The Federal Aviation Administration recently granted (likely for the first time) an application to fly a paper airplane. Prominent drone advocate Peter Sachs had applied to conduct commercial aerial photography with his "aircraft" (a Tailor Toys model with a tiny propeller and maximum range of 180 feet), and the agency, concerned with air traffic safety, accommodated by treating the request (unironically?) under the rules for manned flights (that, among other restrictions, Sachs must not exceed 100 miles per hour and must engage a licensed airplane pilot to fly it). "With this grant," said the "victorious" Sachs, "the FAA has abandoned all logic and sensibility."
DIY dentistry seemed off-limits — until amateur orthodontia got a boost from a 2012 YouTube video in which Shalom DeSota, now 17, praised rubber bands for teeth-straightening. DeSota's family lacked dental insurance at the time, so the would-be actress experimented by looping rubber bands around two front teeth she wanted to draw together. Many painful days later, she succeeded. The American Association of Orthodontists expressed alarm in August at the video's recent popularity. So much could go wrong — infection, gum-tearing, detachment between tooth and gums — that DeSota, the organization said, had simply been lucky.
New world order
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction announced in July that it would be experimenting with online phys ed courses for high schoolers. Students would watch videos on certain activities, then engage in them, and later self-report their (as the agency calls it) "mastery."
All Sherri Smith wanted was copies of background e-mails about her son (who has a disability) in the files of the school system in Goodrich, Mich., but the superintendent informed her in June that the Freedom of Information request would cost her $77,780 (4,500 hours of searching — taking two years to complete). (Michigan's FOI law was somewhat liberalized on July 1, and Smith said she may refile.)
The streets of Jackson, Miss., apparently have potholes that rival the worst in the country, but without adequate budget to fix them, according to Mayor Tony Yarber. His remedy, offered earnestly to constituents in August: prayer. "I believe we can pray potholes away." (Yarber, elected in 2014, was pastor of the Relevant Empowerment Church.)
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