Pisa's leaning tower record toppled by German church

Leaning Towers

Just in time for Guinness World Records Day Thursday, a church steeple in Suurhusen, Germany, has been declared the most tilted tower in the world, toppling the record of the world-famous Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Guinness World Records found that the 13th-century church's 15th-century steeple tilts an astonishing 5.07 degrees, while Italy's circa-1372 defending champ in Pisa only tilts 3.97 degrees. Nevertheless, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is still taller. At 185 feet (56 meters) tall, it towers over the 84-foot (26-meter) German steeple, which rests on a wooden foundation and sodden soil. And with its ornate columns, arches, and cornices, Pisa's leaning tower is nicer to look at.

Check out the video here:


Is the "Save Darfur" campaign backfiring?

Newsweek has posted a remarkable—and remarkably bitter—debate between two experts on Darfur: Alex de Waal and John Prendergast. They cover a lot of ground but home in on the question of whether the "Save Darfur" campaign (with which Prendergast is affiliated) has had some unintended negative consequences, notably making the various rebel factions in Darfur more intransigent than they might have been otherwise. As de Waal puts it:

But my serious point here is about how advocacy does influence both rhetoric and policy (and rhetoric can become policy) and how it changes the structure of incentives of peace processes.... the activist campaign had raised the promise of a military intervention with direct guarantees, and that was the message that got through... the question I want to pose, for our own learning and for future activism, is the following: do we run the danger of encouraging rebels to aim too high in their demands, and risk them rejecting workable deals in favor of unrealizable dreams? That's a serious question that demands a serious debate.

Read the whole exchange here.