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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 70618 times)
Luvey
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #780 on: Aug 21st, 2010, 08:51am »

Good morning Crystal

Quote:
New York Times

August 20, 2010
U.S. Inaction Lets Look-Alike Tubes Kill Patients
By GARDINER HARRIS

Thirty-five weeks pregnant, Robin Rodgers was vomiting and losing weight, so her doctor hospitalized her and ordered that she be fed through a tube until the birth of her daughter.


I read a similar account on the news this morning that happened on east coast Australia. The woman was giving birth and having an epidural, and detergent was put into the tube instead of the epidural medicine. She is now completely paralysed. The baby is fine. Its so very, very sad. These mistakes should not be happening!

I went searching for the story to post but because it is elections over here its taking up all the news.

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #781 on: Aug 21st, 2010, 10:33am »

Finally, I found the news story...

Mother giving birth 'injected with poison'

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/7948729/mother-giving-birth-injected-with-poison

I thought it really synchronistic that I read that story this morning and you posted an almost identical story this evening... ummm your morning, my evening.

Pen
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #782 on: Aug 21st, 2010, 12:47pm »

on Aug 21st, 2010, 10:33am, Luvey wrote:
Finally, I found the news story...

Mother giving birth 'injected with poison'

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/7948729/mother-giving-birth-injected-with-poison

I thought it really synchronistic that I read that story this morning and you posted an almost identical story this evening... ummm your morning, my evening.

Pen


Good evening Pen,
Synchronistic is right! Horrible. How in **** could you confuse an epidural with cleaning solution or whatever poison it was!?!
Crystal
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« Reply #783 on: Aug 21st, 2010, 12:49pm »

Phantoms and Monsters

Saturday, August 21, 2010
Fortean / Oddball News - 8/21/2010
The Incredible Shrinking Moon

AP - The moon may be shrinking.

Not to worry though, lovers and crooners, it won't be disappearing any time soon.

New research indicates cracks in the moon's crust that have formed as the interior has cooled and shrunk over the last billion years or so. That means the surface has shrunk, too, though not so you'd notice just from gazing at it.

Scientists have identified 14 landforms called lobate scarps scattered over the surface of the moon, explained Thomas R. Watters of the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.

Watters and colleagues describe their find in Friday's edition of the journal Science.

The scarps had previously been noted at the moon's equator, but this is the first evidence in other areas, indicating they result from a global process.

The study calls the scarps "evidence of recent thrust faulting on the moon." But this is planetary science, where "recent" can mean a billion years ago.

The scarps, or cliffs, extend across some small craters, and small craters tend to be obliterated over time, Watters explained in a telephone interview. In addition, there are no large craters imposed on top of the scarps, another indication they are relatively recent, in planetary terms, he said.

"One of the really cool parts of this ... the faults are so young-looking that you can't escape the possibility that this contraction occurred recently, and could indicate that the moon is still active," Watters said.

The size of the scarps indicates a shrinkage in the size of the moon of about 100 meters (328 feet), which wouldn't be nearly enough to be noticed with the naked eye. The moon is about one-fourth the size of the Earth in diameter.

The scarps range up to 10 meters (a little over 30 feet) high and a few kilometers long, he said. By comparison, the planet Mercury has much larger scarps indicating considerably more shrinkage over time.

The moon's not going to disappear and its shrinkage won't affect the Earth in any way, Watters stressed.

more after the jump
http://naturalplane.blogspot.com/2010/08/fortean-oddball-news-8212010.html

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #784 on: Aug 21st, 2010, 12:57pm »

Guess what I watched this morning? grin




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Gareth Malone


This clip makes me smile every single time. The little things are so earnest and trying so hard. God bless them and Gareth.
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #785 on: Aug 21st, 2010, 1:36pm »

Such stories like the above mentioned of these women make me sad. sad
on Aug 21st, 2010, 08:28am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Telegraph

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange facing arrest over 'rape' claim

Now is that an attempt to silence someone?!

You know, it seems to be the easiest way to destroy somebody's credibility. Just claim that he's a rapist or child abuser. Even if it remains unproven, people will still be suspicious about that person so that he/she won't ever be able to act like they use to do before.

