Society's ChildS


Greece: Shocking Evidence on "New Homeless" Phenomenon Spreading in Athens

© Greek Reporter
Deputy Health Minister Markos Bolaris, Athens mayor George Kaminis, and representatives of the Athens Holy Archdiocese and the National Committee for the Rights of Man have submitted shocking evidence casting light on the tremendous dimensions of the "new homeless" phenomenon spreading around in Athens.

According to the evidence, the continuous economic crisis has not only forced previously homeless people to return to the streets but has also created a new category of homeless, who were once well off and are now seeking shelter and food in charity.

The number of the "new homeless" remains yet unclear due to lack of substantial evidence.

The "new homeless" numbers are rising, while Greece is going through its fourth year of recession, with many families being directly affected by the financial difficulties and the harsh austerity measures, especially evident in the Greek capital, where the problem seems to be under no restraint.


US: President Obama's State of the Union: Ten Skirted Issues

Congress/State of Union
© n/a
I confess; I expected to be bored out of my mind listening to President Obama's campaign - I mean, State of the Union - I mean campaign, speech. I kept hoping some truly earth shattering story would sneak in there beforehand, like say some discovery that Mitt Romney had been having an affair with Newt Gingrich's ex-wife while he was creating jobs at Bain capital, and we could all focus on that instead.

It turned out that my pre-determination proved accurate. I wonder if the members of Congress felt the same sense of same déjà vu that I did, as they were bopping up and down and applauding.

Obama's speech was a compilation of highlights from his past ones. One part optimism, two parts repetition equals one total uninspiring. Maybe it's so boring, because it matters so little at this point. Taking away popularity polls, our national threshold for belief in hope or change has been trampled, not just because of Obama or Romney, but of the whole political apparatus that thrives on deflection of reality and posturing. We don't have the same energy to expend listening to politicians, the endless spin that renders fact obsolete, responsibility absent, and true accomplishment, unnecessary.

Bizarro Earth

'Berserk' India Bus Driver Kills Nine in Pune

Bus accident/India
© n/a
A bus driver has smashed his vehicle into traffic and pedestrians in the western Indian city of Pune, killing nine people and injuring 27 others.

The driver damaged 40 vehicles before the bus was brought to a halt after 30 minutes and police arrested him.

The driver, named as Santosh Maruti Mane, "went berserk" on a 25km (17 mile) rampage during the morning rush hour, police said.

They are questioning the 30-year-old driver to try to determine a motive.

'Second life'

Mr Mane, who is a driver with the government-run state transport department, arrived at a bus depot early on Wednesday and drove off with an empty bus, police said.

2 + 2 = 4

Best of the Web: US: State of the Union Registers at 8th Grade Reading Level

Obama speech
© Getty Images
President Obama's 2012 State of the Union address again rated at an 8th grade comprehension level on the Flesch-Kincaid readability test - the third lowest score of any State of the Union address since 1934.

The University of Minnesota's Smart Politics conducted an analysis on the last 70 State of the Union addresses and found that President Obama's three addresses have the lowest grade average of any modern president. "Obama's average grade-level score of 8.4 is more than two grades lower than the 10.7 grade average for the other 67 addresses written by his 12 predecessors," they conclude.

"The Flesch-Kincaid test is designed to assess the readability level of written text, with a formula that translates the score to a U.S. grade level. Longer sentences and sentences utilizing words with more syllables produce higher scores. Shorter sentences and sentences incorporating more monosyllabic words yield lower scores," the University of Minnesota's Eric Ostermeier explains.

Obama's use of simple language is in part a reflection of his audience: the American voter in an election year. And it's part of a larger trend in simpler State of the Union language as the speech as transitioned from a simple address to Congress into a prime-time televised event.


Humans' Taste for Dolphins & Manatees on the Rise

Fraser's Dolphin
© AnoukIlangakoonObscure species such as Fraser’s dolphin (seen here in a fishing market in Sri Lanka) are being increasingly utilized as food in areas impacted by food insecurity and/or poverty.

Fillet of dolphin? Polar bear steak? As world population increases, people in coastal poverty-stricken areas are turning to the ocean for their meals, consuming marine mammals such as dolphins and seals, new research suggests.

