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The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)

 

The Star Wars Holiday Special is a 1978 American television special set in the Star Wars galaxy. It was one of the first official Star Wars spin-offs, and was directed by Steve Binder. The show was broadcast in its entirety only once, in the United States and Canada, November 17, 1978, on the U.S. television network CBS from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time (EST), and on the Canadian television network CTV from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time.

In the storyline that ties the special together, Chewbacca and Han Solo visit Kashyyyk, Chewbacca’s home world, to celebrate Life Day. Along the way they are pursued by agents of the Galactic Empire, who are searching for members of the Rebel Alliance on the planet. The special introduces three members of Chewbacca’s family: his father Itchy, his wife Malla, and his son Lumpy (Later retconned to Attichitcuk, Mallatobuck, and Lumpawarrump, respectively).

During the special, scenes also take place in outer space and in spacecraft including the Millennium Falcon and an Imperial Star Destroyer. The variety-show segments and cartoon introduce a few other locales, such as a cantina on the desert planet of Tatooine and a gooey, reddish ocean planet known as Panna.

The program also features many other Star Wars characters, including Luke Skywalker, C-3PO, R2-D2, Darth Vader, Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa (who sings the film’s “theme song”, set to the music of John WilliamsStar Wars theme, near the end). The program includes stock footage from Star Wars,and also features a cartoon produced by Toronto-based Nelvana that officially introduces the bounty hunter Boba Fett.

The special is notorious for its negative reception.Anthony Daniels, in a documentary promoting the worldwide tour of Star Wars: In Concert, notes with a laugh that the Star Wars universe includes “The horrible Holiday Special that nobody talks about”. George Lucas did not have significant involvement with the film’s production, and was unhappy with the results. David Acomba, a classmate of Lucas’ at USC film school, had been selected to direct the special, but he chose to leave the project, a decision supported by Lucas.

The Star Wars Holiday Special has never been re-telecast or officially released on home video. It has therefore become something of a cultural legend, due to the “underground” quality of its existence. It has been viewed and distributed in off-air recordings made from its original telecast by fans, which were later adapted to content-sharing websites via the Internet.


George Lucas himself has rarely commented on the special, or even acknowledged its existence. He is said to have nothing but the utmost contempt for it. For instance, Tom Burman, one of the costume designers for the holiday special, has said that Lucas once told him that he was very disappointed with the final product.

At one Australian fan convention, he reportedly said “If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it.” In an online chat with fans, he reportedly said: “The Holiday Special does not represent my vision for Star Wars.” In an interview with Maxim in May 2002, Maxim asked the question, “Any plans for a Special Edition of the Holiday Special?” In response, Lucas said, “Right. That’s one of those things that happened, and I just have to live with it.”

Later, in a May 2005 interview with StaticMultimedia.com, Lucas was asked if the film had soured him on working in television. He replied: “The special from 1978 really didn’t have much to do with us, you know. I can’t remember what network it was on, but it was a thing that they did. We kind of let them do it. It was done by… I can’t even remember who the group was, but they were variety TV guys. We let them use the characters and stuff and that probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but you learn from those experiences.”

The official Star Wars site states that the holiday special “delivered mixed results,” and states that the highlight of the special was the Boba Fett animated segment.[6] The official site also says, when referring to the fan interest in seeing the Wookiees on screen, “the 1978 Holiday Special didn’t cut it.”[7] When asked at a fan convention, “So, you don’t like it (the holiday special) either?”, Lucasfilm head of content and fan relations, Steve Sansweet replied “No. I mean, I like the ten minute introduction of Boba Fett, but that’s about it.” The official site also refers to the Boba Fett animated segment as “a cult classic”.

On February 8, 2006, Harrison Ford made an appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and during the interview, Conan O’Brien brought up the special, and began asking various questions regarding it, such as inquiring whether he remembered making it. Ford said nothing, but looked away and shook his head nervously, then saying he had no memory of it whatsoever and it, therefore, “doesn’t exist.” The audience responded with laughter and applause. O’Brien then asked Ford what he would think if he played a clip of the special on the show, Ford jokingly grabbed him, then said that “[he'd] never seen it, maybe it’ll be nice.” Humorously acting anxious and distracted, Ford suffered through the clip (which featured a scene showing Ford as Han Solo telling Chewbacca and his wife that they are “like family” to him), and then muttered a gruff, sarcastic “thank you” to O’Brien, before continuing with the interview to promote his then newest film, Firewall.

On the 2010 television program Times Talk, New York Times columnist David Carr asked Carrie Fisher about the Holiday Special; she said that she made George Lucas give her a copy of the Special in exchange for recording DVD commentary for the Star Wars films. She added that she shows it at parties, “mainly at the end of the night when she wants people to leave.”

File under Comedy, Music, SeMeN SPeRmS BLArRrG, SeMeN SPeRmS ViDeO CLuB, So Wrong!

