Archaeology | SeMeN SPeRmS SuPeR SiTe

Seventies Sidewalk Surfin’

► Scientists grow sperm in laboratory dish
The development opens up the possibility of infertile men being able to father their own children rather than using donor sperm. Researchers in Germany and Israel were able to grow mouse sperm from a few cells in a laboratory dish. In a world first a team headed by Professor Stefan Schlatt, at Muenster University in Germany, were able to grow sperm by using germ cells. These are the cells in testicles that are responsible for sperm production. Scientists grew the sperm by surrounding the germ cells in a special compound called agar jelly to create an environment similar to that found in testicles.
► How to fake the pledge of allegiance
“I pledge a lesson to queen’s frag and her United States of Hysteria, and to the wee puppet for witch’s hands. One Asian, under dog, invisible, with little tea and just rice for all.”
► Worlds earliest toy car and title deed on show at Mardin Museum
Archaeologist Mesut Alp said that the toy car, which is made out of stone, dates back to the late Stone Age and is thought to be 7,500 years old. The Culture and Tourism Director of Mardin, Davut Beliktay, said that the car is like a copy of cars today, adding that in its shape, the ancient toy also resembles a tractor. Beliktay also revealed that toy dolls and whistles, also made of stone, were found at sites in the area, “we believe that the whistles and dolls are 5,000 to 6,000 years old. The whistles are still in working condition,” he said.
► Death of man struck by train leads to bizarre civil case
Ruling in what it called a “tragically bizarre” case, an appeals court found that the estate of a man killed by a train while crossing the Edgebrook Metra station tracks can be held liable after a part of his body sent airborne by the collision struck and injured a bystander. In 2008, Hiroyuki Joho, 18, was hurrying in pouring rain with an umbrella over his head, trying to catch an inbound Metra train due to arrive in about five minutes when he was struck by a southbound Amtrak train traveling more than 70 mph. A large portion of his body was thrown about 100 feet on to the southbound platform, where it struck Gayane Zokhrabov, then 58, who was waiting to catch the 8:17 a.m. train to work. She was knocked to the ground, her leg and wrist broken and her shoulder injured.
► Gary Webb’s Drug War Reporting Vindicated
Douglas Farah was in El Salvador when the San Jose Mercury News broke a major story in the summer of 1996: The Nicaraguan Contras, a confederation of paramilitary rebels sponsored by the CIA, had been funding some of their operations by exporting cocaine to the United States. One of their best customers was a man nicknamed “Freeway Rick” — Ricky Donnell Ross, then a Southern California dealer who was running an operation the Los Angeles Times dubbed “the Wal-Mart of crack dealing.”
► New Year’s Resolution: Full Disk Encryption on Every Computer You Own
The New Year is upon us, and you might be partaking in the tradition of making a resolution for the coming year. This year, why not make a resolution to protect your data privacy with one of the most powerful tools available? Commit to full disk encryption on each of your computers. Many of us now have private information on our computers: personal records, business data, e-mails, web history, or information we have about our friends, family, or colleagues.  Encryption is a great way to ensure that your data will remain safe when you travel or if your laptop is lost or stolen. Best of all, it’s free. So don’t put off taking security steps that can help protect your private data. Join EFF in resolving to encrypt your disks 2012. Here’s some basic info about full disk encryption. You can read this and much more (including information on password security) in our recent whitepaper on protecting privacy at the border.
► The Perfect Score: Cheating on the SAT
For Sam Eshaghoff, getting a high score on the SAT college admissions exam was more than a point of pride. It was a lucrative business. As Alison Stewart reports, other students paid Eshaghoff up to $2,500 each to take their tests using easily manufactured fake IDs. His scam came crashing down in fall 2011, when he was arrested for criminal impersonation and fraud. Eshaghoff has since accepted a plea deal, but the case still raises major questions about the integrity of the test itself.
► Bad Teachers: Weird Education Crimes of 2011
Gang Bang Teacher: Cops Say She Had Sex With Five Students & Filmed It. Science Teacher Accused of Sex With 17-Year-Old Student. Caught in the Act: Cops Say Teacher Seen Having Sex With Student. Biology Teacher Accused of Sexy Lesson. Bad Teacher: Police Say Substitute Urinated in Front of Class. Cops: Teacher Caught Doing It With ‘Love Doll’ on School Property.
► Russian officials rattled by breach at rocket plant
Russia’s deputy prime minister vowed Thursday to punish “sleepy” security officials after bloggers posted dozens of photos of an apparently unguarded strategic military rocket motor factory near Moscow. Blogger Lana Sator said she and friends met not a soul, much less any security guards, as they roamed around state rocket-maker Energomash’s plant, snapping pictures, on five separate night-time excursions in recent months. She posted almost 100 pictures of decrepit-looking hardware from inside a rusted engine-fuel testing tower, the plant’s control room and even its roof at lana-sator.livejournal.com
► Facebook Responsible for A Third of Divorces in UK?
