Archive for March, 2008

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

 

Gran’s handbag full of grenades

‘Police officers, secretaries and criminals were evacuated from a Russian police station after a granny walked in with a handbag filled with hand grenades.

Irene Fedorova, 67, walked into the station in the Orenburg Region in the Urals and said she wanted to take advantage of an arms amnesty.

She said she wanted to get rid of some old weapons that her late husband Boris had kept under their bed.

Officers who opened the bag found it contained several hand grenades including two that had faulty pins and could have gone off at any moment.

She said: “I read they were disposing of old weapons and thought it was a good idea. I bought them in on the bus in my handbag. I was sorry to have caused such a fuss – perhaps next time they should offer a collection service.”‘


Horseradish Fire Alarm

‘A new type of fire alarm in Japan has been developed using the pungent smell of horseradish.

The device is drawing attention as a new way to warn people with hearing disabilities.

Medical equipment manufacturers have developed a technology to extract components of the strong odor of horseradish, seal them inside a can and spray them out.

Shiga University of Medical Science Hospital cooperated with the makers and carried out experiments to see if the horseradish smell can wake up people from a deep sleep.

Fourteen people, including those with hearing disabilities, took part in the experiments.

In the experiment, 13 out of the 14 subjects woke up in less than two minutes after the smell reached their noses.’


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Katie Holmes ‘feels like a prisoner’ in her own home

‘Katie Holmes has told friends she feels like a “prisoner in my own home”.

The former Dawson’s Creek actress reportedly made the comments after her husband, Tom Cruise, announced plans to have a $1.3m security system installed at their $40m Los Angeles home – dubbed ‘Cruise Castle’ by friends.

A source close to the actress – who fears the star will have no personal space away from domineering Tom, said: “Because of his high profile, his children and his Scientology connections, Tom believes his family is vulnerable to potential kidnappers, stalkers and crazed fans.

“Katie will barely be able to move around her own home without being monitored by cameras and electrical devices.”‘


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On Manson’s trail, forensic testing suggests possible new grave sites

‘Bone-white stretches of salt, leached up from the lifeless soil, lay like a shroud over the high desert where a paranoid Charles Manson holed up after an orgy of murder nearly four decades ago.

Now, as then, few venture into this alkaline wilderness — gold-diggers, outlaws, loners content to live and let live.

But a determined group of outsiders recently made the trek. They were leading forensic investigators searching for new evidence of death — clues pointing to possible decades-old clandestine graves.

And the results of just-completed followup tests suggest bodies could indeed be lying beneath the parched ground. The test findings — described in detail to The Associated Press, which had accompanied the site search — conclude there are two likely clandestine grave sites at Barker Ranch, and one additional site that merits further investigation.

Next step, the ad hoc investigators urge: Dig.’


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Death Metal Puppy

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Top aide testifies Taylor ordered soldiers to eat victims

‘Grim tales of cannibalism highlighting the brutality of West Africa’s civil wars emerged in testimony Thursday at the war crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.
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Former Liberian President Charles Taylor, left, sits in the International Criminal Court before testimony in January.

Joseph “Zigzag” Marzah, who described himself as Taylor’s chief of operations and head of the death squad before Taylor became president, said African peacekeepers and even United Nations personnel were killed and eaten on the battlefield by Taylor’s militiamen.

Prosecutors described Marzah as a key witness with inside knowledge of the former Liberian president’s operations in Liberia and neighboring Sierra Leone, where he is accused of responsibility for the widespread murder, rape and amputations committed by soldiers loyal to him.’


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Teen charged with stealing bunny, trying to extort money

‘A Portland teen has been charged with stealing a pet bunny and trying to extort money from the bunny’s owner.

The 17-year old, who’s being held at the Long Creek Youth Development Center, is accused of breaking into another teen’s apartment and stealing the gray pygmy rabbit. Police say he then telephoned the rabbit’s owner demanding repayment of a $100 debt or else the rabbit would be hurt.