Hack Yer DNA

✧ 1972 Kenner Toy Comic Book Catalog
1972 Kenner Toy Comic Book Catalog (Newspaper Insert)
✧ THE COOLEST TOYS EVER: The barely legal pleasure palace
If there’s one thing that kids have in common, it’s a love of toys.  Whether your parents got you ever latest new flashy thing, or you just found an armless GI JOE to pass the time with, toys have played an important role in all of our lives.  Here’s a loving look at the coolest toys of all time, resulting from an intensive 8 year multi-million dollar study performed by our website.
✧ Sandusky’s Lawyer: If You Believe Witness, “I Suggest You Dial 1-800-REALITY.” That’s A Gay Phone Sex Line.
Joe Amendola, the attorney for Jerry Sandusky who thus far has been lawyerin’ like a man who got his J.D. from the bottom of a cereal box, did some more lawyerin’ in front of the cameras this morning. The choicest moment: At one point, Amendola discussed the possibility that Mike McQueary witnessed a rape, told Joe Paterno and two university administrators, and no one did anything except tell Sandusky to stay out of the locker room with kids. To anyone who believes that version of events, Amendola said, “I suggest you dial 1-800-REALITY.” We did. Here’s what we got: Hey guys, welcome to the hottest place for triple-X action. Get ready for bulging, bursting pleasure with horny gay, bi, and bi-curious studs. Just 99 cents per minute.
✧ “Mad Honey” Sex Is A Bad Idea
“Mad honey” is honey made by bees from the nectar of toxic Rhododendron flowers. In places where wild Rhododendrons grow, including Turkey, it’s a health hazard. The dangers of mad honey were known to the ancient Greeks and Romans, and it’s reported that leaving tainted honeycombs in the path of invading armies was a popular military tactic. 2000 years later, some people still haven’t quite got the message. According to a case report from cardiologists Yarlioglues et al, a married couple deliberately ate some mad honey “for reasons of sexual performance”.
✧ The Internet Blacklist vs. The Constitution
Last week, two leading Constitutional scholars offered detailed analyses of the Internet blacklist bills now pending in Congress, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect-IP, or PIPA. Both scholars concluded that the proposed law could not pass muster under the U.S. Constitution. So you’d think that the new version of SOPA circulated this week would have resolved those concerns.   You’d think wrong. While the revised SOPA briefly mentions the First Amendment, the substantive text makes clear that’s just lip service.  Here’s a selection of fundamental flaws that remain in both SOPA and PIPA:
✧ Rosemount High parent-on-student kissing prank has principal apologizing
A prank on some blindfolded Rosemount High School athletes — they were unknowingly and at times amorously kissed by their parents during a recent pep fest — is collecting YouTube views by the tens of thousands and has the principal apologizing for what happened… …The captains of the school’s winter sports teams — boys and girls — were lined up and blindfolded. They were told they would be kissed and then asked to guess who was on the other side of their lips. Some of the parents during the 59-second YouTube video are seen holding the kisses for several seconds, cupping their child’s faces or embracing and swaying. One mother moved her son’s hand down to her behind during the encounter. Another mom has her son down on the gym floor to the delight of two male students nearby. The hoots, screams and laughter rolled on as the students pulled off their blindfolds to realize it was Mom or Dad they were smooching.
✧ Brain scans should not be used in court… for now
Should an offender’s sentence be decided on the basis of a brain scan? A group of neuroscientists have put together a report for the Royal Society to assess this issue and other ways that progress in brain science might impact the law. Neuroscience is already making waves in court: an Italian woman convicted of murder recently had her sentence reduced on the grounds that her behaviour could be explained by abnormalities in her brain and genes.  The authors on the Royal Society panel, led by Nicholas Mackintosh of the University of Cambridge, also flag up research that suggests the brains of psychopaths are fundamentally different. This raises the question: should individuals with the brain anatomy of a psychopath have their sentence reduced on the ground of diminished responsibility, or should brain scan evidence be used to keep dangerous individuals locked away?
✧ Gingrich ‘proposed the death penalty for marijuana’
Over the weekend, struggling Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson reminded MSNBC viewers that GOP frontrunner Newt Gingrich had once to called to punish some drug offenders with death. “Newt Gingrich, in 1997, proposed the death penalty for marijuana — for possession of marijuana above a certain quantity of marijuana,” Johnson explained. “And yet, he is among 100 million Americans who’ve smoked marijuana.”
✧ Machine reads your age, gives sample
Big Brother isn’t just watching, he’s also about to size you up via a new product sampling machine that can determine whether you’re the right age — or even the right sex — to receive a sample. Kraft’s new sampling machine, developed by Intel, scans your face and can detect it you’re an adult or a child and blocks dispensing if you are a child. Today, Kraft Foods, the nation’s biggest foodmaker, will roll out in Chicago a device that dispenses its mousse-like Temptations dessert by Jell-O, but only to the product’s target market: grown-ups. The machine, developed by Intel, can detect facial age with a special camera that scans your face and determines if you’re an adult or a kid. If the machine detects a child, it shuts down and asks the child to step away. If it detects an adult — bingo — the sample can be dispensed.
✧ China Keeps Slapping America In The Face And America Just Keeps Taking It
Today, China is absolutely crushing the United States on the global economic stage, but they are hardly playing fair.  They shower their own firms with huge government subsidies, they brazenly steal technology, they publicly violate intellectual property rights, they manipulate currency rates so that foreign firms cannot compete with Chinese prices and they slap ridiculously high tariffs on many classes of foreign goods.  In short, they basically do everything that they can get away with to give themselves a trade advantage.  This predatory behavior has caused an enormous transfer of wealth from the United States to China.  It isn’t as if it is just some sort of an “accident” that we now owe China about a trillion dollars.  The truth is that China just keeps slapping America in the face and America just keeps taking it.  We are like an abused spouse that just keeps coming back for more.  It is disgraceful and it needs to stop.
✧ As Facebook Aims at Millions of Users, Some Are Content to Sit Out
As Facebook prepares for a much-anticipated public offering, the company is eager to show off its momentum by building on its huge membership: more than 800 million active users around the world, Facebook says, and roughly 200 million in the United States, or two-thirds of the population. But the company is running into a roadblock in this country. Some people, even on the younger end of the age spectrum, just refuse to participate, including people who have given it a try. One of Facebook’s main selling points is that it builds closer ties among friends and colleagues. But some who steer clear of the site say it can have the opposite effect of making them feel more, not less, alienated. “I wasn’t calling my friends anymore,” said Ashleigh Elser, 24, who is in graduate school in Charlottesville, Va. “I was just seeing their pictures and updates and felt like that was really connecting to them.”
✧ 10 Ridiculous Things That Make You a Terror Suspect
You thought you weren’t doing anything wrong, so why should you care about who they call a terrorist? Well, you may not believe it, but you’re likely a terror suspect in America’s new paradigm of the Land of the Fear. The government is casting a wide net over its citizens in its search for potential threats. Now, you don’t need to actually commit a crime to be hauled away to a detention center and held without charges while you are tortured; you just need to appear suspicious by sympathizing with anti-government views to be labeled a domestic terrorist.
✧ DNA: The next big hacking frontier
Imagine computer-designed viruses that cure disease, new bacteria capable of synthesizing an unlimited fuel supply, new organisms that wipe out entire populations and bio-toxins that target world leaders. They sound like devices restricted to feature-film script writers, but it is possible to create all of these today, using the latest advances in synthetic biology. Just as the personal computer revolution brought information technology from corporate data centers to the masses, the biology revolution is personalizing science.