A recent survey conducted by a UK based divorce website disclosed that 33 per cent behaviour divorce petitions filed cite Facebook as a cause for filling for divorce in 2011. In 2009 this figure was 20 per cent. 5000 people were surveyed by Divorce-Online, the UK divorce website, during 2009 and 2011 covering Facebook as a means to check behaviour of spouse with the opposite sex and spouses using the social networking platform to comment about their exes post the separation.
► Faking It: How the Media Manipulates the World into War
As the drums of war begin to beat once again in Iran, Syria, the South China Sea, and other potential hotspots and flashpoints around the globe, concerned citizens are asking how a world so sick of bloodshed and a population so tired of conflict could be led to this spot once again. To understand this seeming paradox, we must first understand the centuries-long history of how media has been used to whip the nation into wartime frenzy, dehumanize the supposed enemies, and even to manipulate the public into believing in causes for war that, decades later, were admitted to be completely fictitious.
► U.S. double standard surfaces in Strait of Hormuz
What was truly comical was the manner in which numerous U.S. military pundits magnified the actual threat the primitive Iranian navy poses. Contrary to those gross exaggerations, the fact is that the most serious threat in Iran’s maritime arsenal is its three small, aging, Soviet-era Kilo-class submarines. It is believed that at best, only two of the vessels are even still seaworthy, and the shallow, narrow Strait of Hormuz would preclude the effective use of any submarines. As for its surface fleet, Iran does possess a few fast missile patrol boats and an additional ad hoc flotilla of designated suicide attack boats. The majority of these craft are little more than rigid-hulled inflatables mounted with a variety of light machine-guns, packed with explosives and crewed by militia zealots. Opposing this cockleshell Flintstones navy is the mighty U.S. Fifth Fleet. Consisting of more than 20 warships, including aircraft carriers and missile cruisers
► Lego Concentration Camp
“Each box contains a set of bricks, that can be used to build the element of a concentration camp as shown on the box. All elements in the sets as well as those depicted on the boxes have either been taken from the mass-produced sets of LEGO bricks, or have been slightly altered by the artist. The prisoners are played by smiling skeletons from the “Pirate” set, while slightly modified figurines from the “Police Station” set appear as tormenters. In the upper-left corner of each box we find the following statement: “This work by Zbigniew Libera has been sponsored by Lego” – as the project was made possible thanks to the bricks presented by the polish department of the Danish company. Upon its presentation in Denmark, LEGO headquarters has launched legal complaints against the artist, however as a result of a fierce press campaign it has decided to drop the lawsuit. The controversies concerning Libera’s LEGO also appeared in Poland, yet those where of a somewhat different character.
► This is What Happens When You Give Thousands of Stickers to Thousands of Kids
This December, in a surprisingly simple yet ridiculously amazing installation for the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, artist Yayoi Kusama constructed a large domestic environment, painting every wall, chair, table, piano, and household decoration a brilliant white, effectively serving as a giant white canvas. Over the course of two weeks, the museum’s smallest visitors were given thousands upon thousands of colored dot stickers and were invited to collaborate in the transformation of the space, turning the house into a vibrantly mottled explosion of color. How great is this? Given the opportunity my son could probably cover the entire piano alone in about fifteen minutes. The installation, entitled The Obliteration Room, is part of Kusama’s Look Now, See Forever exhibition that runs through March 12.
► DARPA’s New Spy Satellite Could Provide Real-Time Video From Anywhere on Earth
“It sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake” could be the theme song for a new spy satellite being developed by DARPA. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s latest proof-of-concept project is called the Membrane Optical Imager for Real-Time Exploitation (MOIRE), and would provide real-time images and video of any place on Earth at any time — a capability that, so far, only exists in the realm of movies and science fiction. The details of this huge eye-in-the-sky look like something right out of science fiction, as well, and it would be interesting to determine if it could have applications for astronomy as well.
► Skateboard Songs Of The 70’s
“Skateboard” (as it is known in Brazil) is a sport that has emerged in the late 50 invented by surfers as a hobby in times of low tide. With the passage of time was the sportive will gain new fans and winning characteristics. In the mean time (years 50 and 60) there were a few musical recordings exploring the theme of skateboarding, such as “Skatebordin ‘Pt 1 & Pt 2” dual “Jan & Dean.” But the boom of skateboarding was only to give even in the late ’70s, when the sport received a veritable flood of newcomers, and soon to greatly increase the number of songs exploring this new market of skaters. The recordings ranging from power pop, bubble gum, glam, disco, funk or any musical style that could match the atmosphere that the young skate ever breathed, with a strong influence of surf music, especially the Beach Boys.

