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Obama’s secrecy fixation causing Sunshine Week implosion

Along with others, I’ve spent the last four years documenting the extreme, often unprecedented, commitment to secrecy that this president has exhibited, including his vindictive war on whistleblowers, his refusal to disclose even the legal principles underpinning his claimed war powers of assassination, and his unrelenting, Bush-copying invocation of secrecy privileges to prevent courts even from deciding the legality of his conduct (as a 2009 headline on the Obama-friendly TPM site put it: “Expert Consensus: Obama Mimics Bush On State Secrets”). Just this week, the Associated Press conducted a study proving that last year, the Obama administration has rejected more FOIA requests on national security grounds than in any year since Obama became president, and quoted Alexander Abdo, an ACLU staff attorney for its national security project, as follows: “We’ve seen a meteoric rise in the number of claims to protect secret law, the government’s interpretations of laws or its understanding
Jewish artifacts illegally dumped in N.J.
Thousands of black plastic bags filled with Jewish religious artifacts line a dirt road in the woods near where Larry Simons lives. Nearby, 10 tractor-trailers sit filled with the bags, recently unearthed from their burial ground. The bags are part of an Orthodox Jewish custom known as shaimos, where Jewish books and other sacred objects that are no longer of use must be buried. “The whole thing troubles me because, one, I am Jewish,” the 76-year-old Simons said, as he walked passed the piles of bags. “As a Jewish person, I do not like to be denigrated. But when (I see) what I perceive as an abuse … of the law, it bothers me.” What concerns Simons, and the state Department of Environmental Protection, is that these bags were buried illegally in the woods in Jackson and Lakewood. A state Superior Court judge ordered the rabbi overseeing the site, Chaim Abadi, to remove the bags. But nearly a year later, Abadi is still searching for a new location for the artifacts

“LOL, She Couldn’t Even Move” Awful Texts Revealed at Steubenville Rape Trial

The prosecution alleges that, at a football party last summer, the West Virginia girl who multiple witnesses have described as incapacitated to the point of incoherence and unconsciousness lay shirtless on a yard, vomiting, while a group of guys offered $3 to piss on her. Next, she was allegedly sexually assaulted multiple times, ranging from digital penetration to attempted oral rape. Photographs taken during the assault, as well as a video in which a witness described the “dead girl” as “so raped,” were distributed throughout the town. As Jane Doe tried to learn what happened to her, the boys shared their alleged sexual assault with each other through texts and e-mails. “Hey buddy…you want to send me that pic because you love me?” one boy texted Mays, while Jane’s Doe friend commented about the same photo, “If that is [semen] on you that is [expletive] crazy.”

_LIVESON – Tweet After You’re Dead

Your _LIVESON twitter account is created – it will keep tweeting even after you’ve passed away. _LIVESON A.I. analyses your main twitter feed. Learning about your likes, tastes, syntax. Tweets begin to populate your _LIVESON feed. Help it become a better you by giving feedback. Nominate an executor to your _LIVESON ‘Will’. They can decide to keep your account ‘live’.

Reputation scores and hedged friendship

data have different valences; data are always mediated. They must be contextualized by an interpretive community — pieces of data don’t automatically dictate how they must be interpreted by anyone who sees it. They are available to be put to whatever use by those with the authority to contextualize them. And more data doesn’t automatically make for a clearer picture. It just makes for more interpretative work, more exercises of power by the interpreters, more occasions where power might need to be resisted. In other words, data are not inherently a weapon against power, as transparency advocates sometimes seem to suggest; they are also a tool of power. A reputation is constituted by who gets to interpret data and for what reasons; it is determined by power relations. Amassing more data won’t somehow undo the hierarchy; it just gives people in the position to impose social judgments more information to rationalize their prejudices and protect their privileges.

NSA Chief Says America Is Ready to Cyberattack

For the first time, NSA chief and head of the U.S. Cyber Command Gen. Keith Alexander admitted America is ready to attack in cyberspace. Never before has a U.S. official acknowledged that the U.S. government is working on or is in possession of malware capable of attacking a foreign nation in a cyber conflict, despite the fact that at least one attack — the famous Stuxnext worm — has been attributed to the U.S. On Wednesday, in his annual testimony to the House Armed Services Committee, Alexander took the cyberwar rethoric coming out of Washington up a notch. “I would like to be clear that this team, this defend-the-nation team, is not a defensive team,” he said. “This is an offensive team.” In other words, this cyber army is ready to retaliate in case of a cyber attack against the United States.

Occupy Sugar: A Movement Whose Time Has Come

Big Sugar has spent decades paying its way into politicians’ hearts, demanding price controls and tariffs that boost profits and artificially inflate sugar prices, and using its political clout to establish a permanent life-support mechanism for an industry whose major product is causing many Americans to die.

Crime Lab Scandal Leaves Mass. Legal System In Turmoil

A scandal in a Massachusetts crime lab continues to reverberate throughout the state’s legal system. Several months ago, Annie Dookhan, a former chemist in a state crime lab, told police that she messed up big time. Dookhan now stands accused of falsifying test results in as many as 34,000 cases. As a result, lawyers, prosecutors and judges used to operating in a world of “beyond a reasonable doubt” now have nothing but doubt. Already, hundreds of convicts and defendants have been released because of the scandal. Now, the state’s highest court may weigh in on how these cases should be handled. “I don’t think anyone ever perceived that one person was capable of causing this much chaos,” says Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrisey, one of many DAs now digging through old drug cases, trying to sort out how many should now be considered tainted.

Breast-beating: Femen ‘assaulted’ by anti-gay marriage demonstrators in Paris

Femen activists appeared amidst the demonstrators wearing costumes of sexy nuns. The activists were topless as usual, with slogans written across their chests. They were spraying demonstrators with white liquid calling it “Jesus’ semen.”

