Archive for December, 2005


Saturday, December 31, 2005


Canada blames U.S. for gun violence

`Canadian officials, seeking to make sense of another fatal shooting in what has been a record year for gun-related deaths, said Tuesday that along with a host of social ills, part of the problem stemmed from what they said was the United States exporting its violence.

Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin and Toronto Mayor David Miller warned that Canada could become like the United States after gunfire erupted Monday on a busy street filled with holiday shoppers, killing a 15-year-old girl and wounding six bystanders — the latest victims in a record surge in gun violence in Toronto.’

Bizarre incident results in 6 charges

`A Central Dauphin School District teacher faces charges of assaulting a Lower Paxton Twp. police officer and possession of illegal drugs after being arrested earlier this month while standing naked in the snow outside of his home, police said. [..]

According to court papers, when Lofton was asked if he was okay, he responded, “No, I am … crazy, and I need a menthol cigarette.”

When asked where he lived and why he was naked, Lofton is alleged to have said that he was “Jesus Christ” and that the officer must be “God,” court papers say. [..]

The officer used his pepper spray on Lofton, at first to no avail. Then a cursing Lofton advised the officer that “‘Jesus’ is now blind,” court papers say. [..]

Lofton’s attorney, Terrence J. McGowan, said that the school district had scheduled a meeting to discuss Lofton’s future. Lofton taught in Central Dauphin High School.

“Basically, he had some mental health issues that hopefully are in remission. I don’t think it affects his ability to be a French teacher and it wasn’t school-related, so we’re hoping we can get him back to work,” McGowan said.’


Kurds plan to invade South

`Kurdish leaders have inserted more than 10,000 of their militia members into Iraqi army divisions in northern Iraq to lay the groundwork to swarm south, seize the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and possibly half of Mosul, Iraq’s third-largest city, and secure the borders of an independent Kurdistan.

Five days of interviews with Kurdish leaders and troops in the region suggest that U.S. plans to bring unity to Iraq before withdrawing American troops by training and equipping a national army aren’t gaining traction. Instead, some troops that are formally under U.S. and Iraqi national command are preparing to protect territory and ethnic and religious interests in the event of Iraq’s fragmentation, which many of them think is inevitable.’


Ex-envoy unleashes blog-based attack on UK’s torture denials

`Former ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray has harnessed the Internet in his long-running feud with the UK Government. A forthcoming book covering his time as ambassador is currently being blocked by the Foreign Office, which has demanded he remove references to two documents from the book and his web site. Murray has responded by publishing the documents in full there, and by encouraging bloggers to disseminate the documents as widely as possible.

The documents consist of a Foreign & Commonwealth Office legal opinion concerning evidence that may have been obtained by torture, and several letters sent by Murray to the FCO during his time as ambassador. These letters state that the use of torture is routine in Uzbekistan, that US policy there (which the UK supports) is focussed on oil, gas and hegemony rather than democracy or freedom, and that by knowingly receiving evidence obtained through torture the UK is in breach of the UN Convention on Torture. “With Tony Blair and Jack Straw cornered on extraordinary rendition,” says Murray, “the UK Government is particularly anxious to suppress all evidence of our complicity in obtaining intelligence extracted by foreign torturers.”‘

Or you can read the actual confidential letters from Uzbekistan themselves.


100 things we didn’t know this time last year

`Each week the Magazine picks out snippets from the news, and compiles them into 10 Things We Didn’t Know This Time Last Week. Here’s an end of year almanac. [..]

8. Devout Orthodox Jews are three times as likely to jaywalk as other people, according to an Israeli survey reported in the New Scientist. The researchers say it’s possibly because religious people have less fear of death. [..]

11. One in 10 Europeans is allegedly conceived in an Ikea bed. [..]

30. There are an estimated 1,000 people in the UK in a persistent vegetative state. [..]

52. You’re 10 times more likely to be bitten by a human than a rat.’

Nuclear secrets of 1975 revealed

`Cabinet papers from 1975 detailing the government’s plans in the event of nuclear war are among new documents released by the National Archives. [..]

