News of the Weird
In July the director of Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, New York, finally got around to forming a committee of physicists to explore whether the lab's replication of the world-forming Big Bang, scheduled for later in 1999, could possibly backfire and destroy the Earth. Full nuclear collisions by the lab's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider will start in the fall, building to the Big Bang. Some physicists believe there is a small chance that the machine could create new kinds of matter or form miniature "black holes" and suck in all surrounding matter.
In July Zoe Bernadette Dawes, 25, and two men were scheduled for trial in September on a charge that they raped a 24-year-old man at a party in Miles, Queensland, Australia, last year. According to prosecutors, the victim was held at gunpoint, tied down on the floor, and straddled by Dawes after he had been given an injection to induce an erection.
Because You're Evil
A Canton, Illinois, physician told the judge in February he didn't know why he filed 150 false Medicare claims. A Calgary, Alberta, man told the prosecutor in June he didn't know why he killed a guest at his sister's wedding. New Jersey murderer Samuel Manzie told the judge in April he didn't know why he killed that 11-year-old boy. Quebec union leader Lorraine Page told a court in April that she didn't know why she left a store with unpaid-for leather gloves. A since-fired lab technician in Palo Alto, California, told her supervisor in April she didn't know why she reused needles to draw blood from thousands of patients. Seventy-year-old Marie Noe of Philadelphia told her lawyer in June she didn't know why she killed her eight young children decades ago.
Veteran radio reporter Larry Matthews, 55, told a judge in Greenbelt, Maryland, in March that he really wasn't trafficking in child pornography during the two years he swapped pictures with Internet pedophiles, but rather was working on a story; however, he couldn't produce the name of any editor he had told about the story. And Washington, D.C., vanity-press author Ralph Vitale faces a big tax bill after a U.S. tax court finding in April that disallowed $9,000 in prostitute visits as "research" expenses for his novel set in a Nevada brothel; Vitale said he was just a stickler for detail in his characters, but one reviewer said the average woman in the book "has the complexity of a blow-up doll."
Pro wrestling's former women's champion Rena "Sable" Mero filed a $110 million lawsuit against the World Wrestling Federation in June, claiming that her sport is too "obscene, titillating" and "vulgar" for her taste. Mero is a sometimes Playboy model whose signature wrestling move was standing over her fallen opponent and grinding her pelvis at her.
Crisis in the Workplace
Greater Manchester (England) Police officer Jackie Smithies, 36, recently had breast-reduction surgery so that she could fit painlessly into inside-the-uniform body armor, according to a May report in The Times of London. She went from a 36-F to a 36-C to comply with the armor directive for all officers on the street.
By Chuck Shepherd
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.