Paranoid Dictator’s Communist-Era Bunkers Now a National Nuisance

In Albania, 750,000 Communist-era bunkers populate the landscape, relics of the paranoia and skewed priorities of former dictator Enver Hoxha. Now they exist as quirky homes, animal shelters, ad hoc storage and make-out spots. The peculiar program of bunkerization, which lasted Hoxha’s entire 40-year rule, resulted in one bunker for every four citizens.

Man faces five years in prison for releasing balloons on beach as a romantic gesture

The 40-year-old Brasfield was with his girlfriend, Shaquina Baxter, in the parking lot of a Motel 6 on Dania Beach Boulevard when he released the 12 shiny, red and silver mylar balloons into the sky and watched them float away in the Sunday morning breeze. But the trooper saw nothing more than probable cause for a crime against the environment. Apparently, lawmakers in the Sunshine State think it’s appropriate to treat what should have been, at most, simple littering (to which courts would have issued a fine, maybe?), into a major crime against Mother Nature. As if Florida jails weren’t full enough. The trooper arrested Brasfield and charged him with polluting to harm humans, animals, plants and everything else living under the Florida Air and Water Pollution Control Act. “Endangered marine turtle species and birds, such as wood storks and brown pelicans, seek refuge in John U. Lloyd State Park, about 1.5 miles east of the motel,” said the paper.

Doctor ‘used silicone fingers’ to sign in for colleagues

Thaune Nunes Ferreira, 29, was arrested on Sunday for using prosthetic fingers to fool the biometric employee attendance device used at the hospital where she works near Sao Paulo. She is accused of covering up the absence of six colleagues.

Facebook users unwittingly revealing intimate secrets, study finds

Facebook users are unwittingly revealing intimate secrets – including their sexual orientation, drug use and political beliefs – using only public “like” updates, according to a study of online privacy. The research into 58,000 Facebook users in the US found that sensitive personal characteristics about people can be accurately inferred from information in the public domain. Researchers were able to accurately infer a Facebook user’s race, IQ, sexuality, substance use, personality or political views using only a record of the subjects and items they had “liked” on Facebook – even if users had chosen not to reveal that information. The study will reopen the debate about privacy in the digital age and raise fresh concerns about what information people share online.

Supermax Prisons: Views from Above

Beyond this, we need to examine the culture of incarceration responsible for keeping a substantial portion of the U.S. population imprisoned under what can only be deemed inhumane conditions. Current U.S. policies regarding solitary confinement are controversial not only considering definitions of torture under international law but also in light of our own Eighth Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. As Senator Dick Durbin urged in his June 19, 2012 appeal to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary (PDF), the stakes are high: More than 80,000 inmates are currently held in isolation in so-called Security Housing Units (SHUs), according to a 2005 Bureau of Justice Statistics census. They are locked up for as long as 23 hours a day in small single cells, without windows or direct access to natural light, and without meaningful activities of any kind. What does our ongoing tolerance of this practice say about us as a society?

Meet the men who spy on women through their webcams

“Man I feel dirty looking at these pics,” wrote one forum poster at Hack Forums, one of the top “aboveground” hacking discussion sites on the Internet (it now has more than 23 million total posts). The poster was referencing a 134+ page thread filled with the images of female “slaves” surreptitiously snapped by hackers using the women’s own webcams. “Poor people think they are alone in their private homes, but have no idea they are the laughing stock on HackForums,” he continued. “It would be funny if one of these slaves venture into learning how to hack and comes across this thread.” Whether this would in fact be “funny” is unlikely. RAT operators have nearly complete control over the computers they infect; they can (and do) browse people’s private pictures in search of erotic images to share with each other online. They even have strategies for watching where women store the photos most likely to be compromising.

No. of dead pigs found in Shanghai river almost 6,000

The number of dead pigs found in Shanghai’s main river has doubled in two days to nearly 6,000, the government said, as residents worried over the water supply questioned the handling of the incident. Shanghai had pulled 5,916 dead pigs out of the Huangpu river, which cuts through China’s commercial hub and supplies 22 percent of its water, since Saturday, the local government said in a statement late Tuesday. The number of pigs taken out of the river—believed to have been dumped by farmers upstream after dying of disease—had started to fall on a daily basis, it added, and water quality was within national standards.

Voucher school history book: Hippies didn’t bathe, worshipped Satan

The Louisiana voucher schools under GOP Governor Bobby Jindal had already gotten into trouble last year for using a variety of religious right schoolbooks that teach a number of crazy, and racist, theories, including: The Ku Klux Klan was a force for good “[The Ku Klux] Klan in some areas of the country tried to be a means of reform, fighting the decline in morality and using the symbol of the cross. Klan targets were bootleggers, wife-beaters, and immoral movies. In some communities it achieved a certain respectability as it worked with politicians.”—United States History for Christian Schools, 3rd ed., Bob Jones University Press, 2001 Majority of slaves in the old south were treated well “A few slave holders were undeniably cruel. Examples of slaves beaten to death were not common, neither were they unknown. The majority of slave holders treated their slaves well.”—United States History for Christian Schools, 2nd ed., Bob Jones University Press, 1991

Officer Who Fired Shot In New York High School Suspended

A New York town that began assigning an armed police officer to guard a high school in the wake of the Connecticut massacre has suspended the program after an officer accidentally discharged his pistol in a hallway while classes were in session. Lt. James Janso of the Lloyd police department tells media outlets Officer Sean McCutcheon will be suspended while an investigation continues.