✧ DNA Hackers: Synthetic biology weaponized virus, zero-day exploit to infect your brain?
From the let’s get futuristically freaky department, future hacking crimes could take a decidedly sinister twist; not hacking to breach systems but brains, bodies and behaviors. This DNA hacking goes way beyond potentially using police bees to bust biohackers, or even storing unhackable data in box of bio-encrypted bacteria. It’s not science fiction to hack insulin pumps or to use jamming signals to stop hackers from lethal pacemaker attacks, but now bioengineers and security futurists are warning that the day is coming when criminals and bioterrorists hunt for vulnerabilities that will give a new meaning to zero-day exploits. In the future, a weaponized virus will aim to infect you, your brain and body biology, and not just your computer or mobile device.
✧ Woman sues sex toy company after injuring herself using vibrator
A California woman claims a little foreplay nearly put her six feet under. April Bonjour says her pleasure turned quickly to pain while using a “vibrator/dildo” with her boyfriend last November when the sex toy caused a sharp vaginal pain and massive bleeding. “I started to get faint from the loss of blood,” she wrote in a personal injury complaint filed Aug. 30 in California Superior Court. “My boyfriend called 911. By the time they got there, I was in and out of consciousness.” Bonjour, in her suit against Pipedream Products Inc., said both she and her son “thought I was dying … Once we got to the hospital, I had lost so much blood I was given several pints.” Thanks Jasmine
✧ Mother tasered and buried alive in cardboard box by ‘bored’ lover, court told
“Terrified” Michelina Lewandowska, 27, was bound by her hands and feet and left to die in a shallow grave, Leeds Crown Court was told. In a bid to stop her getting free Marcin Kasprzak, her partner and father of their two-year-old son, had a friend help him bury her in a box less than 2ft high and then covered it in soil and leaves and then put a large branch over the top, a jury heard. But she eventually managed to free herself and raise the alarm. A jury was told how Kasprzak, 25, had decided that he no longer wanted to live with his partner and wanted his mother to bring up their young son. In a bid to get her out of the way he used a 300,000 volt electric stun gun on her at their home in Waterloo, Huddersfield, West Yorks, before using parcel tape to gag her and tie her hands and feet.
✧ Woman caught smuggling 1.5kg of cocaine in her dreadlocks on flight to Bangkok
A woman was caught trying to smuggle 1.5 kilograms of cocaine in her dreadlocks on a flight to Bangkok, it was reported today. South African Nobanda Nolubabalo, 23, was arrested and held in Thailand’s capital yesterday after customs officers allegedly noticed a suspicious white substance in her hair. Officials later carried out a search and discovered she had allegedly matted the Class A drug into her dreadlocks before boarding a flight from Brazil.
✧ Man dressed as Santa drugs teen at Berlin Christmas market, 9th victim in a week
A man dressed as Santa drugged a 15-year-old girl at a Berlin Christmas market over the weekend — the latest such attack that has seen holiday revelers left either sickened or unconscious, police said Monday. At about 10 p.m. Saturday the suspect approached the girl and her friend at Berlin’s downtown Alexanderplatz Christmas market, offering both of them what he said was a shot of alcohol in a paper cup, police said. One girl refused, but the other girl drank both of the shots. She soon started vomiting and had to be taken to the hospital, where she underwent a blood test, before being released. Police said it appeared she had been slipped some type of a date rape drug, but released no further details, citing the ongoing investigation.
✧ Man dressed as Santa drugs teen at Berlin Christmas market, 9th victim in a week
A man dressed as Santa drugged a 15-year-old girl at a Berlin Christmas market over the weekend — the latest such attack that has seen holiday revelers left either sickened or unconscious, police said Monday. At about 10 p.m. Saturday the suspect approached the girl and her friend at Berlin’s downtown Alexanderplatz Christmas market, offering both of them what he said was a shot of alcohol in a paper cup, police said. One girl refused, but the other girl drank both of the shots. She soon started vomiting and had to be taken to the hospital, where she underwent a blood test, before being released. Police said it appeared she had been slipped some type of a date rape drug, but released no further details, citing the ongoing investigation.
✧ Indonesia: Punkers’ Mohawks Shaved, Piercings Stripped By Hard-Line Police
Police in Indonesia’s most conservative province raided a punk-rock concert and detained 65 fans, buzzing off their spiky mohawks and stripping away body piercings because of the perceived threat to Islamic values. Dog-collar necklaces and chains also were taken from the youths before they were thrown in pools of water for “spiritual” cleansing, local police chief Iskandar Hasan said Wednesday. After replacing their “disgusting” clothes, he handed each a toothbrush and barked “use it.”
✧ If you want to drink less, then turn down the music: Alcohol tastes sweeter as noise impairs judgement of intake
Alcohol tastes sweeter when loud music is playing and the noise could make it difficult for drinkers to judge how much they are consuming, new research has claimed. Dr Lorenzo Stafford, a psychologist from the University of Portsmouth, conducted the first experimental study to find out how music can alter the taste of alcohol. Dr Stafford said: ‘Since humans have an innate preference for sweetness, these findings offer a plausible explanation as to why people consume more alcohol in noisy environments.’
✧ Man grows new fingertip on stomach
Doctors in China saved a man’s partially-severed finger – by attaching it to his stomach. Furniture worker Wang Yongjun, 20, cut off the end of his middle finger with an electric saw in an accident at work. Wang, of Liaoyang, Liaoning Province, was rushed to hospital where doctors had to think fast. Dr Huang Xuesong said the muscle and skin had been cut away from the end of his finger leaving only the bone showing. “We had to make a quick decision or he could have lost his finger. We decided to cultivate a new fingertip on his stomach,” he said. Doctors operated and attached Wang’s finger to his stomach in the hope that new skin and muscle would grow around it.
✧ Baby, baby, baby, no: Pay up or be forced to listen to Justin Bieber
For someone who isn’t a fan of teen idol Justin Bieber, being forced to listen to one of his songs over and over again could be considered cruel and unusual punishment. At Evanston Township High School this week, they called it a fund-raiser. To motivate their fellow students to donate money for a struggling cafe/arts center popular with ETHS kids, seniors Charlotte Runzel and Jesse Chatz persuaded administrators to let them blast Bieber’s hit “Baby” over the school’s loudspeaker system at the end of each class period — and not stop playing the song until Runzel and Chatz had met their goal.
✧ Bye Bye Booie! California’s smoking chimpanzee who learned sign language dies at 44
A chimpanzee that kicked a smoking habit and used sign language to beg for candy has died at a California animal refuge. Martine Colette, founder of the Wildlife WayStation, said Booie was being treated for a heart condition when he died on Saturday, at the age of 44. The chimp had been living at the animal sanctuary near Los Angeles since 1995, after he retired from a research lab. Ms Colette said she successfully turned Booie away from his smoking habit but could not make a dent in his love of sweets. She said he would use his signing skills to panhandle for candy by signing: ‘Booie see sweet in pocket.’
✧ Girl, 13, brought booze-laced milk to school
A Glen Ellyn junior high student brought chocolate milk mixed with Bailey’s Irish Cream to school as a “joke,” Glen Ellyn police said. Glen Ellyn Deputy Police Chief Bill Holmer said this week the 13-year-old girl allegedly brought the liquor mixed with chocolate milk to Hadley Junior High School on Dec. 9. Holmer said it’s unclear if any students actually drank the concoction, but it was “given to some other students who claimed to not know what they were given.” The “kid brought this stuff to school claiming it was meant to be a joke,” Holmer said. A student at the school informed staff about the drink, who interviewed other students about the incident then called police, Holmer said. Police worked with the juvenile and her parents “regarding enforcement action,” according to a police report.
✧ Pig Born Without Back Legs: A Balancing Act Like No Other
