Donations in 2010:
You are the only one that donated in 2010.
Thank you for your support.
I also want to thank all readers that have supported Infinite Unknown by buying books etc. via Amazon.
Donations in 2010:
You are the only one that donated in 2010.
Thank you for your support.
I also want to thank all readers that have supported Infinite Unknown by buying books etc. via Amazon.
Added: 30. Dezember 2010
And don’t forget to do this (!!!):
The holiday brought bittersweet news: unless the Transportation Security Authority disbands, I’ll never see a certain friend of mine again. His long-term unemployment finally ended, and next month, he starts a great new job. But it’s in Texas, too far to drive; from my place in Connecticut to his new home in San Antonio is 2,000 miles – 500 more than separates London from Moscow.
As an American – that is, someone considered lucky to get seven consecutive days off work – the only way I could possibly travel such distance is to fly. But flying includes the legal obligation I submit to having my genitalia groped by some TSA thug wearing the same latex gloves already shoved down nine dozen other strangers’ underwear. There’s only two ways an American flyer can reliably avoid this: be rich enough to buy your own plane, or a high-ranking congressman or other VIP exempt from the indignities they inflict upon ordinary citizens.
The ACLU maintains an ever-growing database of these indignities, many so graphic they’re illegal to broadcast over public airwaves. Actions that violate FCC standards are embraced by the TSA. “Mary in Texas” reported:
The TSA agent used her hands to feel under and between my breasts. She then rammed her hand up into my crotch until it jammed into my pubic bone … I was touched in the pubic region in between my labia … She then moved her hand across my pubic region and down the inner part of my upper thigh to the floor. She repeated this procedure on the other side. I was shocked and broke into tears.
A woman named Chris said:
“In the four times she explored the area where my inner thigh met my crotch, she touched my labia each time, and one pass made contact with my clitoris, through two layers of clothing. I told her I felt humiliated, assaulted and abused … In my work as a nurse, if I did what the TSA did against a patient’s will it would be considered assault and battery, and I did not see how the TSA should have different rules.”
Recipients of such treatment aren’t allowed to show distress. Melissa from Massachusetts did anyway:
“I was shaking and crying the entire time. I was begging them to hurry up but they kept stopping and telling me to calm down. It is impossible to gain composure when a stranger has her hands in your underwear.”
I couldn’t. I know my limits: can’t sprout wings and fly, spin straw into gold, or ooze obedience toward anyone who’d treat me as the TSA treats Melissa, Mary, Chris and countless others. And once I said something rude – even an obscenity-free comment like “Have fun on your knees, sniffing my crotch like the dog that you are” [see top photo] – I’d be arrested on terrorism charges and the media would run sympathetic stories about poor TSA agents disliked for merely following orders. Self-described patriots would say “Disrespecting authority is unAmerican” and recommend harsh punishment for me.
Tags: 1984, Barack Obama, Civil liberties, Civil rights, Constitution, Dictatorship, Fascism, Freedom, George Orwell, Global News, Government, New World Order, Obama administration, Police State, Politics, Travel, TSA, U.S.
Predatory capitalism has invaded Mongolia — the savage western hordes overrunning the land — and but for the recent Hollywood movie spectacle Mongol  and colorful travel magazine articles no one in America hears much of anything about the place. Behind the bells and whistles promoting ‘democracy’, ‘conservation’, ‘human rights’, and a ‘free press’, Mongolia is under attack and the people suffering a world of hurt. The same companies destroying Mongolia are destroying Congo and Canada and everywhere else they appear. Meanwhile, three years after winning the Goldman Environmental Prize — the ‘Green Nobel’ — Mongol herder Tsetsegee Munkhbayar shot at foreign mining operations and thus he is denounced and shunned by the same foreigners who recognized him as a hero. This is a story about the killing of the earth, the killing of truth, the killing of hope — and the killing of the nomad’s way.
In early September 2010, a small band of Mongolian citizens armed with hunting rifles opened fire on gold mining equipment owned by two foreign mining firms operating illegally in northern Mongolia. One of the four armed activists was Tsetsegee Munkhbayar, a 2007 winner of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize — the ‘Green Nobel’ — awarded annually to pivotal environmentalists taking a stand around the globe.
“With unwavering passion,” reads the National Geographic Emerging Explorers profile of Tsetsegee Munkhbayar, “he inspired thousands of local villagers, held press conferences, organized town hall meetings, lobbied legislators, and led protest marches — mobilizing an unprecedented level of grassroots participation among citizens who previously felt they had no power to shape government policy.” 
Three years after winning the award — and a whole lot more illegal mining and pollution later — Munkhbayar’s little gang of four and their militant actions against the capitalist invasion remain in complete media whiteout in the western press: it’s as if the early September shootings never happened. While the civic activists face possible prosecution and extended jail terms — if not sudden unexplained death — rapacious mining companies further plunder and pollute the land.
The gang of four — Tsetsegee Munkhbayar, G. Bayaraa, D. Tumurbaatar and O. Sambuu-Yondon — are environmentalists from the United Movement of Mongolian Rivers and Lakes (UMMRL), a consortium of Mongolian groups organized to fight foreign extractive industries that have invaded the fledgling ‘democracy’. UMMRL was formed in June 4, 2009 after its predecessor, the Mongolian Nature Protection Coalition (MNPC), dissolved in the spring of 2008. Tsetsegee Munkhbayar — and many collaborators he works with — was pivotal to the creation of both MNPC and UMMRL.
