‘A floor collapsed beneath a group of about 20 members of Weight Watchers as they gathered to compare how many pounds they had shed over Christmas.
Members of the weight-loss club were lining up to compare readings on the scales when they heard a bang as the floor came away from the walls of their meeting room in Växjö in southern Sweden.
“We suddenly heard a huge thud – we almost thought it was an earthquake and everything flew up in the air. The floor collapsed in one corner of the room and along the walls,” one of the those present told the Smålandsposten newspaper.
They abandoned the room as the floor started to give way in other areas.’
‘Stephen Conroy’s mandatory internet filtering plans have earned him the title of Internet Villain of the Year at the 11th annual Internet Industry Awards.
The Internet Villain category recognises individuals or organisations that have upset the Internet industry and hampered its development – those whom the industry loves to hate.
As Australia’s communications minister, and supporter of one of the world’s most ambitious internet censorship plans, Senator Conroy beat out tough competition from the likes of the European Parliament and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.’
‘If you have a problem with school officials strip searching 13-year-olds for Advil – or if you care about the government’s standards for informant use and invasive searches – you can take relief in yesterday’s ruling by a full panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which ruled 6-5 that students cannot be strip-searched based on the uncorroborated word of another student who is facing disciplinary punishment.
“A reasonable school official, seeking to protect the students in his charge, does not subject a thirteen-year-old girl to a traumatic search to ‘protect’ her from the danger of Advil,” the federal appellate court wrote in today’s opinion. “We reject Safford’s effort to lump together these run-of-the-mill anti-inflammatory pills with the evocative term ‘prescription drugs,’ in a knowing effort to shield an imprudent strip search of a young girl behind a larger war against drugs.”
“It does not take a constitutional scholar to conclude that a nude search of a 13-year-old girl is an invasion of constitutional rights. More than that: it is a violation of any known principle of human dignity,” the court continued.’
‘Late last year, the writer, polemicist and fierce proponent of the US-led invasion of Iraq Christopher Hitchens attempted, in a piece for the online magazine Slate, to draw a distinction between what he called techniques of “extreme interrogation” and “outright torture”.
From this, his foes inferred that since it was Hitchens’ belief that America did not stoop to the latter, the practice of waterboarding – known to be perpetrated by US forces against certain “high-value clients” in Iraq and elsewhere – must fall under the former heading.
Enraged by what they saw as an exercise in elegant but offensive sophistry, some of the writer’s critics suggested that Hitchens give waterboarding (which may sound like some kind of fun aquatic pastime, but is probably best summarised as enforced partial drowning) a whirl, just to see what it was like. Did the experience feel like torture?
And amazingly, he has done just that. [..]‘
‘Of all the careers available to a devout Christian couple, revamping an urban pub and winning over its hardcore regulars was always going to be a gamble.
Sure enough, Krista and John Fleming found they were preaching to the unconverted – and the regulars had every intention of staying that way.
Now the Flemings, who banned swearing and gambling on horseracing, have been sacked after takings plunged. [..]
She said: ‘They should have built pews in here rather than chairs. I have no problem with their religion but… a pub is a pub. They started having a quiz and loads of the questions were on the Bible.
‘They took down the dart board… and now there’s some kind of calligraphy up there. [..]‘
That looks fairly painful. That’ll teach him I s’pose.
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It’s not a good idea at all.
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‘Iraqi lawmakers say the United States is demanding 58 bases as part of a proposed “status of forces” agreement that will allow U.S. troops to remain in the country indefinitely.
Leading members of the two ruling Shiite parties said in a series of interviews the Iraqi government rejected this proposal along with another U.S. demand that would have effectively handed over to the United States the power to determine if a hostile act from another country is aggression against Iraq. Lawmakers said they fear this power would drag Iraq into a war between the United States and Iran.
