• Leading by example

    Peachtree City, Ga., Mayor Steve Brown filed an ethics complaint against himself in August. According to the Associated Press, when a meeting conflicted with Brown's plans to drive his daughter to golf camp, the mayor accepted a staff member's offer to drive for him. The mayor apologized to the public and offered to reimburse the city for the staffer's time.

  • The pachyderm test

    On Oct. 14, elephants from Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus crossed the new Leonard Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge to demonstrate the bridge's structural integrity. (The cable-stayed bridge is part of the city's Big Dig project and is scheduled to open for partial use in January.) The 14 elephants proved that the bridge supports 112,000 pounds.

  • The Boston elephant march resembles tests of the 1800s when bridge engineering was more questionable. Elephants were used to demonstrate the sturdiness of the St. Louis Bridge in 1874 and the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883. According to PBS, elephants are used for the shows of strength because they are widely believed to have uncanny instincts and will not cross unsafe structures.