Compelling Explanations 

From a police report in the North Bay (Ontario) Nugget (Nov. 7): An officer in line at a traffic light, realizing that cars had not moved through two light changes, walked up to the lead car to investigate. The driver said she was not able to move on the green lights because she was still on the phone and thus driving off would be illegal. The officer said a brief lecture improved the woman's understanding of the law.

The inspector general of the National Science Foundation revealed that on-the-job viewing of pornography Web sites was so widespread at the agency that the resultant ethics investigations hindered his primary mission of investigating fraud on grant contracts. The agency report, obtained by the Washington Times in September, said the heaviest user was a senior executive who logged on to pornography at least 331 days in 2008. He subsequently retired, but before leaving defended his habit, claiming that his Web site visits actually helped impoverished women in Third World countries to earn a decent living (by posing for pornography).

Fine Lawyering: Jacob Christine, 21, acting as his own lawyer at an October hearing, denying charges that he severely slashed a fellow inmate at an Easton, Pa., prison, offered his own view of whoever the perpetrator was: "Whoever attacked (the victim) had a high regard for life," said Christine, because the cut "isn't deep at all. It's on his neck. It's not on his face."

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