Police Lt. Tony Ward says officers recovered the rabbit in good condition. They charged the 17-year-old with burglary and theft in connection with the break-in.

The juvenile is also charged with robbery, assault and terrorizing following a confrontation last Friday in which he allegedly stole another teen’s skateboard, backpack and pocket money.’


World’s Best Video Production Company

Who needs a movie?

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At L.A. school, Singapore math has added value

‘In 2005, just 45% of the fifth-graders at Ramona Elementary School in Hollywood scored at grade level on a standardized state test. In 2006, that figure rose to 76%. What was the difference?

If you answered 31 percentage points, you are correct. You could also express it as a 69% increase.

But there is another, more intriguing answer: The difference between the two years may have been Singapore math.

At the start of the 2005-06 school year, Ramona began using textbooks developed for use in Singapore, a Southeast Asian city-state whose pupils consistently rank No. 1 in international math comparisons. Ramona’s math scores soared.

“It’s wonderful,” said Principal Susan Arcaris. “Seven out of 10 of the students in our school are proficient or better in math, and that’s pretty startling when you consider that this is an inner-city, Title 1 school.”‘


Carbon Output Must Near Zero To Avert Danger, New Studies Say

‘The task of cutting greenhouse gas emissions enough to avert a dangerous rise in global temperatures may be far more difficult than previous research suggested, say scientists who have just published studies indicating that it would require the world to cease carbon emissions altogether within a matter of decades.

Their findings, published in separate journals over the past few weeks, suggest that both industrialized and developing nations must wean themselves off fossil fuels by as early as mid-century in order to prevent warming that could change precipitation patterns and dry up sources of water worldwide.

Using advanced computer models to factor in deep-sea warming and other aspects of the carbon cycle that naturally creates and removes carbon dioxide (CO2), the scientists, from countries including the United States, Canada and Germany, are delivering a simple message: The world must bring carbon emissions down to near zero to keep temperatures from rising further.’


Turnip Causes Bomb Scare at Law Office

‘A raw turnip was at the root of a bomb scare that last for hours at a law office. An employee at Haller & Colvin Attorneys at Law called 911 Thursday after opening a U.S. Postal Service box and finding a suspicious gift bag inside, police said.

Officers then called the city’s bomb unit, which brought in a robot to carry the package outside to a parking lot. X-rays showed no signs of an explosive, but bomb technicians decided to detonate the package with a water cannon just to be safe, police spokesman Michael Joyner said.

After that, they opened the box and found the turnip, wrapped in lettuce-green tissue paper inside a sandwich bag.

It was unclear who was supposed to receive the vegetable.’


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Reporter Fights With Anchor On Camera

‘Well, if I have to teach you how to be a reporter..’

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Air Bag Knocks Dude Out Cold

This fellow is in his car, bopping along with Queen. Bopping along a bit too enthusiastically. :)

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Wanted man accidentally maces own face for cops

‘Kamloops RCMP say a wanted man was arrested after accidentally spraying himself in the face with bear spray while fleeing officers.

The Mounties pulled over a suspicious vehicle Tuesday and the 20-year-old suspect fled on foot. He sprayed himself while trying to discard the can of bear-repellent pepper spray.

Police say the man is a prolific offender facing charges of fleeing police, possession of stolen property and breach of probation.

The man, whom police didn’t name, is being held in police custody and will be appearing in court today.

Paramedics were called to the arrest scene to treat the self-inflicted injuries to the man’s face.’


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AP Probe Finds Drugs in Drinking Water

‘A vast array of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones — have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation shows.

To be sure, the concentrations of these pharmaceuticals are tiny, measured in quantities of parts per billion or trillion, far below the levels of a medical dose. Also, utilities insist their water is safe.

But the presence of so many prescription drugs — and over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen — in so much of our drinking water is heightening worries among scientists of long-term consequences to human health.

In the course of a five-month inquiry, the AP discovered that drugs have been detected in the drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas — from Southern California to Northern New Jersey, from Detroit to Louisville, Ky.’


