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Friday, April 4, 2008

Radio Show Funds Masculinists/PWNS Pitzer Feminist. Victory!

Thank you SO MUCH to Ralph Garman and everyone at the Kevin & Bean show (on the world famous KROQ) for having me on their show yesterday to represent the Masculinist Coalition. I've been a loyal listener since I was a kid and it was a real honor to be interviewed. Ralph Garman, a true champion, not only made sure the Masculinist Coalition was featured on the show but generously offered to write a check for the exact amount of cash ($150.00) Pitzer Student Senate has denied us twice!

Thanks, Ralph! I look forward to having you as a guest speaker in the near future and will be sure to let you know how your money is being spent. Your generosity has sparked a wave of emails from people looking to donate/help out in any way they can and I couldn't be more grateful for the amount of exposure and positive support you helped generate. The Masculinist Coalition will forever be indebted to KROQ and the Kevin & Bean show. Anytime you're interested in having me back on the air please don't hesitate to ask.

Did you miss the interview? I've uploaded the entire thing for your streaming pleasure below. Towards the end of the interview Pitzer's Feminist Coalition president Phoebe calls in to voice her opinion. She actually agrees to let our group exist and leave us alone! Thank you Phoebe! It almost makes me want to post victory.jpg again.

Thanks again to Ralph, everyone at the Kevin & Bean show and all the wonderful people who have taken the time to contact me. My inbox is being bombarded, but I'll do my best to respond to all of you. If you're interested in supporting the Masculinist Coalition in any way, please contact me or buy a shirt here (we get 90% of the profits).

The Masculinist Coalition will meet tomorrow (Thursday) at 6:33pm in front of the Grove House. I'll be sure to post an update.

Dashiell Driscoll
President of Pitzer's Unofficial Masculinist Coalition

Original here

Australian man jumped on crocodile's back, gouged eyes to rescue his wife

A man rescued his wife from the jaws of a crocodile in remote northern Australia by jumping on its head and poking its eyes, the couple said Thursday.

Wendy Petherick, 36, was standing at the riverbank when a 2.5-meter (8-foot) crocodile grabbed her leg and pulled her into the water. She pulled on its jaw to try to free herself as she shouted for her husband, Norm Moreen.

"Next thing Norm is in the water, jumped in and jumped on the croc's head and (was) feeling for his eyes," Wendy Petherick told reporters. "He poked his eyes and the croc freed me, and Norm just pushed me toward the side of the bank and both of us just got out of the water."

Petherick suffered eight puncture wounds in her right thigh, a puncture wound in her left thigh and a severe cut to one of her fingers from the attack, which occurred late Wednesday in Litchfield National Park, southwest of Darwin, Australia's northernmost city. Her husband had only minor scratches.

"If Norm wasn't there (the crocodile) would have death rolled me," Petherick said, referring to the crocodile's method of rolling and twisting under water to kill and eat its prey. Instead, Norm's attack drove the crocodile away from the scene.

Moreen, 39, who lives with his wife and three children in a nearby community, has been hailed as a hero by Northern Territory police and hospital officials but shrugged off the praise.

"When you need to save someone that you love, you just do it," he said. "It's pretty scary, but you have no time for thinking, you know?"

Park ranger Luke Playford said the attack was the first in Litchfield National Park and that designated swimming areas would be surveyed and crocodile traps would be set in those areas.

It was the fourth close call involving a crocodile this year in the Northern Territory.

Last week, police opened fire on a crocodile as it closed in on a drunken 27-year-old man who had accepted a dare to swim out to an offshore crocodile trap, and last month a crocodile nearly snatched a 27-year-old Israeli tourist from his boat on a river.

In January, a man rescued his colleague from a crocodile's jaws but accidentally shot the unlucky co-worker in the process.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Original here

The two-year-old girl branded a thief by Woolworths' staff after eating a pic'n'mix sweet

A two-year-old girl was branded a thief by Woolworths staff after she helped herself to a pic 'n' mix sweet during a shopping trip

Isra Khan was with her mother Aishah, 23, when she grabbed the 20p false tooth-shaped sweet from a shelf and popped it into her mouth.

But within moments a member of staff at the store in Blackburn, Lancashire had stormed over to Mrs Khan and, in front of stunned customers, said: 'That's theft.'

An incredulous Mrs Khan was then forced to listen to a stern lecture about the health and safety rules of buying confectionary and pay for the sweet.

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Sweet tooth: Isra Khan was accused of theft during a shopping trip to Woolworths with her mother to buy a colouring book

Mrs Khan, a college student from Blackburn, said: 'I can't believe the way this staff member behaved.

'Anyone would have thought we had stolen the crown jewels but the fact is my daughter was simply doing what a lot of other kids often do.

'I'm sure a lot of little children interfere with stock in a shop when they are running around - no matter how much we tell them not to touch things sometimes they are too young to understand.

'I hardly think the loss of a 20p sweet is going to make much of difference to Woolworths' business.'

The incident occurred when mrs Khan was in Woolworths in The Mall, Blackburn, with her three children to buy a colouring book.

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Scene of the 'crime': The Woolworths store in The Mall, Blackburn. Isra's mother, Aishah, accused staff there of 'a total over-reaction'

She said: 'We were just walking passed the pick 'n' mix section and Isra picked one up.

'At first I thought that it was in a wrapper and she could put it back. But it was in her mouth and I wasn't about to make her take it out.

'She's only two. She didn't know that what she was doing was wrong and that when you look at the sweets you can't just take one.

'Then a member of staff came over and said, "That's theft" in front of all the other customers. I couldn't believe what I was hearing - I was humiliated.

'If this man had come over politely and asked me to pay for it, fine, but it was like Isra had stolen something really valuable.

'The fact is he was making a song and dance over a 20p sweet. Obviously I agreed to pay for it - but they went really over the top.

'I've got three children aged three and under and you can't have your eyes on each of them every second.

