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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Marine threw himself onto grenade

L/Cpl Matt Croucher - (c) MOD
L/Cpl Matt Croucher suffered only shock and a bloodied nose

A Royal Marine who threw himself onto an exploding grenade to save the lives of his patrol has been put forward for the UK's highest military honour.

Lance Corporal Matt Croucher, 24, a reservist from Birmingham, survived because his rucksack and body armour took the force of the blast.

He was part of a reconnaissance troop in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in February, when the incident happened.

The Ministry of Defence said he could be considered for the Victoria Cross.

Bloodied nose

A spokesman said L/Cpl Croucher's comrades had made a citation to their commanding officer and officers were now considering whether to put his name forward for the honour.

L/Cpl Croucher, a member of 40 Commando, had been searching a compound south of Sangin which was suspected as being used for making bombs to attack British and Afghan troops.

When a Taleban booby-trap grenade was tripped, L/Cpl Croucher jumped on to the device to absorb the force of the explosion with his backpack as his comrades dived for cover.

The blast blew his rucksack more than 30ft away but he remarkably suffered only severe shock and a bloodied nose in the incident.

Original here

The 10 Most Infamous Heists... Ever

Scream_2 From priceless art thefts to infamous bank robberies, here are a few of the most sensational heists from around the world.

1. Scream

Edvard Munch's famous painting, The Scream, was sensationally stolen twice from the National Gallery of Norway.

In 1994 two men took just 50 seconds to climb a ladder, smash through a window of the Gallery and cut the painting from the wall with wire cutters.

A few months later the thieves offered the painting back in exchange for a $1 million ransom, but the offer was refused. Luckily a sting operation held in May 1994 successfully recovered the painting, and four men were convicted and sentenced for the theft in 1996.

Ten years later, the painting was stolen again, this time alongside Munch's Madonna. Two armed, masked robbers burst into the Oslo museum in August 2004, snatching the artworks from the walls as horrified tourists looked on.

Police recovered the works in August 2006, but found they were scratched and torn and showed signs of damp. They have now been restored and are hanging back in the Gallery – where visitors are subjected to tighter security checks.

2. The biggest art heist in history?

The culprits of this 1990 heist are still at large today.

Just a few hours after Boston's St. Patrick's Day festivities ended, two men dressed as policemen knocked on a side door at the Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts.

The guards let them in – only to then realise to their horror that these were not police officers, but art thieves. The guards were handcuffed, gagged and dragged into the basement while the thieves cut three Rembrandt's from their frames, as well as "The Concert" by Johannes Vermeer and "Landscape with an Obelisk" by Govert Flinck.

In total they snatched 12 paintings worth an estimated £300 million – the paintings have never been found, and the museum never reimbursed.

3. America’s most notorious hijacker

“D. B. Cooper” is still at large after 35 years of being on the run. On November 24 1971 he hijacked Northwest Orient Airlines flight 305 with a briefcase "bomb." He handed a flight attendant a note saying "I have a bomb in my briefcase. I will use it if necessary. I want you to sit next to me. You are being hijacked."

The flight attendant alerted the pilot, who was instructed by radio control to comply with Cooper's requests, which were a parachute and $200,000.

Passengers were dropped off at the Seattle-Tacoma airport, in exchange for the parachute and cash. Loot in hand, Cooper instructed the pilot to take to the skies again, this time headed for Mexico.

When Cooper jumped from the plane, it was flying through a heavy rainstorm with no light source coming from the ground due to cloud coverage. Because of the poor visibility, his descent went unnoticed by the jet fighters tracking the airliner. He is believed to have landed around Ariel, Washington, although his precise landing zone remains unknown.

The whereabouts of the man (or his remains) has been described as “one of the great crime mysteries of our time.”

4. The Great Train Robbery

This notorious robbery involved a 15-member gang, led by Bruce Reynolds and including Ronnie Biggs, who took £2.6 million from a Royal Mail train in Buckhamshire in 1963.

The men brought the Glasgow to London mail train to a halt by tampering with the signals. They then swarmed onto the train, badly injuring the driver, and grabbed 120 mail bags containing used bank notes. Most of the gang members were caught after police discovered their fingerprints at their hideout at Leatherslade Farm, near Oakley, Buckinghamshire. The robbers were tried, sentenced and imprisoned.

Ronnie Biggs escaped from prison 15 months into his sentence and moved to Brazil – but he returned to the UK in 2001 to serve the remainder of his 30-year sentence. Charlie Wilson also escaped prison and lived in a quiet suburban street in Canada – unfortunately for him, his wife made the mistake of telephoning his parents in England, enabling Scotland Yard to track him down.

5. Brinks Mat

In 1983 six robbers broke into the Brinks Mat warehouse at Heathrow Airport, England. They were going to steal £3 million in cash; but when they arrived they found ten tonnes of gold bullion, worth £26 million.

The gang got into the warehouse thanks to security guard Anthony Black, who was the brother-in-law of the raid's architect Brian Robinson. Scotland Yard quickly discovered the family connection and Black confessed to aiding and abetting the raiders, providing them with a key to the main door and giving them details of security measures.

Robinson was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment for armed robbery; Black got six years, and served three.

Three tonnes of stolen gold has never been recovered. It is claimed that anyone wearing gold jewellery bought in the UK after 1983 is probably wearing Brinks Mat.

6. Shergar

“Shergar the wonder-horse”, who was worth around £10 million, was kidnapped from a stables owned by the Aga Khan in Ireland in 1983. The theft came just before the breeding season, where Derby winner Shergar was due to mate with up to 55 mares.

Shergar was never found and his kidnappers have never been officially identified – but most evidence points to the involvement of the IRA. The thieves demanded a ransom of £2 million, but the horses’ shareholders refused to pay. Insurers also refused to pay out without evidence of the horse’s death.

Sean O'Callaghan, a convicted murderer who turned into a supergrass against the IRA, wrote a book called The Informer in which he claims the horse died because its IRA captors could not handle the animal.

"To handle Shergar, the IRA recruited a man who had once 'worked with horses'. But working with horses is one thing: dealing with a thoroughbred stallion, which can be a difficult, highly-strung creature at the best of times, is another story altogether," he said. He goes on to claim that the horse got out of control in its horsebox, injured itself and died within days.

7. Bull semen…

From prize horses to… bull semen. It may be unsavoury, but it is worth a lot of money. In November 2005, a farmer at Stonewood Acres in Smithburg, Maryland returned to his farm to discover that a 70-pound tank filled with bull semen had been opened up, with sixty-five "straws" containing the sperm of nearly 50 bulls missing.

The missing straws were worth about $75,000. The farmer, who had taken years to build up his supply, was planning on selling the semen at a cattle show.

“Frozen bull semen is big business because it saves on the transportation cost of putting a bull and a cow into the same pen to breed. Frozen semen can also last for many years, outliving the bull who produced it,” according to the Washington Post.

The number of potential suspects was limited because of the specialized knowledge and equipment required to keep and sell the semen – yet the culprit was never found.

8. Oscar jewelry theft

This year thieves broke into the showroom of an Italian jeweler and stole £10 million worth of diamonds while its owners were in Los Angeles hosting a party to celebrate the Oscars.

The heist took place at the Damiani showroom in Milan’s fashion district as celebrities such as Tilda Swinton were sporting Damiani jewelry at the Oscar ceremony.

The thieves had spent more than a month digging a tunnel from a disused cellar in an adjoining building. Police said that the drilling had been heard for weeks but was presumed to be part of continuing building works next door.

The four men, disguised as police officers, overpowered the staff and tied them up with electrical cable, sealed their mouths with tape and locked them in the washroom. They then helped themselves to jewellery from the safe-deposit boxes and left the way they had come.

Police said that the entire operation had taken little more than 40 minutes. The employees managed to free themselves and raise the alarm, but by then the gang was long gone. The thieves, who Police say may have had “inside assistance”, have still not been caught.

9. Bank tunnel robbery

Thieves in Brazil netted $65 million after digging a 200m tunnel into a bank from a nearby house. The heist, which occurred in August 2005, is Brazil’s largest ever bank robbery. Around 10 men are thought to have spent three months digging a hole from a house that was rented in the name of a fake gardening business.

The theft happened over the weekend, but was not discovered until Monday morning because the bank was closed. Neighbours reported seeing vanloads of material being removed each day.

Only two suspects have been caught and only $500,000 has been recovered.

10. Castle tourist theft

In August 2003 a painting worth up to £50 million – Madonna with the Yarnwinder – was snatched from the Duke of Buccleuch's home at Drumlanrig Castle in Scotland. The painting was stolen by two men who joined a public tour and overpowered a guide.

Julian Radcliffe, chairman of the Art Loss Register, said such a heist "would probably be easier to do it when it was open to the public rather than at night when all the alarms were set".

The painting is still missing despite the offer of a substantial reward for information leading to the arrest of the thieves.

Original here

Victory for the Topless Front: Women in Copenhagen can now swim and walk around in public pools without their bikini tops

Feminism some men may argue, has its downsides - particularly when it means they have to share the housework.

But few would protest against the latest victory for women's rights.

Ladies in Copenhagen will now be allowed to swim and walk around topless in public pools.

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Victory: Ladies in Copenhagen will now be allowed to swim and walk around topless in public pools

The decision is the result of a year-long campaign by a pressure group, the Topless Front, which says women should be treated the same as bare-chested men.

Campaign leader Astrid Vang, 20, who took her shirt off with others to protest at a leisure centre at Christmas, said: "We women would like to decide by ourselves when our breasts should be sexual and when not.

"In swimming pools they should not and that is why the breasts should not be covered - We will bathe topless just like men."

The Danish campaign was inspired by a Swedish group called Just Breasts, which was formed after two women were asked to cover up their breasts by a lifeguard at a public pool near Stockholm.

Swedish protesters carried out several full-frontal marches in their country but are still campaigning for bare-chested equality.

One of their leaders, 22-year-old Ragnhild Karlsson, said: "We want our breasts to be as normal and desexualised as men's, so that we too can pull off our shirts at football matches."

Activists expect a flurry of similar campaigns-across Europe, including in Britain.

Authorities in Vancouver, Canada - often considered to be a bastion of Victorian values - have allowed topless women in swimming pools and on beaches for several years.

The only protest against the move came from lifeguards who said they had problems knowing what to hold when rescuing swimmers in difficulties.

In Copenhagen yesterday, the city's Culture and Leisure Committee voted overwhelmingly to allow topless bathing.

Frank Hedegaard, of the Socialist People's Party, said: "I cannot understand what some people find so offensive about women's breasts.

"This decision is important in order to stop the idea that women's bodies are only sex objects."

Original here

Mukasey: piracy funding terror

Attorney General Michael Mukasey arrives to speak about  intellectual property at the Tech Museum of Innovation, Friday, March 28, 2008 in San Jose, Calif. Mukasey is in California to meet with top representatives from Silicon Valley tech companies to discuss the governments efforts to prosecute intellectual property violations. (AP Photo/George Nikitin)
AP Photo: Attorney General Michael Mukasey arrives to speak about intellectual property at the Tech Museum...

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Attorney General Michael Mukasey warned Friday that the huge profits generated from piracy and counterfeiting are increasingly flowing into the coffers of terrorist groups.

In remarks to Silicon Valley executives at the Tech Museum of Innovation, Mukasey said the economy and national security of the United States are increasingly threatened by violations involving copyrighted software code, patented inventions and trademarked properties.

Terror groups are taking their cues from organized crime and increasingly funding their operations from counterfeiting and piracy, he said.

Mukasey said his department is devoting more resources to prosecuting intellectual property crimes, which led to a 7 percent increase in the number of IP cases filed in 2007 over the year before and a 33 percent increase over 2005.

"Criminal syndicates, and in some cases even terrorist groups, view IP crime as a lucrative business and see it as a low-risk way to fund other activities," Mukasey said. "A primary goal of our IP enforcement mission is to show these criminals that they're wrong."

Before Friday's speech, he met privately with representatives from companies including Apple Inc. and Adobe Systems Inc.

Mukasey did not elaborate on the topics discussed in that meeting. The attorney general also met with entertainment industry executives in Los Angeles a day earlier during this three-day California trip, and did not discuss those talks.

Original here

Star Wars comes to Holyhead as Darth Vader strikes back in Jedi's back garden

A Star Wars fan got closer to his idols than he would perhaps have liked when he was attacked in his garden by Darth Vader.

  • How About That? Because news doesn't have to be serious
  • Aliens, Star Trek and King Kong: Hollywood memorabilia goes under the hammer
  • Use the force: Star Wars spoofs take off
  • Jedi Master Jonba Hehol - known to family and friends as Barney Jones, 36, of Holyhead - was giving a TV interview in his back garden for a documentary when a man, dressed in a black bin-bag and wearing Darth Vader's trademark shiny black helmet, leapt over his garden fence.

    Darth Vader attacks Jedi Master in his back garden
    How the assailant may have looked

    Wielding a metal crutch - his lightsaber presumably being in for repairs - the Sith Lord proceeded to lay about his opponent, whose Jedi powers proved inadequate for the task of defending himself.

    After besting Master Hehol in single combat, Vader, who The Sun reports was under the influence of alcohol, went on to assault the camera crew and a hairdresser.

    Master Hehol, a hairdresser, who founded the first-ever British Jedi Church in loving homage to the world-famous science fiction franchise with his brother Daniel, was unimpressed by the revenge of the Sith.

    "This wasn't a joke. This was serious," he said.

    Police are investigating a claim of assault.

    The Jedi "religion" was born as a joke in the 2001 census, when almost 400,000 people claimed to believe in the Jedi faith.


    Based on the teachings of Yoda, the crinkly green dwarf of the films, the "church" has a branch in Florida and plans to open another in the Philippines.

    Original here

    Broken-Hearted Swan Looks for Love

    Black swan "Petra" welcomes her "partner", a swan-shaped pedal boat at a small lake at the Zoo in Muenster, western Germany, on Friday March 9, 2007. Petra left her wintering grounds on Friday where she spent the last months with her beloved paddle boat. The swan had "fallen in love" with the giant plastic swan when she met him on a lake in downtown Muenster in summer 2006. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

    The love affair was short-lived. Petra, the wild black swan who has become a minor celebrity, appears to be lonely after her mate, a white swan, has ditched her for another.

    Zoo officials in Muenster, Germany, are going to reunite the animal with what appears to be the love of her life — a white paddle boat shaped like an oversized swan.

    Sound strange? Not really, when you listen to the zoo director, Joerg Adler.

    "We thought she was all set, when she and her new mate, a white swan, were building a nest together," said Adler. "But then her mate decided to fly off seeking the company of other black swans. She's swimming around in an agitated state ever since he ditched her, and we got to calm her down."

    What's happening now may be the end of a long story that began in spring 2006, when Petra fell head over heels for a swan-shaped paddle boat out on Lake Aasee, located near the zoo in the city of Muenster.

    She would not let the boat out of her sight, and over the following months became so attached to it that she refused to mingle with other swans.

    Eventually, by the end of fall, the boat had to be removed from the lake, but the boat owner did not have the heart to separate the two.

    Zoo director Adler decided to let Petra stay with it, taking both bird and boat into the city's zoo for the winter.

    The project was financed by local residents for whom Petra has become a bit of a celebrity.

    Wildlife experts had been hoping she would lose interest in the boat when she got to know other black swans living in the zoo, but Petra always kept close to it and sometimes even nestled in the hollow area underneath it.

    The odd couple became a media attraction, and camera crews from all over the world came to Muenster to report on Petra and "her paddle boat lover."

    It wasn't until a week ago that Petra apparently ditched the boat for a real-life white swan living at the zoo, who seemed interested in her company. Was it possible that true love was on its way?

    They spent a few days together building a nest, making the zoo officials believe this was the real thing.

    Eventually, the boat was returned to its owner at Lake Aasee and everything seemed just fine, until the white swan apparently lost interest in Petra.

    He simply flew off and is now seen spending time with a group of other birds at the zoo.

    "We thought they'd be happy together, going to live a long and happy life, but unfortunately the romance only lasted a few days," the zoo director told ABC News.

    "Normally swans choose a partner for life but for some reason, that does not seem to work with Petra."

    "She now appears to be lonely and seems very upset. We're going to take her back to the lake tomorrow, and we're hoping that reuniting her with the boat will make her feel good again."

    Original here

    The look that says 'I've just eaten all your chickens': The fox who was too fat to flee the coop

    Opening her chicken coop one morning, Terri Strick hoped to find some fresh eggs from her hens.

    Instead all she found was one - very full - fox, as well as an assortment of blood-stained feathers.

    Leave me alone: Basil looks unimpressed to be woken up after feasting on the chickens

    The creature, which she has nicknamed Basil, had already killed six of her chickens the week before. He returned two weeks ago to finish off the feast, but found that his eyes were bigger than his belly.

    The extra portion of poultry was clearly too much for him, and he brazenly decided to stay in the warm, if slightly gory, hen house to sleep off the effects of his over-indulgence.

    Mrs Strick, of St Levan in west Cornwall, said that she had been hoping to collect some eggs for her breakfast when she opened the coop. "All that was there was a lot of feathers and a very contented fox," she said.

    "He stayed there all day, too full to move, even though there was a constant stream of people looking at him."

    However, despite Basil's greedy ways, Mrs Strick decided not to exact any revenge on him for the killing of her hens.

    "It's nature I suppose," she said. "If you live in the country it's what you have to put up with."

    Original here

    Elephant Paints Self Portrait


    How to Disagree

    The web is turning writing into a conversation. Twenty years ago, writers wrote and readers read. The web lets readers respond, and increasingly they do—in comment threads, on forums, and in their own blog posts.

    Many who respond to something disagree with it. That's to be expected. Agreeing tends to motivate people less than disagreeing. And when you agree there's less to say. You could expand on something the author said, but he has probably already explored the most interesting implications. When you disagree you're entering territory he may not have explored.

    The result is there's a lot more disagreeing going on, especially measured by the word. That doesn't mean people are getting angrier. The structural change in the way we communicate is enough to account for it. But though it's not anger that's driving the increase in disagreement, there's a danger that the increase in disagreement will make people angrier. Particularly online, where it's easy to say things you'd never say face to face.

    If we're all going to be disagreeing more, we should be careful to do it well. What does it mean to disagree well? Most readers can tell the difference between mere name-calling and a carefully reasoned refutation, but I think it would help to put names on the intermediate stages. So here's an attempt at a disagreement hierarchy:

    DH0. Name-calling.

    This is the lowest form of disagreement, and probably also the most common. We've all seen comments like this:
    u r a fag!!!!!!!!!!
    But it's important to realize that more articulate name-calling has just as little weight. A comment like
    The author is a self-important dilettante.
    is really nothing more than a pretentious version of "u r a fag."

    DH1. Ad Hominem.

    An ad hominem attack is not quite as weak as mere name-calling. It might actually carry some weight. For example, if a senator wrote an article saying senators' salaries should be increased, one could respond:
    Of course he would say that. He's a senator.
    This wouldn't refute the author's argument, but it may at least be relevant to the case. It's still a very weak form of disagreement, though. If there's something wrong with the senator's argument, you should say what it is; and if there isn't, what difference does it make that he's a senator?

    Saying that an author lacks the authority to write about a topic is a variant of ad hominem—and a particularly useless sort, because good ideas often come from outsiders. The question is whether the author is correct or not. If his lack of authority caused him to make mistakes, point those out. And if it didn't, it's not a problem.

    DH2. Responding to Tone.

    The next level up we start to see responses to the writing, rather than the writer. The lowest form of these is to disagree with the author's tone. E.g.
    I can't believe the author dismisses intelligent design in such a cavalier fashion.
    Though better than attacking the author, this is still a weak form of disagreement. It matters much more whether the author is wrong or right than what his tone is. Especially since tone is so hard to judge. Someone who has a chip on their shoulder about some topic might be offended by a tone that to other readers seemed neutral.

    So if the worst thing you can say about something is to criticize its tone, you're not saying much. Is the author flippant, but correct? Better that than grave and wrong. And if the author is incorrect somewhere, say where.

    DH3. Contradiction.

    In this stage we finally get responses to what was said, rather than how or by whom. The lowest form of response to an argument is simply to state the opposing case, with little or no supporting evidence.

    This is often combined with DH2 statements, as in:
    I can't believe the author dismisses intelligent design in such a cavalier fashion. Intelligent design is a legitimate scientific theory.
    Contradiction can sometimes have some weight. Sometimes merely seeing the opposing case stated explicitly is enough to see that it's right. But usually evidence will help.

    DH4. Counterargument.

    At level 4 we reach the first form of convincing disagreement: counterargument. Forms up to this point can usually be ignored as proving nothing. Counterargument might prove something. The problem is, it's hard to say exactly what.

    Counterargument is contradiction plus reasoning and/or evidence. When aimed squarely at the original argument, it can be convincing. But unfortunately it's common for counterarguments to be aimed at something slightly different. More often than not, two people arguing passionately about something are actually arguing about two different things. Sometimes they even agree with one another, but are so caught up in their squabble they don't realize it.

    There could be a legitimate reason for arguing against something slightly different from what the original author said: when you feel they missed the heart of the matter. But when you do that, you should say explicitly you're doing it.

    DH5. Refutation.

    The most convincing form of disagreement is refutation. It's also the rarest, because it's the most work. Indeed, the disagreement hierarchy forms a kind of pyramid, in the sense that the higher you go the fewer instances you find.

    To refute someone you probably have to quote them. You have to find a "smoking gun," a passage in whatever you disagree with that you feel is mistaken, and then explain why it's mistaken. If you can't find an actual quote to disagree with, you may be arguing with a straw man.

    While refutation generally entails quoting, quoting doesn't necessarily imply refutation. Some writers quote parts of things they disagree with to give the appearance of legitimate refutation, then follow with a response as low as DH3 or even DH0.

    DH6. Refuting the Central Point.

    The force of a refutation depends on what you refute. The most powerful form of disagreement is to refute someone's central point.

    Even as high as DH5 we still sometimes see deliberate dishonesty, as when someone picks out minor points of an argument and refutes those. Sometimes the spirit in which this is done makes it more of a sophisticated form of ad hominem than actual refutation. For example, correcting someone's grammar, or harping on minor mistakes in names or numbers. Unless the opposing argument actually depends on such things, the only purpose of correcting them is to discredit ones's opponent.

    Truly refuting something requires one to refute its central point, or at least one of them. And that means one has to commit explicitly to what the central point is. So a truly effective refutation would look like:
    The author's main point seems to be x. As he says:
    But this is wrong for the following reasons...
    The quotation you point out as mistaken need not be the actual statement of the author's main point. It's enough to refute something it depends upon.

    What It Means

    Now we have a way of classifying forms of disagreement. What good is it? One thing the disagreement hierarchy doesn't give us is a way of picking a winner. DH levels merely describe the form of a statement, not whether it's correct. A DH6 response could still be completely mistaken.

    But while DH levels don't set a lower bound on the convincingness of a reply, they do set an upper bound. A DH6 response might be unconvincing, but a DH2 or lower response is always unconvincing.

    The most obvious advantage of classifying the forms of disagreement is that it will help people to evaluate what they read. In particular, it will help them to see through intellectually dishonest arguments. An eloquent speaker or writer can give the impression of vanquishing an opponent merely by using forceful words. In fact that is probably the defining quality of a demagogue. By giving names to the different forms of disagreement, we give critical readers a pin for popping such balloons.

    Such labels may help writers too. Most intellectual dishonesty is unintentional. Someone arguing against the tone of something he disagrees with may believe he's really saying something. Zooming out and seeing his current position on the disagreement hierarchy may inspire him to try moving up to counterargument or refutation.

    But the greatest benefit of disagreeing well is not just that it will make conversations better, but that it will make the people who have them happier. If you study conversations, you find there is a lot more meanness down in DH1 than up in DH6. You don't have to be mean when you have a real point to make. In fact, you don't want to. If you have something real to say, being mean just gets in the way.

