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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 95098 times)
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« Reply #6120 on: Feb 6th, 2012, 07:51am »

New York Times

February 6, 2012
Violence in Syria Continues After Diplomacy Fails
By ANTHONY SHADID

BEIRUT — Syrian forces shelled the battered city of Homs for another day Monday, striking a makeshift clinic and killing at least 17 people in a mounting toll that has made the city the epicenter of the 11-month Syrian uprising, opposition groups said.

The city, Syria’s third-largest, has emerged as an arena of some of the revolt’s worst violence, with scores dead there in just the past few days.

The bloodshed on Monday followed an onslaught this weekend, when opposition groups said Syrian forces shelled Khaldiya and other neighborhoods for several hours Friday and Saturday, killing more than 200 people in one of the deadliest days of the revolt.

The government has flatly denied the tolls quoted by opposition groups. On Saturday, it said Homs was quiet. State-run media blamed the violence Monday on “armed terrorist groups” firing mortars within Homs, an opposition stronghold.

Explosions could be heard over the phone when speaking with residents. Videos smuggled out by activists showed a dramatic scene at a clinic, as people rushed past doctors and medical staff, shouting, “Oh God.” In one video, purporting to document the scene, blood smeared the sidewalk outside. Another showed bloodied corpses.

Two opposition groups put the death toll at 17.

“People can’t leave their homes,” said Omar Shakir, an activist in the city. “Where can they go? It’s the government’s punishment. It’s revenge.”

Homs, in western Syria near the Lebanese border, has grown ever more militarized as the uprising enters a more dangerous, violent and unpredictable phase. Defectors and armed allies control several neighborhoods in the city and the government so far has been unable to retake them. Defectors say they have mined entrances to two of them — Baba Amr and Khaldiya — although there was no way to confirm their claim.

Conditions in the city itself have worsened during an unusually cold winter. Residents speak of trash piling up and electricity supplies too intermittent to keep homes warm.

Though Homs has proven the deadliest locale, government forces have kept up a campaign to retake suburbs of Damascus and a northern region around the town of Idlib.

The state-run news agency said gunmen killed three soldiers and captured others at a checkpoint in Jabal al-Zawiyah, near Idlib, which is a rugged region near the border with Turkey. The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported a clash there, saying that insurgents had killed three officers and 19 soldiers.

“We follow with great anxiety and irritation developments in the field situation in Syria, and the escalation of military operations in the city of Homs and rural areas of Damascus, and the Syrian armed forces’ use of heavy weapons against civilians,” Nabil al-Araby, the secretary general of the Arab League, said in a statement quoted by Reuters.

The escalation pushed “conditions toward a slide towards civil war,” he said.


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/07/world/middleeast/violence-in-syria-continues-after-diplomacy-fails.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #6121 on: Feb 6th, 2012, 07:54am »

LA Times

Explosive fire kills husband, two sons of missing Utah woman

Police believe Josh Powell deliberately set the blaze
after a state social worker brought the boys for a supervised visit near Graham, Wash.

By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times
11:01 PM PST, February 5, 2012
Reporting from Seattle

A case whose sad twists and turns perplexed authorities for more than two years took a last, tragic turn Sunday when what was left of missing Utah stockbroker Susan Powell's family died in a powerful and apparently murderous fire.

Her two young sons had just arrived for a supervised visit with her husband, Josh Powell, when an explosive fire ripped through his home near Graham, Wash., killing him, 5-year-old Braden and 7-year-old Charles.

Authorities said Josh Powell, who has been a person of interest in his wife's 2009 disappearance from their Utah home during a snowstorm, is believed to have set the fast-moving blaze.

"This is pure evil. This was not a tragedy. This is the murder of two young children," Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor told reporters.

A state Child Protective Services worker had dropped off the boys for what was to have been a supervised court-ordered visit. She was about to follow the children into the house when Powell blocked her entrance and locked the door, said Sherry Hill, spokeswoman for the Washington Department of Social and Health Services.

The worker called her supervisor from her car, reported that she had smelled gas in the house, and was ordered to call 911. She did.

"And then the house blew up," Hill said in an interview.

Gary Franz of Graham Fire and Rescue said the house was "fully involved" in a scorching blaze by the time firefighters arrived. There were no other victims, he said.

Powell's lawyer, Jeffrey Bassett, had received an email from his client only moments before, although he didn't find it until two hours later. It read: "I'm sorry, goodbye."

