Category: WTF

Oops! No need to go to Cape Canaveral to watch a rocket explode on launch

#gottaleaveamark
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The USS The Sullivans got more than it expected during a test launch of a SM-2 “Standard” missile…The DDG-68 ship was sailing off the coast of Virginia performing when the missile was boosted out of the Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer’s Vertical Launch System cell and the SM-2 detonated in spectacular fashion…

Here is the official Navy statement:

On July 18 at approximately 9 a.m. (EDT) a Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) test missile exploded after suffering a malfunction as it was fired from the guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) during a planned missile exercise off the coast of Virginia. There were no injuries and only minor damage to the port side of the ship resulting from missile debris. The ship returned to Naval Station Norfolk for assessment. An investigation into the malfunction has been ordered and is being conducted by the Navy’s Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems, which is part of Naval Sea Systems Command. It is too early to determine what, if any, effect this will have on the ship’s schedule.

get the wieners
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I like the understated style of that last sentence. Wonder what they’d say if it took out the aft end of the ship?

Body of Alien Savior found decomposing in parking lot

A man whose body was discovered decomposing in a Southern California parking lot last week was believed by his fiancee to be an alien from another world, who had arrived on Earth to save humanity…

It’s the latest detail in a bizarre death investigation that involves a theory of extraterrestrial intelligence, intrigue — and a newly found arsenal of guns and ammo inside the man’s home…

The ordeal started July 4, while Jeffrey Lash and his fiancee of 17 years, Catherine Nebron, were at a Santa Monica grocery store. According to Nebron’s attorney, Harlan Braun, Lash suddenly fell ill and suffered a seizure.

Nebron and her employee, Dawn VadBunker, attempted to render aid.

“They worked on him for three hours, trying to revive him and then he died,” Braun said, also noting that Lash had battled cancer for more than a year.

Once it was known the man was dead, though, Braun said Nebron placed the body into her vehicle in the store’s parking lot and departed with VadBunker for Oregon. Lash’s body sat in the SUV and decomposed in the hot Southern California sun for nearly two weeks.

According to VadBunker’s mother, Laura, neither woman reported the death to authorities because they believed Lash was a half human-half alien being from another world who had come to Earth to save humanity. They also reportedly believed he’d been working secretly with the U.S. government, and that federal agents would soon come by to collect the body…

Upon returning to Southern California — and discovering that no government agency had come for her fiancé’s remains — Braun said Nebron finally notified police…

However, at that point the ordeal took yet another bizarre turn.

Investigators were shocked themselves when they showed up this week at the couple’s condo — and found more than 1,200 firearms, 6 tons of ammunition, and $230,000 — entirely in cash.

The Los Angeles Police Department is trying to sort out the case — but it’s not yet known exactly why Lash died, why he had so many firearms, or how he amassed all that money.

“It does not make any sense, but it’s probably a continuation of this fantasy world where he is a secret man which he is supposed to not reveal who he really is,” Braun said…

It all seems clear to me. Obviously the alien planet Jeffrey Lash came from is secretly funding the NRA. The weapons, ammo and cash are simply the means of exchange between the planet’s overlords and their underlings here on earth.

This has to be true. Certainly you don’t think some ordinary nutball could acquire 1200 firearms and 6 tons of ammo without the help of extra-terrestrial powers.

Don’t let Armadillos spit on you in Florida!


Click to enlargeGetty Images

For once…Florida citizens are not the focus of a news story. Instead, Florida armadillos are in the spotlight.

Local health officials are warning Floridians to stay away from the animals after nine people were infected with leprosy after coming into contact with the leathery armored creatures.

Typically, Florida sees just 10 cases of leprosy in a year. The centuries-old bacterial infection, also known as Hansen’s disease, causes nerve damage and disfigurement and was once a considered a sentence to death or life in isolation. Thanks to antibiotics, the disease is now treatable and only rarely spreads from person to person in the U.S., typically via coughing or sneezing.

A 2011 genetic study found that armadillos naturally harbor the bacteria that causes the illness in humans, and they may be responsible for some infections, though it is far less common for leprosy to be spread that way.

But that’s what seems to be happening in Florida.