'It must have happened lots of times before with the sweets all being open like that.'

Mrs Khan, who is doing a social science degree at Blackburn College, said she regularly shops in Woolworths to buy household items and children's presents.

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The 'evidence': The 20p fake teeth sweets that attracted Isra's attention. Mrs Khan is now demanding an apology from Woolworths

'When I take the children out, it's a treat for me and I don't expect this,' she added. 'But I won't be going back until I get some kind of apology for Woolworths.'

A spokesman for the store said: 'Pic n' mix is sold in all Woolworths stores for 69p per 100g.

'For health and safety reasons all confectionery and food products must be paid for before being consumed.

'The prevention of theft or loss of stock is a priority.

'Whilst we understand the temptations our pic 'n' mix may hold with young children, the responsibility lies with the adult accompanying them to ensure they are appropriately supervised.'

Chris Allen, head of trading standards with Darwen Council, said: 'Ultimately, it is the parent's responsibility to keep an eye on their child.

'But we all know that young children may not yet understand what they are doing is wrong, and we would hope anything like this could be dealt with reasonably.

'If someone feels that they have been badly treated, we would always encourage them to complain to the company.'

Original here

The Future of Flesh

One thing I hope to do in this blog is to keep connecting news stories and trends to each other. It's not enough to mock the idea of a civil right to body piercings. The larger theme of today's earlier post was the difference between necessary and elective body parts, and the difference between flesh and metal.

Both of those differences touch on an article in the current issue of Scientific American. Right now, the best we can do for amputees is fit them with prostheses designed to approximate normal limb motion. Such limbs don't feel anything, which in turn makes it harder to learn how to use them. The ideal solution isn't to outfit these people like cyborgs; it's to give them good old flesh. That's what the authors-Ken Muneoka, Manjong Han, and David Gardiner-are working on. They conclude that "we may be only a decade or two away from a day when we can regenerate human body parts."

The path will require many steps. At the moment, the authors are still working on inducing basic regeneration in mice. Growing larger structures-paws, and later arms-will be progressively more difficult. But in principle, the project should be doable, since it's modeled on an animal that already regenerates its own limbs: the salamander.

If we're going to start handing out new bodily civil rights, as the nipple-ring lawyer proposes, I'd put replacement flesh way ahead of ornamental metal.

Original here

Nerds of Steel

The New American Nerd Is a Beast! Former Four-Eyed Wieners Are Suddenly Ripped, Cut, Pumped, Absy, Hairy and Huge! Why? ‘It Involved Applying Biology to Real Life,’ Says One

Buff Nerds: Why are former concave-chested <br />proto-geeks like Conan O’Brien suddenly <br />super-cut, ripped, pumped?
Drew Friedman
Buff Nerds: Why are former concave-chested
proto-geeks like Conan O’Brien suddenly
super-cut, ripped, pumped?

“Ben looks like Beaker from the Muppets on the outside, but then inexplicably like a guy from Prison Break under his clothes,” said Mindy Kaling, the 28-year-old actress who plays Kelly Kapoor on The Office. “I think if I’m going to have a boyfriend who works out, he better be sort of embarrassed about it, like Ben is. Sheepish fitness is the only tolerable kind.”

Ms. Kaling’s boyfriend, the 30-year-old writer Benjamin Nugent, is the author of American Nerd: The Story of My People, which will be published by Scribner in May. He works out every morning at Crunch in Fort Greene, and the timing of his book seems impeccable; the bespectacled Urkel-esque weakling of yore has, of late, become more concerned with free weights than pocket protectors. Daniel Radcliffe, who can seamlessly switch from playing the nerdy Harry Potter to being naked onstage in Equus, vies with cheesecakey High School Musical star Zac Efron as the object of teenage girls’ affection. Steve Carell shocked audiences (and Catherine Keener) in The 40-Year-Old Virgin with his tight abs. New York actor Justin Theroux, currently starring as John Hancock in the ultra-nerdy HBO miniseries John Adams, has flashed his surprisingly ripped torso on Sex and the City and in the Charlie’s Angels sequel, Full Throttle. Clark Kent, Peter Parker and Bruce Banner are all buff nerds of our imaginations. Slightly closer to reality, there’s Conan O’Brien and, some might say, our former governor, who was famous for his 5 a.m. runs through Central Park.

But today’s nerdy beefcake poster boy would have to be Jason from this season of Beauty and the Geek, the CW sleeper hit that attempts to bring this brain-meets-brawn fantasy to fruition by making the aforementioned geeks more self-aware, if not super-pumped. “My face, hair and personality all scream to the world that I’m a geeky guy who sits behind a desk all day long,” Jason wrote in an e-mail. “However, my body screams that I’m a huge gym rat who only thinks about going to clubs and beaches. This usually leads people to believe my head has been ‘superimposed’ on my body.”

It’s not rocket science to understand that it’s paradoxical for someone to be both nerdy and buff. Perhaps no film has captured this tension better than Revenge of the Nerds, which laid bare the scary aggressiveness of the jocks as they tried to assert their dominance over the nerds—who eventually outwit them thanks to their intellectual skills, not their muscle. In his book, Mr. Nugent argues that this film, among others, highlights the ways in which nerds are seen as embodying technology, whereas jocks embody physical strength; nerds govern through reason, jocks through intuition, and so on.

“The pathos of being a nerd is to feel that because you are comfortable with rational thought, you are cut off from the experience of spontaneous feelings, of romance, of nonrational connection to other people,” Mr. Nugent writes in American Nerd. “A nerd is so often self-loathing because he accepts the thinking/feeling rift, and he knows and cares that other people accept it, too.” So in our popular culture, the male nerd has historically been not only an object of scorn and ridicule from other men, but has been unable to love. That’s why a show like Beauty and the Geek works; it’s unexpected not only for a beautiful woman to be attracted to a nerd, but also for the nerd to be attracted to the beautiful woman.

The buff nerd, however, is a kind of double agent, existing as he (and it is always he; female nerds can be “buff,” but that makes for a sexy librarian/Tina Fey kind of paradigm) does with his geeky exterior and chiseled interior, as Ms. Kaling noted, approvingly, about Mr. Nugent. Indeed, women often see these men as the best of both worlds. Jessica, a 26-year-old writer in Boerum Hill, recalled one college-era ex-boyfriend as a “skinny-jeans-wearing, seemingly emaciated art-school dude.” But he was not, in fact, emaciated. “I was shocked when his shirt came off to reveal washboard abs. I think it was sort of a response to being a total fucking geek in high school and getting picked on a lot.”

Hipster or Ripster?

Meanwhile, editorial assistants, aspiring literary agents and freelance writers crowd the streets of Williamsburg and Carroll Gardens, galley of All the Sad Young Literary Men by Keith Gessen (who also happens to be a buff nerd) tucked under their arms, Black Lips on their iPods, each one a more underfed mash-up of Elvis Costello, Chuck Klosterman and Stephen Malkmus than the next and trying, ever so valiantly, to appropriate the nerd aesthetic so that they may be Taken Seriously, and not be caught sneaking into the Cobble Hill New York Sports Club or the Greenpoint Y or Absolute Power on Grand Street in Williamsburg.

These are what Gary Shteyngart, in his 2003 novel The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, disparagingly called “glamorous nerds”: “They were a savvy-looking bunch, clothed in the new Glamorous Nerd look that was fast becoming a part of the downtown lexicon. One specimen in a tight, square, wide-collared polka-dotted shirt was shouting above the rest: ‘Did you hear? Safi got a European Community grant to study leeks in Prava.’ … Vladimir looked on sadly. Not only had he spent his entire life without winning a single European Community grant, but every pathetic piece of clothing he had been trying to shed since emigrating was now prêt-à-porter bonanza!”

These aren’t the gym rats of that 1977 Arnold Schwarzenegger documentary Pumping Iron, though today, some of them are secretly taking their cues from Men’s Fitness instead of n+1. In an e-mail to The Observer, Mr. Shteyngart noted that the “glam nerds” have “appropriated everything we real nerds ever had, but they look good too. Classic imperialism.”

(In a 2006 satirical essay, the former Village Voice writer Nick Sylvester chronicled these “ripsters”: “[R]ipsterism went dormant in the early naughts when post-graduates realized they could subsist on art-gallery cheese and still remain feeble chic. But when news spread that the double shot of eating Gouda and smoking cloves would accelerate heart failure, ex-ripsters switched back to veggies and bread—and weight gain. … How do you know if a ripster’s a ripster? Admittedly things are tricky, since the degree to which a ripster’s a ripster is the degree to which his ripsterdom remains elusive (i.e., ripped). Not to get all Jeff Foxworthy here, but you know you’ve spotted a ripster when the guy next to you at the gym is wearing a pair of expensive running shoes with the air cushions popped so they look worn in and a tank top that says something like “I lost my sleeves in Iraq.”)

“I think there are certain traits associated with being someone who exercises that don’t fit with the general esteem of slackerness that goes with the literary world,” a 28-year-old magazine editor told The Observer. “You don’t want to be seen as trying too hard or being vain or being someone who cares about what they look like. Because of the exertion and effort, it implies caring too much in a way that isn’t cool.”

“Isn’t the whole point of being a hipster taking pride in your Grover body?” asked a 32-year-old guy who lives in Greenpoint. “Or feigning pride, at least.”

Indeed, several of the literary world denizens contacted by The Observer demurred when asked to speak about their workout habits. “I like going to the gym and am totally embarrassed by the fact that I go to the gym, and sometimes lie about it,” said one, before refusing to be quoted in this article.

“I do not feel that there is any way to not come out looking like a total douche bag,” said another.

“I’m formerly secretly buff. Then I had a kid, and no longer can get to the gym five days a week,” said yet another. “Anyway, I definitely don’t want to be in your piece.”

“It’s contrary to the whole enterprise to be quoted in The Observer talking about how fit you are,” said Mr. Nugent, who lives in Clinton Hill. “That makes you, like, the hugest hedge-fund douche bag, like, ever.” (After Mr. Nugent ate lunch with The Observer, he e-mailed to clarify that he “would never apply the term ‘buff’” to himself.)

The only way for the buff nerd to participate publicly in physical fitness is in some sort of vaguely ironic organized sports effort, like the weekly football game in Prospect Park played by an assortment of Brooklyn literary types. Also acceptable: kickball, dodgeball (particularly at free McCarren Pool indie rock concerts), croquet, pétanque, bocce, ping-pong, four-square or potato sack races. But to take any of these games too seriously is to reveal one’s latent competitiveness, which is seemingly at odds with the values of this cohort; those are jock values!

“I went to one kickball game in McCarren Park, and one of my own teammates knocked me down while we were both playing outfield, and he didn’t trust me to get the ball,” said a 36-year-old freelance writer, who lives in Williamsburg.

Buff, and Proud?

Luke Stiles, a 33-year-old director of technology at MTV, seems to think all of these equivocations are hypocritical. Mr. Stiles, who wears oversize silver-framed “nerd” glasses and is called, barely facetiously, “the macrobiotic bodybuilder” by friends, took up cycling in college and now works out regularly at a midtown New York Sports Club near his Times Square office. (“It’s clean, etc., etc., but it’s a shitty scene.”) “I’ve been accused of all that business but I’m not too worried about that shit,” he said. “My favorite is people who clearly work out but are like, ‘Oh, I don’t do anything.’ Men or women, but I think it’s more prominent in men. It’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, I just naturally have these pecs.’

“My experience with real intellectuals—like honest-to-goodness Ph.D.’s—they don’t give a shit,” Mr. Stiles concluded.

There’s also more than a little bit of intellectualization that goes into working out for many buff nerds, an approach to exercise that resembles nothing if not a lab report. Hypothesis: Even a nerd can become buff. Materials and Methods: Weights, running, push-ups, pull-ups. Repeat as needed. Results: Six-pack, muscled pecs. “On the first interview with Beauty and the Geek, I explained that being a true gym rat involved applying biology to real life, everything from amino acid synthesis to cellular respiration,” said Jason, from the show.

“When I’m running in the rain, Rocky-like, from Clinton Hill to the Fort Greene Crunch, I have to come up with these sort of really strange literary rationalizations for what I’m doing,” said Mr. Nugent. “It’s like, if I allow myself to be depressed and angry, I won’t put my best foot forward in my writing, so this is therapeutic, like it’s enabling me to drain myself of some sort of selfish depressive emotion.

“It doesn’t make any sense at all and I stop thinking it, but it’s necessary to get me through that five- to 10-minute run to the gym every morning.”

The 28-year-old magazine editor feels similarly. “I enjoy exercising for all of the mid-’70s-craze, endorphin-type stuff. I buy that. If I go for a week without exercising, I feel anxious and nervous. It’s kind of an addiction,” he said

That being said, most of the workout nerds are also painfully aware of the consequences of working out too much. “You don’t want to be one of those guys,” said the magazine editor. “You don’t want to wind up with the thick neck, like the bridge-and-tunnel guys you would see in the Flatiron district. I’m self-conscious enough about it where I intentionally try not to bulk up.

“You don’t want to be the guy in the gym with the 200-pound bench-press guy,” the editor continued. “Not just because those guys are generally assholes, but doing that kind of workout is going to make you look like one of those assholes. It’s maybe embarrassing to admit that degree of self-consciousness about it, but even in college I tailored my workouts to look like the guy who looks fit but doesn’t spend too much time in the gym.”

Indeed, there is something about the gym, in particular, that seems to raise the ire of the literary set. Their cri de coeur is a 2004 n+1 essay “The Fit and the Dead,” by Mark Greif, one of the magazine’s editors. “In the gym people engage in the kind of biological self-regulation that usually occurs in the private realm. … Exercisers make the faces associated with pain, with orgasm, with the sort of exertion that would call others to their immediate aid. … They appear in tight but shapeless Lycra costumes that reveal the shape of the penis, the labia, the mashed and bandaged breasts, all without allowing the lure of sex.” The gym, then, becomes a grotesque locale, a literal exercise in futility.

But for those who work out, going to the gym can be rationalized as a necessary evil, a means to an end. The same determination that allows nerds to excel at building their own computers is also at work here. “I just think it’s something pretty shitty to do,” said Mr. Stiles, who recently started going to the gym more regularly in order to get in better shape for cycling. “Saying ‘Oh, I’m gonna go to the gym for an hour today’ is boring. I wouldn’t be able to do it if I didn’t have that additional motivation. I see people who just go in and they’re standing there and just going through the motions. I’m pretty sure they’re not training for a marathon. There’s no kind of end product! But they’re also not doing it with any intensity, which is a secondary effect of endorphins.” Mr. Stiles paused and laughed, almost sheepishly, as if to acknowledge the inherent nerdiness of his statement. “That is baffling to me.”

Original here

Judge admits mistake in kicking whites out of court

(CNN) -- An Atlanta, Georgia, judge who ordered white lawyers out of his courtroom so he could lecture African-American defendants called that decision a "mistake" Tuesday night.


Judge Marvin Arrington says he is fed up with the defendants he keeps seeing in his courtroom.

"In retrospect, it was a mistake," Judge Marvin Arrington told CNN. "Because my sheriff said to me, 'Judge, that message should be given to everybody' -- 'Don't violate the law, make something out of yourself, go to school, find a role model, somebody that will help you advance your life.'"

Arrington, who is African-American, is a judge in Fulton County, Georgia, which includes the city of Atlanta.

He said he got fed up seeing a parade of young black defendants shuffle into his courtroom and decided to address them one day last week -- out of the earshot of white lawyers.

"I came out and saw the defendants, and it was about 99.9 percent Afro-Americans," Arrington told CNN affiliate WSB-TV of Atlanta, "and at some point in time, I excused some lawyers -- most of them white -- and said to the young people in here, 'What in the world are you doing with your lives?'"

The judge thought his message would make a greater impact if he delivered it to a black-only audience, he said.

"I didn't want them to think I was talking down to them; trying to embarrass them or insult them; be derogatory toward them, and I was just saying, 'Please get yourself together,'" Arrington said.

In his Tuesday night appearance on CNN, Arrington told Anderson Cooper that that seeing the same faces walk in and out of his courtroom year after year takes its toll.

"I ask them all the the time, 'What progress are we making with you?' And sometime they cannot answer," he said.

He said he would open his court doors to everyone on Thursday and "I am going to give the same identical speech: 'You've got to do better.'"

Original here

Schoolboy dies after snorting £1 bag of heroin that he thought was cocaine

francis clapham

Lethal: Francis Clapham, 16, died after snorting £1 of heroin that he believed was cocaine

A schoolboy died after snorting heroin which he mistakenly thought was cocaine.

Francis Clapham, 16, bought the drug for £1 from a teenager in a park, an inquest heard.

But after sniffing the heroin with a friend he collapsed and was taken to hospital where he was put on a life-support machine.

The drug caused organ failure resulting in brain damage through oxygen starvation and he died two months later.

The inquest heard that Francis, who did not have a history of drug taking or dealing, was drinking vodka with a friend in a park in Nelson, Lancashire, when he decided to buy the drug.

Both teenagers collapsed after snorting the heroin.

His friend made a swift recovery and was discharged from Blackpool Victoria Hospital just two days later but Francis, a pupil at Fisher More High School, died in May last year in Burnley General Hospital.

Pathologist Dr Naomi Carter told the inquest the schoolboy contracted MRSA in hospital and had a reaction to antibiotics but would not have recovered from the brain damage he had already suffered.

Francis's brother, Andrew, 19, said: "He thought it was cocaine and said that he and his friend had taken some.

"I only saw him taking a line of it but he might have had some more in his pocket. We had an argument about the drugs and he stormed out.


Evil drug: Heroin is known to be deadly if snorted(posed by model)

"I handed the rest of the package to the paramedics."

Detective Constable Neil Morris, of Lancashire Police, said officers initially thought that Francis and his friend had been the victim of an assault in the park but further inquiries disproved this theory.

Mr Morris added: "The drug was bought for £1 to £2 in the park.

"Francis and his friend thought it was cocaine which is why they snorted it."

Recording a verdict of accidental death, East Lancashire coroner Richard Taylor said: "It was clearly an accident that he took a substance which he had no idea would end in his death.

"It was entirely down to the heroin he died."

In September last year, a 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was spared detention after admitting supplying heroin and possessing the drug with intent to supply.

Magistrates told him they believed he had not wilfully intended to cause harm to the the schoolboy, had no knowledge of drugs and had shown remorse.

They said a period of custody would not benefit anybody and that the boy was not a threat to the public though he had made a "grave error of judgment".

The court was told that Francis' parents Keith and Diane had requested that the youth was spared custody over the incident.

One friend, who set up a website in memory of the schoolboy, said: "He was a nice lad. He always had a big smile on his face. He made me laugh a lot."

Drug charities and police said Francis' death should send a warning to other teenagers about the dangers of drug use.

Harry Shapiro of Drugscope said: "This is a complete and utter tragedy for the family and friends of the individual involved.

"It just serves as a warning about the dangers of using heroin."

Original here

Ghost in the Chair Design is Milky not Spooky

Designed to look like it's almost not really there, this "Ghost Chair" puts me more in mind of milk poured into water. It's pretty futuristic, in a curved-yet-straight, acrylic kind of way. It's apparently the first in a line of chairs and stools from designers Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijn that will use this novel technique. We don't know if you'll be able to buy them, though they'd certainly make a dining set that would be a conversation starter. Conversations like: "These chairs look like someone's taken a glass of water and poured in ..." It's on display from the 16th to 21st April in the Salone del Mobile in Milan. [Designdrift via Yanko design]

Awesome Or Off-Putting: Bigfoot Molests A Pervert (With Video)

Bigfoot Molested Man Claims 13Awesome or Off-Putting is a weekly delve into cryptozoology, ufology, aliens, medical marvels, scientific wonders, secret societies, government conspiracies, cults, ghosts, EVPs, myths, ancient artifacts, religion, strange facts, odd sightings or just the plain unexplainable.

Now the video mentioned in the headline there is nowhere near as explicit as you're hoping, you deviant. That said, picture it - there you are out in the wild camping away, when suddenly you're woken up my a super-horny Bigfoot tickling your nethers. It's a frightening predicament really, one that, depending on what the mythical ape-person is wearing, we're pretty sure we hope to never find ourselves in. Again, we'd like to stress here it depends on what the thing is wearing. If it's Versace we just might be in.

As ludicrous as the whole thing sounds - there's a guy who actually claimed something like this pretty recently. Minus the high fashion of course.

If you are of a cryptozoological mind, and you've currently got a metal-framed backpack sitting by your front door as you're intent on finding sasquatch this weekend - for heaven's sake don't search in New Hampshire. No sir - the Bigfoot there will pin you down while he sexily strokes your genitalia against your will.

Gene R. Morrill is on the front end of a 20 year prison sentence for going online in the hopes of finding a 13-year-old male one-night stand. Or a full-blown relationship. We're not sure about the specifics.

But he was up to something horrible - horrible enough to earn him two decades of pooping in front of his roommate. He needs an out.

The out he was counting on, apparently, was insanity. We assume that's why he started telling people Bigfoot molested him in the past. According to The Free Lance-Star:

"A man who claims that he was molested by Bigfoot as a child was ordered to serve 20 years in prison yesterday for his own molestation-related activities… Morrill told an investigator preparing his pre-sentence report about being sexually assaulted by the legendary Bigfoot, a North American folklore character said to be between 7 and 10 feet tall, and covered in dark brown or dark reddish hair. [His defense attorney] said Morrill really believes the [assault] happened."

Crazy, right? Well judge for yourself. Here's a video news clip.

Original here

Man divorces two wives in three mins

KUALA TERENGGANU: It was no April Fools’ joke. The short messaging service (SMS) was real – a man divorced his two wives within three minutes.

In the Lower Syariah Court, businessman Roslan Ngah, 44, divorced both wives by pronouncing talak (intention to divorce) to each of them.

He pronounced talak to his second wife Mastura Ahmad, 35, about 11.50am, then to Norhayati Ismail, 46, before judge Wan Abdul Malik Wan Sidek.

Composed: Norhayati (left) and Mastura at the Lower Syariah Court. They were divorced by their husband Roslan within three minutes of each other. — Bernama

Wan Abdul Malik said this was the first time in the court’s history that two wives had sought a divorce at the same time.

Earlier, someone had sent out a message “there is a case in Syariah (court), husband divorces two wives. Star pls come now.”

Four reporters here who received the SMS brushed it off as a prank.

This reporter had replied “ha, ha, ha, thanks.”

An hour later another SMS came: “Yhis is not a joke, pls come to court now.”

The reporters gave it a shot and headed to the court. They made it in time to listen to the proceedings.

Norhayati, a homemaker, has four children (aged nine to 22) with Roslan after marrying in 1986.

Mastura, a nurse at the Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital, has two, aged six and 10, following their marriage in 1995.

Both women looked composed during the proceedings. Accompanying Norhayati was her eldest daughter, Nurfarhana, 19.

The divorces were made under Section 44 of the Terengganu Syariah Enactment.