Eyecandy:

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« Reply #786 on: Aug 21st, 2010, 5:52pm »

Beautiful photo Phil, thanks!

I wondered the same thing when I read the headline about the WikiLeaks rape accusation. Smear the guy and keep him in court and broke. Sad but true, and a huge possibility.

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« Reply #787 on: Aug 21st, 2010, 8:16pm »


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« Reply #788 on: Aug 22nd, 2010, 08:07am »

New York Times

August 21, 2010
In Striking Shift, Small Investors Flee Stock Market
By GRAHAM BOWLEY

Renewed economic uncertainty is testing Americans’ generation-long love affair with the stock market.

Investors withdrew a staggering $33.12 billion from domestic stock market mutual funds in the first seven months of this year, according to the Investment Company Institute, the mutual fund industry trade group. Now many are choosing investments they deem safer, like bonds.

If that pace continues, more money will be pulled out of these mutual funds in 2010 than in any year since the 1980s, with the exception of 2008, when the global financial crisis peaked.

Small investors are “losing their appetite for risk,” a Credit Suisse analyst, Doug Cliggott, said in a report to investors on Friday.

One of the phenomena of the last several decades has been the rise of the individual investor. As Americans have become more responsible for their own retirement, they have poured money into stocks with such faith that half of the country’s households now own shares directly or through mutual funds, which are by far the most popular way Americans invest in stocks. So the turnabout is striking.

So is the timing. After past recessions, ordinary investors have typically regained their enthusiasm for stocks, hoping to profit as the economy recovered. This time, even as corporate earnings have improved, Americans have become more guarded with their investments.

“At this stage in the economic cycle, $10 to $20 billion would normally be flowing into domestic equity funds” rather than the billions that are flowing out, said Brian K. Reid, chief economist of the investment institute. He added, “This is very unusual.”

The notion that stocks tend to be safe and profitable investments over time seems to have been dented in much the same way that a decline in home values and in job stability the last few years has altered Americans’ sense of financial security.

It may take many years before it is clear whether this becomes a long-term shift in psychology. After technology and dot-com shares crashed in the early 2000s, for example, investors were quick to re-enter the stock market. Yet bigger economic calamities like the Great Depression affected people’s attitudes toward money for decades.

For now, though, mixed economic data is presenting a picture of an economy that is recovering feebly from recession.

“For a lot of ordinary people, the economic recovery does not feel real,” said Loren Fox, a senior analyst at Strategic Insight, a New York research and data firm. “People are not going to rush toward the stock market on a sustained basis until they feel more confident of employment growth and the sustainability of the economic recovery.”

One investor who has restructured his portfolio is Gary Olsen, 51, from Dallas. Over the past four years, he has adjusted the proportion of his investments from 65 percent equities and 35 percent bonds so that the $1.1 million he has invested is now evenly balanced.

He had worked as a portfolio liquidity manager for the local Federal Home Loan Bank and retired four years ago.

“Like everyone, I lost” during the recent market declines, he said. “I needed to have a more conservative allocation.”

To be sure, a lot of money is still flowing into the stock market from small investors, pension funds and other big institutional investors. But ordinary investors are reallocating their 401(k) retirement plans, according to Hewitt Associates, a consulting firm that tracks pension plans.

Until two years ago, 70 percent of the money in 401(k) accounts it tracks was invested in stock funds; that proportion fell to 49 percent by the start of 2009 as people rebalanced their portfolios toward bond investments following the financial crisis in the fall of 2008. It is now back at 57 percent, but almost all of that can be attributed to the rising price of stocks in recent years. People are still staying with bonds.

Another force at work is the aging of the baby-boomer generation. As they approach retirement, Americans are shifting some of their investments away from stocks to provide regular guaranteed income for the years when they are no longer working.

And the flight from stocks may also be driven by households that are no longer able to tap into home equity for cash and may simply need the money to pay for ordinary expenses.

On Friday, Fidelity Investments reported that a record number of people took so-called hardship withdrawals from their retirement accounts in the second quarter. These are early withdrawals intended to pay for needs like medical expenses.

According to the Investment Company Institute, which surveys 4,000 households annually, the appetite for stock market risk among American investors of all ages has been declining steadily since it peaked around 2001, and the change is most pronounced in the under-35 age group.

