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Tue, 31 Jan 2023
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Socrates Acquitted in Ancient Trial Re-Run

Socrates Trial
© France24
US, European and Greek lawyers arrive at the Alexander S. Onassis foundation in Athens to enact the trial of Socrates. Judges narrowly acquitted Socrates, the philosopher whose teachings earned him a death sentence in ancient Athens, in a retrial Friday billed as a lesson for modern times of revolution and crisis.
Judges narrowly acquitted Socrates, the philosopher whose teachings earned him a death sentence in ancient Athens, in a retrial Friday billed as a lesson for modern times of revolution and crisis.

Socrates spoke himself at his trial in the fourth century BC, but this time in his absence, a panel of 10 US and European judges heard pleas by top Greek and foreign lawyers at the event at the Onassis Foundation in Athens.

Judges then voted on whether he was guilty on the ancient charges of evil-doing, impiety and corrupting the young.

In 399 BC, Socrates was made to die by drinking hemlock poison after being convicted by a jury of hundreds of Athenians. Unrepentant, he had insulted the judges at his trial and cheekily asked to be rewarded for his actions.

The modern judges spared him that dishonour this time, with an even vote -- five guilty and five not guilty, meaning that under ancient Athenian law he was not convicted.

Socrates' method of sceptical inquiry, preserved by his disciple Plato and other ancient authors, questioned conventional wisdom on sensitive notions of politics, religion and morality and earned him powerful enemies.

He was branded an enemy of democracy, accused of treason in favour of the Spartan enemy, and of influencing a violent uprising against the Athenian republic by a group of oligarchs that included some of his pupils.


In a hurry: Passenger arrested at Miami airport

The FBI has arrested and will file charges against a passenger on a Miami-bound flight from Jamaica who became unruly when the plane landed, according to NBC News' Pete Williams.

Officials say Ryan Snider, 24, of Canada, was arrested in connection with an incident on American Airlines Flight 320 in which, they say, Snider rushed toward the front of the plane after it had landed.

"There were no injuries or damage to the plane. There appears to be no nexus to terrorism and Snider was not on the no-fly list," the FBI told Williams. Snider may face federal charges of interference with a flight crew.

Airport officials said they received an urgent call at 10:19 a.m., as the plane, which had arrived from Montego Bay at 10:12 a.m., was taxiing.

Officials said the plane's crew had become concerned about Snider's behavior.

Comment: Sick of being in the air? Want to get off the plane as soon as possible? Perhaps you're feeling some motion sickness? Can't stand those tiny bathrooms on a plane due to claustrophobia?

Obey all crew member instructions without question!

Eye 2

Suicidal woman killed toddler twins, poisoned 4-year-old

A Philadelphia woman who police say believed her husband was having an affair is accused of killing her toddler twins and poisoning her 4-year-old daughter before attempting to commit suicide.

Philadelphia police say Stacey Smalls, 41, attempted to commit suicide by slitting her own wrists after killing her 1-1/2-year-old son, Adam, and the boy's twin sister, Eve, on Thursday, one by drowning and the other by strangulation. Police Lt. Raymond Evers told NBC10 that the 4-year-old "was given some kind of substance to drink or swallow."

Stacey Smalls will be charged with two counts of murder, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey told NBC10.

On Friday morning, the children's father, Ron Smalls took the younger children's toys, high chairs and play pen to the curb as a trash truck pulled up, NBC10.com in Philadelphia reported. He told NBC10 outside his home in the Tacony neighborhood of Philadelphia that he wasn't ready to talk about the incident, but did say that his 4-year-old daughter was expected to be OK.


Hostages in Indiana real estate office - shots reported

Dozens of police and SWAT officers surrounded a real estate company office in Valparaiso, Ind., on Friday after at least three gunshots were heard. A gunman inside the building was reported to be holding as many as 15 hostages, police and witnesses said.

The gunman allowed five people to leave the 21st Century real estate office, a witness told NBC News.

