Society's Child
Map


Einstein

Idiots on parade: Portland's hysterical water bureau's tenuous grasp of science‏

© Hannak17 Blogspot
From ARStechnica and the stupid, it burns, department comes this ridiculous story of a bureaucrat gone off the rails. See the video that set off this pissing match below.
The city of Portland, OR will empty a 38-million gallon reservoir after a teenager allegedly urinated in it, according to the Associated Press. It's the second time in three years that Portland is flushing its Mount Tabor reservoir after a urine-related incident.

The reservoir is open-air and sits exposed to all of nature, leading many parties to question how necessary a draining would be, or how polluted 38 million gallons of water can really be by a single man's urine.

David Shaff, Portland's water bureau administrator, reserves a special disgust specifically for human urine. In 2011, when Shaff drained the reservoir following a urination, he reasoned to the Portland Mercury, "Do you want to be drinking someone's pee?... There's probably no regulation that says I have to be doing it but, again, who wants to be drinking pee?" This time around, Shaff wrote in a statement, "Our customers have an expectation that their water is not deliberately contaminated."

A half-liter of urine dumped in a 143 million-liter reservoir would get a urea concentration of about 3 parts per billion, according to Slate. (We calculated it would be a 50 nanoMolar solution.) Meanwhile, the EPA allows concentrations of arsenic in drinking water up to 10 ppb (never mind eating asparagus).
Question

Airplane stowaway may have survived in 'suspended animation'

Stowaway
© Screenshot, CNN
The 16-year-old boy who survived a flight across the Pacific Ocean stowed away in an airplane's wheel well has everyone wondering just how he achieved this remarkable feat.

The teenager climbed aboard Hawaiian Airlines Flight 45 at San Jose International Airport Sunday morning (April 20) and survived the five-and-a-half-hour flight to Maui with minimal oxygen at an altitude of 38,000 feet (11,600 meters) and temperatures of about minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 62 degrees Celsius). The boy remained unconscious for most of the flight, but was unharmed, The Associated Press reported.

The teenager probably survived by entering a state of suspended animation, in which the body's metabolism slows down and requires less oxygen and energy, medical experts say.

"It is a true miracle that a lot of physicians have postulated in the past," said Dr. Evelina Grayver, a cardiologist at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y.

The boy most likely lost consciousness due to the low oxygen level as the plane ascended, and then, the low temperatures probably put his cells into a frozen state, Grayver told Live Science.

Not everyone believes the story, however. "Somebody surviving at 35,000 feet for five hours with no supplemental oxygen supply; I just don't believe it," aviation consultant Jim Nance told ABC News.
Heart - Black

Prison doctor fired for allowing Kentucky inmate to starve to death

kentucky prison
© Wikimedia
The Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville, Ky
A prison doctor has been fired and two other staffers are in the midst of being dismissed after an inmate at the Kentucky State Penitentiary starved himself to death, a case that has exposed lapses in medical treatment and in how hunger strikes are handled at the facility. Prison officials have asked prosecutors to investigate after The Associated Press began asking questions about the inmate's death.

James Kenneth Embry, 57 and with just three years left on a nine-year sentence for drug offenses, began to spiral out of control in the spring of 2013 after he stopped taking anti-anxiety medication. Seven months later, in December, after weeks of erratic behavior - from telling prison staff he felt anxious and paranoid to banging his head on his cell door - Embry eventually refused most of his meals. By the time of his death in January of this year, he had shed more than 30 pounds on his 6-foot frame and died weighing just 138 pounds, according to documents reviewed by the AP.

An internal investigation determined that medical personnel failed to provide him medication that may have kept his suicidal thoughts at bay and didn't take steps to check on him as his condition worsened. The internal review of Embry's death also exposed broader problems involving the treatment of inmates - including a failure to regularly check inmates on medical rounds and communication lapses among medical staff.
Black Cat

Sandra Korn of Harvard, budding psychopath: "free free speech on campus should be abolished and professors with opposing views be fired"

Sandra Korn

Sandra Korn of Harvard University
A student writer at Harvard University is raising eyebrows after publishing her belief that free speech on campus should be abolished and professors with opposing views be fired.

