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Earlier this month 57-year-old Ronald Mallett, a physics professor at the University of Connecticut, said that after years of study he hopes to begin experiments this year that will lead to genuine time travel. Mallett derived his theory from Einstein's theory of relativity but says that moving even small objects might require more energy than can be delivered with our current knowledge, and that the first objects transported may be no more than a neutron or two. The professor says he's been thinking about time travel since age ten, when his father died, because he wanted to go back in time to warn his dad about the dangers of smoking.

According to a feature last month in the Washington Post Magazine, a deaf female couple in Bethesda, Maryland, recently gave birth to a partially deaf child who had been artificially conceived using sperm from a man with a long family history of deafness. The couple said they merely wanted their son to be like the rest of the family, including their older daughter.

Creative Sentencing

In Duluth, Minnesota, 25-year-old Leah Marie Fairbanks, who'd confessed to stabbing a man, was sentenced in February to 14 months' probation, during which she is to write reports on the Declaration of Independence and seven classic novels; her codefendant, sentenced by another judge, got eight years in prison....And last month 50-year-old Luther Crawford of Louisville, who has 12 children by 11 different women and owes $33,000 in child support, avoided prison by agreeing to refrain from all sexual intercourse until he is paid up.

Compelling Explanations

Last October 34-year-old Ian Cheeseman of Canada pleaded guilty to multiple counts of sexual assault against girls; at his sentencing hearing in Ottawa two months ago he vehemently denied that he had raped any of his victims. "That's not my thing," he said. "Urophilia [drinking urine] is my thing."...And in February, Marvin Martin II of Ottawa, Ohio, was convicted of killing a 15-year-old boy, despite the defendant's insistence that he'd been cloned three times in the army and that one of his clones committed the crime.

Unclear on the Concept

In February, Maggie Wallace, a public school employee in Johnstown, New York, was sentenced to a year in jail for calling in a bomb threat to the school on September 12, 2001; Wallace said she wanted the school to close so the kids could get a breather after the events of September 11....And the same month 27-year-old Jose Portillo of Albuquerque was charged with criminal sexual penetration of a child under 13, for having had sex with a 12-year-old girl who then became pregnant. Portillo told police he thought she was 13.

People Different From Us

In February prosecutors in Orleans County, Vermont, charged Jamie Ovitt with the murder of his ex-stepfather, Duane Perry, in April 2000. According to the case against Ovitt, the fatal bullet went through Duane Perry's body and hit Ovitt's mother (who was allegedly his accomplice), bloodying her knee, and after mother and son buried the victim in a deep grave, they jumped into his truck to make their getaway but realized that the keys were still in the victim's pocket.

Our Civilization in Decline

Prisons in Scotland, addressing the problem of inmates being released and immediately overdosing on heroin, introduced an experimental program to provide methadone to short-timers so they can build up their tolerance....And in a divorce case scheduled to be heard in June, the ex-wife of former Zambian president Frederick Chiluba is asking for more than $2.5 billion, equivalent to about three-fourths of the country's gross domestic product.

In the Last Month

The government of Iran reported that on a single day in March more than 900 traffic accidents occurred, killing 122 people and injuring 2,000....In Saint Louis a tour bus ran over and killed 36-year-old Susie Stephens of Great Britain, a world authority on pedestrian safety who was in town speaking at a biking/walking conference....In Virginia Beach, Virginia, a 12-year-old girl, confronted by a male flasher in a hotel elevator, bloodied him by grabbing his zipper and yanking it up quickly....And in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, Univest bank accepted for deposit two $100 bills that had been chewed up, swallowed, and digested by the depositor's dog.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Belschwender.

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