Society's ChildS


7-year-old girl without hands wins national penmanship award among 50 contestants

penmanship award
© ABC News / YouTube
Young Anaya Ellick "stunned" the judges with her handwriting โ€” especially since she has no hands. Using her forearms to write, Ellick won an award for top penmanship among 50 contestants from around the US.

Ellick, 7, won the Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellence in Manuscript Penmanship at the Zaner-Bloser National Handwriting Contest. The Maxim award is reserved for children with physical or developmental challenges. A judge for the contest said the panel marveled at Ellick's penmanship.

Eye 1

Overcooked: Police use Stingray technology and subject entire town to warrantless surveillance to investigate $50 chicken wing theft

chicken wings
Evidencing extreme overuse of controversial cell site simulator technology, Annapolis police deployed Stingray for the all-important purpose of catching a thief who'd stolen $50 ... in chicken wings.

Stingray devices mimic cell towers, pinging phones in the area until they connect with it, instead of an actual tower. This allows whoever deploys it to collect not only metadata, but as was recently revealed, the content of voice and text communications. Even worse, Stingray cannot specifically target one subject's phone โ€” so, when in use, the content of an entire area's electronic devices will also be collected.

Though legally that extraneous information must be discarded, the government's track record in frivolous surveillance leaves that legal restraint quite an open question, if not downright unlikely. Indeed, what we know about Stingray technology is the result of years of legal battles between privacy advocates and a government so secretive, police and prosecutors sign non-disclosure agreements in order to use it.

Prosecutors, even in serious criminal cases, astonishingly "have agreed to drop cases rather than disclose information about the technology." This practice has done nothing to quell suspicions Stingray might be collecting more information than is understood โ€” or that it may be used more frequently than strictures of law allow.


Aleppo Citizens Describe Real Situation on the Ground Following Truce

War torn Aleppo
© Reuters/Hosam Katan/File Photo
Militants of the terrorist group al-Nusra Front have continued to bombard areas of Aleppo. Previously, due to the joint efforts of Russia and the United States the city was able to establish a "silent mode."

RT correspondent Abu Taleb Al Buheyya visited Syria's largest city and spoke to some of the citizens of Aleppo.
"Where is the truce? It was announced at one and at two firing started. We do not need such a truce. We stand for a full settlement in Aleppo! We are tired," local resident said.
In Aleppo the period of "silence," was introduced thanks to the efforts of international negotiators and first of all, Russia and the United States.

Lately there has been fierce battles taking place in the city and civilians were caught in the firing line. The situation was worsened by the fact that part of Aleppo is still controlled by rebels of al-Nusra Front, and to them the truce does not apply. The extremists have continued to shell the residential areas.

Comment: To al-Nusra front, the truce does not apply, much to the annoyance of the USA, who tried their best to have them included in it. We must understand, al-Nusra front is ostensibly the Syrian arm of al-Qaeda.


Pakistani teenage girl burned alive in 'honour killing' after helping friend elope

At least 13 members of the traditional tribal council known as the jirga are being held over the killing

Blindfolded men
© ReutersMembers of a tribal council accused of ordering the burning death of a 16-year-old girl are shown to the media after they were arrested by police in Abbottabad, Pakistan
A teenage girl was kidnapped, drugged, put in a van and set alight in an alleged "honour killing" by a tribal council in a Pakistani village after helping a friend elope, police have said.

At least 13 elders in the village near the north-western city Abbottabad have been arrested over the death - along with the girl's mother, who is said to have agreed to the sentence.

The traditional jirga assembly of elders ordered the girl be put to death last week as punishment for helping a couple leave the village to marry.


Schlock therapy: Self-administered $200 shock bracelet supposed to zap away bad habits

Shock bracelet
We are not only becoming techno zombies in this society, but now, people are lining up willingly to pay $200 to get their own shock collar bracelet that will help them "retrain" their behaviors with a few (hundred) painful zap treatments (oh, and mild vibrations). It's even actually called the The Pavlok, named after you guessed it, Ivan Pavlov, the Russian physiologist who came up with Pavlovian conditioning.

The aversion (shock) will program a person to avoid whatever bad habit they are being trained against, and the company claims it works in five days or less to "delete temptation" by associating a zap with a person's bad habit, training their brain to dislike said habit. No, they don't know what the long-term effects to wearing the Pavlok are, but the local news station below calls it "340 Volts of Wearable Willpower".

Comment: You know that Western Civilization is in trouble when individuals would consider using this "shock therapy" to assist them in getting over bad habits. What's worse it that this new product, the Pavlok, seems to just be a reflection of how many have come to accept and acquiesce to external conditioning.

