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Gases to be dispersed across New York subway stations as part of 'drill'

Subway Station
© Dan Nosowitz2nd Avenue Subway Station, Sans Gas.
No need to fear, though: it's an experiment to see exactly how gases are dispersed through the hundreds of miles of New York City subway tunnels.

Starting today, New York City authorities will be releasing perfluorocarbon gas into several subway stops, some above and some below ground. Sounds scary, but isn't: perfluorocarbon is a harmless gas, odorless and colorless, and it's being used in the largest airflow experiment ever undertaken.

Perfluorocarbon tracers, or PFTs, are used because they're artificial and do not occur in nature, so a very small amount can be detected fairly easily. The work of detection will be done by a large team from three national labs: the Brookhaven, Argonne, and Los Alamos National Laboratories. About 100 interns in addition to professionals from the labs will be constructing and monitoring small black-and-grey boxes in dozens of locations all around the city, all dedicated to checking the air for these tracers.

Those locations aren't merely in the subway; the thing about New York's extensive, massively complex subway system is that it's the quickest way for airborne contaminants to race through (nearly) all portions of the five boroughs. So these testing boxes will be installed on subway platforms, sure, but also on telephone poles above ground.


'Utter chaos' as man crushed by antique firetruck at Independence Day parade

© Gabor Degre | BDNA man died in an accident during the 4th of July parade in Bangor. The person died as an antique tractor and antique firetruck collided, but Police are working to find out what exactly happened.
An accident cast horror on Bangor's Independence Day celebrations when an antique firetruck crushed to death the rider of an antique John Deere tractor during the Fourth of July parade, police said.

Firetruck riders told police that a mechanical failure caused the truck to go out of control in front of a large crowd of parade-watchers and slam into the rear of the tractor as both turned onto a downhill stretch of Water Street at 12:40 p.m. Thursday, police said.

The firetruck "stalled and started to roll" as it turned onto Water Street from Main Street. That might have caused the truck's braking system to fail, speculated Tammy Haskell, who said she was standing at Main and Water streets when the accident occurred.

"It rear-ended the tractor and the [tractor] driver was not expecting it," Haskell added. "I saw the driver flying through the air. The tractor rolled onto him and [then] the truck" hit him.

"I saw the tractor tip over by the truck and somebody was underneath it," said witness John Bunker, 27, of Bangor. "I heard people screaming, people saying to stop the truck. Then I heard over a loudspeaker somebody saying to clear the area."


7-year-old falls off vehicle, dies in Annapolis, Maryland parade

Tragedy at the Annapolis Fourth of July parade. A young boy is dead after an accident involving one of the parade floats.

Monique Griego has the very latest.

Police say a 7-year-old boy was riding in a vehicle in the parade when he somehow fell off.

It's still not clear whether he died because of the fall or whether he was struck and killed by another vehicle.


Father driving float accidentally runs over son at Oklahoma Fourth of July parade

An Oklahoma Fourth of July parade turned tragic Thursday morning when a father accidentally ran over and killed his 8-year-old son, who had been on a parade float, police said.

Thousands of people had gathered on the streets of Edmond, Okla., to watch the 40th annual Fourth of July parade, which is part of the weeklong LibertyFest celebration.

Just before 11 a.m. (noon ET), the little boy "either jumped or fell off" of a flat-bed trailer that his father was driving for a local martial arts group, AKA Karate, according to Jenny Monroe, a spokeswoman for the Edmond Police.

The young boy was one of about 20 children on the float.


Child shot in head watching fireworks has died

The seven-year-old boy shot in head by a stray bullet Thursday night has died, Chesterfield Police said. Police said Brendon Mackey, 7, was walking with his father in the parking lot of the Boathouse Restaurant in Midlothian about 9 p.m. Thursday when he was shot. The father and son were there to watch some nearby fireworks.

"A large crowd had been gathering over by the reservoir to watch fireworks and a young boy, seven years old, was walking through the parking lot with his dad. He was a few step behind his dad and he [the boy] fell to the ground," Chesterfield Police Capt. Brad Badgerow said. "Initially they thought he was just passed out. They saw some blood. They thought he may have hit his head."

But when the child was taken to the hospital, doctors made a startling discovery.

"When medical personnel were treating him, they found what they believe to be a bullet wound in the top of his head," Badgerow said.