Wang taught her to walk on her front hooves and she learned in just a few days. After about a month, she began walking on her own, balancing her weight on her front legs as she moves about. Today, despite a body weight of 50 kg (110 pounds), the piglet walks upside down quite effortlessly.
✧ 14 bomb-sniffing dogs on way to Afghanistan died in truck
The death of 14 bomb-sniffing dogs allegedly housed in an unventilated sealed truck while awaiting air shipment from Houston to military forces in Afghanistan has spawned a lawsuit in which requested damages may top $1 million… In an unsuccessful bid to settle the matter without going to court, a Houston lawyer for the Florida company asked the defendants to pay $1.3 million in damages and $30,000 in legal fees. According to the lawsuit, the animals — Tiny, Rex, Rocky, Crock, Dork, Harrie, Stress, Sigo, Rex, Jaco, Kimbo, Kilo, Albert and Bak — were taken the Houston shipping facility on Dec. 20.
✧ Giant Smiley Feel-o-Meter Reflects the Mood of the City
Fuehlometer (Feel-o-meter) by Richard Wilhelmer, Julius von Bismarck, and Benjamin Maus is a light installation consisting of a giant smiley face that reflects the average mood of the people living in the city. An earlier version of this work originally used a more standard light screen installation instead of kinetically moving the different parts of the smiley face. The average emotional value is calculated through the computational analysis of the faces of people passing a camera located in a specific part of the city,
✧ The teenage politics of the British Churches are summed up by their pathetic Christmas poster
The Baby Jesus will not be visited by Three Wise Men bearing gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh this Christmas. Three different sorts of guys will turn up at the manger, bringing the young Son of God a Fabergé egg, a Swarovski crystal perfume bottle and a Damien Hirst skull. All this is on the seasonal advertising poster issued by the British Churches. There are no shepherds either. These are replaced by a cycle courier and a plasterer. As King Herod himself might have said: “Gee, it’s so relevant and accessible it fair sets your teeth on edge.” Jesus famously commanded us: “Take no thought for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat and the body than raiment? Why take ye thought for raiment?”
✧ As Banks Start Nosing Around Facebook and Twitter, the Wrong Friends Might Just Sink Your Credit
A new wave of startups is working on algorithms gathering data for banks from the web of associations on the internet known as “the social graph,” in which people are “nodes” connected to each other by “edges.” Banks are already using social media to befriend their customers, and increasingly, their customers’ friends. The specifics are still shaking out, but the gist is that eventually, social media will account for at least the tippy-top of the mountain of data banks keep on their customers. “There is this concept of ‘birds of a feather flock together,’” said Ken Lin, CEO of the San Francisco-based credit scoring startup Credit Karma. “If you are a profitable customer for a bank, it suggests that a lot of your friends are going to be the same credit profile. So they’ll look through the social network and see if they can identify your friends online and then maybe they send more marketing to them. That definitely exists today.”
✧ How common is Nazi fancy dress?
It is really very easy to avoid a controversial costume, but that does not seem to stop some people. And one of the most offensive outfits is a Nazi uniform, as Conservative MP Aidan Burley has discovered. The MP for Cannock Chase in Staffordshire has been pictured in a national newspaper sitting next to another man dressed as an SS guard. Burley, who was on a stag do in a French ski resort at the time, has apologised for the “clearly inappropriate behaviour” of some of his friends. In some countries, wearing a swastika armband in public would be illegal But he is not the first person, and will surely not be the last, to hit the headlines over a Nazi costume. Prince Harry is perhaps the most famous Nazi fancy dress costume-wearer in the world. In 2005, he was pictured wearing a German desert uniform and a swastika armband at a friend’s birthday party. The fancy dress theme was “colonial and native”.
✧ The school of Jay-Z studies
Judging by the amount of fuss he caused, one would think Georgetown University Professor Michael Eric Dyson had floated the idea of abolishing child labor laws. In reality, all he had done was announce that this semester he would be teaching a course entitled “Sociology of Hip-Hop – Urban Theodicy of Jay-Z.” And it was Glastonbury all over again. The outrage flew from all directions. A SPIN headline referred to “Georgetown’s Semi-Ridiculous Jay-Z Class”, while the main article nonchalantly mentions that tuition at the university is $40,920, attaching the price to a particularly inarticulate quote from a college sophomore. Gawker was still more ruthless in its takedown, declaring: “One notable thing about Michael Eric Dyson is that although he is very good at being an academic celebrity, he doesn’t know shit about hip-hop.”
✧ Census data: Half of U.S. poor or low income
Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans — nearly 1 in 2 — have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income. The latest census data depict a middle class that’s shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government’s safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families.
✧ China’s deserted fake Disneyland
Situated on an area of around 100 acres, and 45 minutes drive from the center of Beijing, are the ruins of ‘Wonderland’. Construction stopped more than a decade ago, with developers promoting it as ‘the largest amusement park in Asia’. Funds were withdrawn due to disagreements over property prices with the local government and farmers. So what is left are the skeletal remains of a palace, a castle, and the steel beams of what could have been an indoor playground in the middle of a corn field.
Memphis Cop Sexts & Rapes 14 Year Old Relative
A Memphis police officer is behind bars after investigators say he sent a 14-year-old girl nude pictures and had a sexual relationship with the teen. Officer Ericck Cain, 25, has been charged with aggravated statutory rape and exploitation of a minor by electronic means. Investigators say Cain emailed a naked picture of himself to a 14-year-old relative in January. About six months later, police say, the two had sex in a house in the 5600 block of Cottonwood. “He gave us a statement of admission,” said Dave Martello, of the Memphis Police Department. Police say the initial report was made at the Mt. Moriah precinct. One of the teenager’s friends came went to the station Monday night and told police everything she knew about the relationship. Police say they do not suspect there are any other alleged victims, but that one is enough. “It’s such a disappointment,” said Martello.”This person is a criminal just like the people that we deal with on the streets every day.”
✧ Somalia’s Rebels Embrace Twitter
Think of it as the Battle of the Tweets. Somalia’s powerful Islamist insurgents, the Shabab, best known for chopping off hands and starving their own people, just opened a Twitter account, and in the past week they have been writing up a storm, bragging about recent attacks and taunting their enemies. “Your inexperienced boys flee from confrontation & flinch in the face of death,” the Shabab wrote in a post to the Kenyan Army. It is an odd, almost downright hypocritical move from brutal militants in one of world’s most broken-down countries, where millions of people do not have enough food to eat, let alone a laptop. The Shabab have vehemently rejected Western practices – banning Western music, movies, haircuts and bras, and even blocking Western aid for famine victims, all in the name of their brand of puritanical Islam – only to embrace Twitter, one of the icons of a modern, networked society.
✧ ‘White Only’ Pool Sign Owner Explains
A female landlord, Jamie Hein, had a sign that read, “Public Swimming Pool, White Only” hanging on a gate at her house and her private pool. (Photo credit: Ohio Civil Rights Commission) An Ohio landlord accused of discriminating against an African-American girl with a “white only” sign at her swimming pool told ABCNews.com that the sign was an antique and a decoration. “I’m not a bad person,” said Jamie Hein of Cincinnati. “I don’t have any problem with race at all. It’s a historical sign.” The sign in question reads, “Public Swimming Pool, White Only.” It is dated 1931 and from Alabama. Hein, 31, was unapologetic about the racist origins of the sign that she displayed at the entrance to her pool. She said she collects antiques and was given the sign as a gift. She also said that even though the sign seems to indicate that the pool is public, the pool is on her private property and “everybody has to ask before getting in my pool.”