For the larger implications of this, see the SOTT Focus piece: Transmarginal Inhibition

Gold Bar

How El Chapo's Sinaloa drug cartel used gold to move money out of the U.S.

Joaquin โ€œEl Chapoโ€ Guzman
With blue lights flashing and a SWAT team in front of the warehouse, a black sedan pulled up. A man got out, popped the trunk, grabbed a briefcase and headed for Natalie Jewelry. Once there, the man was heard to say "I just need to drop off this gold and get a receipt. I need a receipt."

That's a first hand account of how gold was delivered to a Miami jewelry store by drug cartels, to later be melted down and sold for cash.

As Bloomberg reports, court documents from a federal court case in Chicago allege that El Chapo's Sinaloa drug cartel laundered tens of millions out of the U.S. not through secret shell companies wiring funds from bank to bank, but by simply buying gold and selling it.

Here's how the money laundering process allegedly worked. When the Sinaloa cartel needed to get the proceeds from its drug activities in the U.S. back to Mexico, it would first go buy up gold bars and other scrap gold pieces (sometimes silver as well) from jewelry stores and other businesses in the Chicago area. Then, the gold would be put into boxes, and under the name "Chicago Gold", or on occasion "Shopping Silver", would ship the boxes via FedEx to a company near Miami called Natalie Jewelry.


Maryland mass shooting suspect is a cop with a violent history

Eulalio Tordil and his ex-wife Gladys, now deceased thanks to him
On Thursday the town of Beltsville, Maryland was rocked by the tragic shooting of Eulalio Tordil's estranged wife, Gladys Tordil. Thursday afternoon, Tordil walked up to his wife at High Point High School as she picked up their children and shot her. The incident was captured on school video and was witnessed by adults and possibly students at the school, Prince George's County Police Chief Henry P. Stawinski III said Thursday night.

After fleeing in his SUV, Tordil managed to evade authorities. On Friday morning, multiple mass shootings, one at Westfield Montgomery Mall and the other shortly after at the nearby Aspen Hill Shopping Center, left two more dead and two others wounded. On Friday morning, after the shootings, police confirmed that they were investigating the connection between Gladys Tordil's murder and the other shootings.

The shooter, believed to be Tordil, opened fire on one person before striking two others who came to help, said Montgomery County Assistant Police Chief Darryl McSwain.


U.S. presidential election may turn out to be one of the world's biggest un-popularity contests

Reuters poll on US presidential elections
The U.S. presidential election may turn out to be one of the world's biggest un-popularity contests.

Nearly half of American voters who support either Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump for the White House said they will mainly be trying to block the other side from winning, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Thursday.

The results reflect a deepening ideological divide in the United States, where people are becoming increasingly fearful of the opposing party, a feeling worsened by the likely matchup between the New York real estate tycoon and the former first lady, said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.

"This phenomenon is called negative partisanship," Sabato said. "If we were trying to maximize the effect, we couldn't have found better nominees than Trump and Clinton."

Arrow Down

Working mothers face a grim reality in the 'exceptional' USA

working mothers
© Gary Cameron / Reuters
Mother's Day is a special time to show the women in your life how much you value them. However, based on the findings of recent research, some working mothers in certain states may deserve extra appreciation - and not just on one day.

WalletHub has released a study that looks at several hot button issues associated with gender equality: day care systems, child care costs, the gender pay gap, and female executive-to-male executive ratio. The results were not great. For moms in Nevada, Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Alaska - well, be sure to show them some extra love on Sunday.

Nearly 75 percent of single mothers are members of the workforce, according to a 2014 US Department of Labor survey. In addition, women represent nearly half of US labor, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yet for many women, balancing work and family can be difficult - particularly when parental leave policies, cost-effective day care, and wage gaps vary from state to state.

Comment: The hardships faced by working mothers is one reason why almost half of the children in the U.S. live in poverty.


'I thought I was dying': Ex-Hanford worker was crippled by toxic vapors from radioactive waste tanks

Hanford nuclear
© AFP Photo / AFPWorkers demolish a decommissioned nuclear reactor during the cleanup operations at the Western hemisphere's most contaminated nuclear site in Hanford, Washington state on March 21, 2011
One former worker at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state was crippled by the toxic vapors from the radioactive waste tanks, while 42 current employees have requested evaluations for exposure.

The Hanford nuclear site holds 56 million gallons of radioactive waste, stored in underground tanks built between the 1940s and 1970s. The waste is left over from the past processing of plutonium used in the US nuclear weapons program, beginning with the Manhattan Project. Last year, Hanford was moving radioactive waste from single-shelled tanks into double-shelled ones, which are supposed to be safer.

Comment: See also: Up to 3,500 gallons of radioactive waste leaked at Washington state storage site