The story of the Powell family has unfolded in increasingly improbable details since the night Josh Powell, then living with his wife in West Valley City, Utah, packed his two boys into the car in the middle of the night — in the midst of a heavy snowstorm — purportedly to take them camping.

Susan Powell, 28 at the time, has not been seen since.

Josh Powell told authorities his wife may have decided to disappear, or perhaps committed suicide.

Now, it appears that the two boys, who have been living since September with Susan's parents, Charles and Judith Cox of Puyallup, Wash., were starting to share recollections of the night their mother disappeared.

Steve Downing, the Cox family's lawyer, told the Associated Press on Sunday that the boys "were beginning to verbalize more."

"The oldest boy talked about that they went camping and that Mommy was in the trunk. Mom and Dad got out of the car and Mom disappeared," he said.

Josh Powell initially had custody of his boys and moved with them to his father's house in Washington state not long after his wife's disappearance. But last September, police executing a search there discovered thousands of pornographic pictures and videos — including furtively taken shots of neighbor children in various states of undress — on a computer belonging to Powell's father, Steven Powell, then 61.

Authorities said the pictures included images of Susan Powell, with whom the elder Powell has said he had a flirtatious relationship. Her parents have vigorously denied that claim.

Josh Powell rented a home of his own after his father's arrest and returned to court last week in a bid to regain custody. "I have proven myself as a fit and loving father who provides a stable home even in the face of great adversity," he wrote in an affidavit.

But a Washington state judge ruled that in light of the computer images found in the home, Powell would have to undergo a psycho-sexual evaluation before she would consider returning custody to him.

Hill, the social services spokeswoman, said Powell was entitled to visit with the boys every Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

"This was a regularly scheduled, supervised visit, and the court had ordered those," she said.

"We had no indication that there was going to be any harm to the children, or a suicide. And had we suspected any of those things, we would have gone immediately to the court and addressed those concerns."

Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff's Department, said the social worker pounded on the door and windows after the fire broke out, but she couldn't help. She is being treated for "grave emotional trauma," a department statement said.

The email to Powell's lawyer arrived 10 minutes before the fire, but Bassett told the Associated Press that he didn't see it until two hours later, after he had been notified of the conflagration.

That anyone could have helped is doubtful — police say the fire appeared to have been set with the aid of an accelerant that resulted in a hot, fast-moving blaze that swept through the house and killed all three occupants in the same room.

"The whole thing went up really, really fast in large flames, and burned really hot and really quick," Troyer said in an interview.

Although neighbors reported an explosion, he said that was probably the sound of windows popping and breaking in the blistering heat.

"There's no doubt about what happened here," he said, asserting that the fire leaves little doubt about Susan Powell's fate either.

"This is a guy who murdered his two kids and probably murdered his wife. I don't know what Utah police think, but as far as we're concerned, this is pretty close to a confession to the crime," Troyer said.

Police in West Valley City have said it is too early to draw any conclusions, but they were scheduled to fly to Washington state for new consultations. In a statement Sunday night, they said the case would remain open as they tried to find Susan Powell.

Downing told the Associated Press that the Cox family was "devastated by this horrific event."

"They were always very fearful of him doing something like this," Downing said. "And he did it."


http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-father-sons-explosion-20120206,0,7547036.story

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« Reply #6122 on: Feb 6th, 2012, 08:07am »

Hollywood Reporter

NBC Apologizes For M.I.A. Flipping Middle Finger at Super Bowl Halftime Show
8:36 PM PST 2/5/2012
by Erin Carlson

UPDATED: "Our system was late to obscure the inappropriate gesture and we apologize to our viewers," the network said in a statement.

NBC and the NFL have apologized for M.I.A.'s middle finger moment during Sunday's Super Bowl halftime show.

The rapper flipped the bird while performing alongside Madonna and Nicki Minaj on the network's telecast, which was watched by millions as one of the biggest events on television.

"The NFL hired the talent and produced the halftime show," NBC said in a statement to THR. "Our system was late to obscure the inappropriate gesture and we apologize to our viewers."

For its part, the NFL released a statement that seemed to blame the fault delay system for the airing of the gesture. "There was a failure in NBC's delay system. The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing, and we apologize to our fans."

M.I.A., known for her rebellious, brash persona and music, performed in a cheerleader outfit for a performance of Madonna's latest single, "Give Me All Your Luvin,'" on which she and Minaj -- also onstage in a pom-pom girl uniform -- are featured rappers.

