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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

August 8, 2014 at 6:00 AM

A hobnobbing crack dealer, and other stuff you might have missed this week

1 Insurer pays off lawsuit with thousands in coins

A man who sued his insurance company, saying an agent assaulted him, got an estimated $20,000-plus settlement.

That’s a pretty fat check — but it didn’t all come as a check.

Instead, the company dropped off bucketfuls of loose change.

2 Crack dealer tries to win freedom with photo ops

Ali Abukar Mohamed with Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole. (Photo from King County Superior Court records)

Ali Abukar Mohamed with Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole. (Photo from King County Superior Court records)

A crack dealer tried to argue for a lighter sentence by showing the court photos of himself with various city officials as evidence of his community spirit.

Pictured with the convict: Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, newly appointed Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, former interim Police Chief Harry Bailey and City Attorney Pete Holmes.

None was aware they would be included with the man’s case file. The photos appear to have been taken at public events, mostly outdoors.

The man’s photobomb plan bombed. He was sentenced to 7½ years in prison.

3 NASA to test making rocket fuel ingredient on Mars

A rover slated to go to Mars in 2020 could be used to get more rovers — or people — there in the future.

NASA is planning to experiment with turning carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere into oxygen, a key ingredient in rocket fuel.

If this works, it could mean rockets wouldn’t have to bring with them the fuel they need to get home, making the outbound flight lighter and cheaper.

4 Census: Almost 10 million Americans changed their race

Almost 10 million Americans switched races between the 2000 census and the 2010 one, a new report showed.

People also changed from reporting a single race to reporting multiple ones (or vice versa), or decided to add or drop a Hispanic ethnicity.

Part of this could be due to changes in the forms. It could also be that young people are self-identifying differently than what their parents reported for them in the previous census, census researchers suggested.

Ultimately, though, the data don’t offer much insight into the reasons. It seems that as our big ol’ melting pot continues to melt, this stuff could get harder and harder to nail down.

5 LARP’s ‘weekend warriors’ mix fantasy, fighting and fun

The goodly nerds of the LARPing (live-action role-playing) world let us in on the fun this week. In geeky, outdoorsy Seattle, the activity has caught on as an alternative to — or perhaps a combination of — exercise and video games.

Skylar Woodies, left, and Kerry Waananen battle during the Live Action Roleplay game called Dargarth at Volunteer Park. LARPing- or Live Action Roleplaying- is similar to a Dungeons & Dragons board game, but instead of rolling dice, characters clad in medieval garb battle with padded weapons. (Photo by Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)

Skylar Woodies, left, and Kerry Waananen battle during the Live Action Roleplay game called Dargarth at Volunteer Park. LARPing- or Live Action Roleplaying- is similar to a Dungeons & Dragons board game, but instead of rolling dice, characters clad in medieval garb battle with padded weapons. (Photo by Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)

Comments | More in List, Roundups, Weird news | Topics: Census, crack dealer, ethnicity

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