Feature

Good week, Bad week

Secessionists; Outsmarting the NSA; Inhaling

Good week for:

Secessionists, after representatives from eight rural Colorado counties began making plans to form a breakaway state, North Colorado, to escape the state’s gun-control laws and oil-industry regulations. “This is not a stunt,” said Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway. “Our very way of life is under attack.”

Outsmarting the NSA, after Russia’s secret service ordered dozens of electric typewriters, saying that recent revelations about the U.S. National Security Agency’s online surveillance program made them distrust computer communications.

Waste management, after British scientists invented a cellphone battery powered by urine. This “is about as eco as it gets,” said one researcher, noting that urine is a renewable resource.

Bad week for:

Inhaling, with the news that a specimen of the world’s largest flower, the titan arum, is about to bloom at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. To attract carrion insects, the flower emits a stench botanists likened to “a very dead elephant.”

The idea that more is better, after a New York City woman set off 21 bug bombs inside her apartment, causing an explosion that collapsed her five-story building, injuring 14 people.

American Legacy Firearms, a gun-maker that unveiled the “Dallas Heritage Rifle” to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Lee Harvey Oswald’s assassination of President John F. Kennedy. “If I hurt someone’s feelings, I’m sorry,” said company boss Steve Faler, “but I’m not gonna worry about it.”

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