Lawyer's Facebook post no laughing matter in Virginia Beach

© Vicki Cronis-Nohe | The Virginian-PilotProminent "no cellphones" signs were on display outside of General District Court in Virginia Beach on July 3, 2013.
A social media post has fueled a squabble between two local attorneys, leading to a defamation lawsuit and contributing to a crackdown on electronics use in the city's General District Court.

At issue is whether a Facebook post of a photo taken inside a courtroom this year was a harmless joke or a damaging misrepresentation, according to the lawsuit and response, filed in Circuit Court this spring.

The case also highlights the issues that courts must weigh in deciding whether to allow cellphones and other electronics inside and what limits to put on their use.

The lawsuit centers on the post, included in the court file, which shows defense attorney Jason Swango at the bench in General District Court, flanked by a police officer, a bailiff and his client in a city jail jumpsuit.


Apologise my ass

Food Network superstar Paula Deen is the latest celebrity to embark on an "apology tour," spending the past ten days releasing apology videos and making weepy teary appearances on TV shows begging for mercy for having used racial epithets in the presence of her employees, one of whom is currently suing her. I don't know the details of the case, and I don't want to know. The lawsuit will be decided by a court, not by me (and not by you). But I do want to say that I'm sick to death of people being forced to publicly apologize.

Perhaps it's because I was one of those people.

Two months ago, I was "outed" as having spent five years, from 1990 through 1995, making various claims, on shows like 60 Minutes, The Phil Donahue Show, 48 Hours, and Montel Williams, regarding the Auschwitz camp and its role and function during the Holocaust. What I said was controversial, but my views were based on what I perceived to be the facts. I never uttered a single word that was in any way hateful or pro-Nazi, because I am the exact opposite of those things.

After a large monetary bounty was put on my head by a violent extremist group, I changed my name, and spent the last eighteen years as David Stein. I built a very successful GOP event-organizing operation, and my political writing was carried by every major conservative site on the 'net, from FrontPageMag to Commentary and The Weekly Standard, from the Breitbart sites to The Daily Caller and HotAir, from The Blaze to The Washington Times and, and on shows including Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and the Larry Elder Show (where I had become an occasional guest...he and I were even working on a documentary film together).

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Smugglers sold meat 46 years past sell-by date

Chicken Feet
© Alamy
Chinese police have reportedly seized 20 tonnes of out-of-date meat from a Vietnamese smuggling gang, including chicken feet that were 46 years past their sell-by-date.

During a raid conducted in May but only reported this week, police in Guangxi said they smashed an underground network that had been swamping the Chinese food market with substandard chicken feet, tripe and throat.

Among their stomach-churning discoveries were chicken feet that date back to 1967, a time when China was still ruled by Chairman Mao.

Li Jianmin, a local security chief, told the state news agency Xinhua that after smuggling the decades-old feet into China, the expired meat was treated with chemicals, including hydrogen peroxide, "to kill bacteria, prolong the expiry date" and make the feet "look white and big".

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China general's son charged over gang rape

© AFP/File, Wang ZhaoA courthouse in China's capital Beijing on July 8, 2013.
Beijing - The son of a Chinese general has been charged with rape, state media said, in a case that has sparked public anger over the seemingly privileged lives of elite youths.

Li Tianyi, 17, "is among five suspects who allegedly gang-raped a woman in a hotel" in February, the Xinhua state news agency said, citing a Beijing district public prosecutor.

The boy's father Li Shuangjiang holds the rank of general as dean of the music department for the Chinese army's Academy of Arts, and is known for singing patriotic songs.

The public prosecutor's office only provided the surname of the suspect but confirmed "the case is the same gang rape case", Xinhua said.

Li Tianyi triggered public controversy in 2011 after he and another teenager, both driving expensive cars, attacked a couple who reportedly blocked their passage, while the victims' child looked on.

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This is not a test: Emergency broadcast systems proved hackable

Several models of Emergency Alert System decoders, used to break into TV and radio broadcasts to announce public safety warnings, have vulnerabilities that would allow hackers to hijack them and deliver fake messages to the public, according to an announcement by a security firm on Monday.

The vulnerabilities included a private root SSH key that was distributed in publicly available firmware images that would have allowed an attacker with SSH access to a device to log in with root privileges and issue fake alerts or disable the system.

IOActive principal research scientist Mike Davis uncovered the vulnerabilities in the application servers of two digital alerting systems known as DASDEC-I and DASDEC-II. The servers are responsible for receiving and authenticating emergency alert messages.