School confiscates third-grader’s cupcakes topped with toy soldiers

In the latest incident of anti-gun hysteria to erupt in a school setting, officials at an elementary school in small-town Michigan impounded a third-grader boy’s batch of 30 homemade birthday cupcakes because they were adorned with green plastic figurines representing World War Two soldiers. The school principal branded the military-themed cupcakes “insensitive” in light of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, reports Fox News Radio. “It disgusted me,” Casey Fountain, the boy’s father, told Fox News. “It’s vile they lump true American heroes with psychopathic killers.”

Chilling Final Photos of Murder Victims Taken by Their Killers

Many serial killers take photos of their victims–both dead and alive–to keep a record of their work, to refer to later for self-pleasure, and sometimes to taunt police. Here are a few images taken by serial killers of their victims while they were still alive. Most know they’re doomed, others are still unaware of what’s to come.

More News Than Is Fit to Print — Designing Count Bruno de Caumont Launders Pedophile Imagery in A Masterstroke of Subliminal Messaging on the Front Page of the New York Times “House & Home Section, February 3, 2005

Allow your eyes to scroll down the page to imbibe this unique New York Times Home section. After a little observation, I concluded that the presentation applies established formulas for inserting subliminal messages into an innocuous scene. In reading the text of the article, I searched in vain for any reference to the subject matter of the picture that appears centrally above the couch-bed, above the fold, on the first page of this presumably wholesome section of the newspaper that proudly proclaims it prints only the news that is “fit to print.” In the case of this article, the Times editors seem to have ignored their motto, exposing their reading public to a media presentation with a concealed agenda and precious little news value. While the centrally located picture begs for our attention, the text of the article directs our eyes to the pattern on the fabric wallpaper, to the furniture barely visible at the extreme left of the photograph, indeed, to anything but the picture….

World’s Ugliest Woman Finally Laid to Rest 150 Years After Death

Born in Mexico in 1834, Julia Pastrana was an indigenous woman living with two very rare diseases: generalized hypertrichosis lanuginosa, which covered her body and face in thick hair, and gingival hyperplasia, which thickened her lips and gums. She took part in 19th-century exhibition tours throughout Europe, where she entertained people with her bear-like features. Her life story is both sad and fascinating. In 1859, Pastrana became pregnant after marrying Theodore Lent, an impresario who was traveling at freak shows with her across Europe and the United States. Unfortunately, her infant son also inherited her hypertichosis and passed mere hours after his birth in Moscow. Pastrana also died after a few days from severe complications. Following the death of both his wife and son, Lent embalmed their bodies and began exhibiting them while on tour. Lent also remarried after meeting a bearded woman in Germany, whom was later billed as Pastrana’s sister, Zenora.

5 Real Murderers More Terrifying Than Any Horror Movie

There is no goofier Hollywood invention than the Flamboyant Killer. Whether you were raised on the Friday the 13th movies or Saw-type torture porn, they all have a slapstick quality that lets you know that in the real world, people like this just don’t exist. Real killers are, of course, much stranger.

The Untouchables

FRONTLINE investigates why Wall Street’s leaders have escaped prosecution for any fraud related to the sale of bad mortgages.

How Many Billions Of Drug-Laundered Money Does It Take To Shut Down A Bank?

And I’ll just say here, if you’re caught with an ounce of cocaine, the chances are good you’re going to go to jail. If it happens repeatedly you may go to jail for the rest of your life. But evidently, if you launder nearly a billion dollars for drug cartels and violate our international sanctions, your company pays a fine and you go home and sleep in your own bed at night. Every single individual associated with this. I just, I think that’s fundamentally wrong.

Fallout from ‘Untouchables’ Documentary: Another Wall Street Whistleblower Gets Reamed

“There was a guy there, a well-dressed guy, standing next to a car that had a vanity plate,” he said. “And the plate read, ‘FUND’EM.'” Winston, curious, asked the guy what the plate meant. The man laughed and said, “That’s Angelo Mozilo’s growth strategy for 2006.” Here’s how Winston described the rest of the story to PBS – i.e. what happened when he asked the man to elaborate: “What if the person doesn’t have a job?” “Fund ’em,” the – the guy said. And I said, “What if he has no income?” “Fund ’em.” “What if he has no assets?” And he said, “Fund ’em.” Later on, Winston would hear that the company’s unofficial policy was that if a loan applicant could “fog a mirror,” he would be given a loan. This kind of information is absolutely crucial to understanding what caused the subprime crisis. There are people out there still willing to argue that the government somehow “forced the banks to lend” to unworthy applicants. In reality, it was unscrupulous companies like Countrywide …

Do You Think Medical Marijuana Should Be Legalized for Dogs?

Then Christine stumbled upon a controversial homemade herbal remedy that she credits with enormously improving her dog’s quality of life. She’s grateful that, in his final year, Sampson weighed in at a robust 106 pounds and lived free of the wracking pain that had haunted him. Whereas before Sampson had been too weak to walk, almost overnight he became a born-again youngster. “He was a puppy again, happy and playful,” Christine recalls. “He’d trot around the house with his toys in his mouth, wanting to play fetch!” The name of the controversial herbal remedy Sampson took? Cannabis.  Inspired by reports of medical marijuana helping human cancer patients, Christine started digging online. The search terms? “How to administer cannabis to a dog.” Christine — who, for the record, is not a recreational cannabis user — was initially concerned about giving it to her dog because of the bad press she’d heard about the plant. But after giving Sampson cannabis flower-bud material mixed with…

The Horror of It — Camera Records of War’s Gruesome Glories, arranged by Frederick A. Barber of Historical Foundations

When George Palmer Putnam went to the War Department to secure photographs for “The Horror of It,” a little volume containing stark pictures of the war, which has just been published, Major General Carr of the Signal Corps refused to show him any pictures showing war’s gruesome results.  “Only those photographs showing the pleasant aspects of war can be released,” the General said.  “The Department has a moral obligation to the Gold Star Mothers.”  

