Jonathan Zipper
April 20, 2013 9:00 am

Take a deep breath. This week is finally over and not a moment too soon. The tragic events regarding the Boston Marathon brought out both some of the best and worst of mankind. Add to that all of the other explosions, shootings, threats of warfare, earthquakes and what not, and it’s certainly been a rough one for people from every corner of the world. Feeling a bit overwhelmed? Hopefully, this edition of “The Week In WHAT?!” can provide a mini-distraction as you try to make sense of it all.

So, without further ado…

Fame: A Game of Life? Who hasn’t spent an hour or two laying in bed, looking up at the ceiling and imagining what it would be like to be famous? Well, if you’re hard at work trying to turn that dream into a reality, you may want to give your plan for achieving said fame a second thought – depending on the field. A recent study published in the QJM: An International Journal of Medicine suggests that performers, authors, composers, artists and other creative types could have a shorter life expectancy to those who found notoriety through politics, business or the military. The researchers also note that celebrated athletes have a similar average age of death to that of the creative group. Of course, what’s a couple of years if you’re doing what you love to do?

Stranded Sea Lions Seeking Solace by the Sea Shore After months of investigation, scientists are still confused as to why an adorable yet alarmingly sizable group of sea lion pups are stranded along the southern California shore line. More than a third of the 1,293 beached sea lions are in Los Angeles County, which only played host to about 60 in the previous year. Given the staggering increase, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is referring to this as an “unusual mortality event.” The sea lions appear to be cut off from their food supply and hungry, or even emaciated in some cases.

The Magical Powers of Corn? Using the stems, leaves and husks of corn plants, bioengineers have discovered a new technique to transform cellulose into starch. Through this new process, researchers could potentially transform many plants often overlooked as a food source into an edible product. In fact, “simultaneous enzymatic biotransformation and microbial fermentation” (try saying that five times fast!) may be an important key in solving various food manufacturing, food production, fuel storage and fuel distribution issues. It’s also an environmentally friendly process as it does not lead to the creation of excess waste. Sounds like a win-win-win! Politician Responds Directly to Email Request from Constituent It hasn’t been the best week for a number of politicians in the news. See examples here and here. Oh, and then add this one to the list: a Republican State Senator engaged in a war of words with one of his local Missouri constituents via email. Seemingly uncertain as to how he ended up on State Sen. Brian Nieves’ mailing list, Bart Cohn requested his email address be removed – coloring the note with a dash of anger, just enough to incite Nieves. Things escalated rather quickly as grammar, spelling and a general command of the English language fell by the wayside. While it appears both sides are guilty of egregious behavior, you can be the judge as to who’s less in the wrong.

And there you have this week in “WHAT?!” Can’t wait to see what’s in store for humanity next!

Featured image via allvoices.

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