Saturday, March 26, 2011

Our Wacky World—3/26/2011

"The bear pictured, though, is no ordinary mammal. It is actually “Pedobear,” an Internet meme that is shorthand for pedophiles, perverts, child molesters, child porn aficionados, etc. Pedobear, of course, is positioned next to the oversized letters “CP”--the acronym for child pornography... The owners of CP Distributor, though, are not laughing. Especially since one of the firm’s principals, records show, happens to be a convicted sex offender who spent seven years in prison for sexually assaulting a child under the age of 12."
The Smoking Gun

'A former youth pastor in Council Bluffs, Iowa, says he had sex with teenage boys because it was his pastoral duty “to help (the teen) with homosexual urges by praying while he had sexual contact with him.”'

Sammy Hagar's new memoir is, well, out of this world. ...the former Van Halen frontman, 63, expounded upon several chapters in Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock, which detail his multiple alien abductions: 
"It was real," Hagar insists. "Aliens were plugged into me. It was a download situation. This was long before computers or any kind of wireless. There weren't even wireless telephones. Looking back now, it was like, 'F**k, they downloaded something into me!' Or they uploaded something from my brain, like an experiment. 'See what this guy knows.'"

Why do they always experiment on some guy who obviously doesn't know anything?

UFO Digest

"Here at last is the first self-help book for men with Oversized Male Genitalia (OMG), a genetic birth defect that grows the penis to absurd proportions. Every year, thousands of men are diagnosed with OMG. Sadly, most are banished to the fringes of society, victims of their own freakish length and girth. How to Live with a Huge Penis brings them an inspiring message of tolerance and hope..."

"After being handcuffed in front of his four children, Mr. Stearns, 29 years old, spent two nights in jail, where he said he was strip-searched and sprayed for lice. Court records show he was released after agreeing to pay $1,500 to the loan company... Mr. Stearns said he never got the summons or two orders to show up before a judge that a deputy sheriff said in court filings were delivered to him. Hancock County Sheriff Mark Shepherd couldn't be reached for comment. Mark Herr, an AIG spokesman, declined to comment on Mr. Stearns but said the lending unit was sold in November."

Skeptics Society executive director Michael Shermer brilliantly strings along a 419er:
"Every week I receive invitations to speak at various venues around the world. On March 15, 2011, I received the following invitation to speak in London. As I was running out the door to go on my morning bike ride, I missed the obvious cues that this was a scam"

"There was a gun cabinet that was secured but that if the door was opened beyond a certain point, a weapon in the case would fire," Orangeburg County Coroner Samuetta Marshall said. "The door was opened beyond that point"
The Times And Democrat

"The Montana Supreme Court has upheld a Workers' Compensation Court ruling that about $65,000 in medical bills incurred by a man who was mauled while feeding the bears at a tourist attraction should be covered by workers' compensation, despite the fact the man had smoked marijuana on the day of the attack."

"Officials in a Siberian region on Wednesday announced plans to open a scientific institute for researchers to study yetis, despite opposition from academics."

"Why is it that over 50 million individuals have downloaded this simple game? Many paid a few dollars or more for the advanced version. More compelling is the fact that not only do huge numbers download this game, they play it with such focus that the total number of hours consumed by Angry Birds players world-wide is roughly 200 million minutes a DAY, which translates into 1.2 billion hours a year.
By simple manipulation of the user interface, Angry Birds designers created significant short-term memory loss, which in turn increases game play complexity but in a way that is not perceived by the player as negative and adds to the addictive nature of the game itself."

"Violence against women spikes after the home pro football team suffers an upset, researchers say. Female brutality increases about 10% when an anticipated home team win turns into a loss..."

Med Page Today

"Bob and Lizzie Gibbins share their bungalow with a world-beating collection - of 240 love dolls."

The Sun

"Capitalism may be to blame for the lack of life on the planet Mars, Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez said on Tuesday."