TV was to close down, and the BBC to begin a wartime service on radio.

The prime minister would be taken to his bunker but there were no plans at that time to evacuate civilians. [..]

However, the papers showed art treasures from London and Edinburgh would be saved by being sent to slate mines in Wales.

The information is among a raft of unseen material that has been revealed in government records from 1975, now released to the public at the National Archives in Kew, south-west London.’


Horse sex story was online hit

`As I look back at the year in news, it’s clear I should have focused more on people having sex with horses.

That’s the conclusion I reach after reviewing a new list of the year’s top local news stories. Only this list is not the usual tedious recounting by news editors or pundits who profess to speak for you readers. This is the people’s-choice list. [..]

What’s more, four more of the year’s 20 most clicked-upon local news stories were about the same horse-sex incident. We don’t publish our Web-traffic numbers, but take it from me — the total readership on these stories was huge.

So much so, a case can be made that the articles on horse sex are the most widely read material this paper has published in its 109-year history.’

Friday, December 30, 2005


Small Ads from the UK

`Albino he-she, seeks smiliar. Call 020 7800 919′


RocketModeler II

`With this software you can investigate how a rocket flies by changing the values of different design variables.

There are several different versions of RocketModeler II which require different levels of experience with the package, knowledge of aerodynamics, and computer technology. This web page contains the on-line student version of the program. It includes an on-line user’s manual which describes the various options available in the program and includes hyperlinks to pages in the Beginner’s Guide to Rockets describing the math and science of rockets. More experienced users can select a version of the program which does not include these instructions and loads faster on your computer.’

Animated Engines

`I have loved mechanical things since I was a kid. Engines in particular have always intrigued me. All my life I’ve pored over books, studying cutaway diagrams, hungry to understand how things worked. These pages are an attempt to share that magic.

Some of the animations are rather large, so you may need to allow a few extra seconds while each page loads. These pages use animated GIF files, so they require a fairly recent browser — any but the oldest browsers will do. If the main illustration at the top of each page isn’t moving, you’ll need to update your browser for the full effect.’


Airbus pilot maroons drunken passenger on desert island

`A drunken holidaymaker has been dumped on a desert island after launching a foul-mouthed tirade at the crew of a passenger jet.

The unwilling Robinson Crusoe will only be able to leave Porto Santo, a tiny patch of land off the North African coast, if he books a two-and-a-half hour ferry trip to Madeira. He will then have to book a flight to his intended destination, Tenerife, or return to Britain. [..]

Rather than continue for a further 45 minutes to Tenerife he diverted his Airbus A321 to Porto Santo. Within moments of the plane touching down the passenger was escorted to the terminal. Last night he remained a castaway on the Portuguese-controlled island. His New Year home is a mere 10 miles long by three miles wide with a population of 4,000. There is little entertainment apart from walking on the sand dunes.’

L. Ron Hubbard: The Road to Freedom

`This popular music album was written by Ron to communicate what Scientology is and what it can do. Ron created the music and lyrics and sings the final song himself! Songs include title song, Laugh a Little, The Way to Happiness, The ARC Song, The Evil Purpose, Make It Go Right, The Worried Being, The Good Go Free, Why Worship Death? and Thank You For Listening. This is an aesthetic presentation and a powerful dissemination tool.’


The Zapruder Film

Has a stabilized version of the JFK assasination film.

Snake breaks cyclist’s fall

`A man has fallen off his bike and onto a snake at Viewbank in Melbourne’s north-east this morning.

Ambulance paramedic Damien Warrillow says the man was riding along the Yarra River when the accident happened.

“He’s fallen off his bike and fallen on top of a snake by the sounds of it and he’s been bitten on the lower leg either by a tiger or brown snake,” he said.’


Israel warns of Iran’s nuclear ambitions

`Israeli overseas intelligence service Mossad chief Meir Dagan said on Tuesday that Iran is seeking more than one nuclear bomb and it will attain technological independence within a number of months.

Dagan told the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of the Knesset (parliament) that it’s just a matter of time for Iran to make a nuclear bomb, but he refused to predict when Iran will be able to produce such a bomb.

