placebos | SeMeN SPeRmS SuPeR SiTe

Red, White, And Busted

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Gorilla in Prague Zoo hangs himself
The zoo said in a statement that 5-year-old Tatu was found hanging with a rope around his neck Friday morning in a sleeping room. Spokesman Michal Stastny said all attempts to revive Tatu failed. He said there were no cameras in the room and it is not clear exactly what happened. Mammals curator Pavel Brandl said Tatu likely unbraided one of the dozens ropes the gorillas use in their pavilion for climbing and put a strand around his neck before hanging himself.
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Strip Clubs in Tampa Are Ready to Cash In on G.O.P. Convention
Angelina Spencer, the executive director of the Association of Club Executives, which serves as a trade association for strip clubs, said an informal survey of convention business in New York and Denver had determined that Republicans dropped more money at clubs, by far. “Hands down, it was Republicans,” she said. “The average was $150 for Republicans and $50 for Democrats.”
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Body stolen from New Jersey mausoleum
Cult activity is suspected after a woman’s body was stolen from a southern New Jersey mausoleum. Pleasantville police said someone broke into the mausoleum, which has six gravesites, on Thursday night or Friday morning and stole the body of Pauline Spinelli, who had died in 1996 at the age of 98, according to the Associated Press. Police also said the body might have been taken for use in some sort of ritual.
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The Ignorance of ‘Intelligence’
The United States today has a vast intelligence apparatus, on the ground, in the sky and even in space. Technically it puts the old Soviet Union to shame, and sucks up millions of terabytes of data daily. But, that doesn’t mean that what is reported is understood. The analysts seek to make sense of it but the policy makers are often so locked into templates of action and pre-formulated strategies that insure the input doesn’t lead to course corrections or changes in direction. They operate with a kind of intellectual “locked-in” disease that freezes out new ideas. The system is manned by ideologists and choked with ideology, constantly leading to so-called intelligence ‘failures’ that fill many library shelves. Yet even when post mortems are filed, few in the commanding heights of our national security apparatus is willing to look back and draw lessons. They are too busy, lazy or just hacks (as opposed to hackers.)
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How FBI technology woes let Fort Hood shooter slip by
Much has been made of government’s power to survey citizens using technologies such as packet capture and deep packet inspection. Even used in a limited fashion, these technologies can gather massive amounts of data on the online behaviors of individuals, and when taken together they can create an electronic profile of people’s lives. That potential—and concerns about its abuse—have driven privacy advocates to push for the repeal or alteration of laws such as the PATRIOT Act. At the same time, US law enforcement and intelligence agencies have struggled over the past decade to take all of this information and put it to use. The poor search capabilities of the FBI’s software, inadequate user training, and the fragmented nature of the organization’s intelligence databases all meant there was no way for anyone involved in the investigation to have a complete picture of what was going on with Hasan.
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Matrix Director Larry Wachowski Now A ‘She’
Matrix director Larry Wachowski is now a ‘she’, after undergoing a sex-change operation. For some time now, the film director has been answering to ‘Lana Wachowksi’, and says she has been “transitioning” from male to female for a number of years. At a Los Angeles movie promo last week, Wachowski showed up in a gray dress and fuchsia dreadlocks, announcing in a German accent: “Hi, I’m Lana.” It isn’t known whether the Matrix director’s public switching of genders is complete yet, but this was far from Wachowski’s first big public appearance as Lana: she was appearing in public as early as 2004, at events such as the San Diego Comic-Con.
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The Door to Hell: Giant hole in the Karakum Desert has been on fire for more than 40 YEARS
At first glance, it could be a dramatic scene from a science-fiction movie. But this giant hole of fire in the heart of the Karakum Desert is not the aftermath of an attack on Earth, launched from outer space. It is a crater made by geologists more than 40 years ago, and the flames within have been burning ever since. Welcome to Derweze in Turkmenistan – or, as the locals have called it, ‘The Door to Hell’.
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‘Women and children first’ is a myth, shipwreck study shows