Outside the court, Roslan said he felt sad to be separated from his wives whom he claimed had asked him for the divorce.

He said both women shared “a very close relationship” and lived in a house in Pasir Panjang here. He stays in another house a few metres away.

“They are like good friends but I never imagined that both of them had collectively decided to divorce me.

“I admit that my relationship with them had been strained over the past few months but I never expected our marriages to end in this manner,” he said in a calm voice.

Roslan confessed that he was also married to another woman in 2001 and they were blessed with a baby girl but they separated in 2004.

When asked whether he would remarry, Roslan replied: “If my fate says so, I have no qualms and this time I hope that my marriage will last forever.”

Original here

'Pig Book' names congressional porkers

art.capitol.ap.jpgA government watchdog group released its annual report Wednesday on Congressional pork barrel spending.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A watchdog group critical of pork barrel spending released its latest findings Wednesday targeting the top Congressional "porkers."

Some of the pork projects, according to the group, include a Lobster Institute; the Rocky Flats, Colorado, Cold War Museum; and the First Tee, a program to build young people's character through golf.

Members of Congress requested funds for all these pet projects and thousands of others last year, according to the latest copy of the annual "Pig Book" released by Citizens Against Government Waste.

"Congress stuffed 11,610 projects" worth $17.2 billion into a dozen spending bills, the group said in the report released Wednesday.

The "Pig Book" names dozens of what the citizens group considers the most egregious porkers, the lawmakers who funnel money to projects on their home turf. Interactive: Pork barrel spending »

Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, requested the most money, $892.2 million, according to the group.

In a statement to CNN, Cochran said he doesn't "accept the premise" of the group's claim that "any and all federal spending not specifically requested by the Executive Branch is wasteful and irresponsible."

"The Congress is vested with the power to appropriate funds to be spent by the federal government by the U. S. Constitution. We will continue to carry out that responsibility with care and a commitment to serve the public interest," he said.

"There were several candidates for the Narcissist Award," Tom Schatz, the president of the group said. Read the group's 2008 report

"But this one went to House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel for the Charles Rangel Public Service Center at the City College of New York -- $1,950,000 [for a project] that he named after himself."

Rangel, a Democrat from New York, said last summer he was "honored that City College chose to have my name attached to what is an important project, not just for the residents of my congressional district, but for New York City and this nation."

Some lawmakers defended their earmarks, such as Rep. Mike Thompson, D-California, who channeled $742,764 to olive fruit fly research.

"The olive fruit fly has infested thousands of California olive groves and is the single largest threat to the U.S. olive and olive oil industries," he said.

Schatz responded that his organization is criticizing the way lawmakers direct money to specific projects, not the projects themselves.

"There are existing programs for virtually everything in the 'Pig Book.' If members [of Congress] believe they should be given additional funding, give them to the agencies rather than to specific projects," he said.

The problem with earmarks, he said, is that "we don't know if [the projects] are valuable or not."

Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-South Carolina, the third ranking Democrat in the House, defended his earmark for a program that funds a youth golf program for children on U.S. military bases.

"It's a character building program, that seems to be working well for low income kids and that's why we do it throughout the United States of America. I just feel that children living on military installations ought to have this program as well," Clyburn told CNN.

Clyburn also defended the practice of earmarking federal funds.

"I can name earmark after earmark, there's absolutely nothing wrong with congresspeople responding to their constituents and funding programs that they feel are necessary to improve the quality of life of the people who live in their districts."

Clyburn also raised questions about the group releasing the "Pig Book" saying, "they're not telling the truth about this earmark no more than them telling the truth about where they get their money from. The committee against government waste isn't against government waste."

He cited press reports from the St. Petersburg Times that the Committee Against Government Waste received money from the tobacco industry and other private groups to lobby Congress.

Both parties came in for criticism, with the Democrats, who control both houses of Congress, topping the Republicans in spending.

The Democrats were behind 5,199 projects worth $5.5 billion, while the Republicans earmarked 3,408 projects worth $4.4 billion, the citizen's group said.

And in a sign bipartisanship is not dead, the two parties jointly backed 2,518 projects worth $3.8 billion. Interactive: Map of pork per capita by state »

The three senators running for president were not among the top targets of criticism, and one got an entirely clean bill from the watchdog group.

"Sen. [Barack] Obama had 53 earmarks worth $97 million dollars, and Sen. [Hillary] Clinton had 281 earmarks worth $296 million. Sen. Obama recently said he would not request any project for this upcoming fiscal year," said Tom Schatz, the president of Citizens Against Government Waste.

"And of course Sen. [John] McCain has never requested them and he won't be doing so in 2009. So now the question is if Sen. Clinton will join the other major candidates in saying that she will not request any earmarks for 2009."

To qualify for the Pig Book, a project must meet at least one of these standards: it was requested by only one chamber of Congress; was not specifically authorized; was not competitively awarded; was not requested by the president; greatly exceeded the president's budget request or the previous year's funding; was not the subject of congressional hearings; or served only a local or special interests.

Original here

Study: 'Weight-ism' More Widespread Than Racism

Yale Researchers Find Widespread Discrimination Against Overweight People

It's illegal to discriminate against someone because of race or gender, but our culture condones a bias against people who are overweight.

(PhotoDisc )

There are no federal laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of weight, and only Michigan has such a law, according to a new study from Yale University.

As a result, the researchers contend, weight discrimination is spiraling upward, and that's a dangerous trend that could add fuel to the obesity epidemic.

Weight discrimination "occurs in employment settings and daily interpersonal relationships virtually as often as race discrimination, and in some cases even more frequently than age or gender discrimination," the researchers report in the current issue of the International Journal of Obesity.

Overweight women are twice as vulnerable as men, and discrimination strikes much earlier in their lives, the report states.

"This is a form of bias that remains very socially acceptable in our culture," research scientist Rebecca Puhl, lead author of the study, said in a telephone interview.

