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November 17th, 2018

Diversions

Can't Possibly Be True!

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published Sept. 25, 2017

Can't Possibly Be True!

The inexplicable ease with which foreign hackers attack U.S. computers and security systems is finally grabbing the attention of officials. In a March Washington Post report, a technology expert from Britain's King's College London told a reporter of his astonishment to realize that the "security chips" on Congressional staff members' identification badges are fake: The badge "doesn't actually have a proper chip," he said. "It has a picture of a chip." Apparently, he added, "It's (there) only to prevent chip envy." [Washington Post, 3-31-2017]

Suzette Welton has been in prison in Alaska for 17 years based almost solely on now-debunked forensic evidence, but the state's lack of a clemency process means she cannot challenge her life sentence unless she proves "complete" innocence. Evidence that the fire that killed her son was "arson" was based not on science but on widely believed (but wrong) folklore on how intentional fires burn differently than accidental ones. (The bogus arson "trademarks" are similar to those used to convict Texan Cameron Todd Willingham, who suffered an even worse fate than Welton's: Willingham was executed for his "arson" in 2004.) [Alaska Dispatch News, 5-14-2017]

Reverence for the lineage of asparagus continues in epic yearly Anglican church festivities in Worcester, England, where in April celebrants obtained a special blessing for the vegetable by local priests as a costumed asparagus pranced through the street praising the stalks as representing "the generosity of G0D." Critics (including clergy from other parishes) likened the parades to a Monty Python sketch, and "an infantile pantomime," with one pleading plaintively, "Really, for (G0D's) sake," can't the Church of England offer "more dignified" worship? [Daily Telegraph, 4-25-2017]

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