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Nepal agrees to China Everest ban

‘Nepal has agreed to a Chinese request to temporarily block access to Mount Everest, amid fears Tibetan activists may stage a protest at the peak.

Climbers will be banned from going beyond Everest’s base camp until 10 May, Nepal’s tourism minister said.

Beijing is thought to be concerned that a protest may coincide with plans to take the Olympic torch up the mountain.

Tibetans have stepped up agitation against Chinese rule as Beijing gets ready to host the Olympics in August.

Buddhist monks have been demonstrating in and around Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet region.’


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Skateboard Ball Launch Does Not Go Well

This kid launches a ball off his skateboard by putting it on one end and jumping on the other. Guess where it lands.. :)

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Guilty as a bear can bee

‘A Macedonian court has convicted a bear of theft and damage for stealing honey from a beekeeper who fought off the attacks with thumping “turbo-folk” music.

“I tried to distract the bear with lights and music because I heard bears are afraid of that,” Zoran Kiseloski told top-selling daily Dnevnik after the year-long case of the bear versus the beekeeper ended in the beekeeper’s favour.

“So I bought a generator, lit up the area and put on songs of (Serbian ‘turbo-folk’ star) Ceca.”

The bear stayed away for a few weeks, but came back when the generator ran out of power and the music fell silent, Kiseloski said, adding, “it attacked the beehives again”.

A court in the city of Bitola found the bear guilty, and since it had no owner and belonged to a protected species, ordered the state to pay the 140,000 denars ($3696) damage it caused to the hives.’


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Prison for Man Who Aided Suicide

‘A man who gave a loaded gun to his suicidal friend to “snap her out of it” and then watched in shock as she killed herself was sentenced Friday to up to five years in prison for his role in her death. [..]

He wiped away tears throughout his sentencing, then apologized to Choquette’s family and his own.

“My deepest condolences and most heartfelt apologies,” he said haltingly, often trailing off to regain his composure. “I had a much better speech, apology, if you want, but that’s really all I can get through at this point.” [..]

When she threatened suicide, he said he tried “calling her bluff” by retrieving and loading a 9mm Beretta he had purchased from her late father. Choquette lifted it to her head and killed herself just a few feet away from him.

He told police her last words were: “I’m going to do it, and you’re going to watch.”‘


Dad Accused Of Forcing Girl To Stab Pet Cat

‘An Indiana father has been jailed for allegedly forcing his 7-year-old daughter to kill the family’s cat.

The cat, named Boots, was stabbed to death last Sunday.

According to the arrest affidavit, Daniel Collins said he wanted his children to “learn how to kill.”

Police said Collins gave his son the knife first, but the 11-year-old boy hid the cat and put ketchup on the knife to simulate blood.

They said that when the father realized the cat was still alive, he forced the knife into his daughter’s hand and made her stab the cat.

Police said Collins finally stabbed and strangled the cat himself and had his son throw the carcass in the trash.’


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Reporting From The Bottom Of A Sled Run

‘Oh, jeez!’

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Tehran police chief arrested in brothel with six prostitutes

‘Tehran’s police chief, Reza Zarei, has been arrested after he was found nude in a local brothel with six naked prostitutes, according to report on the Iranian Farda News.

Farda News is a website said to be close to the mayor of Tehran and former chief of the police forces, Mohammed Bagher Qalibaf.

Following the raid, Zarei stepped down from his post as police chief. The news of his arrest however was not reported by any official Iranian news agency.

According to a popular Iranian website Gooya, the order to raid the brothel was given directly by Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, chief of the judicial authorities.’


Iraq: teachers told to rewrite history

‘Britain’s biggest teachers’ union has accused the Ministry of Defence of breaking the law over a lesson plan drawn up to teach pupils about the Iraq war. The National Union of Teachers claims it breaches the 1996 Education Act, which aims to ensure all political issues are treated in a balanced way.

Teachers will threaten to boycott military involvement in schools at the union’s annual conference next weekend, claiming the lesson plan is a “propaganda” exercise and makes no mention of any civilian casualties as a result of the war.