    If moving up the disagreement hierarchy makes people less mean, that will make most of them happier. Most people don't really enjoy being mean; they do it because they can't help it.

    Original here

    Activists demand that middle schools do more to teach tolerance

    OXNARD, Calif. - Larry King was a gay eighth-grader who used to come to school in makeup, high heels and earrings. And when the other boys made fun of him, he would boldly tease them right back by flirting with them.

    That may have been what got him killed.

    On Feb. 12, another student, Brandon McInerney, 14, shot him twice in the head at the back of the computer lab at their junior high school, police say.

    The slaying of the 15-year-old boy has alarmed gay rights activists and led to demands that middle schools do more to educate youngsters about discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

    Police would not discuss McInerney's motive. But the day before the shooting, King told McInerney he liked him, eighth-grader Eduardo Segure told the Ventura County Star.

    If King had flirted with the other boy, "that can be very threatening to someone's ego and their sense of identity," said Jaana Juvonen, a psychology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.

    Hate-crime allegation
    McInerney was jailed on $770,000 bail on an adult murder charge that could put him behind bars for life. Prosecutors also filed a hate-crime enhancement, which could bring three more years if McInerney is found to have acted on the basis of the victim's race, religion, nationality or sexual orientation.

    The shooting has galvanized Oxnard, a city of nearly 200,000 people about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Several vigils for King have been held, including a march that drew about 1,000 people to this strawberry-growing section of Ventura County.

    Like the killings of some other gay students — such as Matthew Shepard in Wyoming and Brandon Teena, the Nebraska transsexual whose story was the subject of the movie "Boys Don't Cry" — King's death has drawn national attention and outraged many gays.

    Comic Ellen DeGeneres, who is a lesbian, said on her talk show Feb. 28: "Larry was not a second-class citizen. I'm not a second-class citizen. It is OK if you are gay."

    'He wasn't afraid'
    Students at E.O. Green Junior High said the other kids used to taunt King, call him names and throw wet paper towels at him in the boys' restroom, and he would bravely fire back by flirting with them and chasing them.

    "He didn't like people insulting him," said his friend Miriam Lopez, 13. "Larry was brave enough to bring high heels and makeup to school and he wasn't afraid of anything."

    Jerry Dannenberg, superintendent of the Hueneme School District, would not discuss details of what went on between King and McInerney but said students are encouraged to come forward if they have been threatened.

    He also said that King was free to wear women's accessories with his uniform of white shirt and dark pants because the dress code prohibits only those items that could be a safety threat, such as steel-toed shoes.

    "If girls are wearing jewelry, you can't stop boys from wearing it, too," he said. "Each gender has the right to wear what the other does."

    The school system said that it has tolerance programs in its middle schools, but that sexual orientation is often not dealt with until high school. Since the killing, school officials have been meeting with gay leaders about changing the program.

    "With young people coming out at younger ages, our schools — especially our junior highs and middle schools — need to be proactive about teaching respect for diversity based on sexual orientation and gender identity," said Carolyn Laub, executive director of the Gay-Straight Alliance Network. "The tragic death of Larry King is a wake-up call for our schools to better protect students from harassment at school."

    Abuse and harassment
    A 2005 survey by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network found that more than 64 percent of gay and lesbian students report verbal, sexual or physical harassment at school, and 29 percent said they missed at least a day of school in the previous month out of fear for their safety. The group is holding its annual "Day of Silence" in memory of King on April 25.

    The families of both boys have refused to comment. An e-mail message left for McInerney's attorney was not immediately returned.

    Both teens have been described as good kids.

    King and his mother crocheted hundreds of scarves that were shipped to U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. The avid singer planned to belt out the national anthem at his brother's opening-day baseball game this spring.

    "He had an amazing voice and was always singing," said Averi Laskey, 13, a friend since elementary school. "He would stick up for you no matter what. Larry was the best kind of person you could meet."

    McInerney was described as the typical eighth-grader, goofy and fun to be around. He trained to be a lifeguard and took martial arts. He also enrolled in the Young Marines, a group similar to the Army's Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps.

    Rough upbringings
    The two had at least one thing in common: rough upbringings.

    King had been in foster care at a center for abused and neglected children since November, said Steve Elson, the facility's chief executive. Confidentiality laws prevented him from saying why.

    McInerney's parents accused each other of domestic violence and filed dueling restraining orders, according to court records. Several months before McInerney was born, his father was accused of shooting his mother in the elbow. Kendra McInerney told a local paper she struggled with drug addiction for many years. The couple divorced in 2002.

    Jay Smith, director of the Ventura County Rainbow Alliance, a gay rights organization, questioned whether teachers have enough training to deal with gay teens.

    "Those of us being out remember being bullied and we don't want to see that happen to another kid," he said.

    Original here

    The three-year-old girl who can swim 400 metres

    Leah Robbins has certainly made quite a splash in the world of swimming.

    The three-year-old not only passed her 50m badge when she was just 13 months old, but the pint sized toddler has now become one of the youngest swimmers ever in this country to be awarded a badge for swimming 400m.

    The waterbaby wonder now has her sights set on a professional career and the Olympics when she grows up after achieving her latest amazing milestone.

    Scroll down for more...

    Natural: Three-year-old Leah Robbins has become the youngest person to receive the 400m badge

    Little Leah is already looking to add the 800m badge to her growing collection of swimming achievements.

    The supertot's proud mum, Kay Masters, 27, said: "Leah was recognised by the Guinness Book of Records, although they won't publish it because they don't want parents trying to beat it and chucking their kids in the pool when they are really young.

    "We think it's excellent, because it's a natural achievement - we don't push her, she does it because she loves it."

    She added: "Leah's quite an adamant little girl and if she didn't want to do it, she wouldn't.

    "She actually swam 500m, even though it was for the 400m.

    Leah, of Gorleston, near Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, started swimming when she was just four months old at her local pool in Pontin's Holiday Park, Hemsby.

    Leah, who swims front crawl and backstroke, goes swimming at least once a week.

    And it seems a love of swimming runs in the family - her brother Luke, now seven, passed his two-mile badge when he was just six.

    Scroll down for more...

    Little Leah already has ambitions to become the next big thing in swimming

    Miss Masters said: "Leah used to go and watch Luke when he started swimming lessons and wanted to go in herself.

    "She took her 10m, 25m and 50m and 100m badges when she was two.

    "I think we encourage each other - they probably got into swimming because of me, but I have got more into swimming because the children are."

    The mum-of-three added: "My other son, Rhys, who is one, likes swimming, too, but unfortunately he can't go as much because he has asthma."

    An Amateur Swimming Association spokesman said: "It's great that Leah has swum such a distance at only three years of age.

    "What is important now is that she continues her development through the new National Plan for Teaching Swimming to make further progress.

    "We hope that she is enjoying her time being active in the water and continues to do so."

    Leah has also been chosen as the face of the new website of nappy firm Huggies, www.littleswimmers.com, which aims to encourage children to take the plunge at their local swimming pool.

    Original here

    Man Shooting Hole Through Wall Kills Wife

    Officials are trying to decide whether to file charges against a Missouri man who fatally shot his wife while trying to install a satellite TV system in the bedroom of their home.Patsy Long, 34, of Deepwater, died after being shot in the chest with a .22-caliber handgun on Saturday. Her husband, Ronald Long, fired the shot from the inside of their home after several unsuccessful efforts to punch a hole through the exterior wall using other means.Henry County sheriff's deputies said the woman was hit by the second of two shots fired by her husband.Long was given CPR by neighbors and family until medics arrived, police said. She was transported by air ambulance, but was pronounced dead at the hospital just after 6 p.m.

