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2006 July 11 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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World Cup official shot himself: Juergen Kiessling, the man who organized the World Cup in Germany, attempts to commit suicide at 65?

Materazzi denies terrorist insult:

The BBC’s Ten O’Clock News also called in experts to study the television footage of the incident and determined the following:

Materazzi’s first word to Zidane was “no” before he then told him to “calm down”.

He then accused him of being a “liar” and wished “an ugly death to you and your family” on the day the Frenchman’s mother had been taken to hospital ill. This was followed by “Go f*** yourself”.

How rife is taunting in football?

Fifa investigates Zidane red card. This is a bit touchy. If Fifa determines that Materazzi used a racial slur of any kind, ownership of the World Cup could come into question as he scored one of the penalty shots and should have been ejected for race baiting.

It’s a game, people. It’s kicking a ball around a yard. It is supposed to be fun. It is supposed to provide exercise and teach teamwork and sportsmanship. It is not supposed to involve autopsies, courts, and lawyers.

Update: new transcript of the exchange discovered.

July 11, 2006   2 Comments

Weighing Witches

As CNN reports:

Governor Timothy M. Kaine gave an informal pardon Monday to Grace Sherwood, who 300 years ago became Virginia’s only person convicted as a witch tried by water.

Now some among you may have complained about the absurdity of a well-known representation of a witch trial not realizing that it was based on historic fact, for a given value of based.

The most common reason I have encountered regarding pitching people into the local bayou to see if they were witches was because witches had sold their souls to the devil. Obviously without a soul they would be lighter and would float, whereas good Christian would sink from the weight of their soul. This was sound Aristotelian logic, very advanced scientific thought for the time.

There was no satisfactory explanation, beyond the ever popular: “if they weren’t guilty of anything they wouldn’t have been arrested”, as to why you would present someone with the choice of drowning if they were innocent or being hauled out and hanged if they were guilty. In later ages the guilty were burned after death as they had to dry out first.

In English common law if you were accused of a crime and died when “put to the question” without confessing your guilt, your family inherited your property, otherwise it was generally forfeited to the court.

July 11, 2006   Comments Off on Weighing Witches