Conning academic punished
A disgraced social psychologist who admitted faking or manipulating data in dozens of publications has agreed to do 120 hours of community service work and forfeit welfare benefits equivalent to 18 months’ salary in exchange for not being prosecuted for fraud. Prosecutors announced the deal on Friday, calling it “a fitting conclusion” to a case of scientific fraud that sent shockwaves through academic circles. Diederik Stapel who formerly worked at universities in the cities of Groningen and Tilburg, acknowledged the fraud in 2011 and issued a public apology in November last year, saying he had “failed as a scientist.” He once claimed to have shown that the very act of thinking about eating meat makes people behave more selfishly.
Jagger ponders career past
Rockstar Mick Jagger thinks his original career plan to become a school teacher might have provided plenty of satisfaction. The Rolling Stones frontman told BBC Radio on Friday that his music career has not been challenging intellectually and that teaching might have been “gratifying” instead. He also said he had considered becoming a politician or a journalist when he was a teen. Instead he has become one of the most successful rock singers in history. Despite his interest in other careers, Jagger says he is “very pleased” with how things have turned out. The band is marking its 50th year together with a series of concerts that will also include a first ever appearance at the Glastonbury festival this weekend and a return next month to Hyde Park in London.
Gliders detained in Iran
A group of five or six hang-glider enthusiasts has been detained in Iran on suspicion of espionage, the news Web site www.sme.sk said on Friday. The foreign ministry said it knew of the case, but refused to confirm any details or the number of detainees. The Web site said the group had traveled to Iran in late May for a “planned expedition” and were detained some three weeks ago. They were accused of taking photographs, including of military installations, from a hang glider, the Web site said.
Racy novel to be published
A novel written 45 years ago, which follows the sexual adventures of a woman who sleeps with men and women, commits incest and murders a nun, and which was considered at the time too shocking for readers, is finally to be published in Britain. Penguin is bracing for controversy over The Art of Joy by Goliarda Sapienza, an Italian actor who died penniless in 1996, having struggled in vain to woo a publisher. Sapienza’s husband kept the manuscript for two decades, publishing 1,000 copies himself in 1998 before it was eventually taken up by publishers in Italy and France as a forgotten masterpiece. It has sold 300,000 hardbacks in France alone — more than any major hardback fiction book last year in Britain. Penguin is finally making it available in English from 4 July. Penguin Classics editorial director Alexis Kirschbaum says the novel is extraordinary. She says she bought it two years ago — before Fifty Shades of Grey made erotic fiction mainstream — but its 600 pages have taken Anne Milano Appel until now to translate. Fifty Shades has shown that there is an interest in women’s sexuality, Kirschbaum said, describing Sapienza’s approach as “much more sophisticated” because her novel is also political, historical and philosophical.
Boston rocker to pay paper
The founder of rock band Boston has been ordered to pay a newspaper US$132,000 for the court costs it incurred in successfully defending itself against his defamation lawsuit. Musician Tom Scholz claimed the Boston Herald and two reporters blamed him for the 2007 suicide of lead singer Brad Delp. A Superior Court judge dismissed his lawsuit in March, saying it was impossible to know why Delp killed himself. Scholz’s attorneys said he should not have to pay court costs. The judge said court rules require it and such costs could have a chilling effect on “free expression of ideas and opinions by media defendants.” Herald publisher Pat Purcell said on Friday that the decision is a reminder of “the harmful impact” such lawsuits can have.
Pre-Inca mummies found
Polish and Peruvian archaeologists have discovered a royal burial chamber with 60 mummies and about 1,200 gold, silver and ceramic objects from more than 1,000 years ago in Peru. The mummies — including three princesses — and other items date back to a pre-Inca culture called the Wari, who peaked between the seventh and 11th centuries, researchers said. The find, made in an area known as El Castillo about 300km north of Lima, follows two earlier finds by the team in 2010. The chamber was discovered 2m underground and covered with 33 tonnes of gravel. The tombs of the princesses — apparently wives of Wari chiefs — were at one end of the 17m2 chamber. Most of the mummies were women, buried in an upright position, a sign of rank, according to the researchers. They were adorned in silver and gold jewelry, and buried with ceramic vessels and baskets filled with more jewelry.
Facebook to fix ad bugs
Facebook will tomorrow tighten its review process to spare advertisers the embarrassment of having their ads pop up on pages containing porn or violent imagery. “Our goal is to both preserve the freedoms of sharing on Facebook, but also protect people and brands from certain types of content,” the leading social network said on Friday in a blog post. “For example, we will now seek to restrict ads from appearing next to pages and groups that contain any violent, graphic or sexual content.” The move appeared aimed at calming advertisers’ concerns about brands being tarnished by appearing on Facebook pages with offensive content. “Prior to this change, a page selling adult products was eligible to have ads appear on its right-hand side; now there will not be ads displayed next to this type of content,” Facebook said.
Abductions probe continues
Police have detained the presumed owner of a Mexico City bar where 12 young people were brazenly kidnapped in broad daylight last month, authorities said on Friday. The Federal Prosecutor’s Office said Ernesto Espinosa Lobo was detained along with eight others in Coyoacan in an anti-drug operation and was in possession of “toxic substances.” Two bar workers and a woman had already been detained in the case that shocked the capital, which has been a relative oasis from the wave of drug-related violence plaguing many parts of the country. Mexico City authorities have offered a US$7,500 reward for information on the missing people. Rodolfo Rios, Mexico City’s top prosecutor, said the kidnapping may be related to a dispute between two gangs: La Union and Tepis, who deal drugs in Tepito, a rough neighborhood where the abductees are from.