Archive for June, 2007
Saturday, June 16, 2007
‘When Dr Brady Barr decided to dress up as a crocodile, the disguise needed to be good.
Otherwise he was in grave danger of being eaten by the real thing.
The zoologist adopted his bizarre outfit in the hope of getting closer to a colony of Nile crocodiles, which can grow up to 20ft.
His disguise was a prosthetic head attached to the front of a protective metal cage covered with canvas and a generous plastering of hippo dung to mask his human scent.’
‘U.S. troops would no longer be asked to reveal previous mental health treatment when applying for security clearances under a proposal being considered by the Pentagon.
The idea stems from the finding that service members avoid needed counseling because they believe that getting it – and acknowledging it – could cost them their clearance as well as do other harm to their careers, The Associated Press has learned. [..]
Currently, the questionnaire asks applicants whether they have consulted a mental health professional in the last seven years. If so, they are asked to list the names, addresses and dates they saw the doctor or therapist.’
‘A Corvallis teenager is facing charges of burglary and sexual abuse of an animal after being arrested last week at a barn in northeast Corvallis.
The teenager, 17 at the time of his arrest, was arrested by Deputy Randy Hiner and Corvallis Police Officer Jason Harvey at the barn in the 4000 block of Northeast Minnesota Avenue at about 2:30 a.m. on June 7.
The owners of the property had reported assaults on the horse before, once on July 30, 2006, and again on Feb. 9 of this year. After the July incident, the owners noticed the halter of their mare had been moved. So the owners installed a video surveillance camera inside the barn.’
‘I was working on a video player for Nuvu.tv and they referenced something on YouTube.com so I went to check it out. I had a FireFox extension add-on (FlashTracer) running – it outputs Flash debug statements in a FireFox sidebar. As I was watching this YouTube video I noticed debug statements coming out of the YouTube player (which is pretty common if you surf to any website with flash content – more on this bad practice later). 99% of these statements were typical, but there were a couple that irked me; look at the two lines of text I highlighted in the left column of this screenshot [..]‘
We got meta, fuck yeah.
‘F-16s intercepted a small plane after officials misinterpreted a phrase uttered by the pilot as his aircraft flew over military airspace: “hostile takeover.”
The pilot was talking about business, the plane’s owner said. But a frantic air traffic controller couldn’t confirm that because the pilot had turned off his radio, said Maj. Roger Yates of the Clay County Sheriff’s Department.
Within minutes, federal aviation authorities scrambled the fighter jets to intercept the plane Monday evening just outside of Oklahoma City and escort it to the Clay County airport near Mosby.
Once it was on the ground, more than a dozen armed federal agents and tactical deputies surrounded the plane. Federal authorities, who interviewed the pilot for two hours, said Tuesday that there was no threat to anyone and no charges would be filed.’
‘Violence in Iraq, as measured by casualties among troops and civilians, has edged higher despite the U.S.-led security push in Baghdad, the
Pentagon told Congress on Wednesday.
In its required quarterly report on security, political and economic developments in Iraq, covering the February-May period, the Pentagon also raised questions about Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s ability to fulfill a pledge made in January to prohibit political interference in security operations and to allow no safe havens for sectarian militias.
Overall, however, the report said it was too soon to judge whether the security crackdown was working.’
Some Japanese children put on a strange performance for him.
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‘A Melbourne chef, who police say cut out images of TV celebrity Naomi Robson’s face and stuck them on pictures of women he allegedly assaulted, has been charged with numerous counts of rape and indecent assault.
John Nicholous Xydias, 43, of Glen Iris, was charged with 33 counts of rape and 55 counts of indecent assault in relation to two women between 1998 and 2004.’
‘”Without oil, at least four billion people would starve. This spiral of trouble would make the oil infrastructure utterly useless” — unless their bodies could be turned into fuel.
That was the satirical message delivered by two corporate ethics activists to the Gas and Oil Exposition 2007 in Calgary, Alberta. The activists, part of political trickster collective the Yes Men, used the Exposition to stage their latest theatre of corporate absurdity, with Exxon/Mobil and the Natural Petroleum Council playing the fools.
The prank, intended as a critique of the fossil fuel industry’s influence on energy policy, caused confusion and consternation on the final day of the Exposition, one of the industry’s largest gatherings.’
‘Four lesbians convicted of assaulting a man who was stabbed after he made advances toward one of them were sentenced Thursday amid screams and weeping to prison terms ranging from 3 1/2 to 11 years.
