O RLY? | SeMeN SPeRmS SuPeR SiTe

O RLY?

  • “Our government said no health levels, no health levels were exceeded.When in fact the rain water in the Northwest is reaching levels 130 times the drinking water standards,” said Pollet.

    Elevated rain water samples were collected in Portland, Olympia and Boise, which had the highest.

    But EPA officials say the data was there for anyone to read on their website. A spokesman sent this statement, in part:

    “Since Iodine 131 has a very short half-life of approximately eight days, the levels seen in rainwater were expected to be relatively short in duration.”

  • After failing to pay more than a year of mortgage payments, Grammy winner and “R&B king” R. Kelly now faces a $2.9-million foreclosure lawsuit on his 11,140-square-foot Olympia Fields mansion, Crain’s Chicago reported Tuesday.

    Kelly’s home, which sits on a 3.7-acre lot, was constructed in the far southern suburb 11 years ago and its value has plummeted in recent years — falling 26 percent in its most recent appraisal to $3.8 million, as compared to its $5.2 million 2009 value, according to Crain’s. Therefore, Kelly, who has not lived in the home for more than a year, faces debts on the property that likely exceed its current value.

    A person reportedly close to Kelly told Crain’s the singer had stopped making payments on the mortgage in order to force the bank to renegotiate the loan.

  • US law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, DEA, and ICE, are increasingly obtaining warrants to search Facebook. Not only do they gain access to Facebook accounts, but it often occurs with the user’s knowledge. Personal data obtained can include messages, status updates, links to videos and photographs, calendars of future and past events, Wall postings, and even rejected friend requests.
  • Free-thinking citizens of the world:
    Anonymous’ Operation Green Rights calls your attention to an urgent situation in North America perpetuated by the boundless greed of the usual suspects: Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, Canadian Oil Sands Ltd., Imperial Oil, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and many others.
    This week, activists are gathering along U.S. Highway 12 in Montana to protest the transformation of a serene wilderness into an industrial shipping route, bringing “megaloads” of refinery equipment to the Alberta Tar Sands in Canada (see Tar Sands FAQ Sheet below).
    Anonymous now joins the struggle against “Big Oil” in the heartland of the US. We stand in solidarity with any citizen willing to protest corporate abuse. Anonymous will not stand by idly and let these environmental atrocities continue. This is not the clean energy of the future that we are being promised.
  • Thanks Smart Crew
  • Watch this beautiful video about Brazenhead Books, a secret bookstore that’s been tucked away in Michael Seidenberg’s apartment on the Upper East Side ever since the rent for his original retail space in Brooklyn was quadrupled. (Jonathan Lethem used to work there.) “This would have not been my ideal,” he says. “I wouldn’t have thought I want to have a bookshop in a location no one knows about.” But Brazen says it’s a continuation of being the kind of bookseller he wants to be—not on the street, not at book fairs, but inside, the shelves lined with first editions, knickknacks, and, one hopes, a cat. “I don’t know if it’s my familiarity with failure,” he adds. “I find ways to survive without it making enough money to be what you would call a successful business. If it’s all about money, there’s just better things to sell.” And how do those of us who’ve never been find him? He’s in the phone book, he says with a smile. Hiding in plain sight.
  • In the same way, robot drones as assassination weapons will prove to be just another weapons system rather than a panacea for American warriors. None of these much-advertised wonder technologies ever turns out to perform as promised, but that fact never stops them, as with drones today, from embedding themselves in our world. From the atomic bomb came a whole nuclear landscape that included the Strategic Air Command, weapons labs, production plants, missile silos, corporate interests, and an enormous world-destroying arsenal (as well as proliferating versions of the same, large and small, across the planet). Nor did the electronic battlefield go away. Quite the opposite — it came home and entered our everyday world in the form of sensors, cameras, surveillance equipment, and the like, now implanted from our borders to our cities.
  • A woman returned to her Cumbrian home to find a near perfect imprint of an owl on her window.

    The bird had apparently crashed into the window of Sally Arnold’s Kendal home, leaving the bizarre image – complete with eyes, beak and feathers.