Puhl, who was trained as a clinical psychologist, and co-author Tatiana Andreyeva, studied data collected from 3,437 adults as part of a national survey conducted in 1995-1996. They have just updated the work in a disturbing paper showing that weight discrimination has accelerated through 2006.

Puhl, who has been studying weight discrimination for nine years, said our culture has made it clear that it's wrong to discriminate against someone because of race, color, creed, gender, age and so forth, but that it's OK to show someone the door because he or she is fat.

"We send a message to citizens in our culture that this is something that is tolerated," she said. "We live in a culture where we obviously place a premium on fitness, and fitness has come to symbolize very important values in our culture, like hard work and discipline and ambition. Unfortunately, if a person is not thin, or is overweight or obese, then they must lack self-discipline, have poor willpower, etc., and as a result they get blamed and stigmatized."

The social current driving this is the obvious fact that no one is responsible for his or her race, or gender or even age. That's a given. But the traditional thinking goes that people should be able to control their weight, so if they're obese, it's their fault.

But that, according to Puhl, is dead wrong.

"We place a lot of emphasis on personal responsibility for body weight," she said. "Our billion-dollar diet industry is founded on that premise. Your weight is modifiable. But that does not reflect the current state of science. We know from hundreds of randomized clinically controlled trials that it's very difficult to sustain weight loss over time with our existing treatment methods."

"That has compelled a number of expert panels, like the National Institutes of Health, to conclude that we really can't expect you to lose more than 10 percent of your body weight and be able to keep that off."

For a 300-pound man, she notes, that's a mere 30 pounds, and he's still overweight, unless he's nearly seven feet tall. Obesity is based on the body mass index (BMI) that is derived from a formula based on weight vs. height. Normal BMI is 18.5 to 24.9. Obesity begins at BMI 30 and ranges up to 40.

Puhl emphasized that she isn't saying people shouldn't try to control their weight. Scores of studies have shown that excess weight contributes to a wide range of diseases, and physical fitness is one of our best bets for fighting everything from heart attacks to aging. But let's face it, if diets worked, we would all be skinny. Many uncontrollable factors contribute to obesity, like genetics and some diseases, yet we still blame the individual.

The heart of the problem, Puhl said, is that obesity brings social stigmatism and stereotyping, and that can lead to depression, discrimination and binge eating, so the problem just gets worse.

But why are we failing so miserably at keeping our weight under control?

"We live in a very toxic food environment," Puhl said. "We make it very easy for people to be unhealthy. Unhealthy foods, or junk foods, are accessible, cheap and engineered to taste very, very good. Healthy foods, like produce, are not as accessible, and are more expensive."

And it's everywhere. A friend recently offered me one of those cookies sold by Girl Scouts in our community. The label on the box said one cookie has four grams of fat. And nobody eats just one Girl Scout cookie. It tastes great, it's cheap and it's for a worthy cause. But that little angel standing at your door is offering you a one-way ticket to obesity.

So grab a handful, and if you get fat, it's your fault, right?

"We take this personal responsibility approach and say well, just exercise more and eat less, but it's much more complicated than that," Puhl said. "If it were that easy, we wouldn't have this epidemic that we have now."

So people who are overweight, regardless of the cause, are blamed for their excesses and it's OK to discriminate against them, at least according to federal law and cultural norms.

Here are some of the findings in Puhl's study:

  • Men are not at serious risk of discrimination until their BMI reaches 35, while women begin experiencing an increase in discrimination at BMI 27.
  • Moderately obese women with a BMI of 30 to 35 are three times more likely than men in the same weight group to experience weight discrimination.
  • Compared to other forms of discrimination in the United States, weight discrimination is the third most prevalent cause of perceived discrimination among women (after gender and age) and the fourth most prevalent form of discrimination among all adults (after gender, age and race.)
  • Puhl (whose BMI is in the normal range) thinks this is a very big deal. Our culture, she said, sanctions biases against people who are even a little overweight. We blame them for a condition that may result from their genes, or a health problem, and that condemnation in many cases backfires.

    And the solution isn't as simple as eat less, exercise more.

    Lee Dye is a former science writer for the Los Angeles Times. He now lives in Juneau, Alaska.

    Original here

    The 13 Most Irresponsible Self Defense Gadgets Money Can Buy

    We live in dangerous times. Well, not really. Actually, life in the 21st century is safer than ever before. This, however, doesn't stop people from selling and buying overpriced and often useless self-defense products.

    While most of the stuff on the market will simply gather dust on your shelf/purse/man-bag that's not actually a purse, some of these real products seem a hell of a lot more dangerous to the owner than the mugger.

    Cell Phone Stun Gun

    Say you're yapping away on your cell at the mall, when that burly guy with a surfboard asks you to please kindly shut the fuck up. Little does he know, your "phone" is actually a 950,000 volt pacifier, your ex-wife is his current girlfriend, and "you" are actually a schizophrenic and a danger to society.

    Granted, only a lunatic would own this thing. But you can see immediately the problem even a well-meaning person is going to have with "The Pretender" cell phone stun gun. She's driving at night, her real cell phone rings, she digs around in her purse and pulls out her "phone."



    Of course, multiple fail-safes are in place to ensure you do not accidentally shock yourself in the head. 1) The device has to be on and 2) You have to push the button. Yes, that's it. Good luck not zapping yourself retarded.

    Vending Machine Disguise

    Yes, it's from Japan.

    Most of us dismissed this as a silly Photoshop hoax when we saw it, but, no, it's a real product according to The New York Times.

    There apparently is a certain class of inventor who sees something work in a cartoon, then scratches his chin and says, "Why not?" Well, how about the fact that in order for this thing to actually fool someone, they'd have to be so far away from it that you'd be safe from attack anyway? Or that it makes it impossible to run away? Or that you'd have to not only carry this bulky thing around, but also a case of Cokes in case somebody drops in some change while you're hiding?

