Barbara J. King

A year ago this month, animal activist Paul Shapiro sat in the offices of the Hampton Creek food technology company in San Francisco and put a forkful of foie gras in his mouth.

Imagine a college course that requires students to give up computer and cell-phone technology for a month — and, in fact, to cease speaking entirely for that period.

Then imagine that the class is super-popular, with students clamoring to get in.

In his new novel Origin, Dan Brown (most famous for The Da Vinci Code), describes his protagonist Robert Langdon's approach to the conundrum of students' devotion to personal tech devices in the classroom.

Langdon is, Brown writes, "one of several Harvard professors who now used portable cell-jamming technology to render their lecture halls 'dead zones' and keep students off their devices during class."

Cecil the lion's slaughter at the hands of trophy hunters in Zimbabwe has lit up the Internet and social media with protest and outrage in recent days.