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Potpourri: Jan. 20, 2014

Rutgers University released a study which predicts that the Atlantic Ocean may rise more than a foot in this century, inflicting terrible storm damage on America's East Coast. But a New York Times report says the menace isn't caused solely by water rising, but also by land sinking. The national paper explains: During the last Ice Age 20,000 years ago, mile-thick ice depressed the planet's crust in Canada, causing surrounding zones to be squeezed upward abnormally. Since the massive ice melted, Canada has been slowly rising and the surrounding regions are sinking back to their natural level. The effect is most noticeable around Chesapeake Bay.

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After flushing pipes as instructed during the water crisis, Daily Mail blogger Katy Brown posted on Twitter that she offered tap water to her pets. The dog smelled the water and walked off. The cat tried to cover it with his paw.

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Here's a possible safeguard against future Elk River chemical spills: Maybe West Virginia American Water could create a new intake farther upstream, above the aging Freedom Industries tank farm, with a large pipeline bringing the river water to its Charleston purifying plant.

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John VanDyke of Scott Depot says the Elk River chemical mess, including official failure to prevent it, "makes William Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors look like a serious documentary."

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Chad Oulson sent text messages during a movie in Florida. Sitting behind him, retired Tampa police Capt. Curtis Reeves objected. Quarreling ensued, and someone threw popcorn. Reeves drew a pistol and shot Oulson to death. We wonder: Does Florida's "stand your ground" law entitle a gun-carrier to kill a person who throws popcorn?

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Bearing arms in West Virginia: Boone County police says Bobby Hatcher, 45, shot his wife to death with a .357 magnum pistol, then killed himself with a different handgun - while children aged 5 and 10 witnessed the horror.

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The U.S. Census Bureau says North Dakota's population is rising rapidly, thanks to an oil-and-gas drilling boom. Well, West Virginia is enjoying an upsurge in Marcellus Shale horizontal wells - but this state was among just two that lost people during the past year. Go figure.

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The "Duck Dynasty" reality show's bushy-bearded leader was suspended after making vulgar remarks about gays. But A&E reinstated the popular show because the network faced heavy money losses. The American Family Association, composed of fundamentalists, praised the "Duck" leader as a brave soul "who doesn't mince words when it comes to his Bible-based beliefs."

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Charleston scene: A bumper sticker said "You're just jealous because the voices are talking to me."

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MSN News says: "The Milky Way has at least 46 billion Earth-size planets - more than the total number of grains of sand in all the Earth's beaches and deserts. And that's just in our galaxy. According to theoretical astrophysicist Ethan Siegel, the entire universe may be made up of more than 100 billion galaxies."


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