Monday, November 30, 2020

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News of the Weird

Hard-hitting numbers

4/22/2015

In March, offensive lineman John Urschel of the Baltimore Ravens added to his curriculum vitae by co-authoring the latest of his several peer-reviewed academic articles — “A Cascadic Multigrid Algorithm for Computing the Fiedler Vector of Graph Laplacians” in the Journal of Computational Mathematics. If Urschel can understand, and even advance, tangled, obtuse formulas (which use familiar numbers, e.g., 1, 2, 3, and Greek letters such as phi, lambda, and sigma — lots of sigmas), why is he a football player, he asked himself on the Players Tribune website. “There’s a rush you get when you go out on the field . . . and physically dominate the player across from you.” He added, “I love hitting people.”

 

Great art

The National Gallery of Australia hosted a special series of tours of “James Turrell: A Retrospective” in early April — in which all guests were nude. The tours were staged by Australian artist Stuart Ringholt, who introduced the concept earlier at the Museum of Contemporary Art (and was nude, himself, for the Turrell show, though other gallery staff remained clothed). The post-tour cocktail reception was also in the nude.

 

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Far out

The Australian “abstract expressionist” Aelita Andre began painting “professionally” at age 9 months, said her parents, and by 22 months had her own exhibit at Melbourne’s Brunswick Street gallery, and by age 4, the paintbrush-armed toddler had enjoyed a $24,000 sale. She has now also distinguished herself as an “artist” of another type while explaining her approach. In April, the now-8-year-old told News.com.au, “I interpret my style of painting as a magic, abstract universe. It doesn’t sit in one tiny sphere in all realism; it goes out and it explores the world.” She acknowledged seeing things (e.g., “rabbits”) that an 8-year-old might, but pointed out that she also sees “the cosmos.” “I just feel free. I don’t feel locked up in a tiny world.”

 

World’s greatest lawyer

A man in Mios, France, fired from his job several years ago, and who had been receiving unemployment benefits, suddenly found himself being dunned by the national labor agency when a tribunal finally ruled in the employer’s favor and ordered the man’s benefits paid back. The agency ordered the man’s current employer to garnishee his paycheck of the equivalent of $160-$210 per week — until, according to a March report on Paris’s The Local, he hired a certain (unnamed) lawyer. The labor agency’s new order requires the current employer, instead, to garnishee the pay by 1 centime (about a penny) a month for the next 26,126 years.

 

But lawyering couldn’t be difficult

Kimberly Kitchen, 45, was a successful estate lawyer in Huntington, Pennsylvania, with more than 30 clients for the BMZ Law firm (so successful in her 10-year career that she had just been promoted to partner and had served as president of the local bar association) with but one complication — that in December she was finally revealed not to be a lawyer at all. Her diploma, bar exam results, and other documents were forgeries, according to the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office, which filed charges in March.

 

Undignified death

Wayne Clark, 52, collapsed and died in January of an apparent heart attack seconds after walking into the Aldi grocery store in Edgewood, Maryland, and announcing a robbery. At his home, police discovered evidence linking Clark to two earlier robberies.

 

Heartless

Anthony Stokes, 17, died in March from car-crash injuries as he was fleeing Roswell, Georgia, police following a home invasion. Stokes drew national attention in 2013 when, in order to receive a heart transplant, he promised to turn around his until-then-criminal life. Soon after the surgery, though, he was posting thug selfies on Facebook, and in January 2015 had been jailed for possessing stolen property.

 

Get off your can

In January, the principal of W.F. Burns Middle School in Valley, Alabama, sent home a letter to parents with her suggestions on how to train students in the event an active shooter breaks into the classroom. In order not to be “sitting ducks” for the intruder, each child was asked to be armed with an 8-ounce canned food item to toss at any potential spree-killer. The can is designed to give the student a “sense of empowerment” in the face of extreme danger, the principal told WHNT-TV of Huntsville, but acknowledged that “(T)his is a sensitive topic.” CV

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