 

 

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Conjured by SeMeN SPeRmS on December 16, 2011

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Too Much Monkey Business

✦ Oscar de la Hoya Did Cocaine Stevie Nicks Style
Oscar de la Hoya encouraged model Angelica Marie Cecora to help him do cocaine using a body part other than his nose during an alleged, kinky romp at Manhattan’s Ritz Carlton hotel last March, she told Page Six. Cecora also claimed to us that the ex-boxing champ revealed to her he was molested by a female staffer in high school.
✦ 400 Yard Drug Tunnel Found in California, Another Found in Arizona
The discovery of a secret drug smuggling passage that stretched about 400 yards and linked warehouses in San Diego and Tijuana has lead to the seizure of an estimated 17 tons of marijuana, in what authorities say is one of the most significant narco-tunnels ever found. U.S. authorities seized about nine tons of marijuana inside a truck and at the warehouse in San Diego’s Otay Mesa area, said Derek Benner, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agent in charge of investigations in San Diego. Mexican authorities recovered about eight tons south of the border.Authorities spoke at a news conference near packages of seized dope festooned with labels of Captain America, Sprite and Bud Light. The markings are codes to identify the owners.
✦ A widespread shortage of the popular ADD pill is distracting a nation of Adderall users. Naturally, it’s all about Big Pharma profits.
If addiction is the kind of thing you think about a lot, it’s easy to overlook its significance in the cold, objective Realpolitik scheme of things, which is this: it’s a great fucking business model. From the British East India Company to the Bronfman clan to Duke University, history is redolent of abject mediocrities who owe their billions to Big Addiction.
✦ Palantir, the War on Terror’s Secret Weapon
A Silicon Valley startup that collates threats has quietly become indispensable to the U.S. intelligence community
✦ Kansas gov. says staff overreacted to teen’s tweet
When a high school senior tweeted that Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback “sucked,” among other invectives, reaction at the state Capitol led her principal to demand an apology. Instead, it was the Republican governor offering a mea culpa Monday, forced to admit to a self-described overreaction by his staff that subjected him to ridicule for efforts to police a teenager’s Internet musings. Emma Sullivan’s tweet from the back of a crowd listening to Brownback speak last week, and her subsequent refusal to write an apology letter, spurred several thousand supporters to rush to her online defense – boosting her Twitter following from 61 friends to more than 12,000 people in less than a week.
✦ Solid Proof That Weather Modification Projects Are Being Conducted All Over The United States
Most Americans still believe that our weather patterns are 100% natural and that our government has absolutely no control over the weather. Unfortunately, that is not the case at all. What you are about to read is evidence that weather modification is happening right now all over the United States. This is never acknowledged by our politicians and it is never talked about by the mainstream media. But it is very, very real. Weather modification programs in some parts of the country have been going on for many years and evidence of these programs is hidden in plain view. So does this mean that if we don’t like the weather we can just blame the government? Well, yes it does, but it also means that the government has been seriously messing around with our environment and there could be “unintended consequences” that are far more dramatic than any of us ever dared to imagine.
✦ The Limits of Preservation
The Minescape project by Los Angeles-based photographer Brett Van Ort looks at the ironic effects of landmines on the preservation of natural landscapes, placing woods, meadows, and even remote country roads off-limits, fatally tainted terrains given back to animals and vegetation.
✦ The future of airport security: Thermal lie-detectors and cloned sniffer dogs
After the EU’s announcement that it will ban “backscatter” x-ray body scanners, airports may have to look harder at alternative security measures. From Bluetooth tracking to thermal lie-detector cameras, we take a glimpse into the weird and wonderful future of airport security.
✦ Zippy The Chimp Goes To School (1954)
The heartwarming tale is about Zippy trying to make his way in primary school, navigating the cliques and clacks, trends and fashions, loves and hates that plague many students today. And he had his difficulties; the kind that would trigger medication for children in our overly medicated society. But Zippy had a dream – and atavistic ambition.
✦ Voynich Manuscript
Written in Central Europe at the end of the 15th or during the 16th century, the origin, language, and date of the Voynich Manuscript—named after the Polish-American antiquarian bookseller, Wilfrid M. Voynich, who acquired it in 1912—are still being debated as vigorously as its puzzling drawings and undeciphered text. Described as a magical or scientific text, nearly every page contains botanical, figurative, and scientific drawings of a provincial but lively character, drawn in ink with vibrant washes in various shades of green, brown, yellow, blue, and red.
✦ New Jersey DMV workers accused of selling identities for $200 a pop
Prosecutors have charged two New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission employees with selling names, addresses, birthdates and Social Security numbers of “unsuspecting residents” for as little as $200 per identity. The same investigation conducted by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Economic Crime Unit in Trenton led to charges against two non-government workers who allegedly used their jobs in a tax office and realty company to sell identities as part of a similar scheme.
✦ Every crazy CIA plot you’ve heard of originated with one man
There are stories that have come to light, over the years, that make the Central Intelligence Agency look like a collection of Looney Tunes shorts. The violence, the slapstick, and the over-the-top ridiculousness of the experiments that have been conducted over the years boggle the mind. They came from the (slightly-boggled) mind of one man: Sidney Gottlieb.
✦ That Bank Bailout Was Way Bigger Than Anyone Thought
Remember the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program with which the federal government came to the rescue of faltering banks in 2008? Well, according to a Bloomberg report, that was just a fraction of the financial help the Federal Reserve Bank wound up doling out to troubled lenders. The real total was reportedly closer to $8 trillion, after you add up benefits outside TARP, including emergency loans given at below-market rates
✦ Brooklyn DA claims record number of child sex-abuse charges vs. haredim
The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office says it has charged 89 men in the borough’s haredi Orthodox communities with child sex abuse — a threefold increase over a two-year span. However, the Forward reported that Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes declined to provide any details about the cases, making the number of arrests impossible to verify. His spokesman, Jerry Schmetterer, gave the figures to the newspaper in mid-November. The numbers reflect the number of haredi Orthodox men charged with sexual abuse since October 2009.
✦ Feds Seize 130+ Domain Names in Mass Crackdown
US authorities have initiated the largest round of domain name seizures yet as part of their continued crackdown on counterfeit and piracy-related websites. With just a few days to go until “Cyber Monday” more than 100 domain names have been taken over by the feds to protect the commercial interests of US companies. The seizures are disputable, as the SOPA bill which aims to specifically legitimize such actions is still pending in Congress.
✦ Paying for sex and ‘playing dead’ – the deceitful gift-giving spider
Male nursery web spiders (Pisaura mirabilis) prepare silk-wrapped gifts to give to potential mates. Most gifts contain insects, but some gifts are inedible plant seeds or empty exoskeletons left after the prey has already been eaten (presumably by the male himself!). Males will also ‘play dead’ if a female moves away and then attempt to re-establish mating. New research published in BioMed Central’s open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology examines the reproductive success of deceitful males and shows that females are not impressed by worthless gifts.
✦ Records show dubious spending from Wyclef Jean charity
In the months following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, a charity run by hip-hop star Wyclef Jean spent a pittance of the money it took in on disaster relief and doled out millions in questionable contracts. Yele Haiti’s coffers swelled to $16 million in 2010, the most the charity had ever received. But less than a third of that went to emergency efforts, and $1 million was paid to a Florida firm that doesn’t seem to exist, The Post has learned.
✦ TERRORIST USA ARMY KILLED A SHEEP WITH A BASEBALL BAT [Video]
The target of the USA cruelty is not limited with humans. In the latest leaked footage, it is seen how the terrorist USA soldiers had great satisfaction by beating and killing a captured innocent sheep with a baseball bat. And the other USA soldiers there had fun by laughing with disgusting laughters and yellings. According to news agencies and the source data, this footage was recorded in Afghanistan on the first day of Eid al-Adha (06 Nov 2011).
✦ Girl sues ex-boyfriend for tattooing a pile of shit on her back
Tattoo artist Ryan Fitzgerald from Dayton, OH was hit with a $100,000 lawsuit last week by his ex-girlfriend Rossie Brovent. She claims that her boyfriend was supposed to tattoo a scene from Narnia on her back but instead tattooed an image of a pile of excrement with flies buzzing around it.

 

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File under Fashion, Hip-Hop, SeMeN SPeRmS BLArRrG, SeMeN SPeRmS Links 'o Death, Sex

Conjured by SeMeN SPeRmS on November 29, 2011

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Burn, Baby, Burn

  • A four-time Texas lottery winner’s timing is priceless.Joan Ginther, 63, has been dubbed “the luckiest woman on earth,” having scratched her way to four jackpots worth a total of $20.4 million.

    Ginther, a reclusive, Stanford-educated math genius, has had winning tickets in 1993, 2006, 2008 and 2010. Now, Harper’s magazine theorizes that the Lone Star legend skillfully charted when and where winning tickets might show up.

  • MOX fuel that was believed to have been kept cool at the bottom of one of the reactors at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant after its core melted is believed to have breached the vessel after melting again, a study said Monday.The study by Fumiya Tanabe, an expert in nuclear safety, said most of reactor 3′s mixed uranium-plutonium oxide fuel may have dribbled into the containment vessel underneath, and if so, the current method being used to cool the reactor will have to be rethought. This could force Tokyo Electric Power Co. to revise its schedule for containing the five-month-old disaster.

  • Fuel inside one of the reactors at the crippled nuclear complex in Fukushima Prefecture, which was believed to have been kept cool at the bottom of the pressure vessel after its core suffered a meltdown, has possibly breached the vessel after melting again at the bottom of the vessel, an expert’s study showed Monday.
  • In the past decade, America’s pharmaceutical industry has knowingly marketed dozens of dangerous drugs to millions of children, a group that executives apparently view as a lucrative, untapped market for their products. Most kids have no one to look out for their interests except anxious parents who put their trust in doctors. As it turns out, that trust is often misplaced. Big Pharma spends massive amounts to entertain physicians, send them on luxury vacations and ply them with an endless supply of free products. As a result, hundreds of thousands of American kids—some as young as three years old—have become dependent on amphetamines like Adderall and a pharmacopeia of other drugs that allegedly treat depression, insomnia, aggression and other mental health disorders.
  • On his Twitter feed Monday, the Oscar-winning film director also blamed the 2008 economic collapse on Standard & Poor’s — apparently because it and other credit-ratings agencies did not downgrade mortgage-based bonds, which encouraged the housing bubble and let it spread throughout the economy.“Pres Obama, show some guts & arrest the CEO of Standard & Poors. These criminals brought down the economy in 2008& now they will do it again,” Mr. Moore wrote.