Behind the story of Tsetsegee Munkhbayar is a story of greed, private profit, deception, betrayal, stealth and heartbreak. Just three years after becoming a global hero, Tsetsegee Munkhbayar is today shunned by the people who lobbied to make him a Goldman Award winner, and they have even branded him and his colleagues as terrorists.
“The shooters sent a powerful message,” reported EurasiaNet, the only foreign media outlet to report on the recent shooting action. “Puraam, a Chinese firm, and Centerra Gold, a Canadian-operated company, “aren’t welcome in the area, one of Mongolia’s only forested regions.”  Centerra is also operating in Kyrgyzstan, a former Russian republic where paramilitary government forces repressed public protests and shot hundreds of unarmed protesters in 2010. 
Centerra Gold and Puraam Mining are operating on 168 hectares of land and contaminating the headwaters of the Selenge, Mongolia’s largest river, and the source for Lake Baikal, the world’s largest freshwater lake. The Gatsuur deposit, currently exploited by Centerra Gold, contains an estimated 1.3 million ounces of gold valued at tens of billions of dollars. Centerra’s Boroo gold mine began production in 2004 and yields an average of 180,000 ounces of gold annually.
The locals see very little from the gold taken from their lands. At least 70% of the population lives in absolute poverty. Alcoholism is a national epidemic. The social fabric is unraveling. Human trafficking is a big business. Everything is for sale, or already sold.
“[People] see the 1990s privatization rush and years of harsh weather as a kind of economic one-two punch. Twenty years after Mongolia peacefully threw off 70 years of communism, one-third of Mongolia’s 2.9 million people live below the poverty level of less than $2 a day; even white-collar workers like doctors and teachers can earn as little as $300 a month.” 
The mining companies arrived in Mongolia hand-in-hand with the international NGOs — euphemistically called ‘non-government’ organizations — and they promote the western imposed ideal of ‘privatization’. The unstated assumptions that came along with this are that freedom-loving westerners are uniquely qualified to teach Mongolians about democracy, human rights, good government and environmental stewardship. Tsetsegee Munkhbayar was patronized and promoted by this framework of foreign intervention.
“According to the promoters,” writes Dr. Joan Roelofs, “the precondition for such benefits is a ‘free market’ economy, or the adoption of ‘neoliberalism’, which entails the privatization of most government functions, deregulation of business, abolition of subsidies and welfare, and availability of all assets (land, TV stations, national newspapers, etc.) for purchase by any corporation, regardless of nationality. Freedom also means that foreigners can start any business anywhere…” 
Must-see: Quantitative Easing Explained (!!!)
Added: 29. December 2010
And don’t forget to do this (!!!):
Scientists have created an ultra-fast computer chip which is 20 times faster than current desktop computers.
Modern PCs have a processor with two, four or sometimes 16 cores to carry out tasks.
But the central processing unit (CPU) developed by the researchers effectively had 1,000 cores on a single chip.
The developments could usher in a new age of high-speed computing in the next few years for home users frustrated with slow-running systems.
And the new ‘super’ computer is much greener than modern machines – using far less power – despite its high speed.
Scientists used a chip called a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) which like all microchips contains millions of transistors – the tiny on-off switches which are the foundation of any electronic circuit.
Their commitment to keep the streets under surveillence seems undiminished by the cuts being made to bring the nation’s finances back into check.
A survey of 336 councils shows why Britain has been dubbed the ‘big brother’ capital of the world.
They spent a total of £314,835,170 on installing and operating CCTV cameras from 2007 to 2010.
Campaigners for civil liberties branded the findings ‘scandalous’ and said the money would have been better spent on schools, hospitals and other vital services.
Taxpayer money at work!?!?
I was about to delete an offensive comment on this blog – one of the very few we get – and thought, hmm, I wonder where this guy is posting from? Because, really, it is quite unusual for us to get nasty comments. Lo and behold, the troll posted to our website from an IP address controlled by the federal government’s Department of Homeland Security! Here is the taxpayer-funded troll’s gem of a comment, for your entertainment:
Fuck you, Fuck all you cocksuckers, you wont change anything. ride the bus, TSA is here to stay there doing a great job keeping americia safe.
(Later, I checked our comment database and found 19 more of these gems from the same IP address. See below.)
Here is a link to the screenshot of the WordPress comment. As you can see, the IP address it was posted from is 188.8.131.52. Here is the publicly accessible whois record for that IP:
NetRange: 184.108.40.206 – 220.127.116.11
NetType: Direct Assignment
OrgName: DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Address: 7681 BOSTON BLVD
Address: NDC I
OrgTechName: DHS IPv6 ADMINISTRATION
OrgNOCName: DHS IPv6 ADMINISTRATION
Some questions come to mind:
This is not the first time we have been trolled by individuals connected to the TSA. Someone posted a personal attack on me from an IP belonging to mitre.org, a corporation whose core competency is securing federal government contracts, including DHS and TSA ones. Any effective TSA resistance threatens not only the TSA itself but also the bureaucrats who got us to this point and the corporations who are getting paid for the technology.
EDIT: In fact, there are are 19 comments from that IP address in our comment database! Here are some choice ones:
Funny site you have going on here, looking forward to the guest comic postings.. what a bunch of rubes you all are.. BTW TSA officers make on avg $14.50 per hour to start. Much more than your bottle collecting jobs you have.
In this one, the troll identifies himself as “Butch Forman” with an email address of BForman@hotmail.com.
You people are really messed up. That you sit around and put forth the hatred that you spew. If any of you are parents who have children, I feel sorry for the kids because you will raise them to be cynical, skeptical and totally paranoid. The TSA who work everyday trying to earn a living are parents, retired professionals, students, ex-law enforcement a whole diverse population of people who are trying to support their families and hope that they are doing what is necessary to protect those who travel. Give it a rest would you and if you feel that way about flying, then do me and the TSA a favor and don’t fly, that is your right, exercise it please. It makes the line at the airport alot shorter for those of us who get it.
