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Archive for January, 2008
Thursday, January 31, 2008
‘The French paramilitary police force said Wednesday it is ditching Microsoft for the free Linux operating system, becoming one of the biggest administrations in the world to make the break.
The move completes the gendarmerie’s severance from Microsoft which began in 2005 when it moved to open sourcing for office applications such as word processing. It switched to open source Internet browsers in 2006.
Linux is an open-source operating system, which used to be the reserve of computer geeks but is now an easy-to-use system aimed at average users.
The gendarmerie’s 70,000 desktops currently use Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system. But these will progressively change over to the Linux system distributed by Ubuntu, explained Colonel Nicolas Geraud, deputy director of the gendarmerie’s IT department.’
‘Swarms of robots that use electromagnetic forces to cling together and assume different shapes are being developed by US researchers.
The grand goal is to create swarms of microscopic robots capable of morphing into virtually any form by clinging together.
Seth Goldstein, who leads the research project at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, in the US, admits this is still a distant prospect.
However, his team is using simulations to develop control strategies for futuristic shape-shifting, or “claytronic”, robots, which they are testing on small groups of more primitive, pocket-sized machines.’
‘As the anesthetic wore off, Naseem Mohammed said, he felt an acute pain in the lower left side of his abdomen. Fighting drowsiness, he fumbled beneath the unfamiliar folds of a green medical gown and traced his fingers over a bandage attached with surgical tape. An armed guard by the door told him that his kidney had been removed.
Mr. Mohammed was the last of about 500 Indians whose kidneys were removed by a team of doctors running an illegal transplant operation, supplying kidneys to rich Indians and foreigners, police officials said. A few hours after his operation last Thursday, the police raided the clinic and moved him to a government hospital.
Many of the donors were day laborers, like Mr. Mohammed, picked up from the streets with the offer of work, driven to a well-equipped private clinic, and duped or forced at gunpoint to undergo operations. Others were bicycle rickshaw drivers and impoverished farmers who were persuaded to sell their organs, which is illegal in India.’
A 3D rendering of the cockpit of this airplane.
‘Extreme poverty is forcing Haiti’s poorest people to eat dirt.
Mud cookies – made from dirt, salt and vegetable shortening – have become popular among Haitians desperate to stave off hunger, the Associated Press reports.
The cookies – which are occasionally used by pregnant women and children as an antacid and source of calcium – have become a regular meal.
Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere and one of the most disadvantaged in the world.’
I think this woman is a bit tired of selling shit on television. 🙂
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‘A former Albany man has been sentenced to 46 months in prison for using a high-voltage stun gun on his 18-month-old son.
Rian Wittman was arrested in February and agreed to a plea bargain last year. The sentence was imposed Friday.
Prosecutor Reed Dinsmore said the stun gun delivered 30,000 volts during testing.
“This is a case of a father torturing his 18-month-old son,” prosecutor Reed Dinsmore said. “Why? We can’t tell.”
He said it’s not yet known whether the child will suffer long-term nerve or neurological damage. [..]
“He described to her that he used the stun gun to play peekaboo with the child,” Dinsmore said. “The mother did not report the incident, and that was a mistake on her part.”‘
He seems to be going at a decent pace. 🙂
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‘It’s a tiny vacuum cleaner for the brain: A new treatment for stroke victims promises to suction out clogged arteries in hopes of stopping the brain attack before it does permanent harm.
Called Penumbra, the newly approved device is the latest in a series of inside-the-artery attempts to boost recovery from stroke, the nation’s No. 3 killer.
Now the question is how to determine which patients are good candidates – because, illogical as it may sound, unclogging isn’t always the best option.’
‘More than a hundred passengers aboard an Air Canada flight from Toronto to London were forced to divert to Shannon yesterday after the co-pilot suffered what appeared to be a nervous breakdown in mid-air.
Officials at Shannon Airport last night confirmed that the male co-pilot was admitted to the psychiatric unit of the Ennis General Hospital in Co Clare yesterday after he was forcibly taken off the flight by fellow crew members and an off-duty member of the Canadian Armed Forces who assisted in restraining him.
Air Canada flight AC848, en route from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport to London Heathrow, was diverted to Shannon with less than an hour to go before reaching its intended destination after the co-pilot began “acting in a peculiar manner and was talking loudly to himself,” during the transatlantic crossing, according to aviation sources.’
‘When the victim of a break-in jumped in her closet to hide from burglars, the last thing she expected was company.
But that’s exactly what happened.
As the 21-year-old woman whispered on the phone with dispatchers, one of the panicked would-be robbers slipped into the closet to hide from police. [..]
“He was just standing right next to me. I could have put my arms around him,” says Brittany.
She waited until she heard police and then she screamed; He’s in here!
Police rushed in and arrested all three men. They now face several charges, including aggravated robbery.’
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Monday, January 28, 2008
‘I went into a new clients office to meet with them about a project they wanted done for their website.
When I walked in I found the president of the company talking to someone I had never seen before. They standing next to the photo copier and were talking about some ideas for the company website.
President of company: “This is Scott, he will be your point of contact within the company for this entire project. Under no circumstances do you allow anyone else to make any decisions about this project except for him. Ok so you guys take care of this, I have an important meeting I am late for.” [..]’
‘A kinky sex escapade ended this week with the electrocution death of a Pennsylvania woman and the arrest of her husband for manslaughter. According to cops, Toby Taylor, 37, first claimed that his wife Kirsten was shocked by her hair dryer. But he then admitted that the couple was “into weird sexual behaviors,” according to a probable cause affidavit. Taylor then explained that he hooks clips to his wife’s nipples and “plugs the cord into a electric strip” and shocks her. On Wednesday evening, Taylor said, Kirsten removed her clothes, attached the clips, and shocked herself. He then picked up the electric strip and shocked her several more times, adding that he had placed a piece of electric tape over her mouth during the jolts. After the last shock, Kirsten, 29, “fell over on to her face.” Taylor initially thought his wife was joking, but quickly realized she was unconscious. He then dressed her in preparation for driving to the hospital, but instead called 911 when she stopped breathing. [..]’
