Society's Child


Three lost girls use light-up shoes and cell phone to signal rescue helicopter

Three little girls got lost in the Florida woods Monday night, and their quick thinking helped law enforcement find them.

Two sisters, Grace Shaffer, 6, and Aubrey Shaffer, 9, and their 13-year-old neighbor wandered into a densely wooded area about two miles from their homes in Lakeland, Fla., early Monday evening hoping to see horses.

"They have boundaries set in the front yard," Missi Shaffer, Grace and Aubrey's mother, told "They usually stay within those boundaries. We've never had a problem with them wandering off."

The three girls had passed through a barbed-wire fence into a prohibited area on the way to a nearby horse trail.

"As night began to fall, they got disoriented," Donna Wood, Polk County Sheriff's Office public information officer, told "They were pretty far into the area and got lost."


Family in home while Georgia toddler mauled to death by seven dogs in yard

A toddler who slipped outside through a doggie door was mauled to death by her family's seven dogs in the backyard while the attack went unnoticed by the child's mother and other relatives inside their home, a southeast Georgia sheriff said Thursday.

Bryan County Sheriff Clyde Smith said the child's grandmother told investigators she was lying in bed when she heard the pit bulls and pit bull mixes barking, and she looked outside her window to see them dragging the girl. Smith said she began yelling, "They're killing Monica!"

It was too late. Monica Renee Laminack, who would have turned 2 on June 1, was dead by the time an ambulance arrived Wednesday evening. Animal control officers used drugs to euthanize the dogs at the home on a rural road in tiny Ellabell, about 30 miles west of Savannah. Deputies found the girl's shoes, diaper and shredded clothing scattered across the fenced-in yard, Smith said.

"They had dragged the child all over the yard. ... They tore her clothes all up," Smith said.


Tulsa dentist may have exposed 7,000 patients to HIV, hepatitis

© ABC/KOCO,Oklahoma Board of Dentistry
Dr. Wayne Harrington, an oral surgeon with a practice in Tulsa, Okla., is being investigated by the state dental board, the state bureau of narcotics and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency because one of his patients recently tested positive for hepatitis C and HIV without known risk factors other than receiving dental treatment.
Thousands of patients of a Tulsa dentist may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, health officials said Thursday.

Dr. Scott Harrington, an oral surgeon who has been practicing in Tulsa for more than 30 years, voluntarily stopped practicing March 20 after two site visits found multiple violations, including assistants being allowed to unlawfully perform IV sedation, which only a licensed dentist may perform. Allowing this is a felony.

The Tulsa Health Department is setting up free testing clinics for the 7,000 patients who may have been exposed since 2007, when the earliest patient information was available.

Patients before 2007 are advised to call a hotline that will be answered from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The number is 918-595-4500.

The free testing will begin Saturday morning at the North Regional Health and Wellness Center, 5635 N. Martin Luther King Blvd., and continue next week.

Exposure to these diseases through an outpatient dental clinic is rare, and the public should not panic, State Epidemiologist Kristy Bradley said.

"I want to stress that this is not an outbreak," she said.


Human traffickers target aboriginal girls, women

© Stephanie Wesley
Diane Redsky, Shoal Lake First Nation, says the majority of
human trafficking involves Canadian women, including Aboriginal
women and girls as young as 10.
Thunder Bay, Ontario - The reality of the sex trade in Canada, which involves for the most part victimized young girls hidden in underground sex trade and human trafficking networks, was a topic of discussion during two separate events held in Thunder Bay this March.

Bridget Perrier, co-founder of the anti-prostitution group Sex Trade 101, and Diane Redsky, a project director with the Canadian Women's Foundation, were part of the two dialogues.

On March 6, Perrier sat on a panel that was put on by the Gender Issues Centre at Lakehead University. Perrier told the audience of 40 or so people that she entered the sex trade as a child and exited as woman.
"I still sleep with the lights on,"
Perrier said, who has been out of the world of prostitution for 10 years.

"I still suffer from the effects of the trauma, of prostitution."

On March 6, Perrier sat on a panel that was put on by the Gender Issues Centre at Lakehead University. Perrier told the audience of 40 or so people that she entered the sex trade as a child and exited as woman.

Bizarro Earth

A tweet about a 'dongle' leads to two firings, death threats

© @adriarichards/Twitter
A software developer was fired after tweeting a photo of a man she said was using sexual innuendo during a conference.
Offensive jokes whispered at a tech conference last Sunday night have now spread much further than anyone would have ever thought.

While at the PyCon technology conference last weekend, Adria Richards, a software developer and self-described technology evangelist, overheard two men behind her making a series of offensive and sexual jokes about "dongles" and "forks."

"They started talking about 'big' ad dongles. I could feel my face getting flustered," Richards wrote on her blog titled "But You're a Girl." "I was telling myself if they made one more sexual joke, I'd say something. Then it happened ... the trigger."