    "He was under the impression that everybody was inside the residence, that he knew where everybody was at,” said sheriff's department spokesman Maj. Robert Hills.Hills said a person involved in such a case normally would be charged with manslaughter, but that would be up to the prosecutor."Once we complete a diagram of the incident, we will be submitting everything to the prosecuting attorney and let him decide if he wants to press criminal charges," Hills said.Henry County Coroner Scott Largent declined to release details about Patsy Long's death until the sheriff's department completes its investigation.On Tuesday morning, Henry County Prosecuting Attorney Richard M. Shields said he has yet to receive the case from the sheriff's department.Neighbor Mark Lassince said he believed it was a tragic accident."Bad things happen to good people,” Lassince said.Patsy and Ronald Long were raising their children in their rural home overlooking Truman Lake."I was in the shower, and the son came in and told me his mom had been shot, so we went up there to see if we could help,” Lassince said.Patsy Long worked as a carhop at a Sonic restaurant in Warsaw, Mo.“She was a good person, you know, took care of her family,” Lassince said.

    Original here

    5 Famous Inventors (Who Stole Their Big Idea)


    It has become clear that it's up to the Cracked staff to re-educate America. See, we slept through high school, so we were lucky. We avoided the years and years of brainwashing that accompanies a standard education.

    To those of you unfortunate enough to have been subjected to a lifetime in the public school system, we've got some bad news for you that you probably won't find in your text books: Every brilliant inventor you've ever loved is a huge, thieving asshole.

    #5.
    Galileo Galilee

    Galileo Galilee or "Gal-Gal," as he is more commonly known, was an Italian astronomer, physicist and mathematician. If you asked the average high schooler what Galileo's lasting contribution to science was, they would most likely reply "the telescope" before going off to listen to their Rhianna records and play with their Digimon, (Is that what high schoolers do these days? We don't even know anymore). Well, put down that Digital Monster, high schooler, because we are about to blow your mind: Gal-Gal did not invent the telescope. Also, Rhianna sucks.

    Who Actually Invented It?
    While everyone was probably looking up at the stars, no one was doing it quite as hard as Dutchman Hans Lippershey. In 1608, Lippershey completed the first ever telescope and attempted to receive a patent for it, but was denied for no discernible reason.


    Lippershey's telescope (internet re-creation)

    A few countries over, when Galileo heard about Lippershey's work, he quickly built his own telescope in 1609. A telescope, it should be noted, that could see just a little bit further than Lippershey's.

    Necessary? Not particularly. Emasculating? Oh, you betcha. While Galileo never registered a patent for his telescope, the fact remains that his name is synonymous with the telescope, while Lippershey was most likely absent from your old textbooks.

    In a final shot to show just how fairly each scientist was rewarded, four moons surrounding Jupiter are named after Galileo, and do you know what carries Lippershey's name? A crater. A fucking crater on Earth's moon will forever be known as Lippershey's Crater. The Moon's Ass Crack.

    #4.
    Alexander Fleming

    Sir Alexander Fleming is the name people think of when penicillin is brought up. There's even a charming little story that goes along with it. According to the legend, Fleming's father saved a little boy from drowning in Scotland, and the father of this boy vowed to fund the young Fleming's education to repay the kindness. Eventually, Fleming graduates med school and discovers the healing nature of penicillin which eventually saves Winston Churchill's life when he is stricken with pneumonia. And who was the little boy that Fleming's father saved in the first place? Winston motherfucking Churchill.

    This would all be very cozy, if it wasn't for the fact that it's total horseshit on several counts. For one, Churchill wasn't treated with penicillin and, for another, Fleming wasn't the guy who discovered it. He was just some asshole.


    Fuck you

    Who Actually Discovered It?
    Difficult to say. North African tribesmen have been using penicillin for thousands of years. Also, in 1897, Ernest Duchesne used the mold penicillum glaucoma to cure typhoid in guinea pigs which, OK, was about the stupidest waste of time in the history of science, but proof that he understood the possibilities of penicillin all the same.

    Other scientists at the time didn't take him serious, due to his age and strange preoccupation with guinea pigs, so he never received a patent for his work. He died about 10 years later from a disease that would have been completely treatable with penicillin and he was survived by his healthy, yet totally indifferent guinea pigs.

    Even when Fleming did accidentally discover penicillin years later, he didn't think it could actually be used to help anyone, so he stopped working on it and moved on. Meanwhile, a few other scientists, Howard Florey, Norman Heatley, Andrew Moyer and Ernst Chain started working on penicillin and eventually mastered penicillin as well as figured out a way to mass produce it.

    So even though Fleming wasn't the first person to discover penicillin, and even though he didn't actually believe penicillin was in any way useful, he will forever go down in history as a penicillin-inventing, Winston-Churchill-saving genius.

    #3.
    Alexander Graham Bell

    Ah, Bell. The man behind the telephone and a good guy all around. Bell spent a whole lot of time working with deaf people. His wife was deaf, his mother was deaf and he was even Helen Keller's favorite teacher. With this time-consuming near-obsession with deaf people, it's amazing that Bell found time to invent the telephone. Wait, not "amazing." "Impossible." That's the one.

    Who Actually Invented It?
    In 1860, an Italian named Antonio Meucci first demonstrated his working telephone, (though he called it the "teletrofono," mostly because Italians are wacky). Eleven years later, (still five years before Bell's phone came out), he filed a temporary patent on his invention. In 1874, Meucci failed to send in the $10 necessary to renew his patent, because he was sick and poor and Italian.

    Two years after that, Bell registered his telephone patent. Meucci attempted to sue, of course, by retrieving the original sketches and plans he sent to a lab at Western Union, but these records, quite amazingly, disappeared. Where was Bell working at this time? Why, the very same Western Union lab where Meucci swore he sent his original sketches. Eventually, Meucci died penniless and faded away into obscurity.

    Did Bell, given his convenient position at Western Union, destroy Meucci's records and claim the telephone as his own invention? It's difficult to say. One source says "Yes, definitely," while others just say "probably." It makes sense, if you look at the facts: Bell already had a number of important inventions under his belt; it isn't unreasonable to assume he just got greedy and didn't want to see anyone else succeed. Further, why would Bell even need a phone? Both his wife and mother were deaf. Who the hell was he gonna call?

    #2.
    Albert Einstein

    According to all of your science books and that one episode of Animaniacs, Albert Einstein, Time Magazine's Man of the Century, invented the theory of relativity. Certainly, when you hear the name Einstein, you undoubtedly will think "He discovered relativity" or "He came up with that E=mc2 equation" or "He was a total sex maniac." Only one of those things is true. (It's the sex maniac part.)

    Who Actually Invented It?
    Henri Poincaré, mostly. Poincaré was the foremost expert on relativity in the late 19th century and was most likely the first person to formally present the theory of relativity. If you were Einstein and you wanted to write about relativity, you might consider meeting with the foremost expert on relativity, yes? If you answered "yes" to that question, then you're not Einstein at all.

    According to Einstein's famous On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies, which contains his theories on relativity, Poincaré, despite publishing 30 books and over 500 papers, is not worth mentioning. It's true, pick up Einstein's paper if you don't believe us, (you won't): Poincaré doesn't receive a single reference, unless you consider plagiarism to be some kind of indirect reference. As a matter of fact, Einstein does not reference, footnote or cite a single goddamn source in his entire paper.

    Really? Not one source? Even we cite sources, Albert, and we're friggin' Cracked. What the hell?


    Einstein, photographed with God

    We don't want to jump to any conclusions here. Maybe Einstein's paper didn't contain any sources because he genuinely didn't read any other current physics texts or papers. Maybe he was seriously that smart. According to Peter Galison's Einstein's Clocks, Poincaré's Maps: Empires of Time, Einstein and a small group of his fellow nerdlings formed a group called The Olympia Academy and would regularly gather to discuss their own works as well as the works of current scientists. The book goes on to specifically mention how Poincaré was one of the scientists that Einstein and his battalion of nerds would discuss.

    Shoots that whole "maybe Einstein didn't read any other papers" theory right to shit, doesn't it? It's interesting that Einstein sat studying and discussing the work of Poincaré for years, published a book that featured a theory that was startlingly similar to Poincaré's, and then didn't reference Poincaré once in the entire book. Wait, that isn't interesting? It's plagiarism. It's total bullshit plagiarism. Good luck sexing your way out of this one, Einstein.


