Category: WTF

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to film in New Mexico


Morocco, Shmorocco – I can’t tell the difference either

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was scheduled to shoot in Africa, but with the Ebola virus epidemic going on there, it’s probably best to stay home. Instead, it looks like Deming, New Mexico will be filling in as a replacement location. Henry Cavill News spotted a posting on the New Mexico Film Office website, which was looking for extras for a Warner Bros. movie back in September…

According to the casting notice, entire families age 8 and older are needed to re-create an African village scene. The deserts in New Mexico can easily pass for Morocco, the location in Africa that they originally wanted to shoot at. The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice crew is expected to film in New Mexico in mid-November, right after they’re done in Chicago, Illinois…

Holy Javelina, Batman!

Thanks, Mike

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Tech firms adopt warrant canaries — the Feds try to shut them up!

Warrant canaries — which tech companies are using to tell people that the government is NOT using secret orders — are the new frontline in the legal fight over surveillance.

Tech companies from Apple to Tumblr, faced with a growing number of secret orders from the government, have resorted to a clever legal tactic known as a warrant canary: the “canary,” popularized by libraries in the wake of the Patriot Act, is a sign that tells the public that an organization is not being investigated by the FBI. If the canary disappears, well, you can assume the worst:

Now, the federal government is trying to snuff out the use of canaries altogether, telling Twitter that it is forbidden from using “zero” when it reports on security demands in its Transparency Reports, the semi-annual documents used by Twitter and other tech companies to report on FBI and NSA demands.

The fact this there is a fight over “zero” and warrant canaries is revealed through a close reading of the lawsuit that Twitter filed against the Justice Department this week. The lawsuit, which claims the government security demands violate Twitter’s free speech rights, repeatedly asks the court to declare that it may use “zero” when stating whether it has been subject to various secret legal orders from the government…

Through its lawsuit, Twitter claims it has a First Amendment right to use warrant canaries to say whether or not it has received various categories of so-called NSL letters and FISA requests — secret orders that can subject the companies to criminal prosecution if they even disclose the existence of the letters in the first place…

I feel no need to sit around and discuss whether or not our government has the right not only to limit speech but ban your right to tell anyone it’s happening. This is as corrupt as anything attempted by dictators in any epoch in modern history. It is the polar opposite of transparency.

We sit here facing such limitations under a so-called liberal administration, one which campaigned for transparency in law and governance. I hate to break it to True Believers in the 2-party crappola; but, just as American foreign policy since the inception of the Cold War is indistinguishable between Democrat or Republican – attempts to shut down free speech, freedom of thought and inquiry are just as likely under administrations controlled by either wing of our corporate electoral police.

It doesn’t matter whether the donations and control come mostly from Wall Street and Silicon Valley – or Big Oil and the Military-Industrial Complex. We get screwed, our rights are under attack and transparency is a myth.

Athletic idjit of the week

Reza-Baluchi-bola-de-plastico

The Coast Guard says it rescued a man inside a hydro pod bubble, 70 miles east of St. Augustine on Saturday morning…They…received a report about Reza Baluchi, a U.S. citizen was floating in an inflatable bubble and was “reportedly disoriented and asking for directions to Bermuda Wednesday.”

The Coast Guard Cutter Webber arrived on scene and requested Baluchi terminate his trip because of the lack of supplies on board to sustain him. The Coast Guard said Baluchi had protein bars, bottled water, a GPS, and a satellite phone.

According to Baluchi’s website, he is a marathon runner and was aiming to travel through the Bermuda Triangle in the bubble in order to raise money for charity.

After he refused to leave his raft, Coast Guard monitored his movements until he activated his Personal Positioning Indicating Radio Beacon (PPIRB) Saturday morning due to fatigue. Coast Guard aircrafts out of Clearwater began searching for Baluchi.

According to the Coast Guard, an aircrew arrived on scene and safely “hoisted Baluchi from his inflatable raft and transported him to Air Station Clearwater where emergency medical services evaluated him.”

There were no reports of any injuries.

