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Stinky the Robot, Four Kids And a Brief Whiff of Success

"Us illiterate people from the desert?" Santillan said he thought when they won, amazed that a bunch of "English as a Second Language" kids had just beaten America's most prestigious engineering school.

Their moment of triumph was sweet but short-lived.

Vazquez and Aranda graduated from Hayden last spring, but they're not in college now, Davis writes, because they're illegal immigrants and thus ineligible for student loans or cheap in-state tuition. Vazquez is hanging drywall and Aranda is filing papers at a Social Security office. Santillan and Arcega are still at Hayden, Davis says, but their prospects for college also look dubious.

Is there anybody out there who can give these kids a break?

The Forecast: Ominous

In its latest cover story, Weatherwise, the 58-year-old Washington-based meteorology magazine, asks a question that's on a lot of people's minds these days:

"Is the weather getting worse?"

And the answer, boiled down from interviews with various scientists, is: Yes.

"There is an increasingly clear message: At least some of the aspects of the world's climate are in fact becoming more extreme, and global warming is the likely cause," writes David Laskin.

What that means is that weather is going to get more exciting. More heat waves, most of them occurring in places that are already very hot. More rain, much of it coming in very heavy rainstorms. Also more cyclones. And perhaps more hurricanes and tornadoes. In short: more intense and extreme weather.

"There is an ominous tone to scientists' pronouncements about the future that one did not hear a few years ago," Laskin writes. Then he quotes David Karoly, a professor at the University of Oklahoma School of Meteorology, sounding ominous indeed:

"We are entering a state which earth's climate has not seen for a very, very long period, at least 20,000 years. For the entire span of civilization, the earth has never experienced these temperatures."

This scary article did have one bit of good news, however. Remember "The Day After Tomorrow," the 2004 disaster movie that showed New York and the rest of the Northern Hemisphere being destroyed in a few days by a barrage of hellish storms? The scientists are pretty sure that's not going to happen. And if it does, it'll probably take more than a few days.

Dali the Flack

Salvador Dali was one of the great surrealist painters of the 20th century, the guy who painted soft watches dripping from trees and tabletops. But, as an article in the April Smithsonian points out, Dali was also a master of another great modern art form: the publicity stunt.

"To promote 'The World of Salvador Dali,' a book he produced with French photographer Robert Descharnes in 1962, Dali dressed in a golden robe and lay on a bed in a Manhattan bookstore," writes Stanley Meisler. "Attended by a doctor, a nurse and [his wife] Gala, he signed books while wired to a machine that recorded his brain waves and blood pressure. A copy of the data was presented to the purchaser."

Wow! The PR biz lost a great one when old Salli Dali decided to go into the art game.

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