In November, lawyer Michael Petersen of Appleton, Wis., was ordered by Judge Philip Kirk — in a sentence for contempt of court — to inform every client he acquires in the following 12 months that Petersen is a "crook," "cheat," "thief" and "liar." Kirk concluded that Petersen had lied about a plea deal with the prosecutor and created phony documents for backup, leading a client to plead guilty to armed robbery when the prosecutor said there was never such a deal. According to the Appleton Post Crescent, Kirk, after dressing down Petersen in colorful language, told him: "I want you to have as much business as a pimp in a nursing home."
Mexican artist Renato Garza Cervera's work usually involves realistic-looking figures created to startle (e.g., a "piggy bank" as a scowling hog of a man down on all fours), but his recent "gang member" floor rugs seem a career peak. Cervera's "Of Genuine Contemporary Beast" project features exquisitely constructed, life-size, snarling, naked, heavily tattooed men's bodies (as if skinned) as rugs, representing "modern" beasts — Salvadorean gang members. Actually, Cervera told Vice.com he intended sympathy: "Societies always invent new beasts in order to make others responsible for their problems."
Must have the precious
Dr. Bilgin Ciftci was fired in October from Turkey's Public Health Institution and later charged with violating one of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's favorite laws — against "insulting" the president, which carries a maximum four-year prison term — because Ciftci had joined a Turkish Facebook thread that was denouncing Erdogan with facial images comparing him to the "Lord of the Rings" character Gollum. The judge, admitting his unfamiliarity, appointed a five-person group of experts to advise him whether the Erdogan-Gollum comparison was "insulting." "The Lord of the Rings" film director Peter Jackson immediately protested that the images depict not Gollum but his benign alter ego Smeagol, making the comparison obviously not insulting.
Researchers gone wild
• Scientists from Australia's University of Queensland have developed "swimsuits" to act as diapers for six giant loggerhead turtles as they study their diets by examining their feces. "To our great surprise," said one researcher, they "worked perfectly." The suits were easy to put on, comfortable for the sea turtles to wear (according to the researchers, not the turtles), looked great (ditto), and we were "able to collect the entire fecal sample," he bragged to a London Daily Telegraph reporter in Sydney.
• After all, leeches are interesting and thus someone has to study them, and Mark Siddall, curator of invertebrates at the American Museum of Natural History, is that person. These leeches are easily found, but only in the rear ends of hippopotamuses, he noted, and told Wired.com in August that if a creature can exploit a niche others cannot, it has a monopoly on food. "The only part on the hippo that's vascularized enough to get a good blood meal (is) the rectal region." Making life worse for these leeches, they lack the strong jaws of other leeches and must instead use a nose-like organ that, writes Wired, it "snakes" into the vascular tissue.
It was a tall order
Damon Matthews, 19, surrendered to police in Bay City, Mich., in November and confessed to robbing a 7-Eleven. His sister had convinced Matthews that police would soon arrive to apprehend him because, even though he wore a ski-mask "disguise," Matthews is 7 feet 4 and a former high school classmate of the clerk. It was left unreported why Matthews thought the mask would help him.
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