Meet the longshot Kenyan presidential candidate everybody loves

As James Verini notes in his dispatch from Nairobi this weekend, Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta are the frontrunners in Kenya's closely watched presidential election on Monday. But one other candidate has been garnering the lion's share of the laughs, if not actual votes. After the last election sparked ethnic violence that left more than 1,000 people dead -- and with one of the top two candidates facing a trial for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court -- Kenyans could use a smile or two. Cue Mohammed Abduba Dida. As one Twitter user exclaimed ahead of the country's second presidential debate last Monday:

A teacher by trade, Dida has three wives, stringent morals, and effervescent charm. He comes across as a political outsider who is truly interested in improving the lives of Kenyans, and the Internet adores him. Too bad nobody will ever vote for him.

At times Dida seems sensible enough. During the second debate, for instance, the candidate pointed out the futility of asking corrupt officials to comment on their underhanded dealings. Tweets during the event said it all:

But at other times things have gone a bit off-kilter. Dida's eccentricities have inspired memes and a parody Twitter account, and his name dominated live-tweeting of the first presidential debate. In promoting preventative health care during that debate, for instance, he argued that people should eat when they are hungry if they want to be healthy. "I do not know who brought these eating schedules with lunch and dinner," he observed. "When you are hungry you do not fill up your belly with food; you need a third of food, a third of water then the other third is breathing space." Check out this coverage of the sensation Dida created in the wake of the first debate: 

Dida speaks to Kenyans who are dissatisfied with rampant corruption and inequality. Unlike Kenyan politicians, the candidate points out, "Jesus would not drive home with a convoy of six cars when it's raining on innocent Kenyans on the streets," so when he becomes president neither will he. Unfortunately, there's very little chance of that happening.



59 years ago this day: the largest ever U.S. nuclear weapons test

On March 1, 1954, the United States attempted something it had never done before: The explosion of a hydrogen bomb in an operation code-named "Castle Bravo."

Unfortunately, the test at Bikini Atoll in the South Pacific didn't go exactly as planned, making this date something of an infamous anniversary. PBS, in its terrific Secrets of the Dead series, explains what happened:

As soon as the bomb exploded, the test team knew something was wrong. Instead of five megatons, the blast turned out to be 15 megatons. The explosion vaporized three entire coral islands, sending the ash 100,000 feet into the air. It drifted eastward and rained upon hundreds of people living on islands to the north - a poison footprint of 7,000 square miles.

According to the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, which really could use a more economical name, the botched test gave rise to global criticism of nuclear testing. The organization, which seeks to ban nuclear explosions worldwide, posted a poignant quote from an observer that day:

Approximately five hours after detonation, it began to rain radioactive fallout at Rongelap. Within hours, the atoll was covered with a fine, white, powdered-like substance. No one knew it was radioactive fallout. (...) The children played in the snow. They ate it.

For more on the botched test, watch this declassified U.S. nuclear test film on Operation Castle: