AntiSec | SeMeN SPeRmS BLArRrG!

Rock Out With Yer Cock Out

  • A new device that links spy glasses, a webcam and a smart phone could make it easier for blind people to “see” shapes by converting visual signals to auditory ones and sending them to another part of the brain.
  • To open a door fitted with the latest U.S. government-certified lock from high-end Swiss lock manufacturer Kaba, an employee must both enter a code up to eight digits long, then swipe a unique identity card coded to comply with a new standard that requires an extra layer of security, one designed to track individual staffers and make covert intrusion harder than ever.Or, as lockpicking expert Marc Weber Tobias will show a crowd of hackers Friday, you can stick a wire in the tiny display light above the keypad and instantly render all of that “security” irrelevant.

  • Traditionally, young people have energized democratic movements. So it is a major coup for the ruling elite to have created societal institutions that have subdued young Americans and broken their spirit of resistance to domination.Young Americans—even more so than older Americans—appear to have acquiesced to the idea that the corporatocracy can completely screw them and that they are helpless to do anything about it. A 2010 Gallup poll asked Americans “Do you think the Social Security system will be able to pay you a benefit when you retire?” Among 18- to 34-years-olds, 76 percent of them said no. Yet despite their lack of confidence in the availability of Social Security for them, few have demanded it be shored up by more fairly payroll-taxing the wealthy; most appear resigned to having more money deducted from their paychecks for Social Security, even though they don’t believe it will be around to benefit them.

    How exactly has American society subdued young Americans?

  • Even in raucous Internet chat rooms, there are a few lines that just aren’t crossed. For example, don’t joke about broadcasting your own death live on the Web. Apparently, Lockport, New York’s Joseph Shepherd missed this part of Internet 101. (Or is that Common Sense 101?)According to the Daily Mail, Shepherd was arrested after allegedly pretending to commit suicide in a webcam-enabled chat room.

  • Nurseryman Nigel Hewitt-Cooper, from West Pennard, was inspecting his tropical garden when he discovered one of his pitcher plants had trapped the bird.He said he was “absolutely staggered” to find it had caught the creature.

    It is believed to be only the second time such a carnivorous plant has been documented eating a bird anywhere in the world.

  • Transportation Security Administration managers at Los Angeles International Airport are undergoing mandatory sensitivity training after a transgender employee alleged she was ordered to dress like a man, pat down male passengers and use the men’s restroom.Ashley Yang, 29, who spent two years as a security checkpoint screener at LAX, was fired last summer after co-workers observed her using the women’s room, according to a copy of her termination letter obtained by The Associated Press. She contested the firing, resulting in a settlement that mandated the training.

  • The U.S. Army didn’t bother to properly test five million body armor plates that were supposed to protect soldiers on the battlefield. In some cases, certain tests of the live-saving gear were ignored altogether.That’s according to a new report from the Defense Department Inspector General, which found that the Army office in charge of insuring the armor’s quality essentially fell asleep at the switch. Inserts were tested improperly and in some cases not at all. The testing flubs don’t prove that all five million plates are defective, but they deprive the Army of information about the reliability of a lot of equipment needed to protect troops in the field.

    “The Army cannot be sure that the appropriate level of protection has been achieved,” the report says. Now, it’ll go back and retest the vests, some of which were bought as long as seven years ago.

  • With access to pornography easier than ever before, politicians and scientists alike have renewed their interest in deciphering its psychological effects. Certainly pornography addiction or overconsumption seems to cause relationship problems [see “Sex in Bits and Bytes,” by Hal Arkowitz and Scott O. Lilienfeld; Scientific American Mind, July/August 2010]. But what about the more casual exposure typical of most porn users? Contrary to what many people believe, recent research shows that moderate pornography consumption does not make users more aggressive, promote sexism or harm relationships. If anything, some researchers suggest, exposure to pornography might make some people less likely to commit sexual crimes.
  • Police in Idaho Falls have told a man to stop wearing a bunny suit in public after people complained he has been frightening children.
    Residents in the northwestern U.S. city of 54,000 people also reported William Falkingham, 34, occasionally wears a tutu with the bunny suit, police said in a statement Tuesday.Police warned Falkingham after a woman said she saw him dressed in the costume, peeking at her young son from behind a tree and pointing his finger like a gun.While a police report said other residents were “greatly disturbed” by his activities, one neighbor defended Falkingham as eccentric but otherwise harmless.“He’s got the bunny outfit, a cowboy suit and a ballerina dress but you don’t see him except where he’s tripping through his backyard,” Deborah Colson told Reuters. “He’s got a strange lifestyle at home but we all do weird things at home.”

  • A churchgoer who left pork products outside a mosque during a hate campaign against Muslims has been put behind bars.John White, 63, left rashers of bacon outside the religious building in South Shields, and similar products outside worshippers’ homes.

  • Bigfoot spotters in New Jersey are reporting their own version of Sasquatch in ever-increasing numbers. Called “Big Red Eye” by locals, the sightings started in the 1970s and have been getting a little more attention lately, possibly due to the popularity of television shows heating up the subject.But New Jersey is no stranger to mysterious creatures stalking the extensive, and still somewhat remote, forests of the state. Their NHL team gets their name from the most pervasive legend, the New Jersey Devil. So this new Bigfoot legend is a relative newcomer.