3D printed meat could soon be cheap and tasty enough to win you over

Advances in bioengineering have been able to produce meat analogs, but the process has always been stupendously expensive, and the results were only passable. It turns out that it’s actually very difficult to match the taste and texture of animal muscle tissue by growing cells in the lab. The marbling of fats and connective tissue is integral to the experience of eating a burger. Applying 3D printing to artificial meats could be the answer, according to Forgacs. If you take tissue engineering and add in some 3D printing, you get the burgeoning field of bioprinting. Researchers are working with cell aggregates as the medium in bioprinting (as opposed to plastics in regular 3D printing). Layer after layer of cells can be laid down to more closely resemble the genuine article. Researchers can basically build a block of muscle that never lived.

School Shut Down Due To “Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air” Ringtone [Video]


The Fox (Monsanto) Buys the Chicken Coop (Beeologics)

So with Monsanto products themselves amongst the key suspects in Colony Collapse Disorder, one might ask: Why has the multinational bought a company which has been a key player in researching this disorder as well as Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus, another scourge of bees? “We’re absolutely committed to Beeologics’ existing work,” said Monsanto spokesperson Kelly Powers. Yet one has to wonder if owning a firm dedicated to shedding light on the trouble with bees might not serve Monsanto’s interest in allowing it to further cover up their own corporate complicity in the problem. Let us hope that Monsanto is as good as its word and uses this newly acquired company to boldly get to the bottom of the mystery of the disappearing bees. But if history is any guide, there is little cause for optimism. The health watchdog group “Natural Society” rated Monsanto “the worst in 2011 for its ongoing work to threaten human health and the environment.”

Judge gives jail sentences to pair tied to helium-related death

Police and prosecutors said Long was at McAloon’s Alameda Street apartment at a party McAloon was throwing for a 13-year-old relative and that teen’s friends. Ashley inhaled helium from a tank with the intent to make her voice higher-pitched, and collapsed after an air bubble entered her blood stream and blocked blood flow.

Officials: 80 Percent Of Recent NYC High School Graduates Cannot Read

Nearly 80 percent of New York City high school graduates need to relearn basic skills before they can enter the City University’s community college system. The number of kids behind the 8-ball is the highest in years, CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer reported Thursday. When they graduated from city high schools, students in a special remedial program at the Borough of Manhattan Community College couldn’t make the grade. They had to re-learn basic skills — reading, writing and math — first before they could begin college courses.

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Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on March 16, 2013

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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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The Chokes On You

  • These are gruesome days: the Single Bullet Doctrine rules. The world is truly adrift and on the brink of a global “something”. Everyone can feel it here in the USA.

    The US system of government is often described as a layer cake: federal on top, state in the middle, and local at the bottom. That cake is a mess. The frosting-the sweet taste of the American Way of Life–has melted away; the bitter taste of economic insecurity/uncertainty is everywhere in the country. The federal government has slid off the top of the cake and occupies a place completely disconnected from the remaining two layers–state and local. The state and local layers of the cake are drying up and crumbling as the economic crisis in the USA is causing them to jettison all sorts of labor and safety net programs. And cost to care for returning military personnel and the heavy burden on communities that involves makes life all the more difficult in 2011.

  • Hong Kong physicists say they have proved that a single photon obeys Einstein’s theory that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light — demonstrating that outside science fiction, time travel is impossible.

    The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology research team led by Du Shengwang said they had proved that a single photon, or unit of light, ‘obeys the traffic law of the universe’.

    ‘Einstein claimed that the speed of light was the traffic law of the universe or in simple language, nothing can travel faster than light,’ the university said on its website.

    ‘Professor Du’s study demonstrates that a single photon, the fundamental quanta of light, also obeys the traffic law of the universe just like classical EM (electromagnetic) waves.’

  • Debt ceiling negotiators think they’ve hit on a solution to address the debt ceiling impasse and the public’s unwillingness to let go of benefits such as Medicare and Social Security that have been earned over a lifetime of work: Create a new Congress.

    This “Super Congress,” composed of members of both chambers and both parties, isn’t mentioned anywhere in the Constitution, but would be granted extraordinary new powers. Under a plan put forth by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his counterpart Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), legislation to lift the debt ceiling would be accompanied by the creation of a 12-member panel made up of 12 lawmakers — six from each chamber and six from each party.

  • Exxon Mobil, Bank of America, GE and other giant corporations paid no U.S. taxes despite billions in profits. In fact, they pocketed big IRS refunds. It’s a scandal, Sen. Bernie Sanders told colleagues on Wednesday. As congressional leaders and the White House haggled over how many billions of dollars to cut spending on programs for working families, Bernie tried to broaden the debate. He compiled a top-10 list of tax-dodging corporations. “Maybe we have to reduce that deficit not simply on the backs of working families, low-income people, the children, the sick, the elderly. Maybe, maybe we might want to call for shared sacrifice. Maybe Exxon-Mobil and some of the large oil companies might be asked to pay something in taxes.”
  • Only 3 days after the attack, I think I have single handedly proven that at least the Oslo aspect is a TOTAL SCAM!!!!- at first I noticed all their shared footage of this one shot.. then,they started showing a “video” of the same image I have been scrupulating for days now!!! Wow, talk about a massive screw-up!!!
  • Rodney King, whose videotaped beating by police led to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, says he was under the influence of a “medical marijuana prescription” when police booked him this week on suspicion of driving while impaired.

    “I had marijuana in me that I take to deal with migraine headaches and pain in my lower extremities, although I should not have been driving,” he told CNN Thursday.