For a few months at the start of this year, things were looking up for stock market investing. Optimistic about growth, investors were again putting their money into stocks. In March and April, when the stock market rose 8 percent, $8.1 billion flowed into domestic stock mutual funds.

But then came a grim reassessment of America’s economic prospects as unemployment remained stubbornly high and private sector job growth refused to take off.

Investors’ nerves were also frayed by the “flash crash” on May 6, when the Dow Jones industrial index fell 600 points in a matter of minutes. The authorities still do not know why.

Investors pulled $19.1 billion from domestic equity funds in May, the largest outflow since the height of the financial crisis in October 2008.

Over all, investors pulled $151.4 billion out of stock market mutual funds in 2008. But at that time the market was tanking in shocking fashion. The surprise this time around is that Americans are withdrawing money even when share prices are rallying.

The stock market rose 7 percent last month as corporate profits began rebounding, but even that increase was not enough to tempt ordinary investors. Instead, they withdrew $14.67 billion from domestic stock market mutual funds in July, according to the investment institute’s estimates, the third straight month of withdrawals.

A big beneficiary has been bond funds, which offer regular fixed interest payments.

As investors pulled billions out of stocks, they plowed $185.31 billion into bond mutual funds in the first seven months of this year, and total bond fund investments for the year are on track to approach the record set in 2009.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/business/22invest.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #789 on: Aug 22nd, 2010, 08:09am »

New York Times

August 21, 2010
Sweden Adds to Drama Over Founder of WikiLeaks
By JOHN F. BURNS and ERIC SCHMITT

LONDON — Julian Assange, the founder of the WikiLeaks Web site who is embroiled in a fight with the Pentagon over the disclosure of secret military documents, was caught up in a new drama on Saturday when Swedish prosecutors sought him for questioning on allegations of rape and molestation — and then announced the rape allegation was unfounded.

The abrupt reversal marked another strange twist to Mr. Assange’s already complicated tale. A 39-year-old former computer hacker from Australia, Mr. Assange has become ever more elusive in recent weeks as the Obama administration hinted it might prosecute him for releasing about 77,000 classified Afghan war documents on the Internet last month. His confrontation with the administration has grown only more bitter as he warned that the organization would soon release 15,000 more documents.

Using Skype and Twitter to communicate, Mr. Assange has expressed increased worries that the United States might try to stop his work, which is dedicated to exposing government and corporate secrets. Defending himself against the Swedish allegations on Saturday in Twitter feeds, he said that the accusations were “without basis” and implied that they were payback for his disclosures: “We were warned to expect ‘dirty tricks.’ Now we have the first one.”

The bizarre episode in Sweden on Saturday left more questions than answers, and it raised doubts about Mr. Assange’s apparent strategy to make Sweden a new permanent home for himself and WikiLeaks because of the country’s strong press freedom laws that he hoped would offer protection against legal actions.

Karin Rosander, a spokeswoman for Sweden’s national prosecutor’s office, initially confirmed in a telephone interview on Saturday that Mr. Assange was wanted for questioning on allegations of rape and molestation, and that an arrest warrant had been issued Friday. But shortly after that conversation, the prosecutor’s office issued a statement on its Web site saying that Chief Prosecutor Eva Finne had now concluded there was no reason to believe Mr. Assange raped anyone and that the arrest warrant had been canceled.

The prosecutor’s office provided few details about the allegations, why it originally thought they merited an arrest warrant, or why prosecutors backtracked within 24 hours. Two Swedish newspapers said the allegations were made by two women who worked with WikiLeaks in Sweden, and the prosecutors told The Associated Press that they were still looking into an accusation of molestation.

In his attempts to be heard but stay hidden, Mr. Assange has reverted to a secretive, shadowy lifestyle. Two weeks ago, he announced an appearance at London’s Frontline Club, then canceled for “logistical” reasons, and then rescheduled a few days later and appeared by Skype from Sweden.

Mr. Assange last week also agreed to write a regular column for the popular Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, which would qualify him as a Swedish journalist and safeguard him under the country’s press laws.

“It’s no coincidence that I’m going to be writing for a Swedish paper,” Mr. Assange told the publication. “The Swedish publishing culture and Swedish law have supported us from the beginning.”