“The points that were put forth by the Americans were more abominable than the occupation,” said Jalal al Din al Saghir, a leading lawmaker from the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. “We were occupied by order of the Security Council,” he said, referring to the 2004 Resolution mandating a U.S. military occupation in Iraq at the head of an international coalition. “But now we are being asked to sign for our own occupation. That is why we have absolutely refused all that we have seen so far.”‘
‘A surge in US airstrikes within densely populated areas of Iraq has led to a dramatic rise in civilian casualties.
According to the Washington Post, ever since an attempted crackdown on Shi’ite militias by the Iraqi government in March, which led to increased attacks on the Green Zone in Baghdad that killed some Americans, the US military has been firing missiles almost every day into the crowded Shi’ite slum of Sadr City.
Residents describe the attacks as indiscriminate and say they have led to many civilian deaths. However, the US Army states that they choose their targets carefully and often refrain from firing for fear of civilian casualties. [..]
CNN reports further on Iraqi victims of US gunfire, noting that “anger against the Americans is only increasing.”‘
During an infomercial for some car jumper leads the women doing the presenting decides to switch the jumper cable connections to the battery. Intentionally, for no good reason.
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‘The war in Iraq has become “a major debacle” and the outcome “is in doubt” despite improvements in security from the buildup in U.S. forces, according to a highly critical study published Thursday by the Pentagon’s premier military educational institute.
The report released by the National Defense University raises fresh doubts about President Bush’s projections of a U.S. victory in Iraq just a week after Bush announced that he was suspending U.S. troop reductions.
The report carries considerable weight because it was written by Joseph Collins, a former senior Pentagon official, and was based in part on interviews with other former senior defense and intelligence officials who played roles in prewar preparations.
It was published by the university’s National Institute for Strategic Studies, a Defense Department research center.
“Measured in blood and treasure, the war in Iraq has achieved the status of a major war and a major debacle,” says the report’s opening line.’
‘Hundreds of police officers across South Australia caught using their work computers to illegally copy movie DVDs will escape prosecution.
The activity – strictly banned under federal copyright laws – was detected during an audit conducted by the information technology branch of SA Police.
Senior police, including Commissioner Mal Hyde, have been briefed on the extent of the problem.
An internal email to police management said the audit had “identified a number of instances where commercial DVD movies have been copied to the hard-drives of police computers which potentially had been burnt to blank DVDs”.
“This practice is potentially a breach of copyright and misuse of SAPOL equipment,” it said.’
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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‘At least 50 people in Kottayam district have reportedly lost their vision after gazing at the sun looking for an image of Virgin Mary.
Though alarmed health authorities have installed a signboard to counter the rumour that a solar image of Virgin Mary appeared to the believers, curious onlookers, including foreign travellers, have been thronging the venue of the ‘miracle’
St Joseph’s ENT and Eye Hospital in Kanjirappally alone has recorded 48 cases of vision loss due to photochemical burns on the retina. “All our patients have similar history and symptoms. The damage is to the macula, the most sensitive part of retina. They have developed photochemical, not thermal, burns after continuously gazing at the sun,” Dr Annamma James Isaac, the hospital’s ophthalmologist, said. [..]
The health department has now put up a signboard at the hotelier’s house near Erumeli, where the divine image is said to have appeared, warning people against exposing their eyes to sunlight.’
‘An exhaustive review of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents that were captured after the 2003 U.S. invasion has found no evidence that Saddam Hussein’s regime had any operational links with Osama bin Laden’s al Qaida terrorist network.
The Pentagon-sponsored study, scheduled for release later this week, did confirm that Saddam’s regime provided some support to other terrorist groups, particularly in the Middle East, U.S. officials told McClatchy. However, his security services were directed primarily against Iraqi exiles, Shiite Muslims, Kurds and others he considered enemies of his regime.
The new study of the Iraqi regime’s archives found no documents indicating a “direct operational link” between Hussein’s Iraq and al Qaida before the invasion, according to a U.S. official familiar with the report. [..]