  • Academics studied almost 500 people between 95 and 109 and compared them with over 3,000 others born during the same period.They found those who lived extremely long lives ate just as badly, drank and smoked just as much, took just as little exercise and were just as likely to be overweight as their long-gone friends.

  • Because of FBI’s actions against Anonymous and Lulzsec including several arrests, Now AntiSec supporters have targeted 77 law enforcement domains and walked away with everything on them. 77 domains were hosted on the same server. Few weeks before AntiSec targeted Arizona police departments, leaking personal information and other sensitive data, in response to immigration laws passed by the state. This time however, the latest law enforcement raid by AntiSec is in response to actions taken by the FBI.
  • Women buying fashionable essential oil burners are being blamed for a growing number of house fires, authorities have warned.
  • The film’s “miracle” drug may seem far-fetched, but it’s based in a medical reality: Taking certain medications, specifically those developed to treat psychiatric and neurological disorders, can boost cognitive performance in otherwise healthy people.Many of us instinctively recoil from such an idea for moral reasons. Sculpting our brains, unlike, say, sculpting our noses, seems like cheating. But consider this: 7 percent of surveyed college students (and some 25 percent of those on elite campuses) have taken an unprescribed Ritalin — or a similar drug used to treat attention deficit disorder — to boost their performance on an exam.

  • In a two-room shanty with no running water in northern Mumbai, Darshana Verma makes tea on a small stove. On a bench nearby, her 18-year-old son, Vishal, messages Facebook friends on the keypad of his Nokia smartphone.“This is the Internet age,” said the 36-year-old domestic helper, who spent more than half her $300 monthly income on Samsung Electronics Co. and Nokia Oyj (NOK1V) mobile phones for her children. “Facebook is there, all these things happen there now — they make friends, maybe they can even find jobs there.”

  • In a surprise move Monday night the city of Oak Hill eliminated its entire police department.The police chief and a few officers were under scrutiny for alleged illegal and odd behavior. The city council was so fed up they simply wiped out the entire department.

    The mayor called the special meeting Monday tonight that started with the trashing of the police chief and the mayor called for her termination. But then the board talked about it more and decided to get rid of the entire department.

  • A sequence of images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show many long, dark “tendrils” a few metres wide.They emerge between rocky outcrops and flow hundreds of metres down steep slopes towards the plains below.

    They appear on hillsides warmed by the summer sun, flow around obstacles and sometimes split or merge, but when winter returns, the tendrils fade away.

    This suggests that they are made of thawing mud, say the researchers.

    “It’s hard to imagine they are formed by anything other than fluid seeping down slopes,” said Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project Scientist Richard Zurek of Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, but they appear when it’s still too cold for fresh water.

  • The 140-year-old story of Greyfriars Bobby continues to draw tourists to the graveyard that was once inhabited by the Skye Terrier commemorated by a bronze fountain erected in his memory in the cemetery and immortalised on the silver screen by Walt Disney in a 1961 film.But Bondeson, a senior lecturer at Cardiff University, claims that Bobby was far from the dependable dog portrayed in the tale of undying Scottish devotion.

    He says the story was a fabrication, created by cemetery curator, James Brown, and restaurant owner, John Traill, to drum up custom for local businesses — and that Bobby was a stray mutt, bribed with food to stay in the graveyard.

  • The Renton City Prosecutor wants to send a cartoonist to jail for mocking the police department in a series of animated Internet videos.The “South-Park”-style animations parody everything from officers having sex on duty to certain personnel getting promoted without necessary qualifications. While the city wants to criminalize the cartoons, First Amendment rights advocates say the move is an “extreme abuse of power.”

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File under Animation, Fashion, SeMeN SPeRmS BLArRrG, SeMeN SPeRmS Links 'o Death, Sex

Conjured by SeMeN SPeRmS on August 6, 2011

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Frequent Spanish Flyer

  • Crystal Harris is moving on from Hugh Hefner, but not without taking a few parting shots at her former fiancé.

    Harris, 24, said Tuesday on Sirius XM Radio’s Howard Stern Show that sex with the 85-year-old Playboy founder lasted “like two seconds.”

    “Then I was just over it,” she says. “I was like, ‘Ahhh.’ I was over it. I just like, walked away. I’m not turned on by Hef, sorry.”

    She adds that they had sex just once.

    “He doesn’t really take off his clothes,” Harris says. “I’ve never seen Hef naked.”

  • Former school teacher Jack Turley and former school principal Keith Phipps are facing misdemeanor charges and are accused of buying cold medicine to cook meth on school property. Turley’s preliminary hearing in the case was July 1, but it was stopped when defense attorneys tried to dismiss the case on a technicality.

    Turley told state police during an investigation that they used meth in Phipps’ office at the school.

