Thursday, February 5, 2009
Dorky: Man robs 7-11 with Klingon blade.
WTF: Former presidential candidate turns into vampire, dates 16-year-old girl who happens to be a vampire hunter. (This is all true.)
Retro: Dust off your Rubik's Cube -- FBI reopens Tylenol tampering case.
Creepy: Prehistoric monster snake discovered.
Sports: Brits furious as soccer goal interrupted by Tic-Tac ad.
Yipes: Bill Gates purposely releases more bugs.
Sad: Crash victim refused by 14 hospitals, dies.
Russian Crime Watch: Woman sought doppelgangers to kill and take over their apartments.
Science: How your brain creates God.
Duh: Mystery smell in NYC is solved -- it IS New Jersey!
And this is the WRITTEN test! From BBC:
A South Korean grandmother has failed her written driving test 771 times.
Police in the city of Jeonju said the 68-year-old woman has taken, and failed, the written test repeatedly since April 2005.
She failed the exam once again on Monday but has said that she will continue trying.The woman, identified only by her family name Cha, has repeatedly scored between 30 and 50 marks, below the pass mark of 60 out of 100.
The Czech Republic has been strongly criticised by Europe's leading human rights body for continuing to surgically castrate male sex offenders.
The Council of Europe said castrations had sometimes been performed without warnings of side effects and on men not capable of making an informed decision.
Those requesting castration feared life in jail if they did not do so, it said.
The Czech government says 94 procedures have been performed in the past 10 years, all in accordance with its laws.
A further 300 Czech men have undergone chemical castration - involving the injection of drugs that suppress the production of male hormones - since 2000, according to government figures.
Six Long Island, N.Y., teens were arrested on charges of robbery early Thursday morning after emulating the notorious characters of the video game "Grand Theft Auto," police said.
Nassau County officers received a 911 call late Wednesday night from a woman claiming she'd been robbed by teens, Sgt. James Bartkowski told ABC News. She told responding officers that a group of about 12 to 15 young men armed with crowbars, sticks and metal bars surrounded her car and stole her money before she managed to drive away, Bartkowski said.
As police arrived on the scene early Thursday morning, the teens were allegedly in the midst of another attempted robbery, police said. The teens had tried to stop a passing van by similarly surrounding the vehicle, hitting it with their sticks and weapons, Bartkowski said. The driver got out and grabbed one would-be robber while Sgt. William Grimes, the first officer on the scene, detained another. The rest of the group ran away, but ultimately six teens were arrested at 1:45 a.m. Thursday.
Pranksters in at least three states are messing with electronic road signs meant to warn motorists of possible traffic problems by putting drivers on notice about Nazi zombies and raptors. And highway safety officials aren't amused.
The latest breach came Tuesday during the morning rush hour near Collinsville, Ill., where hackers changed a sign along southbound Interstate 255 to read, "DAILY LANE CLOSURES DUE TO ZOMBIES."
A day earlier in Indiana's Hamilton County, the electronic message on a board in Carmel's construction zone warned drivers of "RAPTORS AHEAD — CAUTION."
And signs in Austin, Texas, recently flashed: "NAZI ZOMBIES! RUN!!!" and "ZOMBIES IN AREA! RUN."
Officials in Illinois are concerned the rewritten signs distract motorists from heeding legitimate hazards down the road. The hacked sign on Tuesday originally warned drivers of crews replacing guardrails.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Rather than let all their sewage go to waste, the city of Oslo recently announced that it plans to cut carbon emissions by converting 80 public buses to run on biomethane generated from raw sewage. These poo-powered buses are part of the city’s plan to become carbon neutral by 2050, and stand to cut around 44 tonnes of CO2 per bus, per year.
We love seeing innovative energy solutions that make use of waste, and we’re glad to hear of Oslo’s plans to trap and transform the gas emitted from the breakdown of treated sewage into biomethane. Two sewage treatment plants will soon be outfitted with the technology, and the biomethane generated will be used to power 80 buses. The buses will be slightly modified so that their engines can run on methane, and these modifications will also have the effect of reducing noise levels as they move around in the city.
If this test is successful, the city plans to convert the rest of the buses to run on biogas, and the first buses will start running in September 2009.
MySpace.com has identified and removed 90,000 convicted sex offenders from its popular online social-networking site, according to one of the dozens of state attorneys general who pressured the site to beef up its safety standards.
Richard Blumenthal, the attorney general of Connecticut who spearheaded the campaign to subpoena MySpace, told CNN Radio he found the number "appalling."
"These convicted, registered sex offenders clearly create profiles seeking to prey on children," he said, adding, "This revelation is totally appalling and unacceptable, and this shocking revelation, resulting from our subpoena, also provides compelling proof that social networking sites remain ripe with sexual predators."
Monday, February 2, 2009
Barack Obama has granted the CIA permission to continue carrying out the controversial Bush-era practice of extraordinary rendition, it has emerged.
And he did so just two days after becoming president and vowing to dismantle his predecessor's war on terror.
As the new U.S. President issued orders shutting down the American military prison at Guantanamo Bay and fought to show the Muslim world that 'America is not your enemy', it was revealed that the renditions programme may even be expanded.
Under executive orders signed by Mr Obama on January 22, two days after his inauguration, the CIA still has the authority to carry out renditions - secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.