Sandra Korn, a senior who writes a column for the Harvard Crimson newspaper, thinks radical leftism is the only permissible political philosophy, and the First Amendment only hinders colleges from brainwashing students with her viewpoint.

"Let's give up on academic freedom in favor of justice," states the subtitle of her Feb. 18 column, in which she insists Harvard stop guaranteeing students and professors the right to hold controversial views and conduct research putting liberalism in a negative light.

"If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals?" Korn asks.
Che Guevara

Western states move to take back land from the feds

The fight over Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy's cows grazing illegally on federal land is a symbol of a much larger issue: control of land in western states, where the federal government is dominant.

Like a mustang tied to a fence post, many westerners for years have resisted Uncle Sam's control of land they say more properly belongs to states or counties - or to nobody at all except the ranchers, miners, and loggers who work the land for its natural resources.

The tussle over Cliven Bundy's 400 cows - grazing on federal land, although he refuses to pay the required fees now amounting to more than $1 million - sharpens this debate, which has featured state legislators, county officials, environmentalists, and federal judges (all of whom have ruled against Mr. Bundy).

In Salt Lake City Friday, representatives from Utah, Idaho, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, Oregon, and Washington met for a "Legislative Summit on the Transfer of Public Lands."

"Those of us who live in the rural areas know how to take care of lands," Montana state Sen. Jennifer Fielder said at a news conference. "We have to start managing these lands. It's the right thing to do for our people, for our environment, for our economy and for our freedoms."

In other words, today's revival of the "Sagebrush Rebellion" is as much about political philosophy as it is about great stretches of the largely-arid territory west of the 100th meridian splitting the Dakotas and running down through Texas.

USA

The war overseas no longer stays overseas - it's on our doorsteps now

Gunman in front of American flag

Feeling safe yet?
In 2007, a new phenomenon reared its ugly head in Afghanistan. With two attacks that year and two more the next, it was first dubbed "green-on-blue violence," and later the simpler, blunter "insider attack." At one level, it couldn't have been more straightforward. Afghan soldiers or policemen (or in a small number of cases Taliban infiltrators) would suddenly turn their weapons on their American or NATO mentors or allies and gun them down. Think of these "incidents" as early votes in the Afghan elections -- not, as Lenin might once have had it, with their feet, but with their guns after spending time up close and personal with Americans or other Westerners. It was a phenomenon that only intensified, reaching its height in 2012 with 46 attacks that killed 60 allied soldiers before slowly dying down as American combat troops began to leave the country and far stricter controls were put in place on relations between Afghan, U.S., and allied forces in the field.

It has not, however, died out. Not quite. Not yet. In a uniquely grim version of an insider attack just two weeks ago, an Afghan police commander turned his gun on two western journalists, killing Pulitzer Prize-winning news photographer Anja Niedringhaus and wounding AP reporter Kathy Gannon. And even more recently, just after it was reported that a month had passed without an American death in a war zone for the first time since 2002, Army Specialist Ivan Lopez killed three fellow soldiers in an insider attack at Fort Hood, Texas.

With its hint of blowback, this is not, of course, a comparison anyone in the mainstream American media is likely to make. On the whole, we prefer not to think of our wars coming home. In reality, however, Lopez's eight-minute shooting rampage with a pistol purchased at a local gun shop fits the definition of an "insider attack" quite well, as did the earlier Fort Hood massacre by an Army psychiatrist. Think of it as an unhinged form of American war coming home, and as a kind of blowback unique to our moment.

