By The Editors of

History lessons
If you ask the Des Moines City Council, the federal government should get its mind out of the sewer. City officials just want to replace the city’s aging sewer structures, but state and federal regulations will force Des Moines and other local governments in Iowa to spend thousands determining the historical significance of those structures that, in some cases, are more than 150 years old. In order to qualify for federal grant money, states-and thus municipalities-must comply with regulations of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. Some cities even could be required to build visitor centers at openings of brick- or wood-lined sewers built in the mid-19th century. But experts note that building visitor centers near old sewers could be dangerous considering the poisonous gases that emanate from the pipes. “That just sends me over the edge,” said Des Moines councilwoman Christine Hensley. “So what if you have historic sewers? Who gives a lick?”

Cheap luxury
Crustacean-loving eaters aren’t complaining, but the wholesale price of lobster slipping to $2.25 per pound sure has Maine fishermen worried. “Per pound, it’s less expensive than hot dogs right now,” one lobster boat captain told Fortune magazine. The reason? Simple economics. Global recession means people’s demand for lobster, considered by many diners a luxury good, has sharply declined. Meanwhile, thanks to conservation efforts by the state of Maine, the supply of lobster hasn’t been this plentiful for a long while. All that means that the wholesale price of the fancy feast is less than a quarter of what it was as recently as 2006.

Strict limits
It’s a good thing there are more than 1.3 billion people living in China. Considering the strict requirements set forth by the Chinese space agency for their astronaut program, China will need a large pool to draw from to fill the positions. What exactly could get a person disqualified? Applicants are out if they or any recent ancestors had a serious illness. Or an applicant could be disqualified for cavities, or even bad breath. “The bad smell would affect their fellow colleagues in a narrow space,” a hospital official associated with the screenings said.

Unemployed hero
In an action movie, Jim Nicholson might have been a hero. But in the eyes of a bank in Seattle, he was a goat. On July 28, Nicholson found himself confronted with a would-be bank robber who had approached the counter where Nicholson worked as a teller at a Key Bank branch. The thief pushed a backpack across the counter and demanded cash. But rather than follow standard procedure, Nicholson snatched the bag, threw it on the floor, and confronted the robber. After Nicholson demanded to see the thief’s weapon and lunged at him, the 29-year-old robber fled. But the 30-year-old Nicholson wasn’t done. The teller gave chase and, with the help of a passerby, caught the perpetrator and held him for police. However, officials at Key Bank weren’t impressed. Two days later, the bank fired him for not following procedure during a robbery. “They tell us that we’re just supposed to comply,” said Nicholson, “but my instincts kicked in and I did what’s best to stop the guy.”