More than two dozen court officers ringed the courtroom as Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Edward McLaughlin pronounced the sentences, which were usually punctuated by a moan, a wail or a comment of disbelief. [..]
The judge sentenced Patreese Johnson, 20, to 11 years in prison. Johnson admitted she had a knife and is seen on the videotape swinging it at the victim, Dwayne Buckle, who has called the incident “a hate crime against a straight man.”‘
‘More than 450 people, including young children, have been freed from slavery in Chinese brick factories and mines but hundreds of others are believed to still be trapped, police said Friday.
In a crackdown that has laid bare a shocking underworld of human trafficking and slave labour, police in two provinces in northern and central China said the workers were freed after raids over the past week on hundreds of brick factories and small coal mines.
Various media reports have described freed workers, some as young as eight, as having been beaten, nearly starved and forced to work extraordinary long hours under appalling and dangerous conditions.
“So far, we have rescued more than 200 people including over 40 children,” an official with the Henan provincial public security department, who gave only his surname of Dang, told AFP by phone.
“They were abducted and sold to brick kilns in Shanxi and Henan provinces.”‘
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Friday, June 15, 2007
The car appears empty. But none the less it managed to steer right past the cameraman. Not quite sure, really.
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‘A woman who had not cut her hair in 43 years had it destroyed in a freak gardening accident.
The 57-year-old got her 3ft locks entangled in a hedge trimmer which knocked her out.
Firefighters called to her rural home in Henfield, West Sussex, realised they would have to chop off her hair to free it from the machine.
The woman, who has not been named, pleaded with them for an hour not to snip the hair — which had been growing since she was at school.
A fire brigade spokesman yesterday said: “She was traumatised.”‘
‘Police in Punta Gorda say a young man and woman were having sex on a crane in the middle of downtown. Police say the couple climbed more than 100 feet to get on top of the crane to take pictures when one thing apparently led to another.
The crane at the downtown Punta Gorda construction site has been there for some time. It’s becoming a landmark. But that seems to more true for some than others.
While on patrol, a Punta Gorda police officer got a call about some type of action on the crane. The officer noticed someone not wearing a shirt behind a banner and then a second person popped out.
“Both were unclothed,” said the officer. “Basically had to order them over the public address system to dress and come down.”‘
‘Poachers have shot the last two white rhinos in Zambia, killing one and wounding the other, in a night operation at the Mosi-Oa-Tunya national park in Livingstone, an official said today.
The shooting of the two endangered animals in a heavily-guarded zoological park near Victoria Falls in Zambia’s tourist resort town of Livingstone took place last week.
“I can confirm that one of the white rhinos was shot dead by suspected poachers. The other one was wounded and is undergoing treatment,” said Maureen Mwape, spokesperson of the Zambia Wildlife Authority, which would be investigating the shooting.
The dead female rhino’s horn was apparently removed.’
‘There was the Miami Vice bandit, the Fanny Pack bandit, even the Band-Aid bandit – all named for memorable outfits or unique characteristics that bank tellers recalled after the holdup.
Now police are looking for a robber named for his smell: the “Landscape bandit.”
“He smells like dirt – that’s what people always remember,” said Anaheim police Sgt. Tim Schmidt. “It’s not like he hasn’t bathed in month. It’s just he’s been outside working in the dirt.”
The man, who wears a wide-brimmed hat, has robbed three banks in Southern California since April and two out of three tellers mentioned his distinctive odor to investigators.’
‘The Army spends more feeding its dogs than its soldiers, it has been claimed.
Figures obtained by a Tory MP show that £1.51 a day goes on meals for troops, compared with £2.63 for military dogs.
Even prisoners – who cost £1.87 a day to feed – fare better than servicemen. Schoolchildren get £1.55 for lunch alone.
The MP, Mike Penning, is to raise the issue in the House of Commons today. The former Grenadier Guard said troops serving in war zones such as Iraq were being denied decent meals.
And he claimed that U.S. troops are given high-quality meat while British soldiers make do with cheap sausages and chips.’
Running on a treadmill and eating cookies. Harder than it sounds.
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‘An elementary school science teacher in this Chicago suburb doesn’t have to turn on the news for an update on NASA’s space mission. She just turns on her video baby monitor.
Since Sunday, one of the two channels on Natalie Meilinger’s baby monitor has been picking up black-and-white video from inside the space shuttle Atlantis. The other still lets her keep an eye on her baby.
