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A Living Hero

From the Scrapbook

Sep 20, 2010, Vol. 16, No. 01 • By SCRAPBOOK
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So much for that old saying, “Whatever happens at a U.N. conference stays at a U.N. conference.” When the United Nations held a retreat in the Austrian Alps two weeks ago, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon was toasted by his undersecretary general for economic and social affairs, Sha Zukang. Except it was Sha who turned out to be toasted. Thanks to a few glasses of liquid courage, the undersecretary let loose on his superior, telling him, according to Foreign Policy, “I know you never liked me Mr. Secretary-General​—well, I never liked you, either.” 

Sha, who had been recommended for the job by his masters in Beijing, claimed that Ban Ki-Moon was plotting to fire him. He also turned to an American colleague, Bob Orr, saying, “I really don’t like him: He’s an American, and I really don’t like Americans.” Sha did have a few nice things to say about both Ban Ki-Moon and Orr, but those sentiments seemed to have been lost in the drunken rant which, as one U.N. official told FP, “went on for about ten or fifteen minutes but it felt like an hour.”

Needless to say, the next morning a remorseful (and no doubt hung-over) Sha apologized to his boss. It remains unclear whether the undersecretary will have to resign. In fact, the only thing that is certain is that the bartenders will be paying better attention to those customers who are three sheets to the wind and will cut them off—diplomatic immunity or no.



Two weeks ago Internet cartography buffs noticed something strange: Google had misplaced the Lincoln Memorial. Normally, searching for Lincoln Memorial using Google Maps produces a result in the exact right place—Google drops one of its handy red pins west of the reflecting pool on the Mall, at the center of the circle at the base of the Memorial Bridge. But some time around August 26, a search for Lincoln Memorial on Google Maps dropped the little red pin south and east of the correct location—smack dab in the middle of the FDR Memorial. A search using Google Earth produced the same result, even though Google Earth’s hard-coded point-of-interest markers clearly showed the correct location of both memorials. 

This minor technical glitch is of note only because an abnormally large number of people were looking for the Lincoln Memorial at just that time—Glenn Beck’s rally was set to take place there on August 28—and they happen not to be the kind of people beloved of our Google overlords.

Despite repeated notice—everyone from PC World to Yahoo! had pointed out the confusion—Google did not restore the Lincoln Memorial to its proper place until late in the morning on the 28th. Asked about the mistake by, Google issued a nonresponse calling the switch a routine error.

But of course.


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