You can refuse to fly too. Train, car, bus, boat, walk, bicycle, motorcycle,..You don’t have to fly…You know that TSA perosnnel travel by air also..and they go through security just as anyone lse does….Are you for real or just argumentative…Homeschooled your kids..makes sense now
Another one from that same IP is from “DP” with email address firstname.lastname@example.org. Another one from “Jeff” with email address email@example.com.
November 15 from firstname.lastname@example.org
Like I said before; This is turining into one of the best comedy sites on the internet… I love the fact that you have people all wound up about this liar.. Good for your ad dollars I’ll bet.. Ohhh let me guess what you folks have in mind next to generate $$ …. Ummm oh yeah TSA “agents” are really aliens looking for food!!!!!
From “iLoveTSAandtheUSA” with email email@example.com
Do any of you really think TSA is going to care if everyone requests a full body pat down instead of walking through the metal detector or body scanners?
They get to go home once their shift is over, no matter how long the lines are.
Less passengers flying means less work for them!
TSA must be doing something right if no hijackings or attacks have occured on American soil since 9/11.
I’d feel much safer if everyone was screened thoroughly. A terrorist can be anyone.
November 18 from “Anonymous” with email firstname.lastname@example.org
Wow so what you people want is a Private Security firm with no accountability to take over a Federalized, controlled, accountable and impregnable screening force. Good luck, I see an attack in our near future. Americans are so spoiled. You want protection with no loss of freedoms. Think back to 9-11. would you have been saying the same things if this took place right after that day? Grow up and get a life instead of bashing a working system. Everyone hates the IRS but no one complains when a Police officer comes to assist you when your being assaulted. Sounds funny because the tax laws the IRS enforces pays all civil service salaries. Once again society announces its ignorance.
Let me clear this up for you people who clearly are misinformed. At EVERY airport you visit there will be a little sign stating in a blip, that you are voluntarily subimiting youself and your property for screening. So when you walk through, no one is putting a gun to your head and making you fly. its your choice. And because this is a Commercial airline transporting people, it must require that everyone be screened throughly. And because you are so upset and not thinking you fail to realize the simplicity of it. You put your bags in and you walk through. So no it isnt illegal people. Is it illegal for Private companies to do it? no because its security duhhh. Then how is it illegal when TSA does it. You people dont think. And if you read the press reslease from TSA, they state that the images are not kept and that the officer isnt allowed to see theface of the person being screened. If you feel something is off when you go to get scanned, then inform a Law enforcement official or ask for a TSA rep. Simple. Stop throwing out lies and nonsense people. I can imagine you all sitting around thinking up crazy rumors to circulate. Also Im 4 years Army MP and I know a thing or two about security. thanks
November 25 from ” YourWrong” with email Johnny324234@hotmail.com
Why has your great Opt-Out leader never posted on this site what he would do to keep passengers who choose to fly safe from being blown up? Being a critic is for simpletons – experts however actually have to look for solutions.
Think about it!!!
And there are more. These are just the best ones.
EDIT: I’ll release the screenshot from the WordPress admin interface shortly.
EDIT: Here is the screenshot [744KB PNG]. It’s big and you may have to zoom in on it in your browser or image viewer. Note: this is just of the other 19 comments. There is a screenshot of the latest one at the top of this page, and I marked it as spam so I suppose it doesn’t show up in the search.
by George Donnelly on December 22, 2010
Source: We Won’t Fly
The recent theory put forward by Ted Butler has the Silver conspiracy world all abuzz. Ted concludes that it is CHINA and not JP Morgan behind the huge silver short position on the COMEX. Here’s the article:
“JP Morgan must have some reason to justify the big concentrated COMEX silver short position. If they claim that they are long silver OTC swap positions as an offset to their COMEX short position, it becomes critical that the CFTC inquire who is holding the short side of the OTC silver swaps. My belief is that it will be Chinese interests on the short side of the swap.”
Butler goes on to discuss reasons why he comes to this conclusion which are very understandable and, in my opinion, likely. Due to a strategy the Chinese developed over the past 10 years almost ALL PHYSICAL SILVER mined in the world passes through China to be refined. Very little silver is processed anywhere else in the world because most other refineries have gone out of business. In hindsight, it is easy to see why other refiners closed their doors…because China forced them to! The way they achieved the cornering of the global silver refining business was by offering silver miners BETTER PRICES and UP FRONT PAYMENTS for their silver ore. Naturally, silver miners around the world started accepting the Chinese bids for the ore shifting almost all silver refining to China.
But that brings us to a much bigger issue when it comes to the ultimate moonshot for silver and the vulnerability of JP Morgan’s concentrated silver short position. By definition, all COMEX contracts in both futures and options are merely paper derivatives of silver. Regardless of the Chinese involvement in selling paper silver derivatives, JP Morgan is ultimately on the hook for filling these commitments for physical silver if delivery is requested. If they have a contractual agreement with certain Chinese interests who have placed those derivative bets through the JPM trading arm, those “agreements” are only as good as the counter parties ability to perform.
A Michigan man has been charged under anti-hacking legislation designed to protect trade secrets after logging on to his wife’s email account and discovering she was having an affair.
Leon Walker, 33, faces a trial lawyers say could have significant repercussions given that nearly half of US divorce cases involve some form of snooping, such as reading emails, text messages or social networking.