‘Police are investigating how a 5-year-old ended up hitchhiking Tuesday near Salt Lake City.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported Thursday that Orem, Utah, police dispatch had received calls around 8 a.m. that a girl was hitchhiking on the side of the street.
At about the same time, the paper reported that a frantic mother was calling police because she couldn’t find her daughter. She was going to take her daughter to the bus stop a half block from home but couldn’t find her.
Then about 9 a.m., a call came from officials at an elementary school in Provo — 8 miles away — saying someone had dropped the girl off there.’
‘Two fourth-grade boys mimicking a scene from the movie “A Christmas Story” wound up with their tongues stuck to a frozen flagpole.
Gavin Dempsey and James Alexander were serving on flag duty at Jackson Elementary School Friday morning, with the job of raising and lowering the school’s flags. They decided to see if their tongues really would stick to the cold metal.
“I decided to try it because I thought all of the TV shows were lies, but turns out I was wrong,” Gavin said.’
‘Gangs of criminals are hiding dwarves in sports bags and smuggling them onto buses to steal luggage.
The tiny terrors are placed in the luggage hold where they are free to rummage through personal belongings.
Travellers in Sweden are now being advised not to leave valuables in their bags.’
‘In a hypothetical future scenario, the U.S. and China are poised to clash — likely over Taiwan.
The democratic Republic of China, commonly called Taiwan — which America backs and the communist People’s Republic of China considers part of its territory — frequently irritates Chinese leaders with calls for greater independence from the mainland. But while the American military mulls its options, Chinese missiles hit runways, fuel lines, barracks and supply depots at U.S. Air Force bases in Japan and South Korea. Long-range warheads destroy American satellites, crippling Air Force surveillance and communication networks. A nuclear fireball erupts high above the Pacific Ocean, ionizing the atmosphere and scrambling radars and radio feeds.
This is China’s anti-U.S. sucker punch strategy.’
‘A speeding motorist who killed a teenage cyclist is suing the boy’s parents over damage to his luxury car, the government says.
Enaitz Iriondo, 17, died instantly in August 2004 when businessman Tomas Delgado’s Audi A8 crashed into him at 100 mph near Haro in northern Spain, an Interior Ministry traffic report said. The speed limit was 55 mph. [..]
Delgado, whose insurance company paid Iriondo’s parents $48,500 in compensation for their son’s life, filed a suit in late 2006 to recover $29,400 in damages to his car and car rental costs, the ministry traffic report said.
“It’s the only way I have to claim my money back,” Delgado was quoted as saying by the newspaper El Pais, which first reported the story on Friday. El Pais said a ruling was expected next week.
Iriondo’s parents were shocked.’
‘As a 16-year-old high school student in the International Baccalaureate program, I am required to complete a ‘personal project’ on a non-academic topic that is of interest to me. I have always enjoyed woodworking and design, so I decided to build a functional wooden bicycle. There was to be no metal used in its construction, only wood and glue. I wanted a project that would be a challenge.
This project came to mind as I was reflecting on the many stories my opa, Case Vandersluis, told me about his adventures in Holland during World War II. Opa was roughly the age I am now when he had to build wooden wheels for his bicycle, as rubber was scarce during the war.
I wasn’t sure my wooden bicycle would actually work. I quickly realized the first pieces of the puzzle I needed to figure out were the chain and the sprockets (gears), since the design of all the other components depended on these.’
‘A large U.S. spy satellite has lost power and could hit the Earth in late February or March, government officials said Saturday.
The satellite, which no longer can be controlled, could contain hazardous materials, and it is unknown where on the planet it might come down, they said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the information is classified as secret. [..]
Such an uncontrolled re-entry could risk exposure of U.S. secrets, said John Pike, a defense and intelligence expert. Spy satellites typically are disposed of through a controlled re-entry into the ocean so that no one else can access the spacecraft, he said.
Pike also said it’s not likely the threat from the satellite could be eliminated by shooting it down with a missile, because that would create debris that would then re-enter the atmosphere and burn up or hit the ground.
Pike, director of the defense research group GlobalSecurity.org, estimated that the spacecraft weighs about 20,000 pounds and is the size of a small bus. [..]’
These sorts of satellites often have plutonium based radioisotope thermoelectric generators. Fun. 🙂
‘A campaign has been launched to build a permanent memorial to a bear which spent much of its life in Scotland – after fighting in World War II.
The bear – named Voytek – was adopted in the Middle East by Polish troops in 1943, becoming much more than a mascot. [..]
He saw action at Monte Cassino before being billeted – along with about 3,000 other Polish troops – at the army camp in the Scottish Borders.
The soldiers who were stationed with him say that he was easy to get along with.
“He was just like a dog – nobody was scared of him,” said Polish veteran Augustyn Karolewski, who still lives near the site of the camp.
“He liked a cigarette, he liked a bottle of beer – he drank a bottle of beer like any man.”‘
‘Looking for a great gag gift? Has some one really pissed you off? Don’t get mad, GET EVEN. Send that special some one a big stinky pile of shit.
‘A large, mysterious blob has taken over a major sewer line in the city of Lewiston, leaving public works crews stumped as to how to budge it.
According to city officials, the stretch of 12-inch pipe on Main Street backed up on Jan. 13, and the city has been trying unsuccessfully to clear the line ever since.
Deputy Public Services Director Kevin Gagne told News 8 the doughy, 90-foot mass is comprised of grease, flour and rags.’