The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was based on the premise that crew members and male passengers stood the greatest chance of survival in a free-for-all ship evacuation, owing to greater strength and knowledge of the vessel. If men chose to sacrifice themselves for the sake of women and children, however, their survival rates should suffer accordingly. They did not. In examining 18 shipping disasters dating to the 1850s, the economists found little evidence that men were inclined to surrender their survival advantage. Overall, the survival rate was 61% for crew members, 44% for captains, 37% for male passengers, 27% for women and 15% for children.
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The OPen….ING of the Gate
The opening ceremony of the Olympics was very symbolic. Although for those who lacked the eyes to see & understand it, it was a boring show compared to past opening ceremonies. This is typical of inducing & using the occult symbols within something like this. It’s there but it’s hidden. The baby that showed up in the stadium egg was the sun/son rebirth we’ve been talking about for weeks. All after the ‘exorcism’ of the scary nightmares from the minds and imagination of the children…orphans being tended to by nurses and such…symbolic of the human species being abandoned by their ‘gods’ in the myths and stories of our ancient origins.
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17 year old Twitter user arrested after taunting Great Britain diving star Tom Daley about his dead father
Daley and partner Pete Waterfield slipped into fourth place after an error on their fourth of six attempts spoiled an otherwise consistent performance. Soon afterward, Daley reposted a message from a Twitter user called Rileyy69 that read: “You let your Dad down, I hope you know that.” [ Related: American athletes defy IOC ban on social media use to promote sponsors ] Daley added his own message to the retweet, saying: “After giving my all, you get idiot’s (sic) sending me this.” Daley has more than 780,000 followers and following his response, his Twitter tormentor was bombarded with messages from angry fans. Yahoo! Sports understands he then threatened one of the respondents, while claiming he would “drown” Daley. He later tried to backtrack by sending an apology. Police were already preparing to get involved by that point, though, as part of an ongoing crackdown by British law enforcement on social media abuse, particularly that directed toward high profile figures.
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America’s fascination with the apocalypse
The end of the world is nigh. Or so you might think if you immersed yourself in American popular culture. From TV adverts to Hollywood movies, depictions of post-apocalyptic worlds are everywhere. There is a long tradition of such apocalyptic thinking in the US. But as Matthew Barrett Gross and Mel Giles argue in their book The Last Myth, it has now moved beyond religious prophecies into the secular world. The authors also claim that activists from both the political left and right have embraced apocalypse thinking, issuing dramatic warnings that everything from the traditional American way of life to the very existence of the planet is under threat. Barrett Gross spoke to the BBC in Utah to explain why he believes the rise of apocalyptic thinking prevents some people from trying to reach more pragmatic solutions to 21st Century problems.
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Approved: The First Swallowable Electronic Devices
The pills, made by Proteus Digital Health, have sand-particle-sized silicon chips with small amounts of magnesium and copper on them. After they’re swallowed, they generate voltage as they make contact with digestive juices. That signals a patch on the person’s skin, which then relays a message to a mobile phone given to a healthcare provider. It’s only been approved for use with placebos right now, but the company is hoping to get it approved for use with other drugs (which would be where it would get the most use).
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Is the Sky Blue?
A recent episode of Radiolab centered on questions about colors. It profiled a British man who, in the 1800s, noticed that neither The Odyssey nor The Iliad included any references to the color blue. In fact, it turns out that, as languages evolve words for color, blue is always last. Red is always first. This is the case in every language ever studied. Scholars theorize that this is because red is very common in nature, but blue is extremely rare. The flowers we think of as blue, for example, are usually more violet than blue; very few foods are blue. Most of the blue we see today is part of artificial colors produced by humans through manufacturing processes. So, blue is the last color to be noticed and named. An exception to the rarity of blue in nature, of course — one that might undermine this theory — is the sky. The sky is blue, right?
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Seal flu: Deadly strain of bird flu jumped to mammals and could mutate for humans