Few other details were available, but people who gathered in the parking lot as news of the situation spread told NBC News that they were receiving text messages from people inside the building, who relayed that the standoff was the result of a domestic dispute between the man and his girlfriend.

Police said the man entered the stand-alone building in Valparaiso, a southern suburb of Chicago, at 10:05 a.m. CT (11:05 a.m. ET). They said they hadn't yet identified the gunman and wouldn't comment on whether they've been able to make contact with him.


TED Talk: A Massive, Money-Soaked Orgy of Self-Congratulatory Futurism

It has become an exclusive, expensive elite networking experience. Strip away the hype and you're left with a reasonably good video podcast with delusions of grandeur.

There was a bit of a scandal last week when it was reported that a TED Talk on income equality had been censored. That turned out to be not quite the entire story. Nick Hanauer, a venture capitalist with a book out on income inequality, was invited to speak at a TED function. He spoke for a few minutes, making the argument that rich people like himself are not in fact job creators and that they should be taxed at a higher rate.

The talk seemed reasonably well-received by the audience, but TED "curator" Chris Anderson told Hanauer that it would not be featured on TED's site, in part because the audience response was mixed but also because it was too political and this was an "election year."

Hanauer had his PR people go to the press immediately and accused TED of censorship, which is obnoxious - TED didn't have to host his talk, obviously, and his talk was not hugely revelatory for anyone familiar with recent writings on income inequity from a variety of experts - but Anderson's responses were still a good distillation of TED's ideology.

In case you're unfamiliar with TED, it is a series of short lectures on a variety of subjects that stream on the Internet, for free. That's it, really, or at least that is all that TED is to most of the people who have even heard of it. For an elite few, though, TED is something more: a lifestyle, an ethos, a bunch of overpriced networking events featuring live entertainment from smart and occasionally famous people.


Four in 10 young women sexually harassed in public spaces, UK survey finds

© Alamy
The poll found 31% of women aged 18-24 had experienced unwanted sexual attention on public transport.
YouGov survey of women in London reveals extent of harassment - prompting calls for public awareness campaign

Sexual harassment is a persistent and dangerous problem on Britain's streets, women's charities have warned, as a poll reveals that more than four in 10 young women were sexually harassed in the capital over the last year.

A YouGov survey of 1,047 Londoners commissioned by End Violence Against Women Coalition (Evaw) found that 43% of women aged between 18 and 34 had experienced sexual harassment in public spaces in the last year.

Despite a growing intolerance of unwanted sexual attention, harassment was still very common and made women feel unsafe particularly when travelling alone, said Holly Dustin, director of Evaw.

"Sexual harassment is so ingrained that we barely notice it, but when you start talking to women almost every one has a horrible story to tell: it's time for society to stand up and put a stop to it."

Heart - Black

Suspect Confesses to Killing New York Boy in 1979

© Reuters/Keith Bedford
A copy photo of the original missing poster of Etan Patz is shown during a news conference near a New York City apartment building, where police and FBI agents were searching a basement for clues in the boy's 1979 disappearance in New York, April 19, 2012.
US, New York - Police on Thursday arrested a New Jersey man who they said had confessed to the 1979 killing of 6-year-old Etan Patz in a case that drew national attention to the plight of missing children and had frustrated law enforcement officials for more than three decades.

New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Pedro Hernandez, 51, confessed to choking the young boy in the basement of the small food market where Hernandez worked stocking shelves, then disposed of the body in a plastic bag that he threw in the trash.

Hernandez will be charged with second-degree murder, Kelly said, capping a day of dramatic developments in the case. Friday would be the 33rd anniversary of the boy's disappearance from New York's SoHo neighborhood.

The arrest came a day after police picked up Hernandez in Camden, New Jersey for questioning in the case, working off a tip. Hernandez admitted to the killing under questioning, during which he appeared "remorseful" and expressed "a feeling of relief," according to Kelly.

The commissioner said Hernandez had previously talked about the incident with family members and others, telling them "he had done a bad thing and killed a child in New York," Kelly said.

