Fly me to Sochi or I’ll attack you with this chocolate bar!


Something else for TSA to take away from passengers

A passenger on board a Hong Kong-bound Cathay Pacific flight, armed only with a Toblerone chocolate bar, demanded the plane fly to Sochi so he could watch the Winter Olympics, a court heard.

Antti Oskari Manselius, 23, from Finland, also made a false bomb threat on the February 14 flight from Amsterdam and said he was robbing the plane…

Two flight attendants told the court that they saw Manselius walking towards the cockpit. He had two economy-class blankets wrapped around his head and was wearing another like a cape. He held the Toblerone chocolate bar “like a sword”…

“He said, ‘I am robbing the plane now. I want to see the Olympics in Sochi and I need to get off the plane now,” attendant Leung Hiu-lun was quoted as telling the court. “He was furious. He made me feel like he was trying to endanger the aircraft.”

Leung said the passenger was not violent, only waving the bar as he talked. Leung told him the service was a direct flight and would not stop in Russia.

Manselius was later handcuffed under the orders of the captain.

“A Finnish passenger, a former policeman and an aircrew safety trainer handcuffed Manselius with the help of a cabin crew manager. They also cuffed his legs and fastened his chest with an extra seatbelt,” the Post said…

Manselius was arrested in Hong Kong and sent to a psychiatric center

Aside from all the healthful attributes of chocolate consumption I get to post about with delightful frequency it appears chocolate can still pose a danger – in the wrong hands.

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Wanting a big butt may be deadly!

The demand for bigger buttocks in Venezuela means some women will even have banned injections to achieve them, putting their health at risk.

It is with tears in her eyes that Denny recounts how she woke up one day to find a bump the size of a football in her lower back…She could not walk or bend down, and the pain was intense.

Even before she saw a doctor, Denny, a 35-year-old Venezuelan lawyer, knew the bump must be a side-effect of liquid silicone that had been injected in her buttocks.

It had moved into her back and was putting pressure on her spine…

Buttock injections are one of many common cosmetic procedures Venezuelan women undergo to achieve what society deems to be beautiful.

The injections were banned by the government in 2012, six years after Denny had them…

But the practice continues in spite of the ban. Up to 30% of women between 18 and 50 choose to have these injections, according to the Venezuelan Plastic Surgeons Association…

The injections are made using a biopolymer silicone. The fact that this is injected freely into the body makes it more dangerous than implants, where silicone gel is contained within a shell.

The big attraction is that they are much cheaper than implants. An injection can cost as little as $318 and the whole procedure doesn’t take more than 20 minutes.

But the risks are incredibly high.

“The silicone can migrate into other areas of the body, because it doesn’t have any barriers. The body can also react immunologically against a foreign material, creating many problems,” says Daniel Slobodianik, a cosmetic surgeon…

Figures are unclear, but the Venezuelan Plastic Surgeons Association fear that at least a dozen women die every year from these injections.

RTFA. Many more personal examples. A decent discussion of the social pressures, the beauty queen ideology that seems to have taken hold across the whole of Venezuelan society.

And, of course, symptoms of the same silliness appear around the world.

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Pic of the Day

Woman carries her baby as she walks through a wheat field on her way to a polling station to cast her vote in Shabazpur Dor village
Click to enlargeREUTERS/Adnan Abidi

A woman carries her baby as she walks through a wheat field on her way to a polling station to cast her vote in Shabazpur Dor village, in Amroha district in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh April 17, 2014.

We forget – caught up as we are in the historic corruption of our 2-party system of bought-and-paid-for politicians – how difficult, how meaningful it is for the poorest of the poor to vote in other countries. They know corruption from the highest to lowest of elected officials. They may risk death and at the least discrimination for months – for having the courage to vote.

Still they vote. Still they fight however they may to vote and try to change the future for their children and grandchildren.

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Fundamentalists’ greatest fear – species discovered where the females have penises

Female insects with “penises” have been discovered in Brazil – the first example of an animal with sex-reversed genitalia, scientists say.