    Experts said the silhouette was left by the bird’s “powder down” – a substance protecting growing feathers.

  • A 17-year-old student in Anhui Province sold one of his kidneys for 20,000 yuan only to buy an iPad 2. Now, with his health getting worse, the boy is feeling regret but it is too late, the Global Times reported today.

    “I wanted to buy an iPad 2 but could not afford it,” said the boy surnamed Zheng in Huaishan City. “A broker contacted me on the Internet and said he could help me sell one kidney for 20,000 yuan.”

  • Although out-of-body experiences (OBEs) are typically associated with migraine, epilepsy and psychopathology, they are quite common in healthy and psychologically normal individuals as well. However, they are poorly understood. A new study, published in the July 2011 issue of Elsevier’s Cortex, has linked these experiences to neural instabilities in the brain’s temporal lobes and to errors in the body’s sense of itself – even in non clinical populations.
  • Yesterday, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) offered a bipartisan amendment to force the Pentagon to produce auditable financial statements providing a clearer picture of how it spends tens of billions of taxpayer dollars each year. The House passed the amendment unanimously.

    Currently, federal law exempts the Pentagon from conducting an audit. DeFazio’s amendment would reverse this exemption.

    “The Pentagon has spent more than $10 trillion since 1990 and will spend over $4 trillion over the next four years without ever passing an audit,” said DeFazio. “As Congress debates substantial cuts to programs that help middle class families, we need a clear picture that allows us to target wasteful and duplicative spending. The Pentagon needs to be audited just like every other federal agency in order to achieve significant budget savings.”

  • Last week, the White House released its National Strategy for Counterterrorism, a macabre document that places a premium on “public safety” over civil liberties and constitutional rights. Indeed, “hope and change” huckster Barack Obama had the temerity to assert that the President “bears no greater responsibility than ensuring the safety and security of the American people.”

    Pity that others, including CIA “black site” prisoners tortured to death to “keep us safe” (some 100 at last count) aren’t extended the same courtesy as The Washington Post reported last week.

    As Secrecy News editor Steven Aftergood correctly points out, the claim that the President “has no greater responsibility than ‘protecting the American people’ is a paternalistic invention that is historically unfounded and potentially damaging to the political heritage of the nation.”

  • Want to get a sense of just how bad the News of the World phone hacking scandal has been for Rupert Murdoch? Look no further than News Corp market value.

    The company has lost $7 billion in market value over the last four trading days, reports Bloomberg.

    The company “tumbled 4.6 percent to A$15.19 in Sydney today. The stock lost $1.27, or 7.6 percent, to $15.48 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading yesterday, the biggest drop since April 2009. It was the fourth straight decline in the company’s closing price, cutting its market value by 15 percent to $41.2 billion. “

    At 538.com Nate Silver notes a big chunk of that is from yesterday alone [below].

    The question remains: How much money does News Corp have to lose before Rupert Murdoch chooses to lose top lieutenants instead?

  • This is the Voskhod Building in Pripyat. It’s one of two identical apartment blocks, designed to house the superior engineers of Chernoybl. As such, it was visibly luxurious inside, especially considering standards at the time.

    I climbed to the top, took photos from every angle, and William Hall of Life in Megapixels very kindly stitched them together for me, and corrected some errors.

    The resulting stitch shows probably the most complete picture of Pripyat Town that you can get in a single place – if you look closely, you can even see the “Steel Yard” (Duga-3 array), and you can make out all the famous major buildings, including the fairground. This was shot on 29th May, 2011.

    Close this dialog, then use your mouse to look around. You can scroll-zoom for a little extra detail.

  • The woman, identified as Catherine Kieu Becker, 48, the victim’s wife, had put an unknown type of poison and/or drug into her husband’s food to make him sleepy, according to Nightengale. She then tied him to the bed. When he woke up, she cut off his penis with a knife, investigators said. She then tossed the penis in the garbage disposal and turned it on.
  • The CIA organised a fake vaccination programme in the town where it believed Osama bin Laden was hiding in an elaborate attempt to obtain DNA from the fugitive al-Qaida leader’s family, a Guardian investigation has found.