The break in the case came one month after the FBI and New York City Police conducted a four-day excavation of a basement on the block in SoHo where Patz lived and was last seen. At the time, police said no obvious human remains were found and it remained a missing person case.


John Davis Faces $500 Fine For Dropping $1 On Ground

John Davis faces a $500 fine for littering after accidentally dropping a dollar on the ground as he was giving it to a panhandler.

John Davis didn't come up with the phrase, "No good deed goes unpunished," but it's understandable if he now believes.

Davis, who lives in Elyria, Ohio, recently exited a freeway offramp when he saw a man in a wheelchair holding a sign with a religious sentiment and also a request for help.

Having a brother who is paralyzed, Davis sympathized with the man's plight, reached into his wallet and grabbed a couple of bucks to give to the man.


Turn Out The Lights - The Largest U.S. Cities Are Becoming Cesspools Of Filth, Decay And Wretchedness

City Decay
© The Economic Collapse
Once upon a time, the largest U.S. cities were the envy of the entire world. Sadly, that is no longer the case. Sure, there are areas of New York City, Boston, Washington and Los Angeles that are still absolutely beautiful but for the most part our major cities are rapidly rotting and decaying. Cities such as Detroit, Cleveland, Baltimore, Memphis, New Orleans, St. Louis and Oakland were all once places where middle class American workers thrived and raised their families.

Today, all of those cities are rapidly being transformed into cesspools of filth, decay and wretchedness. Millions of good jobs have left our major cities in recent decades and poverty has absolutely exploded. Basically, you can turn out the lights because the party is over. In fact, some major U.S. cities are literally turning out the lights. In Detroit, about 40 percent of the streetlights are already broken and the city cannot afford to repair them. So Mayor Bing has come up with a plan to cut the number of operating streetlights almost in half and leave vast sections of the city totally in the dark at night. I wonder what that will do to the crime rate in the city. But don't look down on Detroit too much, because what is happening in Detroit will be happening where you live soon enough.

A recent Bloomberg article described Mayor Bing's plan to eliminate nearly half of Detroit's streetlights....
Detroit, whose 139 square miles contain 60 percent fewer residents than in 1950, will try to nudge them into a smaller living space by eliminating almost half its streetlights.

As it is, 40 percent of the 88,000 streetlights are broken and the city, whose finances are to be overseen by an appointed board, can't afford to fix them. Mayor Dave Bing's plan would create an authority to borrow $160 million to upgrade and reduce the number of streetlights to 46,000. Maintenance would be contracted out, saving the city $10 million a year.
What this means is that there are going to be a lot of neighborhoods that will have the lights turned off permanently.

So which neighborhoods will those be?

According to one top Detroit official, "distressed areas" are going to be on the low end of the totem pole....
"You have to identify those neighborhoods where you want to concentrate your population," said Chris Brown, Detroit's chief operating officer. "We're not going to light distressed areas like we light other areas."
City officials know that they cannot force people to move from "distressed areas", so they are going to encourage them to leave by cutting off services.

But turning off the lights is not the only way that Detroit is trying to save money.

Recently, officials in Detroit announced that all police stations in the city will be closed to the public for 16 hours a day.

It is so sad to see what is happening to what was once such a great city.


Financial Despair leads Greek mother and son to suicide plunge

Vathy Square

The apartment block in Vathy Square from which the mother and son plunged to their death.
A 60-year-old man and his 90-year-old mother jumped off the roof of their apartment block in Vathy Square, near central Athens, early on Thursday in a double suicide that appeared to have been prompted by financial woes.

No suicide note was found but a short despair-filled text was uploaded onto a poem-sharing website late on Wednesday by a man called Antonis Perris. "I don't see any way out. I have property but no cash at all, so what am I going to do about food?" he wrote, adding that his mother had Alzheimer's while he had a terminal illness. "I don't have many days left, I am very sick," he wrote. The note is followed by a string of comments posted afterward by readers wishing him well and then notes of sorrow as of Thursday morning.