Her bratty gesture recalled another malfunction of the wardrobe variety in 2004, when Janet Jackson famously flashed a nipple while performing with Justin Timberlake in the halftime show, sending the FCC and viewers into a frenzy.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/mia-middle-finger-super-bowl-nbc-287200

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« Reply #6123 on: Feb 6th, 2012, 08:13am »

Scientific American

San Diego Demonoid”: you mean that dead opossum?
By Darren Naish
February 5, 2012

By night, I work as a technical research scientist, writer of papers and so on, but by day I walk the beaches of the world, looking for partially decomposed mystery carcasses and identifying them. Kidding: of course I don’t, but you get the idea – thanks in no small part to the Montauk Monster flap of 2008, I’ve become known as the guy who identifies weird carcasses. In fact, so many queries of this sort come in via email that I don’t have time to blog about them anymore.

On the 1st of February I was emailed by the people at vice.com about a weird mammal carcass they’re calling the “San Diego Demonoid”. Loren Coleman (at Cryptomundo) has since referred to it as the “San Diego Diablo”. I suggest we call it “a dead opossum”, because that’s what it is and it’s nothing special. At least two photos were taken by Rocco Castoro, the discoverer of the carcass. I looked at the photos and was mightily unimpressed by the dead Virginia opossum Didelphis virginiana I could see staring back at me. I passed this identification on to my friends in the sceptic community, and indeed Sharon Hill at Doubtful Newsblog and Ben Radford at DiscoveryNews have both covered the opossum identification of the carcass already.

As usual, there are some silly ideas out there: that it might be a dog, raccoon, tapir (!!!), or an escaped mutant from a lab (of course). The term Chupacabra has been used a lot, since it now seems to be a word that people associate with any ugly, long-snouted mammal that has pointed canines. And a popular idea this time round is that it might be a fake or work of art, perhaps composited from the remains of other animals.

I don’t want to be seen to be giving publicity to yet another of those waste-of-time, publicity-seeking “monster carcass” stories, but at the same time I feel it’s worth helping to spread an evidence-based identification of this carcass, since its true identity is so frikkin’ obvious.

Why is the identification “obvious”? The carcass is a mammal with a long, rat-like snout, a rather high number of small incisors, closely spaced premolars with pointed cusps, and especially long, curved upper canines. We can guess from the sand and seaweed (and from Castoro’s shadow and shoe-print in one of the photos) that it’s mid-sized – not tiny, not huge, but something like 60 cm long. Note that, unlike dogs, foxes and so on, it doesn’t have an obvious rhinarium (the area of dark, distinctly textured skin that surrounds the nostrils in such animals). These features all immediately screamed “opossum” to me. Partly this is because I’ve handled opossum skulls and am familiar with their surprisingly big upper canines and high number of incisors (there are five uppers and four lowers for each side) [opossum skull here borrowed from Cryptomundo]. Even the fur looks opossum-like (mammal carcasses typically slough fur after they’ve been decomposing in water for a while, and this explains the naked face). When you add all this to the fact that the Virginia opossum is a common, widespread mammal in California, we have an obvious and uncontroversial identification.

Incidentally, the Virginia opossum isn’t native to California. It was introduced there in about 1910 from Tennessee and swiftly became extremely abundant. There have been numerous other opossum introduction events across the west as well.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/tetrapod-zoology/2012/02/05/san-diego-demonid-is-dead-opossum/

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« Reply #6124 on: Feb 6th, 2012, 7:40pm »

'Mutant' spider fears at nuclear waste lab

By BELLA BATTLE
Published: 06th February 2012

SCIENTISTS are investigating a bizarre white cobweb found on nuclear waste - amid fears it could have been made by a 'MUTANT' SPIDER.
In a freakish echo of the Spider-Man comic strip, workers at a US nuclear waste facility discovered the growth on uranium last month.
The white 'string-like' material - never seen before on nuclear waste - was found among thousands of spent fuel assemblies submerged in deep pools.

Experts from Savannah River National Laboratory collected a small sample of the mystery material to run tests.

A report filed by the Defence Nuclear Facilities Safety Board concluded: "The growth, which resembles a spider web, has yet to be characterised, but may be biological in nature."

The report said the initial sample of the growth was too small to characterise, and that "further evaluation still needs to be completed".
But the bizarre growth will stoke fears that nuclear fuel can cause Frankenstein-style mutations.

Experts say that any creature inside in the pools of water - which are intended to protect workers - would have been exposed to the nuclear fuel.

