Daily Digest: Wally the Beer Man, radiation’s path, NASA’s “Commie Mole”

by Jessica Van Berkel

Wally the Beer Man, the infamous stadium beer salesman, was found not guilty Tuesday morning after being charged with selling alcohol to a minor. Wally, or Walter McNeil, was working at the Twin’s Target Field on Sept. 30 when undercover minors working for police purchased beer from him. Wally and another Target Field vendor Edward Stepnick claimed they were tricked into selling the minors beer, the Pioneer Press reported. Stepnick, however, was not acquitted of the charge on Tuesday and faces a $378 fine. According to the PiPress, the two men had 64 years of beer-selling experience between them.

The spread of radiation from the earthquake-damaged nuclear facility in Japan weaves an uncertain path, leaving experts wary of predicting where the next hazard may appear. In the wake of the disaster, products – including chrysanthemum greens and spinach – from southern areas not in close proximity to the power plant have been contaminated. The food chain, wind and rain can impact the movement of radioactive elements released outdoors, The New York Times reports. More than 15 years after the 1986 Chernobyl accident in modern day Ukraine, dangerous levels of one of the main elements also released by the Japan plant – cesium 137— could still be found in reindeer in Norway and wild boar in Croatia, according to the Times. Looking at Chernobyl, experts have advised close monitoring, especially of fish populations because the element compounds quickly in their muscle. In a worst-case scenario, a Rutgers University professor warned contaminated fish could show up on the shores of Alaska months later.

The Wall Street Journal’s front page today featured an unusual headline: Space Shuttle Stowaway Is A Commie Mole. OK, it’s not what you think. Krtek the Little Mole, the iconic star of a Czech cartoon series, will board the Space Shuttle Endeavor in April and head out a two-week voyage. This follows his travels across television sets starting in Eastern Europe, where he was created in the 1950s, and his rapid spread to then communist countries including Vietnam, Cuba and China. Andrew Feustel, the astronaut who chose to bring along Krtek as one of his few possessions, said his hope was to “select an item that would capture the attention of both children and adults,” The Journal reported.