The Upshot
  • cesar chavezThe United States Navy has reportedly decided to name a Lewis and Clark-class cargo ship after the late Latino labor organizer Cesar Chavez. The decision, which is expected to be formally announced today, has caused no small amount of controversy.

    Congressman Duncan Hunter, R-California, has objected to the Navy's decision. In a statement released by his office, the congressman wrote, "Naming a ship after Cesar Chavez goes right along with other recent decisions by the Navy that appears to be more about making a political statement than upholding the Navy's history and tradition."

    Hunter went on to argue that it makes more sense to honor Marine Corps Sgt. Rafael Peralta, "who was nominated for the Medal of Honor for action in Iraq--or WWII Medal of Honor recipient John Finn, a lifelong San Diego resident."

    Read More »from Navy’s plan to honor Cesar Chavez irks lawmaker
  • The world’s silliest inventions

    When we saw this gallery of bizarre inventions from, we couldn't help wondering if they were actually some of the greatest inventions of all time. After all, who couldn't use their own personal flying saucer or portable sauna?

    Slideshow: See more of the dumbest inventions

    Photo courtesy LIFE

    You can view the full collection of 30 dumb inventions  on

    Read More »from The world’s silliest inventions
  • If there's one day you don't want to walk under ladders, break any mirrors, or run afoul of any hockey-mask-wearing lunatics, it's Friday the 13th. The day, which occurs one to three times every year, is synonymous with bad luck, and folks on the Web are eager to know how it got such a scary reputation.

    The urban legend experts at offer several theories on why Friday the 13th is so feared. The site writes that "some of the more common theories link it to a significant event in the Christian tradition said to have taken place on Friday." The big examples include the crucifixion and Eve offering the apple to Adam in the Garden of Eden.

    And then there's the number 13. Many buildings don't have a 13th floor; some airplanes don't have a 13th row. Clearly, many people are a bit worried about encountering the unlucky number in their daily routines. According to's urban legend expert, the aversion to all things 13 may have begun when early humans were learning to count. "Primitive man had only his 10 fingers and two feet to represent units," this explanation goes, "so he could count no higher than 12. What lay beyond that — 13 — was an impenetrable mystery to our prehistoric forbearers, hence an object of superstition."

    Read More »from Friday the 13th: Why the fear?


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  • California's governor issues 105 pardons, but retracts 1
    California's governor issues 105 pardons, but retracts 1

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Continuing a Christmas Eve tradition, Gov. Jerry Brown issued pardons to 105 people Wednesday, before retracting one to a man hours later after learning he had not disclosed recent discipline by financial regulators, a spokesman said.

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