Poisonally, I hope the Coasties charge for at least some of the cost of rescuing his sorry butt. It doesn’t matter how good a marathoner may be. Trying to travel hundreds of miles in a truly inefficient device like this would take weeks or months to cover the distance he wanted to attempt.

With half a brain he might have tried some reasonable distances on a large lake with support at hand – just to trial his idea. Instead he headed out into open water for a thousand-mile first leg. Idjit.

Thanks, Mike

Dallas hospital changes story — admits docs knew patient arrived from Liberia

Late Friday officials at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said that the nurses and doctors who initially treated and released an Ebola patient knew that the man, Thomas E. Duncan, had recently arrived from Liberia.

Earlier the hospital claimed the its electronic health record used separate workflows for physicians and nurses so that the travel history in the nursing section “would not automatically appear in the physician’s standard workflow.”

In its latest statement “the hospital effectively retracted that portion of its statement, saying that ‘there was no flaw‘ in its electronic health records system. The hospital said ‘the patient’s travel history was documented and available to the full care team in the electronic health record (E.H.R.), including within the physician’s workflow…’

The hospital’s initial account triggered significant discussion of potential problems with EHRs.

The hospital offered no explanation for the conflicting accounts.

Har. Anyone can be guilty of a screwup but doctors. Nurses may have known and didn’t tell the doctors. The updated electronic health records system required by Obamacare must have been flawed – and therefore the doctors didn’t know the patient may have been exposed to Ebola.

Hogwash! One can only presume by Monday the hospital administration will have come up with a new and creative excuse for sending Thomas Duncan away the first time he arrived at the ER.

African virus that infected Caribbean & Central America spreads to US

A mosquito-borne virus that can cause debilitating joint pain lasting for years has spread to the continental U.S. after infecting hundreds of thousands of people in the Caribbean and Central America.

The virus is called Chikungunya, an African name meaning “to become contorted.” While the illness, first identified in Tanzania in 1952, has long bedeviled Africa and Asia, the only recorded cases in the U.S. before July involved patients who contracted the virus abroad.

Now, 11 cases have been confirmed as originating in Florida, spurring concern this may be the beginning of the type of explosive growth seen elsewhere from a disease that has no vaccine or cure. Medical and environmental experts are debating how best to quell the outbreak before it takes off…

Patients who contract Chikungunya have joint swelling and pain, fever, headache and rash for about a week, though some symptoms last months or years in some patients, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While the disease generally isn’t fatal, more than 100 people have died in the Western Hemisphere since December, according to the Pan American Health Organization…

Now that Chikungunya is in Florida, it could infect 10,000 people in that state alone, according to Walter Tabachnick, the director of the Florida Medical Entymology Laboratory, who said his estimate is based on the exponential growth of other outbreaks. More than 700,000 people, for instance, are suspected of being infected with the virus in South America, Central America and the Caribbean since it appeared there, according to the Pan American Health Organization.

RTFA for all the delightful details.

Just like the Ebola “outbreak” – which means a few medical missionaries returning home plus another patient obviously infected in Africe – Americans only pay attention to headline health news.

The actual danger from Chikungunya is immediate – though it may not impact widely till next year’s mosquito season. And it will be an enormous surprise to the Talking Heads on network TV and White House responders.

Dumb Crook of the Day

ung3

Albuquerque resident David Ung didn’t forget his luggage, cell phone or plane ticket in a returned rental car Tuesday.

Instead, police say he forgot 139 pounds of “high grade” marijuana — packed in several black trash bags — in the trunk of a rental car he had returned to Hertz Rent a Car near the airport.

Aviation police officers told an Albuquerque Police Department officer that 40-year-old David Ung dropped off a car, but returned, saying he left a bag inside the vehicle.

By the time he returned, police had already found several black trash bags full of marijuana, packaged in 124 individual heat-sealed clear bags…

Ung was detained at the scene, and refused to talk to officers without an attorney…He was charged with possession of drugs with intent to distribute and booked into the county jail on $10,000 bail.

Been sampling the product, eh?

Stupid gun nut trick of the day!

granny gun

Sheriff’s deputies in Colorado arrested a 60-year-old woman who pointed a rifle at her neighbor’s 11-year-old son as he played his clarinet in the backyard…

Officers were called to an address in the Rocky Mountain city of Grand Junction after Cheryl Pifer allegedly told the boy, who was doing his music class homework for school, to “get his ass back inside,” the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office said.

