Society's ChildS


Mystery surrounds twin barges linked to Google in San Francisco Bay and Maine harbor

© KPIX video screenshotA mysterious barge thought to be owned by Google has set up shop in the San Francisco Bay and Portland Harbor in Maine.
Sitting in the San Francisco Bay is a large, unmarked barge, thought to be owned by Google. But no one knows what it's doing there.

What makes things even more interesting is on the opposite side of the country in a Maine sits another uncannily similar vessel.

Floating near Treasure Island between San Francisco and Oakland, the barge, according to CNET, is called a secret project by locals. People not involved don't know what going on inside or if/when it could be revealed.

CNET, which was first to speculate on the structure, has tracked down what little is known of the barge and is pointing a finger at Google, although the company has not responded to the tech site's request for comment.

Showing the images taken by James Martin for CNET to an expert, some believe it to be a floating data center. Supporting this idea, CNET noted a patent for a "water-based data center" filed by Google in 2009.

Eye 1

Bus driver boots praying Muslim boy: suit

© G.N. MillerA driver booted a 10-year-old boy from an MTA bus like this one because the kid prayed in Arabic, according to a lawsuit.
His only sin was praying.

A 10-year-old Brooklyn boy recited a Muslim prayer in Arabic to help him find his MetroCard on a city bus - prompting the hellish driver to call him a "terrorist" and toss him off, a new lawsuit charges.

The prayer is a common Muslim phrase used sometimes in the face of a challenge.

"[The child] said it as he was trying to find his card so he could get" home, said Hyder Naqvi, lawyer for the boy and his family.

'He's a young boy, but he's old enough to know what discrimination is."

Bizarro Earth

Student Clayton Pettet to lose virginity In live gay sex show for art project

A student has sparked outrage over plans to lose his virginity in front of a crowd - in the name of ART.

Clayton Pettet, 19, is set to have gay sex for the first time in a gallery full of spectators for a project entitled "Art School Stole My Virginity". He reckons his 'performance art project' will earn him rave reviews for challenging the idea of sexuality.

The deflowering is set to take place before an audience of between 50 and 100 in a space in Hackney, London.

Clayton and his friend will engage in safe sex until completion before asking the audience what they thought of the performance.


Just in case we come a cropper: The doomsday vault that keeps seeds for every type of agriculture mankind relies upon should a disaster ever wipe them out - but keeps them for whom?

Food ark: Entrance to the Global Seed Vault in Norway which is home to more than two billion of the world's seeds
These incredible images give a rare glimpse inside the 'Doomsday' seed vault which protects the world's food supply. On an Arctic island off the coast of Norway lies the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which is home to more than two billion seeds. The secure seed bank which can withstand a nuclear strike, aims to preserve crops in the face of climate change, war and natural disasters.

These rare images taken by photographer Jim Richardson offer a visual tour of the food ark, which safely homes up to 4.5 million varieties of seeds from almost every country in the world. It preserves duplicate collections of seeds for everything from peas to wheat on behalf of the world's genebanks.

The seeds in the vault can only be accessed when the original seed collections have been lost. The seeds are stored inside sealed envelopes, then placed into plastic tote containers on metal shelving racks and kept at a temperature of -18C.

The low temperature and limited supply of oxygen inside the vault prevents the seeds from ageing. The permafrost surrounding the facility helps maintain the low temperature of the seeds should the electricity supply fail. The vault was started by conservationist Cary Fowler from the Global Crop Diversity Trust. It cost £4 million to construct and since it's opening in 2006 it has accepted deposits of seeds from all over the world.

Comment: In a world that isn't run by psychopaths the concept of having a 'back-up supply' of a 'food ark' would make sense, though we know who they are really concerned about - he who owns the food supply owns the people.

"Doomsday Seed Vault" - Bill Gates, Rockefeller and the GMO giants know something we don't?


Pennsylvania State University to pay child sex abuse victims $60 million

Jerry Sandusky
© Patrick Smith/Getty Images/AFP/FileFormer Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse after being sentenced in his child sex abuse case on October 9, 2012 in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania State University announced Monday a payout of $60 million for 26 victims abused by convicted child sex offender, American football coach Jerry Sandusky.

The settlement comes just over a year after former Penn State American football coach Sandusky was jailed for 30 to 60 years on 45 counts of child sex abuse.

Now aged 69, Sandusky is expected to spend the rest of his life behind bars, after being found guilty in court of molesting 10 children between 1994 and 2008.

Penn State University said 32 alleged victims had come forward demanding compensation, but that six had their claims rejected.

It announced on its website that it had agreed to pay a total of $59.7 million to the other 26.

"We hope this is another step forward in the healing process for those hurt by Mr. Sandusky and another step forward for Penn State," said the university's president, Rodney Erickson.

"We cannot undo what has been done, but we can and must do everything possible to learn from this and ensure it never happens again at Penn State."


Fukushima clean-up is a big worry for site workers - "The number of workers is less than a half of what we used to have in the summer"

The problems for and with the workers at the Fukushima Daichii site have been in the news recently. The situation there is terrible. This is the translation of an e-mail from a Fukushima Daiichi worker sent to Mr. Kazuhiro Matsumoto which he shared on his Facebook site.
"Thanks for your good job. I heard that you posted what I had told you the other day on your FB.

Well, since it is my day off, I am writing you our current situation.

Honestly, our technology available now is not enough (to remove the spent fuel rods). We have a severe manpower shortage and the radiation level is way too high to go near the site.

To make the matters worse, recently we lost more workers due to TEPCO's weird atmosphere.

The number of workers is less than a half of what we used to have in the summer.

As for tanks, maybe this has not reported yet, there are leaking spots here and there. Two to three workers are assigned to check more than 400 tanks and pipes. This kind of work load is too much to finish in a day.