Then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld claimed in September 2002 that the United States had “bulletproof” evidence of cooperation between the radical Islamist terror group and Saddam’s secular dictatorship.’
People seem to insist on doing obviously stupid things. It’s grand.
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‘You know you don’t have to do this, right?’
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‘A monster crocodile came within a metre of making a meal of a fisherman on a Northern Territory river.
The saltie came alongside the small boat – probably looking for a free feed of fish – and suddenly exploded out of the water.
It almost got its jaws around 27-year-old Israeli tourist Novon Mashiah, who was leaning over the back of a dinghy posing for a photo. [..]
“I was shocked – the animal clearly wanted to kill me,” Mr Mashiah told the Northern Territory News.
“One minute I was leaning over the boat teasing it for a picture. The next minute it burst out of the water with incredible speed … its jaws fully open. [..]
“I was pointing at it when it suddenly jumped up at me – I didn’t realise that crocs were so aggressive.”’
‘High on Mount Sinai, Moses was on psychedelic drugs when he heard God deliver the Ten Commandments, an Israeli researcher claimed in a study published this week.
Such mind-altering substances formed an integral part of the religious rites of Israelites in biblical times, Benny Shanon, a professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem wrote in the Time and Mind journal of philosophy.
“As far Moses on Mount Sinai is concerned, it was either a supernatural cosmic event, which I don’t believe, or a legend, which I don’t believe either, or finally, and this is very probable, an event that joined Moses and the people of Israel under the effect of narcotics,” Shanon told Israeli public radio on Tuesday.
Moses was probably also on drugs when he saw the “burning bush,” suggested Shanon, who said he himself has dabbled with such substances.”
Not the best place in the house for dancing..
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‘Drugs and guns don’t mix as a 51-year-old Langley man found out the hard way.
The local man, who was known to police, is dead after accidentally shooting himself in the head while mishandling an Uzi-type gun at a well-known drug house on Thursday morning.
Around 2:10 a.m., Langley RCMP were called to 20217 82 Ave. in Willoughby.
The 51-year-old victim is a resident of the home along with a 33-year-old man and 56-year-old Langley woman. Police say the three had been using drugs and handling a pistol similar to an Uzi. The weapon is illegal in Canada.’
‘Infants and toddlers exposed to baby lotions, shampoos and powders carry high concentrations of hormone-altering chemicals in their bodies that might have reproductive effects, according to a new scientific study of babies born in Los Angeles and two other U.S. cities.
The research, to be published today in the medical journal Pediatrics, found that as the use of baby care products rose, so did the concentration of phthalates, which are used in many fragrances.
The lead scientist in the study, Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana of the University of Washington’s Department of Pediatrics, said the findings suggested that many baby care products contain a variety of phthalates that enter children’s bodies through their skin.’
‘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. [..]‘
‘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.’
‘After two nose jobs and thousands of dollars, Debra Dunn hated her face so much that she avoided mirrors, didn’t want to leave the house and hid behind her long hair anytime she had to be out in public.
“Every time I saw myself, I wanted to punch myself in the nose to make it all go away,” said the 40-year-old New Yorker, referring to the five years that followed a cosmetic surgery intended to even out a bump on her nose from a childhood injury. “I just kept thinking, ‘Why did I do this to myself?’”
Doctor after doctor told Dunn her new nose was lovely. “Anyone would kill for a cute little nose like that,” she remembers many of them saying, despite the fact her new nose was so narrow that it whistled when she breathed. But Dunn deeply regretted messing with what nature had given her and felt she no longer bore any resemblance to herself.’
‘A teenager hacked into the outfit charged with protecting companies like Sony, Universal, and Activision from online piracy–the most daring exploit yet in the escalating war between fans and corporate giants. Guess which side is winning.’
This is a long article, but interesting. Kinda ties together a few interesting things that happened on the interwebs in the past year or so.