Saluting Cops with One Finger

Legal, Not Advised: ‘…[An] Oregon man is suing suburban Portland cops (.pdf) over his use of the gesture, claiming civil rights violations. Twice he flipped them off for no apparent reason while driving and was pulled over each time — resulting in what he said was a “bogus” traffic citation that was later dismissed, and a tongue lashing he still remembers.

“The guy flew into a road rage,” Robert Ekas, a retired Silicon Valley systems analyst, said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

Lawrence Wolf, a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, said there was no law against flipping off cops. And in most instances when it leads to an arrest or conviction, the charges are dismissed. But the gesture invites police confrontation, he said.

“It’s certainly not the smartest thing one can do,” Wolf said.

American University legal scholar Ira Robbins has written a definitive paper on flipping the bird: “Digitus Impudicus: The Middle Finger and the Law.” (.pdf)…’ (Wired)


24 Shakes

Title page of Shake-Speares Sonnets''

Wellesley College Tries to Read Complete Works of Shakespeare in 24-Hour Marathon. “On Friday, March 5, at 3 pm the students will launch “24 Shakes,” an all day and night literary adventure, as they read aloud all of Shakespeare’s works:14,000 lines, 154 sonnets and 39 plays. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place in the Shakespeare House, the small Tudor cottage by the Davis Museum and Cultural Center on Wellesley’s campus.”


Huge Garbage Patch Found in Atlantic Too

The Atlantic Ocean.

‘Billions of bits of plastic are accumulating in a massive garbage patch in the Atlantic Ocean—a lesser known cousin to the Texas-size trash vortex in the Pacific, scientists say.

“Many people have heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” said Kara Lavender Law, an oceanographer at the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. “But this issue has essentially been ignored in the Atlantic.”

The newly described garbage patch sits hundreds of miles off the North American coast. Although its east-west span is unknown, the patch covers a region between 22 and 38 degrees north latitude—roughly the distance from Cuba to Virginia…’ (National Geographic)


The Chile Earthquake Deformed The Earth And Shortened Our Days

“Megathrust quakes like Chile’s are so huge, and cause such a giant release of energy, that they change the shape of the Earth. In the case of Chile’s subduction quake, the planet became slightly denser and more compact. Mass was pulled closer to the Earth’s center as one plate was thrust under the other. And that affected the Earth’s spin. It made the planet spin slightly faster, to be precise, and shortened the length of the Earth day” (io9)


Carl And Ann’s Ultimate Mix Tape Of The Human Experience

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‘…[H]ow do you decide what to put on the ultimate mix tape of the human experience? What do you do if you have one shot at describing humanity to an unknown life form? That was the charge of Carl Sagan — astronomer, astrophysicist and famed popularizer of science. Of course, Sagan had a lot of help, including the creative director of the project, Ann Druyan.

“It was a chance to tell something of what life on Earth was like to beings of perhaps 1,000 million years from now,” Druyan says. “If that didn't raise goose bumps, then you'd have to be made out of wood.”

For Druyan, though, the summer of 1977 and the Voyager project carry a deeply personal meaning, too. It was during the Voyager project that she and Sagan fell in love.’ (Radiolab: NPR).