“New homes are being developed, and we are tearing down armadillos’ homes in the process,” said Dr. Sunil Joshi…of the Duval County Medical Society. “Now these creatures are coming out in the daytime, and the people who are getting exposed are those working outside.”

Armadillos aren’t native to Florida, but the cat-sized mammals are now common throughout the state, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission…“Especially if they’re trying to get out of a cage they can spit on you,” said Florida wildlife trapper Kyle Waltz.

The bacteria that causes leprosy can lie dormant for years, according to the CDC, and it may take up to a decade for symptoms to appear. Most of the human population isn’t susceptible to the disease, and fewer than 300 new cases were reported in the U.S. in 2010…As many as 2 million people have been permanently disabled by the disease worldwide.

One of the instances where you don’t want to be the exception that proves the rule.

NSA’s “zombie dragnet” still bulk collecting our phone data


While TV talking heads tell us to fear hackers accessing government records…

The leading civil liberties group in the United States has requested a federal court to stop the National Security Agency from collecting Americans’ phone data in bulk through the end of the year.

While the surveillance dragnet was phased out by Congress and Barack Obama last month, an American Civil Liberties Union suit seeks to end a twilight, zombie period of the same US phone records collection, slated under the new law to last six months.

“Today the government is continuing – after a brief suspension – to collect Americans’ call records in bulk on the purported authority of precisely the same statutory language this court has already concluded does not permit it,” the ACLU writes in a motion filed on Tuesday before the second circuit court of appeals.

The venue is significant. On 7 May, as Congress debated ending the domestic phone-records collection, the second circuit ruled the collection was illegal. Yet it did not order Obama’s administration to cease the bulk collection, writing that a preferable option would be to stay out of the unfolding legislative battle over the future scope of US surveillance.

That debate ended on 2 June with the passage of the USA Freedom Act, which reinstated expired provisions of the Patriot Act that the government had since 2006 relied upon – erroneously, in the second circuit’s view – for the bulk collection. Yet it ended the NSA’s bulk US phone records collection and created a new mechanism for the NSA to gather “call data records” from telecoms pursuant to a court order.

Within hours of signing the bill, Obama requested that the secret surveillance panel known as the Fisa court reinstate the dragnet, relying on a provision permitting a six-month “transition” period. Judge Michael Mosman granted the request on 29 June.

The ACLU, which was the plaintiff in the case the second circuit decided, has indicated since the Fisa court began considering resumption of the dragnet that it would seek an injunction.

Its major contention in support of the requested injunction is that despite the Freedom Act’s provision for a transition period, the underlying law authorizing the bulk surveillance remains the same Patriot Act provisions that the second circuit held do not justify the NSA phone-records collection.

Obama dare not say the program works. He’s admitted it doesn’t.

That still didn’t stop him supporting reauthorization. That didn’t stop Congress authorizing the imitation – with puerile footnotes. The usual coalition of conservative Republicans, Blue Dog Democrats plus out-and-out cowards rolled over in predictable “patriotic” style.

Flash – Must – Die

Adobe Flash—that insecure, ubiquitous resource hog everyone hates to need—is under siege, again, and hopefully for the last time. The latest calls for its retirement come from some of the Internet’s most powerful players, but if the combined clattering of Facebook, Firefox, and a legion of unsatisfied users isn’t enough finally to put it in the ground, scroll down to see how to axe it from your devices yourself.

Why would you want to?

Because Flash is a closed, proprietary system on a web that deserves open standards. It’s a popular punching bag for hackers, which puts users at risk over and over again. And it’s a resource-heavy battery suck that at this point mostly finds its purchase in pop-up ads you didn’t want to see anyway.

Open or closed means little to me – other than so-called open is even easier to hack than a crappy, poorly-designed closed system like Flash. Nothing is hacked more often than Linux.

This week, in the wake of newly discovered vulnerabilities in Flash, Facebook security boss Alex Stamos called for a termination date for Flash, and late Monday night Mozilla disabled all current versions of the plug-in by default in its Firefox browser. Even Google is limiting Flash’s impact; last month, it announced that future versions of Chrome will “intelligently pause” Flash-based content that isn’t part of a website’s core experience (e.g. video ads).