Current and former U.S. intelligence officials told the Los Angeles Times that the programme may even play an expanded role going forward as it is the main remaining mechanism - apart from Predator missile strikes - for taking suspected terrorists off the streets.The U.S. has been stepping up its usage of Predator missile strikes in states such as Pakistan - but the horrifying rate of civilian casualties that go along with such strikes make the practice almost as controversial as rendition.
[...] But despite the controversy surrounding the secretive practice, Mr Obama appears to have decided it was the one component of Mr Bush's war on terror that it must keep.
'Obviously you need to preserve some tools - you still have to go after the bad guys,' an Obama administration official told the LA Times.
'The legal advisors working on this looked at rendition. It is controversial in some circles and kicked up a big storm in Europe. But if done within certain parameters, it is an acceptable practice.'
On the night of Jan. 18, the coat attendant was on duty at the bar when he asked a patron to remove his jacket. The response from the customer was swift: He punched the employee in the face. A scuffle ensued, and the customer eventually calmed down and left the establishment — not for long, as it turned out.
The man returned two hours later, knocked the attendant off his feet with a "crushing" blow to his skull. He then began stomping on the man's skull as employees and patrons looked on. There was no word on whether any of them tried to intervene.
The victim, 38, was taken to the hospital with craniocerebral injuries and died two hours later. Tragically, he had a wife and children, who were "left without a breadwinner," investigators said.
Police have arrested the suspect, 27, who had served time for violent crimes but was paroled last year. He is being charged with aggravated manslaughter. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.
Hero: 4-year-old sings address to 911, saves mom.
Awesome: Treasure hunters find legendary British ship.
Lame: Tom Daschle forgets to pay $120K in taxes.
Interesting: Random article on a nuclear waste furnace. Never knew those things existed!
Yipes: Tokyo covered in ash from erupting volcano.
Video: NYPD's finest caught smashing gambling machines, pocketing the money.
Hot Cha Cha: Dude lives the dream: sole male on campus of 1300 female students.
Creepy: Scientists discovery why locusts turn into insane swarms.
Depending on your favorite sci-fi yarns, teleportation is either a very, very bad idea (see: The Fly) or a very, very cool one (see: Star Trek). For scientists, it's just very, very complex, so much so that at this point, teleportation is not a matter of moving matter but one of transporting information. Already, physicists have been able to exchange information between light particles — or photons — or between atoms, so long as they were right next to each other. The current experiment marks the first in which information has traveled a significant distance — 1 m, or a little more than 3 ft. — between two isolated atoms. It's also the first time the powers of a photon, which is good at traveling over long distances, and an atom, which is prized for its ability to retain information, have been jointly exploited.
Using a pair of ions, or charged particles, group leader Christopher Monroe and his team place each in a vacuum and keep them in position with electric fields. An ultra-fast laser pulse triggers the atoms to emit photons simultaneously. If the photons interact in just the right way, their parent atoms enter a quantum state known as entanglement, in which atom B adopts the properties of atom A even though they're in separate chambers a meter apart. When A is measured, the information that had been previously encoded on it disappears in accordance with the quirky rules of the quantum world. But all is not lost: because B is entangled with A, B now contains the information that was once carried on A. That information, in a very real sense, has been teleported.
With her crumpled yellow hairbow and grubby face, pretty little Rosalina looks as though she's just flaked out for a nap after a morning spent playing in the garden.
In fact, she has been lying in her tiny, wooden, glass-topped coffin in the catacombs beneath the Capuchin monastery in Palermo, Sicily, for more than 90 years - skilfully and shockingly preserved to look just as she did when she died of a bronchial infection in December 1920, aged two.
And she is not alone. In the vast, musty-smelling catacombs are nearly 2,000 mummified corpses, many of them more than four centuries old - Rosalina was one of the last to enter this strange underground resting place, before the authorities banned the process...
From The Guardian:
Around 20 million migrant workers have returned to the Chinese countryside after failing to find work in the cities because of the economic downturn, a senior official said today.
The figure - greater than the population of Australia - is double a previous official estimate and will heighten the concerns of the Chinese authorities about maintaining stability. It came a day after the government warned that 2009 would be "possibly the toughest year" for economic development in China since the turn of the century.
Chen Xiwen, director at the Office of the Central Leading Group on Rural Work, told a news conference that a government survey showed that 15.3% of an estimated 130 million rural migrants to the cities had returned home jobless. Adding in new entrants to the rural labour market gave a total of around 26 million unemployed and potentially restive people in the countryside. Some economists believe this is an underestimate and say the real figure could ultimately reach 40 million.
TOKYO (Reuters) - Resource-poor Japan just discovered a new source of mineral wealth -- sewage.
A sewage treatment facility in central Japan has recorded a higher gold yield from sludge than can be found at some of the world's best mines. An official in Nagano prefecture, northwest of Tokyo, said the high percentage of gold found at the Suwa facility was probably due to the large number of precision equipment manufacturers in the vicinity that use the yellow metal. The facility recently recorded finding 1,890 grammes of gold per tonne of ash from incinerated sludge.
That is a far higher gold content than Japan's Hishikari Mine, one of the world's top gold mines, owned by Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd, which contains 20-40 grammes of the precious metal per tonne of ore.