Sedatives

Holidaze

✪ Homeland Security: Paying with Cash?
✪ Bracelet reveals amazing craftsman’s skill from 7500BC (so good it couldn’t be bettered today)
A 9,500-year-old bracelet has been analysed using the very latest computers – and the results show that it is so intricate even today’s craftsmen would struggle to improve it. Researchers from the Institut Français d’Etudes Anatoliennes in Istanbul and Laboratoire de Tribologie et de Dynamiques des Systèmes studied the bracelet’s surface and its micro-topographic features revealing the astounding technical expertise of the maker. The bracelet is obsidian – which means it’s made from volcanic glass – and the researchers analysis of it sheds new light on Neolithic societies, which remain highly mysterious.
✪ America’s Killer Med Crisis
For the first time in nearly a century, automobile accidents are no longer the nation’s leading cause of accidental deaths, according to a major report released Tuesday by the National Center for Health Statistics. The new number one killer is drugs—not smack, crystal meth or any other stepped-on menace sold in urban alleyways or trailer parks, but bright, shiny pills prescribed by doctors, approved by the government, manufactured by pharmaceutical companies and sold to the consumer as “medicine.” Yet of the billions of legit pills Americans pop every year for medical conditions serious and otherwise, the vast majority of lives are claimed by only a select few classes—painkillers, sedatives and stimulants—that all share a common characteristic: they promote abuse, dependence and addiction.
✪ Cocaine Bust Lands Curvy Model In Italian Jail
A Spanish model’s plan to smuggle cocaine into Italy concealed in her prosthetic breasts and buttocks backfired Wednesday when her extra curvy figure drew the wrong kind of attention from ogling customs officials. The 33 year old deliberately wore tight-fitting clothes when she arrived on a flight at Rome’s Fiumicino airport from Sao Paulo in Brazil, hoping to throw the full-blooded Italian security staff off the scent. Unfortunately her extra-large bosom and derriere managed to attract the glances of airport customs agents, Italian news agency ANSA reported, but not for the reasons she had hoped. She also flubbed her answers to questions about the reasons for her trip. Two female investigators conducted a strip search and found the white powder stashed inside her unusual underwear. She was arrested for attempting to smuggle around 5.5 pounds of cocaine.
✪ Missouri grapples with 12-year meth problem
There is, however, a broad network of people who buy medications containing pseudoephedrine and sell it to the cooks, a practice called smurfing, Whitney says. In the past three years or so, young heroin users have begun smurfing to make money so they can buy heroin. A box of Sudafed that costs $8 or $9, he says, can be sold to meth cooks for $100, which is enough for 10 small heroin doses. Whitney expects almost 30 heroin overdose deaths this year in this county of 219,000. Law enforcement officials began tracking another trend in 2007 that made busting meth cooks even more difficult: a “one pot” method. The drug is mixed in a 2-liter soda bottle, often in moving cars. When the process is complete, the leftover toxic materials are tossed out the car window.
✪ Illegal drugs can be detected in the air – and could change people’s behaviour
We know that air pollution in the form of traffic and factory fumes can pose a health risk ě°˝€“ but airborne traces of illegal drugs could do too, say researchers. Scientists at the Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research in Rome found traces of cocaine and cannabis in the air around dozens of sites in Italy. They also discovered statistical correlations between cocaine levels and certain types of cancer ě°˝€“ and between cannabis levels and mental disorders.
✪ Blue Ridge schools eyeing random drug tests for students
The Blue Ridge school board will consider implementing random drug testing as a way to keep students from making “unhealthy choices.” A policy could be adopted as soon as Jan. 18. The board meets at 6 Wednesday night to discuss proposed building construction; the regular meeting follows at 7 at the high school library, 411 N. John St. The drug test option arose after discussion about use and misuse of legal and illegal drugs in the area. “The behaviors were alarming enough, it was clear that some students were making unhealthy choices, and it had to be addressed,” said Superintendent Susan Wilson. The goal is to prevent drug use; give students an “out” when friends try to get them to use substances; and give parents the information needed to seek treatment for their child if they test positive, she said.