According to an arrest affidavit, there were five other children aged one to eleven in the backyard at the time of Wednesday’s incident, and it said the boy’s grandmother told them all to return to the house.

“When they were coming inside they saw Cheryl at the door with the gun aimed at them. (The boy) stated Cheryl yelled ‘fire in the hole.’ He stated all of the kids ran into the house and called 911,” the affidavit added.

The deputy who filed the report, who said she was “very familiar” with Pifer and her address, said the woman appeared drunk when officers arrived, and that they found a 7 mm Mauser rifle by the door with two rounds in its magazine.

She was booked into jail on four counts of felony menacing, seven counts of reckless child abuse/no injury, and one count of prohibited use of a weapon. She was released on a $5,000 bond on Thursday…

No one is surprised at gun nuts having an understanding of life’s priorities roughly akin to a demented jihadist. Understanding incompetence doesn’t excuse endangering the lives of others folks, children or otherwise.

Throw away the key.

Infection, death risk increases with every day of hospital stay

Infection risk in patients increases by 1 percent each day of hospitalization, a new research reveals.

Researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina examined 949 documented cases of Gram-negative infection at their academic medical center. This study is the first to quantify the risks for patients over time.

The team noted that in the first few days of hospitalization the percentage of infections from Gram-negative bacteria (a multidrug-resistant one) was around 20 percent and the rate constantly went up as days passed and reached 35 percent at 10 days.

Researchers stated that the infections developed in hospitals represent a large and possibly preventable segment of hospital-related deaths. These infections are on the rise year by year. According to one European study, Gram-negative infections comprise of two thirds of the 25,000 hospital-acquired infection deaths each year.

The CDC says that around 722,000 hospital-acquired infections resulted in 75,000 deaths. A death rate greater than 10%. And folks wonder why we call our local hospital, “Saint Victims”?

Thanks, Mike

Throw barnacle-encrusted stone for your dog to fetch — another beachcomber identifies it as hand grenade!


Another grenade found on the beach – absent barnacles

A beach walker threw a stone for his dog to fetch – only to discover that it was a live wartime GRENADE.

The man picked up the barnacle-encrusted “stone” for his pet to chase along the sands without realising it was deadly World War 2 explosive.

In an incredible stroke of luck, an off-duty military explosive expert also on the seafront at Dovercourt, near Harwich, Essex recognised the dog’s new “toy” and immediately raised the alarm.

A 100-foot cordon was hastily put up by police around the grenade as a bomb disposal team rushed to the scene.

It is the fifth World War 2 hand grenade that has been washed up on the same beach over the last five weeks

Inspector Paul Butcher of Essex Police said…”We think the grenades may have been in a crate that ended up in the sea during World War Two and that it might now be breaking up or has been disturbed by dredging work in the area.

“The result is that these five devices have all been washed ashore on the same stretch of the bay so we are asking people to be vigilant if they go onto the beach and dial 999 if they find any of these devices.

“Some have been covered in barnacles but the one found on Saturday looked almost like new despite the fact it had been in the sea for many years.”

I’m glad the dog was OK.

Thanks, Mike

What were they thinking?

Malaysia Airlines has provoked a storm of controversy by asking customers to list the things they would most like to do before they die.

The airline, which lost two planes this year in disasters that claimed 537 lives, committed the marketing gaffe when it launched a “My Ultimate Bucket List” campaign on Monday.

But with the world still reeling from the twin catastrophes of the MH370 and MH17 crashes, social media users swifly began mocking the marketing ploy.

The campaign called on Australian and New Zealand residents to write their own bucket list and enter it into a competition to win flights to Malaysia and iPads but the competition appears to have since been withdrawn…

The aftermath of the twin crashes has reportedly crippled the company financially, with plummeting share prices, near-empty flights and the axing of 6,000 jobs fuelling speculation that the company is contemplating filing for bankruptcy.

So, they hire a PR firm staffed with idiots. Unbelievable.

Thanks, Mike