“Whoever has a baby monitor knows what you’ll usually see,” Meilinger said. “No one would ever expect this.”
Live video of the mission is available on NASA’s Web site, so it’s possible the monitor is picking up a signal from somewhere.’
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‘A man who spent five years in jail for exposing sexual partners to HIV was sentenced to life in prison for knowingly exposing another woman to the virus.
Sean L. Sykes, 33, was sentenced Tuesday. He was found guilty in May of having unprotected sex with a St. Joseph woman without telling her he was HIV-positive. Testimony at his trial — which was closed to the public to protect witnesses — indicated that he had exposed at least eight women to HIV. At least three have tested positive.
“I think it’s fairly clear he is a very dangerous individual,” Buchanan County Prosecutor Dwight Scroggins said after the sentencing. “If he is not in prison, he would likely continue to spread HIV.”‘
‘Bob Teixeira decided it was time to take a stand against U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
So last fall the Charlotte musician and guitar instructor spent $1,200 to convert his 1981 diesel Mercedes to run on vegetable oil. He bought soybean oil in 5-gallon jugs at Costco, spending about 30 percent more than diesel would cost.
His reward, from a state that heavily promotes alternative fuels: a $1,000 fine last month for not paying motor fuel taxes. He has been told to expect another $1,000 fine from the federal government.
To legally use veggie oil, state officials told him, he would have to first post a $2,500 bond.
Teixeira is one of a growing number of fuel-it-yourselfers — backyard brewers who recycle restaurant grease or make moonshine for their car tanks. They do it to save money, reduce pollution or thumb their noses at oil sheiks.
They’re also caught in a web of little-known state laws that can stifle energy independence.’
‘A new diet promises to slim folks down with sexy results.
The so-called diet book “The Ultimate Sex Diet” (True Courage) requires that lovers engage in sex to burn off the pounds. Author Kerry McCloskey says your partner becomes your nutritionist, psychologist and personal trainer.
There are sexual positions like the “Let’s Get Crazy” position where the legs of the woman are on top of the man’s shoulders. McCloskey says this one tones the man’s arms and the woman’s tummy.
She designed and followed the diet and lost 23 pounds in six months. [..]
At the very worst, she says the diet can make a good pickup line: “I have a new sex diet and I need someone to help me out.”‘
‘CIA and FBI agents hunting for al Qaeda militants in the Horn of Africa have been interrogating terrorism suspects from 19 countries held at secret prisons in Ethiopia, which is notorious for torture and abuse, according to an investigation by The Associated Press.
Human rights groups, lawyers and several Western diplomats assert hundreds of prisoners, who include women and children, have been transferred secretly and illegally in recent months from Kenya and Somalia to Ethiopia, where they are kept without charge or access to lawyers and families.
The detainees include at least one U.S. citizen and some are from Canada, Sweden and France, according to a list compiled by a Kenyan Muslim rights group and flight manifests obtained by AP.’
‘Russian men are risking death by drinking aftershave and cleaning agents, a study has suggested.
UK researchers estimated that half of all deaths in working age men in the country are due to hazardous drinking.
The products, which also include herbal tinctures sold in pharmacies, are widely available, cheap and contain up to 97% alcohol, the Lancet study says.
It was found that they contain very few toxins but are deadly simply because of the extreme alcohol levels.
Russian men have an “exceptionally low” life expectancy of 59 years, compared with 72 years for women.’
‘A judge has ruled that a 24-year-old Canadian man is not allowed to have a girlfriend for the next three years.
The ruling came after Steven Cranley pleaded guilty on Tuesday to several charges stemming from an assault on a former girlfriend.
Cranley, who has been diagnosed with a dependent personality disorder, attacked his girlfriend in an argument after their breakup.
He tried to prevent her from phoning the police by cutting her phone cord and punched and kicked her. He finally stabbed himself with a butcher knife when police did arrive, puncturing his aorta.
Doctors say Cranley has difficulty coping with rejection and runs a high risk to re-offend if he becomes involved in another intimate relationship.’
‘A flood-isolated Australian town was in danger of running out of beer this week until emergency volunteers came to their rescue.
Residents of Hinton, New South Wales, were stranded following the severe storms that hit the region on Sunday.
There was concern that their pub would run dry before a rugby league match which was due to be played between New South Wales and Queensland.
But the State Emergency Services boated in a huge beer delivery just in time.’