This blog covers everything except sports and gardening, unless we find a really good link about using dead professional bowlers for mulch. The author is a StarTribune columnist, has been passing off fiction and hyperbole as insight since 1997, has run his own website since the Jurassic era of AOL, and was online when today’s college sophomores were a year away from being born. So get off his lawn.

Stalactite, stalagmite, let's call the whole thing off

Posted by: James Lileks under Gripes, Outstate, Technology Updated: November 9, 2012 - 11:54 AM

Here’s your Friday Lance Lawson mystery. Solution at the bottom.

 

YOU DID WHAT? This has become world-wide news. Poor kid.

A nine-year-old boy has emptied his parents’ piggy bank, spending almost $4,000 on candy in the Ukrainian city of Konotop, the Ukrainian edition of Russia’s Komsomolskaya Pravda daily said on Wednesday.

A total of $3,300 and 500 euro (about $600) - the family's entire savings - went missing from the stash which was kept hidden under a sofa.

“The disappearance was first spotted by the father, a shift worker who had just returned home,” said Tatyana Kushnerova of the local police department. “He opened the stash and saw that it was empty.”

After a brief family row, their son admitted stealing the money, saying he wanted to buy some sweets.

You suspect the “row” was “brief” because the kid crumpled after the first blow. Gawker mines the story for yuks, adding

He did this with the help of "an adult acquaintance" who, according to news reports, "has been diagnosed with a mental disorder" (if being THE WORLD'S COOLEST GROWN-UP is a mental disorder)

If it’s someone’s unhappiness, it’s Gawker-fodder.

Assuming the story’s true, that is. The newspaper industries of other lands have a fanciful approach to truth when it comes to little slice-of-life stories. Not to say that the American press hasn’t been guilty of that from time to time.

While it’s fun to mock Gawker, sister-site i09 delivers interesting science almost every day. Today there’s this:

 

Wow! I know! Incredible, isn’t it? Actually, it is. That’s an account of the Mayan climate during their civilization’s rise and fall, based on evidence in a stalagmite so rich in data scientists could see climate variations in six-month increments. You’re thinking: stalagmite. Is that the hanging one or the pointy-up one? Pointy-up. The others are stalactites. Here’s an easy way to remember: “Mite makes right.” Because if you laid down on your left side and raised your right arm it would be a stalagmite. I just made that up.

 

VIDEO “This Is Why You Don’t Buy an iPad From Walmart,” the feller says, as he goes on to show how his employees treat merchandise back in the stock room. Since it contains profanity, we won’t embed it here, lest it leak all over the site and into the office, and someone hears a curse word and suddenly thinks it’s 1985 again.

 

Link’s here. Question: fake? You could say it has all the hallmarks of a real idiocy - shot in portrait mode instead of landscape, faces shown, location announced - but that could make it fake as well. Then again, you would have to be as stupid as the people in this video to post the video.

 

Usually we find out what happens to these people, so stay tuned.

 

SOLUTION If they’d never seen the bottle before - sorry, if NIETHER had seen the bottle - how did they know it was cyanide?

 

They’ll be kicking themselves about that one all the way to the gas chamber.

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