That doesn’t mean this is the end … yet. Facebook still uses Flash to play video on some browsers, and Firefox reintroduced Flash support on Tuesday when a secure update arrived. The point is clear, though: Flash is officially more trouble than it’s worth. <a href="http://www.wired.com/2015/07/adobe-flash-player-die/'>Flash. Must. Die. | WIRED.”>And it has been for some time.

…Killing of Flash has been on-trend since being software non-grata on the original iPhone. Steve Jobs penned a famous open letter in April, 2010, explaining why he wouldn’t let Flash anywhere near Apple’s mobile products, highlighting concerns over openness, security, and its impact on battery life.

More than five years later, the case against Flash remains largely unchanged—and the security problem is the most immediate and important. After all, the newly discovered critical vulnerability that led Mozilla to quarantine Firefox from Flash was the third problem of its kind discovered this week thanks to a data breach of controversial digital surveillance firm Hacking Team…

However actively Adobe has been working on Flash Player security, it doesn’t seem to be enough. This week’s mistrials are but the latest in a string of security lapses that have plagued Flash for years. Exploit kits—packets of code that take advantage of these sorts of vulnerabilities in your browser to push malware or ransomware—have used Flash to futz with countless sites. So-called zero-day vulnerabilities (a security hole that hackers find before the software company does) are found on Flash with such regularity they almost feel like a feature.

The good news is, you don’t have to wait for Adobe to pull the plug. You can do it yourself.

RTFA for instructions re most browsers.

I stopped concerning myself when iOS stopped running it in any of Apple’s mobile devices. The pressures exerted by Steve Jobs at the time pushed Google into speeding up their pace of adopting html5 everywhere – especially at YouTube. If you show up at YouTube without Flash installed, the site automatically switches into an html5 version of whichever video you’re looking for.

If I run into a site that refuses to run anything other than Flash – most often, the BBC, nowadays – I don’t run their videos. No need to tempt some script kiddie.

Robot powered by exploding farts

Harvard uni boffins have 3D printed a robot with a soft butt able to belch hot gases, thus unleashing a remorseless and invincible-ish hopping trouser-cough machine…

The new design offers a fresh solution to the engineering challenge that the Harvard Gazette claims “has plagued soft robotics: the integration of rigid and soft materials.”

“The vision for the field of soft robotics is to create robots that are entirely soft,” said senior author Robert J. Wood. “But for practical reasons, our soft robots typically have some rigid components — things like batteries and control electronics. This robot is a demonstration of a method to integrate the rigid components with the body of the soft robot through a gradient of material properties, eliminating an abrupt hard-to-soft transition that is often a failure point.”…

To initiate movement, the robot inflates its pneumatic legs to tilt its body in the direction it wants to go. Then butane and oxygen are mixed and ignited, exploding the robot into the air.

Perhaps we could design something like this on a smaller scale to hunt grasshoppers. Or something like that.

British Columbia’s policy of killing cubs not based on scientific reality

The fate of two orphaned bear cubs remains uncertain as a B.C. conservation official says they show signs of habituation to humans. A conservation officer was suspended after reportedly refusing to destroy the cubs last weekend.

B.C.’s most experienced rehabilitation specialist for black bears said Wednesday it is crazy for the Ministry of Environment to assert that two eight-week-old cubs on Vancouver Island needed to be killed because they’d become habituated to human food.

“It’s just ridiculous,” said Angelika Langen, co-founder of Northern Lights Wildlife Society in Smithers. “There is absolutely no scientific proof that cubs that follow their mothers for (human) food at this age have learned anything…

Langen said of the more than 300 black bears her facility has released in the past 25 years, not one has run into trouble by rummaging for human garbage. Bears receive ear tags and microchips to identify them after release…

There’s been an outpouring of support for conservation officer Bryce Casavant, who was suspended without pay after sparing the lives of two black bear cubs near Port Hardy on Sunday.

The B.C. government has since revised those conditions to a suspension with pay pending an investigation into the incident.

As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 55,000 people had signed an online petition asking for the officer’s reinstatement.