  • Selling Google+ “likes” is gradually becoming a rather lucrative business, helped by cheap labour and the ever-falling price of internet access worldwide; the trend is not unlike what we saw previously with Twitter & Digg back in the day, except that this has a more widespread implication for SEO and could turn the nascent social networking service into a massive headache for Google, as many try to play the system.

    Google+ selling sites like Googleplus1supply, buygoogleplus1 or Blackcatseo have cropped up during the last few months – among many other websites – with the sole aim of selling Google+ “likes” to publishers and businesses.

  • It turns out there’s a method behind the FBI’s raids of suspected Anonymous members around the country. The bureau is working from a list, provided by PayPal, of the 1,000 internet IP addresses responsible for the most protest traffic during Anonymous’ DDoS attacks against PayPal last December.

    FBI agents served 40 search warrants in January on people suspected of hosing down PayPal during ”Operation Payback” — Anonymous’ retaliatory attack against companies who blacklisted WikiLeaks. On July 19, the feds charged the first 14 defendants under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and raided an additional 35 suspects for evidence.

  • Two of the most publicized accidental heroin overdose deaths involved celebrity names, and both were young men. In August 2009 Andre Young Jr., the 20-year-old son of Dr. Dre, died at his mother’s Los Angeles home from taking a mix of heroin and morphine.

    In February 2008, troubled child star Brad Renfro died at age 25 in his L.A. apartment while he was still on probation from a dramatic Skid Row police sting in which he and others bought dummy heroin balloons from undercover LAPD officers.

    Fried has a warning for partying young people: “We go through waves, and sometimes it’s more potent. For newer users, in the first six months of use, the potential to O.D. is huge. I’ve seen this, periods where that is what I believe is happening right now.”

  • Scientists have found evidence of volcanoes on the far side of the moon.

    The new discovery, reported in the journal Nature Geoscience is a rare example of volcanism on the lunar surface not associated with asteroid, meteor or comet impact events.

    Until now the best known examples of volcanism were on the moon’s near side in a region known as the Procellarum KREEP terrane.

  • The data dump waiting to be released apparently contains also documents stolen from the Australian Ministry of Defense, various big Russian companies such as Gazprom, a number of embassies and consulates situated in Ukraine, the Nepalese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Egyptian Ministry of Transport and Communication, the US Department of Agriculture and hundreds of attorneys and government agencies, and others.

    “This corrupted organization gathered all the evidence from the seized property of suspected computer professional entertainers and utilized it over many years to conduct illegal operations with foreign intelligence agencies and oligarchy to facilitate their lust for power and money, they never used obtained evidence to really support ongoing investigations,” writes the group.

  • So, you’re thinking of becoming a celebrity dope fiend. You’re thinking, “Hey, I’ve lived through some pretty intense stuff—my own little Vietnam!—so, doggone it, why can’t I cash in and write about my festive narcotic nightmare for fun and profit? God knows, lesser talents than me have milked the tired teat of bad habits, fucked-up relationships and an awful childhood to get a leg up in the lit and movie rackets…”
  • Police have arrested a man on suspicion of storing a computer virus on his personal computer without legitimate reasons, the Metropolitan Police Department announced Thursday.

    The MPD arrested 38-year-old Yasuhiro Kawaguchi of Ogaki, Gifu Prefecture, at his home Sunday immediately after investigators confirmed he was storing the virus in question on his personal computer.

    The revised Penal Code, which was enforced July 14, bans storage of a computer virus for the purpose of infecting other computers. Violators can be sentenced to a maximum of two years in prison or fined up to 300,000 yen.

    The virus found on Kawaguchi’s computer works by repeatedly copying vast amounts of graphic elements and files on a computer, causing it to freeze or malfunction, according to the MPD.

  • For the second time this year, rapper Wacka Flocka Flame (nee Juaquin Malphurs) has been arrested for marijuana possession. On Saturday, he was busted in a mall parking lot in Queens, New York. Flocka tweeted: “I had to spend the nite n jail with no charge.”
  • • 53% of Brits feel ‘upset’ when deprived of internet connection
    • 40% of people surveyed feel ‘lonely’ when not able to go online
    • Challenge of 24 hours without digital devices described as ‘nightmare’
  • A FINGERPRINT is all you need to determine whether someone is under the influence of drugs.

    Paul Yates from Intelligent Fingerprinting, a company spun out from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, and colleagues, have developed a handheld device that police can use to detect breakdown products from drugs excreted through sweat pores in the fingertips.

    The device applies gold nanoparticles coated with antibodies to a fingerprint. The antibodies stick to antigens on specific metabolites in the fingerprint. Fluorescent dyes attached to the antibodies will highlight the presence of any metabolites. The technique was first used to detect nicotine, but now works on a range of drugs, including cocaine, methadone and cannabis.

  • An ambitious solar energy project on a massive scale is about to get underway in the Arizona desert. EnviroMission is undergoing land acquisition and site-specific engineering to build its first full-scale solar tower – and when we say full-scale, we mean it! The mammoth 800-plus meter (2625 ft) tall tower will instantly become one of the world’s tallest buildings. Its 200-megawatt power generation capacity will reliably feed the grid with enough power for 150,000 US homes, and once it’s built, it can be expected to more or less sit there producing clean, renewable power with virtually no maintenance until it’s more than 80 years old. In the video after the jump, EnviroMission CEO Roger Davey explains the solar tower technology, the Arizona project and why he couldn’t get it built at home in Australia.
  • There’s no need to panic, or start shopping for aluminum-foil headwear, but the super-secret National Security Agency has apparently been thinking frequently enough about whether the NSA is allowed to intercept location data from cell phones to track U.S. citizens that the agency’s chief lawyer was able to speak intelligently about it off the cuff while interviewing for a different job.

