Ship accused of speeding
"An Indiana woman will not have her day in court, at least in her home state, on claims that as a cruise passenger she became ill because a Carnival Cruise Lines ship was going too fast," AOL reports. "Doris Beard sued Carnival, claiming 'due to the speed of the ship I became very sick, my body swayed terrible on the ship, I had bleeding which I had not has [sic]in three years. The ship was moving so fast everyone on board became sick, even the workers,' according to a court document. Carnival called for the case to be dismissed, arguing the venue for the suit should be changed to Florida, where the cruise line is based."
Trades close to speed limit
"Financial institutions may soon change what they trade or where they do their trading because of the speed of light," BBC News reports. " 'High-frequency trading' carried out by computers often depends on differing prices of a financial instrument in two geographically separated markets. Exactly how far the signals have to go can make a difference in such trades. Alexander Wissner-Gross told [an]American Physical Society meeting that financial institutions are looking at ways to exploit the light-speed trick. Dr. Wissner-Gross, of Harvard University, said that the latencies - essentially, the time delay for a signal to wing its way from one global financial centre to another - [gave an advantage to]some locations for some trades and different locations for others. There is a vast market for ever-faster fibre-optic cables to try to physically 'get there faster' but Dr. Wissner-Gross said that the purely technological approach to gaining an advantage was reaching a limit. Trades now travel at nearly 90 per cent of the ultimate speed limit set by physics, the speed of light in the cables."
Homicide? Not so random
"Random homicide is extremely rare," Slate says. "… Police rely on crime's non-randomness in order to stop it. CompStat and other data-analysis tools examine patterns in crime and tell police which hot spots to patrol. Crime is so predictable, some departments have introduced 'predictive policing' programs that would provide crime forecasts, like the weather. Statistically, says [Richard Rosenfeld, a criminology professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis] 'The default assumption should be that a homicide involves two young men who know one another, both of whom have extensive criminal records.' Even the occasional victim of a 'random' homicide - the innocent bystander killed in a gang shootout, for example - is usually less random than people realize. He may not be connected to his killer, but he is from the neighbourhood or one close by."
Masterminds vs. the law
- "City police [in Harrisburg, Pa.]had no trouble identifying an accused bank robber who gave tellers his identification so he could open an account before changing his mind and demanding cash Sunday, officers said," The Patriot-News reports.
- "Authorities say a New York man appearing before a judge on a felony drunken-driving charge arrived at [Sullivan County]court an hour and a half late, drunk and carrying an open can of Busch beer," Associated Press reports. The judge asked the 49-year-old man if he enjoyed his "liquid lunch." The man said he did, then said he was sorry. The judge revoked his bail and sent him to jail.
Overweight? Big boned
"A skeleton can hold many clues about its deceased flesh-and-blood owner, and now research indicates that bones can show whether or not that person was overweight," LiveScience reports. "The key to ascertaining this is the thigh bone - a thick, weight-bearing bone called the femur. By studying the remains of 121 white men, two anthropologists have found the overweight men had wider femur bones. Ann Ross, an anthropologist at North Carolina State University and one of the researchers, described the change in the bone as 'almost like a buttress making something stronger.' … Other research has revealed that overweight and obese people move differently than those of normal weight to compensate for the extra heft they are carrying. For example, one study found that obese people took wider steps when walking than people of normal weight. These changes may alter the forces on the femur and cause it to change its shape."
Siberian officials are considering opening a scientific institute to study yetis, The Daily Telegraph reports. "The Russian coal-mining region of Kemerovo in western Siberia will announce its final decision after hosting an international conference on yetis later this year, according to the regional government's education and science department. … Yetis, or Abominable Snowmen, are hairy apelike creatures of popular myth that are generally believed to inhabit the Himalayas. But some believe Russia also holds a population of yetis, which it calls Snow Men, in remote areas of Siberia such as the mountains in the southern part of Kemerovo around Tashtagol. Kemerovo officials cited yeti researcher Igor Burtsev as saying that around 30 Russian scientists are studying yetis and could work together at the planned institute."
Thought du jour
"The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."
- Harper Lee (1926-), U.S. novelist