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Spanish cucumbers, once considered along with German bean sprouts to be a likely suspect in the recent outbreak in Germany of a particularly deadly new strain of E. Coli, have been acquitted on all charges, the BBC reported last week. In light of the acquittal, the cucumbers are suing for defamation and demanding to be compensated for the approximately €200 million in expected revenues lost.

“I am pessimistic about the human race because it is too ingenious for its own good.  Our approach to nature is to beat it into submission.  We would stand a better chance of survival if we accommodated ourselves to this planet and viewed it appreciatively instead of skeptically and dictatorially.”

– E.B. White

AP/Vahid Salemi 

“Look, the boat is stuck…It cannot move anymore.”

– Kamal Saadat, an Iranian whose fledgling boat tour business dried with the lake

Karimi, Nasser, “Iran’s Largest Lake Turning to Salt,” Associated Press, 5/25/11

“Never say you know the last word about any human heart.”

         – Henry James

The late Manning Marable’s recently released biography, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, stands in the company of Joseph Lelyveld’s Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India as another pretty loud shot at the public hagiography of an iconic activist.   As expected, the book has drawn its share of controversy and criticism from some X partisans – not a bad indicator of the quality of content that might be inside.  I’m looking forward to delving into this one as soon as a) the price comes down, b) the library gets it, and/or c) I find someone else’s stray copy lying around.

You can recognize a politician by what he claims to know; you can recognize a (wise) scientist by what he doesn’t:

“Seismologists Tried for Manslaughter for Not Predicting Earthquake”

“A California woman named Lyn Benedetto was one of millions who heard [Harold] Camping’s message, and became concerned that her daughters would suffer terribly in the coming apocalypse. She allegedly forced her daughters, 11 and 14, to lie on a bed and then cut their throats with a box cutter. She then tried to kill herself, though police arrested Benedetto and all three survived.

“Others were not so lucky. An elderly man in Taiwan reportedly killed himself on May 5 ahead of the Rapture by jumping out of a building. He had heard that doomsday was imminent, and had taken recent earthquakes and tsunamis as early warning signs.”

Radford, Benjamin, “Failed Doomsday Has Real Deadly Consequences,” LiveScience.com, 5/24/11

In the wake of the assassination (which will prompt nationwide rejoicing and lots of drunken, patriotic sex once the news is confirmed on TV by the President, himself the subject of great suspicion and intrigue in the minds of millions—a double-agent, perhaps?—and then, for good measure, by Rush Limbaugh or Perez Hilton or Dick Cheney or whoever happens to be your constituency’s voice of reason), Athar tweeted:

I’m still sitting here online, there’s still no electricity here, and the wars haven’t ended.  The world hasn’t changed…