  • For at least two years, the U.S. has been conducting a secretive and immensely sophisticated campaign of mass surveillance and data mining against the Arab world, allowing the intelligence community to monitor the habits, conversations, and activity of millions of individuals at once. And with an upgrade (Odyssey) scheduled for later this year, the top contender to win the federal contract and thus take over the program is a team of about a dozen companies which were brought together in large part by Aaron Barr – the same disgraced CEO who resigned from his own firm earlier this year after he was discovered to have planned a full-scale information war against political activists at the behest of corporate clients. The new revelation provides for a disturbing picture, particularly when viewed in a wider context. Unprecedented surveillance capabilities are being produced by an industry that works in secret on applications that are nonetheless funded by the American public
  • One day, he cornered her, taped her mouth and raped her, she said. Mr. Ramrattan was arrested.

    But he soon took his revenge, the authorities said. Drawing on his knowledge of police procedure, gleaned from his time as an informer for law enforcement, he accomplished what prosecutors in New York called one of the most elaborate framing plots that they had ever seen.

    One night, Ms. Sumasar was pulled over by the police. Before she could speak, detectives slapped handcuffs on her. “You know you did it,” she said one later shouted at her. “Just admit it.”

    Ms. Sumasar, a former Morgan Stanley analyst who was running a restaurant, said she had no idea what that meant. Yet suddenly, she was being treated like a brazen criminal. She was charged with carrying out a series of armed robberies, based on what the police said was a wealth of evidence, including credible witness statements and proof that her car was the getaway vehicle.

  • Researchers reported: “Only with respect to the immediate recall measure was there evidence of an improved performance associated with sustained abstinence from cannabis, with outcomes similar to those who had never used cannabis at the end point. On the remaining cognitive measures, after controlling for education and other characteristics, there were no significant differences associated with cannabis consumption.”

    They concluded, “Therefore, the adverse impacts of cannabis use on cognitive functions either appear to be related to pre-existing factors or are reversible in this community cohort even after potentially extended periods of use.”

  • The 18-year-old victim received a 1.5-inch gash across her buttocks, police said.

    The woman said she was shopping when she noticed clothing that had fallen from a rack behind her and then a man bending down to pick up the fallen items. She then felt a sharp pain in her buttocks, but thought she might have been poked by one of the clothes hangers. A short time later, she realized that her denim shorts had been slashed and that she was cut and bleeding.

  • Bunnatine “Bunny” Greenhouse, the former chief oversight official of contracts at the Army Corps of Engineers, has reached a $970,000 settlement six years after she was demoted for publicly criticizing a multi-billion-dollar, no-bid contract to Halliburton—the company formerly headed by then-Vice President Dick Cheney. Greenhouse had accused the Pentagon of unfairly awarding the contract to Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root. Testifying before Congress in June 2005, she called the contract the worst case of government abuse she had ever witnessed in her 20-year career. Just two months after that testimony, Greenhouse was demoted at the Pentagon, ostensibly for “poor performance.” She had overseen government contracts for 20 years and had drawn high praise in her rise to become the senior civilian oversight official at the Army Corps of Engineers. With the help of the National Whistleblowers Center, Greenhouse filed a lawsuit challenging her demotion.
  • Lieder originally called the bringer of doom “Planet X,” and later connected it to a planet that was hypothesized to exist by a writer named Zecharia Sitchin in his book “The 12th Planet” (Harper 1976). According to Sitchin (1920-2010), the ancient Sumerians wrote about a giant planet called Nibiru — the “twelfth planet” in the solar system, after the other planets (including Pluto), the sun and moon — which has an oblong orbit that swings near Earth every 3,600 years. Humans actually evolved on Nibiru, he said, and colonized this planet during a previous flyby.
  • Google’s Street View cars collected the locations of millions of laptops, cell phones, and other Wi-Fi devices around the world, a practice that raises novel privacy concerns, CNET has confirmed.

    The cars were supposed to collect the locations of Wi-Fi access points. But Google also recorded the street addresses and unique identifiers of computers and other devices using those wireless networks and then made the data publicly available through Google.com until a few weeks ago.

  • NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has found the very first asteroid that (more or less) shares an orbit with Earth! Called 2010 TK7, this asteroid is about 300 meters (roughly 1000 feet) across, and is the first in an up-to-now theoretical class of objects called Earth Trojans.
  • The 63 year-old man, whose name is not being released, was trying to remove a protruding hernia from his stomach using a six inch butter knife, Glendale police Sgt. Tom Lorenz tells KTLA.
  • San Francisco police announced late last week that Kenneth Harding might have taken his own life during a shootout with Bayview police, a revelation that only adds to the confusion surrounding the young man’s death and residents’ anger over the second police shooting in as many weeks.

    Tension between the community and San Francisco Police Department is already running high following the incident, which began with a Muni fare inspection and ended with the 19-year-old bleeding to death in front of police armed with weapons and bystanders armed with cell phone cameras. More than 300 people attended a town hall meeting with Police Chief Greg Suhr at the Bayview Opera House last Wednesday, but a chorus of booing and demands for answers by frustrated residents prevented the officer from giving his presentation.