Since 1990, at least 87 species of marine mammals - including dolphins, porpoises and manatees - have been served up in 114 countries. They are the victims of hunting and even commercial fishing operations, where they are sometimes caught accidentally, the researchers said.

The fishing of larger marine mammals, like humpback whales, is strictly regulated and monitored; but the extent to which these smaller warm-blooded marine species, including dolphins and seals, are caught, killed and eaten has been largely unstudied and unmonitored.

"International regulatory bodies exist to gauge the status of whale populations and regulate the hunting of these giants," study researcher Martin Robards, of the Wildlife Conservation Society, said in a statement. "These species, however, represent only a fraction of the world's diversity of marine mammals, many of which are being accidentally netted, trapped, and - in some instances - directly hunted without any means of tracking as to whether these off-takes are sustainable."


Polish town in shock as blood bubbles from drains

Residents of Koscierzyna, a small Polish town, called in the police and ambulance service to investigate after blood began streaming out from under manhole covers.


US, Texas: Drone Pilot Finds "River of Blood" Outside Dallas Meatpacking Plant

© sUAS NewsBlood clearly visible on the left, one of the images used as evidence.
A drone pilot hobbyist in Dallas stumbled across a river of blood coming from a large meatpacking plant. The small drone plane had a camera equipped, which captured images of the red river, suspected of being made of pig blood from the plant

"I was looking at images after the flight that showed a blood red creek and was thinking, could this really be what I think it is? Can you really do that, surely not?" the pilot tells sUAS News. "Whatever it is, it was flat out gross. Then comes the question of who do I report this to that can find out what it is and where it is coming from."


The Pirate Party: Justice for Legitimate Ex-Users of Megaupload

© PP-Cat
The Pirate Party are planning civil action against the FBI for the closure of Megaupload. Was there a point to the closure of the storage locker in the first place?

Just a few days after the majority of the tech community were sitting smugly over coffee watching headlines confirming the temporary defeat of SOPA, Megaupload disappeared overnight from the digital radar.

After the FBI took it upon themselves to close down the storage locker, seize the domain names, confiscate over $50 million in assets and arrest the founders, the rage and confusion of users was felt worldwide.

"We believe that the rights of ordinary people are being ignored by those intent on maintaining a flawed business model via excessive legislation. We believe that unjust laws like SOPA, PIPA and now ACTA must be fought, and that ordinary internet users should have legal recourse against the copyright lobby."


Best of the Web: Google's New Privacy Policy: The Good, Bad, Scary

© zdnet

"I'm all for breaking down data silos, but when Google knows more about me than my wife I get a bit worried".

Google has updated its privacy policy in a way that breaks down product silos, but allows the search giant to mine data across all of its services.

In a blog post, Google outlined the changes. These changes are the enterprise Holy Grail in many respects. Companies everywhere want to break down product walls to get a 360 degree view of customers. The difference with Google is reach and it is actually succeeding. In a nutshell, Google is:
  • Making its privacy policies easier to read.
  • Aggregating data across products for Google and user experience.
  • And arguing that it's easier to take your data and go somewhere else.
Here's how this boils down for this Google user between work and personal uses.


US: Man Pleads Not Guilty to Trying to Kill Obama

Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez
© unknownOscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez
An Idaho man accused of firing shots at the White House pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that he tried to assassinate President Barack Obama.

A lawyer for Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez entered the plea on his client's behalf during a brief appearance in U.S. District Court in Washington. Ortega did not say anything during the proceedings and will remain held without bond. He has another court date next month.

Prosecutors say Ortega used an assault rifle with an attached scope to fire a series of shots at the White House from long range on the night of Nov. 11. Obama and his wife, Michelle, were out of town at the time. In the months before the shooting, investigators say, he had had become obsessed with Obama, referred to him as the anti-Christ and told at least one person that he planned to "take care of" the president.

Prosecutors say he drove away after the shooting and crashed his car, then took off on foot. Authorities searching his car found a semi-automatic rifle, 12 spent shell casings and three fully-loaded magazines, and bullet impact points were located in the area of the White House that's known to be the living quarters of the First Family. Authorities recovered a bullet from a window frame on the Truman Balcony.