It was not immediately clear if Mr. Assange remained in Sweden, where he made his last public appearance on Aug. 14 at a news conference in Stockholm to announce that WikiLeaks planned to defy Pentagon warnings and go ahead with the Internet posting of the additional 15,000 secret documents on the Afghanistan war, probably within a month.

The Web site has come under widespread criticism since its original disclosure of American documents because some Afghan informants’ names were published, possibly putting them in jeopardy.

Mr. Assange did not respond immediately to attempts by reporters for The New York Times to reach him by e-mail and telephone.

A spokesman for WikiLeaks, Daniel Schmitt, said the Swedish episode would not affect future disclosures. “These allegations are a personal matter for JA,” Mr. Schmitt said in an e-mail, referring to Mr. Assange. “I do not see why anything like that would impact the work of WikiLeaks.”

WikiLeaks officials have said they expected the United States to pressure the governments in Britain, Germany, Australia and other countries, where Mr. Assange travels and where WikiLeaks operates, to prosecute Mr. Assange and the organization in reprisal for disclosing the Afghan war documents.

Spokesmen for the Justice, State and Defense Departments all denied on Saturday having any such contacts with foreign governments about WikiLeaks or Mr. Assange. “The United States government is evaluating whether Assange has broken any of our laws, and we assume other countries are doing the same,” Philip J. Crowley, the State Department spokesman, said by telephone.

A person familiar with the investigation told The Times late last month that Justice Department lawyers were exploring whether Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks could be charged with inducing, or conspiring in, violations of the Espionage Act, a 1917 law that prohibits the unauthorized disclosure of national security information.

Jeh Charles Johnson, the Defense Department’s general counsel, in a letter last week to a WikiLeaks lawyer, appeared to share that thinking: “It is the view of the Department of Defense that WikiLeaks obtained this material in circumstances that constitute a violation of the law, and that as long as WikiLeaks holds this material, the violation is ongoing.”

The letter, however, did not describe what those circumstances might be, and in a brief telephone conversation on Saturday, Mr. Johnson declined to comment, citing the continuing investigation.

Legal specialists have said any such prosecution would face many impediments. Among them, it is not clear whether domestic laws protecting United States government information apply to someone who is not a United States citizen and whose activities took place overseas.

The military has charged an Army intelligence analyst, Pfc. Bradley Manning, with downloading large amounts of classified information from a computer at a base in Iraq and sending it to WikiLeaks, which operates from servers scattered across multiple countries and solicits “classified, censored or otherwise restricted material of political, diplomatic or ethical significance.”

The Times, the British newspaper The Guardian and the German magazine Der Spiegel, after being given early access by WikiLeaks, published excerpts from an archive of 77,000 classified documents, but excluded those that identified individuals or could compromise operations.

At the administration’s request, The Times also forwarded a request to WikiLeaks not to post online any documents that would put informants in jeopardy.

Mr. Assange responded to the White House request by announcing that WikiLeaks was withholding 15,000 of the 92,000 Pentagon documents involved for review in what WikiLeaks has described as a “harm minimization” process.

He also asked the Pentagon to assist in redacting the unreleased documents, saying that WikiLeaks lacked the $700,000 it would need to carry out the exhaustive job of reviewing the documents. But the Pentagon rejected the proposal and demanded that WikiLeaks return all the secret United States documents in its possession.

John F. Burns reported from London, and Eric Schmitt from Washington. Charlie Savage contributed reporting from Washington, Ravi Somaiya from London, and Liz Robbins from New York.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/world/europe/22wikileaks.html?ref=world

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« Reply #790 on: Aug 22nd, 2010, 08:18am »

Guardian

Bible gets Twitter makeover
Tweeting the Bible spreading quickly across internet with Durham preacher's daily version and a 'Twible' in the US

Martin Wainwright guardian.co.uk,
Sunday 22 August 2010 12.26 BST

In the beginning was the word. And then came 140 words. And at the rate that Twitter versions of the Bible are developing, there could be more than 140,000 words in the next few months.

Rivalling the speed of Creation, as described in the first two chapters of the book of Genesis, tweeting the holy book has spread rapidly across the internet since the Guardian highlighted a Durham evangelist's daily version last week.