  • A young Chinese couple has sold all three of their children in exchange for money to play online games at Internet cafes, reports a southern Chinese newspaper.
    According to Sanxiang City News, the couple met in an Internet cafe back in 2007 and bonded over their obsession with online video games. A year later, the parents — who are both under 21 — welcomed their first child, a son. Days after his birth, they left him home alone while they went to play online games at an Internet cafe 30 km away.
    In 2009, Li Lin and Li Juan welcomed their second child, a baby girl, and came up with the idea to sell her for money to fund their online game obsession. They did so, receiving RMB 3,000 (less than $500), which they spent entirely shortly after. The couple then proceeded to sell their first child and got 10 times as much for him — RMB 30,000, or about $4600.
    Upon having their third child — another boy — the parents followed in their previous footsteps and also got RMB 30,000 for him.
  • The first prototype of the Infinity Burial Suit is a body suit embroidered with thread infused with mushroom spores. The embroidery pattern resembles the dendritic growth of mushroom mycelium. The Suit is accompanied by an Alternative Embalming Fluid, a liquid spore slurry, and Decompiculture Makeup, a two-part makeup consisting of a mixture of dry mineral makeup and dried mushroom spores and a separate liquid culture medium. Combining the two parts and applying them to the body activates the mushroom spores to develop and grow.
  • FAMILY campaigners last night blasted a group for teaching pole dancing to girls aged SEVEN – and putting pictures of them on the net.

    The photos show youngsters upside down on poles dressed in shorts, crop tops and vests.

    Parents must agree before the images are posted on Facebook.

  • The panel of 27 scientists, who considered the latest research from all areas of marine science, concluded that a “combination of stressors is creating the conditions associated with every previous major extinction of species in Earth’s history”. They also concluded:

    * The speed and rate of degeneration of the oceans is far faster than anyone has predicted;

    * Many of the negative impacts identified are greater than the worst predictions;

    * The first steps to globally significant extinction may have already begun.

    “The findings are shocking,” said Dr Alex Rogers, professor of conservation biology at Oxford University and IPSO’s scientific director. “As we considered the cumulative effect of what humankind does to the oceans, the implications became far worse than we had individually realised.

  • In the Real-American stronghold of South Carolina, of all places, a 65-year-old woman has been accused of violating the state obscenity law by hanging a pair of Truck Nutz plastic testicles from the back of her pickup truck. What’s next, a ban on the American flag?
  • In the state of Wisconsin, you may be denied the ability to vote for lack of sufficient recent “bank activity”. A woman surreptitiously filmed the interactions as her 18-year-old son leaps through hurdle after hurdle in an attempt to get a constitutionally-guaranteed state ID so that he could vote. At the DMV, the pair is told that voter IDs were not issued when voters’ bank accounts did not show enough “activity.” The clerk had no answer when asked what would happen in the case of a resident who was homeless or unemployed, or too poor to maintain the minimum balance required for a checking account.
  • But what was I even talking about in this post again? Hustler’s dirty little beauty secret: right-o. OK, so this was the best information my ex-friend (well, we weren’t REALLY friends but he did send me free issues) from Hustler told me! He said that in the money shots — don’t pretend that you don’t know what those are — the “jizz” that’s everywhere not real bodily fluid at all! It is actually just …
  • As well as seeing a reported 20K-plus users close their PayPal accounts, Anonymous’ new OpPayPal has led to an alleged $1 billion loss for PayPal’s parent company eBay.

    The new, entirely legal campaign, began earlier today when Anonymous called for “anyone using PayPal to immediately close their accounts and consider an alternative.”

    The campaign was reportedly motivated by the FBI and PayPal’s treatment of alleged Anonymous hacker Mercedes Renee Haefer. The American journalism student was arrested by the FBI earlier this week for involvement in a number of Anonymous led hacks.

    Since it began, Anonymous has publicised the event via Twitter. A primary goal of the protest was to affect eBay’s stock value.

  • Can’t Unsee! …I think it’s fake
  • In Dunn County, North Dakota, the roads can kill you. In fact, anything you do to disturb rocks in the area, like driving or even sweeping, can kick up naturally-occurring particles that lodge in your body and give you a rare kind of lung cancer up to 30 years later. Dunn County, you see, is home to a lot of rocks containing erionite, an asbestos-like substance that’s highly toxic. Unfortunately, nobody knew that until very recently. And so at least 300 miles of roads in North Dakota are paved with the stuff.

    What do you do when you discover that you’ve built your county’s infrastructure out of poison rocks?

  • Manufacturer Boeing says it has inked a teaming agreement with the US operations of arms globo-mammoth BAE Systems to build the Mk 38 Mod 2 Tactical Laser System to naval requirements. We learn that the new raygun installation will be based on the existing Mk 38 Machine Gun System, a robotic gun turret whose primary punch is provided by the fearsome M242 Bushmaster Chain Gun, effectively a light auto-cannon.

    The new enhanced laser version will also boast a high-energy laser intended for such tasks as raying small flying robots and/or boats:

    The addition of the laser weapon module brings high-precision accuracy against surface and air targets such as small boats and unmanned aerial vehicles. The system also provides the ability to deliver different levels of laser energy, depending on the target and mission objectives.

  • Yesterday, alleged terrorist Breivik had his day in court, and just as he started to mention that he had accomplices in the attacks, the judge silenced him and order him to 4 weeks in isolation before his trial. Why? Wouldn’t the people of Norway have a right to know who helped that crazed man carry out the terror attacks? It is obvious that he had assistance; the attacks had to require some level of sophistication and professional planning. But rather than focusing on Breivik’s background, because we may never know the whole truth about him, let’s examine who benefits from these horrendous attacks.
  • Hacker and activist Aaron Swartz faces federal hacking prosecution for allegedly downloading millions of academic documents via MIT’s guest network, using a laptop hidden in a networking closet.