    As part of extensive preparations for the raid that killed Bin Laden in May, CIA agents recruited a senior Pakistani doctor to organise the vaccine drive in Abbottabad, even starting the “project” in a poorer part of town to make it look more authentic, according to Pakistani and US officials and local residents.

    The doctor, Shakil Afridi, has since been arrested by the Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) for co-operating with American intelligence agents.

  • “Secret U.S. tests, now revealed, show startling military uses for weird new chemical agents,” we reported in 1960. The so-called “loony gas,” which we believed could incapacitate enemies without actually harming them, turned out to be LSD. Although we acknowledged that LSD could make people “daffy,” we also stated that these psychochemicals were more or less humane. That is, the military could saturate enemies with LSD and take over their towns, without destroying them, before the people recovered.
  • The Las Conchas wildfire, which scorched land in the canyons near Los Alamos before it was turned away from the lab earlier the month, has added urgency to the soil removal efforts because flash floods could rush unimpeded through canyon floors stripped of vegetation, officials said.

    That concern is heightened by the monsoons that have arrived on schedule in northern New Mexico. The National Weather Service on Monday put out a flash-flood watch for the fire area through at least Wednesday.

    The soil in the canyons above Los Alamos National Laboratory, the linchpin of American’s nuclear weapons industry, contains materials with trace amounts of radiation and hazardous chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that were dumped there decades ago, said Fred deSousa, spokesman for the lab’s environmental control division.

  • A new report from Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies estimates that the total direct and indirect costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may exceed $6 trillion over time. That figure comes from combining congressional appropriations for the wars over the past decade ($1.3 trillion), additional spending by the Pentagon related to the wars ($326 – $652 billion), interest so far on Pentagon war appropriations, all of which was borrowed ($185 billion), immediate medical costs for veterans ($32 billion), war related foreign aid ($74 billion), homeland security spending ($401 billion), projected medical costs for veterans through 2051 ($589 – $934 billion), social costs to military families ($295 – $400 billion), projected Pentagon war spending and foreign aid as troops wind down in the two war zones ($453 billion); and interest payments on all this spending through 2020 ($1 trillion).
  • A new book reveals that Adolf Hitler ordered the manufacture of Aryan blow up dolls to discourage his troops from sleeping with disease-ridden prostitutes.

    The so-called “Borghild Project” reportedly kicked off in 1940 when SS chief Heinrich Himmler wrote to Hitler alerting him of the health risks posed to his men by liaisons with French women. “The greatest danger in Paris is the widespread and uncontrolled presence of whores, picking up clients in bars, dance halls, and other places,” he wrote. “It is our duty to prevent soldiers from risking their health just for the sake of a quick adventure.”

  • Onetime Seattle resident and businessman Coleman Anderson wants to keep his little piece of the moon.

    Whether he does will depend on the outcome of an unusual lawsuit playing out in an Alaska court.

    Anderson, perhaps best recognized as captain of the fishing vessel Western Viking during the first season of the hit Discovery Channel series “Deadliest Catch,” is asking a judge to let him keep a lunar rock presented to the state of Alaska in 1969 by President Nixon, but missing for nearly 37 years.

    Anderson, who claims he found the rock in debris following a fire at an Anchorage museum in 1973, said he’s had it as a keepsake ever since.

  • The Colorado prosecution of a woman accused of a mortgage scam will test whether the government can punish you for refusing to disclose your encryption passphrase.

    The Obama administration has asked a federal judge to order the defendant, Ramona Fricosu, to decrypt an encrypted laptop that police found in her bedroom during a raid of her home.

    Because Fricosu has opposed the proposal, this could turn into a precedent-setting case. No U.S. appeals court appears to have ruled on whether such an order would be legal or not under the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment, which broadly protects Americans’ right to remain silent.

