Why are Scandinavians so good at murder mysteries? Was Cleopatra really hot? Plus: Stealing your water and the secret deal Obama made to kill the public option.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

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Why @ Is Held in Such High Design Esteem

The French and Italians have nicknamed it the “snail.” The Norwegians have plumped for “pig’s tail,” the Germans “monkey’s tail,” and the Chinese “little mouse.” The Russians think of it as a dog, and the Finns as a slumbering cat.

‘Nordic Noir’ — Scandinavia’s Fad for Crime Fiction Why are Nordic detective novels so successful?

Age cannot wither her, but scholars might: Just how attractive was Cleopatra anyway? If Hollywood epics have taught us anything about the ancient world, it’s that Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt was drop-dead gorgeous. …

CT-scanning a great violin Old violin reveals secrets to modern makers.

Islamic cartoon row is latest case of libel tourism Up to 95,000 descendants of the prophet Muhammad are planning to bring a libel action in Britain over “blasphemous” cartoons of the founder of Islam, even though they were published in the Danish press.

Industry interests are not in their ‘twilight’ The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein has an amazing post in which he trumpets what he calls the “Twilight of the Interest Groups” reflected by likely passage of the health care bill. Why are Interest Groups — once so powerful in Washington — now banished to their “twilight”?

Designing Effective Online Assignments If you’ve never taught a course online, chances are you’ve never considered how you might adjust your tests and assignments to suit the electronic medium. …

Obama Made Deal to Kill Public Option For months I’ve been reporting in The Huffington Post that President Obama made a backroom deal last summer with the for-profit hospital lobby that he would make sure there would be no national public option in the final health reform legislation.

Are Greedy Water Bottlers Siphoning Your City’s Drinking Water? Bottled water giants are pilfering water from rural towns and cities, while their products are trashing the planet. …


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