This raises the prospect of a creature having morphed into a new species of 'extremophile' after being exposed to uranium.
Organisms with a natural resistance to radiation are said to be 'radioresistant,' and do exist.

Osman Kemal Kadirolu, a former professor of nuclear engineering at the University of Istanbul, said: "As we know life evolves in most unusual places.

Volcanoes in the mid-Atlantic are thriving with life where the water temperature is below 0C and pressure is more than 300 atm - or in hot salt water pools around geysers.

"The water in the spent fuel pools is maintained at a certain pH and temperature. If micro-organisms enter into the pool they may have a chance to live.

"The radiation field near a spent fuel assembly is very large and will definitely disturb the normal life cycle of the micro-organisms.
Will Callicott, a spokesman for Savannah River National Laboratory, said in an e-mail that officials hope to collect a larger sample for analysis.

He added: "Whatever it is, it doesn't appear to be causing any damage."

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4110865/Mutant-spider-fears-at-nuclear-waste-lab.html
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« Reply #6125 on: Feb 6th, 2012, 9:27pm »

on Feb 6th, 2012, 7:40pm, Swamprat wrote:
'Mutant' spider fears at nuclear waste lab

By BELLA BATTLE
Published: 06th February 2012

SCIENTISTS are investigating a bizarre white cobweb found on nuclear waste - amid fears it could have been made by a 'MUTANT' SPIDER.
In a freakish echo of the Spider-Man comic strip, workers at a US nuclear waste facility discovered the growth on uranium last month.
The white 'string-like' material - never seen before on nuclear waste - was found among thousands of spent fuel assemblies submerged in deep pools.

Experts from Savannah River National Laboratory collected a small sample of the mystery material to run tests.

A report filed by the Defence Nuclear Facilities Safety Board concluded: "The growth, which resembles a spider web, has yet to be characterised, but may be biological in nature."

The report said the initial sample of the growth was too small to characterise, and that "further evaluation still needs to be completed".
But the bizarre growth will stoke fears that nuclear fuel can cause Frankenstein-style mutations.

Experts say that any creature inside in the pools of water - which are intended to protect workers - would have been exposed to the nuclear fuel.

This raises the prospect of a creature having morphed into a new species of 'extremophile' after being exposed to uranium.
Organisms with a natural resistance to radiation are said to be 'radioresistant,' and do exist.

Osman Kemal Kadirolu, a former professor of nuclear engineering at the University of Istanbul, said: "As we know life evolves in most unusual places.

Volcanoes in the mid-Atlantic are thriving with life where the water temperature is below 0C and pressure is more than 300 atm - or in hot salt water pools around geysers.

"The water in the spent fuel pools is maintained at a certain pH and temperature. If micro-organisms enter into the pool they may have a chance to live.

"The radiation field near a spent fuel assembly is very large and will definitely disturb the normal life cycle of the micro-organisms.
Will Callicott, a spokesman for Savannah River National Laboratory, said in an e-mail that officials hope to collect a larger sample for analysis.

He added: "Whatever it is, it doesn't appear to be causing any damage."

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4110865/Mutant-spider-fears-at-nuclear-waste-lab.html


As Penny would say, "Holy Crap on a cracker!"


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« Reply #6126 on: Feb 7th, 2012, 08:29am »

New York Times

February 6, 2012
Iran’s Middle Class on Edge as World Presses In
By ROBERT F. WORTH

TEHRAN — One measure of the profound anxiety now coursing through Iranian society can be seen on Manouchehri Street, a winding lane at the heart of this city where furtive crowds of men gather every day like drug dealers to buy and sell American dollars.

The government has raised the official exchange rate and sent police into the streets to stop the black marketeers, but with confidence in Iran’s own currency, the rial, collapsing by the day, the trade goes on.

“Am I afraid of the police? Sure, but I need the money,” said Hamid, a heavyset construction engineer who was standing by a muddy patch of greenery amid a crowd of other illicit currency traders here. “Food prices are going up, and my salary is not enough.” Glancing nervously around him, he added that he had converted almost all of his assets into dollars. Like many Iranians, he had also stockpiled months’ worth of rice and other staples.

The fuel for this manic trade is not an actual economic collapse — the new European oil embargo has yet to take effect, and there is plenty of food on the shelves — but a rising sense of panic about Iran’s encirclement, the possibility of war and the prospect of more economic pain to come. The White House announced a further tightening on Monday aimed at freezing Iranian assets and constricting the activities of Iran’s Central Bank.