Walker was charged after opening the Gmail account of his wife, Clara, who was married twice previously. Walker found she was having an affair with her second husband, who had once been arrested for beating her in front of her young son from her first husband.
An official confirmed that violence had gripped some areas that had once been regarded as stable, at the same time as it emerged that confidential UN maps charted a decline in security from March to October this year.
The charts show that insecurity in the south – the scene of the fiercest fighting between US-led forces and insurgents – has not receded, despite President Barack Obama’s decision to send an extra 30,000 troops.
During the same period, 16 districts across the north and east had seen security worsen, according to The Wall Street Journal, which obtained the documents.
The assessments appear to contradict the White House review, which claimed the troop surge had succeeded in halting Taliban momentum in much of the country.
Kieran Dwyer, communications director of the UN mission in Afghanistan, said security for aid workers had worsened in some parts of the country.
“Throughout 2010 it is well known there have been serious incidents in many districts that had previously been more stable,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
A large group of passengers, many stranded for more than 24 hours, stormed the passport control zone, demanding information on their flights.
Despite upbeat statements by the Moscow power grid company and airport officials, “electricity is still largely off, with baggage conveyors and escalators remaining at a standstill,” Interfax news agency reported.
Some 200 flights were cancelled on Monday after freezing rain snapped power lines and cut electricity to Domodedovo the day before, while a lack of de-icing fluid kept planes from taking off at Sheremetyevo, another big Moscow airport.
Sub-zero temperatures and snow are typical for Moscow’s winter months, but the weekend saw an unusually heavy downpour of rare freezing rain that can form a thick layer of ice on power cables, eventually breaking them under its weight.
Dec. 28 BEIJING (Reuters) – China said on Tuesday it will cut its export quotas for rare earth minerals by more than 11 percent in the first half of 2011, further shrinking supplies of metals needed to make a range of high-tech products.
China produces about 97 percent of rare earth minerals, used worldwide in high-technology, clean energy and other products that exploit their special properties for magnetism, luminescence and strength.
The rare earth issue could further strain U.S.-China ties, which have been battered this year by arguments over human rights, Tibet, Taiwan, the value of the Chinese currency and North Korean military attacks on South Korea.
Chinese President Hu Jintao is due to visit the United States next month for talks with President Barack Obama that both sides hope can stabilise the vital relationship.
The purported confessions of Tareq Abdul Razzaq Hassan, a businessman, represent the latest evidence of growing public tensions between Israel and Egypt.
Severe disruptions to Egypt’s internet service in December 2008 were blamed at the time on damage to underwater data cables caused by a ship’s anchor.
But Hassan told police that the incident was, in fact, the work of Israel’s foreign intelligence agency, according to interrogation records leaked to an independent Egyptian newspaper.
It is not the first time that Israel has been linked to politically motivated cyber attacks, with a number of experts suggesting that Mossad was the most likely culprit behind Stuxnet, a powerful computer worm that caused serious damage to Iran’s nuclear programme.
Members of the fire service fill tanks with water as people queue with empty bottles to collect water, as tens of thousands of homes and businesses are affected by severe water shortages caused by broken pipes, outside Avoniel leisure center in east Belfast, Northern Ireland, Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010. Frustration and fear of disease mounted in Northern Ireland Wednesday as tens of thousands of people coped with a severe water shortage after much of the supply drained away through broken pipes following a deep freeze and a sudden thaw. (AP Photo/PA, Paul Faith) UNITED KINGDOM OUT, NO SALES, NO ARCHIVE (Paul Faith – AP)
BELFAST, Northern Ireland — Frustration and fears of disease mounted in Northern Ireland on Wednesday as 36,000 people were left without water, some for more than a week, after a deep freeze and a sudden thaw caused aging pipes to burst.
With reservoirs running low, water supplies were cut off in many towns and cities, and residents turned to emergency water tankers and bottled water for their cooking, cleaning and drinking needs.
Scotland said it was sending 160,000 liters (42,000 gallons) of bottled water to help meet demand.
Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness, called the situation “a grave crisis,” and said people had been let down by their water supplier.
The Northern Ireland government scheduled an emergency meeting for Thursday to discuss the crisis.
Doctors warned of potential disease outbreaks if water was not restored, but officials said it would take several days or more to bring back all service.
Thousands of galaxies crowd into this Herschel image of the distant Universe. Each dot is an entire galaxy containing billions of stars. For more than a decade, astronomers have puzzled over strangely bright galaxies in the distant Universe. These ‘luminous infrared galaxies’ appear to be creating stars at such phenomenal rates that they defy conventional theories of galaxy formation.
ESA’s Herschel infrared space observatory, with its ability for very sensitive mapping over wide areas, has seen thousands of these galaxies and pinpointed their locations, showing for the first time that they are packing themselves closely together, forming large clusters of galaxies by the force of their mutual gravity.
The white Christmas in the South was one for the record books. Columbia, South Carolina, had its first significant Christmas snow since weather records were first kept in 1887.
Atlanta had just over an inch of snow – the first measurable accumulation on Christmas Day since the 1880s.
Last updated at 8:29 PM on 27th December 2010
Full article here: Daily Mail
In the UK:
Britain’s largest force solves six crimes every day by identifying suspects from CCTV, according to a senior officer.
Detective Chief Inspector Mick Neville said Scotland Yard has revolutionised the use of CCTV by treating it like DNA or fingerprints.
The officer, who heads the Met’s identification unit, said the number of suspects identified by his team has risen by a quarter to 2,512.
The majority of suspected villains are named by officers and informants but some are passed on for public appeals.
He said: “The key to our success is that images, unidentified images, are treated as a forensic discipline. They are treated like fingerprints and DNA. When we get them we make sure that every effort is made to identify them.