It’s a virus that originated in birds, but the newest strain of avian flu has killed 162 harbor seals in New England and scientists warn it could be even more dangerous if it jumps to humans. Researchers revealed on Tuesday that the aquatic mammals, which washed up dead or dying on the shores of Maine and northern Massachusetts last fall, were infected with the H3N8 strain of influenza. The seals suffered horrifying skin lesions, a previously unknown symptom in flu deaths, and pneumonia as a result of a virus that they contracted from North American waterfowl, according to researchers at Columbia University. Even more worrying is the fact that the virus has mutated to develop the ability to infect the cells of mammals — a first for the avian pathogen.
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Green plants reduce city street pollution up to eight times more than previously believed
Thomas Pugh and colleagues explain that concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and microscopic particulate matter (PM) — both of which can be harmful to human health — exceed safe levels on the streets of many cities. Past research suggested that trees and other green plants can improve urban air quality by removing those pollutants from the air. However, the improvement seemed to be small, a reduction of less than 5 percent. The new study sought a better understanding of the effects of green plants in the sometimes stagnant air of city streets, which the authors term “urban street canyons.” The study concluded that judicious placement of grass, climbing ivy and other plants in urban canyons can reduce the concentration at street level of NO2 by as much as 40 percent and PM by 60 percent, much more than previously believed. The authors even suggest building plant-covered “green billboards” in these urban canyons to increase the amount of foliage.
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Innocent Man Spends Four Months In Jail After Rochester, NY Police Officers Lie Under Oath
Rochester, NY Police officers Rob Osipovitch and Ryan Hartley, falsely accused Mr. Barideaux of failing to come to a complete stop in order to have a reason to pull him over. But thanks to the power of video, Osipovitch and Hartley never stopped to think that City of Rochester traffic cameras were recording the whole incident. And that the video recorded their lie. After the illegal stop and search of Mr. Barideaux’s vehicle, the Rochester Police Department claims that the officers found drugs and a weapon. After spending four months in jail, Monroe County Court Judge Daniel Doyle dismissed all charges against Barideaux. In his decision to dismiss the charges, Judge Doyle said “it was an unreasonable stop… based on the review of the video, there’s no ambiguity at all that a car being operated by Jeramie Barideaux did come to a complete stop before the police stopped the vehicle.”
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“Walking Down Death Row,” the eerily titled song by James Holmes’s sister
The face is pretty unmistakable: The features look strikingly similar to the now iconic visage that’s been burned into our collective consciousness over the past ten days. But this face doesn’t belong to the person alleged to have shot seventy people at an Aurora movie theater just after midnight on July 20. This one belongs to a promising San Diego-based singer/songwriter named Chris Holmes, who just happens to share a surname — and a gene pool — with a suspected mass murderer: James Holmes, who’ll be back in Arapahoe County District Court this morning.
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Interactive Map: The U.S. Shooting Epidemic
On average, according to the organization, a multiple-victim shooting happens every 5.9 days in the United States. The deadliest city in this period, according to the data, is Chicago, with 17 shootings since 2005—totaling 72 people wounded and 30 deaths. Thirteen of those shootings were in a public place. New Orleans, Kansas City, and Philadelphia were tied for second bloodiest, with nine shootings in this seven-year period. Plus, James Warren on why the Colorado shooting is tragically unsurprising. Thanks Jasmine
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The Real Crash is dead ahead as 2008 is forgotten
“Facebook will become the poster child for the current social-media bubble,” warns economist Gary Shilling in his latest Forbes column, “just as Pets.com was for the dot-com bubble.” Yes, Wall Street is repeating the 2000 dot-com crash as today’s social-media bubble crashes and burns.
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NSA Boss Wants More Control Over the ‘Net
The decentralized nature of the Internet, and the fact that the global network is built from a thicket of independent public and private networks, is limiting efforts to protect against such attacks, said Alexander, because it doesn’t allow the NSA or law enforcement to easily track Internet activity. “We do not sit around our country and look in; we have no idea if Wall Street is about to be attacked,” said Alexander.

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

Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on August 1, 2012

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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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