They Took It Too Far: Maryland corrections officials, hoping to improve juvenile rehabilitation by a kinder, gentler approach to incarceration, opened its New Beginnings Youth Center in May. The lockdown facility had declined to use razor wire, instead merely landscaping its chain-link fences with thorny rose bushes. After one inmate easily escaped on the second day of operation, razor wire was installed.

Bride Lin Rong wed in August in China's eastern Jilin province, walking down the aisle in a dress that was more than 7,000 feet (1.3 miles) long (rolled up in a wagon behind her).

Britain's National Health Service of Sheffield issued a "guidance" to schools this summer to encourage teaching students alternatives to premarital sex, including masturbation. According to the Daily Telegraph, the leaflet (titled "Pleasure") contains the slogan "(A)n orgasm a day keeps the doctor away" and likens the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, and exercising, to the benefits of masturbating twice a week.

Latest Questionable Grants: Welsh artist Sue Williams was awarded the equivalent of about $33,000 in June, from the Arts Council of Wales, to explore cultural attitudes toward women's buttocks, especially "racial fetishism" in African and European culture. Williams said she will create a series of plaster casts of buttocks to work with, beginning with her own.

In July, the National Institutes of Health awarded $3 million to the University of Illinois Chicago to identify the things that cause lesbians to drink alcohol. It will be very important, said research director Tonda Hughes, to compare why lesbians drink with why heterosexual women drink. (This is a different NIH grant from the ones reported in News of the Weird in June, to study why gay men in Argentina drink and why prostitutes in China drink.)

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