Already, the last round of sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank has begun inflicting unprecedented damage on Iran’s private sector, traders and analysts say, making it so hard to transfer money abroad that even affluent businessmen are sometimes forced to board planes carrying suitcases full of American dollars.

Yet this economic burden is falling largely on the middle class, raising the prospect of more resentment against the West and complicating the effort to deter Iran’s nuclear program — a central priority for the Obama administration in this election year.

“For the past few months, our business customers have been coming to us saying their clients are giving up on them, because they believe they will not be paid,” said Parvaneh, a 41-year-old woman working at a Tehran bank. Like others interviewed for this article, she declined to give her full name, fearing repercussions for herself and her family. “They are starting to lay off employees. Iran’s economy has always been sick, but now it seems worse than ever.”

The rising economic panic has illustrated — and possibly intensified — the bitter divisions within Iran’s political elite. A number of insiders, including members of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, have begun openly criticizing Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in recent weeks. One of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s aides indirectly accused Ayatollah Khamenei of needlessly antagonizing the West in ways that pushed down the rial’s value, the latest sign of a rift between the president and the supreme leader that is helping to define the parliamentary elections, which are scheduled for March 2.

“They criticize Ahmadinejad and even the supreme leader by name now; it’s not like before,” said Javad, the 45-year-old manager of a travel agency in north Tehran.

With Iran now importing as much rice and other food staples as it grows at home, trade obstacles could become far more significant in the coming months. Most Iranian traders discount the possibility of real food shortages, saying Iran is already reorienting its trade eastward and has always found ways around sanctions in the past. But with more avenues closing off every month, those evasive measures are likely to be ever more cumbersome and expensive.

Ordinary Iranians complain that the sanctions are hurting them, while those at the top are unscathed, or even benefit. Many wealthy Iranians made huge profits in recent weeks by buying dollars at the government rate (available to insiders) and then selling them for almost twice as many rials on the soaring black market. Some analysts and opposition political figures contend that Mr. Ahmadinejad deliberately worsened the currency crisis so that his cronies could generate profits this way.

Javad’s travel agency is a striking illustration of Iran’s current plight. With six weeks left before the Persian New Year, the phone should be ringing off the hook with reservations for holiday travel, he said. Instead, “there’s been no business for the past three weeks.”

It’s not just that would-be travelers are frightened. The agency cannot price its holiday packages, because with exchange rates fluctuating wildly, they do not know what rate to use.

“Every day it’s something new,” Javad said, gazing up at a tourism poster of China on his office wall. Foreign travel to Iran has almost entirely disappeared. Two years ago, Javad’s foreign clients were mostly Europeans; now they are entirely Russians and Chinese, and even they have been scared off in recent weeks, with Iranian officials threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz and rising fears of a war. (Russia and China remain Iran’s only supporters in the United Nations Security Council.)

“We had a booking for 300 Chinese, for their New Year,” Javad said. “Only 30 or 40 came.”

Even Iranians who oppose their government tend to see the growing economic pressure as an unfair gesture unlikely to yield any positive results.

“We know they want to pressure us so we rise against our government, but we are not in a position to do that,” said Murad, a haggard 41-year-old waiter at a Tehran tea shop. Like many middle- and lower-class Iranians, Murad seemed to blame both his own government and the West for his plight. He makes about $50 a day in the tea shop where he has worked for 25 years, he said, and with three children at home, his life has gotten measurably harder in the past year.

“Prices are going up so much I have to work all the time, and we still can’t buy new clothes even once a year,” he said. “The rich don’t suffer, they are protected. The truth is, we’d like to have good relations with the West. What is the point of ‘Death to the U.S.A.’? But what can we do about this?”

The crisis has taken a toll on medical care, affecting the middle class as well as the poor. Because of the ever-tighter pressure on any kind of trade with Iran, the black market price of Herceptin, a breast cancer drug, has nearly doubled in the past year, said Lian, a young nurse who works in the cancer ward of one of Tehran’s major hospitals (the government regulates the mainstream supply of such drugs, but supplies are very limited).

The sanctions have also affected medical technology, because radiology machines fall under the “dual use” provisions of laws aimed at keeping nuclear technology out of Iran. At Shohada Hospital, one of the country’s premier institutions, about 1,200 cancer patients a year go without radiological treatment, because the radiology equipment is no longer working and replacement parts cannot be brought into Iran, said Pejman Razavi, a doctor at the hospital.

