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July 18, 2008

Sharpened spikes found in Seattle lake

Local News | Sharpened spikes at Green Lake | Seattle Times Newspaper

The discovery of more than three dozen machine-sharpened spikes at the Green Lake Park boating center has prompted the city of Seattle to post warnings to would-be swimmers.

A handful of spikes — metal rods roughly 2 or 3 feet long — were found Sunday night by a man wading near the boating center at the south end of the lake. After he alerted city parks staff, Seattle police divers on Monday found 39 spikes buried in the lake bottom, with sharp points sticking up.

"We're horrified," said city parks spokeswoman Dewey Potter. "There can't be any other explanation than malice that we can think of."

The spikes were buried near the center and southern docks of the boating center, where row boats and canoes can be rented. Parks officials believe the spikes may have been there as long as two months because some of the rods were corroded.

California dropout rate: 1 in 4

sfgate.com | EDITOIRIAL | A hard number on dropouts
It's a question long debated and dodged - how bad is California's high school dropout rate? At long last, the state has a credible number, and it's a dismal one. One in 4 students is walking away into a future of low-paying jobs, limited careers and the painful question of "Do you have high school degree?" The 24.2 percent dropout rate should galvanize school boards and state leaders to action.
Schools being labelled as "dropout factories" | Detroit school graduation rate: 32 percent

July 17, 2008

Why did no one tell me Gary Busey had a YouTube channel wherein he offers life and business advice?

YouTube - "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade" by Gary Busey

U.S. trailing rest of developed world in life expectancy

BBC NEWS | Americas | US slips down development index

Americans live shorter lives than citizens of almost every other developed nation, according to a report from several US charities.

The report found that the US ranked 42nd in the world for life expectancy despite spending more on health care per person than any other country.

Overall, the American Human Development Report ranked the world's richest country 12th for human development.

. . .

Asian males in the US were found to have the highest human development index score and were expected to live 14 years longer than African-American males, who had the lowest human development index rating.

July 15, 2008

Secrets of book publishing exposed

Good Experience: Secrets of book publishing I wish I had known

• When you approach publishers with an idea, your main job - practically your only job - is to explain very clearly why the book is going to sell. (Here it really helps if your last name is Clinton.) If you're not a known author or celebrity who can guarantee some sales, then it's best to come in with a clearly defined, market-tested book idea... not to say a knockoff of a bestselling concept or a me-too book on a hot trend, heavens no, we'd never do that, just maybe something "inspired by" a successful book.

• What did you say... you want to do something original? Wait wait wait. Did you not read anything I've written already? "Original" means "risky," which to publishers and bookstores means "it might not sell." IT MIGHT NOT SELL? Oh boy... maybe you could consider doing a cookbook? Or could you become famous and then send out your idea?

• If you do get a publisher interested in your idea, you should know now what the deal will be. You write the book, you promote the book - in other words, you create the product and sell it - and in return, the publisher will allow their name to appear on the book jacket. Oh, and the publisher keeps most of the money - since, they'll remind you, they assumed all the risk in the project.

(via friend of the Almanack Jim Munroe)