The week that was (10-12-2018)

Birds are getting drunk after eating too many fermented berries.

A Grand Rapids man thought the rock that he has been using for years as a doorstop didn’t look like a normal rock. He was right.

A  man who used a stolen credit card to pay his court fines was subsequently booked for stealing credit cards.

Seconds after the gavel came down on the sale of a Banksy piece at Sotheby’s for $1.3M, a hidden motor in the frame shredded the piece. The destruction of the painting increased the value of the painting which art brokers are now saying may have doubled in value. Some speculate Sotheby’s was in on the prank.

The prestigious Rooney Prize for Irish Literature awarded annually by Trinity Dublin College was awarded to one of its janitors.

Over 300 suspected Russian spies were uncovered in Europe when reporters uncovered that they had registered their cars to the address of their military dormitory in Russia.

“Your radical socialist kickboxing lesbian Indian” was how a Michael Kalny, Kansas GOP precinct committeeman, described the Democratic congressional candidate in a Facebook post. He resigned.

Researchers at MIT have simplified the Turing test to a single word that distinguishes higher level human intelligence from a computer’s artificial intelligence. That word is poop.

Researchers at a university in Melbourne have invented a new font named that has been demonstrated to increase retention. They dubbed the new font, Sans Forgetica.

Another flight was delayed (2 hours) over a disagreement on what the airline would consider an emotional support animal (squirrel).

Hunters in India tracking down a tigress suspected to have killed up to 13 people deployed an men’s cologne to flush out the man-eating big cat from the jungle. Calvin Klein Obsession for Men worked best.

Photo credit: Reddit user xsited

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Lady Gaga on Dr. Ford’s Courage

I am a sexual assault survivor. Trump the other day was speaking at a rally, and he said, ‘She has no memory of how she got to the party. Should we trust that she remembers the assault?’ And the answer is ‘yes’ … And I also know this woman is smart because she’s a psychologist – she’s no dummy. If someone is assaulted or experiences trauma, there’s science and scientific proof – it’s biology – that people change. The brain changes. What it does is it takes the trauma and it puts it in a box and it files it away and shuts it so that we can survive the pain. And it also does a lot of other things. It can cause body pain. It can cause baseline elevations in anxiety. It can cause complete avoidance of not wanting to even remember or think about what happened to you. But what I believe that have seen is that when this woman saw that Judge Kavanaugh was going to be possibly put in the highest position of power in the judicial system of this country, she was triggered, and that box opened. And when that box opened, she was brave enough to share it with the world to protect this country.

For more on the science, see Why Christine Blasey Ford Can’t Remember How She Got Home (psychologytoday.com)

The week that was (2018-10-05)

A woman in Columbia was caught having an affair she and her lover were picked up in an Uber that was driven by her husband.

China will begin construction of a replica of Shakespeare’s hometown, Stratford-upon-Avon. The real town is one of the most popular destinations for Chinese tourists visiting England.

The media really piled it on Donald Trump. Even Scientific American couldn’t help themselves.

Animal scientists were busy. We now know how giraffes get their spots and why elephants have wrinkles.

In Arkansas, a hole opened up in the ground and shot flames 12 feet into the sky and burned for 40 minutes. No one knows why but officials have “ruled out” Satan. The flames erupted in front of a billboard advertising the Baxter Regional Medical Center’s Bone & Joint Clinic who were pleased with the free publicity.

A 1926 bottle of the Macallan 60-Year-Old whisky sold at auction for $1,100,000.

Thieves in Southern Germany harvested and made off with an entire vineyard of Riesling grapes. Police suspect a rival vintner.

An elderly couple lost their way home from a short trip to the hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee. The ordeal turned into a five day trip through three states ending in Atlanta, Georgia where they were discovered by police. They are recovering at home but their relieved daughter has decided to take the car keys away.

It is now against the law for mapmakers in the United Kingdom to put the Shetland Islands “in a box.”

A global study determined that between 2011 and 2017, over 250 people have perished in “selfie-related deaths.” The study noted a sharp increase in the death rate in 2016 concurrent with the release of the “selfie stick.”

Photo credit: Reddit user Oweat10

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Ford-Kavanaugh and Truth

The clash of cultures that has been on slow boil since the election came to a frothing head last week in the back-to-back hearings of Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh. Both insisted they are absolutely correct and that those on the other side are either mistaken at best or lying under oath at worst.

In the end, after this full day of wrenching testimony before the Judiciary Committee, it feels like we’re essentially back to “he said, she said.”

Which is exactly where we were 27-years ago with Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas. Then, Hill and Thomas were stand-ins for gender and we essentially chose, “he said.”

In this case, Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh, yes they’re stand-ins for gender, but what today made so clear, they’re really stand-ins for two sides of our divided country and both sides are 100% certain that they are right.

We have been given a week for the FBI to investigate and come forward with the facts. We have a week for our institutions to take these facts and determine the truth and make the right decision on a lifetime appointment. Has a man been unfairly accused of guilt by association or has a woman been heard but ignored?

The stakes have never been higher. The nation watches and the world waits to see if our institutions survive this test and be a reliable crucible that produces truth and justice. We’ll either come out of this stronger with new found optimism or tumble into a cynicism that will infect our midterm elections in the short term and an entire generation of political hopefuls that we can rely on to lead us to make the necessary changes to address the very real challenges to the climate and our way of life.