Many Iranians are also skeptical about the Western preoccupation with Iran’s nuclear program. “The economic pressure will not push Iran to a nuclear settlement,” said Kayhan Barzegar, the director of the Institute for Middle East Strategic Studies, who has taught in the United States. “The nuclear file is a nationalistic issue; it’s too late for Iran to backtrack. Domestic politics will react negatively to any negotiation — candidates in the elections will say: you sold the nuclear program!”

In an interview, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, an adviser to Mr. Ahmadinejad, also dismissed the sanctions as counterproductive, saying Iranians had suffered worse isolation during the 1980s and had always found ways around them. “This is not the way to approach us,” Mr. Javanfekr said. “You should instead speak to us with respect. You should win our heart.”

Some Iranian businessmen make similar comments, noting that there are always ingenious new ways to sell oil and to transfer money, and that the people who will suffer most from sanctions are not the ones who can pressure the government for change. “So you kill the pistachio trade in Iran,” one businessman said. “How does that stop nuclear enrichment?”

But the businessman also noted that when Iran last suffered similar privations, in the 1980s, the economy was far smaller, and the revolutionary zeal for self-sacrifice far greater. Iran’s leadership was also far more unified than it is today.

“The question is, when this panic translates into a real diminution in the living standard, will Iranians be willing to take it?” the businessman said. “That’s when these guys will really be in trouble.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/07/world/middleeast/irans-middle-class-on-edge-as-international-tensions-rise.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #6127 on: Feb 7th, 2012, 08:36am »

Wired Threat Level

Defendant Ordered to Decrypt Laptop May Have Forgotten Password
By David Kravets
February 6, 2012 | 2:55 pm
Categories: privacy, The Courts

A Colorado woman ordered to decrypt her laptop so prosecutors may use the files against her in a criminal case might have forgotten the password, the defendant’s attorney said Monday.

The authorities seized the Toshiba laptop from defendant Ramona Fricosu in 2010 with a court warrant while investigating alleged mortgage fraud. Ruling that the woman’s Fifth Amendment rights against compelled self-incrimination would not be breached, U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn ordered the woman in January to decrypt the laptop.

“It’s very possible to forget passwords,” the woman’s attorney, Philip Dubois, said in a telephone interview. “It’s not clear to me she was the one who set up the encryption on this drive. I don’t know if she will be able to decrypt it.”

The decryption case is a complicated one, even if solely analyzed on the underlying Fifth Amendment issue. Such decryption orders are rare, and they have never squarely been addressed by the Supreme Court.

One case involved a child pornography prosecution that ended with a Vermont federal judge ordering the defendant to decrypt the hard drive of his laptop.

While that case never reached the Supreme Court, it differed from the Fricosu matter because U.S. border agents already knew there was child porn on the computer because they saw it while the computer was running during a 2006 routine stop along the Canadian border. The authorities’ belief that Fricosu’s hard drive might contain evidence against her was the result of a recorded jailhouse conversation between her and a co-defendant.

And now the case is even more complicated and raises the question of what might happen if the woman does not comply with the judge’s order.

If she does not decrypt the drive by month’s end, as ordered, she could be held in contempt and jailed until she complies. If the case gets to that point, Judge Blackburn would have to make a judgement call and determine whether the woman had forgotten the code or was refusing to comply.

“The government will probably say you need to put her in jail until she breaks down and does what she is ordered to do,” Dubois said. “That will create a question of fact for the judge to resolve. If she’s unable to decrypt the disc, the court cannot hold her in contempt.”

Prosecutor Patricia Davies said in a telephone interview that the defendant has not said in any court document that she might have forgotten the password.

“She has not taken that position in court,” Davis said. “When she does, we’ll figure it out.”

Davies had urged Judge Blackburn to order Fricosu to decrypt the hard drive, writing “that encrypting all inculpatory digital evidence will serve to defeat the efforts of law enforcement officers to obtain such evidence through judicially authorized search warrants, and thus make their prosecution impossible.”

The judge refused Friday to suspend his order to allow time for an appeal to the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Dubois, Fricosu’s attorney, said Monday he would petition the appeals court anyway in hopes that it agrees with his position that Judge Blackburn’s order breaches Fricosu’s Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/02/forgotten-password/

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« Reply #6128 on: Feb 7th, 2012, 08:41am »

Deadline Hollywood

Mackenzie Foy, Joey King Join Cast Of James Wan Paranormal Thriller
By BRIAN BROOKS
Monday February 6, 2012 @ 9:23pm PST
Tags: Joey King, Mackenzie Foy, Vera Farmiga

Young actresses Mackenzie Foy (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1) and Joey King (Crazy, Stupid, Love) have been cast with Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor in the Untitled Warren Files Project. Produced by Peter Safran and Tony DeRosa-Grund and based on a true story, the thriller revolves around the Perron family that encounters spirits in their Rhode Island farmhouse in the 1970s.