After all, name me another wartime period when, for whatever reason, two U.S. soldiers shot up the same base at different times, killing and wounding dozens of their fellow troops. There was, of course, the "fragging" of officers in Vietnam, but this is a new phenomenon, undoubtedly reflective of the disturbing path the U.S. has cut in the world, post-9/11. Thrown into the mix is a homegrown American culture of massacre and the lifting of barriers to the easy purchase of ever more effective weaponry. (If, in fact, you think about it for a moment, most of the mass killings in this country, generally by young men, whether in schools, movie theaters, shipyards, or elsewhere, are themselves a civilian version of "insider attacks.")

Ironically, in 2011, the Obama administration launched a massive Insider Threat Program to train millions of government employees and contractors to look for signs in fellow workers of the urge to launch insider attacks. Unfortunately, the only kind of insider attacks administration officials could imagine were those attributed to whistleblowers and leakers. (Think: Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.) So, despite much official talk about dealing with the mental health of military men, women, and veterans, the military itself remains open to yet more insider attacks. After almost 13 years of failed wars in distant lands, think of us as living in Ameraqafghanica.

Today, TomDispatch regular Ann Jones, whose odyssey of a book, They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return From America's Wars -- The Untold Story, captures the truly painful cost of these wars for America's soldiers like no other, points out just what every commentator in this country has avoided writing about and every government and military official up to the president has avoided talking about, despite the massive coverage of the Fort Hood killings. Tom
Quenelle

Justice Scalia tells law students, "At a certain point, perhaps you should revolt if taxes become too high"

antonin scalia
© AP Photo/Jessica Hill
In this March 8, 2012, file photo, Supreme CourtJustice Antonin Scalia speaks at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told a group of law students that it might be a good idea to revolt if taxes become too high in the future.

While speaking at the University of Tennessee College of Law on Tuesday, Justice Scalia was asked by a student about his interpretation of the constitutionality of the income tax, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.

Justice Scalia continued to tell the students that they have every right to express criticism of the government.

"You're entitled to criticize the government, and you can use words, you can use symbols, you can use telegraph, you can use Morse code, you can burn a flag," he said, according to the News Sentinel.
Heart - Black

Police hunt for killer after three swans found beheaded near Milton Keynes, UK

The severed heads of three swans were found in front of a pub near Milton Keynes

Police are searching for the person who cut the heads off three swans and left them lying opposite a pub.

The severed heads of the three birds were found by anglers close to Mount Farm Lake near Milton Keynes, Bucks. Steven Cooper, the club's fisheries officer and secretary, discovered the first head lying on the lakeside.

He said anglers had noticed swans had been "disappearing" from the waterway in recent months.

He said: "I've been a member of the club for 10 years, but have never known anything like this. I was out one afternoon and the head was just lying there by the waterside opposite The Inn On The Lake pub.

"Anyone could have come across it - a runner, someone walking their dogs, a small child. It was horrible. We have found three heads, and one of them had the body close by it. It doesn't look like it was done by an animal, it was a sharp blade that took the heads off.
Star of David

Israeli police clash with Palestinians at Jerusalem holy site

Al Aqsa Mosque

Al-Aqsa Mosque
Israeli police arrested 16 Palestinians at one of Jerusalem's most revered and politically sensitive holy sites on Sunday as they dispersed protesters opposed to any Jewish attempts to pray there.

A police spokesman said officers used stun grenades to disperse dozens of rioters, who threw rocks and firecrackers at them at the site revered by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and by Jews as the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's walled Old City.

Two officers were slightly injured and treated at the scene in the brief clash, the spokesman added. Five Palestinians were also slightly hurt, a Muslim clergyman said.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the plaza near the al Aqsa mosque had remained open to visitors during the clash, which was confined to a small area. Police did not enter the mosque, he said.
Eye 1

Big Brother in Compton: How police spied on an entire city

A sergeant in the L.A. County Sheriff's Department compared the experiment to Big Brother, even though he went ahead with it willingly. Is your city next?
This is the future if nothing is done to stop it.

In a secret test of mass surveillance technology, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department sent a civilian aircraft* over Compton, California, capturing high-resolution video of everything that happened inside that 10-square-mile municipality.
Top