“It is not the technology, it is more about managing it in a way that produces the best results. That is why we have got police forces from around the world coming to see how we do it. We had officers from Sweden and Holland over in the last week.”
The Met identified 2,512 wanted people in 2010, compared with 1,970 the previous year. The figures included four suspected murderers, 23 rapists and sex attackers and five wanted gunmen.
“Researchers who criticised the drug recalled receiving anonymous threats, incuding parcels containing miniature coffins, but no direct link with Servier was established.”
French politicians of both the right and left are facing severe embarrassment and legal recriminations with the forthcoming publication of an official report on what could become the worst health scandal in the country’s history.
President Nicolas Sarkozy has promised “the most complete transparency” on how a drug which is now suspected to have killed up to 2,000 people was officially approved, and subsidised, for 33 years by the French health service.
Despite repeated warnings from scientists in France and abroad, the Mediator drug was prescribed to 5,000,000 French people, originally to fight diabetes and later as an appetite-suppressing, slimming pill. A report from the French health inspectorate, due in mid-January, will investigate why successive French health ministers, of the left and right, failed to heed advice that the drug – produced by the French pharmaceutical giant, Servier – was at best useless, and at worst highly dangerous.
Separate French press investigations have focused on an alleged campaign of intimidation and disinformation by the Servier company to keep the drug – and a lucrative predecessor, eventually banned in the US in 1997 – on the market.
Servier, the second largest French drugs company, founded 50 years ago by Jacques Servier, 88, a French doctor, is known for its cult of secrecy and its excellent relations with French politicians. President Sarkozy himself once worked for the company as a lawyer during his brief legal career, when he was a young man.
Mediator contains a substance called benfluorex, which has been alleged in a series of scientific investigations to attack the cardio-vascular system and, in particular, to damage the valves of the heart. Despite a series of warnings, the drug remained legal – and its use was even officially subsidised by the French health service – until late last year.
A solar-powered pilotless plane which was built in the UK has been recognised as having smashed the world record for the longest time spent in the air by an unmanned autonomous vehicle (UAV), after staying aloft for two weeks.
The record-breaking flight took place in July over the US and has now been ratified by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), which governs air sports records. The 50kg craft remained airborne for 14 days, 22 minutes and 8 seconds – 11 times longer than the previous record.
Potential uses for the aircraft, which is built by defence technology company Qinetiq, include the long-distance tracking of hijacked ships and aerial monitoring of forest fires. Chris Kelleher, chief designer, said: “This aircraft can help track pirates off the Horn of Africa and also ensure that soldiers’ communications remain unaffected when fighting in mountainous or hilly terrain.”
Dec. 28 (Wall Street Journal) — Gage Martindale, who is 8 years old, has been taking a blood-pressure drug since he was a toddler. “I want to be healthy, and I don’t want things in my heart to go wrong,” he says.
And, of course, his mom is always there to check Gage’s blood pressure regularly with a home monitor, and to make sure the second-grader doesn’t skip a dose of his once-a-day enalapril.
These days, the medicine cabinet is truly a family affair. More than a quarter of U.S. kids and teens are taking a medication on a chronic basis, according to Medco Health Solutions Inc., the biggest U.S. pharmacy-benefit manager with around 65 million members. Nearly 7% are on two or more such drugs, based on the company’s database figures for 2009.
Doctors and parents warn that prescribing medications to children can be problematic. There is limited research available about many drugs’ effects in kids. And health-care providers and families need to be vigilant to assess the medicines’ impact, both intended and not. Although the effects of some medications, like cholesterol-lowering statins, have been extensively researched in adults, the consequences of using such drugs for the bulk of a patient’s lifespan are little understood.
Many medications kids take on a regular basis are well known, including treatments for asthma and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
But children and teens are also taking a wide variety of other medications once considered only to be for adults, from statins to diabetes pills and sleep drugs, according to figures provided to The Wall Street Journal by IMS Health, a research firm. Prescriptions for antihypertensives in people age 19 and younger could hit 5.5 million this year if the trend though September continues, according to IMS. That would be up 17% from 2007, the earliest year available.
Added: 28 Dec. 2010
Elevated, Highly Mobile Security Solutions
Vantage point is everything when it comes to surveillance. SkyWatch™ units provide a high level platform for an array of surveillance options. Every tower includes the basics for the comfort and safety of the officer inside through adjustable heat and air conditioning, tinted sliding glass windows and comfortable seating. And no matter the application, only one person is required to set up and deploy a unit.
The SkyWatch can easily be relocated and is rugged enough to handle even the most primitive off-road conditions. And all models are adaptable for cameras, radios, public address systems and other equipment integration.
Now, one officer can cover an area previously requiring three or more personnel.
– Kids’ bee study published in science journal (CBC News)
A bumblebee collecting pollen of a cherry blossom. A group of British children aged between eight and 10 had their school project on bees published by the prestigious Royal Society in a world scientific first, the society said Wednesday.
A group of British children aged between eight and 10 had their school project on bees published by the prestigious Royal Society in a world scientific first, the society said Wednesday.
The pupils from Blackawton primary school in the southwestern English county of Devon investigated how bumblebees see colours and patterns using a series of experiments in a local churchyard.
The findings by the 25 children, drawn up with a scientist who lives in the area, have been published in Biology Letters, a peer-reviewed journal published by the Royal Society.
“The field of insect colour and pattern vision is generally poorly understood and the findings reported by the school children represent a genuine advance in the field,” the Royal Society said in a statement.