    Standard & Poor’s, one of three key debt agencies, stripped the U.S. federal government of its AAA status Friday night and reduced it to AA+ for the first time in the nation’s history.

    Mr. Moore went on to note that the “owners of S&P are old Bush family friends,” continuing a theme he has developed through several films about capitalism as essentially a crony system for the rich and Wall Street, especially the Bush family.

  • The hypocrisy of police trying to stop citizens from videotaping their public actions should be obvious in this, the Patriot Act Age. From warrantless wiretapping to data mining to the proliferation of red-light cameras, the Surveillance State is clearly on the march. And yet, when citizens occasionally exercise their constitutional rights and turn the camera on the Surveillance State itself, they increasingly face the threat of police retribution.
  • Well, this could pretty much rule out a marketing campaign touting BlackBerry as the smartphone of choice for rioters. Which is too bad, because Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) could use a new demographic stronghold to reverse its dwindling market share.Media reports since the weekend’s rioting in sections of London following the shooting death of a local man by police have focused on the roles Twitter and BlackBerry’s IM service played in stoking the mayhem.

    Now RIM has officially responded. BlackBerry UK, the “official UK Twitter account” for Canada-based RIM, early Monday tweeted:

    We feel for those impacted by the riots in London. We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can.

    So how can RIM help the police identify riot and looting participants? According to The Register, “RIM can pass over decrypted versions of BBM chatter.”

  • The 34-year-old rapper known for his outbursts was the headline act at the Big Chill music festival Saturday night, where he ranted in the middle of his set about being misunderstood and underappreciated. “I walk through the hotel and I walk down the street, and people look at me like I’m (expletive) insane, like I’m Hitler,” he said. “One day the light will shine through and one day people will understand everything I ever did.”West received light boos from the crowd as a result.

  • Cyber attacks designed to knock Web sites off line happen every day, yet shopping for a virtual hit man to launch one of these assaults has traditionally been a dicey affair. That’s starting to change: Hackers are openly competing to offer services that can take out a rival online business or to settle a score.An ad for a DDoS attack service.

    There are dozens of underground forums where members advertise their ability to execute debilitating “distributed denial-of-service” or DDoS attacks for a price. DDoS attack services tend to charge the same prices, and the average rate for taking a Web site offline is surprisingly affordable: about $5 to $10 per hour; $40 to $50 per day; $350-$400 a week; and upwards of $1,200 per month.

  • Charges against a California mother have been upgraded from manslaughter to second-degree murder this week after evidence at preliminary hearings suggested that she knowingly endangered her infant’s life by breast-feeding while using methamphetamine.Six-week-old Anthony Acosta III died last year after an allegedly lethal amount of the drug was passed to him when his mother, Maggie Jean Wortman, 26, continued to breast-feed despite her meth habit.

  • Battling an addiction to bath salts, Kish took his mother and two others hostage in his mother’s Chestnuthill Township house Thursday afternoon. After he wounded a state trooper with birdshot and set fire to the house, police said, he ran outside with a gun and refused to put it down.
  • In the early days of Michael Moorcock’s 50-plus-years career, when he was living paycheck-to-paycheck, he wrote a whole slew of action-adventure sword-and-sorcery novels very, very quickly, including his most famous books about the tortured anti-hero Elric. In 1992, he published a collection of interviews conducted by Colin Greenland called Michael Moorcock: Death is No Obstacle, in which he discusses his writing method. In the first chapter, “Six Days to Save the World”, he says those early novels were written in about “three to ten days” each, and outlines exactly how one accomplishes such fast writing.
  • From subs to nuts, in wigs, sculpture, fruit and “wearable heroin,” drug smugglers are finding more creative ways to conceal their bootlegged goods.
  • Aquarium staff have managed to wean a chocoholic giant fish onto a healthier diet after inheriting the gourami, raised entirely on Kit Kats by its owners.
  • The prosecutor said police seized $3 million worth of cocaine, $900,000 in cash, steroids, money counters and other paraphernalia from several locations. Also seized were eight vehicles, including a Mercedes-Benz and two Cadillac SUVs.Besides the secret compartments, the ring took extra precautions by placing the vehicles on car carriers ordinarily used by legitimate auto dealers. The car carrier companies weren’t aware that drugs were being shipped inside the vehicles, authorities said.

  • Caleb admitted: “We would wake up at 3pm, soundcheck, have dinner and drink two bottles of wine. We would drink another before we went on stage, take a bunch of pills, drink another bottle on stage followed by a bowl of cocaine.”
  • This is the most arcane of uprisings and the most modern. Its participants, marshalled by Twitter, are protagonists in a sinister flipside to the Arab Spring. The Tottenham summer, featuring children as young as seven, is an assault not on a regime of tyranny but on the established order of a benign democracy. One question now hangs over London’s battle-torn high streets. How could this ever happen?
  • A mystery investor or hedge fund reportedly made a bet of almost $1billion at odds of 10/1 last month that the U.S. would lose its AAA credit rating.Now questions are being asked of whether the trader had inside information before placing the $850million bet in the futures market.

    There were mounting rumours that investor George Soros, 80, famously known as ‘the man who broke the Bank of England’, could be involved.

  • Twitter users in the United Kingdom who posted inflammatory messages encouraging others to engage in violence could be arrested, according to Scotland Yard Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephen Kavanagh.Kavanagh told The Telegraph that officers were investigating messages posted on Twitter and would “absolutely” consider arresting users who helped incite some of the worst rioting in the British capital in years.

  • Using a hidden video camera, a Texas man filmed four naked, honey-drenched teenage girls while they showered at a church where he worked as a youth pastor.But since the statute of limitations has already expired, prosecutors today were forced to dismiss felony charges lodged against Thomas Fortenberry, who allegedly did the surreptitious filming in November 2007 at the Greater Harvest Community Church in Pasadena.

  • Chinese hospitals and abortion clinics that are connected to the business immediately notify pharmaceutical companies when a baby dies, mostly because of a still birth or an abortion.The companies purchase the baby corpses and store them in some family’s refrigerator to avoid suspicion. The next step in this highly secretive process is putting the corpses in a medical drying microwave and grinding them into pills. The ground baby powder is then put in a capsule, ready to be sold as a stamina enhancer, according to the SBS team.

  • Scientist Mohamed Babu from Mysore, India captured beautiful photos of these translucent ants eating a specially colored liquid sugar. Some of the ants would even move between the food resulting in new color combinations in their stomachs.
  • History always repeats itself, said Hegel. But he forgot to add, commented Karl Marx, the first time as tragedy, the second as farce. What Marx meant in his essay The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte is that history does not repeat itself at all. It only appears to, because human imaginations cannot keep up with the speed of change, so they dress it in costumes borrowed from the past. It is not the 2011 rioters who are dressing in history’s robes – they appear to have modelled themselves more on recent zombie movies – but commentators, who are reaching for analogies of 1980s socialists to attribute these troubles to familiar causes.It is worth looking at images of London’s violent weekend and asking how they make you feel. Far from fitting into any historical model, they seem to me to come from an imagined London, a horror scenario of the city as a blazing wilderness. Sci-fi nightmares of urban catastrophe resonate with these pictures because this is a city made strange.

  • The drought in Texas has gotten so severe municipal water managers have turned to a once untenable idea: recycling sewage water.”When you talk about toilet-to-(water) tank it makes a lot of people nervous and grossed out,” says Terri Telchik, who works in the city manager’s office in Big Spring, Texas.

    Water for the town’s 27,000 residents comes through the Colorado River Municipal Water District, which has broken ground on a plant to capture treated wastewater for recycling.

