Why does the IRS need $80 billion? Just look at its cafeteria

Why does the IRS need $80 billion? Just look at its cafeteria

It’s part of what the IRS calls the “Pipeline”: a 1970s-era assembly line used to process tax returns at several locations around the country. And it might give you a sense of why Congress is on the verge of handing the agency $80 billion through the Inflation Reduction Act — not only for more enforcement but also for tech modernization. As of July 29, the IRS had a backlog of 10.2 million unprocessed individual returns. Blame the pandemic, sure, but also the agency’s embarrassingly outdated, paper-based system, which leaves stacks and stacks of returns cluttering shelves, hallways and even the cafeteria. On the Pipeline, paper tax returns aren’t scanned into computers; instead, IRS employees manually keystroke the numbers from each document into the system, digit by digit.

When Germans and Russians stopped fighting so they could kill wolves

During the winter of 1916-1917, in the area of Lithuania and Belarus in the Kovno-Wilna Minsk district (near modern Vilnius, Lithuania), starving wolves began to attack German and Russian soldiers. During one of the battles, the Russian and German scouts saw that a large pack of hungry wolves had attacked and were eating the wounded soldiers. Seeing what was happening, the opponents immediately stopped the fight and jointly began to kill the predators. In one of the messages of the newspaper Oklahoma City Times, it said, “Parties of Russian and German scouts met recently and were hotly engaged in a skirmish when a large pack of wolves dashed onto the scene and attacked the wounded. Hostilities were at once suspended, and Germans and Russians instinctively attacked the pack, killing about 50 wolves.”

Former Twitter staffer convicted of spying for Saudi Arabia

A former Twitter Inc. employee was convicted of spying for Saudi Arabia by turning over personal information of platform users who’d used anonymous handles to criticize the Kingdom and its royal family. Ahmad Abouammo, a US resident born in Egypt, was found guilty by a jury Tuesday of charges including acting as an agent for Saudi Arabia, money laundering, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and falsifying records, following a two-week trial in San Francisco federal court. He faces 10 to 20 years in prison when he’s sentenced.

The Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue

In the stacks of the British Library, you'll find something a little surprising: the Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, a collection of 18th-century slang. The entries run the gamut from words and phrases common to laborers, military personnel, and bar frequenters to cant—the jargony language of criminals. Among the pages are such listings such as “cheeser,” another word for a fart; an “Admiral of the narrow seas,” someone who drunkenly vomits into the lap of the person sitting opposite him; and “to dance upon nothing,” meaning “to be hanged.”

Salem witch finally exonerated, 329 years later

Elizabeth Johnson Jr. is — officially — not a witch. Until last week, the Andover, Mass., woman, who confessed to practicing witchcraft during the Salem witch trials, was the only remaining person convicted during the trials whose name had not been cleared. Though she was sentenced to death in 1693, after she and more than 20 members of her extended family faced similar allegations, she was granted a reprieve and avoided the death sentence. The exoneration came on Thursday, 329 years after her conviction, tucked inside a $53 billion state budget signed by Gov. Charlie Baker. It was the product of a three-year lobbying effort by a civics teacher and her eighth-grade class, along with a state senator who helped champion the cause.

This star goes 27 million kilometres per hour