Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Interesting News

(Aug. 11) -- For centuries, an astronomy observatory in Greenwich, London -- the namesake of Greenwich Mean Time -- has been the reference point for lines of longitude, ships' navigation on the world's seas and the time zones used today.

But Saudi Arabia wants to change that. It's building what it calls the largest clock in the world, atop the second-largest skyscraper in the world, in the Islamic holy city of Mecca -- in hopes of replacing GMT with "Mecca Time."

Source: Saudis Want 'Mecca Time' to Replace GMT

(Aug. 11) -- At least 80,000 people, including about 60,000 Jews, died at the Majdanek Nazi concentration camp in Poland. And now up to 10,000 pairs of shoes, which served as a memorial to the victims who wore them, have perished.

A wooden barrack housing the shoes and other artifacts was nearly destroyed by a fire that broke out just before midnight on Monday.

Source: Fire Destroys Shoes Worn by Nazi Victims

Warsaw, Ohio, just got way more interesting than it has any right to be: A local strip club recently launched an all-out offensive against the town menace, the New Beginnings Ministries Church.

Sources say that for the past four years Pastor Bill Dunfee has been harassing Tommy George and his Foxhole strip joint. What's worse is that Dunfee and his ilk are a full seven country miles from the private business, yet bother to show up every weekend to block traffic, take photos of customers' license plates to upload to their shaming site and just generally condemn and insult George.

Source: Strip Club Goes to War Against Neighboring Church

LONDON (Aug. 6) -- Ever engaged a freegan in nonversation, or does the very idea make you want to precuperate? If you haven't a clue what we're talking about, don't worry, you're probably not xenolexic.

The bizarre terms used in those last two sentences are "non words": Words that have allegedly been submitted to the Oxford English Dictionary -- the gatekeepers of the English language -- but rejected on the grounds that too few people currently use them. Some of these non words are hyper-local slang, while others briefly spring in and out of existence when they're deployed to describe short-lived phenomena. A freegan, for example, is an eco-campaigner who hunts for goodies in other people's trash; a nonversation is a vapid, pointless chat; to "precuperate" means to get ready for an oncoming illness; and, perhaps most appropriately of all, a xenolexic is someone who suffers intense confusion when faced with new words.

Source: Unused but Useful: Oxford English Dictionary's Reject List

(Aug. 5) -- Writing an award-winning book is hard to do for an adult, much less a teenager.

It's even more difficult when you have problems reading books.

But twin sisters from Orange County, Calif., who just turned 15 aren't letting little things like age, dyslexia or attention deficit disorder keep them from becoming acclaimed authors.

Source: Reading Problems Don't Stop Twins From Being Acclaimed Authors

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