✪ Deputies Give Marijuana Back To Dispensary Under Court Order
Deputies returned two pounds of seized cannabis to a California dispensary on Friday after a court ruled that the marijuana had been improperly confiscated. The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department confiscated two pounds of marijuana from Common Roots Collective during a shakedown, I mean “inspection, on December 1. But the dispensary’s lawyer argued that the deputies violated federal law, since authorities, including code enforcement officers, had entered the property on an inspection order and not a search warrant, reports CBS 13.
✪ Disgraced Bishop Lahey apologizes for his Internet porn addiction
Earlier in the day, prosecutor David Elhadad laid out in lurid detail some of what was depicted in the images, videos and stories seized by police. Elhadad said Catholic imagery was intertwined with “disgusting” sado-masochistic scenes, including one image of a male in “monk’s garb” using a paddle to spank a young boy. Elhadad argued Lahey’s position in the Catholic Church placed him in a position of trust. “He is and was an individual in a position of trust over many years hiding his shameful sexual depravity and predilection in taking joy in the torture and rape of children,” said Elhadad.
✪ Controversy over ‘inhaled caffeine’ grows as as Sen. Schumer calls for FDA probe
Breathable caffeine dispensed from canisters that fit in jean pockets and are allowed in carry-on luggage is a ‘club drug’ that may be dangerous to teenagers, a New York senator said. Democrat Charles Schumer wrote Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg today asking her to review the safety and legality of the AeroShot Pure Energy caffeine inhaler, a yellow and gray canister of caffeine powder and B vitamins resembling a tube of lipstick. The inhaler is set to hit store shelves in New York and Boston next month 2 Comments Weigh InCorrections? inShare AeroShot will be sold over the counter with no age restrictions and is touted for its convenience and zero calories. If taken with alcohol, the mixture may have effects similar to caffeinated alcohol drinks tied to hospitalizations in the past, Schumer said. Doctors say it may carry neurological and cardiovascular risks.
✪ ‘Samantha Ardente,’ High School Employee Fired For Porn, Launches Porn Firm
Ardente was suspended from her job at a Quebec City-area high school in March after a student spotted her in a porn video on the Internet. While she didn’t deal with students in her job, the spicy contents of her videos turned her into quite the celebrity among them. School board officials fired Ardente after they were unable to reach agreement on her transfer to another job. They acknowledged Ardente hadn’t done anything illegal but said her cinematic activities don’t correspond with the values being taught at the school. Ardente had initially offered to put an end to her pornography career but said the board also wanted to impose working conditions that she felt would be too restrictive. After filing a grievance she eventually reached an out-of-court settlement with her employer.
✪ Deputy finds possible meth lab in toilet
“The manager said he was told people were hollering and arguing in another room,” Royals said. “When Hardiman made contact with the occupants of the room, he noticed the toilet kept running. When he went to check, he found a 20-ounce Coke bottle and a tin containing marijuana inside the tank, which caused it to keep running.”
✪ The $100,000 Made-in-India Shirt
If you thought buying an island was a costly affair, look no further than this new shirt, which costs twice as much as an island in Panama. From a distance, the five-million-rupee shirt ($97,500) looks fairly modest, but a closer look reveals that its buttons are diamonds set on gold.
✪ UCSD: Best Prank Ever
Senior Class Fabricates Existence of Korean “Artist,” Cons Stuart Collection into Hanging House Off Edge of Seven-Story Building Stuart Collection Curator Attempts to Save Face: “Actually, joke’s on them: this prank is so genius that it ascends to the level of art. We’re proud to feature it in our collection.”
✪ In Medellín, Notorious Figure Pablo Escobar Becomes Tourist Attraction