“There exists a strategic Iranian decision to reach nuclear independence and the capability to produce bombs,” Dagan said in an annual assessment presented to the Knesset panel.

“Iran’s chances of attaining the necessary technology depends on whether its plans will be thwarted by outside actors or whether it will be able to advance the uranium enrichment process,” Dagan stressed.’


No iPod for Christmas, just mystery meat

`Like any mom, Rachel Cambra couldn’t wait to see the look on her son’s face when he opened his Christmas present.

“When he saw this, he was very happy,” says Cambra. “He said, ‘oh my gosh, Mom, this is just what I wanted. I can’t believe you got it!'”

It was the season’s ‘it’ gift.

“This was the last one,” says Cambra.

It was an iPod video, or so they thought.

“This is what he opened it up to — no iPod,” says Cambra.

No iPod, she says, just a mystery meat.’


British woman weds dolphin

`British tourist Sharon Tendler has finally made her dream match – by “marrying” a dolphin she has been visiting for 15 years in the Israeli resort of Eilat, the mass-circulation Yediot Ahronot daily reported.

Tendler, 41, has been visiting the city on the Gulf of Aqaba two or three times a year to spend time with her 35-year-old underwater sweetheart.

“The peace and tranquility under water, and his love, would calm me down,” the Israeli daily quoted her as saying.’

Austrian diocese says fake priest duped churches for months

`A Roman Catholic diocese in Austria is trying to determine how a German man passed himself off as a priest for three months before being exposed as a fraud.

Austrian media say the bogus priest presided over a funeral, celebrated Sunday Mass and performed other duties as an assistant.’


Many Americans Still Believe Hussein Had Links to al Qaeda

`Sizeable minorities of Americans still believe Saddam Hussein had “strong links to al Qaeda,” a Harris Interactive poll shows, though the number has fallen substantially this year.

About 22% of U.S. adults believe Mr. Hussein helped plan 9/11, the poll shows, and 26% believe Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded. Another 24% believe several of the 9/11 hijackers were Iraqis, according to the online poll of 1,961 adults.

However, all of these beliefs have declined since February of this year, when 64% of those polled believed Mr. Hussein had strong links to al Qaeda and 46% said Mr. Hussein helped plan 9/11. At that time, more than a third said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and 44% said several of the 9/11 hijackers were Iraqis.’

Man fired ‘rockets’ at aircraft

`A landscaper has admitted blasting fireworks into the path of passenger planes landing at Edinburgh Airport.

Peter Crane, 20, fired the rockets from his back garden in Newbridge on a busy Friday night on 29 October 2004.

At Edinburgh Sheriff Court he pleaded guilty to reckless conduct by placing pilots, air crew and passengers in potential danger.’


Carmakers widen seats for wider … seats

`If you gorged at the holiday buffet, don’t worry: You’ll still fit in your car.

As Americans grow heftier, automakers are making seats wider, adding more space to interiors and using bigger virtual mannequins to help design vehicles.

Domestic automakers say they already had seats for increasingly rotund motorists. Now foreign brands are catching up.’

Wife Found Dead After Husband Discovers Bullet Lodged In Brain

`A man was shot in his sleep in Port Orange and didn’t notice until he woke up the next morning.

Police said Glen Betterly was shot in the head at his home on Orange Avenue. He woke up and saw the blood, but didn’t know it was from a gunshot.

Betterly went to work and then to the hospital, where they discovered a bullet lodged in his brain.

When police went to tell his wife, they found her dead of an apparent suicide.’


Patrick Swayze Working With Rap

`After years of being indirectly involved with Hip-Hop music, actor/pop singer Patrick Swayze is finally experimenting with rap music.

Swayze recently said he was experimenting with “rap rhythms as an emotional undercurrent for ballads.” [..]

Hip-Hop fans are familiar with Swayze, who has starred in such classic movies as “Red Dawn,” “Roadhouse,” “The Outsiders” and “Ghost.”

