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Sat, 28 Jan 2023
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Fracking wastewater threatens to drown Ohio

© billb1961/Flickr
First, the good news: Using the process known as hydraulic fracturing to create natural gas wells produces less wastewater than wells created using more conventional methods, according to a new study in the journal Water Resources Research. Scientists from Duke and Kent State universities found that fracked wells create 35 percent as much wastewater per unit of gas when compared to conventional wells. The scientists note that this upsets the common idea that fracking creates more wastewater than other types of gas extraction.

But now the bad news. Because of fracking, gas extraction is up 570 percent since 2004 in the Marcellus shale region, which means that there's a whole lot more wastewater overall to deal with.


Court: Sex offender Facebook ban unconstitutional

An Indiana law that bans registered sex offenders from using Facebook and other social networking sites that can be accessed by children is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The 7th U.S. Circuit of Appeals in Chicago overturned a federal judge's decision upholding the law, saying the state was justified in trying to protect children but that the "blanket ban" went too far by restricting free speech.

The 2008 law "broadly prohibits substantial protected speech rather than specifically targeting the evil of improper communications to minors," the judges wrote.


Spain's unemployed youth head to low-paying fast food jobs in the U.K.

© Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images
Carlos Hernandez Sonseca studied six years for a bachelor's degree and couldn't find a job near his home outside Madrid when he graduated in 2011. Last year, he took an increasingly well-worn path to the U.K.

The 27-year-old journalist now washes and chops vegetables eight hours a day at the Vital Ingredient salad bar in London's financial district, making 260 pounds (US$418) before taxes in a 40-hour week. Thirteen other Spaniards are among a workforce of 17, said manager Francisco "Chico" Baumle, a Brazilian.

U.K. fast-food jobs and other low-wage roles have been dominated by Poles and others who arrived after the European Union expanded eastward in 2004. Now they're joined by young Spaniards who can't find work at home, where unemployment hit 25% last year. In the financial year to April, 30,370 Spaniards registered to work in the U.K., up 25% from the previous year, and more than double the 2009-10 levels, according to data from the Department for Work and Pensions.

"We are a lost generation, for sure," Hernandez Sonseca said. "Spain has nothing to offer us, so we go abroad and we work as salad makers and kitchen porters. They are losing money and they are losing skilled people."

The newest workers have it toughest in Spain's labour market, where the jobless rate among adults under 25 reached 52% in the third quarter of 2012, according to the most recent data from Spain's National Institute of Statistics.

Black Magic

China: Man at zoo bit an ostrich to death in elaborate suicide attempt

© Shenzen Satellite Television
You'd think the safest place for animals is usually a zoo. That apparently isn't the case in China. At a zoo in China's Guangdong province over the weekend, a man apparently bit and killed a large flightless bird as part of an elaborate suicide attempt. Here's the Shenzen news report:

According to the blog The Nanfang, the man slashed his wrists after police were called. "As he began to lose strength, Li lay on the ostrich's corpse like a pillow before police approached him tentatively. He offered little resistance before police dragged him away," writes Kevin McGreary.


Family copes with 20-year-old toddler who never grew up

© Screenshot via CNN.com
Brooke Greenberg, 20, is a genuine medical mystery: she's a girl who's barely aged, despite living for two decades.

Appearing on CNN's Headline News on Tuesday, her parents explained that she's stumped doctors so badly that they call her stunted development "Condition X." There's nobody else like her in the world.

No Entry

Florida cops Taser naked burglar who pooped and masturbated when homeowner pulled a gun

© Facebook
George Matthew Bruni accused of burglary
Deputies in Fort Meyers say they Tasered and then arrested a naked Florida man who broke into a home to steal a television but then masturbated and defecated after the homeowner pulled a gun.

Lee County Sheriff's deputies said they were called to a home in North Fort Myers on Monday after the resident heard noises on the roof of his home, according to WTSP. The victim went outside where 21-year-old Gregory Matthew Bruni allegedly jumped from the roof and knocked him down.

