Rachel Dolezal

So, about that whole Rachel Dolezal thing… 1. Her parents were quoted as saying “Our daughter is primarily German and Czech and of European descent.” They themselves have white skin, and they have photos of her showing that she had white skin. Well, that proves nothing. Craig Cobb also looked totally caucasian, and was a white supremacist too — but hilariously, it turned out he was 14 percent African heritage. (There’s video of him finding out, if you want to enjoy some schadenfreude.

2013: Year in review.

It seemed to me like 2013 was a particularly strange year. As evidence, here is a condensed summary of the news stories I posted about on Google+ this year. If you like this sort of thing, I plan to post the links on my own web site in 2014, so feel free to subscribe. ⁂ Oxfam International reported that the combined income of the 100 richest people in the world could end global poverty four times over.

Not exactly rocket science

“CAPCOM to Nowak, prepare to begin pre-launch procedures.” “Copied loud and clear, Houston.” “Astronaut to confirm all required equipment and supplies have been loaded and stowed.” “Trenchcoat—check… Wig—check… $600 in cash—check… Adult diapers—check… Rubber tubing—check… BB gun—check… Pepper spray—check… Steel mallet—check… 4″ knife—check… Latex gloves—check… Large garbage bags for disposing of body parts—check.” “Checklist confirmed, you are cleared for 900 mile drive to Florida.”

Elections, American style

In Alaska, a school board election ended in a draw. There was a recount—still a draw. Hence, state law required that it be settled by lot. So, they tossed a coin to decide who won the election. That’s not the weird bit; the weird bit is that the dead candidate won. So they had the foresight to put in rules about what to do if two candidates got exactly the same number of votes—but forgot to mention anything about requiring that candidates be alive?

Just go subscribe already

Remember the statue of Saddam being pulled down? The Guardian has tracked down the people who were there and interviewed them. The men with the rope noose were Ali Fares and Khaled Hamid. Hamid says: “We weren’t able to catch Saddam himself, so the statue had to stand in. I was happy. I was proud. I know that even President Bush was watching us.” But the pride was tinged with revulsion.

At last you can buy a newspaper in America

It finally happened. The Guardian began offering the complete newspaper in a digital edition. You can go to their web site to find out more and see an example. It has the complete content of The Guardian and The Observer, browsable with any normal web browser. The interface is really slick—there’s a thumbnail of the page, and you can click on parts which catch your eye to see the appropriate story.