Saturday, March 28, 2009

Stupid thief attempts robbery at police summit.

From BBC:

A man in the US state of Pennsylvania accused of a robbery at a narcotics police convention has been described as probably the state's dumbest criminal.

Retired police chief John Comparetto was attending the meeting of 300 officers when he was allegedly held up at gunpoint in the men's toilets.

He handed over money and a phone but then he and some colleagues gave chase as the suspect tried to flee in a taxi.

They arrested a 19-year-old man over the incident near Harrisburg.

Serial killer becomes pop star.

This would make for a great John Waters film.
Ryan is a former male model with a winning smile and a bevy of teenage groupies. He's written a book about his life and his first album, a collection of 12 pop numbers, is in the works. Indonesia's answer to Zac Efron, perhaps?

Not quite.

Ryan, real name Verry Idham Heryansyah, is also a confessed serial killer, with a penchant for dismemberment and mutilation. He has admitted to killing 11 people, including a three-year-old girl.

Police arrested him last July after linking him to a man whose body parts were found in plastic bags in Jakarta's south. They later found 10 more bodies buried behind Ryan's family home in East Java.

Ryan is now on trial, charged with premeditated murder. If convicted, he could face the firing squad. But his lawyers argue Ryan cannot be held responsible for the killings, because he is mentally ill and suffers from hallucinations.

Whatever the case, a possible death sentence hasn't dampened Ryan's entrepreneurial spirit, and he's doing all he can to cash in on his infamy.

First, there was the autobiography, titled Confessions: The Untold Story of Ryan. His album is rumoured to be titled My Last Performance. And it seems Ryan's shameless self-promotion has worked, at least on a few.

Before appearing in court last week, about 20 uniformed school girls reportedly showed up at his courthouse holding cell and begged him to sing for them.

Ryan belted out one of his originals, Release Me, before signing autographs and posing for pictures, reports said.

More here.

Grammy Award-winning singer charged with masturbating on flight.

I understand the need to "get some air" on a long flight, but 1) Houston-to-Miami is short enough for self-control, and 2) this guy looks really, really creepy.
A Grammy-award winning singer has been questioned over allegations he performed a sex act during a flight in the US.

A woman told police that Merengue star Elvis Crespo masturbated in view of other passengers while flying between Houston and Miami.

The woman, 52-year-old Patricia Perea of Texas, told police she was sitting next to the singer when she noticed him masturbating about 15 minutes after the plane left Houston.

“He covered himself with a blanket and began to masturbate and while he was masturbating he removed the blanket and exposed himself,” she said in a police report.

The plane’s captain radioed the Miami International Airport’s air traffic control tower after the passenger alerted him to the “disturbance”.

Crespo was interviewed upon his arrival, but was not arrested.

More here.

Australian teachers given the go-ahead to cane students.


The cane is still being wielded at some Queensland schools where parents sign legal waivers to give teachers the power to hit their children.

The corporal punishment option is offered at some of the state's fastest-growing independent schools as part of their strict behaviour management strategies.

Religious beliefs are used to justify discipline at some schools, The Sunday Mail reports.

With more than 55,000 suspensions handed out at state schools last financial year - a jump of more than 20 per cent in two years - Independent Schools Queensland has reported growing support for private schools catering for the "disengaged and at-risk" school sector.

Spain may try Bush officials for torture.

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! From ABC News:

A Spanish court has agreed to consider opening a criminal case against six former Bush administration officials, including former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, over allegations they gave legal cover for torture at Guantanamo Bay, a lawyer in the case said Saturday.

Human rights lawyers brought the case before leading anti-terror judge Baltasar Garzon, who agreed to send it on to prosecutors to decide whether it had merit, Gonzalo Boye, one of the lawyers who brought the charges, told The Associated Press.

The ex-Bush officials are Gonzales; former undersecretary of defense for policy Douglas Feith; former Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff David Addington; Justice Department officials John Yoo and Jay S. Bybee; and Pentagon lawyer William Haynes.

"The charges as related to me make no sense," Feith said Saturday. "They criticize me for promoting a controversial position that I never advocated."

Another arrow attack in NYC!

From the NY Daily News:

Not again.

Cops were searching Tuesday night for the archer who shot an arrow that nearly hit a Queens father as he carried out the trash.

The 3-foot-long missile whizzed by Eric Weinberger outside his Whitestone home on 20th Road about 10 p.m.

"It zoomed right by me," said Weinberger, 48, who darted back into the house to tell his wife and young daughter "to get down."

The fiberglass arrow, with a green feather, plunged into the side of his home.

Vacuum cleaner senses human emotions.

Well, at least I understand now why that guy got 90 days for bonking a car wash vacuum. From LiveScience:

A specially-equipped Roomba robot vacuum cleaner can now sense human emotional states. University of Calgary researchers published their results in a paper titled "Using Bio-electrical Signals to Influence the Social Behaviours of Domesticated Robots."

