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Social Studies

When prison feels like home Add to ...

Prison can be a refuge

“After spending most of his adult life behind bars, 73-year-old Walter Unbehaun decided to rob another bank in the hope of getting caught,” The Guardian reports. “He felt more comfortable in prison, court documents allege, and wanted to spend his final years there. So the balding, grey-haired man leaned on a cane as he walked into a bank in Chicago over the weekend and used a novel stickup line: He had just six months to live, so he had nothing left to lose, according to a federal complaint citing his post-arrest interrogation.” Unbehaun wore no disguises, so law enforcement quickly tracked him down. When he was stopped on Sunday outside a motel room where he was staying, he immediately threw down his cane and surrendered.

Long faces for troubled times

“Why the long face?” asks The Independent on Sunday. “Well, because people trust them, particularly in troubled times, says research suggesting long-faced people are seen as natural leaders. Homing in on facial clues that suggest tallness, as long faces do, is thought to have evolved from ancestral times when survival depended on choosing the right leader. ‘Our results suggest we turn toward the most dominant-looking people for leadership, especially when we are faced with a threat,’ says the psychologist Daniel Re of the University of St. Andrews, who led the study.”

Living in a grave

“A homeless man in Serbia has told how he moved into a grave after losing his home,” reports Orange Co. U.K. “Bratislav Stojanovic, 43, shares the burial plot with the remains of a family who died out more than 100 years ago in Nis. … Stojanovic lost his home in the town after running up debts. He moved into the grave after [sleeping] in the streets for months. ‘People are very kind to me; they sometimes bring me food or clothes,’ he added. ‘It doesn’t frighten me to sleep in a grave. The dead are dead. I’m more frightened of being hungry.’ ” Cemetery officials say he can stay as long as he does not disturb visitors. “The family who owned the tomb are long gone, so technically it belongs to no one. If he behaves himself there are no plans to evict him,” said a spokesman.

Dogs who love cats

“It may sound like a West Side Story-style love story, but some dogs love big cats,” says Associated Press. “Cheetahs are the fastest mammals in the world, but they are also the world’s biggest scaredy-cats – so much so that they don’t breed easily and are in danger of going extinct. Some zoos are introducing dogs to calm the skittish cats and bring attention to their plight. They’re pairing ‘companion dogs’ with some cheetahs to serve as playmates and to provide the cats with guidance. ‘It’s a love story of one species helping another species survive,’ said Jack Grisham, vice-president of animal collections at the St. Louis Zoo and species survival plan co-ordinator for cheetahs in North America.”

Sabotaged by a spider

“Swedish golfer Daniela Holmqvist made it through a painful prequalifying round at the LPGA Tour’s season-opening ISPS Handa Australian Open after being bitten by a highly poisonous black widow,” says Sports Xchange. “Holmqvist was on the fourth hole at Royal Canberra Golf Club on Tuesday when she felt a sting near an ankle. She looked down and saw the spider, which she swatted away. Reacting quickly while local caddies called for help, she took out a golf tee and dug out the venom, according to Golf Digest. After course doctors checked her out, Holmqvist played on despite her pain and apprehension, finishing the final 14 holes under close supervision.” She missed the cut, shooting a 74.

Thought du jour

Home is not where you live but where they understand you.

Christian Morgenstern, German author (1871-1914)

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