 

 

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Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on January 3, 2012

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Brave New Morning

✪ ‘Synthetic’ marijuana is problem for US military

U.S. troops are increasingly using an easy-to-get herbal mix called “Spice,” which mimics a marijuana high, is hard to detect and can bring on hallucinations that last for days. The abuse of the substance has so alarmed military officials that they’ve launched an aggressive testing program that this year has led to the investigation of more than 1,100 suspected users. So-called “synthetic” pot is readily available on the Internet and has become popular nationwide in recent years, but its use among troops and sailors has raised concerns among the Pentagon brass.
✪ In futile car search for drugs, Pompton Lakes police inflict $12K worth of damage
The instrument cluster and leather dashboard were gone. The caramel-colored seats were torn up. The gear shift was ripped out and stray wires hung limp everywhere. Geico, Richardson’s insurance company estimated the damage at $12,636.42 — more than he paid for the car — and declared the vehicle a “total loss.” According to police reports, the damage to the black BMW 325i came in the aftermath of a traffic stop during which officers detected a “strong odor of raw marijuana” inside the vehicle. Searching for a cache of drugs, members of three different police agencies and a detective from a federal drug task force spent two days tearing the car apart, the reports said. So what did police find after their $12,000 search? Absolutely nothing.
✪ Pranksters Turn Rotating Billboard Into a Merry-Go-Round
First, there was a billboard swingset in Hong Kong. Now, there’s a billboard merry-go-round in Prague. Well, it’s really more of a billboard whirlygig, but the point is that another piece of advertising structure has been reclaimed by artists for some frivolous playtime. And unlike the Hong Kong piece, which was sanctioned for an event, this one seems to be a prank—the team of artists responsible mounted a rotating billboard (commonplace over there, apparently) via its maintenance ladder and turned it into a carnival ride with balloons and wooden swings. I almost asked myself why this sort of thing never happens in America, but then I remembered that we can’t do any kind of stunts or people freak out.
✪ imPOSTers
The project “imPOSTer” was created by by Chicago designer TEWZ to honor and remember the most deceitful imposters throughout history by creating fake stamps, and then sending them through the United States postal system. The portraits of DAVID HAMPTON, FERDINAND DEMARA, FRANK ABAGNALE, JOHN HOWARD GRIFFIN, TONY CLIFTON, WILHELM VOIGHT, were all good enough to fool the United States Postal System.
✪ Jewish groups get most money from federal security grants
In an event announcing $1.7 billion in Department of Homeland Security grants, Napolitano noted that 63 percent of nonprofit grant recipients were “affiliated with Jewish organizations.” The following year, according to the Jewish Federations of North America, that number grew. In 2010, 94 percent of the department’s nonprofit security funding went to Jewish groups that are, in the words of the Department of Homeland Security, “at high risk of terrorist attack.” That included $222,000 for Jewish nonprofits in Missouri. Last month, the Nonprofit Security Grant Program awarded three St. Louis Jewish organizations $195,000 in grants to guard against such an attack, according to the Missouri Department of Public Safety. They were the only nonprofits in St. Louis to receive funding from the program, which awarded more than 80 percent of its $20 million budget in 2011 to Jewish nonprofits around the country.
✪ Mayan group’s logo too much like Toucan Sam, Kellogg’s squawks
Kellogg’s feathers are ruffled over a case of too many toucans. The cereal giant has asked a Bay Area Mayan nonprofit organization to remove an image of the tropical bird in its logo, claiming that it could be confused with Kellogg’s trademarked Froot Loops mascot, Toucan Sam. The San Ramon-based Maya Archaeology Initiative said its toucan looks nothing like Kellogg’s cartoon and that the two birds aren’t in competition. Dozens of toucan species exist. The Toucan Sam variety — known to kids as the bird on TV that “follows his nose … it always knows” — has been around since 1963, according to its Kellogg’s bio.  Kellogg’s, based in Battle Creek, Mich., did not immediately provide comment. The group added its own accusation: Kellogg’s Froot Loops advertising strategy sends racist messages to its young target audience with the presence of a dark-skinned villain named the Greedy Witch Doctor who steals from children, it said.
✪ Raiders of the Lost Archives [Video]
Shot-by-shot comparison of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” vs. scenes from 30 different adventure films made between 1919-1973.
✪ The Curious Taxidermy of Walter Potter
While the preservation of hunting trophies may be the best-known use of the taxidermist’s art, fans of Walter Potter’s anthropomorphic tableaux can attest to the fact that it has its other, more silly uses. Potter (1835-1918) was a self-taught taxidermist who grew up in the rural community of Bramber, Sussex, at a time when stuffing dead animals was considered to be a suitable hobby for young boys. For technical assistance, he would have had any number of popular manuals at his disposal. For inspiration, he had his younger sister’s illustrated nursery rhyme books and the Great Exhibition of 1851, where anthropomorphic taxidermy was first displayed to the British public.
✪ Weird Bible Verses – 1 Samuel 18:27 – an unusual wedding gift
“David took his men with him and went out and killed two hundred Philistines and brought back their foreskins. They counted out the full number to the king so that David might become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage”