Ricky Gervais, the British actor, comedian and animal rights advocate with nine million Twitter followers, has urged the government to “reinstate this honourable man.”…

Conservation officers killed a total of 1,872 black bears during the past four years across the province — an average of almost 500 per year, according to statistics provided by the Ministry of Environment. The ministry does not keep statistics on how many were cubs…A total of 137 cubs were taken to rehabilitation centres.

I tire of bureaucrats stuck into policies promoted centuries ago to keep cattle herds happy – municipalities continuing in happy ignorance. We move into nature’s habitat and expect guns to control conflicts.

Meditating in his seat before plane takes off — removed as terrorist suspect

A Portuguese actor humming a prayer as he meditated to a sacred Tibetan text onboard a plane awaiting takeoff from Paris was mistaken for a terrorist by alarmed passengers and taken off the flight by police.

“Police told me that I had been denounced as a terrorism suspect aboard the plane because I was reciting the Koran aloud, that I was reading a text involving words ‘death’ and ‘bomb’,” the man, Heitor Lourenco, said…

Lourenco, 47, said his text, which he was reading on a tablet device, contained Tibetan characters and the device had the timer on to tell him how long he had meditated, which probably caused associations with a bomb.

If you’re fool enough to consider anything with a timer a potential bomb!

He was released after six hours of questioning during which police watched videos of him on the Internet showing that he is a theater and television actor, and checked his profile on Wikipedia, which states that he is a Buddhist.

Double indemnity. On one hand, we have the Western disease of paranoia afflicting the guilty memories of someone French looking at someone else who might be Algerian. Or a Confederate bigot watching a Black teenager.

On the other hand, the matching affliction of an unsophisticate who can’t differentiate between the sounds of Tibetan vs Arabic or the different alphabetic characters. It’s all foreign-looking. Must be suspicious.

Down East Darwin Award candidate

CALAIS, Maine — A local man was killed instantly Saturday when he placed a fireworks mortar tube on his head and set it off…

Devon Staples, 22, of Calais was with friends in a friend’s back yard on South Street when the accident occurred at approximately 10 p.m. The explosion caused a fatal head injury and Staples died instantly, according to Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Staples had been drinking with his friends when the accident occurred

The fatality was the first reported since fireworks became legal in Maine in March 2012…

Ayup.

The guy who made ISIS-Dildo Flag tells CNN where they can stick their report


Click the link in this post to see the video at MoJo

Anyone near the internet last Saturday was treated to one of most glorious cable news gaffes in recent memory. CNN thought it had a stunner of a scoop: Gay pride was being infiltrated by Islamist terror!

CNN anchor Suzanne Malveaux crossed from the US studios to international assignment editor Lucy Pawle in London, who claimed to have spotted an ISIS banner amongst the rainbow-adorned floats at London’s annual LGBT pride parade. A glorious exclusive!…Peter Bergen, the network’s national security analyst, was even called in for his sober assessment.

The only problem? The banner Pawle spotted was a satirical flag adorned not with ISIS’s logo in Arabic, but with butt-plugs and dildos.

…Why did Paul Coombs—a self-described “collagist” and “multi-media dildo obsessive”—make the flag? “Medieval ideologies and barbarism were being spread and recorded through that most modern of expressions, social media, with that flag ever-present,” he writes in something of an artistic mission statement. “It has become a potent symbol of brutality, fear and sexual oppression. If I wanted to try and stimulate a dialogue about the ridiculousness of this ideology, the flag was key.”

“The Pride festival is a pure celebration of the finest aspects of humanity: of tolerance, togetherness, acceptance and liberation, the polar opposite of what Isis stands for,” he continues. “If there was anywhere where my flag had a voice, it was there.”

Coombs also writes, “CNN correspondent Lucy Pawle described my flag as a ‘very bad mimicry’ but the only bad mimicry I could see was CNN’s impression of a reputable news organization. What does this say about every other report that they broadcast? And why have they not mentioned it since?”

Like most of the mediocre poseurs in the news-as-entertainment racket, CNN hates to admit publicly when they’ve screwed up. Truth doesn’t matter. Integrity is a foreign concept. Reality might interfere with their dreams of being world-leaders in distributing profitable claptrap.