National Briefs


In Las Vegas, a T-shirt that took a cue from the tabloids.

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On the Tube Again, All O.J. All the Time

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Unless, of course, it happens to involve O.J. Simpson. Juice, acquitted in 1995 of the murder of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman, was back in cuffs and in court last week after a sports memorabilia collector said Simpson robbed him at gunpoint at a Las Vegas hotel.

But the details are far from clear. The celebrity gossip website TMZ posted audio recordings of the robbery that purportedly featured Simpson. Also heard is one of the alleged robbery victims, saying that he helped Simpson establish offshore financial trusts. The aside was telling in light of the civil judgment against Simpson won by the murder victims' families that entitles them to compensation—the same ruling that allowed Fred Goldman, Ron's father, to seize the publishing rights to Simpson's controversial roman à clef—If I Did It, published earlier this month.

In Maryland, It's No to Gay Marriage

The Maryland Supreme Court leans liberal on social issues, so many gay activists thought it offered their best shot for winning the right of gay marriage. But their hopes were dashed last week when a closely divided Court of Appeals upheld a statute banning the unions. The court said that limiting marriage to male-female partnerships does not discriminate against gays or deny them constitutional rights. The slim majority also didn't buy the argument that the law discriminated by gender. The plaintiffs are planning to take the issue to the Maryland General Assembly.

When Is a Dinosaur Like a Chicken?

It's hard to imagine the velociraptor, the menacing beast of Jurassic Park fame, looking anything like a modern-day fowl. But according to a new study published in last week's issue of Science, the mighty dinosaur and the lowly chicken shared an important feature: feathers.

Researchers from the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the Field Museum in Chicago discovered small, raised bumps—quill knobs—on a velociraptor forearm unearthed in Mongolia in 1998. The knobs indicate where ligaments would attach feathers to bone. But they don't prove that the raptor could fly. The researchers suggest the dinosaur lost its "aerodynamic capabilities," and the feathers may be just a relic of its smaller, flying ancestors.

So why did the raptor keep its plumed forearms? It could have used its feathers for display, to shield its nests, or simply to move better when chasing down its meals.

A Milestone That's Harder to Reach

Maybe Hallmark should cut back on the silver anniversary cards. According to census data released last week, only about half of married Americans ever get to celebrate their 25th year together, down from the nearly 70 percent married in the late 1950s who made it to the quarter century mark. The rest were widowed, divorced, or separated beforehand. The data also revealed that most Americans are still marrying just once. In 2004, 12 percent of men and 13 percent of women had married twice, and 3 percent were hoping the third time would be the charm.

With Alex Kingsbury, Matthew Shulman and Nikki Schwab.