    Einstein in 1951 (age 72)

    #1.
    Thomas Edison

    Thomas Edison. The "Wizard of Menlo Park." Described as one of the "world's most prolific inventors" with a record-breaking 1,093 patents to his name. You know, a guy could round up and kidnap a buttload of children and keep them forever, but would you call that guy the "world's most prolific father?" No, of course not. A "soulless monster," maybe. A "skilled thief," if you're being generous. Perhaps even the "King of Pop." But you wouldn't call that guy "the world's most prolific father," because those aren't his kids. He stole them. Such is the case with Thomas Edison.

    Sure, Cracked's staunchly anti-Thomas Edison stance is already fairly well documented, but we're afraid one article detailing what a prick this prick was just isn't enough. Edison is still celebrated in schools across the country for inventing the light bulb, the motion picture, electricity and a shit-ton of other important crap he had very little to do with.


    Edison's only original invention, the "Face Vacuum."

    Since there literally isn't enough space on the internet to cover all of the inventions that Edison didn't invent, we're just going to focus on the light bulb today.

    Who Actually Invented It?
    Everyone else. We all know how Edison exploited and took advantage of the poor, but brilliant Nikola Tesla, but who else did Edison step on? Sit back.

    Plenty of people messed around with the idea of the light bulb, (Jean Foucault, Humphrey Davy, J.W. Starr, some other guys you'll never read about in a history text book), but Heinrich Goebel was likely the first person to have actually invented it, back in 1854. He tried selling it to Edison, who saw no practical use in Goebel's invention and refused. Shortly thereafter, Goebel died and, shortly after that, Edison bought Goebel's patent, (you know, the one he saw no merit in), off of Goebel's impoverished widow at a cost much lower than what it was worth.


    One of nine light bulbs Edison accidentally got wedged in his anus during its development

    Screwing over just one inventor might be alright for Galileo, but Edison was a dreamer and he couldn't be satisfied with just one, dead disgraced inventor under his belt. So, after Goebel, and a year before Edison "invented" his light bulb, Joseph Wilson Swan developed and patented a working light bulb. When it was clear Edison's "Fuck Swan" defense wouldn't hold up in court, he made Swan a partner, forming the Ediswan United Company and effectively buying Swan and his patent.

    Soon enough, Edison acquired even more power and bought out Swan completely leaving all records of the light bulb under the care of the Edison Company. Sure, Swan had money, but in buying all of the records, Edison could take sole credit for the light bulb. So, he's got a laundry list of inventors he's either stepped on, bullied, exploited or bought out to his name, but what do they say about Edison in the textbooks? Father of the fucking light bulb.

    Original here

    An archer has achieved a one-in-a-million feat of marksmanship after splitting one arrow with another. What makes the shot even more remarkable is that Tilly Trotter is blind.

    The 74-year-old grandmother pulled off the shot, known among archers as a "Robin Hood", at a practice session of the Wellington Bowmen in Somerset.

    Tilly Trotter holds the bow she used to split one arrow with another, an extremely rare feat known as a Robin Hood

    Mrs Trotter, who has been an archer for two years at the invitation of granddaughter Charlotte, said: "The second arrow made such a noise going into the back of previous arrow I thought I had hit the ceiling or done some expensive damage.

    "Then I heard people jumping up and down shouting that I'd done a Robin Hood.

    "It was a one-in-a-million shot and a bit of a fluke really."

    Mrs Trotter, from Uffculme, North Devon, lost most of her sight following a head injury 17 years ago. "I can see movement but I have no central vision," she said.

    Her husband, Tony, is crucial to her success, telling her how near her shots are to the target each time she shoots.

    "He isn't allowed to tell me to aim left or right before I let loose an arrow," Mrs Trotter said. "I can only make my own adjustments to my aim before I shoot."

    She may dismiss the shot as a fluke, but she also won a gold medal at the British Blind Sports National Championship last year.

    Peter Jones, a spokesman for the Grand National Archery Society, said: "It's a very rare feat - like getting two holes in one on the same round of golf."

    Original here

    200 students and other teens celebrate end of school term with outdoor orgy

    The Telegraph reports that 70 students from the Queen Elizabeth School in Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria, were joined by over 100 other youths to celebrate an end of term party by "having unprotected sex in a village square." Alison Hughes, the deputy head of the Queen Elizabeth School in Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria, was so concerned that she detailed the "catalogue of disasters" in a two-page letter to parents, warning them about the sexual activity, violent behaviour and alleged drug abuse that took place.

    She wrote: "We have had to help a disturbingly high number of girls through the aftermath of having unprotected sex that evening, most of whom have told us they were too drunk to be in control of themselves. The risks are real. Assume the worst."

    Neil Taplin, the landlord of the nearby George and Dragon pub, said that youths had urinated against his wall and sworn at him when he refused to sell them cigarettes. "They were a law to themselves," he said. "It was upsetting for people in the village. We are all quite close and look out for each other."

    A resident involved in the clean-up said that she saw evidence of drug use, blood stains and broken glass and said that a newly fitted sink had been smashed.

    Original here

    Redheads 'have more sex than blondes or brunettes'

    Blondes may have more fun but redheads have more sex, according to new research in Germany.

    The study by Hamburg Sex Researcher Professor Dr Werner Habermehl looked at the sex lives of hundreds of German women and compared them with their hair colour.

    He said: "The sex lives of women with red hair were clearly more active than those with other hair colour, with more partners and having sex more often than the average. The research shows that the fiery redhead certainly lives up to her reputation."

    He added that women who dyed their hair red from another colour were signalling they were looking for a partner, and added: "Even women in a fixed relationship are letting their partners know they are unhappy if they dye their hair red. They are saying that they are looking for something better."

    Psychologist Christine Baumanns said however that it may not be the women who were to blame for the better sex lives of redheads.

    She said: "Red stands for passion and when a man sees a redhead he will think he is dealing with a woman who won't mess around, and gets straight to the point when it comes to sex."

    Original here

    English will turn into Panglish in 100 years

    English will turn into Panglish in 100 years


    Last Updated: 2:52am GMT 27/03/2008

    English as it is spoken today will have disappeared in 100 years and could be replaced by a global language called Panglish, researchers claim.

  • Children read gossip magazines over books
  • New words will form and meanings will change with the most dramatic changes being made by people learning English as a second language, says Dr Edwin Duncan, a historian of English at Towson University in Maryland, in the US.


    According to the New Scientist, the global form of English is already becoming a loose grouping of local dialects and English-based common languages used by non-native speakers to communicate.

    By 2020 there may be two billion people speaking English, of whom only 300 million will be native speakers. At that point English, Spanish, Hindi, Urdu and Arabic will have an equal number of native speakers.

    Dr Suzette Haden Elgin, a retired linguist formerly at San Diego University in California, said: "I don't see any way we can know whether the result of what's going on now will be Panglish - a single English that would have dialects... or scores of wildly varying Englishes, many or most of them heading toward mutual unintelligibility." How long will it take to find out? "My guess, a wild guess, is less than 100 years."

    Original here

    Police: Little Chute teen used 'Dummies' book to hack school computers

    LITTLE CHUTE — Police searching the residence of a 15-year-old boy who admitted hacking into the Little Chute School District's computers found a copy of the book "Internet for Dummies."

    "He was self-taught and self-motivated in that regard," said Lt. Ray Lee of the Fox Valley Metro Police Department.

    Lee said the boy, a Little Chute High School student, faces a juvenile criminal charge and school discipline.

    "He was questioned and he confessed to hacking into the computers so he has been referred to juvenile intake on one count of violating the Wisconsin computer crimes statute," Lee said.

    According to search warrant documents filed Feb. 26 in Outagamie County Circuit Court, the district called in a vendor to make repairs and they were able to determine the district's computers were accessed from an outside computer and traced the source to the 15-year-old's home.

    Also, a subpoena of internet provider Time Warner Cable records traced IP address to the same Holland Road residence.

    Police armed with a search warrant went to the home March 19 and seized the boy's computer equipment along with a copy of "Internet for Dummies."

    The school district took its entire computer system down to make repairs, according to the search warrant affidavit.

    "It cost the district several thousand dollars and a lot of time to do the fixes," Lee said.