Swayze’s last name has been used as Hip-Hop slang since the early 1990’s, when EPMD popularized the term on various albums.

In U.S. rap vernacular, the term “Swayze” means to “leave” or “disappear,” cleverly derived from the title of his 1990 hit film “Ghost.”’

Man Accused of Lobbing Urine Into Yards

`A Nebraska man has been arrested in central Iowa for allegedly delivering some unwanted Christmas gifts. Reno Tobler, 54, was arrested Thursday in Clive after police caught him lobbing urine bottles into backyards. [..]

Tobler told police that it was a longtime hobby of his to deliver the bottles. Police searched his vehicle and found several other urine-filled bottles ready for delivery.’


Man Accused Of Chasing Police With Tractor

`A Manilla, Iowa, man is accused of chasing county deputies with his tractor.

Crawford County deputies said a Taser gun was used on Daniel Hinners and he was arrested Tuesday night.

The deputies were responding to a domestic abuse call at Hinners’ home when he started chasing them on a large farm tractor.’

Lost, then Stuck in Mud–It Gets Worse

`A Paw Paw man who became lost in the Calhoun County countryside Wednesday morning attempted something new after his car became stuck in the mud of a field driveway.

Sheriff’s Lt. James McDonagh reports that the man tried to push his car out of the mud along Half Mile Road near J Drive South, but realized he couldn’t be in two places at once. So he weighted the accelerator down with a metal tool box and then proceeded to push on the back of his rear-wheel-drive car.

This apparently worked too well, for the car then sped off at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour across a muddy cut bean field. But, of course, no one was at the wheel.’


Florida teen skips school, sneaks to Iraq

`Maybe it was the time the taxi dumped him at the Iraq-Kuwait border, leaving him alone in the middle of the desert. Or when he drew a crowd at a Baghdad food stand after using an Arabic phrase book to order. Or the moment a Kuwaiti cab driver almost punched him in the face when he balked at the $100 fare.

But at some point, Farris Hassan, a 16-year-old from Florida, realized that traveling to Iraq by himself was not the safest thing he could have done with his Christmas vacation.

And he didn’t even tell his parents.’


Apple-1 Advertisement

`The Apple Computer. A truly complete microcomputer system on a single PC board. Based on the MOS Technology 6502 micro-processor, the Apple also has a built-in video terminal and sockets for 8K bytes of onboard RAM memory. With the addition of a keyboard and video monitor, you’ll have an extremely powerful computer system that can be used for anything from developing programs to playing games or running BASIC.

Combining the computer, video terminal and dynamic memory on a single board has resulted in a large reduction in chip count, which means more reliability and lowered cost. Since the Apple comes fully assembled, tested & burned-in and has a complete power supply on-board, initial set-up is essentially “hassle-free” and you can be running within minutes. At $666.66 (including 4K bytes RAM!) it opens many new possibilities for users and systems manufacturers.’


Thursday, December 29, 2005


Ten predictions for the new year

  • `Citing a tip in a confidential e-mail dossier entitled “Fwd: Lol guyz check this out!1?, Rupert Murdoch will acquire acclaimed Internet inventor Al Gore.
  • AOL, after months of extensive market research on the effects of the walled garden model on the distribution and consumption of interactive media, will rotate its logo by another 90 degrees. Chairman Dick Parsons will boast that the new logo “reflects the new direction of our company,” but founder Steve Case will make an impassioned plea in the New York Times to break up the logo into a circle and three triangles.
  • Although 37 venture capital firms will invest in AOL following the announcement, the blogosphere will scoff that AOL is “only for people who know nothing about the Internet.” Rupert Murdoch will thus acquire the company immediately, then merge it with his other recent acquisition to create online powerhouse AOL Gore.’

RFID Pocket Replacement

`RFID privacy issues have become a hot topic. As RFID tags become more pervasive, how does the consumer avoid being tracked? One easy way to subvert the technology is to build a homemade faraday cage around your RFID tags. The below project describes how the average person can rip out a pocket from a pair of jeans and replace it with a cotton like fabric which contains enough conductive material to block most RFID tag frequencies.’