News of Chris Juby's almighty precis of scripture's 800,000-odd words to 1,190 daily tweets (@biblesummary) has prompted other versions from eastern Europe to the US, as well as a wider airing for similar projects already under way.

Among these is the "Twible", tweeted daily by American author and academic Jana Riess, who shared Juby's feeling that the good book needed better reading, but with added jokes.

While Juby's Twitter Bible plays things straight, the Twible adapts the Old Testament to the light-hearted quipping familiar in everyday Tweets. The story of Moses in Exodus, chapter two, for instance, is reduced to: "Baby Moses: I'm cool with floating down the Nile in a basket, but who is this Egyptian chick I'm supposed to call Mom?"

Riess, who converted to Mormonism as an adult, started condensing after hearing an Easter Sunday sermon that included a tweet of the Bible's opening words in Genesis, chapter one. Unlike 32-year-old Juby's staid version, which tops off the actual text's "In the beginning, God created the heaven and the Earth" with 17 equally straightforward words, Riess's effort is played for laughs.

Using the online abbreviations BRB (be right back) and LOL (laugh out loud), it read: "Day 1: Lighting system installed. BRB. Days 2-6: Some assembly required: sky, plants, cows, people. Left humans in charge, LOL. Day 7: Siesta."

Riess tracked it to another Twitter Bible project called What Would God Tweet (@WWGT), by an anonymous prophet called The Holy Ghostwriter.

"I wanted to find humour in the good book too," says Riess. "The project started with the one key hermeneutical (interpretative) question I felt no one was asking about the Bible: what would the Onion say?"

She escapes to the American equivalent of Private Eye in times of stress, such as her current tweeting episodes. "Lord help me, I am now dissecting the dynasties in the First Book of Kings."

The Twible's way of coping with all the begetting and lists of names will be based on its super-subbed paraphrase of the whole of the Book of Leviticus: "Don't eat this. Don't screw that. Don't touch this. Don't DO that. Thus saith the Lord."

Other variants include TheFakeBible (@FakeBible), which, typically, is going through the huge operation not by chapter but verse by verse. There are also slightly longer summaries, including a "100-minute" edition and a version in text message speak.

And, of course, there is the original biblical text itself. No tweeter has yet matched the economy of words in the gospel according to St John, chapter 11, verse 35. It reads simply: "Jesus wept."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/22/bible-twitter-makeover?CMP=twt_gu

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« Reply #791 on: Aug 22nd, 2010, 08:24am »

Telegraph

Surge in Britons exported for trial
The number of people in Britain seized under the controversial "no-evidence-needed" European Arrest Warrant rose by more than 50 per cent last year, figures obtained by The Sunday Telegraph show.

By Andrew Gilligan
Published: 10:00PM BST 21 Aug 2010

In total 1,032 people – almost three a day – were detained and extradited by British police on the orders of European prosecutors in the 12 months to April, up from 683 in 2008-09. The Home Office expects a further 70 per cent rise, to 1,700 cases, next year.

The increase will fuel growing political concern about the "unfair" and "disproportionate" nature of the warrants, which British courts have little power to challenge.

It comes as the case of Christopher Tappin, a suburban golf club captain accused of arms smuggling, sparked separate controversy about "unbalanced" extradition arrangements with the US.

David Blunkett, the former home secretary who introduced the European warrants, admitted he had been "insufficiently sensitive" about how they could be "overused". David Davis, his former Tory shadow, last night called for a "review and reform" of the extradition system.

The number of European Arrest Warrant detentions in Britain has risen 43-fold since 2004, when there were only 24 across the year. Many of those detained are accused of relatively minor crimes such as possessing cannabis or leaving petrol stations without paying.

They can spend long periods in jail – here and abroad – for crimes which might not even have been prosecuted in Britain. They can also be seized for offences which are not crimes in Britain.

Foreign prosecutors do not have to present evidence to the British courts, just demand the person be "surrendered".

It can be revealed that a middle-aged motorist from Kent spent weeks in a British prison after Polish prosecutors sought his extradition on charges of possessing a forged car insurance certificate.

Patrick Reece-Edwards, 49, was stopped at a Polish border crossing. After questioning, he was allowed to drive off, but months later was seized at his home in Dartford under a European Arrest Warrant.