✪ Brooklyn Heights Townhouse is Actually a Decoy
Which of these Brooklyn Heights brownstones is not like the other? Here’s a hint: It’s the one with the word FAKE and a big red arrow pointed at it. Yesterday the Brooklyn Eagle ventured inside an unnamed three-story brownstone on a cobblestone block that is not a single-family townhouse, but rather a secret subway exit: Located in the tunnel just east of the river, the exit disguised as a brownstone leads to a grimy-lit set of metal stairs that ascend past utility boxes and ventilation shafts into a windowless room with a door. If you opened the door, you would find yourself on a stoop, which is just part of the façade.
✪ Ocean acidification: Some organisms already experiencing ocean acidification levels not predicted to be reached until 2100
These pH time series create a compelling argument for the collection of more continuous data of this kind.” Ocean acidification research is a relatively new study topic as scientists have only appreciated the potential extent of acidification within the last decade. As greenhouse gas emissions have accelerated in the past century, the oceans have taken up about a third of the carbon dioxide produced by human activities. That excess beyond natural levels increases amounts of carbonic acid in seawater. Acidification also limits the amount of carbonate forms that are needed by marine invertebrates such as coral and shelled organisms to form their skeletons. Though many lab simulations of this effect have been performed recently, including at a new acidification laboratory in development at Scripps, there have been few comparable field studies.
✪ Did Nixon have a gay affair with a Mafia fixer? Forget Watergate. A new book claims America’s most corrupt President hid a far more personal scandal…
A new biography by Don Fulsom, a veteran Washington reporter who covered the Nixon years, suggests the 37th U.S. President had a serious drink problem, beat his wife and — by the time he was inaugurated in 1969 — had links going back two decades to the Mafia, including with New Orleans godfather Carlos Marcello, then America’s most powerful mobster. Yet the most extraordinary claim is that the homophobic Nixon may have been gay himself. If true, it would provide a fascinating insight into the motivation and behaviour of a notoriously secretive politician. Fulsom argues that Nixon may have had an affair with his best friend and confidant, a Mafia‑connected Florida wheeler-dealer named Charles ‘Bebe’ Rebozo who was even more crooked than Nixon.
✪ F.D.A. Finds Short Supply of Attention Deficit Drugs
Since the drugs have been shown to improve concentration, and not just in people with A.D.H.D., they have become popular among students who are seeking a study aid. And since they can impart a euphoria that users have likened to a cocaine high, the pills are sometimes ground up by people who snort them for a thrill. On the other hand, there are people like Sheryl Greenfield of Bryn Mawr, Pa., an A.D.H.D. patient who spent days calling dozens of pharmacies to find a generic substitute for Adderall XR. She finally gave up and bought the brand, and her co-pay went to $200 from $10. “I can afford the difference, but I know some people who can’t,” she said. Shortages of amphetamine-based drugs like Adderall became so endemic that many doctors switched patients to methylphenidate-based drugs like Ritalin, creating shortages among those medicines as well, according to the F.D.A.
✪ Lexington man charged with making a fake $1 million bill and trying to spend it
A Lexington man is accused trying to use a fake $1 million bill to pay for his purchases at a Walmart. Michael Anthony Fuller, 53, of 3 Parker St., walked into the Walmart on Lowes Boulevard in Lexington on Nov. 17. He shopped for a while, picking up a vacuum cleaner, a microwave oven and other merchandise, totaling $476, an arrest warrant says. When he got to the register, Fuller gave the cashier the phony bill, saying that it was real. Store staff called police. Fuller was later charged with attempting to obtain property by false pretense and uttering a forged instrument, both felonies, court records show. A warrant says of the fake million-dollar bill: “There is no such thing.” The largest bill in circulation is a $100 bill. In 1969, federal officials discontinued the use of $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 bills because of lack of public use.
✪ Hackers plan space satellites to combat censorship
Computer hackers plan to take the internet beyond the reach of censors by putting their own communication satellites into orbit. The scheme was outlined at the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin. The project’s organisers said the Hackerspace Global Grid will also involve developing a grid of ground stations to track and communicate with the satellites. Longer term they hope to help put an amateur astronaut on the moon.
✪ Three nights, 38 fires: arson attacks sweep Hollywood
Officials say it is already the worst string of arson attacks seen by Los Angeles since the riots that rocked the city in 1992. Damage to vehicles and property is put so far about $1m (£644,000). In West Hollywood alone, fire officials said the fires had destroyed about $350,000 worth of property. One of the New Year’s Eve fires broke out in a heavily used parking garage at the Highland Centre in Hollywood, a huge and glitzy complex of shops, restaurants and cinema screens that is also home to the Kodak Theatre, which hosts the annual Oscar ceremonies. While police have indicated they are looking for a man driving a 1990s Lexus saloon in connection with the fires, the sheer number of incidents suggests that they may be dealing with several arsonists or even some copy-cat ones. On Friday night some of the fires appeared to have been started within minutes of each other, prompting initial speculation that the attacks could be the handiwork of an individual in a car or a on a motorcycle