Not your average bear

Friday, March 25, 2011

Lights, camera, action, lawsuit

We got us a convoy
Just when you thought things in Arizona couldn't possibly get any more ridiculous Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio decides to use his armored vehicles on a routine bust—with never-was actor Steven Seagal and his reality TV show crew in tow.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio rolled out the tanks to take down a man suspected of cockfighting. ....a nearby home had its windows blown out [and] was crawling with dozens of SWAT members in full gear, armored vehicles and a bomb robot.
KPHO (includes video)

And brown people
We already know what an asshole Sheriff Joe is. But Seagal is having some trouble enforcing the law himself:
"...according to Sheriff Normand, who once played host to Seagal's A&E reality series Steven Seagal: Lawman, the tough-guy Akido master resigned rather than face an internal affairs investigation by the JPSO into allegations of sex trafficking and sexual assault raised in a 2010 lawsuit by an ex-employee"
Phoenix New Times

Here's the funniest part—after his arrest the suspect refused to sign a release form allowing the video to be used on Seagal's TV show.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fear no nukes

Go Go
In the wake of the Japanese reactor hysteria it's comforting to know that all is not as apocalyptic as it may seem. In fact, it turns out that small doses of radiation are actually good for you—in Ann Coulter's world:
...the only good news is that anyone exposed to excess radiation from the nuclear power plants is now probably much less likely to get cancer.
This only seems counterintuitive because of media hysteria for the past 20 years trying to convince Americans that radiation at any dose is bad. There is, however, burgeoning evidence that excess radiation operates as a sort of cancer vaccine.

"When Roger Ebert was a boy, doctors used the best medical technology of the day to treat his ear aches and tonsillitis--radiation. Decades later, the Chicago Sun-Times film critic developed thyroid cancer, and it's a good bet those X-ray treatments are to blame."
Cape Cod ENT

Here's the entire Japanese reactor situation explained in a five minute cartoon.

Update—here's an article by a Japanese Skeptic:
Just when you think they couldn't get any lower, leave it to the homeopaths to try to capitalize on a catastrophy. Their message is simple: "Don't worry about radiation, there's a pill for that."

So what happens when you play around with more substantial amounts of radiation, like building your own breeder reactor in the shed out back? (picture from 2007):
Pease saw eleven men swarming across her carefully manicured lawn... Three of the men had donned ventilated moon suits and were proceeding to dismantle the potting shed with electric saws, stuffing the pieces of wood into large steel drums emblazoned with radioactive warning signs... What the men in the funny suits found was that the potting shed was dangerously irradiated and that the area’s 40,000 residents could be at risk.

Meanwhile, it seems that once again string-theorist-turned-media-pundit Michio Kaku has weighed in a topic outside his area of expertise:
"I would personally advocate the Chernobyl option," Kaku said. "Do what Gorbachev did in 1986. Call out the Japanese air force, get the Japanese army to bring a fleet of helicopters armed with sand, boric acid and concrete and entomb this entire reactor. Bury it in concrete." 
Kaku may be a physicist at the City College of New York, but his specialty is string theory rather than nuclear engineering. So what do the engineers say?
"That certainly might turn out to be an option," Elmer Lewis, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering at Northwestern University, told me today. But burying the entire site this stage "would be very premature at this point."

I don't know about you but I've been losing respect for Kaku by the day lately:
"Here, for instance, is Michio Kaku simply babbling in reply to a question about evolution, and getting everything wrong. It's painful to watch. This guy isn't really an idiot, is he?"
Pharyngula (read the comments for more examples)

He needs to stick to futurism. That seems to be his best subject.

"In many articles on the Internet, the ritual of Agnihotra has been promoted as a simple ritual that helps to minimise the adverse impact of nuclear radiation. The statement peaked our interest, because for modern science this is a fantastic proposition: that a simple ritual done at sunrise and sunset along with the recitation of a mantra can actually quell the harmful effects of nuclear fallout. This ritual also becomes especially relevant with some other information we have received through spiritual research about the coming times.
Most people do not know that there are measures that can be taken at a spiritual level, along with efforts at a psychological and physical level to defend oneself against a nuclear attack. This article expands on the measures we can take at a spiritual level to protect ourselves from the effects of a nuclear attack and for the prevention of it occurring."
Hindu Janajagruti Samiti

