Assorted Stupidity #29 [Updated]

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  • Normally a voluntary departure means no unemployment benefits, but if your boss is offering cash prizes for guessing who will be fired next, you can probably quit and still get paid. "Egregious and deplorable," said the ALJ who approved Misty Shelsky's benefits claim. "It was very degrading," Shelsky said. "We looked at that, then looked at each other and said, 'OK, we're done.'"
  • Last month, a UK judge ruled that four men accused of being part of the online group "Anonymous" would not be banned from social networking services, but would be precluded from using their existing "online personas." Because one of them uses the name "Peter," which happens to be his real first name, the order effectively requires someone accused of being Anonymous to use a fake identity online.
  • Last week, the consulting firm Big Communications announced the results of the $140,000 study it was asked to conduct to come up with a new name for "Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport." The new name: "Chattanooga Airport." The firm said this would be simpler and would make the airport seem less "metropolitan," and it does seem hard to argue with either point. In 2007, the University of California at Berkeley accepted similarly expert advice and renamed its law school the "UC Berkeley School of Law." That seems like a bargain now, though, since it only cost $25,000 but involved changing more words.
  • [Update: the item above has replaced a previous item that dealt with San Francisco's now-defunct anti-circumcision ballot measure, on the grounds that the new item is significantly less creepy and, more importantly, funnier.]
  • The public works director of Martinez, California, on why officials forced an artist to paint over a beaver he put in a mural they commissioned: "Everyone's saying we hate beavers, but this is not about liking beavers or not liking beavers," said Dave Scola. "We went through a lengthy planning process, and never once did anyone ask for a beaver. Not one person said, 'Hey, I have an idea, let's put a beaver in there.'"
  • The artist on the same topic: "I feel they do not respect me…. Every day, people ask me, 'Where is the beaver?' So I want to please the people and I put in a beaver. It was really a very small beaver. But the city did not want it."