Society's ChildS


Diaspora social network co-founder dead at 22

Ilya Zhitomirskiy, R.I.P.
A 22-year-old co-founder of privacy-themed online social network Diaspora died during the weekend, the San Francisco coroner confirmed.

Local media reports indicated that Ilya Zhitomirskiy may have committed suicide, but the coroner's office said it will take several weeks to determine the cause of death.

Zhitomirskiy was one of four US college students who launched Diaspora last year in a bid to win fans as an easier, more private alternative to social networking powerhouse Facebook.

Mysteriously, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg was reportedly among those who financially backed Diaspora.

The fledgling social network's home page at on Monday featured a picture of a giant dandelion going to seed next to an image of Zhitomirskiy seated in a classroom. Beneath the image was his name and "1989-2011."

"We'll all miss Ilya more than we can say," Diaspora co-founder Peter Schurman said in a statement released late Monday.


Maryland, US: Mysterious Odor Detected At Fort Detrick Area B

Tests are being done after an odor was detected during drilling at Fort Detrick. It's concerning because the odor is coming from an area that's been contaminated with toxins.

Contaminants were buried at the site when Fort Detrick's Biological Weapons program was ended in the 1970s.

Robert Sperling with Fort Detrick said employees noticed the odor last Wednesday while they were installing a well. But that information wasn't released until Saturday morning.

"Once they smelled the odors, they stopped what they were doing, and they put on protective gear, they put on a respirator," he said in a phone interview with 9 NEWS NOW's Lindsey Mastis

Sperling said vapor didn't travel off base and therefore, is not a threat to the community.

Black Cat

UK: Teacher 'lined his pupils against gym wall and hit golf balls at them'

Accused: Teacher James McMenemy

  • Facing 15 abuse charges after school is closed
  • 'Youngsters feared staff who covered up violence'
A teacher at a troubled residential school for vulnerable children could be struck off amid allegations he lined his pupils up against a gym wall and hit golf balls at them.

James McMenemy is also said to have hurled rocks at the teenagers and thrown them into rivers and streams.

The incidents allegedly happened at Kerelaw residential school in Ayrshire, which looked after children with significant emotional, social and behavioural problems.

It was closed amid a police probe into abuse in 2006. Mr McMenemy is facing 15 charges of violence towards pupils and failing to comply with guidelines.


Financial Analysts Everywhere Are In Agreement: The World is Ending

© Wikimedia Commons
If you like your Wall Street analysis with a heavy dollop of rapture and Armageddon, today was the day for you.

Blame the weighty issues of the day (Europe, mostly), and yesterday's big selloff for the spasm of bearishness.
It started off with Nomura's Bob Janjuah. He said that any talk of the ECB saving Europe was a mere pipedream, and that if the ECB did go whole-hog buying up peripheral debt to suppress yields, then that would prompt a German departure from the the Eurozone.
Germany appears to be adamant that full political and fiscal integration over the next decade (nothing substantive will happen over the short term, in my view) is the only option, and ECB monetisation is no longer possible. I really think it is that clear and simple. And if I am wrong, and the ECB does a U-turn and agrees to unlimited monetisation, I will simply wait for the inevitable knee-jerk rally to fade before reloading my short risk positions. Even if Germany and the ECB somehow agree to unlimited monetisation I believe it will do nothing to fix the insolvency and lack of growth in the eurozone. It will just result in a major destruction of the ECBโ€Ÿs balance sheet which will force an ECB recap. At that point, I think Germany and its northern partners would walk away. Markets always want short, sharp, simple solutions.
Okay, but that's Janjuah. He's always bearish so maybe that's not even news.


Post WWII Worldwide Governmental Structure Breakdown

Throughout the world we are seeing a breakdown of the governmental structure that has existed since World War II. After the fall of the Soviet Union, President Bush gave a speech in which he called for a new world order. We are now seeing the birth of that new world order whether we want it or not.

The financial system that has been established is failing. The social welfare system that was born after World War II is failing under the weight of spiraling costs. Social order is fraying because of commitments that European governments can no longer afford to keep. The political leadership of the EU is trying desperately trying to paper over the problem, however the contagion continues to spread.

Red Flag

The War on Addiction Has Been Brought Home

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Combat veterans with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries are suffering from skyrocketing rates of addiction, alcoholism and suicide. Thirty-five years after Vietnam, is America creating another lost generation?