    “There are certain circumstances where that authority may exist,” even if the NSA has no warrant to investigate a the person whose privacy it is invading or global permission to eavesdrop on everyone, according to Matthew Olsen, the NSA’s general counsel.

  • If you’re like most people, you give yourself high ratings when it comes to figuring out when someone’s trying to con you. Problem is, most people aren’t actually good at it–at least as far as detecting fake positive consumer reviews.

    Fortunately, technology is poised to make up for this all-too-human failing. Cornell University researchers have developed software that they say can detect fake reviews (PDF). The researchers tested the system with reviews of Chicago hotels. They pooled 400 truthful reviews with 400 deceptive reviews produced for the study, then trained their software to spot the difference.

    The software got it right about 90 percent of the time. This is a big improvement over the average person, who can detect fake reviews only about 50 percent of the time, according to the researchers.

  • * One of 5 worst nuclear plants in world for exposure to radiation

    * Tepco prioritised cost-savings over radiation standard

    * Tepco says old plants like Fukushima have high radiation

    * Foreign workers used to avoid exposing staff to high radiation

    * Improvements made at Fukushima before disaster hit

  • So, apperently hacking a website, and not stealing any money or anything like that get’s you 15 years in jail, but most rapist only get 11 years. [“ 15 years for the Paypal attack? While 80% of rapists are sentenced to 11 years: YOU SERIOUS?” @anonymousirc] And rapist can get off 5 years early, but a hacker can’t because it’s a federal case. What is wrong with this? Well many things. Apparently the government puts a corperation’s website before a person. While having your website ddosed can lose you revonue, you can allways gain that back. Being raped however, you can never get back. That is something that can stay with you forever, and getting an STD from being raped can too. DDoSing is just a cyber sit in, it’s like blocking a door to a building. It’s not very damaging.
  • A Marietta, Ga., mom who was convicted of jaywalking after her 4-year-old son was run over and killed in a hit-and-run said on the Today Show that the worst part of going to jail would be the separation from her two remaining kids.

    Raquel Nelson was convicted of homicide by vehicle and reckless conduct by a jury and faces sentencing tomorrow. She can receive up to a three-year jail sentence, six times the stretch that Jerry Guy–who admitted to drinking before running over Nelson’s son, A.J.–served.

  • There’s a long history, to be sure, of performers who wither away due to addiction while the world watches, but Winehouse’s death Saturday at age 27 has rekindled questions about the role the music industry should play in helping stars kick self-destructive habits.
  • Keila Smith, a 44-year-old Florida woman was jailed Wednesday after police raided her home and seized four truck loads of Psilocybin mushrooms.

    And no, that wasn’t a typo. Four truckloads.

    According to the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, deputies raided Smith’s home Wednesday night and discovered a highly elaborate and well organized mushroom growing operation.

    Investigators say the operation was so maticulous, the chairs, floor and tables in the kitchen were covered with plastic. Stainless steel shelving units contained hundreds of containers that were used to produce and store the product.

    “There are multiple Rubber Maid containers full of small glass dishes with mushrooms growing in them,” said Sheriff’s Office spokesman, Sgt. Todd Kelly. “There are at least 1,000 of these containers. It took them four full-sized trucks and vehicles to load all of the stuff they seized from inside her house.”

  • Event promoter Mikal Barsa said in a press conference that “knowing Marilyn’s fans,” he expects the film­ — shot sometime between 1946 and 1947 — to go for at least twice the initial figure. The black and white, six minutes film was owned by a Spanish collector who recently passed away. Barsa had previously commercialized the only other copy of this film, which surfaced in 1997 and was sold to a private collector for $1.2 million in 2001.

    Back then, controversy sparked over whether it was Monroe who appeared masturbating and having sex with an unknown man. At the conference, Barsa mentioned documents from the FBI investigating the origin of the film, and a set of jewelry worn by Monroe in the film that is the same as what she wore on other films and photos she did around that time.

  • These loans only went to the “too big to fail” banks and to foreign financial institutions. Not a penny of these loans went to small banks or to ordinary Americans.

    Not only did the banksters get trillions in nearly interest-free loans, but the Fed actually paid them over 600 million dollars to help run the emergency lending program. The GAO investigation revealed some absolutely stunning conflicts of interest, and yet the mainstream media does not even seem interested.

    Solid evidence of the looting of America has been put right in front of us, and yet hardly anyone wants to talk about it.

    Many Americans have a hard time grasping just how large 16.1 trillion dollars is. It is an amount of money that is almost inconceivable. It is more than the GDP of the United States for an entire year. It is more than the U.S. government has spent over the last four years combined.

  • On the 19th of July 2011, people in Fukushima had a meeting with government officals from Tokyo to demand that the government evacuate people promptly in Fukushima and provide financial and logistical support for them. Also, they brought urine of children to the meeting and demanded that the government
    test it.

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Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on July 27, 2011

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When We Do Right, Nobody Remembers. When We Do Wrong, Nobody Forgets.

    • English occultist Aleister Crowley wasn’t merely a poet, painter and the Great Beast 666, he was also an aspiring chef! That’s right and if you’d like to make some magick in the kitchen tonight, The Master Therion’s recipe for his “famous” (or would that be “infamous”) curried rice dish, “Riz Aleister Crowley”
    • Only $700
    • Surprising subjects rendered expertly in wood and glass
    • When Huntington Beach, Calif., detectives searched Rodney Alcala’s Seattle storage locker during the Robin Samsoe murder investigation in 1979, they discovered a cache of photos, many of them young women in suggestive, and even pornographic poses.In March 2010, after a third jury in 30 years handed Alcala a death sentence, Huntington Beach police released more than 100 of those photos hoping to identify the women and some children, and learn if Alcala claimed still more victims.

