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Outsourcing Upgrade



Curses, Foiled Again
Federal authorities charged Gregory Giusti, 48, with making at least 48 threatening phone calls to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during a seven-week period. According to an affidavit supporting the charges, Giusti used an Internet phone service called Magic Jack to make the calls, declaring during one to Pelosi’s San Francisco district office that “the number I’m calling from is untraceable, so if you’re trying to trace it, have fun.” Authorities promptly traced the call to Giusti.

Following his initial court appearance, during which he wept but made no statement, Giusti’s mother, Eleanor Giusti, 83, blamed Fox News for radicalizing her son, whose criminal record includes evading train fare. (Talking Points Memo, San Francisco’s KGO-TV News)

Slightest Provocation
Authorities in Allegheny County, Pa., charged Robert Abrams, 40, with killing his wife during an argument by hitting her in the head with a hammer at least 10 times and stabbing her, then setting their house on fire to conceal evidence of the killing. Police Superintendent Charles Moffatt said the two quarreled because Robert Abrams had stayed up late the night before to watch a Pittsburgh Penguins hockey game, which went into three overtimes. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

• Lorraine Bulloch, 43, accidentally stabbed her 1-year-old niece in the head during an argument over the price of gas used when she drove her brother to buy beer in Chatham County, Ga. The police report said the argument escalated when the brother began calling her names, and she responded by grabbing a knife from a drawer and throwing it at him. He ducked, and the blade struck the girl, who was hospitalized in serious condition. (Savannah Morning News)

Spring Cleaning
Twenty Nepali climbers embarked on a mission to remove decades-old garbage from Mount Everest’s “death zone,” the area above 26,246 feet known for its treacherous terrain, freezing temperatures and lack of oxygen. Targeting empty oxygen bottles, gas canisters, torn tents, ropes and utensils left by climbers, the Extreme Everest Expedition 2010 is the first to pick up litter from that elevation. “The garbage was buried under snow in the past,” expedition leader Namgyal Sherpa, 30, said. “But now it has come out on the surface because of the melting snow due to global warming.” (Reuters)

Outsourcing Upgrade
Professors at some U.S. universities have begun sending students’ papers to India, Singapore and Malaysia to be graded. The Virginia-based company EduMetry provides the service, called Virtual-TA, to a mix of for-profit and nonprofit institutions, many of them business schools. The company points out that its graders, all of whom have at least master’s degrees, return graded work faster than professors can and that professors freed from grading papers can devote more time to teaching and research. “People need to get past thinking that grading must be done by the people who are teaching,” said Chandru Rajam, a business professor at George Washington University who helped found EduMetry five years ago. “Sometimes people get so caught up in the mousetrap that they forget about the mouse.” (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

The Next Step Is Obvious
Among the hottest categories for public consumption on social networks are pictures of food posted before it is eaten. One of the largest and most active Flickr groups, called “I Ate This,” includes more than 300,000 photos contributed by more than 19,000 members, who are limited to posting 50 photos a month. The same trend appears on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Foodspotting, Shutterfly, Chowhound and FoodCandy. “I like to show off what I’m eating or something I’ve made that I’m proud of,” Pamela Hollinger, 36, a radio programmer and announcer in Stephensville, Texas, said. “I think getting an iPhone had a lot to do with it. It’s so easy to just take a quick picture of what I’m eating.” Aware of the trend, Nikon, Olympus, Sony and Fuji have released cameras with special “food” or “cuisine” modes, costing between $200 and $600. (The New York Times)

Compiled from the nation’s press by Roland Sweet. Authentication on demand.