 

 

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Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on January 2, 2012

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SeMeNSPeRmS.com 2nd Anniversary!

    • Researchers are uncovering the secrets of ancient civilizations who built fun house-like temples that may have scared the pants off worshipers with scary sound effects, light shows and perhaps drug-induced psychedelic trips.
    • Troubled rapper DMX is in jail again. Charged with using coke and OxyContin, and failing to submit to drug tests, Arizona police arrested him on Thursday for violating his latest probation. DMX has been in and out of jail over the last 10 years.
    • The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) was quick to criticize the DEA’s move. “The DEA says that prohibiting synthetic marijuana will ‘control’ it – yet we know from history that prohibition is the complete opposite of drug control,” said DPA spokesman Tony Newman in a Wednesday press release. “DPA is advocating for establishing regulatory restrictions, such as age limits and product labeling requirements, rather than banning it outright and relegating it to the black market.”
    • The shortage has been linked not to seizures of the drug by law enforcement agencies but to a fungus that has blighted this year’s poppy crop in Afghanistan, reducing it by half. Users are overdosing on either adulterated heroin, or, in some cases, what has been found to be a combination of a powerful sedative, caffeine and paracetamol. Some have become unconscious very soon after injecting or smoking it, while others have reported vomiting, flu-like symptoms and amnesia, drug agencies say.
    • “The American public looks to the DEA to protect its children and communities from those who would exploit them for their own gain,” said DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “Makers of these harmful products mislead their customers into thinking that ‘fake pot’ is a harmless alternative to illegal drugs, but that is not the case. Today’s action will call further attention to the risks of ingesting unknown compounds and will hopefully take away any incentive to try these products.”
    • The technology, known as “deep packet inspection,” is capable of reading and analyzing the “packets” of data traveling across the Internet. It can be far more powerful than “cookies” and other techniques commonly used to track people online because it can be used to monitor all online activity, not just Web browsing. Spy agencies use the technology for surveillance.
    • A man who turned to robot fantasies after his girlfriend left him said: “One of the things that is more preferable to having a robot companion is that robots don’t break your heart.
    • Police say they have retaken a sprawling slum area from drug gangs in Brazil’s second-largest city after a five-day assault that killed more than two dozen people.
    • The five targeted chemicals are identified as JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47497 and cannabicyclohexanol.
    • Cracking down on fake pot, the government moved Wednesday to outlaw five chemicals used in herbal blends to make the synthetic marijuana sold in head shops and on the Internet to a growing number of teens and young adults.
    • The Boy Scouts of America have concealed sexual abuse that has pervaded the institution and helped sex offenders avoid prosecution for more than 70 years, a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Santa Barbara Superior Court alleges.
    • He is the sadistic executioner whose killings have terrorised Mexico. But unlike most of the brutal players in the country’s horrific drug wars, El Ponchis (The Cloak) is just 12 years old.
    • Thanks Patrick Nybakken.

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    Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on November 26, 2010

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