    Bulletproof Briefcase

    Hey, this is a good idea. A briefcase with bulletproof plates embedded in it. If a firefight breaks out on your way to the office from Starbucks, you'll be safe. Or, more specifically, a three-foot-long rectangular area will be safe. Notice that in the demonstration, we are forced to choose whether we want to protect the head or the crotch:

    Yep, this thing only gives you enough coverage to either protect your life, or your will to live. Not both. The best part is, your attackers get to watch you make this truly fateful choice in real time.

    The Electrified "No-Contact" Jacket

    Here's a fashionable jacket that will send 80,000 volts through anybody that touches your torso. Somehow the people at No-Contact have magically engineered this thing so that it won't shock you if, say, your own hand or face brushes the electrified sleeve during the struggle. They did do that, right? Because otherwise this would be one of the most retarded things ever invented.

    Once they start mass marketing this thing (it doesn't say when that'll happen) it's just a matter of time until somebody with antisocial tendencies activates it and jumps into a crowded swimming pool.

    Lipstick Knife

    We hope we're not degrading women when we wonder what exactly is the ratio of "successful mugger woundings" to "accidental mouth stabbings" with the lipstick knife.

    Are we out of line when we speculate that it's the self defense industry that hates women? Let's see if we can find some more evidence ...

    Tampon Taser


    Ah, here it is. Gosh, what could go wrong with this imitation tampon container, that fires out tampons that are actually electrified darts? Nothing that our completely not-obscene minds can picture. Nothing at all.

    Once again, this is not a cheap Photoshop prank. It's a real invention that was, unsurprisingly, designed by a man.

    Here's what we can't figure out: what's the difference between having a Taser that's shaped like something else, and just having a Taser that's shaped like a Taser? It's dark, you've pulled an object out of your purse, and you're aiming it at your attacker menacingly while screaming, "EAT THIS FUCKER." The thing could be shaped like a rubber trout, the guy's still going to shoot you.

    Shotgun Flashlight

    Now we're getting serious, gents. Forget about incapacitating your attackers with electricity or defending yourself until the cops arrive. This flashlight modified to fire a .410 shotgun shell is just what you need to blow a four-inch hole in your attacker's chest. Take that, crime!

    Hey, it works as a flashlight, too! And the gun part of it points out the back! So every time you use your flashlight, you've got a goddamned shotgun pointing at your heart!

    Romatron Personal Protection Keychain

    Grab your keys and hit yourself in the face with them. Hurts, doesn't it? That is the awesome might of The Romatron. But wait, The Romatron comes with a Polymer Ball on a Steel Cable! Doesn't seem like much? Here's an excerpt from the FAQ:

    "Won't using this against an attacker just make him mad?"
    "No, hitting someone with a romatron will disable him, just as if you hit them with a baseball bat."

    They also boast that, "Romatron is taught as part of Kuden Jutsu, a martial art recognized by the World Karate Organization," and we believe them. Jackie Chan could probably take out a whole bar full of guys armed with nothing but this thing. But let's face it, once you've grown bad-ass enough that you can take out a guy with your car keys and a rubber chew toy, you can pretty much use whatever happens to be laying around and don't need to make a special purchase.

    Ninja Key Chain

    So, the keychain self defense industry seems to have a lot of products that only work if you're already Steven Segal. Otherwise you'd better hope your enemy is only 12-inches tall, or that this thing comes covered with poison.

    Actually, if you're a guy, you're not hoping that at all. If you keep your keys in your front pocket, you've got several punctured scrotums in your future.

    Blast Knuckles

    The ad says the Blast Knuckles are "perfect for joggers." So, you'll be running by the lake when some mugger makes their move. You raise your fist and ...

    Oh, hell yes! That picture is actual, unmodified promotional material from a catalog. Holy shit! When you start shooting lightning bolts from your hands, you're taking it to a whole new level. Just $120 and you're in the same realm as mutants, elementals and Jedi masters!

    It totally does that, right? And it's not just a shitty stun gun that you punch people with?

    The Sap Cap

    The cap is, shall we say, rear heavy. Meaning, it has a lead weight stitched into the back, so you can grab the bill and then smack the shit out of your vict--uh, attacker.

    Hats, traditionally, are meant to protect your head, not punch a hole in your Hypothalamus if you're too enthusiastic about putting it on. Note the distinct lack of human volunteers when it came time to photograph the thing up there.

    Screecher Alarm

    We had assumed these personal alarms were meant to make the townspeople come running to your defense, but they seem to be selling this one as a Black Canary-style shriek that will actually incapacitate the attacker.

    Note how neatly the wave of sonic doom moves in the bad guy's direction on the package. That kind of comic book science goes nicely with comic book psychology of hardcore criminals succumbing to a loud noise. Unless you happen to be fighting Daredevil, you'll be the one suffering from excruciating pain, as you're the one holding the screecher in your hand.

    Pulse Wave Myotron

    The Pulse Wave Myotron, a little cheap-looking device that the manufacturers loudly insist is not a stun gun, allegedly "neutralized brain waves," particularly those in the "hypothalamic region" that "trigger hostility."

    The Myotron made the infomercials circuit in the late '90s (it was apparently one of the few infomercials that featured a gang rape) and their website has gone dormant. But you can still get one apparently.

    Neutralizing brainwaves sounds like a blast, until you realize the thing actually NEUTRALIZES YOUR BRAINWAVES. Does a brainwave neutralizer seem like something you want around the house? Granted, certain career choices make this prospect more enticing, but unless you write dick jokes at an abandoned warehouse for a living, you will probably want to steer way clear of this particular instrument of doom.

    Original here

    Williams 'hijacks' BBC debate

    Comedian Robin Williams performed an impromptu stand-up routine before the delayed recording of a BBC World debate on the future of news. The World Debate - How True is Your World View is on BBC World, Sat 5 April, 0810BST, 1610 BST and 2010BST