    “We’re taking treated effluent (wastewater), normally discharged into a creek, and blending it with (traditionally supplied potable) water,” district manager John Grant told Discovery News.

  • Watch The Throne will be released first on iTunes before the Best Buy chain’s exclusive deal to sell the album nearly two weeks ahead of other music retailers.The letter says the deal will do “great damage” to more than 1,700 record stores and calls for equal access.

    Jay-Z’s spokesman had no comment.

    Posted by the organisers of Record Store Day, the letter has been signed by shops across the US and calls the release plan a “short-sighted strategy”.

  • Three Mexican nationals attempted to illegally land their boat on California’s Huntington Beach Sunday — about a mile away from where crowds were forming to watch a professional surfing contest.Lifeguards spotted the small fishing boat at around 8:30 a.m., but when the men realized they had been spotted, they turned back to sea and were seen throwing a package overboard, The Orange County Register reported.

  • Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways is launching an investigation into pictures that appear to show a pilot receiving oral sex from a flight attendant while in a commercial airplane cockpit.Low quality photos of the act, featuring a woman in a red outfit not unlike those of Cathay Pacific’s flight attendants and a pilot, have circulated through Chinese media. According to some reports, the two are a couple.

  • A witness on the scene during the Rawesome Foods raid has publicly stated that an agent of the Specialized Surveillance & Enforcement Bureau of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health stole $9,000 in cash from James Stewart after placing him in handcuffs. The $9,000 in cash was about to be used to acquire food products (honey, watermelons, eggs and others) that are offered to club members of Rawesome Foods.During the raid on Rawesome Foods, $4,500 in cash was taken from the store and $9,000 confiscated from James Stewart, but only the $4,500 in cash was noted on the warrant. California law requires that all items seized at the raid are noted on the warrant, but the LA County Department of Public Health failed to note the $9,000, meaning there is no longer any paper trail for this cash that was taken from James.

  • A short doc about a kinetic sculpture that took four years to build. We had the honor of spending three days in Chris Burden’s studio filming this sculpture before it was moved to the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art (LACMA) where it is being reinstalled.
    The installation opens fall 2011.
  • “To ban kebabs in Cittadella is like forbidding pizza in Paris or New York,” said Abdallah Khezraji, a member of the Consulta Regionale Immigrazione for Italy’s Veneto region.On Friday, the town council of Cittadella passed a law stopping to stop the issue of licenses to vendors wishing to sell kebabs in the medieval walled city in Veneto.

    ‘Protecting tradition’

    “This food is certainly not part of our tradition and of our identity,” said Mayor Massimo Bitonci of the anti-immigration Northern League party, which shares power in Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s ruling coalition.

    Bitonci said kebabs were “not suited to our historic center [because of] the way in which the foods are eaten, the smell they give off.”

    He also justified the ban on health grounds, saying the ordinance targeted “dishes cooked and then left in the open for a long time.”

  • What I am about to describe in this article are not “predictions” of any kind. Rather, they are forecasts based on available data and common sense projections of where the Global Power Elite are trying to take the world, why they are doing so, and what they hope to achieve. The more they keep the general public in the dark, the higher their chances of success.Doing this kind of forecast is rather like understanding the weather. If on a hot summer day you look out your window and see dark clouds and lightning on the horizon, and suddenly a strong, damp ozone-filled gust blows your way, it’s basic common sense to say that you shouldn’t be forecasting “sunny and calm today,” but rather “drenching rain, thunder, lightning and hail.”

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

Conjured by SeMeN SPeRmS on August 9, 2011

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Let’s Have A Cyber War

  • A little-known Texas law and a foreclosure could have a man in Flower Mound living on Easy Street.

    Flower Mound’s Waterford Drive is lined with well-manicured $300,000 homes. So, when a new neighbor moved in without the usual sale, mortgage-paying homeowners had a few questions.

    “What paperwork is it and how is it legally binding if he doesn’t legally own the house?” said Leigh Lowrie, a neighboring resident. “He just squats there.”

    Lowrie and her husband said the house down the street was in foreclosure for more than a year and the owner walked away. Then, the mortgage company went out of business.

    Apparently, that opened the door for someone to take advantage of the situation. But, Kenneth Robinson said he’s no squatter. He said he moved in on June 17 after months of research about a Texas law called “adverse possession.”

  • United States Army Private First Class Christopher Eric Wey, 19, was arrested after he tried to board a United Airlines flight to Los Angeles from Yuma, Ariz., on Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney’s office for Arizona said.

    Transportation Security Administration officers detected explosives in his baggage during security screening at Yuma International Airport. A subsequent search found a half ounce of C4 explosive hidden in a tobacco can inside one of the bags. Wey was detained for investigation and interviewed by FBI agents.

  • The advent of the Internet, with sophisticated algorithmic search engines, has made accessing information as easy as lifting a finger. No longer do we have to make costly efforts to find the things we want. We can “Google” the old classmate, find articles online, or look up the actor who was on the tip of our tongue. The results of four studies suggest that when faced with difficult questions, people are primed to think about computers and that when people expect to have future access to information, they have lower rates of recall of the information itself and enhanced recall instead for where to access it. The Internet has become a primary form of external or transactive memory, where information is stored collectively outside ourselves.
  • TCM in the US were last night scheduled to play Popeye The Sailor Meets Ali Baba’s Forty Thieves, a notoriously racist cartoon that almost collapses under the weight of its Arab stereotyping. The film was made in 1937 when, as far as I know, there wasn’t any particular US-Arab conflict or issues that would have brought about such propaganda with specific urgency. It just looks like casual, timeless racism.

    Of course, we’re currently going through a period in US foreign relations where this cartoon is particularly potent. If it could ever be said to be dangerous, now is likely that time.

    And this, I suppose, is why the cartoon didn’t air. But why no explanation? Why no apology? Why no statement of any kind?

  • Some commentators believe the real purpose of the operation was to provide “evidence” that U.S. arms were behind the gang violence in Mexico to provide a basis for further restrictions on U.S. arms sales, pointing to comments by Hillary Clinton and the New York Times editors on the need for further restrictions to limit the weaponry of the Mexican drug cartels. While the supposition is far from unreasonable, stronger evidence supporting such claims is to date missing.
  • Over the past several months researchers at the Stanford Security Lab have been developing a platform for measuring dynamic web content. One of our chief applications is a system for automated enforcement of Do Not Track by detecting the myriad forms of third-party tracking, including cookies, HTML5 storage, fingerprinting, and much more. While the software isn’t quite polished enough for public release, we’re eager to share some unexpected early results on the advertising ecosystem. Please bear in mind that these are preliminary findings from experimental software; our primary aims at this stage are developing the platform and validating the approach to third-party tracking detection.
  • Anyone who cares to buy the information transmitted by your meter may do so. The police, insurance companies, actually anyone who comes to think they must have an interest in what you are doing in the privacy of your home. Since these meters are radio devices this amounts to warrantless wiretapping. It is the ultimate surveillance system.

    While these devices are installed with the false promise of reducing your power bill, the truth will hit you full force when you open the first bill you receive after installation of the smart meter. Your power bill will have doubled, minimally, but more likely, quadrupled.

  • Some 400 hectares of maize found to have been grown with genetically modified seeds have been destroyed throughout Hungary deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development Lajos Bognar said.
    The GMO maize has been ploughed under, said Lajos Bognar, but pollen has not spread from the maize, he added. Unlike several EU members, GMO seeds are banned in Hungary.
  • If you think the establishment of the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) after 9/11 has really helped to make the skies safer, think again. A new report issued by the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations, says that since November 2001, there have been more than 25,000 airport security breaches, ranging from minor incidents like baggage accidentally being left behind, to major breaches like travelers bypassing security lines and bringing various weapons onto airplanes.