Richards didn't turn around in her seat and talk to the two men. But she did speak up on the Internet. She snapped a photo of the two men and tweeted it: "Not cool. Jokes about 'forking' repo's in a sexual way and 'big' dongles. Right behind me #pycon"

Richards then tweeted at the PyCon account, and as a result, the two men were removed from the conference.

That was just the start of the impact of those tweets. Later in the week, one of the men, whose name has not been revealed, was fired from his job at Playhaven, a mobile gaming company.


In twist, fake medicine could save rare animals

© iStockphoto
Fake and diluted ingredients, including herbs and animal parts, are increasingly finding their way into traditional Chinese medicines. Investigators have found many supposedly medicinal powders diluted with everything from flour to corn starch to sand.

Sometimes the dilutions are the result of cutting corners by manufacturers, but often it's done by middlemen and retailers seeking to increase their profit margins.

There is little or no governmental regulation of these medicines, and the problem is getting worse. As one traditional Chinese medicine manufacturer noted, "counterfeiters are posing a great threat, as fake products are made to closely resemble genuine ones.

Counterfeiters can produce fake medicinal herbs with starch and gypsum powder, or mix dirt or dust with the herbs to increase their weight."


French are 'taught to be gloomy by their culture'

© Lipnitzki/Roger Viollet/Getty
The haunted face of singer Edith Piaf represents an archetypal image of Gallic gloom.
Research finds that despite high standard of living happiness is elusive

France, once famous for its joie de vivre, is suffering from existential gloom - and the French have only themselves to blame for their malaise, according to a study to be presented in London next month. Research by a French academic to be delivered to the Royal Economic Society suggests that the country's citizens are "taught" to be miserable by elements of their own culture.

Claudia Senik, a professor at the Paris School of Economics, argues that her country's education system and its cultural "mentality" make the French far less happy than their wealth and lifestyle suggest they should be.

The French enjoy a high standard of living, Senik notes. The country has a generous welfare state, plus universal and free access to healthcare, hospitals, public schools and universities. It also has a 35-hour working week and many foreigners aspire to make it their home - 150,000 Britons have chosen to live there.

Yet the French are gloomy. A recent WIN-Gallup poll found that their expectations for the coming year ranked lower than those in Iraq or Afghanistan.


Police arrest 2 teens in Georgia baby killing

Sherry West was comforted by Luis Santiago, the child’s father.
A pair of teenagers were arrested Friday and accused of fatally shooting a 13-month-old baby in the face and wounding his mother during their morning stroll through a leafy, historic neighborhood.

Sherry West had just been to the post office a few blocks from her apartment on Thursday morning and was pushing her son, Antonio, in his stroller while they walked past gnarled oak trees and blooming azaleas in the coastal city of Brunswick.

West said a tall, skinny teenager, accompanied by a smaller boy, asked her for money.

''He asked me for money and I said I didn't have it,'' she said Friday from her apartment, which was scattered with her son's toys and movies.

''When you have a baby, you spend all your money on babies. They're expensive. And he kept asking and I just said 'I don't have it.' And he said, 'Do you want me to kill your baby?' And I said, 'No, don't kill my baby!' ''

One of the teens fired four shots, grazing West's ear and striking her in the leg, before he walked around to the stroller and shot the baby in the face.

Red Flag

High-school sex-ed teacher is being punished for saying the word 'vagina'

© Shutterstock
Tim McDaniel, an 18-year vetaran of the biology department at the public school in Dietrcich, Idaho, might have to figure out how to teach the miracle of life to his high-school students without saying the word "vagina" after a group of unhappy parents found the word offensive. Because now he's kind of in big trouble for, you know, doing his job in the teen pregnancy capital of Idaho. According to what McDaniel told Twin-Falls's Times-News, four parents at the school complained that he taught their children "the biology of an orgasm" and said the word "vagina" during his sex-education lesson to a room of sophomores. Yes, sophomores, some of whom have had vaginas for 14 to 15 years. It's unclear whether the word "penis" was met with equal offense. But, apparently, allegations from parents also complain that McDaniel has shown the film an Inconvenient Truth in class, and according to a letter served to McDaniel by a quick to respond official from Idaho's Department of Education:
[T]he allegations also include that he shared confidential student files with an individual other than their parents, showed a video clip in class depicting an infection of genital herpes, taught different forms of birth control and told inappropriate jokes in class.

Grey Alien

Huffington Post reporter "seeks people who have had sex with aliens"

Romenesko reader Mike Poller spotted this on HARO (Help a Reporter Out):
Summary: Sex with aliens

Name: David Moye The Huffington Post

Category: General

Email: query-2×[email protected]

Media Outlet: The Huffington Post

Deadline: 7:00 PM EST - 22 March


HuffPost journalist is doing a story about the concept of sex with aliens. Would like to speak with people who've had sex with aliens, UFO experts, biological experts who can discuss the potential problems of mating with a foreign species, psychological experts who have studied the phenomenon.


Looking for people familiar with the phenomenon of sex with aliens, considering all points of view skeptics and believers.