Neotrogla females insert the erectile organs into males’ vagina-like openings…The elaborate structure, dubbed a “gynosome”, is used to suck out sperm and nutritious seminal fluids…Copulation lasts an impressive 40-70 hours, the researchers report…

“Although sex-role reversal has been identified in several different animals, Neotrogla is the only example in which the intromittent organ is also reversed,” said lead author Kazunori Yoshizawa from Hokkaido University in Japan.

The female is always on top during copulation – which lasts up to 70 hours…The gender-bending insects were found in a cave in eastern Brazil and represent four distinct species in the Neotrogla genus.

Once inside a male, the membranous part of the female gynosome inflates. It has numerous spines which anchor the two insects together.

When the researchers attempted to pull a male and female apart, the male’s abdomen was ripped from the thorax without breaking the genital coupling…

Who would have expected the AntiChrist to appear as a flying insect? :)

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FDA proposed E-Cigarette regulation leaked to industry first

After years of FDA foot-dragging amid calls for action on electronic cigarettes, an industry group nearly stole the agency’s thunder with an apparently leaked copy of an impending draft regulation.

The Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association (TVECA) put up a picture of the scanned document on its website Friday, indicating it was the “Deeming Tobacco Products to be Subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, as Amended by the Family Smoking Prevention and Control Act; Regulations on the Sale and Distribution of Tobacco Products and Required Warning Statements for Tobacco Products.”

However, the e-cigarette advocacy group said it decided not to go ahead with plans to release the document following informal discussions with the agency on Friday.

“[W]e all decided that [it would be] in the best interest of the regulatory process, as well as the industry and the public, not to post the document on Tuesday,” TVECA explained in a brief note on its website…

The title of the document shown by TVECA appeared to fit expectations that the FDA’s move will be to bring e-cigarettes under largely the same regulatory scheme as other tobacco products, which would involve blocking sales to minors and restricting marketing.

The agency has had e-cigarettes on its agenda for years, but finally sent a draft proposed rule to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) last fall; action was further delayed by the partial government shutdown.

The document was still with the OMB as of last month. Whether the copy obtained by TVECA indicates an impending release for public comment wasn’t clear.

Anyone surprised? Anyone expect documents which might affect corporate profits and the health of Americans to be leaked to scientists or public interest advocates? Our government is working harder than ever to squash the possibility of another Edward Snowden popping up, say, in the FDA or USDA.

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Red Moon, Green Beam — Apache Point Observatory

red moon, green beam
Click to enlarge

This is not a scene from a sci-fi special effects movie. The green beam of light and red lunar disk are real enough, captured in the early morning hours of April 15. Of course, the reddened lunar disk is easy to explain as the image was taken during this week’s total lunar eclipse.

Immersed in shadow, the eclipsed Moon reflects the dimmed reddened light of all the sunsets and sunrises filtering around the edges of planet Earth, seen in silhouette from a lunar perspective. But the green beam of light really is a laser. Shot from the 3.5-meter telescope at Apache Point Observatory in southern New Mexico, the beam’s path is revealed as Earth’s atmosphere scatters some of the intense laser light.

The laser’s target is the Apollo 15 retroreflector, left on the Moon by the astronauts in 1971. By determining the light travel time delay of the returning laser pulse, the experimental team from UC San Diego is able to measure the Earth-Moon distance to millimeter precision and provide a test of General Relativity, Einstein’s theory of gravity.

Image Credit & Copyright: Dan Long (Apache Point Observatory) – Courtesy: Tom Murphy (UC San Diego)

Thanks, Ursarodinia

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Hawaii coppers fail at exemption allowing sex with prostitutes

Hawaii lawmakers in both chambers agree that legal permission for police to have sex with prostitutes should end.
House and senate members are still negotiating on the version of House Bill 1926 they will send to the governor. But they concur that the crime bill should revoke a peculiar exemption that permits police in Hawaii, in the course of their duties, to have sex with prostitutes.

The bill began in the house and was amended as it passed out of that chamber’s judicial committee. At the time, Honolulu police told lawmakers that vice-officers needed the exemption in law to prevent pimps and prostitutes from knowing the limits of police methods.