    Swartz, 24, faces 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine under the indictment, announced last week, raising questions about his intentions, the vagueness of anti-hacking statutes and copyright as it applies to academic work.

    But the indictment (embedded below) also left one other question unresolved: How did Swartz get caught?

    The answer, it turns out, involves a webcam stakeout, the Secret Service and a campus-wide manhunt for a slender guy with a backpack riding a bike on MIT’s campus.

  • British police announced today that they arrested a 19-year-old hacker in Scotland’s isolated Shetland Islands who used the nickname “Topiary” online. Here’s what we know about this core member of the hacking group Lulz Security, from interviews and leaked chat transcripts.

    Topiary was the most visible member of the world’s most visible hacking group. Earlier this year Lulz Security captivated the internet with a 50 day hacking spree in which they attacked the FBI, the CIA, and Sony, leaked tens of thousands of emails and passwords, boasting all the while on its massively popular Twitter account. Topiary was a LulzSec cofounder, the group’s unofficial spokesman and aesthetic center. The last two were crucial roles in a group that relied as much on media savviness as hacking ability. He also helped fund LulzSec operations.

  • the quiet despair of the Starship Enterprise

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File under Culture, SeMeN SPeRmS BLArRrG, SeMeN SPeRmS Links 'o Death, Sex

Conjured by SeMeN SPeRmS on July 28, 2011

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The Face Of The Enemy Frightens Me Only When I See How Much It Resembles Mine

  • More Americans than ever are desperate for money and many of them will do just about anything to get it. The crumbling U.S. economy has pushed millions of ordinary Americans to the brink of utter desperation. When it comes time to choose between being able to survive or breaking the law, many people are choosing to break the law. These days it seems like Americans will do just about anything for money. All over the country, there are areas where just about anything that is not bolted down is being stolen. A lot of people have resorted to making money however they can – selling drugs, selling their bodies, shoplifting, invading homes, taking bribes, running credit card scams and even stealing from their own family members. You will have a hard time believing some of the things that you are about to read below. When people have their backs pushed up against the wall, often they find that they are willing to do things that they never imagined that they would do.
  • We have reported in the past an alarming suicide rate among farmers in India that is connected to the failure of American GMO (genetically modified organism) cotton seeds.

    Monsanto, the U.S. company responsible for Agent Orange, a cancer-causing chemical sprayed on the jungles of Vietnam, is now in the GMO food and seed business.

    Monsanto stands accused of having an international monopoly of the notorious bio-engineered Bt cotton seeds.

    Advocates for the agricultural industry say they never dreamed of the tragedy to come, when a 2005 decision was announced to allow the seeds in India.

    Now an agrarian crisis has hit Maharashtra itself thanks to the Monsanto program.

    Farmers are buying 11 packets of 450 gm per hectare as per the company’s guide for the recommended “population method” but the sudden demand and ill-managed Indian sub agents have brought the company big trouble as 50% of the Bt cotton seeds failed to germinate even after it’s second sowing.

  • The payments giant also has a personal interest in tracking down hacktivist groups. AntiSec hackers had encouraged others to attempt to access PayPal customer accounts using leaked usernames and passwords. Last year, PayPal’s blog website was taken offline following a distributed denial of service attack launched by activists angry that the company had frozen a donations account used by whistle blowing website WikiLeaks.
  • Consider the fact that millions of people read this stuff. Millions of people continue to tolerate a list of probably sold-out tour dates with a generic compliment for each city. Then consider the fact that each of the tweets listed above was re-tweeted well over one hundred times. This is worse than DJ’s retweeting people saying they’re “killing it” at some Vegas pool party. This is worse than Diddy’s (Swag’s?) ceaseless positivity.

    Aside from his incessant self-congratulating and bugling, there’s another disappointing revelation Wayne’s Twitter gave us: He’s a horrible bandwagon fan.

  • Senator Bob Graham asks why hard questions about Saudi Arabia have gone unanswered since 9/11. He explains why he’s finally taken to fiction to explore this controversial topic about what the U.S. is covering up.
  • The United States is viewed less favorably in much of the Arab world today than it was during the final year of the Bush administration, and President Obama is less popular in the region than Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, according to a poll released today by the Arab American Institute, a nonpartisan research and advocacy group.

    Attitudes towards the US president and the United States as a whole have been growing increasingly negative over the past ten years due to the invasion of Iraq, outrage over Guantanamo Bay, and continued frustration over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, which has been tracking attitudes for a decade.

    But the current poll is striking in that is illustrates how far Obama’s favorability has fallen in the region, after an initial optimistic spike when he took office.

    “It’s because expectations were created that were not met,” Zogby said.

  • “The primary concern is that methane gas could leak into one or both of the school buildings, potentially causing an explosion,” he said. “A buildup of methane gas was one of the contributing factors that caused the explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in Montcoal, W.Va., last spring, which killed 29 mine workers. I think it goes without saying that middle and high school students shouldn’t be exposed to a similar threat.”

