Short Takes: News From All Over: January 1, 2004

The Real Dubya Action Figure
Not since the Gumby has there been a doll as agile as Mad Magazine’s George W. Bush GI Joke action figure. This guy not only bends over backward for special interests, his head fits someplace warm and cozy. You’ll just have to see it for yourself. — Erin Ferdinand

Population Bomb or Whimper?
By Peter Deselaers, Inter Press Service
Predicting world population trends is an inexact science to say the least. But an optimistic new estimate by the U.N. has the world’s population leveling out at about 9 billion by 2300. Far short of the massive ‘population bomb’ environmentalists have long predicted. A more pessimistic estimate, on the other hand, says that if growth continues at its current rate, the earth would have 134 trillion inhabitants in 300 years, or 10 people per square foot. — Adam Overland

J.M. Coetzee’s Nobel Lecture
Read the story that won the Nobel Prize in Literature, 2003, by J.M. Coetzee. A touching piece of ducks and men, machines of death, and life sailing by on rough seas. — AO

GI Joe: A Real American Hero
Maybe this is what it really means to be a ‘Real American Hero.’ Camus would no doubt be proud of the absurd, random, often incomprehensible ramblings of these characters. All one can do is laugh. — AO

These Squirrels are Super Cool
By Louise Knapp, Wired News
With the ability to survive body temperatures of 3 below Celsius, the Arctic ground squirrel is indeed very cool. But their hibernating talents may also hold the key to extended space travel. With the squirrel as an intergalactic representative of humanity, intelligent life will surely be discovered . . . somewhere. — AO,1282,61413,00.html

Minister of Funk James Brown to sex up State Department
‘Godfather of Soul’ James Brown has been appointed to a new senior diplomatic position entitled the ‘Secretary of Soul and Foreign Minister of Funk.’ US Secretary of State Colin Powell appointed Brown to the position in December while hosting a dinner for winners of the annual Kennedy Center Honors — awarded to US artists and performers for outstanding work — of which Brown was one this year. So put on your dancin’ shoes, and shake that thang. — AO

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