Although Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (the alleged 9/11 mastermind) was waterboarded 183 times among several extreme interrogation techniques, he and his CIA captors eventually reached a moderated state. In 2003, though still housed in a “black site” in Romania, “KSM” asked permission to design a household vacuum cleaner, and the highest echelons of the agency co-operated, according to a former senior CIA analyst, speaking to the Associated Press in July. In reality, when a detainee exhausts his intelligence value, the agency’s main mission is to keep him “sane,” in case he is later put on trial, and the vacuum cleaner project was thought likely to engage KSM, who, 15 years before the murders of nearly 3,000 people on Sept. 11, had earned a mechanical engineering degree from North Carolina A&T State University.
The gourmet lollipop company Lollyphile announced its latest flavor in June: Breast Milk Lollipops (four for $10). Owner Jason Darling said it “slowly dawned on” him that his friends were “producing milk so delicious it could turn a screaming, furious child into a docile, contented one. I knew I had to capture that flavor.”
The Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop franchisers, already with a lineup of sometimes-unappreciated flavors such as buffalo chicken wing soda, briefly experimented in June with “ranch dressing” soda, a mistaken adventure that co-founder Rob Powells jokingly blamed on his business partner. Brewmaster John Maier of Rogue Ales in Newport, Ore., pointed out that “wild yeasts” have been used in beer for centuries and thus (according to a June report on FoodBeast.com) his company’s Beard Beer (from yeast of beards, including at one time, his own) should be regarded as a traditional brew.
It was a special occasion in Surrey, England, in June as a rare plant prepared to bloom. The 3-foot-tall Puya chilensis, native to Chile, features neon-bright greenish-yellow flowers with blooms large enough to yield drinkable nectar, but its most startling distinction is its ability to nourish itself by trapping small animals in its razor-sharp spines, leaving them to decay.
(At Britain’s Wisley Garden, it is fed with ordinary fertilizer rather than animals.)
Melanie Typaldos, 57, and her husband, Richard Loveman, 54, in Buda, Texas, are supposedly part of a growing trend of people keeping pet capybaras (giant, semi-aquatic guinea pigs that are the world’s largest rodents, at more than 100 pounds).
“Gary” sometimes lounges on the couple’s marital bed and frolics in the above-ground pool the couple installed for him.