Using a special headband to capture bioelectric signals from the forehead of a human user, the system collects this data and then infers stress from muscle tension readings. Their control software reinterprets natural muscle tension as estimating the user's stress level; the more muscle tension, the more stress is inferred.

"Two distinct robotic behaviours corresponding to two extreme emotional states, either relaxed or stressed, are triggered when the stress reading reach a threshold. Robot actions are then influenced by these stress readings. When a person shows high stress (~levels 3 & 4), the robot enters its cleaning mode but moves away from the user so as not annoy them. When a person is relaxed (~level 1), the robot (if cleaning) approaches the person and then stops, simulating a pet sitting next to its owner. If the reading is in between these two levels, the robot continues operating in its current mode until the stress reading reaches a threshold."

Johnny Rotten boosts milk sales.

God save the dairy queen.... From Financial Times:
Dairy Crest said using John Lydon, the frontman of punk band the Sex Pistols, in Country Life adverts had helped to boost annual sales of the butter by more than a quarter.

The TV advertising campaign, which first aired in October and features the one-time anarchist also known as Johnny Rotten, has had a “very positive impact on sales”, said Mark Allen, chief executive.

Country Life and Clover sales were both up between 25 and 30 per cent for the year to March 31, outperforming the butters and spreads market.

The owner of Cathedral City cheese and Clover spread also announced the sale of a 49 per cent stake in Yoplait Dairy Crest, the yoghurt and chilled desserts group, to its joint venture partner for £63.5m.

The sale of just under half of YDC, which was completed on Thursday, will result in an exceptional profit of £50m.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Recall: Ball Park franks.

I'm pretty sure there are worse things in ballpark franks than cheese. From the Chicago Tribune:
Sara Lee Corp. said Thursday it's voluntarily recalling 1,728 pounds of its Ball Park brand hot dogs due to a packaging error.

A partial production run of Ball Park Cheese Franks was inadvertently packaged as Ball Park Beef Franks. Thus, some Ball Park Beef Franks may contain cheese, a potential risk to people allergic to milk, as well as poultry and pork.

The recall covers Ball Park Beef Franks with the UPC Code 5450010002, and packaging that says "USE BUY May 08 09 P8740A."

Sara Lee declined to say where the recalled hot dogs were primarily sold, though a spokesperson said they weren't sold in the Chicago area. The company has received no reports of illness.

Japanese schoolgirl makes professional baseball debut.

From Breitbart:
OSAKA, March 27 (AP) - (Kyodo)—High school student Eri Yoshida became the first Japanese woman to face male professional players in her pitching debut with the Kobe 9 Cruise in the season opener of the inaugural Kansai independent league Friday.

The 17-year-old Yoshida, who boasts a sidearm knuckleball in her arsenal of pitches, came on in the ninth inning as the second pitcher with a 5-0 lead over the Osaka Gold Villicanes and worked one-third of an inning, walking one and striking out a batter swinging at Kyocera Dome.

She walked the first batter leading off the inning on four pitches and allowed a stolen base before fanning the next batter in a nine-pitch outing of the 5-0 win.

"I wasn't thinking about anything but just going out there and giving it my all," Yoshida said. "I think this was a bad result but the stadium is great and the fans were really cheering me on. I want to be able to pitch more innings and become a pitcher who can be relied upon."

Japan to destroy North Korean rocket.

From BBC News:

Japan says it is deploying missile interceptors to destroy any parts of a North Korean rocket that might fall on its territory.

North Korea has said it will launch a satellite into orbit next month.

South Korea, Japan and the US say the launch is cover for a test of the Taepodong-2 ballistic missile.

The US said a launch would violate UN Security Council resolutions. Russia said North Korea should "abstain" from testing any missiles.

Russia plans Arctic military force.

From BBC News:

Russia has announced plans to set up a military force to protect its interests in the Arctic.

In a document published on its national security council's website, Moscow says it expects the Arctic to become its main resource base by 2020.

[...] The document foresees the Arctic becoming Russia's main source of oil and gas within the next decade.

In order to protect its assets, Moscow says one of its main goals will be the establishment of troops "capable of ensuring military security" in the region.

Hot tea may increase cancer risk.

From ABC News:
Tea has been touted for its potential health benefits for millennia, but new research shows if you drink it too hot, you may end up increasing your risk for esophageal cancer.

Doctors have long wondered whether very hot beverages increase the risk for squamous cell esophageal cancer. Considering the many things people eat and drink, studies have come back mixed on the hot drink and cancer connection.

But in the Golestan Province in Iran, people tend to drink just two beverages: water and very hot tea. The people in the province also tend to have an abnormally high rate of esophageal cancer.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Beekeeper murdered for his honey.


