Five men in Poland were arrested for stealing the Nazis’ infamous 16-foot, 90 lb iron sign declaring “Arbeit Macht Frei”—German for “Work Sets You Free”— from the entrance of the former Auschwitz death camp where more than one million were murdered during WWII. The sign was recovered and found in three pieces. The Polish political prisoners who created the sign in 1940 deliberately welded the letter “B” in “Arbeit” upside down as a camouflaged act of disobedience.
After 35 years in jail, 54-year-old James Bain, a Florida man convicted of rape, became the longest-serving prisoner to be freed after DNA evidence proved his innocence. While 99.9 percent of human DNA sequences are the same in every person, that .1% is enough to distinguish one individual from another.
Beer maker Samuel Adams announced the release of its new Utopia brew—at 27 percent alcohol by volume, it’s the strongest beer in America. The sale of Utopia is illegal in 12 U.S. states. Thankfully, NY isn’t one of them.
<–SMART ADVICE: Always use the word “dope” in place of “good” or “great.” Example: “I ain’t going to lie—if God said I could pick one person to be my father, I’d want to be ‘Sean Combs Obama,’” P. Diddy tells Playboy magazine. “That’s how dope he is. I hope he reads this interview and adopts me. I wouldn’t even have to be in the will. I got my own money.”
Numbers marking the new decade are being displayed in Times Square as an example of energy efficiency. The 7-foot “1” and “0” are illuminated with 9-watt LED bulbs instead of the old 40-watt halogens. Visitors can push pedals to create stored energy that will light the numbers as the ball drops during the last seconds of 2009.
A recent study found that men on Long Island earn 138 percent of what women earn. The finance industry offers the worst pay for women, who earn about half the pay of their male colleagues.
NASA is joining the hunt for giant snowflakes with a billion dollar climate study satellite scheduled to fly in 2013. These unusually large snowflakes, at least two to six inches wide, are believed to fall regularly around the globe. The Guinness Book of World Records lists the largest snowflake as having fallen in 1887 in Montana, at 15 inches wide.
The happiest Americans live in Louisiana, according to a 1.3 million person government study on happiness. The most miserable? The Empire State. Welcome to the bright lights baby.
Say goodbye to Saab. After talks to sell the brand collapsed, GM is calling it quits. The Swedish company has gained a loyal following for its quirks—like placing the ignition between the front seats rather than behind the steering wheel, being the first to implement heated seating in 1971 and headlight wipers in 1970.