Meteorite Strikes Ann Elizabeth Hodges (1954)

Thousands of people are struck by lightning every year, but in 1954, Ann Hodges of Sylacauga, Alabama, became the first person in modern history to be hit by a meteorite. Hodges was napping on her couch when she was rudely awakened by a grapefruit-sized meteorite crashing through her roof, bouncing off her radio, and striking her on the hip. The incident left her badly bruised. Who prevailed in the dispute between Hodges and her landlord over ownership of the meteorite? Discuss

Thousand-Yard Stare

The phrases “thousand-yard stare” and “two-thousand-yard stare” were first used to describe the unfocused, dazed gaze of the battle-weary soldier. Because such a look is characteristic of posttraumatic stress disorder, it is not limited to combat veterans. The thousand-yard stare can be displayed by anyone coping with the stress of trauma by dissociating from it rather than consciously acknowledging it. During World War II, what artist captured the thousand-yard stare for Life magazine? Discuss

South African Taxi Wars

In 1987, South Africa’s lucrative taxi industry—serving over 60 percent of commuters—was deregulated. Since then, it has been dominated by turf wars among rival associations of taxi operators that use mafia-like tactics, including hired killings. The wars intensified with the end of apartheid in 1994. In addition to the violence, the industry is also plagued by the inherent danger created by outdated vehicles and reckless drivers. How many taxi-related deaths occurred annually in the 1990s? Discuss