    Original here

    Sentence not lost in translation

    WILKES-BARRE – Learn English or go to jail.

    That’s the succinct directive Luzerne County Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. made as part of his sentence to four criminals on Tuesday.

    The defendants – Luis Reyes, Ricardo Dominguez, Kelvin Reyes-Rosario and Rafael Guzman-Mateo – all needed translators when they appeared in court to plead guilty to criminal conspiracy to commit robbery. It led to Olszewski leveling the unusual condition.

    He sentenced them each to four to 24 months in the county prison, but paroled three of them because they have already served at least four months.

    But in order for them to avoid the 24 months in prison, Olszewski ordered the men to learn to read and write the English language, earn their GED, and, within 30 days of release, get a full-time job while on parole. The defendants, who range in age from 17 to 22, are to return to court in one year with their parole officers to take an English test, according to Olszewski’s order.

    “If they don’t pass, they’re going in for the 24 (months),” Olszewski said.

    The ruling, the judge said, is supposed to help, not punish.

    “There’s no way young kids can be hurt by knowing how to read and write the English language,” he said. “It’s a means to helping them get a better education, getting a better job. Period.”

    Whether the legality of the ruling will be challenged has yet to be determined.

    Attorneys Joseph Yeager and Ferris Webby, who represent the suspects, are looking at the ruling and laws before deciding whether to appeal. Neither has seen such an order in any past cases, they said.

    “First of all, let’s say it’s unusual,” Webby said.

    Webby said his role as an attorney requires him to look at the legality of the ruling, but, as a person, he knows Olszewski’s choice is good for his client, Guzman-Mateo.

    Guzman-Mateo realizes it, too.

    “My client is happy,” Webby said. “I think it’s going to help him. It’s going to help him succeed.”

    But that doesn’t make it right, said Agapito Lopez, a Latino community leader from Hazleton. He said he believes the ruling is a violation of the suspects’ rights.

    “I think that it’s contrary to the Constitution,” said Lopez, who stressed he is not an attorney and is speaking from a lay person’s perspective. “I don’t think that is due process. … I think this can be challenged in court.”

    Lopez said he will speak with attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union to see if the decision should be challenged.

    Police said the four were part of a group of people that approached two men, Reese Tankalavage and Cletus Mumie, on May 29 on Locust Street and asked them if they had any marijuana. When Tankalavage and Mumie said no, the four suspects told them to empty their pockets. That’s when one of the people in the group struck Mumie in the head with a rawhide bone. Another man pulled out a gun.

    The group then searched the duo’s pockets before telling them it was “their block and they better not see them around there anymore,” police said.

    In sentencing the four defendants on Tuesday, Olszewski gave Reyes, Dominguez and Guzman-Mateo immediate parole. Reyes-Rosario is doing jail time on an unrelated drug charge. His sentence in the robbery case will begin after he completes the drug sentence.

    Olszewski said the language condition he imposed on the defendants, who are resident aliens, was not something he had planned. Once he saw all the translators in court for one case, the idea dawned on him.

    The decision, he said, could help cut down on extreme costs associated with the paying for translators for each court appearance.

    Plus, he said, one of the defendants only went to third grade; the others didn’t finish high school. Learning English will help them get their GED first, and then a job, he said.

    “Do you think we are going to supply you with a translator all of your life?” he asked them.

    Olszewski is ready to face any flak from the ruling.

    “I’d like anyone to tell me that learning the English language is not a good thing,” he said. “I’d love to hear from them.”

    Learning the language could help the suspects, Lopez said. But it would not assure them of getting a job – that theory is merely mythical, he said.

    “This is a country in which English is not the official language,” he said. “We cannot force people to learn the language.”

    Olszewski said the parties can ask him to reconsider the ruling within 10 days. No one, he said, objected to the ruling in court Tuesday. Olszewski is unaware of whether this condition had been previously imposed.

    It’s not the first creative sentence Olszewski has imposed. He regularly orders defendants to get and maintain a full-time job, but also helps them find work. He has his tipstaff, Ron Zukosky, coordinate with an employment agency to find the defendants work. The judge also has ordered young defendants who dropped out of school to return and finish school.

    “There’s no way young kids can be hurt by knowing how to read and write the English language.”

    Original here

    Drunk Dialing for Dummies

    Drunk Dialing for Dummies

    By: Salma Rumman (Little_personView Profile)

    What is it about taking fifteen tequila shots and dancing on the bar to “Pour Some Sugar on Me” that automatically makes you turn to your trusty cell phone? Is it really a good idea to call the ex you haven’t spoken to for five years or your current love interest for some sloppy late night lovin’? We’ve all done it. And we’ll continue to do it as long as the tequila flows and cheesy songs remind us of losing our virginity in the backseat of a Chevy pickup. But drinking and dialing can get a little messy, and there are a few guidelines to follow for specific situations that may help preserve a tiny bit of dignity. Or not.

    Bone Me over Beer.
    Some relationships begin while under the influence and never seem to leave this turf. They satisfy that horny feeling when one is drunk. These relationships are unstable at best, but they’re always ripe for a drunk dialing should the two of you be libating separately.

    “Hey.”

    “Man, I’m so wasted.”

    “Me too.”

    “See you in ten minutes?”

    “Actually, I’m outside your door.”

    In this situation, call as often as your libido will allow. But if you start daydreaming about trips to the lake, meeting the parents, and white picket fences, stop calling after eight Mojitos.

    I Want the Bone Back.
    If you’re the dumpee, a tearful take-me-back phone call is permitted, but it’s best to keep these to a minimum. If you’re only asking for boo-tay, it’s smart to have a heart-to-heart with yourself in the morning to know if you can handle the humping without the holding. If you’re the dumper, the dumpee is likely recovering and does not need any encouragement in the form of late night calls. Try something like this:

    “Oh sweetie, last night was so amazing. I’m so glad you called.”

    “Yeah, it was a good time.”

    “Is this what I think it means? I’m so happy we’re back together.”

    “Ummm … I’m actually kinda busy with work and I have this really intense Online Poker Championship coming up so … maybe we should just play it by ear.”

    Conversations like this one are exactly why you should dial at your own risk. It could result in desperate Lorena Bobbit-like escapades.

    I’ve Lost My Boning Mojo.
    In this situation, one or both parties has essentially lost her cool at one point or another. Again, it’s best to keep all of these calls to a minimum. How do you recognize a call where one has lost his game? See if these lines look familiar:

    “Hey hot stuff, what ya up to?”

    “Oh god, not you again.”

    “Hey, do you mind if I stop by? I was just in the neighborhood … I had a few, okay maybe ten, drinks and I thought ...”

    “Sorry, I’m pretty busy. There’s a Star Trek marathon on and it’s really exciting.”

    “You are so cute with your Star Trek ... I LOVE you. Do you love me? You’re so beautiful; I want to make sweet love to you while listening to Kenny G. Will you marry me ... wait don’t hang up!”

    “Sorry gotta go. By the way I’m moving to Djibouti tomorrow.”

    If you know you’ve lost your mojo, give your phone to a friend, or better yet, throw it off a bridge.

    Boning for Life.
    This makes the drunk dial null and void; often, one party is just in need of a ride.

    “Hi sweetheart, I’m a little drunk. Do you think you can pick me up from this bar? Everyone here is so dull and I can’t stop thinking about you because I love you so much. Let’s scatter rose petals on the bed and light candles and make love.”

    “Oh hey honey ... I’m just on the toilet. Give me, like ... half an hour.”

    The rules for drunk dialing are pretty self-explanatory. Basically, if you’re too tanked to play by the rules, just be content playing with yourself that night. However, the rules for receiving a drunk dial require a little more finesse (and possibly a slight Bacardi buzz).

    Rules for Receiving a Drunk Dial.

    1. If interested romantically in the offender, consider it flattery.

    2. You have to take it with a grain of salt, especially if this is a male calling a female. If he proposed, you may want to confirm in sobriety. “Will you marry me?” could really mean “Will you sleep with me?” Not to mention that “You’re beautiful” could really mean “Show me your tits.”