The headmaster of the school, Dave Strudwick, said his pupils “devised, conducted and wrote up an experiment which resulted in genuinely novel findings, so they deserve to be published.”
The children used patterns drawn with coloured pencil to see whether the insects would go for sugar water and avoid salt water.
“We discovered that bumblebees can use a combination of colour and spatial relationships in deciding which colour of flower to forage from. We also discovered that science is cool and fun because you get to do stuff that no one has ever done before,” they concluded in the paper.
Biology Letters editor Brian Charlesworth said their paper was a “world first in high quality scientific publishing.”
The study can be read at http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2010/12/18/rsbl.2010.1056.abstract
December 22, 2010
Source: Physorg.com (Watch the 17min. video!)
Dec. 26 (Wall Street Journal) — Nearly 100 U.S. banks that got bailout funds from the federal government show signs they are in jeopardy of failing.
The total, based on an analysis of third-quarter financial results by The Wall Street Journal, is up from 86 in the second quarter, reflecting eroding capital levels, a pileup of bad loans and warnings from regulators. The 98 banks in shaky condition got more than $4.2 billion in infusions from the Treasury Department under the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
When TARP was created in the heat of the financial crisis, government officials said it would help only healthy banks. The depth of today’s problems for some of the institutions, however, suggests that a number of them were in parlous shape from the beginning.
Seven TARP recipients have already failed, resulting in more than $2.7 billion in lost TARP funds. Most of the troubled TARP recipients are small, plagued by wayward lending programs from which they might not recover. The median size of the 98 banks was $439 million in assets as of Sept. 30. The median TARP infusion for each was $10 million, federal filings show.
“We certainly understand and recognize that some of the smaller institutions are experiencing stress,” said David Miller, chief investment officer at the Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Stability, which runs TARP. He noted that Congress mandated that banks of all sizes be eligible for TARP, adding that the government’s TARP investment as a whole is performing well.
An enormous storm has erupted in Saturn’s northern hemisphere.
Amateurs first sighted the storm earlier this month, but the Cassini spacecraft moved into a good position on Dec. 24 to photograph it from about 1.1 million miles away. Earth received the raw and unprocessed shots today.
The storm has a huge central funnel and a long tail that sweeps around Saturn’s northern hemisphere for tens of thousands of miles. A shot in blue light (left) reveals the extent of the tail, but infrared light (right) shows detail of the storm’s amorphous core. The photos were taken exactly a month after Cassini recovered from a solar-flare-induced error that temporarily silenced the spacecraft from Nov. 2 through Nov. 24.
Outwardly, it looked like just another big space launch — and those happen about once a week, from spaceports all around the world. But Friday’s blast-off of a rocket, carrying a Chinese GPS-style navigation satellite, from the Xi Chang Satellite Launch Center was different. It set a record for successful Chinese launches in one year: 15.
The launch represented another important milestone. For the first time since the chilliest days of the Cold War, another country has matched the United States in sheer number of rocket launches.
To some observers, the rapid acceleration of the Chinese space program is perfectly reasonable, even expected. With nearly 20 percent of the world’s population and the planet’s second-biggest economy by some measures, it stands to reason that China would join other advanced, spacefaring nations — and on a grander scale.
In an interview with Danger Room, space expert Brian Weeden from the Secure World Foundation took a measured view: Sure, China’s catching up fast, but the world’s most powerful Communist country still has a long way to go before it can go toe-to-toe with the United States in space.
Weeden’s argument boils down to an appreciation of quality versus quantity. “On a pure technology basis, I would put them [China] behind the established spacefaring states such as the United States, Russia, Europe, Canada and Japan. This is largely due to China’s deficiencies in advanced technology in general and not limited to just space. However, on a space-capability basis, I would put them ahead of everyone but the United States and Russia, and just behind those two leaders.”
In other words, China makes up for the generally lower-quality of its spacecraft by building more of them — and a greater variety.
They are the real heroes of the Haitian earthquake disaster, the human catastrophe on America’s doorstep which Barack Obama pledged a monumental US humanitarian mission to alleviate. Except these heroes are from America’s arch-enemy Cuba, whose doctors and nurses have put US efforts to shame.
A medical brigade of 1,200 Cubans is operating all over earthquake-torn and cholera-infected Haiti, as part of Fidel Castro’s international medical mission which has won the socialist state many friends, but little international recognition.
Observers of the Haiti earthquake could be forgiven for thinking international aid agencies were alone in tackling the devastation that killed 250,000 people and left nearly 1.5 million homeless. In fact, Cuban healthcare workers have been in Haiti since 1998, so when the earthquake struck the 350-strong team jumped into action. And amid the fanfare and publicity surrounding the arrival of help from the US and the UK, hundreds more Cuban doctors, nurses and therapists arrived with barely a mention. Most countries were gone within two months, again leaving the Cubans and Médecins Sans Frontières as the principal healthcare providers for the impoverished Caribbean island.
Figures released last week show that Cuban medical personnel, working in 40 centres across Haiti, have treated more than 30,000 cholera patients since October. They are the largest foreign contingent, treating around 40 per cent of all cholera patients. Another batch of medics from the Cuban Henry Reeve Brigade, a disaster and emergency specialist team, arrived recently as it became clear that Haiti was struggling to cope with the epidemic that has already killed hundreds.
Since 1998, Cuba has trained 550 Haitian doctors for free at the Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina en Cuba (Elam), one of the country’s most radical medical ventures. Another 400 are currently being trained at the school, which offers free education – including free books and a little spending money – to anyone sufficiently qualified who cannot afford to study medicine in their own country.