One four-hour tour costs $30 and takes tourists to Escobar’s grave, the house where he was shot dead by police and a home in the hills where he lived before his death. There the tourists meet Roberto Escobar, Pablo’s slight and balding older brother. The tours pose a conundrum for Colombia and Medellín, which have worked hard to reduce violence and shed their image as a land of gun-wielding cocaine smugglers. Tourism to Colombia is up 54% to nearly two million annual visitors compared to 2006, the government says. The country’s current tourism campaign says the only “danger” in visiting is falling in love with the country and not wanting to leave. “We knew we couldn’t just outlaw the tours,” says Medellín’s deputy secretary of tourism, Madeleine Torres. “But we feared the tours would promote the very thing we’re trying to move away from the connection people so often make between Colombia and cocaine.”
✪ The Oak Chapel of Allouville Bellefosse
The French village of Allouville-Bellefosse is famous for the Chêne Chapelle (Oak Chapel), which is literally a chapel built into an oak tree. The amazing architecture consists of a wooden staircase spiraling around the ancient tree, leading up to a couple of chambers. These rooms have always been used as places of worship, by the village locals. The age of the tree has been a subject of debate, but everyone agrees that it is the oldest tree in France, without a doubt. The tree is known to have been growing as far back as the thirteenth century, during the rule of Louis IX, when France was a truly centralized kingdom. It is also known to have survived the Hundred Years War against the English, the Black Death, the Reformation, and Napoleon’s rule. Local folklore dates it a 1,000 years old, when it is said that the acorn took root. However, tree experts say it could only be around 800 years old, which means the thirteenth century saw it’s origins.
✪ Datura: The Scariest Drug I Ever Took
But with devil’s weed, you really are so removed from reality, that the possibility of doing yourself a fatal mischief is all too real. Here’s what the US Department of Agriculture says: “Datura intoxication typically produces a complete inability to differentiate reality from fantasy (delirium, as contrasted to hallucination); hyperthermia; tachycardia (increased heart-rate); bizarre, and possibly violent behavior; and severe mydriasis (pupil dilation) with resultant painful photophobia that can last several days.” It has high enough levels of toxicity that it can also kill you if you’re not careful about the dosage.
✪ When Laguna Beach Was the LSD Capital of the Universe
Timothy Leary, the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, Dodge City, Mystic Arts World, and a Laguna Beach history some would prefer to forget.
✪ Russian Meridian satellite crashes into street named after cosmonauts
The Meridian communications satellite failed to reach orbit yesterday due to a failure with its Soyuz rocket, in the latest setback for a Russian space program which has now lost over half a dozen satellites in the past year. Its fragments crashed into the Novosibirsk region of central Siberia and were found in the Ordynsk district around 100km south of the regional capital Novosibirsk. “A sphere was found, around 50cm in diameter, which crashed into the roof of a house in the village of Vagaitsevo” in the Ordynsk district, an official in the local security services told the Interfax news agency. In an extraordinary irony, the official said that the house was located on Cosmonaut Street, named after the heroic spacemen of the Soviet and Russian space program.
✪ Magnificent Visions
In Amazonian Peru, the author traces the source of the powerful Stone Age botanical hallucinogen ayahuasca. He meets crying shamans, drunken shamans, and even a gringo shaman, and learns about the epic quest it inspired in one devotee. Then he takes the ultimate step: drinking it himself. Whoa. . .
✪ ‘US blaming Iran for 9/11, incredible’
The United States adding Iran to the list of countries likely to be responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks is “beyond belief,” an analyst tells Press TV. His comments come as a New York judge has signed a default judgment excluding Saudi Arabia from the list of defendants, but finding Iran, along with the Taliban and al-Qaeda, liable in the Sept. 11, 2001 incident. “The official story of 9/11 is taking on a life of its own, how Judge George Daniels could find this in the court is beyond belief, and it indicates that the rule of law is breaking down even further in the United States,” said Joshua Blakeney of the Scholars for 9/11 Truth & Veterans Today.
✪ Is Anonymous Squabbling over the Stratfor Hack?
Representatives from the global intelligence company Stratfor awoke to find a lump of coal in their stockings this morning …or, more specifically, their clients’ credit card information strewn across the Web. It’s the latest cyber-attack being claimed by members of the hacktivist group Anonymous, one that allegedly resulted in the publishing of nearly 4,000 credit card numbers, site passwords, and home addresses for some of the (formerly) confidential clients of the U.S.-based security firm. The goal? The attackers indicated they were planning to use the stolen credit card information (allegedly stored as unencrypted text) to amass a sum of one million dollars that could then be given to various charities for the holiday season. Images posted alongside the hack’s alleged Pastebin-based press release show that some of these charity donations are already underway.
✪ How to Save a Treehouse from a Zoning Board
It was supposed to be a “slice of Americana and of childhood dreams,” says U.S. Army Specialist Mark Grapin, who lives in Fairfax County, Virginia. He’s talking about the treehouse he built for his two sons after returning from his latest tour of duty in Iraq. What Grapin didn’t expect was that Fairfax County’s zoning board would demand he tear down the treehouse after an anonymous complaint, thus launching the family into an eight-month legal battle. Grapin went to the local media for help and public outcry turned into an online petition. A neighbor donated trees to cover the treehouse, and the family even received a pro bono lawyer to help win over board members. Just days before the treehouse was to be torn down, Grapin was able to convince the board to let him keep it on the condition it be removed after five years. Plenty of time, he says, for his sons to enjoy it.
✪ Bitcoin’s Comeback: Should Western Union Be Afraid?
A series of security incidents had created an avalanche of bad press, which in turn undermined public confidence in the currency. Its value fell by more than 90 percent against the dollar. We thought Bitcoin’s value would continue to collapse, but so far that hasn’t happened. Instead, after hitting a low of $2, it rose back above $3 in early December, and on Monday it rose above $4 for the first time in two months. It’s impossible to predict where the currency will go next, but at a minimum it looks like the currency will still be around in 2012. This presents a bit of a puzzle for Bitcoin skeptics. The original run-up in prices could easily be explained as a speculative bubble, and the subsequent decline as the popping of that bubble. But if that were the whole story, then the value of Bitcoins should have continued to decline as more and more people lost confidence in the currency. That hasn’t been happening.
✪ Jamaica’s patois Bible: The word of God in creole
The patois Bible represents a bold new attempt to standardise the language, with the historically oral tongue written down in a new phonetic form. For example the passage relating the angel’s visit to Mary reads: “Di ienjel go tu Mieri an se tu ar se, ‘Mieri, mi av nyuuz we a go mek yu wel api. Gad riili riili bles yu an im a waak wid yu all di taim.”
✪ Monsanto’s GMO Corn Linked To Organ Failure, Study Reveals
“Effects were mostly concentrated in kidney and liver function, the two major diet detoxification organs, but in detail differed with each GM type. In addition, some effects on heart, adrenal, spleen and blood cells were also frequently noted. As there normally exists sex differences in liver and kidney metabolism, the highly statistically significant disturbances in the function of these organs, seen between male and female rats, cannot be dismissed as biologically insignificant as has been proposed by others. We therefore conclude that our data strongly suggests that these GM maize varieties induce a state of hepatorenal toxicity….These substances have never before been an integral part of the human or animal diet and therefore their health consequences for those who consume them, especially over long time periods are currently unknown.”
✪ HSBC: The World’s Dirtiest Bank
In late July, First Niagara Financial Group announced that it would buy 195 retail bank branches in New York and Connecticut from HSBC for around $1 billion. [1]  HSBC acquired the branches when it bought the spooky Marine Midland in 1980.  According to Global Finance, the UK-headquartered HSBC Holdings is the world’s 3rd largest bank with $2.36 trillion in assets. [2]  Formerly known as Hong Kong Shanghai Bank Corporation, HSBC has served as the world’s #1 drug money laundry since its inception as a repository for British Crown opium proceeds accrued during the Chinese Opium Wars.  During the Vietnam War HSBC laundered CIA heroin proceeds.
✪ Madness: Even School Children Are Being Pepper-Sprayed and Shocked with Tasers
There is something truly disturbing about a society that seeks to control the behavior of schoolchildren through fear and violence, a tactic that harkens back to an era of paddle-bruised behinds and ruler-slapped wrists. Yet, some American school districts are pushing the boundaries of corporal punishment even further with the use of Tasers against unruly schoolchildren.  The deployment of Tasers against “problem” students coincides with the introduction of police officers on school campuses, also known as School Resource Officers (SROs). According to the Los Angeles Times, as of 2009, the number of SROs carrying Tasers was well over 4,000.
✪ 21,000 domains transfer out of Go Daddy in 1 day
Domain registrar Go Daddy lost over 21,000 domains yesterday. It could be a coincidence–or it could be the result of the company’s p.r. debacle over its support for the Stop Online Piracy Act.
✪ Patriot Missiles Seized, Sold To China by Israel
Finnish authorities have confirmed the seizure of 69 Patriot missiles manufactured by Raytheon Corporation today. During a routine search of the MS Thor Liberty, a ship flagged by the Isle of Man, at the Finnish port of Kotka, authorities found 69 Patriot missiles of a type capable of intercepting ICBMs, the most modern available and America’s most sensitive military technology.?log=out
✪ Police irked by the rise of online vigilantism
Dany Lacerte is one example. The young Quebec City father started a Facebook page to track and expose suspected online predators. He joined a popular online meeting site and created a fake profile of a 13-year-old girl. He said he catches about five men a day and tries to film them over an Internet video-chat site. However, he didn’t blur the faces of the men he allegedly caught before posting videos of them online. He has been threatened with a lawsuit from one of the men he filmed. Earlier this year, a group of teens dressed as superheroes are gaining notoriety for a series of videos they posted in which they confront alleged pedophiles in Chilliwack, B.C. In a spin-off of Dateline NBC’s To Catch a Predator, the boys pose as teen girls in chats with men looking for sex, then arranged to meet the men at fast-food restaurants in the city.
✪ The Google Goblins Give Firefox a Reprieve–But What About the Open Web?
For me, the charm of Facebook ended when my list of favorite books disappeared. The astonishing thing about the original lists of favorite things on Facebook was that you could instantly see anyone else in the Facebook land who was interested in anything on your own list. It was so surprising to discover this. Really popular things would show tens of thousands of devotees, but so many times, there would be just ten, or 100, or even two. Once in a while it would be a friend, or a friend of a friend, who shared a hitherto unknown and unsuspected taste for The Lost Scrapbook or the solo works of Yukihiro Takahashi. A magical thing. I friended a couple of complete strangers just because they were fellow Thurber freaks. These connections were random, unmonetized, unmediated. We can still do this on the Internet now-on Twitter, say, the new home of random and improbable connections-but not on Facebook. Not any more.
✪ Occupy Wall Street Becomes Highly Collectible
Occupy Wall Street may still be working to shake the notion it represents a passing outburst of rage, but some establishment institutions have already decided the movement’s artifacts are worthy of historic preservation. More than a half-dozen major museums and organizations from the Smithsonian Institution to the New-York Historical Society have been avidly collecting materials produced by the Occupy movement. Staffers have been sent to occupied parks to rummage for buttons, signs, posters and documents. Websites and tweets have been archived for digital eternity. And museums have approached individual protesters directly to obtain posters and other ephemera. The Museum of the City of New York is planning an exhibition on Occupy for next month. “Occupy is sexy,” said Ben Alexander, who is head of special collections and archives at Queens College in New York, which has been collecting Occupy materials. “It sounds hip. A lot of people want to be associated with it.” Thanks Jasmine
✪ The Apple Collection, 1986/87 – Catalog of Weird Apple Products
✪ Why do Women Menstruate?
Why humans (and most primates, some bats, and elephant shrews) menstruate is a question that many have attempted to answer in some way… some explanations more convincing than others. The downsides to menstruation (the process of shedding the endometrium of the uterus that was built up in anticipation of the possibility of the implantation of a fertilized egg); “throwing away a substantial amount of blood and tissue,” “leaving a blood trail or filling a delicate orifice with dying tissue” in a “world full of predators and disease,” not to mention the menstrual cycle’s “uncomfortable, awkward, and sometimes debilitating” symptoms; seem to necessitate a strong explanation for the evolution of the feature. Not only is it hard to find a theory that explains why just a few mammals find it more evolutionarily advantageous to menstruate, it’s difficult to come up with a theory that explains why all those other mammals haven’t found it more efficient as well.
✪ 2011 in Review: The Year Secrecy Jumped the Shark
As the year draws to a close, EFF is looking back at the major trends influencing digital rights in 2011 and discussing where we are in the fight for a free expression, innovation, fair use, and privacy. The government has been using its secrecy system in absurd ways for decades, but 2011 was particularly egregious. Here are a few examples
✪ Lee County Deputies Tied Suspect to a Chair, Gagged Him, and Pepper-Sprayed Him to Death
From Fox 13 in Tampa comes the horrifying story of Nick Christie, a 62-year-old Ohio man who was detained by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office for being publicly intoxicated. While Christie’s wife asked that he be taken to the hospital, Lee County cops decided instead to strip Christie naked, tie him to a chair, cover his face, and then pepper spray him repeatedly, until he died
✪ Killed over Concords: The Internet Murder of Tyreek Amir Jacobs
The disbelief over unruly crowds fighting and being pepper sprayed over Air Jordan Concords turned to mourning when it was reported on social media and blogs that a young man, 18-year-old Tyreek Amir Jacobs, had been killed for the coveted shoes. As the rumors put it, Jacobs was a teen from Washington DC and killed in Maryland, possibly at the Wheaton Mall. A photo of him was passed around, inscribed with his date of birth and date of death. But calls to police revealed there had been no killings under such circumstances in the DC, Maryland and Virginia area. “Nothing like that has happened here, and I hope we would know,” said one Montgomery County police official. While media outlets in the district reported on disturbances around the area, none ended fatally. Still, as of this writing, some 12,000 people were participating in no less than eight Facebook groups about Jacobs’ killing.
✪ Unprovoked attacks at heart of ‘Knockout King’
Matthew Quain still struggles to piece together what happened after a trip to the grocery store nearly turned deadly. He remembers a group of loitering young people, a dimly lit street – then nothing. The next thing he knew he was waking up with blood pouring out of his head. The 51-year-old pizza kitchen worker’s surreal experience happened just before midnight earlier this year, when he became another victim of what is generally known as “Knockout King” or simply “Knock Out,” a so-called game of unprovoked violence that targets random victims.
✪ Secret Weather Weapons can kill millions, warns top Russian politician
A top Duma political leader caused shock waves in a recent television interview when he warned that Russia could deploy an arsenal of new technology to destroy any part of the planet and kill over a hundred million people using secret weather weapons if the United States, the UN or Georgia tried to stop Russias entry into the WTO. Vladimir Zhirinovsky is Vice-Chairman of the Russian State Duma and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), the first officially sanctioned opposition party after the fall of communism. The LDPR has deep links with the former KGB and Communist Party and has become a significant force in Russian politics, despite Zhirinovsky himself being branded as a militant neo-fascist.

 

 

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Conjured by SeMeN SPeRmS on December 26, 2011

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Tornadoe Boy

  • Each of the kits Hydorn assembles by hand is a simple contraption designed for a single purpose: people kill themselves with it by encasing their head in a bag of helium, which is lethal in pure form. People like Klonoski, the son of a U.S. district judge and whose funeral was attended by more than a thousand people. The Gladd Group’s estimated annual sales are $98,000. That means Sharlotte Hydorn sells more than 1,600 suicide kits every year.
  • While the Obama Administration has commenced a third war in Libya and is spending billions every week in military operations from Kabul to Tripoli, it is shutting down various domestic programs for lack of funds. The latest is the Allen Telescope Array — a large number of small satellite dishes that search for extraterrestrial life in Northern California. The prohibitive cost? $1.5 million dollars a year (an additional $1 million is used on data collection and analysis). In the meantime, the Administration is refusing to yield to the latest Afghan official insisting that the country does not want or need U.S. troops and yet another case of an Afghan soldier killing U.S. personnel — this time eight U.S. soldiers and one contractor killed by one of our allies.
  • It is a known fact that while African Americans and white Americans use marijuana at the same statistical rate, African Americans are arrested for marijuana use at a much higher rate. Despite the fact that New York City is 60% white, white people only amount to 10% of all NYC marijuana arrests.
  • Think current U.S. political campaigns are nasty? The attack-pinback has long been a tool of partisans and politicos.
  • For years, scientists have speculated that armadillos can pass on leprosy to humans, and that they are behind the few dozen cases of the disease that occur in the U.S. every year. Now, they have evidence. A genetic study published today in The New England Journal of Medicine shows that U.S. armadillos and human patients share what seems to be a unique strain of the bacterium that causes leprosy.
  • He’s just so sick of being pigeon-holed as an instrument of U.S. policy. And “truth, justice, and the American way“ are ”not enough anymore.” That’s why Superman, in the latest Action Comic, has announced he is “renouncing” his U.S. citizenship.

    Although he’s traditionally seen as an American hero (remember, though, he is an alien), Superman is fed up with being connected to the USA. According to the Comics Alliance blog (and reported by BoingBoing), in Action Comics #900 Superman tells the president‘s national security adviser that he’s had enough of the Red, White, and Blue

  • Camden, New Jersey, with a population of 70,390, is per capita the poorest city in the nation. It is also the most dangerous. The city’s real unemployment — hard to estimate, since many residents have been severed from the formal economy for generations — is probably 30 to 40 percent. The median household income is $24,600. There is a 70 percent high school dropout rate, with only 13 percent of students managing to pass the state’s proficiency exams in math. The city is planning $28 million in draconian budget cuts, with officials talking about cutting 25 percent from every department, including layoffs of nearly half the police force. The proposed slashing of the public library budget by almost two-thirds has left the viability of the library system in doubt.
  • In the 1990s, a researcher named Kris Pister dreamed up a wild future in which people would sprinkle the Earth with countless tiny sensors, no larger than grains of rice.

    These “smart dust” particles, as he called them, would monitor everything, acting like electronic nerve endings for the planet. Fitted with computing power, sensing equipment, wireless radios and long battery life, the smart dust would make observations and relay mountains of real-time data about people, cities and the natural environment.
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    Now, a version of Pister’s smart dust fantasy is starting to become reality.

  • On Tuesday, the Air Force issued a call for help making a miniature drone that could covertly drop a mysterious and unspecified tracking “dust” onto people, allowing them to be tracked from a distance. The proposal says its useful for all kinds of random things, from identifying friendly forces and civilians to tracking wildlife. But the motive behind a covert drone tagger likely has less to do with sneaking up on spotted owls and more to do with painting a target on the backs of tomorrow’s terrorists.
  • A Sunshine Coast man was bashed to death, put in a shopping trolley and dumped in a creek following a drunken fight over music selection, a court has heard.

    The court was told Emmanuel McPherson, 48, objected when his flatmate, James Albert Madden, played a Limp Bizkit album on Mr McPherson’s stereo.

    A fight then broke out, in which Mr Madden allegedly beat Mr McPherson to death.

  • Navigation device maker TomTom has apologized for supplying driving data collected from customers to police to use in catching speeding motorists.

    The data, including historical speed, has been sold to local and regional governments in the Netherlands to help police set speed traps, Dutch newspaper AD reported here, with a Google translation here. As more smartphones offer GPS navigation service, TomTom has been forced to compensate for declining profit by increasing sales in other areas, including the selling of traffic data.

  • Pretty surreal footage right now coming out of Birmingham, AL, right now of what is believed to be a 1-mile wide F4 or F5 tornado
  • In a museum filled with preserved abnormal fetuses, giant and dwarf skeletons, and an 8-foot colon, what makes a cabinet full of safety pins, small trinkets and other random items one of the most fascinating exhibits?

    For starters, each one of these objects — and there are thousands — was swallowed and extracted. The curious can get a closer look at the carefully catalogued items at the Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

    The collection was assembled and donated to the museum by Chevalier Jackson, a pioneering laryngologist of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

  • Turkish police donned white coats and stethoscopes to disguise themselves as doctors, then knocked on people’s doors to see how easily they would fall for a confidence scam.

    The undercover police officers told residents of the southeastern city of Gaziantep they were screening for high blood pressure and handed out pills, according to Turkish media.

    They were alarmed when residents at 86 out of 100 households visited on Tuesday swallowed the pills immediately.

    Police later returned to warn residents to be more cautious.

    The police pills were harmless placebos. But a local gang had been using the same technique to give people heavy sedatives and then burgle them.

  • It argues that “derogatory” language about animals can affect the way that they are treated.

    “Despite its prevalence, ‘pets’ is surely a derogatory term both of the animals concerned and their human carers,” the editorial claims.

    “Again the word ‘owners’, whilst technically correct in law, harks back to a previous age when animals were regarded as just that: property, machines or things to use without moral constraint.”

    It goes on: “We invite authors to use the words ‘free-living’, ‘free-ranging’ or ‘free-roaming’ rather than ‘wild animals’

    “For most, ‘wildness’ is synonymous with uncivilised, unrestrained, barbarous existence.

    “There is an obvious prejudgment here that should be avoided.”

  • For the last six years, Jon Foy has been filming a movie about the mysterious Toynbee tiles. His documentary, Resurrect Dead, follows the investigation carried out by Justin Duerr, Steve Weinik, and Colin Smith as they set out to discover what the tiles mean and who made them. On their search, the three detectives uncovered increasingly bizarre clues: a decades old newspaper article, a David Mamet play, a Jupiter colonization organization, and a Toynbee message that “hijacked” local news broadcasts. In the end, Foy comes closer then anyone else to solving this four-decades-old mystery.
  • This is a strange, Twitter-borne tale of flirting, cutouts, and lack of online caution in the intelligence and defense worlds. Professionals who should’ve known better casually disclosed their personal details (a big no-no in spook circles) and lobbed allegations they later couldn’t or wouldn’t support (a big no-no in all circles). It led to a Pentagon investigation. And it starts with a Twitter account that no longer exists called @PrimorisEra.
  • It’s one of the biggest data breaches in history. Now that Sony has come clean — sort of — on a computer intrusion this month that exposed personal information on 77 million PlayStation Network users, one obvious question remains: Who pulled off the hack?
  • “Well, this is just really cool,” he said sarcastically. “A graffiti pack. Just wonderful for all of our nice friends to carry around and then in a moment or two just shoot everybody’s walls and property up.”

    South Salt Lake police spokesman Garry Keller says graffiti is more of a plague than a problem.

    “Some people refer to it as street art,” he said. “It’s not street art. It’s graffiti. You’re damaging somebody else’s property. It takes up their resources, their time, their money to remove it. And it’s all for nothing.”

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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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