The week that was (09-07-2018)

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station were forced to temporarily plug a small hole with someone’s finger and later with some duct tape and epoxy.  As the week progressed, blame shifted from nature (a micrometeoroid) to internal (sabotage) before finally settling on institutional (shoddy workmanship).

Headline of the week award goes to:  Left behind: Thieves raid Virginia store of right foot shoes  h/t to Jane Costello for this one.

A fishmonger in Kuwait was shut down by authorities after it was discovered that they were sticking googly eyes on fish to make them appear fresher.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota have built a bionic eye prototype that could restore sight to the blind.

Africa will, for the first time ever, be host to genetically modified mosquitoes in the wild that produce mostly male offspring as a method of population control.

A motorcycle broke a speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats, topping out at 113 mph, powered by vodka.

Scientists are developing a new type of metal alloy that changes shape and composition at higher temperatures. Such shape-shifting technology holds promise to make more efficient jet engines for quieter airplanes.

A 53-foot trailer loaded with nearly $100,000 worth of ramen noodles was stolen from behind a gas station in Georgia. h/t to Rick Kennedy for this one.

A farmer on the island of Crete who was struggling to free his truck from a mud patch accidentally uncovered an ancient tomb from a civilization that vanished thousands of years ago.

A congressional candidate in Georgia will be running his campaign for office from behind bars after being thrown in jail for drunk driving.

After they were stolen over 13 years ago, Dorothy’s ruby red slippers from the Wizard of Oz were recovered by the FBI and returned to their owner.

Photo credit: reddit user qweratos

Sign up to receive The week that was by email!

Crazy Town

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Infowars host Alex Jones with cameos from Google Glass and an old-school casio calculator wrist watch converge on Washington DC.
Jack Dorsey and Alex Jones converge on Washington with cameos by Google Glass and a Casio calculator wristwatch. Read about how this photo came to be in Wired.

If I had to choose one photo to sum up how crazy things were this past week, this would be it. Here’s a run down of SmartNews’ breaking push alerts from last week after a relatively quiet Labor Day weekend:

Then there was this

It’s all just words. Rep. Billy Long (NPR)

The Week That Was will publish a bit earlier tomorrow, I’ll be off to Portland to visit the XOXO conference. Look me up (@iankennedy) and say “hi” if you’re there.

Putting it on the line

“As I’ve been saying from the beginning, this process has been a sham,” Senator Booker said. “The fact that tens of thousands of documents revealing a Supreme Court nominee’s views on key issues were deemed Committee Confidential and not available to the public reflects the absurdity of this process. The public has a right to access documents about a Supreme Court nominee’s views on issues that are profoundly important, such as race and the law. This process has demonstrated an unprecedented level of secrecy and opaqueness that undermines the Senate’s Constitutional duty to advice and consent.”

www.booker.senate.gov

Meghan McCain’s eulogy of her father

Meghan McCain’s full eulogy of her father, Senator John S. McCain

The America of John McCain is generous and welcoming and bold. She’s resourceful, confident, secure. She meets her responsibilities. She speaks quietly because she’s strong. America does not boast because she has no need to. The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great. That fervent faith, that proven devotion, that abiding love, that is what drove my father from the fiery skies above the Red River delta to the brink of the presidency itself.

Read the full text here.


The week that was (08-31-2018)

Scientists found evidence for universes beyond our own. Other scientists discovered a giant deep-sea coral reef deep off the coast of South Carolina.

Senators Jeff Flake and the late John McCain (in one of his last acts before his passing) requested the Pentagon “prohibit the use of funds for the development of beerbots or other robot bartenders.” 

A 69-year-old man was pulled over on suspicion of theft of agricultural products. Inside the trunk of his car, police discovered 800 lbs of stolen lemons.

A sexually frustrated bottle nose dolphin has prompted a French coastal town to issue a swimming ban. At first the dolphin delighted visitors because of its eagerness to interact but the last straw appeared to come last week when the dolphin tossed a young woman bather in the air with its nose.

Animal rights group PETA asked the Maine Department of Transportation for permission to erect a 5-foot tombstone to mark the site of a truck crash that poured over 7,000 lbs of lobsters onto a road. The site will memorialize the “countless sensitive crustaceans” killed in the crash with a gravestone that will read “In memory of the lobsters who suffered and died at this spot August 2018, Try Vegan.”

Thieves in Paraguay replaced working police rifles with toy replicas.

Anthony Scaramucci, the gone-before-you-knew-him White House Communications Director,  is promoting a new, off-Broadway, cabaret-themed show featuring singing performers lampooning Trump’s children, wife, and ex-wives.

A large mural, commissioned by Chicago’s Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, was destroyed just days after the it was completed because it was mistaken as graffiti by the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation.

Coffee is now banned in South Korean schools, even for teachers.