Every war has its "signature" wound. In the Civil War, it was gangrene; in World War I, it was lungs shredded by mustard gas attacks; in World War II, shrapnel. In Iraq and Afghanistan, it's Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI. With armored Humvees and new body protection, soldiers are surviving massive IED blasts that send huge shock waves through their bodies. The concussive force of five artillery shells exploding beneath a vehicle damages a soldier's brain in ways researchers are just starting to understand.

The symptoms of TBI are similar to those of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); one of the main commonalities is, of course, increased alcohol and drug use. Take First Sergeant Hector Matascastillo, a warrior's warrior. He finished top of his class in Ranger training, and had boots on the ground in 57 countries with a whopping 13 combat deployments in an 18-year career in the military.

Arrow Down

Supercommittee failure could trigger US credit downgrade, economists warn

© Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesSupercommittee member Chris Van Hollen (centre and smiling - does he find it all funny?) said: 'We are leaving no stone unturned, negotiations continue and we are looking to find...blah, blah, blah...'
Economists are warning of dire consequences if US politicians fail to make progress this weekend in tense talks aimed at reducing America's massive deficit ahead of a Wednesday deadline.

The bi-partisan congressional super-committee is charged with drawing up plans for a $1.2tn reduction in the nation's deficit by the middle of next week. Failure to do so will trigger an automatic "sequester" that will make cuts of that size to defence and social welfare programmes starting in 2013. But the two sides seem far from finding a solution after clashing over tax revenues.

While Wednesday is the official deadline for the supercommittee to report back, it has until Monday to tell the Congressional Budget Office about the impact any plan they send to Congress will have on the budget.

"Time is running out. What I can say is we are leaving no stone unturned, negotiations continue and we are looking to find a way. We recognise what's at stake and we're hoping to reach an agreement," Democrat committee member Chris Van Hollen told CNN Friday.


US: New Developments in Priest Abuse Cases

child abuse
© unknown

Almost every week there are new developments, new accusations and new court actions surrounding the Catholic Church's priest sex abuse case.

This week there were two, which I shall recount in a moment. But it's not so much the amassing scandal that is shocking, rather the church's continued pattern of stonewalling that is so shocking.

Priests and prelates keep fighting efforts to bring church records out in the open. They cling to the belief that they're still operating in the Middle Ages.

Most of all, Pope Benedict has failed to issue an all-encompassing apology to the tens of thousands of victims of priests' perversions who have come forward thus far.

This week the Archdiocese of Chicago agreed to pay $3.2 million to a man who as a boy between the ages of 10 and 12 was repeatedly sexually abused by convicted former priest Daniel McCormack.

The victim sued the archdiocese for failing to remove McCormack from having contact with children, even though the hierarchy well knew of the alleged abuse he was perpetrating. This is an often-repeated pattern on the part of the church and one for all we know continues in cases that have yet to go public.

Also this week the top Catholic official for the Kansas City, Mo., Diocese agreed to allow prosecutors to monitor his activities.


United States of Hysteria! US: Pilot stuck in lavatory prompts terror scare

© AFP/Getty Images
A pilot stuck in the lavatory may sound like the opening line of a joke, but it triggered a terror scare on a flight from Asheville, North Carolina, to New York on Wednesday evening.

Delta 6132 -- operated by Chautauqua Airlines -- was about 30 minutes from LaGuardia Airport when the pilot went to use the bathroom.

Unbeknownst to the crew, he became trapped in the lavatory because of a broken door latch.

(The sole flight attendant on the plane couldn't help him because she had entered the flight deck when he left, per security protocols that require two people to be in the cockpit at all times.)

"After trying unsuccessfully for several minutes to open the door, a nearby passenger heard the noise of the efforts and tried to help," said Peter Kowalchuk, a spokesman for the airline.

Bad Guys

Egypt protesters return to Tahrir Square to protest military dictatorship

© EurovisionA rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square drew thousands of protesters Friday.
Over 50,000 Egyptian protesters flocked to Cairo's Tahrir Square Friday to pressure the military government to transfer power to elected civilian rule, after the cabinet tried to enshrine the army's role in a constitutional proposal.

The protesters, mostly bearded men and veiled women, sang religious chants before Friday prayers, while others handed out flyers demanding the withdrawal of the constitutional proposal and presidential elections be held no later than April 2012.

"Does the government want to humiliate the people? The people revolted against Mubarak and they will revolt against the constitution they want to impose on us," a member of an orthodox Islamic Salafi group cried out over loud speakers, to the cheers of thousands of protesters.

The mass rally recalled the demonstrations in Tahrir Square during the 18-day bloody uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak on February 18.

The rally was dominated by the country's most organized political group, the Muslim Brotherhood.