A $9,000 library fine
An overdue library book has finally been returned—after 110 years. Mutt Baird originally checked out the 1,553-page Webster’s dictionary from the Lyn Public Library in Ontario in 1899, but forgot to return it when he and his family moved to New York state that winter. Last week, his nephew, 83-year-old Dale Fenton Baird Sr. of Denver, presented it to Orval Ladd, president of the Lyn Heritage Place Centre, in time for Lyn’s 225th anniversary. The fine came to more than $9,000, but it was waived. “I know you had a guilty conscience,” Ladd joked to Baird.
Google Maps a cure for agoraphobia?
A British woman who suffered from agoraphobia for 20 years has finally left her house. Sue Curtis, 40, first began experiencing fear of the outdoors when her two sons were toddlers. Her panic attacks became so acute that they would surface if she tried to leave her home in northern England. But after taking free self-help classes on the Internet, and becoming fascinated by the sights she was seeing on Google Maps, Curtis can now make it down her street and back without fear. “It may not seem very far to walk, but for me this is amazing. And now I don’t see a reason why I can’t be cured in the future and lead a normal life again.”
A whiff of chocolate
If you love chocolate but are concerned about the calories, David Edwards, a Harvard biomedical engineer, has a treat for you. It’s “Le Whif,” a lipstick-sized mini-inhaler that shoots a calorie-free chocolate mist into your mouth. The device grew out of Edwards’ research into a better way to deliver inhaled medicines; the price is about $2 for four puffs. “The whole process is very art-science,” Edwards says. “You have a culinary art and aerosol science meeting.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What is driving the increasingly weird behavior of the polar jet stream?
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- Christians have no moral rationale for spanking their children
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Should you hope to die at 75? Absolutely not.
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 10 things you need to know today: September 23, 2014
- Why America should team up with Bashar al-Assad's regime
Subscribe to the Week