      Most of those who have been identified are alive and well. But investigators continue to get new tips every day.

    • “An alcohol-laced energy drink equivalent to at least three beers, a can of Red Bull and a shot of espresso has prompted a New Jersey college to ban the drink after nearly two dozen students were hospitalized for alcohol intoxication.”
    • With all its mod-cons no more than two steps away, this tiny city centre apartment in Rome is compact in every way – except its breathtaking 50,000 Euro price tag.The former porter’s cupboard – which measures just five square metres – was put on the market this week by the Italian owner who claims he’s been flooded with queries.

    • Wiggle it: J-Lo has always maintained a healthy lifestyle but still has not managed to escape the dreaded orange peel
    • Le Café de L’Enfer was a Hell-themed café in Paris’ red light district (aka Pigalle, the neighborhood of the Moulin Rouge), created in the late 19th century and operating up ’til sometime around the middle of the 20th.
    • Last week in Colorado we’ve seen President Obama portrayed as a terrorist, illegal immigrant, gambler and homosexual all in the same billboard in Grand Junction, with the title “Vote DemocRAT.”Then there’s the online ad for Amendment 62, the so-called “personhood” amendment that would grant rights to “every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being.” That two-minute video attributes “the decline of America” to Colorado’s 1967 approval of abortion to save a mother’s life or in cases of rape or incest. At one point, Obama’s face appears, morphing from the grim reaper, with the words “Then the Angel of Death arrived and Hell followed with him.” As ominous music plays in the background, the video notes, “He took over banks, industry, and finally, our health care.” The video from Personhood USA is titled “The Prolife Tea Party Vote.”

    • Alison Murray travels as a hobo on freight trains across Canada and the US. She gets to know the community of train riders, especially the many girls riding the rails.
    • Drug companies have long kept secret details of the payments they make to doctors for promoting their drugs. But seven companies have begun posting names and compensation on the Web, some as the result of legal settlements. ProPublica compiled these disclosures, totaling $258 million, into a single database that allows patients to search for their doctor. Receiving payments isn’t necessarily wrong, but it does raise ethical issues.
    • When a pigeon was gobbled up by a greedy pelican, it looked like instant game over for the little bird.But when the predator unexpectedly opened up his huge beak again, the pigeon was given a chance to save himself and fly away.

      Confusingly, however, the dopey bird instead chose to simply sit in the beak taking in the view – and missed his only opportunity to escape.

      Not surprisingly, he was eaten up.

    • The last name of Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney is misspelled as “Whitey” on electronic-voting machines in nearly two dozen wards — about half in predominantly African-American areas — and election officials said Wednesday the problem cannot be corrected by Election Day.
    • “Pearl Necklace is a seemingly amorphous cast silver shape on a chain that is actually an accurate representation of semen.”
    • “Packages will cost several thousand Hong Kong dollars (several hundred U.S. dollars) and include: a wedding dress crafted out of balloons, baked apple pie wedding cake, and childish party favors.”
    • The front-page newspaper story featured a list of Uganda’s 100 “top” homosexuals, with a bright yellow banner across it that read: “Hang Them.” Alongside their photos were the men’s names and addresses.
    • Over the weekend, the Washington Post provided some more details about the ongoing foreclosure fraud scandal, noting that “virtually everyone involved – loan servicers, law firms, document processing companies and others – made more money as they evicted more borrowers from their homes, creating a system that was vulnerable to error and difficult for homeowners to challenge.” A bevy of Democratic lawmakers have called for examinations of the banks’ potentially fraudulent activities, while the Attorneys General of all fifty states have pledged a coordinated investigation.Republicans, however, have been largely silent on the issue. And according to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who is slated to take over the House Committee on Government and Oversight should the Republicans gain a majority, the GOP is not really interested in the banks’ malpractice. Instead, Issa wants to “launch aggressive inquiries” into whether the government helped poor people buy houses they couldn’t afford

    • “Of 7800 images, 5.5% contain genital sites. Of all requests, 11% were for anatomic sites (37% genital sites); 62% were specified for diagnoses (12% genital sites). When age group and anatomic site were specified, the relative risk of a child being requested (vs adult) was 1.48 (95% confidence interval 1.44-1.53). Of 10000 free text queries, 12% retrieved images containing genital sites. Of all referrals, 14.3% originated from nonmedical (pornography/fetish) Web sites.”
    • At least 750 kilos of “double dead” or tainted hog meat were seized while three suspected vendors of the hot meat were arrested in a predawn raid on a market in Quezon City Wednesday.
    • The iconic statue – which stands at 305ft tall – was built in 1886 and is said to attract over 600 bolts of lightning each year.
    • Mexican security forces have seized 105 tonnes of US-bound marijuana in the border city of Tijuana with an estimated street value of about $340m.
    • “In the end, the product planners lost a key part of the debate. The winners: executives who argued that giving automatic privacy to consumers would make it tougher for Microsoft to profit from selling online ads. Microsoft built its browser so that users must deliberately turn on privacy settings every time they start up the software.Microsoft’s original privacy plans for the new Explorer were “industry-leading” and technically superior to privacy features in earlier browsers, says Simon Davies, a privacy-rights advocate in the U.K. whom Microsoft consulted while forming its browser privacy plans. Most users of the final product aren’t even aware its privacy settings are available, he says. “That’s where the disappointment lies.”

