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The winners and the losers

Published: Saturday, Sept. 24 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

Albert Einstein

Winner: Utah resident Bill Boren has become the first person in North America to be fitted with a waterproof artificial heart pump that allows him to swim. Because of a form of muscular dystrophy that affects the muscles in his legs, Boren can't do any other form of exercise to strengthen his legs. Doctors hope someday he will be well enough for a heart transplant. In the meantime, technology is keeping both him and his hopes alive.

Winner? Albert Einstein based his most famous theory on the idea that nothing could move faster than the speed of light. That's one reason why skeptics such as the chairman of the physics department at the University of Maryland have called a new theory about faster-than-light neutrinos "flying carpets." Researchers in France and Italy combined on the experiments that apparently led to the amazing discovery. They have made the finding public this week in hopes that other scientists either will confirm it or discover flaws in their methods. Utahns should know not to get too excited. Remember cold fusion?

Loser: Few things have assaulted the sensibilities of people in Utah and Washington state lately quite as much as the behavior of Steven Powell, father-in-law of Susan Cox Powell, the mother of two whose disappearance nearly two years ago has been a source of both concern and anguish. Steven Powell made some recent public comments about Susan that could be described as inappropriate, at best, and disgustingly foul by many. Now police have arrested Steven Powell on charges of child voyeurism. They allegedly discovered he possessed lewd photos and videos of underaged girls and others, including Susan Powell, all photographed without their knowledge. We can only hope the most important question, concerning Susan's whereabouts, is answered soon.

Loser: Apparently, once you get on a list for government benefits — either for a disability or retirement — it's hard to get off. Death won't even do the trick. The Office of Personnel Management revealed this week that the government has issued more than $600 million worth of checks to dead people over the last five years. In one case, the son of a beneficiary kept getting checks for 37 years after his dad passed away. The problem has continued unabated despite reports six years ago that it was taking place. Apparently, when a government official says the check is in the mail, he means it.

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