Famed paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren investigated the case with cooperation from the Perrons. James Wan (Insidious) is directing from a screenplay by Chad Hayes and Carey Hayes. Shooting begins two weeks from Tuesday. Mackenzie and King are repped by Coast to Coast. King is managed by Industry.

http://www.deadline.com/hollywood/

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« Reply #6129 on: Feb 7th, 2012, 08:48am »

Think Geek

Taste the rich, chocolate bounty

It's tough being a crime lord. You need to keep track of your bounty hunters, your smugglers, your assassins, your bodyguards, your dancing girls, your droids. You need to rig the gambling games to be sure the house keeps an advantage. It's a pretty rough life. Lucrative, sure, but rough. Sometimes, you just want to escape to a simpler way of doing business.


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Which is why Jabba has opened his own sweets factory. A little side venture where he makes Lightsaber Popsicles, Wookiee Cookies, Candy Rancorn, Twi'lek Dancer Lollipops, and the ever popular coconut Wamparoons. Getting these Han Solo in Carbonite Chocolates shipped in from a galaxy far, far away took a long, long time, but they're finally here! Enjoy this rich chocolate bounty from Tatooine's Tasty Treats.

Product Features

•Gourmet Dark chocolate molded to look like Han Solo frozen in carbonite
•Trust us, chocolate tastes much better than carbonite
•Comes in a box suitable for gifting to your favorite Star Wars fan
•Officially licensed Star Wars edible delight
•Exclusive product designed and manufactured by ThinkGeek
•Each bar is 4.5 oz of premium dark chocolate and measures 6 inches in length

Ingredients:
Dark Chocolate (Chocolate Liquor, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Soya Lecithin, Vanilla)

http://www.thinkgeek.com/caffeine/wacky-edibles/ea87/?pfm=Carousel_ea87_HanSoloChocolateBar_4#tabs

$9.99 per bar

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« Reply #6130 on: Feb 7th, 2012, 09:00am »

BBC

7 February 2012
Last updated at 09:22 ET
Five workers missing after Japan refinery collapse

Five workers are missing after an undersea tunnel collapsed at one of Japan's biggest oil refineries, emergency services have said.

The workers were in the partially built tunnel at Kurashiki, 550km (345 miles) west of Tokyo, when it caved in.

A survivor "said that sea water came gushing in" and flooded the tunnel.

Police rescue divers have entered the vertical shaft of the tunnel, but are battling against poor visibility because of debris, mud and oil.

The accident happened at Mizushima Refinery, operated by JX Nippon Oil and Energy Corp.

Officials say it is not clear whether sea water is continuing to flow into the tunnel and create dangerous currents which are hampering the search effort.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-16925675#TWEET73964

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« Reply #6131 on: Feb 7th, 2012, 4:18pm »

Giant Freakin Robot


Man Plans To Break Records By Skydiving From Outer Space
Date: Feb 7, 2012
Author: David Wharton
Category: Sci-Fi In Real Life


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One of the coolest scenes in J.J. Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek relaunch saw Kirk, Sulu, and Chief Engineer Olson perform a bit of orbital skydiving in order to reach the drill platform that was attacking Vulcan. It was the sort of insane, over-the-top action that contrasted with Trek‘s traditionally more staid approach, and it’s a perfect example of how Abrams and his screenwriters were trying to shake up the Trek formula. Like the movie or not, nobody who sat through it is likely to forget that sequence any time soon. Now a real-life athlete is looking to show Kirk up by doing his very own spacejump, skydiving out of a balloon 120,000 feet above the Earth’s surface. And it’s all sponsored by Red Bull.

The possibly insane daredevil in question is Australian Felix Baumgartner. He’s got a history of record-setting stunts, such as when he crossed the English channel while in freefall back in 2003. He also has a tendency to jump off very tall things, such as Taiwan’s Taipei 101 skyscraper and Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Cristo Redentor statue, so this next stunt should be right up his alley. Assuming that alley stretched straight upward for 120,000 feet, four times the height of Mount Everest.

