The February gun-and-baby-carrying workshop in Johnston, Iowa, was so successful that instructor Melody Lauer and CrossRoads Shooting Sports owner Tom Hudson plan more. Lauer insisted that she does not necessarily encourage a baby-holding mother to arm herself, but if she chooses to, safety would of course require that she be familiar with the tricky procedure of drawing, aiming and firing even though she might be "wearing" a baby in a sling in front of her body. Hudson, noting the fast-growing market of gun sales to women, said scheduling the workshop "was a no-brainer."

Questionable judgments

Pioneering British facial surgeon Ninian Peckitt, 63, facing a Medical Practitioners Tribunal in Manchester in April, was accused by a witness of "repeatedly" having punched one patient in the face during a procedure in order to straighten a fracture. Peckitt acknowledged having used his hands to "manipulate" bones in the patient's face, calling it a routine surgery-avoiding procedure sometimes required for extensive injuries.

Inexplicable

Mohammed Almarri, 21, was arrested on multiple charges in Tampa on April 12 after illegally entering a neighbor's apartment in a high-rise and forcing the owner onto the balcony. For reasons undisclosed in the police report, Almarri then allegedly microwaved the man's wallet in his oven.

Leading economic indicators

In the face of jokes about proliferating airline charges, the British economy line easyJet added another fee recently. If easyJet, on its own, cancels a flight, it charges a fee of 10 British pounds (about $15) to notify third parties. The airline said that even though its own decision created the issue, it must nonetheless cover its costs to provide cancellation notices to passengers who miss connections or who need to provide verification to collect on private travel-interruption insurance.

Counting only the pool of bonus money (not regular salaries), employees of New York securities industries in 2014 earned roughly twice as much as the total income paid to all employees in the United States who worked full time at the federal minimum wage ($7.25 an hour). (The statistic, from a report by the Institute for Policy Studies and reinforced by a University of Michigan professor using figures from the New York State Comptroller and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was featured in a March New York Times analysis.)

The redneck chronicles

Austin Hatfield, 18, reported to an emergency room in April after being bitten on the lip by a venomous cottonmouth viper in Wimauma, Fla. According to a fish and wildlife commission spokesman, Hatfield had been keeping the recently caught snake in an ordinary pillowcase on his bed, and when it got out, Hatfield (ungracefully) recaptured it. (The bite was not fatal.)

According to witnesses questioned by the Jacksonville, Fla., Sheriff's Office (on the scene after shots had been reported at Murphy's Express Gas station in March), one customer had fired at another, hitting him in the foot, because he felt that the customer was staring at him while he pumped gas.

Animals in the news

In a February science journal report, a University of Regensburg (Germany) professor noted that ants seem particularly orderly — with "toilet" facilities arranged in far corners of the nests. The researcher speculated that ants keep feces on hand in order to mine nutrients.

A local logger telephoned the Agder Natural History museum in Kristiansand, Norway, in April to report that he had encountered a beaver crushed to death because it was unable to judge which way the tree it was gnawing would fall. (Usually, beavers have an uncanny ability to avoid the tree, but some stragglers still populate their gene pool.)

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