Never a Late Fee: Maybe George Washington couldn't tell a lie, but he did forget to return a library book, and the overdue fees have racked up over the past 221 years. Back in 1789, the first president borrowed a copy of The Law of Nations by Emer de Vattel from the New York Society Library, but he never returned it. At Mount Vernon, the first president's former home, the staff realized it had another copy of the book and generously decided to settle accounts by giving its copy to the library. In today's dollars, the library fine would have amounted to $300,000. [Reported on both sides of the Atlantic by The Guardian and Reuters]
Tanks for the Books: Argentinian artist and peace activist, Raul Lemesoff is traveling his native country in an old tank which he has transformed into a mobile library. Check out photographs and a video of the book tank, which Lemesoff calls a "weapon of mass instruction." [The Huffington Post]
Pendulum on the Dance Floor: The great mystery underlying the French scientist Leon Foucault's pendulum might remain unsolved since the giant brass instrument was irreparably damaged at the Musee des Arts et Metiers (Museum of Arts and Industry) in Paris. The scientific instrument, which was used to demonstrate that the Earth revolves on it's own axis became the subject of author Umberto Eco's bestselling novel, Foulcault's Pendulum. The events which caused the accident are clouded in mystery as well. According to an article in Times Higher Education:
"The museum regularly hosts cocktail parties in the chapel that houses the pendulum, and [museum curator] Mr Lalande admitted that several alarming incidents had occurred over the past year. In May 2009, for example, a partygoer grabbed the 28kg instrument and swung it into a security barrier."
Upon seeing the news, one reader commented that "Mythbusters could totally fix that."
Specialize to Survive: According to optimistic zoologist and author Matt Ridley, we humans are in it for the long haul thanks to some unique behaviors (no, it wasn't our big brains that got us this far). The New York Times reports on Ridley's surprising theory, elaborated in his new book The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves.