Transformation | SeMeN SPeRmS SuPeR SiTe

Seventies Sidewalk Surfin’

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

 

 

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

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

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Lumps Of Coal

✰ Acoustic Levitation Of Stones
Tibetan Monks levitate stones by using an acoustic levitation technique with the aid of drams in this 1939 sketch by Swedish aircraft designer Henry Kjellson. A New Zealand scientist recently gave me an intriguing extract from an article published in a German magazine, relating to a demonstration of levitation in Tibet. After obtaining a translation by a German journalist, in English, I was amazed at the information contained in the story, and was surprised that the article had slipped through the suppression net which tends to keep such knowledge from leaking out to the public.
✰ Mysterious ‘Space Ball’ Crashes in Namibia
Ludik also described the object as being made of a “metal alloy known to man,” weighing in at six kilograms (13 pounds). “It is not an explosive device, but rather hollow, but we had to investigate all this first,” he added. Baffled, the Namibian police have appealed to NASA and the European Space Agency for an explanation. So what could it be? Assuming it does originate from space, is it a component from a top secret space weapon? Space hopper? Or could the explanation be a little more… alien? Sadly, we won’t be seeing the Men In Black flying to Windhoek any time soon. This hollow sphere will immediately strike a chord with any space expert. Exhibit A looks like a dusty “Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessel” (or COPV for short) and although it did drop from orbit, it’s simply an exotic-looking chunk of space junk.
✰ Baby foreskins could cut animal testing
A research organization is growing human skin in the hope of using it to trial cosmetics and medicines, reducing the need for animal testing. The synthetic skin is made using cells from infant foreskins.
✰ Is This Humble Plant Capable of Alleviating Most Human Suffering?
One of the novel findings that emerged in the author’s comprehensive review of turmeric is that it expresses over 150 distinct beneficial actions, describable in terms of traditional pharmacological pathways, e.g. interleukin-6 down-regulator, apoptotic, cyclooxygenase inhibitor, etc. During the indexing process the image emerged of a many-armed Goddess, due to how diverse, intelligent and simultaneous are this spice’s healing gifts. In fact, from the perspective of monochemical-oriented pharmacology, a drug with more than 10 simultaneously therapeutic actions, and without the vast array of adverse, unintended side effects commonly associated with novel, patentable chemicals, turmeric would represent an impossible, miraculous entity, which if patentable, would generate more revenue than all the blockbuster drugs on the market put together.
✰ Facebook Photos Lead Police To Suspects In Burglary
Police say they stole thousands of dollars in cash and goods, and then posed with their loot and posted the photos to a popular social media site. Police say the three suspects, along with another teen, posted the photos on Facebook about an hour after they burglarized Elliott’s Town Market on Chartiers Avenue in the West End. “We received information the day after the burglary that these pictures were posted on Facebook, and if you look at the pictures, you can see that the individuals are holding a large amount of cash,” Sgt. Kevin Gasiorowski, of the Pittsburgh Police, said.
✰ All the Companies Supporting SOPA, the Awful Internet Censorship Law and How to Contact Them
Who’s officially on the record backing what could be the worst thing to ever happen to the internet? All of these companies listed below. Don’t take our word for itě°˝€”this list comes straight from Congress. Just FYI. If you want to get in touch, we’ve provided a contact list below. Maybe you want to let them know how you feel about SOPA.
✰ Congressman apologizes for criticizing Michelle Obama’s ‘large posterior’
According to Fishbowl DC, which first reported the lawmaker’s remarks, Sensenbrenner was recounting a recent conversation he’d had at church event in Wisconsin. Obama, Sensenbrenner said loudly, “lectures us on eating right while she has a large posterior herself.” According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Daniel Bice, Sensenbrenner made a similar remark at the Wisconsin church he was referencing in his phone call, telling attendees there that Obama has a “big butt.” The Wisconsin lawmaker, who, it must noted, is a bit rotund–sent a personal note to Obama apologizing for his remarks, his spokeswoman Amanda Infield tells Yahoo News. She declined to go into detail about what the note said. In a statement to reporters, the lawmaker reiterated his apology. “I regret my inappropriate comment, and I have sent a personal note to the First Lady apologizing,” he said. A spokesman for Obama did not respond to a request for comment.
✰ D’oh! Stunned couple unearth 800-year-old stone head in their garden… and it looks like HOMER SIMPSON
Whoever carved the statue would not have had TV’s favourite cartoon anti-hero in mind – but there is no doubting the resemblance of this stone head to Homer Simpson It was found by Rosalind and Donald McIntyre when they were clearing the bottom of their garden at their home in Fife, Scotland, earlier this year. The couple were working in their garden when Mrs McIntyre picked up the head. She took it to St Andrews Museum, and the discovery has been referred to the National Committee for Carved Stones of Scotland.
✰ Boehner’s office cuts off C-SPAN cameras as GOP takes verbal beating
A strange thing happened Wednesday morning on Capitol Hill. As Rep. Stenny Hoyer (D-MD) attempted to call for a vote to extend a payroll tax cut to middle class and working Americans, his Republican colleagues adjourned the House and walked out of the chamber. And if that weren’t odd enough, it got even stranger: As Hoyer railed against them for failing to help working Americans, footage from C-SPAN went silent, then cut away. Moments later, C-SPAN took to the Internet to explain that it wasn’t their doing, but someone working for House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). The incident occurred mere moments after the House went into session. Hoyer made a motion for a vote on the Senate’s payroll tax cut extension, which would extend the lower rates for another two months, but the Republican presiding over the House did not acknowledge the motion. He instead adjourned the House, then got up and walked out.
✰ The Citigroup Plutonomy Memos: Two bombshell documents that Citigroup’s lawyers try to suppress, describing in detail the rule of the first 1%
So what are we talking about? In 2005 and 2006, several analysts at Citigroup took a very, very close look at the economic inequalities within the USA and other countries and wrote two memos which were addressed to their very wealthy customers. If there is one group of people who need to know the truth about what is really going on within the society and the economy, minus the propaganda, then it’s businesspeople who have a lot of money to invest, and who want to invest wisely. So Citigroup did their duty and published two explosive memos, which should have become mainstream news, but eventually did not. The first memo is dated October 16, 2005 (35 pages) and is titled: “Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances.”
✰ FBI Says Activists Who Investigate Factory Farms Can Be Prosecuted as Terrorists
The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force has kept files on activists who expose animal welfare abuses on factory farms and recommended prosecuting them as terrorists, according to a new document uncovered through the Freedom of Information Act. This new information comes as the Center for Constitutional Rights has filed a lawsuit challenging the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) as unconstitutional because its vague wording has had a chilling effect on political activism. This document adds to the evidence demonstrating that the AETA goes far beyond property destruction, as its supporters claim.
✰ It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s a UFO?
Sitting inside Lindly’s Appliance Store, Kammi Root is used to seeing large machinery towed down US 77. But what she saw Monday afternoon is something she won’t soon forget. “There was this funny sphere that went through on this big trailer and my first thought was, ‘That looks like a UFO,’” said Root.
✰ Bankers Join Billionaires to Debunk ‘Imbecile’ Attack on Top 1%
Jamie Dimon, the highest-paid chief executive officer among the heads of the six biggest U.S. banks, turned a question at an investors’ conference in New York this month into an occasion to defend wealth. “Acting like everyone who’s been successful is bad and because you’re rich you’re bad, I don’t understand it,” the JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) CEO told an audience member who asked about hostility toward bankers. “Sometimes there’s a bad apple, yet we denigrate the whole.”
✰ Rihanna barfs, yawns on stage during European concerts
It’s been a rough week for Rihanna. She became the target of racist vitriol not once but twice. First when a hotel guest in Portugal allegedly went on a racist tirade that prompted the pop singer to go on her own rant on Twitter in response. Then, a Dutch magazine printed a fashion feature that referred to her as a “n***abitch” (the editor later resigned over the story). Now, “The Sun” reports that the singer is being criticized for apparently yawning as she held the mic up for a crowd sing-a-long during a performance at London’s O2 arena on Wednesday night — mere days after she apparently vomited off-stage in Portugal while singing “What’s My Name.”
✰ Mystery buyer acquires vatican.xxx web address
The Vatican said on Wednesday an unknown buyer had snapped up the internet address vatican.xxx, a domain combining its name with an extension reserved for pornographic content. “This domain is not available because it has been acquired by someone else, but not the Vatican,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said on Vatican radio. It was not clear from his statement if the Vatican had tried to acquire the domain in order to prevent future misuse and had been beaten to the punch by the unknown buyer.
✰ For Christmas, Your Government Will Explain Why It’s Legal to Kill You
Summary: The government dropped a bomb on a U.S. citizen, who, though a total dick and probably a criminal, may have been engaged only in propaganda, which, though despicable, is generally protected by the First Amendment; it did so without a trial or even an indictment (that we know of), based at least in part on evidence it says it has but won’t show anyone, and on a legal argument it has apparently made but won’t show anyone, and the very existence of which it will not confirm or deny; although don’t worry, because the C.I.A. would never kill an American without having somebody do a memo first; and this is the “most transparent administration ever”; currently run by a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
✰ Frito-Lay sued for labeling its GMO-filled snacks as ‘All Natural’?
Less than a year after Frito-Lay announced plans to make half their products without “any artificial or synthetic ingredients,” the $13 billion company was sued last week in federal court for fraudulently marketing the snacks that contain genetically modified ingredients. Somehow, “artificial” and “synthetic” doesn’t include “genetically modified” in Frito’s mind.
✰ Local police stockpile high-tech, combat-ready gear
Fargo, like thousands of other communities in every state, has been on a gear-buying spree with the aid of more than $34 billion in federal government grants since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The federal grant spending, awarded with little oversight from Washington, has fueled a rapid, broad transformation of police operations in Fargo and in departments across the country. More than ever before, police rely on quasi-military tactics and equipment, the Center for Investigative Reporting has found. No one can say exactly what has been purchased in total across the country or how it’s being used, because the federal government doesn’t keep close track. State and local governments don’t maintain uniform records.

 

 

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File under Fashion, SeMeN SPeRmS Links 'o Death

Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on December 23, 2011

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O RLY?

  • “Our government said no health levels, no health levels were exceeded.When in fact the rain water in the Northwest is reaching levels 130 times the drinking water standards,” said Pollet.

    Elevated rain water samples were collected in Portland, Olympia and Boise, which had the highest.

    But EPA officials say the data was there for anyone to read on their website. A spokesman sent this statement, in part:

    “Since Iodine 131 has a very short half-life of approximately eight days, the levels seen in rainwater were expected to be relatively short in duration.”

  • After failing to pay more than a year of mortgage payments, Grammy winner and “R&B king” R. Kelly now faces a $2.9-million foreclosure lawsuit on his 11,140-square-foot Olympia Fields mansion, Crain’s Chicago reported Tuesday.

    Kelly’s home, which sits on a 3.7-acre lot, was constructed in the far southern suburb 11 years ago and its value has plummeted in recent years — falling 26 percent in its most recent appraisal to $3.8 million, as compared to its $5.2 million 2009 value, according to Crain’s. Therefore, Kelly, who has not lived in the home for more than a year, faces debts on the property that likely exceed its current value.

    A person reportedly close to Kelly told Crain’s the singer had stopped making payments on the mortgage in order to force the bank to renegotiate the loan.

  • US law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, DEA, and ICE, are increasingly obtaining warrants to search Facebook. Not only do they gain access to Facebook accounts, but it often occurs with the user’s knowledge. Personal data obtained can include messages, status updates, links to videos and photographs, calendars of future and past events, Wall postings, and even rejected friend requests.
  • Free-thinking citizens of the world:
    Anonymous’ Operation Green Rights calls your attention to an urgent situation in North America perpetuated by the boundless greed of the usual suspects: Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, Canadian Oil Sands Ltd., Imperial Oil, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and many others.
    This week, activists are gathering along U.S. Highway 12 in Montana to protest the transformation of a serene wilderness into an industrial shipping route, bringing “megaloads” of refinery equipment to the Alberta Tar Sands in Canada (see Tar Sands FAQ Sheet below).
    Anonymous now joins the struggle against “Big Oil” in the heartland of the US. We stand in solidarity with any citizen willing to protest corporate abuse. Anonymous will not stand by idly and let these environmental atrocities continue. This is not the clean energy of the future that we are being promised.
  • Thanks Smart Crew
  • Watch this beautiful video about Brazenhead Books, a secret bookstore that’s been tucked away in Michael Seidenberg’s apartment on the Upper East Side ever since the rent for his original retail space in Brooklyn was quadrupled. (Jonathan Lethem used to work there.) “This would have not been my ideal,” he says. “I wouldn’t have thought I want to have a bookshop in a location no one knows about.” But Brazen says it’s a continuation of being the kind of bookseller he wants to be—not on the street, not at book fairs, but inside, the shelves lined with first editions, knickknacks, and, one hopes, a cat. “I don’t know if it’s my familiarity with failure,” he adds. “I find ways to survive without it making enough money to be what you would call a successful business. If it’s all about money, there’s just better things to sell.” And how do those of us who’ve never been find him? He’s in the phone book, he says with a smile. Hiding in plain sight.
  • In the same way, robot drones as assassination weapons will prove to be just another weapons system rather than a panacea for American warriors. None of these much-advertised wonder technologies ever turns out to perform as promised, but that fact never stops them, as with drones today, from embedding themselves in our world. From the atomic bomb came a whole nuclear landscape that included the Strategic Air Command, weapons labs, production plants, missile silos, corporate interests, and an enormous world-destroying arsenal (as well as proliferating versions of the same, large and small, across the planet). Nor did the electronic battlefield go away. Quite the opposite — it came home and entered our everyday world in the form of sensors, cameras, surveillance equipment, and the like, now implanted from our borders to our cities.
  • A woman returned to her Cumbrian home to find a near perfect imprint of an owl on her window.

    The bird had apparently crashed into the window of Sally Arnold’s Kendal home, leaving the bizarre image – complete with eyes, beak and feathers.

    Experts said the silhouette was left by the bird’s “powder down” – a substance protecting growing feathers.

  • A 17-year-old student in Anhui Province sold one of his kidneys for 20,000 yuan only to buy an iPad 2. Now, with his health getting worse, the boy is feeling regret but it is too late, the Global Times reported today.

    “I wanted to buy an iPad 2 but could not afford it,” said the boy surnamed Zheng in Huaishan City. “A broker contacted me on the Internet and said he could help me sell one kidney for 20,000 yuan.”

  • Although out-of-body experiences (OBEs) are typically associated with migraine, epilepsy and psychopathology, they are quite common in healthy and psychologically normal individuals as well. However, they are poorly understood. A new study, published in the July 2011 issue of Elsevier’s Cortex, has linked these experiences to neural instabilities in the brain’s temporal lobes and to errors in the body’s sense of itself – even in non clinical populations.
  • Yesterday, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) offered a bipartisan amendment to force the Pentagon to produce auditable financial statements providing a clearer picture of how it spends tens of billions of taxpayer dollars each year. The House passed the amendment unanimously.

    Currently, federal law exempts the Pentagon from conducting an audit. DeFazio’s amendment would reverse this exemption.

    “The Pentagon has spent more than $10 trillion since 1990 and will spend over $4 trillion over the next four years without ever passing an audit,” said DeFazio. “As Congress debates substantial cuts to programs that help middle class families, we need a clear picture that allows us to target wasteful and duplicative spending. The Pentagon needs to be audited just like every other federal agency in order to achieve significant budget savings.”

  • Last week, the White House released its National Strategy for Counterterrorism, a macabre document that places a premium on “public safety” over civil liberties and constitutional rights. Indeed, “hope and change” huckster Barack Obama had the temerity to assert that the President “bears no greater responsibility than ensuring the safety and security of the American people.”

    Pity that others, including CIA “black site” prisoners tortured to death to “keep us safe” (some 100 at last count) aren’t extended the same courtesy as The Washington Post reported last week.

    As Secrecy News editor Steven Aftergood correctly points out, the claim that the President “has no greater responsibility than ‘protecting the American people’ is a paternalistic invention that is historically unfounded and potentially damaging to the political heritage of the nation.”

  • Want to get a sense of just how bad the News of the World phone hacking scandal has been for Rupert Murdoch? Look no further than News Corp market value.

    The company has lost $7 billion in market value over the last four trading days, reports Bloomberg.

    The company “tumbled 4.6 percent to A$15.19 in Sydney today. The stock lost $1.27, or 7.6 percent, to $15.48 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading yesterday, the biggest drop since April 2009. It was the fourth straight decline in the company’s closing price, cutting its market value by 15 percent to $41.2 billion. “

    At 538.com Nate Silver notes a big chunk of that is from yesterday alone [below].

    The question remains: How much money does News Corp have to lose before Rupert Murdoch chooses to lose top lieutenants instead?

  • This is the Voskhod Building in Pripyat. It’s one of two identical apartment blocks, designed to house the superior engineers of Chernoybl. As such, it was visibly luxurious inside, especially considering standards at the time.

    I climbed to the top, took photos from every angle, and William Hall of Life in Megapixels very kindly stitched them together for me, and corrected some errors.

    The resulting stitch shows probably the most complete picture of Pripyat Town that you can get in a single place – if you look closely, you can even see the “Steel Yard” (Duga-3 array), and you can make out all the famous major buildings, including the fairground. This was shot on 29th May, 2011.

    Close this dialog, then use your mouse to look around. You can scroll-zoom for a little extra detail.

  • The woman, identified as Catherine Kieu Becker, 48, the victim’s wife, had put an unknown type of poison and/or drug into her husband’s food to make him sleepy, according to Nightengale. She then tied him to the bed. When he woke up, she cut off his penis with a knife, investigators said. She then tossed the penis in the garbage disposal and turned it on.
  • The CIA organised a fake vaccination programme in the town where it believed Osama bin Laden was hiding in an elaborate attempt to obtain DNA from the fugitive al-Qaida leader’s family, a Guardian investigation has found.

    As part of extensive preparations for the raid that killed Bin Laden in May, CIA agents recruited a senior Pakistani doctor to organise the vaccine drive in Abbottabad, even starting the “project” in a poorer part of town to make it look more authentic, according to Pakistani and US officials and local residents.

    The doctor, Shakil Afridi, has since been arrested by the Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) for co-operating with American intelligence agents.

  • “Secret U.S. tests, now revealed, show startling military uses for weird new chemical agents,” we reported in 1960. The so-called “loony gas,” which we believed could incapacitate enemies without actually harming them, turned out to be LSD. Although we acknowledged that LSD could make people “daffy,” we also stated that these psychochemicals were more or less humane. That is, the military could saturate enemies with LSD and take over their towns, without destroying them, before the people recovered.
  • The Las Conchas wildfire, which scorched land in the canyons near Los Alamos before it was turned away from the lab earlier the month, has added urgency to the soil removal efforts because flash floods could rush unimpeded through canyon floors stripped of vegetation, officials said.

    That concern is heightened by the monsoons that have arrived on schedule in northern New Mexico. The National Weather Service on Monday put out a flash-flood watch for the fire area through at least Wednesday.

    The soil in the canyons above Los Alamos National Laboratory, the linchpin of American’s nuclear weapons industry, contains materials with trace amounts of radiation and hazardous chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that were dumped there decades ago, said Fred deSousa, spokesman for the lab’s environmental control division.

  • A new report from Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies estimates that the total direct and indirect costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may exceed $6 trillion over time. That figure comes from combining congressional appropriations for the wars over the past decade ($1.3 trillion), additional spending by the Pentagon related to the wars ($326 – $652 billion), interest so far on Pentagon war appropriations, all of which was borrowed ($185 billion), immediate medical costs for veterans ($32 billion), war related foreign aid ($74 billion), homeland security spending ($401 billion), projected medical costs for veterans through 2051 ($589 – $934 billion), social costs to military families ($295 – $400 billion), projected Pentagon war spending and foreign aid as troops wind down in the two war zones ($453 billion); and interest payments on all this spending through 2020 ($1 trillion).
  • A new book reveals that Adolf Hitler ordered the manufacture of Aryan blow up dolls to discourage his troops from sleeping with disease-ridden prostitutes.

    The so-called “Borghild Project” reportedly kicked off in 1940 when SS chief Heinrich Himmler wrote to Hitler alerting him of the health risks posed to his men by liaisons with French women. “The greatest danger in Paris is the widespread and uncontrolled presence of whores, picking up clients in bars, dance halls, and other places,” he wrote. “It is our duty to prevent soldiers from risking their health just for the sake of a quick adventure.”

  • Onetime Seattle resident and businessman Coleman Anderson wants to keep his little piece of the moon.

    Whether he does will depend on the outcome of an unusual lawsuit playing out in an Alaska court.

    Anderson, perhaps best recognized as captain of the fishing vessel Western Viking during the first season of the hit Discovery Channel series “Deadliest Catch,” is asking a judge to let him keep a lunar rock presented to the state of Alaska in 1969 by President Nixon, but missing for nearly 37 years.

    Anderson, who claims he found the rock in debris following a fire at an Anchorage museum in 1973, said he’s had it as a keepsake ever since.

  • The Colorado prosecution of a woman accused of a mortgage scam will test whether the government can punish you for refusing to disclose your encryption passphrase.

    The Obama administration has asked a federal judge to order the defendant, Ramona Fricosu, to decrypt an encrypted laptop that police found in her bedroom during a raid of her home.

    Because Fricosu has opposed the proposal, this could turn into a precedent-setting case. No U.S. appeals court appears to have ruled on whether such an order would be legal or not under the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment, which broadly protects Americans’ right to remain silent.

    In a brief filed last Friday, Fricosu’s Colorado Springs-based attorney, Philip Dubois, said defendants can’t be constitutionally obligated to help the government interpret their files. “If agents execute a search warrant and find, say, a diary handwritten in code, could the target be compelled to decode, i.e., decrypt, the diary?”

  • Ivan Milat is apparently bored, since he is serving more than seven consecutive life sentences for his crimes, so he probably really does want that Playstation console. In fact, he’s downright stir-crazy and has not eaten in nine days, reports one source. Officials in the High Court in Australia aren’t surprised, because this isn’t the first time Milat has pulled a far-out and crazy stunt to get attention. He’s kind of an attention-whore like that. Back in January of 2009, Milate sawed off one of his own fingers with a plastic knife and attempted to mail it to the High Court in Australia. Doctors were not able to sew the digit back in place. He has also swallowed razor blades and other metallic objects to both harm himself and garner attention.
  • While exploring Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, professional diver Scott Gardner heard an odd cracking sound and swam over to investigate. What he found was a footlong blackspot tuskfish (Choerodon schoenleinii) holding a clam in its mouth and whacking it against a rock. Soon the shell gave way, and the fish gobbled up the bivalve, spat out the shell fragments, and swam off. Fortunately, Gardner had a camera handy and snapped what seem to be the first photographs of a wild fish using a tool.
  • “The concepts are basically quite simple,” said Paul Kinsler, a physicist at Imperial College London, who created the idea with colleagues Martin McCall and Alberto Favaro.

    Unlike invisibility cloaks—some of which have been made to work at very small scales—the event cloak would do more than bend light around an object.

    Instead this cloak would use special materials filled with metallic arrays designed to adjust the speed of light passing through.

    In theory, the cloak would slow down light coming into the robbery scene while the safecracker is at work. When the robbery is complete, the process would be reversed, with the slowed light now racing to catch back up.

    If the “before” and “after” visions are seamlessly stitched together, there should be no visible trace that anything untoward has happened. One second there’s a closed safe, and the next second the safe has been emptied.

  • President Barack Obama sat down with CBS Evening News anchor and managing editor Scott Pelley for an interview that will air in full Tuesday night. In a preview released Tuesday afternoon, Pelley points out to Obama that $20 billion in Social Security checks are supposed to be mailed out August 3, the day after the looming date the government could default on its debt.

    “I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3 if we have not resolved this issue, because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it,” Obama said.

  • If you’re big on nostalgia, but small on space, we might just have the solution for you. A clever gentleman has created a teeny-tiny 80s arcade cabinet that will fit happily on your desktop – and while it might look like a mere mock-up, this one actually works, playing Space Invaders on the miniature screen.

    The whole thing is just seven inches tall, and uses the electronics from a Game Boy Advance, a little MDF, some photoshopped artwork and perhaps the world’s most adorable joystick – take a look.

  • Aided by Facebook, Israel on Friday prevented scores of pro-Palestinian activists from boarding Tel Aviv-bound flights in Europe, questioned dozens more upon arrival at its main airport and denied entry to 69, disrupting their attempts to reach the West Bank on a solidarity mission with the Palestinians.

    Israel had tracked the activists on social media sites, compiled a blacklist of more than 300 names and asked airlines to keep those on the list off flights to Israel. On Friday, 310 of the activists who managed to land in Tel Aviv were detained for questioning, said Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Hadad. Of those, four were immediately put on return flights and 65 were being held until flights home could be arranged for them, she said. The rest were permitted entry, she said.

  • It’s official: Brett Martin has a metric buttload of video game memorabilia. By Mr. Martin’s own estimation, his collection clocks in at about ten to fifteen thousand individual pieces. But not all of those trinkets of molded plastic, cast metal, and fluffed polyester are depictions of Nintendo’s famous Italian plumber. His gaming nicknack collection actually spans a diverse range of characters from different franchises, companies, and eras.
  • Super Mario Bros. Crossover is a fan game that recreates the original Super Mario Bros. and allows you to play it as characters from other games.

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Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on July 13, 2011

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Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989) Japanese Cyberpunk Insanity

A strange man known only as the “metal fetishist”, who seems to have an insane compulsion to stick scrap metal into his body, is hit and possibly killed by a Japanese “salaryman”, out for a drive with his girlfriend. The salaryman then notices that he is being slowly overtaken by some kind of disease that is turning his body into scrap metal, and that his nemesis is not in fact dead but is somehow masterminding and guiding his rage and frustration-fueled transformation.

-IMDb

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Tetsuo: The Iron Man

File under Arts 'n Crafts, Cult Movies, Fetish, SeMeN SPeRmS Approved, SeMeN SPeRmS BLArRrG, SeMeN SPeRmS ViDeO CLuB