even better, Alaska. Using differential equations and “lattice-based” models, the statisticians demonstrated that infections would slow dramatically as fewer people became available to bite (but that, ultimately, we’re all doomed). The state most quickly wiped out? New Jersey.
WAR ON SCIENCE
Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore told a radio audience in February that she would soon introduce a bill reforming end-of-life procedures for terminally ill cancer patients, such as administering baking soda intravenously to “flush out” the cancer “fungus.” Before her election in 2013, she was CEO of Always There Personal Care of Nevada (which she describes as being “in the healthcare industry”). Bonus: Fiore blames her accountant for the company’s reported $1 million in IRS tax liens; the accountant is her ex-husband.
The international sportswear retailer Bjorn Borg (namesake of the Swedish tennis player) created a promotional video game (now also sold separately) that encourages not mayhem and murder, but the vanquishing of one’s opponents with love–and “lovingly” stripping them down so that they can be outfitted in Bjorn Borg fashions. Said a company official, a player’s mission is “to liberate haters by undressing them with your love guns and (then to) dress them in Bjorn Borg clothing.” (The game also features “teddy bear smoke grenades” and a shirtless man resembling Vladimir Putin astride a bear.)
Mark Rothwell made the news in Portland, Oregon, in March 2010 when he prevented a bank robbery (and rescued the terrified Chase teller) by jumping the thief, knocking his gun away and holding him until police arrived. He was later awarded a coveted Portland police Civilian Medal for Heroism. However, on Feb. 19, 2015, according to an arrest report, Rothwell himself pulled a gun and robbed the Albina Community Bank in Portland, making off with $15,700.
For Arthur Mondella, 57, a successful maraschino cherry supplier in Brooklyn, New York, the inspection by the district attorney’s office in February was to be routine, concerning possible pollution of local waters from discharges of cherry syrup. Mondella was cooperative until the investigator discovered odd shelving “attached” to a wall with magnets, revealing a “secret” room, and then the smell of marijuana–at which point Mondella calmly left the room and shot himself in the head. Ultimately, police found that the 75-year-old company was merely a side business to Mondella’s substantial marijuana-growing operation in the basement.
USE WHAT YOU HAVE
Morrison Wilson, 58, was convicted of assault in Belfast (Northern Ireland) Magistrates Court in February for using his admittedly “big belly” to “bounce” an aggressive neighbor lady out of his garden in a dispute. The lady was injured as she fell backward. And in a March skirmish over a handicapped-parking space at a Walmart in Greenfield, Wisconsin, Ms. Kezia Perkins, 32, was charged with assaulting a 71-year-old woman by, said a witness, “chest-butt[ing] her,” knocking her to the ground. Said Perkins, “It’s not my fault [she] bounced off my big [chest].” (The euphemism “chest” was substituted by WITI-TV of Milwaukee.)
OUR NEXT DELICATE GENERATION
Several University of Iowa students requested, and received, special “exceptions from” or “assistance with” class work, including exams, after complaining of stress and a “loss of focus” caused by the appearance of a Ku Klux Klan statue on campus in December. And as alleged de-facto policy at Avalon Elementary School in Orlando, Florida, officials last year prohibited toilet-flushing during the statewide Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. It was thought, an official said, that the whooshing water sounds from nearby bathrooms would disturb the students (and send their scores, according to an Orlando Sentinel reporter, “spiraling down the drain”).
CAVALCADE OF REDNECKS
A 37-year-old man and two female companions were charged in February with stealing tailgates from nine trucks in the Orlando area. Their spree ended when, noticing that a club owner had offered a reward on Facebook for his branded tailgate, the three tried to sell it back to him but botched the transaction. And the driver of an empty car-carrying truck pulled off the Bishop Ford Freeway near Calumet City, Illinois, in February after he heard a calamitous sound and felt the trailer shaking violently. It turns out Asa Cole, 23, speeding and following too closely, had inadvertently driven his pickup truck up the low-hanging tracks of the trailer and come to a stop only inches away from the cab. Said the carrier driver, “Is this ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ or something?” Cole was cited for several violations.