They believe the instructions, designed for use during classroom discussions in general studies or personal, social and health education (PSE) lessons, are arguably an attempt to rewrite the history of the Iraq invasion just as the world prepares to mark its fifth anniversary.’


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Music Industry Proposes a Piracy Surcharge on ISPs

‘Having failed to stop piracy by suing internet users, the music industry is for the first time seriously considering a file sharing surcharge that internet service providers would collect from users. [..]

“It’s monetizing the anarchy,” says Peter Jenner, head of the International Music Manager’s Forum, who plans to join Griffin on the panel.

Griffin’s idea is to collect a fee from internet service providers — something like $5 per user per month — and put it into a pool that would be used to compensate songwriters, performers, publishers and music labels. A collecting agency would divvy up the money according to artists’ popularity on P2P sites, just as ASCAP and BMI pay songwriters for broadcasts and live performances of their work.’


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Joe Rogan Owns UFC Heckler

‘Why dontcha come lick my tartar sauce off, bitch?’

This is the same fellow from Joe Rogan Vs Female Heckler

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Fake fears over Ethiopia’s gold

‘Ethiopia’s national bank has been told to inspect all the gold in its vaults to determine its authenticity.

It follows the discovery that some of the “gold” it had bought for millions of dollars was gold-plated steel.

The first hint that something was wrong reportedly came when the Ethiopian central bank exported a consignment of gold bars to South Africa.

The South Africans sent them back, complaining that they had been sold gilded steel.

An investigation revealed that the bank had bought a consignment of fake gold from a supplier, who is now under arrest.

Other arrests followed, including business associates of the main accused; national bank officials; and chemists from the Geological Survey of Ethiopia, whose job it is to assay the bank’s purchases of gold and certify that they are real.’


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Indian woman gives birth to ‘miracle’ child

‘An Indian woman has given birth to baby girl with four eyes and two faces, just two years after the world was captivated by the story of Lakshmi Tatma, the “twin” girl born with four arms and four legs.

The four-day old baby girl, born to Vinod Singh and his partner Sushma, is already being hailed as a reincarnation of the Indian God Ganesha. [..]

As news of her birth spread through the secluded rural village where her family reside, local residents began singing and dancing and asking for her blessings.

According to the doctor at the hospital, the baby girl and her mother are both in good health.’


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Hacking attacks can turn off heart monitors

‘American researchers have proven it’s possible to maliciously turn off individuals’ heart monitors through a wireless hacking attack.

Many thousands of people across the world have the monitors, medically known as implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICDs), installed to help their hearts beat regularly.

ICDs treat abnormal heart conditions; more recent models also incorporate the abilities of a Pacemaker. Their function is to speed up a heartbeat which is too slow, or to deliver an electrical shock to a heart which is beating too quickly.

According to the research (pdf) by the Medical Device Security Center – which is backed by the Harvard Medical School among others – hackers would be able to intercept medical information on the patient, turn off the device, or, even worse, deliver an unnecessary electrical shock to the patient.

The hack takes advantage of the fact the ICD possesses a radio which is designed to allow reprogramming by a hospital doctor. The ICD’s radio signals are not encrypted, the Security Center said.’


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Awareness Test

I am not all that aware, it seems. :)

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Friendly dolphin saves whales

‘A playful New Zealand dolphin used to swimming with humans has amazed conservationists by guiding two distressed whales back to sea.

The dolphin led the two pygmy sperm whales 200 metres along the beach and through a channel to the open sea, Department of Conservation worker Malcolm Smith said today.

The two whales, a mother and her young calf, were found stranded on Mahia Beach, on North Island’s east coast on Monday morning, Smith said. [..]

“They obviously couldn’t find their way back past it to the sea,” Smith said.

Four attempts by volunteers to refloat the pair failed and it was becoming highly likely they would have to be euthanised, he said.

Then the dolphin, named Moko by local residents, swam up.’


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