"He was kept in custody in Britain for weeks,” said his solicitor, Stephen Fidler. “After he was extradited to Poland, matters were resolved by payment of an administrative penalty with no criminal record.”

Another of Mr Fidler’s clients is fighting extradition to Romania after being convicted there of possessing a small quantity of cannabis. He is in his third month in a British prison and is likely to be there at least a further two months before his appeal against the European Arrest Warrant is heard. “Aside from the disproportionality of these cases, the costs to the British authorities are huge,” said Mr Fidler. “Those resources should go towards tackling serious crime in the UK, not minor crime abroad.”

Britain has the same rights to request no-evidence extraditions from other EU countries, but uses the power sparingly. The latest figures show that 98 people were brought to the UK on European Arrest Warrants in 12 months, a fall of 6 per cent on the year before. Supporters of the warrants say that in an increasingly borderless Europe their role has become vital, but human rights campaigners say that the warrants place British citizens at the mercy of some European legal systems whose standards and safeguards are lower. Catherine Heard, the policy officer at Fair Trials International, said: “The over-rigid nature of the system and the absence of basic, EU-wide defence rights have seen people being extradited to serve sentences after grossly unfair trials, or spending months in pretrial detention waiting to prove their innocence.”

Mr Blunkett said: “I was right, as Home Secretary in the post-9/11 era, to agree to the European Arrest Warrant, but I was insufficiently sensitive to how it might be used.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “The Government is committed to reviewing the UK’s extradition arrangements.”

Additional reporting: David Barrett

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/7958202/Surge-in-Britons-exported-for-trial.html

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« Reply #792 on: Aug 22nd, 2010, 08:30am »

Telegraph

Adventurer, 84, to cross Atlantic on raft
Anthony Smith, an 84-year-old adventurer who walks with a stick, is preparing to cross the Atlantic with his three crew on a raft made of plastic gas pipes.

By Michael Howie
Published: 8:30AM BST 22 Aug 2010

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When he placed his advertisement in the Telegraph, he ran the risk of being dismissed as a fantasist.

The appeal was brief and to the point: "Fancy rafting across the Atlantic? Famous traveller requires 3 crew. Must be OAP. Serious adventurers only."

But it caught the eye of several experienced seafarers - and now 84-year-old Anthony Smith is preparing to lead his veteran team across the ocean in a vessel made from plastic gas pipes.

In a few months the team will push off their craft from the Canary Islands bound for a beach in the Bahamas, 2,800 miles away, on a voyage that would make most people, never mind octogenarians, quiver with fear.

Mr Smith, an adventurer, writer and grandfather, will be attempting to satisfy a lifelong itch to cross the ocean on one of the most primitive forms of transport.

What makes the expedition even more extraordinary is that he will be setting off two years after he was run over by a van, an accident that left him with metal pins in his leg and walking with the help of a stick.

The former RAF pilot rejects the idea he is too old to embark on the 60-day crossing, and insists that rafting is relatively safe.

"Most people my age are happy with a trip to Sainsbury's every Tuesday, or maybe helping out fixing the church hall roof," he said. "What I want to show is that you don't have to be satisfied with a trip to the supermarket. You can do other things."

Mr Smith, a former science correspondent of The Daily Telegraph, has written over 30 books, worked on several film and documentary projects, and even presented Tomorrow's World when the BBC television show was in its infancy.

In his long adventuring career, he led a pioneering expedition over East Africa in 1962, The Sunday Telegraph Balloon Safari. The following year he became the first Briton to go over the Alps by hot air balloon.

He came up with the idea of rafting across the Atlantic in 1952, starting from the Canaries and sustaining himself with fish caught from the sea.

"I was a student then and I ran out of money. But the idea has always niggled me," he says.

The Telegraph advertisement, placed five years ago, caught the eye of David Hildred, a civil engineer and ocean yacht master.

As a schoolboy he had read Mr Smith's ballooning book Throw Out Two Hands and had become captivated by the adventurer's remarkable life.

"I'd always followed his career," said Mr Hildred, "and after seeing the advert I tracked Anthony down. We arranged a meeting and got on incredibly well - so much so he offered me a place on the raft.

