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Potpourri: July 21, 2014

WVU football running back Wendell Smallwood has been jailed on charges of suborning perjury to protect a friend in a Delaware murder case. It’s sad that big-money sports can taint institutions of higher learning.

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A New Hampshire power utility is importing coal shipped 4,000 miles from Russia, instead of buying nearby Appalachian coal. Evidently the faraway fuel is cheaper. Economics can be baffling.

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Bearing arms in West Virginia: Branda Basham, 22, was found dead of bullet wounds along a West Side railway.

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City scene: Tiny yellow mini-car with special plate: CHIWAWA.

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For centuries, thinkers have wondered how ancient Egyptians transported huge stones to build the pyramids. Now a team at the University of Amsterdam speculates that the cut rocks were placed on wooden sledges — and sand in front of them was dampened with water to make it slippery enough for slave crews to pull the loads.

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Writing in Britain’s Independent, Stephen Hawking and three other physicists warn that artificial intelligence could improve uncontrollably in the future, by itself. “One can imagine such technology outsmarting financial markets, out-inventing human researchers, out-manipulating human leaders and developing weapons we cannot even understand,” they said.

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The Miami Herald says Americans own 12.2 million pleasure boats, which are expensive to buy and maintain — but the average craft gets used just 26 days per year.

To offset the waste, some owners let rental services provide their boats to strangers at rates ranging from $200 to $8,500 per day, depending on size.


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