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    Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on October 20, 2010

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    Power To The Penis

    • We are the #1 site for downloading FREE public domain Golden Age Comics.
    • The earth’s countryside is emptying out, more quickly all the time. It took about 10,000 years for the human population to become 3 percent urban — a period extending roughly from the dawn of human settlement until 1800. A century later, Earth was still just 14 percent urban. But in 2007, the United Nations announced we’d crossed a monumental threshold. For the first time, more than 50 percent of the world lived in cities rather than rural villages and farms. By 2030, some projections say more than 80 percent of humanity will be urban, with many inhabiting the slum-choked cities of the developing world.
    • The “toy” in this case was a handheld laser, purchased online by a 15-year-old Swiss boy. According to a letter published in today’s New England Journal of Medicine, the boy had ordered a laser pointer with a green light “to use as a toy for popping balloons from a distance and burning holes into paper cards and his sister’s sneakers.”
    • Japan that a person’s ABO blood type or ketsueki-gata (血液型?) is predictive of their personality, temperament, and compatibility with others. Ultimately deriving from ideas of historical scientific racism, the popular belief originates with publications by Masahiko Nomi in the 1970s. The scientific community dismisses such beliefs as superstition or pseudoscience.
    • The second part is a little more interesting, however, it implies that a certain form of stimulation embeddable in a popular game or internet service (I think they’re too shy too to say porn) might reduce cognitive performance by only a fraction, but when considered over a whole army, it could make a difference to the overall fighting force. The scenario is a little bit science fiction (Snow Crash anyone?) but is an intriguing possibility given that only a slight change would be needed in an individual to justify its effect if it could be distributed over a wide enough population. For example, many priming studies have shown it is possible to influence behaviour just by exposing people to certain concepts. In one of my favourite studies, exposing people to ideas about elderly people slowed their walking speed, while a more recent experiment found this effect could change action sequences as well.
    • During the illusion, a participant’s hand is hidden, and a rubber hand positioned so that it appears as her own. She knows that it’s fake — but when both hands are stroked simultaneously, what’s seen and felt becomes blurred. Suddenly the rubber hand literally feels like it belongs to her. Consciously she knows it’s not true, but that doesn’t matter. Threaten the fake hand, and people under the illusion’s spell respond as if their own hands were threatened.
    • Cannabis smokers often report that when stoned, their thoughts have a free-wheeling quality and concepts seem connected in unusual and playful ways. A study just published online in Psychiatry Research suggests that this effect may be due to the drug causing ‘fast and loose’ patterns of spreading activity in memory, something known as ‘hyper-priming’.
    • Based on surveys Barnes collected, the top five worries of parents are, in order:

      1. Kidnapping
      2. School snipers
      3. Terrorists
      4. Dangerous strangers
      5. Drugs

      But how do children really get hurt or killed?
      1. Car accidents
      2. Homicide (usually committed by a person who knows the child, not a stranger)
      3. Abuse
      4. Suicide
      5. Drowning

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    When The Big Hand Touches The Little Hand

    • In a filthy Shanghai laboratory, chemists make batches of mephedrone – and a new incarnation of the ‘plant food’ linked to the deaths of British teenagers. Never heard of the drugs Eric-1 and Eric-2? That’s the point.
    • Which brings us to cannabis, the greenest fix of all. The same U.N. report finds that a square meter of marijuana cultivation can support 250 dose units of the drug. About the same amount of land—200,000 hectares—is under cultivation for cannabis, cocaine, and heroin around the world, but the cannabis is getting a heck of a lot more people high. For users in the United States, it also has the relative advantage of being produced in large quantities on American soil. About half of our marijuana supply comes from domestic sources—with minimal “drug miles” and a slimmer carbon footprint.
    • I went to my appointment with “Dr C’ in Los Angeles with a shopping list of the most commonly abused types of drug: pain relievers, tranquillisers, stimulants and sedatives. Beforehand, a local addiction specialist, Bernadine Fried, had briefed me on how to approach your doctor like an addict and still come away with fistfuls of pills. The script went like this: “Say, ‘I just went to my first NA meeting, I’m struggling with my addiction. I’m super anxious, but I also have these pain issues from an old injury.’” Fried stops to think. “Right, what do we have there? He should have given you an opiate [painkiller], Xanax [benzodiazepine tranquilliser, a new-generation Valium] and maybe an antidepressant. Now we just need a stimulant, such as Adderall, and a sleeping pill. Say, ‘I’m having a hard time focusing and my work is so important to me and it’s all that’s keeping me going at this difficult time.’ Oh, and then say, ‘I can’t sleep.’”
    • The kits include condoms, needles, syringes, alcohol swabs, push sticks, plastic tubes and cookers. The kits help reduce the risk of transmitting diseases like HIV, AIDS, and hepatitis C by replacing broken and dirty glass tubes drug users commonly use to inhale drugs.
    • Don MacNeil, a retired Glendale police lieutenant and narcotics expert, explained to the officers how the body reacts to drugs. Oxycontin, a painkiller, can reach the brain the fastest, giving the user an instant high, he said. Smoking a drug is the fastest way to get high, he said. The second quickest way is injecting the drug. “Most drugs of abuse are used by smoking,” MacNeil said. Heroin is the most used drug in Los Angeles County, Lorenz told officers. Certain prescription pills that are opiates are also gaining popularity among drug users. A bottle of certain prescription pills, he said, “might as well be 40 bags or balloons of heroin.”
    • A New York company responsible for accepting billboard ads says it rejected one about New York’s marijuana arrest policies because it “attacks” Mayor Michael Bloomberg. DPA Bloomberg billboard Titan 360 initially said they refused the Drug Policy Alliance billboard (above) due to “politics from the Mayor’s office,” then maintained they don’t accept “personal attack” billboards. “It’s a free country,” the Mayor’s office responded. “People can say what they want.”

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