Randy Richardson, 42, vying unopposed for the Riceville, Iowa, school board (having agreed to run just because he has two kids in school) failed to get any votes at all — as even he was too busy on election day (Sept. 8) to make it to the polls (nor were there any write-ins). To resolve the 0-0 result, the other board members simply appointed Richardson to the office. Riceville, near the Minnesota border, is a big-time farming community, and registered voters queried by the Des Moines Register said they just had too much fieldwork to do that day.

Leading economic indicators

The serpentine queue extended for blocks in September in Lucknow, India, after the state government of Uttar Pradesh announced 368 job openings (almost all menial) — eventually resulting in about 2.3 million applications, 200,000 from people with advanced degrees (even though the $240-a-month positions required only a fifth-grade education, according to an Associated Press dispatch). About 13 million young people enter India's job market each year.

New World order

Thailand's "Last Resort Rehab" at the Wat Thamkrabok Temple about 100 miles north of Bangkok resembles a traditional drug-detox facility (work, relaxation, meditation) — except for the vomiting. At the "Vomit Temple," Buddhist priests mix a concoction of 120 herbal ingredients that are nasty, according to the temple's methamphetamine addicts interviewed for a recent Australian TV documentary. Said one, of the rehab agenda: "Vomiting is at 3 p.m. every day. Foreigners must vomit for the first five days. The vomiting is intense."

Finer points of the law

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed a federal lawsuit in California in September on behalf of an endangered crested black macaque that wandered up to an unattended camera on a tripod and clicked a selfie. The camera belonged to photographer David Slater, who claimed copyright to the photo even though "Naturo" actually snapped it. The shot might be valuable to Naturo since it has become viral on the Internet. (Though the photo was taken in Indonesia, Slater's publisher is based in California.)

Jose Banks, now 40, filed a $10 million lawsuit in 2014 against the federal government because jailers at Chicago's high-rise Metropolitan Correctional Center failed to guard him closely enough in 2012, thus enabling him to think he could escape. He and a cellmate had rappelled 17 floors with bed sheets, but Banks was rearrested a few days later. Still, he claimed that the escape caused him great trauma, in addition to "humiliation and embarrassment" and "damage to his reputation." (In September, the U.S. Court of Appeals turned him down. Wrote the judges, "No one has a personal right to be better guarded.")

Readers' choice

In August, Che Hearn, 25, who police said had just shoplifted electronics items from a Wal-Mart in Round Lake Beach, Ill., was picked up while on foot near the store. Police found that Hearn had actually driven his car to Wal-Mart but that while he was inside shoplifting, a repo agent (who had followed him to the store) had confiscated it. … Astronaut Edgar Mitchell (the sixth man to walk on the moon) told a reporter in August that "my own experience talking to people" has made it clear that extraterrestrials are trying "to keep us from going to war" with Russia and that U.S. military officers have told him that their test missiles are "frequently" shot down "by alien spacecraft."

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