    Nelson continued, “A secondary concern is subsidence –- or the downward shift of the earth’s surface that can occur where underground coal mining takes place. In a worst-case scenario, this could endanger students and faculty in the schools. At bare minimum, it could cause major damage to the schools’ facilities.”

  • The first in a series of short documentaries focusing on the culture of Urban Exploring, those who risk it all to access and infiltaite closed or forgotten spaces.
  • Newly appointed US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta told American troops in Baghdad on Monday that 9/11 was the reason they were in Iraq, before he was quickly corrected by his spokesman.

    “The reason you guys are here is because of 9/11. The US got attacked and 3,000 human beings got killed because of Al-Qaeda,” Panetta told about 150 soldiers at the Camp Victory US base.

    “We’ve been fighting as a result of that,” he said.

    The administration of former US President George W. Bush had hastily linked Saddam Hussein, the ousted Iraqi dictator, to the 9/11 attacks.

    That was one of the justifications for the 2003 US-led invasion, but the argument has since been widely dismissed.

    Doug Wilson, Panetta’s spokesman, quickly jumped in after his boss, who just took office on July 1, made the statement.

    “I don’t think he’s getting into the argument of 2002-2003,” as the reason for the Iraq invasion, Wilson he told reporters, adding that his boss was “a plain-spoken secretary.”

  • A Minnesota hacker prosecutors described as a “depraved criminal” was handed an 18-year prison term Tuesday for unleashing a vendetta of cyberterror that turned his neighbors’ lives into a living nightmare.

    Barry Ardolf, 46, repeatedly hacked into his next-door neighbors’ Wi-Fi network in 2009, and used it to try and frame them for child pornography, sexual harassment, various kinds of professional misconduct and to send threatening e-mail to politicians, including Vice President Joe Biden.

    His motive was to get back at his new neighbors after they told the police he’d kissed their 4-year-old son on the lips.

  • The lawsuit includes a document, sent to ARTINFO in an email, with 150 examples of McGinley’s work as compared to Gordon’s, dissecting what Gordon sees as visual thefts. Similarities include such tropes as “boy looking upward, mouth slightly open in an expression of awe,” and “subject’s left arm is in the air angling above his head.”

    Taken individually, it’s hard to see the similarities as anything but incidental — artists can’t copyright a pose any more than they can copyright balloon dogs. From the document, it’s clear that McGinley’s style is certainly similar to Gordon’s, but that is inevitable in tight-knit artistic milieus. She claims that McGinley took the “style, idea, composition, backgrounds, foregrounds, expressions, gestures” of her work, but none of the image comparisons bear up to the designation of exact copy.

  • Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity specialist at Harvard-affiliated Children’s Hospital Boston, is arguing that parents should lose custody of obese children.

    State intervention “ideally will support not just the child but the whole family, with the goal of reuniting child and family as soon as possible,” Ludwig told The Associated Press. “That may require instruction on parenting.”

  • First, some context: In May, the FTC gave a company called Social Intelligence the green light to run background checks of your Internet and social media history. The media made a big hulabaloo out of the ruling. And it largely got two important facts wrong.

    Contrary to initial reports, Social Intelligence doesn’t store seven years worth of your social data. Rather it looks at up to seven years of your history, and stores nothing.

    The second was the idea that it was looking for boozy or embarrassing photos of you to pass along to your employer. In fact it screens for just a handful of things: aggressive or violent acts or assertions, unlawful activity, discriminatory activity (for example, making racist statements), and sexually explicit activity. And it doesn’t pass on identifiable photos of you at all. In other words, your drunken kegstand photos are probably fine as long as you’re not wearing a T-shirt with a swastika or naked from the waist down.

  • More than just a beatmaker, Prince Paul brings personality to the table: a raunchy Morgan Freeman sound alike, a sound bite from the defunct TV comedy Get A Life, or a well-timed fart joke all have made their way into his work. He also pioneered the classic rap skit, a device in which he’s employed anyone from Xzibit to Father Guido Sarducci to add a context and color to the narrative. As the Undertaker of the Gravediggaz he’s also been credited with ushering in rap’s horrorcore genre (something he deflected during our interview with an evil “Ha ha ha!” followed by a fart noise).

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File under Comedy, Culture, Horror, SeMeN SPeRmS BLArRrG, SeMeN SPeRmS Links 'o Death, Sex

Conjured by SeMeN SPeRmS on July 14, 2011

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A Monkey In Silk Is A Monkey No Less

  • A talented chimpanzee called Panzee can recognise distorted and incomplete words spoken by a computer, scientists have discovered.
  • In a more innocent age, Ronald McDonald was the most benign of media icons: a cheerful clown whose floppy red wig and striped clothes presented an image of family fun.

    But in recent years, another view of the spokes-clown has emerged: To detractors, he’s a heartless corporate shill bent on promoting morbid obesity to young children at the expense of good health.

  • Thirty years ago this month, Nintendo released Donkey Kong to arcades across the United States. The game’s American version went on to sell tens of thousands of units, saving the then-struggling US branch of the company and paving the way for Nintendo’s future success on Western shores.

    Without Donkey Kong, we would have no Mario, and without Mario, it’s hard to imagine what Nintendo would look like today. That makes Donkey Kong, above all others, the most pivotally important video game Nintendo has ever released.

