Paul Krugman: China's Naked Emperors (NY Times Column)
The politicians in Beijing who have ruled during economic booms, not unlike many of their American counterparts, have no idea what they're doing.
Paul Krugman: Dentists and Skin in the Game (NY Times Blog)
Wonkblog has a post inspired by the dentist who paid a lot of money to shoot Cecil the lion, asking why he - and dentists in general - make so much money
Chris Michael: "William Shatner: 'I discovered how to act not too long ago'" (The Guardian)
The Star Trek actor on why he enjoyed playing a hero losing his powers, how Common People helped him understand rock'n'roll - and life without Leonard.
Hadley Freeman: "Crispin Glover: 'When you raise questions people say, 'You're crazy''" (The Guardian)
He's either a glorious eccentric or a complete pain in the arse depending on who you talk to. So what's the truth? The cult actor talks about why he fell out with the makers of Back to the Future, his obsession with the Czech Republic and his new film, The Carrier.
Will Coldwell: The naked and the (almost) dead: your festival horror stories (The Guardian)
We asked you tell us your craziest festival tales. And you didn't fail us. Here we pick our favourites.
Jim Doughty: 5 Dumb Accidents That Made 'Star Wars' A Classic (Cracked)
Star Wars is such an overwhelming pop culture juggernaut that it's easy to forget that the first film was made with a relatively meager budget and less-than-enthusiastic support from the studio. In fact, many of the film's dazzling effects were thrown together using discarded ideas, old dolls, toy model kits, and a coat of shitty paint. Basically, Star Wars was built on a mountain of garbage and happy accidents.
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Honored By George Washington University
Benedetto & Bennett
George Washington University is honouring singer Tony Bennett and his wife with the university president's medal for their commitment to the arts.
University President Steven Knapp presented the honour Thursday night at the Corcoran building, which houses the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design. Beyond his music, Bennett is a painter and visual artist whose works have been acquired by the Smithsonian.
The ceremony featured a one-night exhibition of 18 pieces of Bennett's artwork, including paintings of Duke Ellington and Central Park that are part of the Smithsonian's collections.
Bennett and his wife, Susan Benedetto, have worked to make arts education a priority in public schools.
Benedetto & Bennett
Betty White, a passionate animal activist, has harsh words for the Minnesota dentist who killed Cecil the lion while on a hunting trip in Zimbabwe this month.
"You don't want to hear some of the things I want to do to that man," the 93-year-old actress told The Associated Press on Thursday.
"It's such a heartbreaker. You can't even talk about it, and to see this king of the jungle and personifying it in every way, this gorgeous creature. How can somebody do that?"
Palmer released a statement this week through a publicist saying he was with professional guides and believed the hunt was legal. The firm is no longer helping Palmer.
Memorabilia Online Auction
AMC's "Mad Men" may have driven off into the sunset, but now fans of the retro show will have a chance to buy props, wardrobe pieces and set decorations used in the series - including Don Draper's suits and his 1965 Cadillac Coupe de Ville from the final season.
Nearly 1,400 items from the Lionsgate-produced series will open for online bidding at ScreenBid, starting Friday, July 31, at 12 p.m. PT. Lots will begin closing Aug. 6.
In addition to the Coupe de Ville (bids start at $1,500), items on the block include Draper's Brooks Brothers suits, sunglasses and business cards; wardrobe, office accessories and personal effects for every major character including Peggy Olsen, Pete Campbell, Roger Sterling, Betty Draper and Joan Harris; Megan Draper's wedding ring; and Don Draper's Manhattan penthouse furnishings.
Other "Mad Men" collectibles on offer include Joan's emerald necklace, Stan Rizzo's bongos; Bert Cooper's tea set; plus a wide assortment of vintage barware, ashtrays, briefcases, luggage, lamps, carpets and period toys.
Once A Sideshow
At age 95, Lucille Horn often reflects on her long, full life, with a husband and five children, and how it might not have happened if not for the renegade doctor who put her in a Coney Island sideshow when she was just days old.
Horn is among thousands of former premature babies whose lives were saved in the early 20th century by Dr. Martin Couney, a pioneer in the use of incubators who sought acceptance for the technology by showing it off on carnival midways alongside freak shows and fan dancers.
"Life Begins at the Baby Incubator," read one of the signs at his displays - essentially a ward with babies in the glass cribs - that drew huge crowds at world's fairs, on the Atlantic City boardwalk and Coney Island's Luna Park. Couney invited desperate parents to bring him their preemies, and he paid for their care with the 25 cents he charged for admission.
Couney died in 1950, shortly after incubators finally came into wider use. Horn and others who owe their lives to him want their stories told so the doctor's curious tale - one that would cause outrage by today's standards - doesn't die with them.
The incubator was first seen in 1896 at the Berlin Exposition, and for the first time in the U.S. at expositions in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1898, and Buffalo, New York, in 1901.
Judge Dismisses Lawsuit
A Washington state judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit seeking photos from the death scene of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain because the journalist who wants them violated legal procedures, Seattle's attorney said.
Independent journalist Richard Lee sued the city and its police department to try to force the release of the pictures taken by law-enforcement officials after Cobain killed himself in 1994, a spokesman for Seattle attorney Pete Holmes said.
The photos show his entire body and the damage to his head from a shotgun blast, according to a declaration filed last week by Cobain's wife, the musician Courtney Love, seeking to block the release.
Superior Court Judge Theresa Doyle sided with the city after a roughly 40-minute hearing, ruling Lee violated legal procedures by failing to properly serve the city with his lawsuit, said the spokesman, John Schochet.
Lee also filed his lawsuit before the city responded to his public-records request for the images, Schochet said.
