He declines 'unfair' million
"He said nyet to $1-million [U.S.]" Associated Press reports. "Grigory Perelman, a reclusive Russian mathematics genius who made headlines earlier this year for not immediately embracing a lucrative math prize, has decided to decline the cash. Perelman's decision was announced Thursday by the Clay Mathematics Institute in Cambridge, Mass., which had awarded Perelman its Millennium Prize. The award honours his solving of the Poincaré conjecture, which deals with shapes that exist in four or more dimensions. … Interfax news agency quoted Perelman as saying he believed the prize was unfair. Perelman told Interfax he considered his contribution to solving the Poincaré conjecture no greater than that of Columbia University mathematician Richard Hamilton. 'To put it short, the main reason is my disagreement with the organized mathematical community,' Perelman, 43, told Interfax. 'I don't like their decisions, I consider them unjust.' "
"And now for some breaking news: A lot of players fake injuries during soccer matches," David Biderman writes for The Wall Street Journal. He notes:
- "The most common indicator that a fall is a flop is that the player gets hit, pauses briefly and then reacts. This is called a 'temporal contiguity' error, according to Paul Morris, a psychology lecturer at England's University of Portsmouth - he says it occurs in about 29 per cent of fake injuries."
- "Meanwhile, players perform the 'archer's bow' pose in 28 per cent of flops, which is when they bend backward and throw their arms in the air when they're hit in order to gain a referee's attention."
- In the Ghana-U.S. match last Saturday, "Ghana's Samuel Inkoom fell to the ground after kicking a ball - despite not being touched by another player. He began to get up but then opted to lie on the ground and delay the game for 92 seconds - a tactic that helped preserve Ghana's lead. Mr. Inkoom was carried off on a stretcher - although the moment he reached the sideline, he climbed off under his own power. According to Dr. Morris, this was a 'ballistic continuity' issue - a fake-injury variation that occurs in 25 per cent of all flops."
"Facebook is the unrivalled leader for turning virtual reality into real-life divorce drama," Associated Press reports. "Sixty-six per cent of the lawyers surveyed cited Facebook foibles as the source of online evidence, said [Linda Lea Viken, president-elect of the 1,600-member American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers] MySpace followed with 15 per cent, followed by Twitter at 5 per cent. About one in five adults uses Facebook for flirting, according to a 2008 report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. But it's not just kissy pix with the manstress or mistress that show up as evidence. Think of Dad forcing son to de-friend Mom, bolstering her alienation of affection claim against him. 'This sort of evidence has gone from nothing to a large percentage of my cases coming in, and it's pretty darn easy,' Viken said."
The snake is cleared
"Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, died from drinking a mixture of poisons and not from a snake bite, a German historian [says]" Melissa Gray reports for CNN.com. "The theory by Christoph Schaefer, a professor of ancient history at Trier University, challenges the common, centuries-old belief that Cleopatra committed suicide with the bite of an asp [the asp is also known as the Egyptian cobra] … He also deduced that Cleopatra wouldn't have chosen to die by a snake bite because she was intent on suicide - and a cobra, he said, is not always fatal." When a person dies from a cobra bite, it takes hours to succumb and "it is a horrible death." Cleopatra died a "quiet and pain-free death," according to the Roman historian Cassius Dio, writing about 200 years after the event. Her suicide occurred in August in 30 BC, when temperatures would have been so high a snake probably wouldn't have stayed still enough to bite, the academic said.
Thought du jour
"There are three kinds of deceivers: fools, those who deceive themselves but not others; knaves, those who deceive others but not themselves; and philosophers, those who deceive both themselves and others."