    3. Being sober on the receiving end of a drunk dial is not as fun as being the dialer. If you choose to indulge the dialer, try to get yourself on the same page as your partner. (Read: take another tequila shot and don’t be such a teetotaler.)

    4. If this is a friendly matter and someone is confessing how wonderful you are and how much he loves you, just gracefully accept the compliments and throw a few back if you can. You are not obligated to say, “I love you” as many times as he does.

    5. What’s said on an angry drunk dial may be retracted from the records of either party. That’s the beauty of it all. If you don’t remember it, it never happened.

    6. Texting is your own internal regulation system—and it’s a much safer bet. But your message may not be clear and could be lost. Spelling will not be graded but may be judged, i.e., “Wgat r u foin rite now! Cum ovr?” Freudian slip? Possibly. Or possibly just supreme idiocy.

    For those who want to avoid the drunk dial, the booty call, and the drunk text altogether, you can check out the sobriety phones that manufacturers are now building. They include breathalyzers to restrict phone use during times of impairment.

    For your own good, stick to these tried and tested rules. If you’re ever in a drunk dialing dilemma, remember: breathe deeply, relax, take a drink, have another drink, and know that it will all be a blurry memory tomorrow.

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    How Things Even Out

    Things tend to even out. Religion, some people say, has caused wars and fighting. Yes, but it’s also boring to sit through a church service, so it evens out. One moment you’re depressed because your doctor tells you that you have alcoholism. But then you cheer up when you go home and find a hidden bottle of vodka you had forgotten about.

    Things are evening out all the time, if you take time to notice, like I do. Let’s say you want a big cupcake, with lots of icing, so you go buy one and eat it. But then you realize, I don’t have the cupcake anymore. Or maybe you take a bite of salsa that’s labelled “HOT,” and it doesn’t seem that hot, but then about a second later it seems really hot.

    You might hear that some guy you know is having a party, so you call him up, but he says there’s no party. But then you call back, using a different voice, and suddenly there is a party.

    One day, you ask people to take a look at a skin rash you have. Then, a few days later, you’re looking at their rashes. You send someone a death threat and then, mysteriously, the police come to your house and threaten you.

    Maybe you find a nice flat pebble on a riverbank, and when you pick it up and throw it it skips across the water several times. But then the next pebble you can’t even pry loose because, what is this, glue mud? You notice an ant drifting away on a leaf in the water. Then you look up to see your aunt drifting away in a rowboat.

    Eventually, I believe, everything evens out. Long ago, an asteroid hit our planet and killed our dinosaurs. But, in the future, maybe we’ll go to another planet and kill their dinosaurs.

    Even in the afterlife things probably even out, although I can’t imagine how.

    Still don’t believe that things even out? Try this simple test: flip a coin, over and over again, calling out “Heads!” or “Tails!” after each flip. Half the time people will ask you to please stop.

    Once you realize that things even out, it’s like a light being turned on in your head, then being turned off, then being turned to “dim.”

    Probably the perfect example of things evening out happened to me just last month. I was walking to the post office to mail a death threat. It was a beautiful day. I was happily singing away in my super-loud singing voice. I didn’t step on any chewing gum, like I usually do, and when I threw my gum down it didn’t stick to my fingertips. As I rounded the corner, there was a bum begging for change. I was feeling pretty good, so I gave him a five-dollar bill. At first I tried to make him do a little dance for the five dollars, but he wouldn’t do it, so I gave him the five dollars anyway.

    Not long after that, I was reading the paper, and there was a picture of the bum. He had won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry! He had a little bigger nose and straighter teeth, but I’m pretty sure it was him. So, my five dollars had made him change his ways and become a chemistry guy.

    A few days later, I was walking by the corner again, and there was the bum, back begging. So, things had evened out. He had gotten the Nobel Prize, but now he was a bum again. I asked him for the five dollars back, but he started saying weird stuff that I guess was chemistry formulas or something.

    I told my friend Don the story, but he said it wasn’t an example of things evening out so much as just a stupid story. That’s interesting, Don, because you saying that evens out what I said to your mother that time.

    I have a lot of stories about things evening out, but I think the one about the Nobel Prize-winning bum is the best. I’d say it would take about three of my other stories to even out that one.

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    Letterman Pokes Fun At Seniors Arrested In Prostitution Case

    The story of two 93-year-old men getting arrested in Manatee County for allegedly soliciting a prostitute got some national attention Tuesday night.

    CBS late night funnyman David Letterman, during his monologue, poked fun at the arrest of the seniors, who, according to arrest reports, tried to pick up an undercover officer during a prostitution sting in November.

    "Listen to this, maybe you know someone like this," Letterman said. "A couple of guys, 93-year-old guys living in Florida – and guess what? They're hiring prostitutes. They're out hailing hookers. This is what happens when, by the way, Medicare covers Viagra."

    Letterman went on to say, "I'm telling you something ladies and gentlemen that's me in retirement if I'm lucky."

    Prosecutors are moving ahead with a case against one of the men.

    In the case of Frank Milio, prosecutors have issued subpoenas and plan to take him to trial in April.

    Milio, according to police records, tried to pay $20 in November to an undercover officer on 14th Street West.

    Carlos Underhill will not be charged, although he does not deny stopping to chat with the "good-looking girl" who made eyes at him and turned out to be an undercover officer.

    Police say Underhill was willing to pay $30 for sex and that he promised to come back a few hours later to consummate the deal.

    Prosecutors say that they cannot move ahead with the criminal case because there is no way to prove Underhill planned to come back.

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    10 Best: April Fools' Gags (the Web Is Closing for Spring Cleaning!)

    1976 At precisely 9:47 am on April 1, Pluto will pass behind Jupiter, causing a brief reduction in Earth's gravitational pull. Astronomer Patrick Moore urges his BBC Radio audience to jump into the air at that exact moment to experience a floating sensation. At 9:48, dozens of light-headed listeners begin calling the station to report their success.

    1984 Never mind the Cold War; the Soviets want to initiate unfettered discussions with Americans via Usenet newsgroups. This according to a message from what appears to be a Kremlin server (kremvax.UUCP). Thus the Internet hoax is born. When Moscow's first real Usenet site appears years later, it's named kremvax.

    1994 A proposed law will ban online sex chat and inebriated Web surfing. "Congress apparently thinks being drunk on a highway is bad no matter what kind of highway it is," editorializes PC Computing. The bill's supposed sponsor, Senator Ted Kennedy, is not in on the joke. After an onslaught of complaints from drunken perverts, he issues a formal denial.


    Illustration: Zohar Lazar

    1995 The hotheaded naked ice borer, a sort of mole with a searing, bony forehead, lurks under Antarctica, melting the ice beneath the butts of hapless penguins and eating them as they sink. When Discover magazine publishes its retraction, penguins everywhere breathe a collective sigh of relief.

    1997 Between March 31 and April 2, the World Wide Web will be closed for cleaning. Five Japanese-built, multilingual Internet-crawling robots will remove "electronic flotsam and jetsam." But don't believe everything you read in an email.

    1998 In accordance with a biblical passage describing the circumference-to-diameter ratio of a bowl in the Temple of Solomon (1 Kings 7:23), the Alabama legislature has voted to round the value of pi to 3.0. Well, that was the claim made by the New Mexicans for Science and Reason in their newsletter ... or rather, circular.

    Illustration: Zohar Lazar

    1998 Disney has bought MIT for $6.9 billion. The School of Engineering will be renamed the School of Imagineering and the campus will move to Orlando, according to hackers who altered the MIT homepage. Hey, anything's better than trying to work in an Athena cluster.

    1999 To fund the US government's $4 billion next-gen Internet project, millions of Internet nodes are available for an initial price of $100 each at Webnode.com. The Business Wire press release induces nearly 2,000 would-be investors to try to buy in. Another name for this April foolery was "the tech boom."

    2003 Bill Gates is dead, shot by a lone gunman at a charity event in Los Angeles. After three South Korean networks broadcast the story on local TV, ensuing panic triggers a 1.5 percent drop in the Seoul stock exchange — a value loss of $3 billion. Just another Windows-related crash.

    Original here