Science on the cutting edge

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Leading economic indicators

    . Unlike their American counterparts, debt collectors in Spain are legally allowed to humiliate deadbeats in front of relatives and neighbors, and are thus quite successful, according to an October Wall Street Journal dispatch from Madrid. Full Story

The continuing crisis

    . The Nebraska legislature's new "safe haven" law for unwanted babies, like other states' laws, allows them to be dropped off anonymously at hospitals to discourage abortions (and neglect by unfit parents). Full Story

The Republic of Brinkle

    . Donna and Joel Brinkle of Deltona, raised a family and held respectable jobs until, in the 1990s, they declared themselves a sovereign nation and stopped paying taxes. Full Story

Recurring themes

    . Buddy, the German shepherd trained to punch 911 on a special phone and bark, came through in the clutch in September when owner Joe Stalnaker of Scottsdale, Ariz., had a seizure. (Stalnaker said it was the third time Buddy had saved him. Full Story

The entrepreneurial spirit

    Street-begging has become so sophisticated that some Web sites and blogs offer "market research" for panhandlers, with tips from wizened "pros," according to the Summer 2008 issue of City Journal. Full Story

The weirdo-American community

    Robert Martin, 47, was arrested in Cape May, N.J., in July after a State Police officer spotted an array of pornographic magazines in his car in a public parking lot, along with a serving platter resting on his dashboard, piled with women's underwe Full Story

Rapping grandma

    Angela Pusateri, 79, may be unconventional, but, according to Jenna, 13, "She really is a cool grandmother." The Hallandale Beach woman is a rap-music singer with a new CD ("Who's Your Granny?") and occasional playdates, where she shows up in hocke Full Story

Latest religious messages

    . In August, Birmingham Cathedral announced plans to open a series of wine bars in London, as (according to an official) one of the "alternative ways" of engaging non-church-goers. . The new church curate in Dursley, Gloustershire, is Rev. Full Story

Fine points of the law

    Joey Bergamine, 19, who is preparing for a re-trial in Fayetteville, N.C., on a DUI charge stemming from a July 2007 incident, will argue that he should have been advised of his right to have a lawyer present when his father kicked open his bedroom Full Story