While things were becoming bizarre on Earth, a more familiar sight greeted us far above the planet: that of Mir's computer system crashing, for the third time. How did the crew react? By shrugging their shoulders and heading off to bed, of course. Ah, it's good to know some things never change.
This week seemed like a return to news as usual, once we had laid the Princess to rest and bid good-bye to Mother Teresa. But that was just appearances. Under the surface, a lot of quiet little revolutions kept the world distinctly topsy-turvy. True, there was no single earth-shattering plot twist, but we were left scratching our heads as a number of familiar characters started playing against type. Prince Charles turned out to be a good guy after all, and AOL's Steve Case made nice with CompuServe employees. The world's largest Communist country came out in favor of privatization, while the underdog nation of Scotland voted to give itself a Parliament — and at the behest of an English Prime Minister, too. There was a refreshing whiff of honesty in the air: Steven Biko's killers admitted their crime, and Pentagon Top Brass said Army sex scandals were a product of poor leadership. Even the doctor who once championed the disgraced weight-loss drug Redux — and made a nice little profit in doing so — came out and said his mea culpas.