Photo credit: MrRogersGhost on Reddit

Sign up to receive The week that was by email!

The week that was (08-24-2018)

It costs 2.6 billion bolivars to buy one roll of toilet paper in Venezuela where inflation is 82,700%.

Researchers, faced with a large collection of uncategorized medical images, worked with the developers of the online game, EVE Online, to reward gamers for helping them classify images. “The players are very fast,” they noted.

The Russian maker of the AK-47 announced it’s getting into the electric car business.

Two runaway goats delayed subway service in NYC. The transit authority tweeted out a photo, calling them “very baaaaad boys.”

Chanel announced that it is launching its first line of makeup products for men. The “Boy” line will be available in South Korea starting September 1st.

Michelle Terry, the new head of the historic Globe Theater in London, has said she wants a fifty-fifty male-female ratio in casting from now on. The theater’s new production of Hamlet casts her as Hamlet.

A Pittsburgh production of Romeo and Juliet has been adopted for an all-female cast.

1st Lt. Misa Matsushima became Japan’s first female fighter pilot. She was inspired after watching the movie, Top Gun.

The Danish shipping company, Maersk, announced that Arctic ice has opened up enough to send a container ship over the northern coast of Russia. They join China’s COSCO that has been plying this route for the past three years.

After 110 years, Nabisco’s Animal Crackers have been freed from their cage and now roam free, no longer behind bars.

Photo credit: Carlos Garcia Rawlins for Reuters


Sign up to receive The week that was by email!

Turn of the Screw

August 21st felt like a turning point. With the simultaneous trials of Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort popping out new bits of information about how Donald Trump ran his campaign, we learned that our President may be an “unindicted co-conspirator” in a crime. That’s an especially loaded term commonly associated with Nixon and Watergate (Wikipedia has already updated itself to include Trump) that indicates we may be headed into impeachment territory depending on the outcome of our midterm elections.

Joe Kahn, Managing Editor at the New York Times gave a very measured summary of the events of the day on The Daily podcast, part of what I’ve transcribed below.

This was the day that a series of possible charges turned into something that really is a direct legal and direct political threat to Trump’s longevity in office. It is quite likely that this will become a central issue in the midterm elections and force voters to decide whether or not they want to put Democrats back into majority in the house precisely because impeachment proceedings are the constitutional way to adjudicate a accusation of criminal activity by the President United States.

Up until now, even Democrats, had been reluctant to waive the impeachment flag as part of their campaign in the midterm elections. But you now have the President effectively being an unindicted co-conspirator in a crime. It seems highly likely that that then becomes a serious political if not a direct legal threat to the President. So this is a historic shift in the nature of the threat that we’ve been hearing about, writing about, talking about for so many months.

Impeachment is an unavoidable topic. It doesn’t mean he will be impeached. It doesn’t mean that if he is impeached he will be convicted but it is unavoidable topic when the president is an unindicted co-conspirator in a crime. That is the constitutional mechanism for adjudicating a credible accusation of illegal activity by the President of the United States.

Joe Kahn, Managing Editor, The New York Times

The following morning, here is the President’s response.

The week that was (08-17-2018)

The massive Carr Fire in Northern California was traced to sparks from a wheel rim of a trailer with a flat tire. When one individual in Redding reached out to forgive the elderly owners of that trailer for what was clearly a tragic mistake, many other followed suit. “I would think, no matter what race, what color, people are kind. . . deep down I think that compassion and community are at the core of human beings.” said Rachel Pilli, the catalyst of good.

Reebok launched a line of shoes made from corn.

Japan launched, in Hiroshima, the nation’s first pizza vending machine.

The Who’s Roger Daltrey said in an interview that hip-hop music has not really evolved and Kanye West’s music is “kind of meaningless.”

A nun from the Adorers of the Blood of Christ in Missouri was caught at Sydney Airport smuggling over a kilogram of cocaine inside a pair of high-heeled shoes. It appears she was an innocent victim and was duped into thinking she was doing someone a favor.

Ikea opened in India with local modifications such as solar-powered delivery rickshaws and samosas and biriyani in the cafeteria instead of the traditional Swedish meatballs.

The “tinny sounds of a cellphone ringtone” cut into the hushed silence of the gallery just as Tiger Woods drew back his club at the PGA Championship causing him to flub an important drive on the 5th hole. “I thought I might see a riot,” wrote one fan.

Mathematicians finally solved the age-old problem of how to break a spaghetti stick into two. (thx Dav)

Berry-growers in the Pacific Northwest have discovered a new way to keep birds from feasting on their crop. Lasers.

6-year-old Caitlin was left alone with her mom’s computer to order herself a new Barbie. She got a little carried away with the one-click Amazon Prime purchase account and racked up $350 in additional toys. She’s lost her internet privileges for a month.

Photo credit: Reddit user ConyCony

Sign up to receive The week that was by email!