BRISBANE, Australia - An Australian man was convicted Wednesday of murdering a fellow beekeeper so he could steal US$27,880 worth of honey and has been sentenced to life in prison.

A jury with the Brisbane Supreme Court took less than a day to convict Donald Alcock, 34, of the 2007 murder of beekeeper Anthony Ross Knight in Woodford, a rural town in Queensland state.

Prosecutors told the court that Alcock was in desperate financial trouble in May 2007 when he entered the 41-year-old Knight's home, shot him in the back while he was sleeping and stole tubs of his honey to sell.

The jury was told that Alcock loaded the largest tubs of honey onto his truck and drove them to a honey distributor but was pinned under a 1,400 kilogram tub while unloading the shipment and had to be taken to the hospital.

Rare leopard cubs born!

From National Geographic:
Nine lives still intact, two newborn clouded leopard cubs (above) were found Tuesday morning in their mother's enclosure at a Virginia conservation center. Unlike many captive clouded leopard babies, they have not been killed or neglected by their mother.

The half-pound (0.2 kilogram) cubs, which had been eagerly awaited for almost a week, are a victory for scientists working to thwart aggressive behavior in captive clouded leopards.

For reasons still unknown, breeding clouded leopards in captivity usually turns bloody. Males often kill their mates, and females tend to neglect their cubs or inadvertently kill them.

That's why new mom Jao Chu and dad Hannibal were hand raised together from six months of age at the National Zoo's Conservation and Research Center in Front Royal, Virginia.

Now their offspring—the first clouded leopard litter in 16 years at the center—shows that such hand rearing is successful.

Maybe they could reduce aggression by not naming them Hannibal! PS - Look at those claws! Awww..

MTA passes doomsday budget; hits New Yorkers with insane hikes.

The MTA board couldn't manage a McDonald's franchise. They wasted billions in unnecessary "capital improvements" and then cry to Albany for more money? Fuck the MTA.

The MTA came through on its grim promise to wallop riders with a crippling fare hike -- coupled with severe service cuts -- in a desperate bid to close its $1.2 billion budget gap without any help from Albany lawmakers.

The moves include a $103 monthly MetroCard -- a staggering $22 hike.

[...] The hikes were approved by a vote of 12-1, with Norman Seabrook the lone dissenter.

"Let's take the public off the hook," he said, adding that the board should let state lawmakers "do their job."

Without an Albany rescue, things will get worse, the agency warned.

Just minutes after their vote, MTA officials said they could return next month to demand even higher fares from straphangers in 2010 unless state lawmakers pass a true plan.

The current hikes will go into effect on May 31 and inflate the cost of a single ride from $2 to $2.50.

Penny-pinching straphangers will dish out $6 more for a 7-day unlimited MetroCard, an extra $12 for a 14-day pass, and $1.50 more each way on MTA-run crossings like the Brooklyn-Battery and Queens-Midtown tunnels and the Triborough Bridge.

Also green-lighted were crippling service cuts that will eliminate the W and Z subway lines and at least 23 bus routes.

The doomsday measures will also cost 1,100 jobs.

Texas to vote on creationism.

There are seven creationists on a state's science board of education? Where do they find these people? From New Scientist:

Tension is rising prior to this Friday's crucial vote on whether Texan children should learn about creationism in science lessons. In the run-up to the vote, which will decide the state's school curriculum, it has emerged that Don McLeroy, chair of the Texas Science Board of Education, recently endorsed a book criticising the US National Academy of Sciences statement on evolution, and recommended it to his fellow board members.

In Sowing Atheism, Robert Bowie Johnson describes those of the Christian clergy who support evolution as "morons". McLeroy says he does not support calling anyone a moron, but agrees with Bowie Johnson's arguments. The US National Academy of Sciences statement, he says, is a "theft of true science" and neglects "other valid scientific possibilities".

The vote itself will likely go to the wire, with eight pro-evolution members and seven creationists on the board. Although evolutionists prevailed in an earlier meeting, the creationists slipped in last-minute amendments to the curriculum.

Man gets jail time for sex with car wash vacuum.

I wonder if he used Jiffy Lube. From the NY Daily News:
A man police caught performing a sex act with a car wash vacuum has been sentenced to 90 days in prison.

Jason Leroy Savage must also submit to drug testing.

The 29-year-old from Michigan, was sentenced Wednesday at Saginaw County Circuit Court. Savage pleaded no contest to indecent exposure last month.

Police say Savage was arrested after a resident called officers early on Oct. 16 to report suspicious activity at a car wash in Thomas Township, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northwest of Detroit.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Whoops... sorry Coozer-Philes!

I forgot to post my away message. I'm in Denver at the moment, but will be back very soon with a bazillion updates. Sorry for the lag!!

Please use the comments section to tell me how much I suck. Love, AC