The Associated Press wrote about the successful police lobbying against removing the sex exemption after the bill passed the house. When the senate judiciary committee took up the bill, lawmakers revised it again to reflect the backlash against the exemption, with many expressing strong convictions that police should not have the legal ability to bed prostitutes.

Honolulu police, while assuring the public that their internal policies prevent such abuse, dropped their opposition to removing the exemption.

Nice try, guys. You realize you’ve probably set an example for Congress to try the same stunt.

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US Special Forces struggle with record rate of suicides


Click to enlarge – “Have to trust someone to be betrayed. I never did.”

Suicides among U.S. special operations forces, including elite Navy SEALs and Army Rangers, are at record levels, a U.S. military official said on Thursday, citing the effects of more than a decade of “hard combat.”

The number of special operations forces committing suicide has held at record highs for the past two years, said Admiral William McRaven, who leads the Special Operations Command…

It may take a year or more, he said, to assess the effects of sustained combat on special operations units, whose missions range from strikes on militants such as the 2011 SEAL raid that killed al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden to assisting in humanitarian disasters.

He did not provide data on the suicide rate, which the U.S. military has been battling to lower. In 2012, for example, more active duty servicemen and servicewomen across the U.S. armed forces died by suicide – an estimated 350 – than died in combat, a U.S. defense official said.

That trend appears to have held in 2013 although preliminary data is showing a slight improvement, with 284 suicides among active duty forces in the year to December 15, the official added…

Kim Ruocco, who assists the survivors of military members who commit suicide, said members of the closely knit special operations community often fear that disclosing their symptoms will end their careers.

Additionally, the shrinking size of the U.S. armed forces has put additional pressure on soldiers, whose sense of community and self-identity is often closely tied to their military service, said Ruocco, director of suicide prevention programs for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, an advocacy group for military families.

It’s my guess that disclosing fear, suicidal tendencies, any questions of survival will absolutely be interpreted as weakness and inability to make “the mission” more important than life itself. Very few military units have ever developed an understanding of human emotions beyond convincing troops that killing folks is more important than anything else.

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Congressional free subscriptions to HUSTLER continues


Flynt often makes million-dollar offers for proof of gay or straight sex with members of Congress

The publisher of Hustler says they will continue to send the monthly porn magazine to every member of Congress.

“Moses freed the Jews, Lincoln freed the slaves, and I just wanted to free all the neurotics,” said publisher Larry Flynt.

Flynt has been sending the monthly issue of the magazine to every member of Congress for 30 years. Several members have tried to stop the mailings but have failed. Now their offices just learn how to deal with it.

Some members warn interns and tell them to throw it out, and some staffers use it as a monthly joke on unsuspecting coworkers.

Flynt says the mailing falls under his right to free speech and they will be sent every month like always in an attempt to loosen up the nation’s lawmakers.

Aside from his “unique” sense of humor and decorum, Flynt has spent more than a few buck$ defending free speech. Not that everyone in Congress will acknowledge that.

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ESA’s shiny new Sentinel-1A satellite returns first Earth photos


Click to enlarge – Image of a transect across the northern section of the Antarctic Peninsula

ESA’s Sentinel-1A satellite has returned its first images of Earth from space in its second week of achieving orbit. The satellite, having been launched on Apr. 3. has only recently undergone a complicated maneuver to extend its 10 meter solar wings and 12 meter radar imaging array.

There are due to be six constellations of two Sentinel satellites designed to image the Earth, in part to observe climate change as a part of the Copernicus program. The satellite is not yet positioned in its operational orbit, nor is it fully calibrated to supply true data to the mission. However, the images taken on Apr. 12 are a truly stunning example of the observational capabilities of the cutting-edge satellite…

Over the next three months, the satellite will run through its commissioning phase, during which it will achieve operational orbit and be calibrated to begin what will be the most ambitious and largest Earth observation mission ever undertaken.

Lovely work. And much more knowledge to be gained about our planet.

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