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Annual Dilbert [Headlines] Post

Szczekociny festival poster 

Scott Adams, the cartoonist who created Dilbert, has said that there are only nine news stories, constantly re-written.

Every year at about this time I like to check the newspaper with his list in mind, to see if he is right. I'll start with his wording unmodified by examples.

1. EXTREME WEATHER BATTERS SOMEPLACE
2. IDIOTS KILL INNOCENT PEOPLE
3. POLITICIAN DOES SOMETHING ILLEGAL
4. PRIMATE ATTEMPTS INAPPROPRIATE SEX
5. EXPERT WARNS OF FINANCIAL CALAMITY
6. BIG COMPANY BUYS ANOTHER BIG COMPANY
7. FAMOUS PERSON DOES SOMETHING INTERESTING
8. A SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY MIGHT BE USEFUL IN TEN YEARS
9. GOVERNMENT FAILS TO ACHIEVE A GOAL

I surveyed the news on one day (a few days back as it happens). Just by convenience, these headlines are all from January 19th. Well, actually, I cheated a little with one of them, but I'll let you dear reader do the work of figuring out which one that is. Without further ado....

1. EXTREME WEATHER BATTERS SOMEPLACE

Catastrophic flooding in southern Africa.

2. IDIOTS KILL INNOCENT PEOPLE

Jury selection gets underway in the trial of a classic in the annals of such idiocy.

3. POLITICIAN DOES SOMETHING ILLEGAL

Parking in a handicapped spot. Not the worst of crimes, but a pretty blatant one.

4. PRIMATE ATTEMPTS INAPPROPRIATE SEX

Orangutans "make calls that often include sounds like kisses, squeaks and grunts." Gee, I know what inspires such sounds among humans....

5. EXPERT WARNS OF FINANCIAL CALAMITY -- "The Scale of the Chinese Real Estate Crash is Terrifying" even from the seemingly safe distance of the other hemisphere. Business Insider

6. BIG COMPANY BUYS ANOTHER BIG COMPANY -- General Electric to buy French engineering group Alstom.

7. FAMOUS PERSON DOES SOMETHING INTERESTING -- Pope Francis continues to fill this particular news niche.

8. A SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY MIGHT BE USEFUL IN TEN YEARS

This one involves potential improved treatment for diabetics. that's the 10-years-later use. The actual discovery involves the cone snail. It fits the template perfectly.

9. GOVERNMENT FAILS TO ACHIEVE A GOAL.

The goal of the government in Greece, until recently, was keeping the promises it had made to the troika by which it was bailed out not long ago. Not gonna happen. The second graf of the story to which I've just linked you reads, "leftist Syriza leads the opinion polls and is intent on cancelling the austerity terms of a bailout from Europe and the International Monetary Fund and also wants a big debt write off." Okay, so that means "we've failed to achieve the goal, and now we want to forget we ever set it."

Adams is right. We're all in a loop.

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