"To be doing this with one of my childhood heroes is a dream come true."

At 57, Mr Hildred is not quite a pensioner but has already travelled widely, explored the Amazon in a dug-out canoe, and sailed the Atlantic.

Also on the raft will be experienced seaman Andy Bainbridge, 56, a close friend of Mr Hildred who keeps llamas and is currently studying alternative medicine in the wilds of Canada.

Robin Batchelor, 61, a professional balloonist whose adventures with actor Stephen Tompkinson are currently being screened on ITV, is considering completing the four-man crew.

Whilst he describes himself as "an airman, not a water baby", he admits to being "swept away" by Mr Smith's enthusiasm.

He said: "Anthony's so determined, he's completely dismissed the fact he got run over. Mentally he's as sharp as razor, he's completely occupied with the planning. There's no stopping him."

The team aims to launch in January, when the trade winds are at their strongest and before the Atlantic storms are most likely to hit.

The raft is being built from 13-yard (12-metre) sections of pipe donated by a manufacturer. Those at either end will be sealed full of air, providing buoyancy.

Those in the middle will contain drinking water and ballast. Crew members will live in two small shelters adapted from pig huts.

A fence will prevent the crew falling overboard, while Mr Smith will be constantly attached to a harness.

The men will manoeuvre the craft using small Peruvian-style rudders, known as guaras, which Mr Smith insists will provide greater flexibility than a conventional rudder.

A support vessel will accompany the raft for the first few days at sea, "in case we forget the can opener". A film of the voyage is planned, and Mr Smith hopes that schools will follow his progress.

The raft, called the An-tiki - adapted from the Kon-Tiki, the raft used by Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl in his 1947 expedition from South America to the Polynesian islands - will be easy to spot as it approaches land.

"We're going to put a giant 'elderly crossing' sign on the sail," said Mr Smith.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7957705/Adventurer-84-to-cross-Atlantic-on-raft.html

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« Reply #793 on: Aug 22nd, 2010, 08:35am »

LA Times

Study shakes up scientists' view of San Andreas earthquake risk
Researchers find major quakes on the southern section, on average, every 88 years — three times as often as previously thought. It's the strongest evidence yet that we're overdue for a massive quake.
By Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times

August 21, 2010

Southern California is long overdue for a major earthquake along the San Andreas fault, according to a landmark study of historic seismic activity released Friday.

The study, produced after several years of field studies in the Carrizo Plain area about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles, found that earthquakes along the San Andreas fault have occurred far more often than previously believed.

For years, scientists have said major earthquakes occurred every 250 to 450 years along this part of the San Andreas. The new study found big temblors on the fault every 88 years, on average.

The last massive earthquake on that part of the fault was in 1857, leading scientists to warn that another such temblor is likely in Southern California.

"The next earthquake could be sooner than later," said Lisa Grant Ludwig, a UC Irvine earthquake expert and co-author of the study, which was published online in the journal Geology. "It was thought that we weren't at risk of having another large one any time soon. Well, now, it might be ready to rupture."

Other seismic experts described the revelation as a major change in the way they think about earthquake risks along the southern San Andreas fault.

Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center, said the fault is "locked and loaded. It's been a long time since an earthquake has occurred on that fault — over 150 years."

To reach the new conclusion, scientists dug trenches deep into the Carrizo Plain. They used carbon dating and sophisticated imaging technology known as lidar to find signs of earth movements. They were able to detect earthquakes dating back to the 15th century, creating a far more complete record than had previously been known.

The research found that earlier examinations of the San Andreas had badly undercounted the number of major earthquakes. Those were based on observations made in the 1970s when scientists used measuring tape to look for evidence of past earthquakes.

"Now we have better techniques," Grant Ludwig said. "We can see there's actually more earthquakes."

Scientists now estimate that earthquakes occurred on that section of the fault in 1417, 1462, 1565, 1614 and 1713.

The finding adds weight to the view of many seismologists that the San Andreas has been in a quiet period and that a major rupture is possible. A 2009 study, which Grant Ludwig also participated in, suggested that the San Andreas was overdue for a rupture. But Friday's report offers a much more grim estimate of how frequently quakes have occurred on that segment of the fault.

