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Roadside News: April 2, 2009

• Computer From the 1800s: The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, has extended its exhibit of Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine No. 2 through the end of 2009. It would take too long to explain what Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine No. 2 is, so just go to the museum. This is in addition to the Computer History Museum’s earlier announced Salute to the Semiconductor program, “in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the integrated circuit.”

An Indian Head in Every State: The Daytona Beach News-Journal has a rare interview with Peter “Wolf” Toth, the Florida artist who’s spent 40 years erecting dozens of tree trunk sculptures of giant, skinny Indian heads across the country. “My work goes way beyond the Native Americans,” he tells the News-Journal, “it’s centrally for humanity.” Toth has been returning to many of his early wooden Indian Heads, repairing them and aging them with craggy wrinkles.

• Monsters Play Soccer: A ten-foot-tall soccer ball sculpture in Bellevue, Nebraska, has been discovered “torn from a concrete base and rolled around the fields and parking lot” according to KPTM-TV. There are a number of huge coffee pots in the surrounding area, so Bellevue may be harboring a race of caffeine-amped giants. The city has vowed to rebuild its soccer ball out of sturdier material, like the big concrete ball in Kansas City, Missouri.

Our Canal Boats Are Secure: In Easton, Pennsylvania, mule drivers who wear olde-timey costumes and lead mules pulling a canal boat for tourists must undergo Dept. of Homeland Security anti-terror screening and get biometric identification cards, according to the Lehigh Valley Express-Times. The cards “aren’t even going to do anything,” said the National Canal Museum’s operations director. “Why is this necessary?” Because if we lose the canals, it’s all over — that’s why!

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