Editorial: Casual Fridays 2/11

By Staff Editorial

If only actual crime were fake too

Satire is the hallmark of any college… If only actual crime were fake too

Satire is the hallmark of any college newspaper’s opinions section. But when you find satire in a news section, you can usually bet it’s April 1 — that is, unless you’re reading The Morningside Post, the graduate-student run publication at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. This week, the Post published an article detailing a fictional mugging that occurred when two men with ski masks attacked a female Columbia grad student in New York. After Gawker.com picked up the story as if it were true, the Post decided to include an editor’s note in the online version that indicated the story was meant as satire. Satire or not, the publication was clearly trying to boost hits for its website. In other news: Sidney Crosby, Michelle Obama, astronauts, naked women, naked men, Chuck Norris.

Baals busted

Of all the ways to extend your earthly legacy, having a building emblazoned with your moniker is especially pleasing. Unfortunately, a deceased former mayor of Fort Wayne, Ind., might be denied that satisfaction: His name was Harry Baals. Yes, it’s pronounced “balls.” Despite an overwhelming show of public support for naming the new Fort Wayne municipal building the “Harry Baals Government Center,” the Associated Press reports that local officials nevertheless refuse to consider the name as a valid candidate. As of press time, the “Harry Baals Government Center” had garnered almost 20 times as many votes in an online poll of Fort Wayne citizens as its closest contender, which happens to be the “Thunder Dome.” But local officials don’t seem ready to budge. We guess this squashes the hopes of those expecting future government buildings named after Dick Armey or John Boehner.

Explosive predictions

Sadly, being hit with the catastrophic 1998 Bruce Willis film “Armageddon” doesn’t automatically exempt us from future astronomic disaster, at least according to one Russian scientist. Although NASA has disputed the chances of impact, Professor Leonid Sokolov of the Saint-Petersburg State University has recently estimated that the two-football-fields-long asteroid “Apophis” could collide with Earth on April 13, 2036, according to Russian news outlet RIA Novosti. Whatever the actual likelihood of a collision is, as a rational institution stocked with rational people, The Pitt News is not afraid. We know the human race will be gone by 2012 anyway.

Dope in the air

Most Americans wouldn’t naturally praise drug smugglers, but perhaps the criminals’ apparent ancient-history prowess should be noted. As authorities continue to crack down on the drug trade along the U.S.-Mexico border and within Latin America, traffickers have not only tried to strap drugs onto carrier pigeons, which ancient Egyptians used 3,000 years ago, but now they’re launching a different ancient technology — this time circa 800 B.C. The Associated Press reports that the U.S. National Guard discovered two “drug catapults” along Mexico’s border with Arizona. Officials said each catapult could launch 4.4 pounds of marijuana. With all that green mass flying through the Arizona air, at least we can rest assured that another desert UFO case has been solved.