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True Stories


Partisan Press

The newspaper in Vevay, Indiana, publishes two editions that are exactly identical except for their names - and the fact that one (The Switzerland Democrat) is read by Democrats and the other (The Vevay Reveille-Enterprise) is read by Republicans. The editor, Patrick Lanman, says that subscribers to The Reveille-Enterprise actually call to complain if they get a Democrat by mistake, and if the drugstore is out of Democrats, people will go to another store, rather than simply picking up a Reveille-Enterprise.

Source: New York Times, 2001/01/31, "Indiana Considers Synchronizing Its Watches".

Novel Military Tactics

Jakarta, Indonesia. Also earlier on Friday, rock-throwing and scuffles broke out after 5,000 pro-Habibie supporters confronted an equal number of anti-government student protesters who have been occupying Parliament for most of the week. To cool tempers, the Indonesian military employed a tactic not found in most military manuals -- about 100 of them marched in-between the two sides and began to sing and dance. Stacking their assault weapons to the side, the soldiers announced they were going to sing an old Javanese song called ``Goodbye My Love'' and urged the students to join in. As their comrades clapped and sang along, 20 soldiers wearing camouflage and bayonets high-stepped and strutted with a precision rivaling hip hop dance routines.

Source: New York Times, 1998/05/22

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Oliver Wendell Holmes, the great Supreme Court Justice, in his last years (he lived to be ninety-four), was walking down Pennsylvania Avenue with a friend, when a pretty girl passed. As all dirty old men must, especially when the dignity of the Supreme Court is at stake, Holmes turned to look after her. Having done so, he sighed and said to his friend, "Ah, George, what wouldn't I give to be seventy-five again?"

From Isaac Asimov, "The Sensuous Dirty Old Man" (1971).

Polar Geography

On Friday, senior Russian officials flew to an ice camp several dozen miles east of the pole to inaugurate a new polar drifting ice station that would be home to several scientists for the coming year.

Source: Andrew C. Revkin, "At the Bustling North Pole, Life Is a Merry-Go-Round", New York Times, 2003/04/27.

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Peter Selinger / Department of Mathematics and Statistics / Dalhousie University
selinger@mathstat.dal.ca / PGP key