    So it’s time to celebrate–which I did by rounding up a bunch of weird, odd, and interesting stuff about this beloved game.

  • Many of the nation’s leading banks and card issuers, including Wells Fargo, Citi, USAA, Sovereign Bank and Discover, are selling information about consumers’ shopping habits — how much they spend, where they shop and what they buy — to retailers.

    Retailers are using the data to offer targeted discounts via text, email and online bank statements. Each time a consumer cashes in on one of those deals, the retailer pays the bank a nice commission.

  • According to the reports, the court heard Zhan picked his victim at random in an unprovoked attack because he believed Davis was a zombie who was going to attack him.

    The court also heard that Zhan, who is of Chinese origin but lives with his parents in Canada, travelled to Glasgow after hearing voices saying he should go there.

    He reportedly told a psychiatrist that he started seeing blood over the faces of people and was convinced they were zombies.

  • For millions of Jews and Christians, it’s a tenet of their faith that God is the author of the core text of the Hebrew Bible – the Torah, also known as the Pentateuch or the Five Books of Moses. But since the advent of modern biblical scholarship, academic researchers have believed the text was written by a number of different authors whose work could be identified by seemingly different ideological agendas and linguistic styles and the different names they used for God.
  • The human navel should be designated as a bacterial nature reserve, it seems. The first round of DNA results from the Belly Button Biodiversity project are in, and the 95 samples that have so far been analysed have turned up a whopping total of more than 1400 bacterial strains. In 662 cases, the microbes could not even be classified to family, “which strongly suggests that they are new to science”, says team leader Jiri Hulcr of North Carolina State University in Raleigh.
  • Cornish company Concept Shed’s novelty wedding vending machine dispenses marriage ceremonies for £1

    A Cornish company has received interest from around the world for its novelty wedding vending machine.

    Autowed is an 8ft (2.4m) tall pink machine compared by the makers to “a parking meter mixed up with a Cadillac”.

    But it has caught the imagination of people around the world after a video was posted on the internet.

    Requests for machines have come from as away as Russia and Brazil, Falmouth-based inventor Concept Shed said.

    For £1 it plays a specially composed intro version of the Wedding March and asks customers to select their type of union. Bride and groom have the option of pressing one on a keyboard for “I do” and two for “Escape”.

    Purchasers get a wedding receipt and two plastic rings in an egg-shaped plastic capsule.

  • A massive tree house in Crossville, Tennessee, which many have claimed to be the world’s largest, may soon receive an official title from Guinness Book of World Records. It is estimated to have used over a quarter million nails to complete thus far.
  • Rodrick Dantzler, the suspect in the slaying of seven people in Grand Rapids Thursday afternoon, allegedly continued his violent rampage by shooting the driver of a pickup truck in the nose during a traffic jam near Godfrey and Grandville.

    But the bullet ricocheted off the man’s nose.

    Robert Poore’s cousin, Harold Taylor, was riding in the car at the time of the incident. Taylor told 24 Hour News 8 his cousin likely survived the bullet because of a titanium plate in his nose.

  • Where do such moons come from?

    Rayman suggests one source: “When another large body collides with an asteroid, the resulting debris is sprayed into orbit around the asteroid and can gradually collapse to form a moon.”

    Another possibility is “gravitational pinball”: A moon formed elsewhere in the asteroid belt might, through complicated gravitational interactions with various bodies, end up captured by the gravity of one of them.

  • NASA is tracking a piece of Soviet space debris that could collide with the International Space Station, the US space agency said after the shuttle Atlantis docked on its final mission.

    The space junk is part of Cosmos 375, a satellite launched in 1970 by the former Soviet Union and which collided with another satellite and broke apart, but details about the size and exact trajectory of the object were unknown, NASA said.

    NASA estimates that the debris could collide with the station at around 12 noon (1600 GMT) on Tuesday, the same day two US astronauts are scheduled to step out on a spacewalk.

  • Booz Allen Hamilton is a massive American consulting firm that does a substantial amount of work for the Pentagon. This means they’ve got a lot of military business on their servers—which Anonymous hacked. Today they’ve leaked it.

    The leak, dubbed ‘Military Meltdown Monday,’ includes 90,000 logins of military personnel—including personnel from US CENTCOM, SOCOM, the Marine Corps, various Air Force facilities, Homeland Security, State Department staff, and what looks like private sector contractors. Their correspondences could include exchanges with Booz Allen’s highly brassy staff of retired defense folk: current execs include three former Directors of National Intelligence and one former head of the CIA. Anon was also kind enough to gut 4 GB of source code from Booz Allen’s servers. Anon cites the firm’s alleged complicity in the SWIFT financial monitoring program as at least partial motive for the attack.

  • The holy man’s estranged wife, Amora, a respected psychologist, got wind of the tawdry tricks while they were going through a bitter custody battle, she said.

    She managed to have Rabinowich secretly filmed with a call girl and entered the photographic evidence into the record of the bitter custody case.

    “Since when are prostitutes kosher?” Amora Rabinowich told The Post. “He was coming to court claiming he was this pious individual, but he was using the phone on the Sabbath to meet prostitutes.

    “And what kind of rabbi is he? He didn’t even take these prostitutes to the mikvah [Jewish ritual cleansing bath] first.