According the to the statement released on Red Bull’s website, this spacediving attempt will potentially break four world records: highest skydive, highest manned balloon flight, longest free fall, and becoming the first human to hit supersonic speeds without the assistance of, you know, an actual aircraft. Obviously, nobody has ever claimed that last one, but the first three were toppled in 1960 by Air Force Captain Joe Kittinger, who fell 102,800 feet after leaping out of a balloon.

The jump holds more potential dangers than simply becoming a red smear several counties wide. The project’s technical director, Art Thompson, explains some of the risks:

"If he opens up his face mask or the suit, all the gases in your body go out of suspension, so you literally turn into a giant fizzy, oozing fluid from your eyes and mouth, like something out of a horror film… It’s just seconds until death."

Fizzy, oozing fluid…man, I could really go for a Red Bull right about now…


Top image courtesy of Red Bull.

http://www.giantfreakinrobot.com/sci/man-plans-break-records-skydiving-outer-space.html

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« Reply #6132 on: Feb 7th, 2012, 5:42pm »

.



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photo by Nick Harmer, Seattle WA





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« Reply #6133 on: Feb 7th, 2012, 9:29pm »

.






Uploaded by JMajorLITD on Feb 6, 2012

Time-lapse video from the ISS on Jan. 29, 2012. These sequences of frames were taken at the rate of one frame per second, therefore the slower speed of the video represents nearly the true speed of the International Space Station.

This video was taken by the crew of Expedition 30 on board the International Space Station. The sequence of shots was taken January 29, 2012 from 10:18:13 to 10:31:28 GMT, on a pass from the North Pacific Ocean, approximately 1,000 miles west of California, to western Quebec.

This video begins as the ISS is passing over the dark waters of the North Pacific Ocean northeast towards Vancouver Island. The Aurora Borealis can be seen far north, where both the under side and top of the aurora are visible.

The pass continues over Canada until the sun begins to come up in the east while over Quebec.

From the Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/Videos/CrewEarthObservationsVideos/

Video courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center

Category:
Science & Technology

~

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« Reply #6134 on: Feb 8th, 2012, 08:34am »

New York Times

February 8, 2012
Russian Scientists Bore Into Ancient Antarctic Lake
By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN

MOSCOW — Russian scientists said on Wednesday that they had pierced through more than three kilometers of Antarctic ice and reached the waters of a subglacial lake that has been sealed off for millions of years.

Clean samples of the water from Lake Vostok, named after the scientific research station located on the ice sheet above it, will not be taken until the next Antarctic summer, in December 2012, officials said, as the initial water released from the lake was contaminated by drilling fluid.

Scientists believe the lake could contain a wide variety of evolutionary secrets, including evidence of previously unknown, prehistoric life forms.

Russian scientists have been drilling in the area for decades. The lake is located beneath an area known as the coldest spot on earth. In 1983, the Vostok research station recorded a temperature of -89 degrees Celsius or -129 degrees Fahrenheit, the lowest ever documented.

It was clear on Saturday that scientists were likely to reach the water, but officials at Russian’s Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute were reluctant to confirm any details until it was certain. On Saturday evening, scientists saw the first evidence of water in the drilling bore — at a depth of 3,766 meters.

The Russian researchers have been working with a drill that uses kerosene and Freon, and some scientists and environmental groups had warned that the pristine lake might be polluted by those chemicals. The Russian researchers had long insisted that water rushing up from the lake would cover the chemicals and quickly freeze and they said this is what occurred when the drill made contact with water at the depth of 3,769.2 meters on Sunday.

At that moment, sensors detected a sharp increase in pressure, according to a statement by the chief of the Vostok Research Station, A.M. Yelagin, which was released by the director of the Russian Antarctic Expedition, Valery Lukin.

About 30 to 40 liters of water spurted up, raising the drilling equipment and freezing in the borehole, sealing the chemicals, Mr. Yelagin said. The temperature at on the glacial surface of the drilling effort is a constant -55 degrees Celsius.

Mr. Lukin said it was a momentous, pioneering moment. “For me, the discovery of this lake is comparable with the first flight into space,” he told the Interfax News Agency. “By technological complexity, by importance, by uniqueness.”

After reaching the water, the research team gathered by the drilling site for a photo.

Russian officials said the timing of the announcement was fitting because on Wednesday Russia celebrated “Science Day,” commemorating the occasion in 1724 when Peter the Great signed an order establishing the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences.


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/09/world/europe/russian-scientists-bore-into-ancient-antarctic-lake.html?_r=1&hp

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