Occasionally I like to venture outside the comfortable environs of the laupe portion of the blogosphere and see what else might be brewing hither and yon. A few bright and shiny stories recently caught my eye:

ï‚· A number of geophysicists agree that the Earth’s magnetic field is fading;

ï‚· A woman in Iran claims to have given birth to a frog;

ï‚· A Japanese toymaker is marketing a device to help sleepers program their dreams;

ï‚· New DNA studies suggest that chipmunks in Wisconsin and Illinois may have weathered the last Ice Age, challenging assumptions about species’ abilities to withstand global climate change;

ï‚· Prostitutes converging on Boston for the Democratic Party Convention expect to earn up to $1000 an hour;

ï‚· Protesters at the convention will be herded into a “free speech zone,” which the District Judge who approved the arrangement likened to an internment camp;

ï‚· Florida is still working hard to keep African Americans off the voting rolls;

ï‚· Seymour Hersch says that unreleased films from Abu Ghraib show young boys being sodomized by U.S. troops, in an effort to extort information from their mothers;

ï‚· And late last month, Microsoft patented the human body.

The worst part of it is that none of this really surprises me. Except for the bit about the chipmunks, that is.

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