  • A legal battle over the fate of 10 double eagle gold coins from the Franklin Roosevelt Administration in the 1930s started with the government saying the coins, now worth an estimated $75 million, were wrongly taken from a U.S. mint.

    Authorities say the coins were improperly removed more than 70 years ago from the U.S. Mint at Philadelphia, only blocks from the courthouse where U.S. District Court Judge Legrome D. Davis was presiding over the case.

    “You are going to hear a remarkable and intriguing story about gold coins that were stolen from the U.S. Mint in 1933,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Romero told the jury in her opening statement.

    None of the 445,500 coins, then worth $20 each, ever legally went into circulation, she said. President Franklin Roosevelt issued an executive order shortly after taking office in March 1933 that prohibited the payout of gold from banks.

    Yet 10 coins — called double eagles because the $10 coin was called an eagle — somehow disappeared.

  • MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell blasted the “once noble” Newsweek magazine on Monday night for allowing Sarah Palin to say, “I think I can win” in an interview without contest.

    O’Donnell noted that nearly every 2012 presidential poll has shown Palin has little chance, adding that she is the most unpopular politician in Alaska.

    “Newsweek does everything to make the madness of Sarah Palin seem reasonable,” he said.

  • As news of the marriage spread, the state forest department officials stepped into action. Since monkeys are protected in India as government property, no one can pet them, train them or – as in this case – marry them, even to a fellow monkey.

    “It’s illegal to marry a monkey. Anyone found doing that or attending the marriage ceremony will be arrested,” said forest range officer Bhavar Singh Kaviya.

  • The authors suggest that when interventions eliminate people’s freedom to value diversity on their own terms, they may actually be creating hostility toward the targets of prejudice.

    According to Dr. Legault, “Controlling prejudice reduction practices are tempting because they are quick and easy to implement. They tell people how they should think and behave and stress the negative consequences of failing to think and behave in desirable ways.” Legault continues, “But people need to feel that they are freely choosing to be nonprejudiced, rather than having it forced upon them.”

    Legault stresses the need to focus less on the requirement to reduce prejudices and start focusing more on the reasons why diversity and equality are important and beneficial to both majority and minority group members.

  • For several years, public health officials have been concerned that gonorrhea, one of the most prevalent STDs in the world, might become resistant to the last widely available antibiotics used to treat it, a class of drugs called cephalosporins.

    Now, it has.

    In the space of one week, infectious disease specialists have received a one-two punch of bad news that confirms those fears, including the discovery of a new, cephalosporin-resistant strain of the bacteria.

    The percentage of U.S. gonorrhea cases that are resistant to the two cephalosporins used to treat it, cefixime, taken orally, and ceftriaxone, injected, is on the rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

  • A stun gun made it onto a JetBlue flight in Boston, and wasn’t discovered until a cleaning crew in Newark, NJ raised the alarm while cleaning up the plane.

    The plane was empty when the palm-sized device was found, and nobody was injured, but the question remains of how it made it through security and onto the plane in the first place.

  • “Looks like Megan is just as talented with Photoshop as she is in entertainment,” said plastic surgeon and blogger Dr. Nicholas Vendemia of New York. “Those lines on her forehead are totally fake. … Muscles in the forehead and brow simply don’t create curved wrinkles like that. The wrinkles Megan is showing us don’t coincide with brow anatomy, nor do they match the facial expression she is making.”
  • Rap star Dizzee Rascal was hauled off a plane at Heathrow yesterday for allegedly hurling abuse at a stewardess – and now he could face a life ban from British Airways.

    The singer, whose single Bonkers was a No 1 hit, was escorted off the flight at Terminal 3 by police called in to attend the disturbance.

    The East London-born singer is said to have hurled foul-mouthed insults at the stewardess as he sat in First Class.

  • Contrails are known to have several effects on climate. On the one hand, they act as a blanket, trapping heat that would otherwise escape into space. On the other, during the day they reflect incoming sunlight, cooling the Earth below more than it is warmed by the other effect. But overall, the consensus among climatologists is that they warm the planet.

    In the 1940s – unlike today – there was hardly any civilian air traffic, so historical records offer an opportunity to test the daytime effects. “Pilots cared about contrails a lot,” says Rob MacKenzie, formerly of Lancaster University, and now at the University of Birmingham, UK. “Aircraft were tracked using contrails and shot down. So pilots would report them.”

  • The crackdown in Belarus grew more indiscriminate this week. Among the 400 arrested: a one-armed man charged with taking part in the clapping protests and mute person accused of shouting antigovernment slogans.
  • Russian blogosphere is buzzing about a video of a crazy car crash in central Moscow that went viral on the web. The incident took place last week in central Moscow when a speeding Nissan GT-R, worth some $160 thousand, rammed into cars parked along the street. The impact was powerful enough to literally throw a jeep into the air. There are no reports of injuries – or the identity of the driver. It’s not clear whether the driver was street-racing with another car. Some bloggers have already claimed they’ve seen the car the evening before driving at a speed of around 200 km/h.

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File under SeMeN SPeRmS BLArRrG, SeMeN SPeRmS Links 'o Death

Conjured by SeMeN SPeRmS on July 12, 2011

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