"Magic is effected [sic] by could be that the use of nuclear weapons and reactors is an unnatural act, or it could be that radiation kills and pollutes lifeforms, thus warping the mana on the astral plane. Perhaps the reason outer space is one big mana warp is due to the presence of radiation as much as a lack of life...the numerous meltdowns of nuclear plants and failure of nuclear warheads to detonate is suspected by some to be a side-effect of the Awakening changing nuclear reactions in some way... 
The genetic aftermath of radiation and pollutants may result in a mutant critter, which may have paranatural powers; toxic critters, which will definately have paranatural powers (more than it started with), and toxic spirits. Peculiar to sites of radioactive waste and destruction are Toxic Spirits of the Flames; glowing humanoids of sickly light and radioctive might, summoned by toxic shamans."
"Planning to build a bomb shelter? We are here to help. All of our underground bomb shelters are custom built on site for strength, which supersedes all precast and prefabricated bomb shelters. Our system is simple, after performing a site evaluation we then send our qualified crews to your site (NO LOCAL CONTRACTORS, WE ONLY USE OUR OWN CREWS) to begin site prep and excavation."
Disaster Bunkers

Or you could just buy an old nuclear missile silo (quite probably full of asbestos):
"This Atlas E site has 25 acres (more or less) and paved access. It has rural water, electrical and sewer system on site and ready for re-connection. The perimeter is enclosed with barbed wire fence. The Atlas E “coffin style” structure is the best missile site type for retrofit use. This site has 15,000 sq. ft of hardened underground floor space.
Price: $285,000. (price to increase when drained in spring 2011)"
20th Century Castles

Monday, March 21, 2011

Our Wacky World—3/21/2011

There's a radiation panic in China and people are hoarding iodized salt. You'd only have to eat enough of it to give yourself an overdose of sodium to protect yourself from radioactive iodine.

"Man dies cutting own legs off with hacksaw"

The Sun

"...he crashed the Jaguar several times...while fleeing from deputies at speeds greater than 100 miles an hour. Blanscet told deputies he had been smoking a "legal form of marijuana" called "Wicked X Herbal Smoke" when he had the dire warning from Dr. Phil." [classic video]

"The most recent asking price was $13 million, but that was before several pipes burst in second-floor bathrooms of the vacant home, flooding it with an estimated 6 million gallons of water over several weeks."

Dr. Oz invited psychic charalatan John Edward on his show. The result was predictable. It simply never occurs to post-graduate types that they are being lied to. They assume they're too smart to be fooled:
No, they're not
"There's something here. It's bizarre. I don't know what exactly is happening. But it's definitely something. I'm a heart surgeon. I can explain a lot of weird things. I've seen people who should have died who didn't. Over the years I've had some pretty deep conversations with people who died and say they saw "the light" and came back with stories... I can't make up an explanation for what John Edward does. And, again, what was most eerie was his level of detail, the concreteness of it all."

"... many forensic disciplines...have not been subject to rigorous scientific testing. Even fingerprint analysis is not the sure thing it was once thought to be. Many of these fields were...invented by law enforcement agencies... The fields have not been subjected to peer review, and the methods...are not blind...the analyst often knows the details of the crime and which sample implicates the suspect...these analyses are not science, but they are often presented in court as if they were."

"Minnesota Republicans are pushing legislation that would make it a crime for people on public assistance to have more $20 in cash in their pockets any given month. This represents a change from their initial proposal, which banned them from having any money at all."

Fight Back! News

"To ensure that taxpayers complied with the law, IRS agents would have to investigate whether certain terminated pregnancies were the result of rape or incest. And one tax expert says that the measure could even lead to questions on tax forms: Have you had an abortion? Did you keep your receipt?"
Mother Jones

...the St. Petersburg Times reported that the sheriff in Pasco County, Florida, planned to spend $45,000 of a $361,000 training budget teaching local officers how “radical Muslims groom their facial hair and wear their pants, as well as a ‘behavioral analysis technique to distinguish visually between moderates and radicals.’”
Washington Monthly

"During debate over a bill that would legislate a dress code for Florida students, Passidomo blamed the alleged gang raping of an 11-year-old in Cleveland, Texas on the way the young girl was dressed."
Raw Story

"On January 12, four days after the Tucson massacre, Sal and Anita Culosi settled a lawsuit against Fairfax County, Virginia, police Detective Deval Bullock. Five years earlier, Bullock shot and killed their son, 38-year-old optometrist Sal Culosi, during a SWAT raid on his home. The reason for the raid: Culosi was suspected of wagering on college football games with friends. 
SWAT raids are increasingly being used to crack down on all sorts of nonviolent activities: neighborhood poker games, illicit massage parlors, even businesses operating on outdated permits. Doctors accused of overprescribing pain medication have faced SWAT teams. A few years ago, a police department in Iowa sent a SWAT team to apprehend a group of Buddhist monks who had overstayed their visas on a peace mission."  

Pig Roast