    In a brief filed last Friday, Fricosu’s Colorado Springs-based attorney, Philip Dubois, said defendants can’t be constitutionally obligated to help the government interpret their files. “If agents execute a search warrant and find, say, a diary handwritten in code, could the target be compelled to decode, i.e., decrypt, the diary?”

  • Ivan Milat is apparently bored, since he is serving more than seven consecutive life sentences for his crimes, so he probably really does want that Playstation console. In fact, he’s downright stir-crazy and has not eaten in nine days, reports one source. Officials in the High Court in Australia aren’t surprised, because this isn’t the first time Milat has pulled a far-out and crazy stunt to get attention. He’s kind of an attention-whore like that. Back in January of 2009, Milate sawed off one of his own fingers with a plastic knife and attempted to mail it to the High Court in Australia. Doctors were not able to sew the digit back in place. He has also swallowed razor blades and other metallic objects to both harm himself and garner attention.
  • While exploring Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, professional diver Scott Gardner heard an odd cracking sound and swam over to investigate. What he found was a footlong blackspot tuskfish (Choerodon schoenleinii) holding a clam in its mouth and whacking it against a rock. Soon the shell gave way, and the fish gobbled up the bivalve, spat out the shell fragments, and swam off. Fortunately, Gardner had a camera handy and snapped what seem to be the first photographs of a wild fish using a tool.
  • “The concepts are basically quite simple,” said Paul Kinsler, a physicist at Imperial College London, who created the idea with colleagues Martin McCall and Alberto Favaro.

    Unlike invisibility cloaks—some of which have been made to work at very small scales—the event cloak would do more than bend light around an object.

    Instead this cloak would use special materials filled with metallic arrays designed to adjust the speed of light passing through.

    In theory, the cloak would slow down light coming into the robbery scene while the safecracker is at work. When the robbery is complete, the process would be reversed, with the slowed light now racing to catch back up.

    If the “before” and “after” visions are seamlessly stitched together, there should be no visible trace that anything untoward has happened. One second there’s a closed safe, and the next second the safe has been emptied.

  • President Barack Obama sat down with CBS Evening News anchor and managing editor Scott Pelley for an interview that will air in full Tuesday night. In a preview released Tuesday afternoon, Pelley points out to Obama that $20 billion in Social Security checks are supposed to be mailed out August 3, the day after the looming date the government could default on its debt.

    “I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3 if we have not resolved this issue, because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it,” Obama said.

  • If you’re big on nostalgia, but small on space, we might just have the solution for you. A clever gentleman has created a teeny-tiny 80s arcade cabinet that will fit happily on your desktop – and while it might look like a mere mock-up, this one actually works, playing Space Invaders on the miniature screen.

    The whole thing is just seven inches tall, and uses the electronics from a Game Boy Advance, a little MDF, some photoshopped artwork and perhaps the world’s most adorable joystick – take a look.

  • Aided by Facebook, Israel on Friday prevented scores of pro-Palestinian activists from boarding Tel Aviv-bound flights in Europe, questioned dozens more upon arrival at its main airport and denied entry to 69, disrupting their attempts to reach the West Bank on a solidarity mission with the Palestinians.

    Israel had tracked the activists on social media sites, compiled a blacklist of more than 300 names and asked airlines to keep those on the list off flights to Israel. On Friday, 310 of the activists who managed to land in Tel Aviv were detained for questioning, said Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Hadad. Of those, four were immediately put on return flights and 65 were being held until flights home could be arranged for them, she said. The rest were permitted entry, she said.

  • It’s official: Brett Martin has a metric buttload of video game memorabilia. By Mr. Martin’s own estimation, his collection clocks in at about ten to fifteen thousand individual pieces. But not all of those trinkets of molded plastic, cast metal, and fluffed polyester are depictions of Nintendo’s famous Italian plumber. His gaming nicknack collection actually spans a diverse range of characters from different franchises, companies, and eras.
  • Super Mario Bros. Crossover is a fan game that recreates the original Super Mario Bros. and allows you to play it as characters from other games.

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Posted under SeMeN SPeRmS BLArRrG, SeMeN SPeRmS Links 'o Death, Sex

Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on July 13, 2011

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