"He dropped off my roof and run right in my house," the homeowner said in a 911 call obtained by WBBH.

The victims said that Bruni, who was naked, ran into the living room and broke a 72-inch television in the process of pulling it off of the wall. The suspect then spilled a the contents of a wet/dry vacuum onto the floor.

Red Flag

Reluctant thief leaves Papa John's with pizza for his hungry family instead of cash

A man who apparently summoned the courage to rob a Montana pizza restaurant changed his mind as the clerk started to hand him money, broke down crying and ended up leaving with a pizza to feed his hungry family.

Helena Police Chief Troy McGee praised the clerk's actions.

"I'd say the clerk was pretty astute," McGee said. "I mean, he knows how to talk to this person. Kind of commiserated with him a little. Talked to him about it and you know actually changed his mind about robbing the place. That was pretty good."

Just after midnight Monday, a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a bandanna on his face entered a Papa John's restaurant and handed the clerk a note demanding money.


Food fraud report reveals rise in manufacturers' cost-cutting measures

© Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters
This tea could contain lawn cuttings or saw dust. And who knows what manner of diluted spices were used in those biscuits?
US organisation tracks increasing reports of watered milk, diluted olive oil and other dangerous substitutes in the food chain.

Some fine wines are complimented for their grassy aroma, but if your cup of tea has that earthy, sweet scent it might be because the tea manufacturer put lawn cuttings in it.

The practice is known as food fraud, and it is used as a cost-cutting measure by food manufacturers. US Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), an independent science non-profit, announced Wednesday that its updated database showed incidences of food fraud increasing dramatically in 2011 and 2012.

This means the instances of food manufacturers doing things such as adding lawn grass and fern leaves to tea is much greater than originally thought.

The database's creator and lead analyst, Dr Jeffrey Moore explained that the database was crafted to help food manufacturers, regulators and others improve the safety of the food supply.


The tragic outcome we know Obama's gun control moves will bring

child prisoner
© unknown
School to Prison
The 18th Executive Order signed by President Obama is to provide incentives (and funding) for schools to have police oversee the children. This will create results. Of all the other items concerning background checks and manufacturing specifics for future guns, there is no clear indication that there will be any tangible differences. Gun violence will continue with the 300 million guns in America, and millions more throughout the world. Some people who legally bought guns and have no criminal record or mental health issues will lose their mind and commit a crime. Whether we consider this an acceptable number or not depends as much on the media frenzy as on actual statistics.

School police, known as "Resource Officers" (perhaps for easier digestion) have been key builders of the School to Prison Pipeline. The fistfights and the joint in the bathroom do not result in detention or suspension anymore: now they are imprisonment, expulsion, and an often insurmountable mountain to climb towards any "normal" adult lifestyle. A 2011 report by Justice Police Institute, Education Under Arrest: The Case Against Police In Our Schools, would lead one to believe that the overall damage to a community is not justified by the vague possibility that the school is safer. In fact, there are indications that the police actually lead to increased violence in schools.

Fortunately, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Advancement Project, and others are mounting a campaign to let the President know what he is doing.

Heart - Black

Afghan rape victim 'attacked again by government workers protecting her'

© Photograph: Omar Sobhani/Reuters
Hamid Karzai has sent a delegation to investigate the alleged rape in Afghanistan's Daikundi province.
Girl aged 15 says she was raped by employees and security guard at provincial women's affairs department.

A teenage Afghan rape victim who secured a rare conviction of her attacker has said she was assaulted this month for a second time, by a group of government employees tasked with protecting her.

The 15-year-old schoolgirl, from Daikundi province in Afghanistan's freezing, poor central highlands, was first raped four months ago while she was on her way to school, said Nowruz Ali Ataee, head of the provincial criminal investigation department.

In an unusual move for a young girl in conservative rural Afghanistan, where a rape is often considered to bring shame on an entire family, she reported the attack. Equally unusually, for a country that passed a law banning violence against women four years ago but has been slow to implement it, police found and arrested her rapist. He was recently jailed for 16 years and an accomplice was given a five-year sentence.