The San Andreas fault is considered one of the most dangerous in Southern California, partly because it is so long that its southern section is capable of producing a temblor as large as magnitude 8.1.

By contrast, earthquake experts consider 1994's destructive 6.7-magnitude Northridge quake, which occurred on a different fault, to be a medium-sized quake.

The San Andreas is a sleeping giant. It's hard to imagine the power of a huge quake on the southern section because the last one occurred more than a century ago when the area was sparsely populated. Just 4,000 people lived in Los Angeles at the time.

The 1857 temblor, with an estimated magnitude of 7.9, is known as the Fort Tejon quake, but that's a bit of a misnomer because it is thought to have started farther north, way up in Parkfield in Monterey County. The quake then barreled south on the San Andreas for about 200 miles, through Fort Tejon near the northern edge of what is now Los Angeles County, then east toward the Cajon Pass in San Bernardino County, near what is now the 15 Freeway.

The quake was so powerful that the soil liquefied, causing trees as far away as Stockton to sink. Trees were also uprooted west of Fort Tejon. The shaking lasted 1 to 3 minutes.

The study was conducted by scientists at UC Irvine and Arizona State University. As preliminary data went out for peer review, other earthquake scientists immediately took note.

The U.S. Geological Survey was so concerned that it dispatched its own team of investigators to the Carrizo Plain to look over the initial findings and review the evidence in the trenches.

"These investigators really were challenged by their scientific peers," said Ken Hudnut, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey. "And they made it through. They ran the gantlet and came through with a really solid paper."

Hudnut said the "Big One" wouldn't compare to most quakes Californians have endured. Such a large quake on the San Andreas, generally above a magnitude 7, would send enormous V-shape energy waves spreading out from the fault. If the earthquake energy hit the Los Angeles Basin, the soft sediment underneath it could actually amplify the waves, making the shaking worse.

Hudnut said the study offers both "bad news and good news," noting that it also concluded future earthquakes along that section of the San Andreas could be smaller than the 1857 quake.

"It's not the kind of news that ought to make people crawl into the fetal position. Rather, it's the kind of information that ought to once remind people about basic earthquake preparedness," Hudnut said.

Grant Ludwig said her research should motivate people to prepare.

"If you're waiting for someone to tell you when we're close to the next San Andreas earthquake, just look at the data," she said. "If we look at the only data we have, it's not very comforting. I'm preparing for that possibility."

ron.lin@latimes.com

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-earthquake-fault-20100821,0,946323.story

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« Reply #794 on: Aug 22nd, 2010, 08:42am »

UFO Digest

Round UFO takes California witness by surprise in rural Sierraville
Submitted by Roger Marsh on Sat, 08/21/2010 - 11:12

A California witness encountered a blinding light from a "round-shaped object" directly overhead in rural Sierraville, followed by missing time and little recall of driving home to Truckee on August 17, 2010, according to testimony from the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) witness reporting database.

The encounter began in Truckee, a small town west of Reno, just after 1 a.m. when the witness decided to drive to Sierraville - but had no idea why.

The drive from Truckee to Sierraville is along California Route 89 - about 24 miles. The witness states that the UFO was not seen from a distance, but was suddenly noticed as a "blinding light" that caused the witness to stop the car.

The witness then says the car stalled out, although that may have been due to the witness being nervous behind the wheel and letting the clutch out too fast. The witness noted the arrival time in Sierraville as 4:01 a.m. The witnesses' next recollection is "waking up" and seeing that the time was now 4:18 a.m. The witness eventually made it back home, but does not recall driving home.

Mapquest.com suggests that the 24-mile drive between Truckee and Sierraville would take someone 32 minutes, so it is unclear based on the public portion of the report how the witness left Truckee after 1 a.m. and arrived three hours later in Sierraville. Check map here.

The following is the unedited and as yet uninvestigated report filed with MUFON. Please keep in mind that most UFO reports can be explained as something natural or man made. If California MUFON investigates and reports back on this case, I will release an update.

Mufon link to report:
http://mufoncms.com/cgi-bin/manage_sighting_reports.pl?mode=view_long_desc&id=25142&rnd=528471282339081

http://www.ufodigest.com/article/round-ufo-takes-california-witness-surprise-rural-sierraville

Crystal
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