    The report explains that there have been more than 14,000 incidents of individuals getting into secure areas, including into the secure side of airports, without going through TSA screening.

    TSA screeners have also personally failed to properly screen travelers about 6,000 times, while more than 2,600 travelers somehow successfully got through the security line without undergoing the normal screening procedures.

  • Why would Wired with-hold this critically important information, unless they were actively co-operating with US agents trying to fabricate charges against Assange? Given that Lamo had notified authorities of Manning’s alleged actions while still continuing to chat with him, it’s logical to assume the Feds would have wanted to censor any published details. Wired appears to have willingly complied.
  • Yesterday brought major news for horror fans that their is a new “Evil Dead” movie in that works according to Bloody Disgusting. They also have revealed that Federico Alvarez will be directing the film. He made the robot invasion short “Panic Attack!”.

    “The Evil Dead” is film that launched the careers of both Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, amongst many others. In the series, there is the superior sequel, “Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn” and my favorite “Army of Darkness” and together they make up on of the best franchises in horror history. Bruce Campbell has reached major fan boy status from these films and will always been known as Ashley J. Williams aka Ash. There has been rumors of a fourth “Evil Dead” for many years now but this might be the final rumor. It is hard to believe but it is almost 20 years since Ash last fought The Evil Dead.

  • Jane is in her 70s, a retired widow who spends her days doing volunteer work in the East Bay and fussing over her grandchildren. She also downloads porn illegally over BitTorrent.

    That, at least, is the claim in an April lawsuit against her and dozens of other Jane and John Does by a Chicago law firm that’s been busily filing similar cases around the country.

    It’s also made a habit of strongly suggesting that these “digital pirates” settle out of court for several thousand dollars. Letters to defendants helpfully remind them the amount is below what they’d probably pay in attorney’s fees and that settling would avoid publicly linking their names to pornography.

    This particular Jane (who didn’t want her real name used for that very reason) said she’s never downloaded porn and doesn’t know what a BitTorrent is. She can’t afford an attorney to make her case, but she’s not about to settle either.

    “It smacks of extortion,” she said.

  • Since we have smaller teeth, we chew our food less effectively, and more of what we eat is swallowed only partially chewed, or not chewed at all. With corn, some of the kernels will be chewed fully, some partially, and the others will be unchewed and swallowed whole. Our digestive system today is not that good at digesting plant material anymore, much less whole kernels. They pass through our stomach and intestines, and appear in our stool to confound and entertain us.
  • Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) on Friday strongly suggested that members of Congress are making it difficult for President Obama to raise the debt ceiling because of his race.

    “I do not understand what I think is the maligning and maliciousness [toward] this president,” said Jackson Lee, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. “Why is he different? And in my community, that is the question that we raise. In the minority community that is question that is being raised. Why is this president being treated so disrespectfully? Why has the debt limit been raised 60 times? Why did the leader of the Senate continually talk about his job is to bring the president down to make sure he is unelected?”

  • A killer python crushed a 2-year-old toddler to death in her crib and tried to eat the child whole, bone-chilling testimony revealed at the trial of the girl’s parents.

    “There were also several clusters of puncture wounds … that represent bites from the snake as the snake was trying to ingest her, basically,” medical examiner Wendy Lavezzi testified in Sumter County court in Florida.

  • A dramatic and shocking demonstration of how your brain gets fooled to see something that is not there because of your biases, prejudices and expectations.
  • “All of a sudden, there were kittens all over the highway,” he said. “You really couldn’t help but run over them at that speed. It made me sick to my stomach.”

    McAllister said passengers in the pickups apparently dropped the kittens in bags or sacks near the Bullard Avenue exit.

    “Looking down, there were two, three, four to the right of me. There were more to the left. They were all around me,” said McAllister, a teacher who was driving home from Mississippi. “It was like a horror movie.”

  • The customer chillingly told her: “You look like Casey Anthony.”

    “She said that I was trying to hurt babies, I was killing babies and she was going to stop it before it happened again,” said Blackwell, who also has a daughter named Caylee.

    Nalley left the store but waited outside until Blackwell’s shift ended, and began to follow the convenience store worker in a minivan, according to reports.

    “I got in my vehicle and began to back out and looked and could tell she was staring directly at me,” Blackwell said.

    “I could almost see the white in her eyes.”

    Nalley continued her pursuit for several miles to a parking lot, where she drove into Blackwell’s car with such force it flipped over.

  • The Pentagon released a long-promised cybersecurity plan Thursday that declares the Internet a domain of war.

    The plan notably does not spell out how the US military would use the Web for offensive strikes, however.

    The Defense Department’s first-ever plan for cyberspace calls on the department to expand its ability to thwart attacks from other nations and groups, beef up its cyber-workforce and expand collaboration with the private sector.

  • More beef from cattle in Japan that ate straw tainted by radiation has found its way into the food supply, deepening concern about the safety of meat as the country struggles to contain the spread of the contamination.

    Cattle at the farm in Asakawa, about 60 kilometers from the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear station, were fed with rice straw containing 97,000 becquerels of cesium per kilogram, compared with the government standard of 300 becquerels, said Hidenori Ohtani at the livestock division of the Fukushima prefectural government. The farm shipped 42 cattle in the past three months to slaughterhouses in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba and Miyagi prefectures, which were processed into meat and sold to distributors, he said.

  • A 42-year-old man told police he ate two chickens, six wings, two racks of ribs and a cheeseburger, saying he’d pass a test to determine his blood alcohol content because he’d downed “‘a ton of food.’”

    He apparently was wrong, according to a recently released Fort Pierce Police report.

    herzog_david.jpgThe case that put David James Herzog behind bars on a DUI charge began on the Fourth of July after a woman told an officer a “fat (buttocks) cracka” was on North 21st Street and Avenue G trying to buy “‘dope.”

  • Over the next 18 months Jim’s problems increased. “The pain was getting worse as the silicone hardened around my testicles, so when I stood up it felt like they were being yanked down with the weight. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t work and I felt like a freak.” Finally, in February 2010, he met Marcus Drake, a consultant urologist at Southmead Hospital in Bristol, who tried to remove the silicone in an operation. “I was warned I could lose my testicles, but I was in so much pain, it seemed a risk worth taking,” Jim says.

    Unfortunately the operation had to be stopped when the flesh on his scrotum lost its blood supply. “I spent the next three weeks at home with a district nurse coming round every day to dress the wound and keep it clean, but the smell of rotting flesh was simply horrendous,” he says.

  • Back in the late 1930’s, infamous urban planner Robert Moses created this mile long artificial beach, originally named the “Bronx Riviera.” Although widely known as the latter, locals call it “Horse Shit Beach” or the “Puerto Rican Riviera.” Latinos affectionately refer to it as “Playa Chocha”, while New-Yorkers simply know it as “Ghetto Beach.” Orchard Beach is like nothing I’ve experienced before. While the beach may certainly lack proper facilities and the glamour of a “traditional Riviera” (whatever that means), the atmosphere, energy and people clearly compensate… particularly on Sundays or during long holiday weekends.
  • Patriotic Indian Hackers “Indishell” / Indian Cyber Army finally Strike to the Biggest Pirated Music Download Website of Bollywood Albums run by Pakistan crew.

    The hack is perform against the Mumbai blasts – Wednesday 13 July 2011. Pakistan issues a condemnation after three attacks blamed on terrorists strike Mumbai, targeting the city’s Opera House district, its Zaveri bazaar and the central Dadar area.

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

Conjured by SeMeN SPeRmS on July 16, 2011

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