Putting up bar­ri­ers in Moscow di­vorce

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Divorc­ing cou­ples who can­not de­cide who gets to keep a trea­sured fam­ily home leave the de­ci­sion to a judge, and in Oc­to­ber, a court in Moscow or­dered a cou­ple to build a brick wall di­vid­ing in two their ex­pen­sive house in an elite neigh­bor­hood. Ap­par­ently con­trac­tors’ mea­sure­ments have been taken, and the cou­ple have as­sumed do­min­ion over their re­spec­tive ar­eas, even to the ex­tent that a friend of the wife had be­come “trapped” on the hus­band’s side and pre­vented from leav­ing un­til she called emer­gency ser­vices. Fur­ther­more, the wife must have a sec­ond stair­way built, as the ex­ist­ing one is on the hus­band’s side.

Must be ‘pig Latin’

Amer­i­can gang­sters tra­di­tion­ally use eu­phemisms and nick­names (“Chin,” “The Nose”) to dis­guise crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties, but among de­tails re­vealed at a Novem­ber mur­der trial in Syd­ney, Aus­tralia, was that mem­bers of the “Brothers 4 Life” gang might have used “pig Latin.” In a phone-tapped con­ver­sa­tion played in court, one of the men on trial was over­heard cun­ningly telling a hench­man that a col­league had been “caught with the un-gay in the ar-kay.” A help­ful wit­ness then took the stand to ex­plain to the jury that the de­fen­dant thus knew there was “a gun in the car.” At press time, the trial was still in progress.

Sci­en­tific gib­ber­ish

An “aca­demic” pa­per com­posed en­tirely of gib­ber­ish was ac­cepted for a lec­ture at the In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence on Atomic and Nu­clear Physics in At­lanta last month. Prof. Christoph Bart­neck of New Zealand’s Univer­sity of Can­ter­bury said he be­gan writ­ing (us­ing Ap­ple iOS) by en­ter­ing “atomic” and “nu­clear” into his tablet and “ran­domly” fol­low­ing what­ever “au­to­com­plete” sug­ges­tions emerged. (Sam­ple sen­tence: “The atoms of a bet­ter uni­verse will have the right for the same as you are the way we shall have to be a great place ...” Con­clu­sion: “Power is not a great place for a good time.”)

Not a good idea

A 23-year-old man in Tampa, Fla., was hang­ing out with his cousin in Septem­ber, and nearby were a gun and a bul­let-re­sis­tant vest — and the re­sult was pre­dictable. Ac­cord­ing to po­lice, the first man donned the vest and said he won­dered whether it “still worked”; the cousin picked up the gun and said, “Let’s see.” The cousin, Alexan­dro Garibaldi, 24, was charged with man­slaugh­ter.

Should have hailed a cab

In Oc­to­ber in Or­lando, Wil­liam Ed­wards, 28, leav­ing the Dancer’s Royale strip club at 2:30 a.m., started his truck, drove, fell out, had it run over his leg, and saw the truck drift down a street and into a home, in­jur­ing the oc­cu­pant. Also in Oc­to­ber, a 25-year-old man in Scu­gog, On­tario, back­ing his car down his drive­way with the door open, fell out, had it run over his leg, and saw it hit two mail­box posts. Both times, as in nearly ev­ery sim­i­lar case, al­co­hol was in­volved. Com­plete the grid be­low so that ev­ery row, col­umn and 3x3 box con­tains ev­ery digit from 1 to 9 in­clu­sively. For help, go to en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Su­doku.

12/17 DIF­FI­CULTY RAT­ING:

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