More than 3,000 flights cancelled, mostly from New York’s three main airports, stranding tens of thousands trying to return home after Christmas holiday.
– Snow cancels 4,000 flights, shuts NYC airports (USA Today):
A strong Christmas-weekend blizzard paralyzed travel along much of the East Coast on Monday, halting flights at the three New York City airports for much of the day.
For those stranded, airport and airline officials warned it could take “days” before they could be accommodated on future flights
Dec. 27 (Bloomberg) — New York City’s major airports remained closed after the heaviest December snowfall in six decades left travelers in the Northeast struggling amid waist- high drifts and blinding winds.
Central Park had 20 inches (51 centimeters) of snow by 8 a.m., the most for the month since 1948, the National Weather Service said. Skies cleared by daybreak while the agency issued blizzard warnings for Boston and into Maine.
The storm forced airlines to cancel more than 6,000 flights since yesterday. John F. Kennedy International and New Jersey’s Newark Liberty will reopen at 6 p.m., and LaGuardia Airport’s resumption time is undetermined, according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s website.
“It is horrendous in the New York City area,” Tom Kines, a meteorologist at State College, Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather Inc., said by telephone. “This is about as bad as it gets. There may have been storms that equaled this, but it doesn’t get much worse than this. To get this much snow with the amount of wind that is accompanying it, that is devastating.”
WASHINGTON — When a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning touched off a political storm over “death panels,” Democrats dropped it from legislation to overhaul the health care system. But the Obama administration will achieve the same goal by regulation, starting Jan. 1.
Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.
Congressional supporters of the new policy, though pleased, have kept quiet. They fear provoking another furor like the one in 2009 when Republicans seized on the idea of end-of-life counseling to argue that the Democrats’ bill would allow the government to cut off care for the critically ill.
The final version of the health care legislation, signed into law by President Obama in March, authorized Medicare coverage of yearly physical examinations, or wellness visits. The new rule says Medicare will cover “voluntary advance care planning,” to discuss end-of-life treatment, as part of the annual visit.
Source: Naval Research Laboratory
(Click on images to enlarge.)
The Bilderberg group discussion agenda in 2010:
“The 58th Bilderberg Meeting will be held in Sitges, Spain 3 – 6 June 2010. The Conference will deal mainly with Financial Reform, Security, Cyber Technology, Energy, Pakistan, Afghanistan, World Food Problem, Global Cooling, Social Networking, Medical Science, EU-US relations.”
The former prime minister’s companies also declared net assets of £2.2 million – four times what they were worth last year – suggesting Mr Blair’s “pulling power” is as strong as ever.
The profits, funnelled through an “opaque” and highly complex web of financial structures, was declared to Companies House as it closed for business for Christmas last week.
The money is believed to have come from his often controversial private work, including his six-figure speaking fees, his banking and insurance consultancies, including work for JP Morgan, and his pay from advising Middle Eastern and African regimes.
Mr Blair – who has made at least £20million since leaving Downing Street – has a commercial consultancy, called Tony Blair Associates, plus paid jobs advising a US bank and a Swiss insurer.
In addition, millions of pounds have passed through two parallel company structures, called Windrush Ventures and Firerush Ventures, in the last three years.
Mr Blair has so far refused to discuss what these financial structiures, centered on a pair of mysterious limited partnerships, are for.
“Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul said he was proud of the professionalism of the 3,000 officers on duty”
Scotland Yard is facing legal action over claims that officers “falsely imprisoned” and assaulted schoolchildren during a tuition fees protest in London last month.
In what is believed to be the first lawsuit taken against police in connection with the violence, lawyers from human rights group Liberty have notified the Metropolitan Police of legal action involving minors who suffered “inhuman and degrading treatment” during a protest on 24 November.
The organisation claims the treatment of children amounted to a breach of their human rights after they were “kettled” by officers during the demonstrations for up to nine hours in cold conditions, without food, and were denied medical help despite some of them suffering injuries, including at least two fractures.
The claim is on behalf of three young protesters, one of whom is a 15-year-old whose foot was broken after allegedly being struck by an officer when trying to leave a police kettle and who claims she was subsequently refused medical help. Another is a 17-year-old London student who became so distressed inside the “kettle” that her father said she came away suffering from shock. The third is Rory Evans, 19, whose ankle was broken during a crowd surge among protesters contained between police lines.
Lawyers believe the Met breached the European convention on human rights on at least four counts. The case is believed to be the first of what many observers believe could be a number against police over the protests.
The 15-year-old claimant, a GCSE pupil who was wearing her school uniform, describes how she became anxious while “kettled” and decided to go home. The teenager was climbing a gate to leave when an officer pulled her down and struck her.
A letter to Scotland Yard’s legal team states: “The police officer continued to pull her down, causing her to fall on to the floor. She picked herself back up and the police officer then hit her hard on her foot with a baton. She was then alone in the ‘kettled’ area and barely able to walk unassisted.” “She was extremely cold and frightened and in a great deal of pain,” the letter adds.
The 17-year-old, an A-level student, joined the protest and was kettled within 15 minutes of arriving in Whitehall. For six hours she unsuccessfully asked officers to allow her to leave because she was desperate to go to the toilet. At 6pm, portable toilets were delivered outside the “kettle”, but after the teenager was allowed to use them she was escorted back inside the crowd. She has described seeing a woman pleading to be released because she felt nauseous. Later she was escorted from the kettle, vomited by the side of the road and was taken back into the kettle without receiving any medical attention.
After seven hours police said she could leave when her father turned up.
Britons awoke yesterday to the coldest Christmas Day on record.
In parts of the country, the mercury touched minus 18C, chillier than Lapland, and few places saw temperatures rise above freezing.
