The Lookout
  • Denied Facebook friend request sparks bloody family feud

    AP071106066054Many have lamented how Facebook brings an overheated sense of drama into the lives of its obsessive users--but this looks to be the new standard for social-media-driven mania.

    According to the New York Post, Giselle Penagos is in a New York hospital today with a broken leg and a shattered pelvis after her cousin, Melanie Spanopoulos, ran her over with a van. The vehicular assuault allegedly stems from the news that a man Spanopoulos had a crush on had accepted Penagos' Facebook friend request while ignoring a request from Spanopoulos. The two Long Island women, who'd been watching football in a bar together, then got into a heated argument on their drive home.

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  • Justice Scalia is a barrel of laughs

    AP070110024869A second study has confirmed that Justice Antonin Scalia is the funniest judge on the Supreme Court, writes The New York Times' Adam Liptak.

    Liptak pokes a little fun at the study's author, Ryan Malphurs, for his very serious update to a light-hearted 2005 study that calculated the justices whose comments provoked the most laughter based on transcripts of their hearings. Malphurs says that study was flawed, because there are many different types of laughter, and he tried to categorize them in his updated study in The Communication Law Review.

    Justice Clarence Thomas, who famously rarely asks questions, provoked the least laughter. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Samuel Alito were judged the least funny justices who speak at hearings. Stephen Breyer and John Roberts are in second and third place in funniness, respectively.

    Liptak notes there are key differences in style:

    Chief Justice Roberts has a light, witty touch, while the laughter that follows a long hypothetical question from Justice Breyer can feel like an expression of relief. Justice Scalia, by contrast, will repeat jokes mercilessly, raising questions about whether he has artificially increased his laugh count.

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  • Hawk loose inside Library of Congress finally captured


    Birds of prey aren't generally known for their love of learning, but over the past week a wayward hawk has set up shop inside the hallowed halls of the Library of Congress, perhaps to evade the bitter cold snap that's recently gripped the eastern United States.

    The Cooper's hawk made the library's main reading room its new home last Wednesday and officials have been trying to capture it ever since. Animal rescue workers tried deploying baited traps and nets, but the bird wasn't budging. Indeed, it became such a fixture at the library that the Washington Post called upon its readers to give the hawk a name -- "Jefferson" won out, in honor of the president whose library furnished the basis of the Library's collection. (For our part, we favored "Poindexter," since seeing a mighty hawk hang around a library all day is clearly an occasion to celebrate nerd pride.)

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