The workers are told to do this every day. TEPCO takes measure for whatever the problems reported by the media but nothing has been done for other issues (that are not covered by the media).

When I have a Geiger counter, my 10 sievert meter goes off the scale easily here and there.

This happens when I am 50 centimeters away. So if I get any closer, I will be dead.

Arrow Down

Cadavers used as crash test dummies in Spain

© NerdiVince and Larry, the U.S. Department of Transportation's talking crash test dummies.

Engineers at a research center in northern Spain have admitted that they are one of six centers in the world to use human cadavers in car crash test simulations. Reportedly it is cheaper than using the expensive crash test dummies.

Researchers at the MotorLand Technology Park in Alcañiz said said that it was necessary to use human corpses, as the crash test dummies cost €150,000 ($207,000) a piece. The media in Aragon is reporting that previously monkeys and pigs were used to assess tissue damage caused by serious car crashes.

However, Spain's Technologies and Systems for Automotive Safety (TESSA) reported on Tuesday that human bodies provide scientists with more accurate results. TESSA's research center, which is part of the University of Zaragoza, apparently now has its own morgue in which to store and prepare the corpses for the crash tests.

According to TESSA most of the cadavers are made available for the car safety tests when Spain's medical faculties were finished with them. Reportedly human corpses were first used in crash test simulations back in 1930 at Detroit's Wayne State University. However, the ethical and moral issues of their use prevailed.

Also the fact that the cadavers mostly belonged to older people, who are not really the age demographic usually involved in car crashes, led to the creation of what is now known as the crash test dummy. However, possibly due to the economic crisis and budget cuts, human cadavers are now being used yet again.


U.S. customs enforcement targeting courthouses for immigration arrests creating 'culture of fear'

© AFP Photo / John MooreU.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), security contractors frisk Honduran immigration detainees

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrest people when they appear in court to pay traffic tickets, get married, or make themselves known in other ways, violating Department of Homeland Security policy, according to civil liberties advocates.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) wrote a letter to the Homeland Security Department pressing officials to end the policy of "abusive arrests" employed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. The document asserts that such apprehensions are in direct violation of ICE's alleged policy forbidding officers from making arrests at "sensitive locations," a list including hospitals, schools, and places of worship.

The ACLU asked ICE, the investigative unit in the Department of Homeland Security, to add courthouses to the list of sensitive locations, claiming sudden ICE raids are "causing significant harm in the Kern County," California community, as quoted by Courthouse News.

"The arrests have prevented residents from complying with their obligations to pay citations and appear for court hearings, and from obtaining restraining orders, marriage licenses and other essential court services," wrote ACLU attorney Michael Kaufman. "Moreover, ICE's actions have created a culture of fear, deterring residents from exercising their constitutional right and civic duty to appear for court hearings or seek court services."


Why kids pull the trigger

Teen angst
© Andrea Zanchi/Getty Images
The latest school shooting has renewed calls for gun control laws and security measures. But the age of the boy who killed a teacher before he shot himself -- 12 -- also raises questions about the brain's development: How could a young boy portray such seeming lack of empathy?

Recent research helps explain what seems so unimaginable. Psychologists talk about two types of empathy, cognitive and affective. Simply put, cognitive empathy is the intellectual ability to understand others' points of view, whereas affective empathy is the emotional capacity to respond to the mental states of others.

Although girls seem to develop more cognitive empathy at age 13, most boys don't show signs of it until age 15. Boys also experience a dip in affective empathy between the ages of 13 and 16, according to a six-year study published recently in Developmental Psychology.

Che Guevara

Our Invisible Revolution

© Shutterstock
"Did you ever ask yourself how it happens that government and capitalism continue to exist in spite of all the evil and trouble they are causing in the world?" the anarchist Alexander Berkman wrote in his essay "The Idea Is the Thing." "If you did, then your answer must have been that it is because the people support those institutions, and that they support them because they believe in them."

Berkman was right. As long as most citizens believe in the ideas that justify global capitalism, the private and state institutions that serve our corporate masters are unassailable. When these ideas are shattered, the institutions that buttress the ruling class deflate and collapse. The battle of ideas is percolating below the surface. It is a battle the corporate state is steadily losing. An increasing number of Americans are getting it. They know that we have been stripped of political power. They recognize that we have been shorn of our most basic and cherished civil liberties, and live under the gaze of the most intrusive security and surveillance apparatus in human history. Half the country lives in poverty. Many of the rest of us, if the corporate state is not overthrown, will join them. These truths are no longer hidden.

It appears that political ferment is dormant in the United States. This is incorrect. The ideas that sustain the corporate state are swiftly losing their efficacy across the political spectrum. The ideas that are rising to take their place, however, are inchoate. The right has retreated into Christian fascism and a celebration of the gun culture. The left, knocked off balance by decades of fierce state repression in the name of anti-communism, is struggling to rebuild and define itself. Popular revulsion for the ruling elite, however, is nearly universal. It is a question of which ideas will capture the public's imagination.

Comment: Hedges writes, "If a nonviolent popular movement is able to ideologically disarm the bureaucrats, civil servants and police - to get them, in essence, to defect - nonviolent revolution is possible."

This is a big 'if', given that no such movement exists. 'Revolution' is an interesting choice of word for the type of widespread political and socio-economic change that many seek: a complete revolution is a movement that takes something, in this case masses of people, from one state... all the way back around to that same state!

And here we can learn from human history that life on planet Earth is a merry-go-round: it never stops, and although it changes forms, it keeps repeating the same essential dynamics.

What it comes down to for each individual is the question: what does change mean for you? Do you REALLY want change? Are you really sick of this ride yet?