At 8am in Shawbury, Shropshire, it was minus 15.9C and in Altnaharra, in the Highlands of Scotland, minus 18.2C.
Forecasters predict this December is likely to be the coldest on record. The previous coldest was in 1890, when the average temperature for the whole month for England was minus 0.8C.
Ecuador President Rafael Correa formally recognized Palestine as an independent state on Friday, following its neighboring countries Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay earlier this month, French news agency AFP reported.
According to AFP, Correa signed “the Ecuadoran government’s official recognition of Palestine as a free and independent state with 1967 borders.”
Ecuador’s foreign ministry issued a statement explaining that the country’s decision “vindicates the valid and legitimate desire of the Palestinian people for a free and independent state,” AFP reported.
Added: 19. December 2010
A simple reactor that mimics plants by turning sunlight into fuel has been demonstrated in the laboratory, boosting hopes for a large-scale renewable source of liquid fuel.
“We have a big energy problem and we have to think big,” said Prof Sossina Haile, at the California Institute of Technology, who led the research.
Haile estimates that a rooftop reactor could produce about three gallons of fuel a day. She thinks transport fuels would be the first application of the reactor, if it goes on to commercial use. But she said an equally important use for the renewable fuels would be to store solar energy so it is available at times of peak demand, and overnight. She says the first improvements that will be made to the existing reactor will be to improve the insulation to help stop heat loss, a simple move that she expects to treble the current efficiency.
The key component is made from the metal cerium, which is almost as abundant as copper, unlike other rare and expensive metals frequently used as catalysts, such as platinum. Therefore, said Haile, availability would not limit the use of the device. “There is nothing cost prohibitive in our set-up,” she said. “And there is plenty of cerium for this technology to make a major contribution to global gasoline supplies.”
Updated with better sound: The first version of the video we posted included a cacophony from talk radio (presumably playing inside the patrol car) in the left channel. We’ve removed the left audio channel in the video below so you can hear Officer Birk’s mic much more clearly as he gives commands to Williams and recounts the events to officers afterward.
Here’s the just-released, 17-minute video taken from the dashboard camera of Seattle Police Officer Ian Birk’s patrol car before, during, and after he fatally shot John T. Williams:
Added: 17. December 2010
Just after 1:00 minute, the video shows Williams shuffling across the street—carrying a board and minding his own business—in front of Birk’s squad car. Birk jumps out and yells, “Hey, put the knife down.” Then Birk follows Williams out of the frame. After two more commands (audible while the men are off screen) there are shots fired that killed Williams. A woman is also shown crossing the street who appears to witness the whole thing from maybe 20 feet away.
After 2:00, Officer Birk says, “Ma’am, he had a knife and he wouldn’t drop it.”
At 2:30, backup cars arrive.
At about 3:00, a voice (probably Birk’s) says, “Yeah, I am okay. He had the knife open.” (The investigation has since said that police found the knife closed.)
At 5:10, another officer can be heard telling Birk, “You did the right thing. Hang in there, Ian.”
Nine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators.
The system, by far the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the nation’s history, collects, stores and analyzes information about thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing.
The government’s goal is to have every state and local law enforcement agency in the country feed information to Washington to buttress the work of the FBI, which is in charge of terrorism investigations in the United States.
Other democracies – Britain and Israel, to name two – are well acquainted with such domestic security measures. But for the United States, the sum of these new activities represents a new level of governmental scrutiny.
This localized intelligence apparatus is part of a larger Top Secret America created since the attacks. In July, The Washington Post described an alternative geography of the United States, one that has grown so large, unwieldy and secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs or how many programs exist within it.
Today’s story, along with related material on The Post’s Web site, examines how Top Secret America plays out at the local level. It describes a web of 4,058 federal, state and local organizations, each with its own counterterrorism responsibilities and jurisdictions. At least 935 of these organizations have been created since the 2001 attacks or became involved in counterterrorism for the first time after 9/11.
The months-long investigation, based on nearly 100 interviews and 1,000 documents, found that:
* Technologies and techniques honed for use on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan have migrated into the hands of law enforcement agencies in America.
* The FBI is building a database with the names and certain personal information, such as employment history, of thousands of U.S. citizens and residents whom a local police officer or a fellow citizen believed to be acting suspiciously. It is accessible to an increasing number of local law enforcement and military criminal investigators, increasing concerns that it could somehow end up in the public domain.
* Seeking to learn more about Islam and terrorism, some law enforcement agencies have hired as trainers self-described experts whose extremist views on Islam and terrorism are considered inaccurate and counterproductive by the FBI and U.S. intelligence agencies.
* The Department of Homeland Security sends its state and local partners intelligence reports with little meaningful guidance, and state reports have sometimes inappropriately reported on lawful meetings.
– If this is global warming, I think the species will survive (Telegraph):
It’s not just Britain. Half of Europe has been paralysed by the continuing effects of global warming. Belgian drivers have been advised to stay at home, Germany’s roads are void and inert, Charles de Gaulle airport is barely functioning, the Netherlands is frozen solid.
Dec. 25 — As the icy weather set to continue, the UK could be heading for its coldest December since 1890, forecasters said.
Temperatures were expected to remain below freezing on Boxing Day with spells of rain, sleet and snow in northern Ireland, Scotland and parts of west Wales and far west England, spreading eastwards overnight.
But they added that temperatures could rise as high as 10C (50F) by the middle of next week as a new weather system moves in from the Atlantic.
Those braving the bleak mid-winter to get away for Christmas yesterday faced reduced rail services, icy roads and continuing cancellations and delays to flights.