Scorn & Bemusement In Europe
With his distressed hairstyle, voluptuous female companions and love of the media spotlight, U.S. tycoon Donald Trump (R-Fat-Fingered Vulgarian) is no stranger to people on this side of the Atlantic.
His remarks that many Mexican immigrants were rapists were widely reported in Europe and generally considered beyond the pale.
Trump's appearance on Thursday at a Scottish golf resort that he owns turned into a political circus. Instead of talking about fairways and greens, he was bombarded with questions on his Mexican comment and asked if he was a racist. He was unapologetic.
The fact that polls show him leading the race to be the Republican Party's nominee for the U.S. presidential election in November 2016 only adds to the bafflement.
The conservative London weekly the Spectator called Trump "a barmy billionaire with a mouth bigger than his bank balance". The fact that he was leading the race was a sad indictment of the American political process, Tim Stanley wrote.
Central African Republic
Muslims in the western part of Central African Republic are being forced to hide their religion or convert to Christianity under threat of death, Amnesty International said Friday.
Central African Republic has been rocked by violence since the mostly Muslim Seleka rebel coalition toppled the longtime president in 2013.
Widespread human rights abuses committed by Seleka led to the formation of a Christian militia known as the anti-Balaka, who have targeted Muslims and sent tens of thousands fleeing to neighboring countries.
"We had no choice but to join the Catholic Church. The anti-balaka swore they'd kill us if we didn't," said a 23-year-old man in the Sangha-Mbaere prefecture, whose name was not given to protect his security.
Amnesty International said the bans are happening outside areas under the protection of United Nations peacekeepers and renewed efforts must be made to protect Muslims under threat and bring back those who have fled.
Central African Republic
The recent discovery of an Earth twin has boosted chances there is intelligent life on other planets. But while Pope Francis's telescope scans the starlit skies, the Vatican is sceptical of ever meeting Mr. Spock.
On a leafy hilltop near the papal summer home of Castel Gandolfo sits the Vatican's Observatory, one of the oldest astronomical research institutions in the world, where planetary scientists mix the study of meteorites and the Big Bang theory with theology.
Boasting a prestigious research centre at the University of Arizona in the United States, the institute has never shied away from asking whether there could be life on other planets and is thrilled with the discovery of an "Earth 2.0".
The discovery "is great news", the Observatory's Argentine director Jose Funes told AFP, despite the fact that scientists suspect increasing energy from the planet's ageing sun might now be heating the surface and evaporating any oceans, making life difficult.
Funes, who has a degree in theology and doctorate in astronomy, would not be drawn on whether the Vatican would send out space missionaries to convert alien life-forms to Christianity if extra-terrestrial life was found elsewhere.
An East Texas man was wounded after he fired a gun at an armadillo in his yard and the bullet ricocheted back to hit him in his face, the county sheriff said on Friday.
Cass County Sheriff Larry Rowe said the man, who was not identified, went outside his home in Marietta, southwest of Texarkana, at around 3 a.m. on Thursday morning. He spotted the armadillo on his property and opened fire.
The animal's hard shell deflected at least one of three bullets, which then struck the man's jaw, he said.
The man was airlifted to a nearby hospital, where his jaw was wired shut, according to Rowe.
The status of the animal is unknown.
Lynn Anderson, whose strong, husky voice carried her to the top of the charts with "(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden," has died. She was 67.
A statement from the family said she passed away at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday. Her publicist said the cause of death was cardiac arrest.
Anderson first soaked up the national spotlight as a young singer on "The Lawrence Welk Show" between 1967 and 1969. Although she was signed to an independent label, the exposure helped her nab a deal with Columbia Records in Nashville.
And it was "Rose Garden" that sealed her country music legacy, earning her a Grammy and Country Music Association's female vocalist of the year award in 1971.
She made television appearances with such stars as Lucille Ball, Bing Crosby, John Wayne and Tom Jones and she performed for presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan. She was also in episodes of the TV show "Starsky and Hutch" and in the 1982 TV movie "Country Gold."
Anderson's other hits included, "Rocky Top," ''You're My Man," ''How Can I Unlove You," ''What a Man, My Man Is" and "Top of the World" (also recorded by the Carpenters).
She returned briefly to the country Top 10 with a Gary Morris duet in 1983, "You're Welcome to Tonight."
She was born Sept. 26, 1947, in Grand Forks, North Dakota, but raised in Sacramento, California. The daughter of country songwriters Casey and Liz Anderson, she started performing at the age of 6.
Anderson was an award-winning equestrian as a teenager, voted California Horse Show Queen in 1966.
She is survived by her father, her partner Mentor Williams and her children, Lisa Sutton, Melissa Hempel and Gray Stream.
Professional wrestler Roddy Piper, one of the most well-known World Wrestling Entertainment figures with an expansive career, died Thursday. He was 61.
"Rod passed peacefully in his sleep last night," a statement from his representative, Jay Schachter, read. No further details on the cause of death were immediately disclosed.
A native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Piper was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005. Taking advantage of his Scottish heritage, he was billed as a native of Glasgow, and he entered the ring in a kilt and accompanied by bagpipe music.
In the main event at the inaugural WrestleMania, held in March 1985 at Madison Square Garden in New York, he and Paul Orndorff were defeated by Hulk Hogan and Mr. T.
As an actor, Piper is perhaps best known for playing Nada - a drifter who discovers through the use of sunglasses that the entire human race is being manipulated by aliens - in John Carpenter's They Live (1988).
"I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass … and I'm all out of bubble gum," he says in one memorable line.
Piper also appeared in two episodes of FXX's It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, playing a struggling - and unstable - wrestler called Da' Maniac. His most recent episode aired in 2013.