Drink cow urine to cleanse India of foreign influences. WTF?

A hardline Hindu organization, known for its opposition to “corrupting” Western food imports, is planning to launch a new soft drink made from cow’s urine, often seen as sacred in parts of India.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), or National Volunteer Corps, said the bovine beverage is undergoing laboratory tests for the next 2 to 3 months but did not give a specific date for its commercial release…

The organization, which aims to transform India’s secular society and establish the supremacy of a Hindu majority, said it had not decided on a name or a price for the drink.

“Cow urine offers a cure for around 70 to 80 incurable diseases like diabetes. All are curable by cow urine,” Om Prakash, the head of the RSS Cow Protection Department, told Reuters by phone.

Hey, probably better for you than Coca-Cola?

Yup. Fundamentalist religion-types drive me absolutely up a tree. The premise that – if you believe something firmly enough it must be true – must have been limited to nutters even in cave-dwelling times.

If we found a chapter in the Old Testament that supported the cow urine-cure, we’d have most of the politicians in the Bible Belt voting for a subsidy.

Immigration coppers exercise no control over their own program

U.S. immigration officials aren’t properly controlling a program meant to focus on serious crimes committed by illegal aliens, a congressional
watchdog says.

The Government Accountability Office reported its investigation found that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials training local and state police to spot illegal immigrants involved in criminal activity are instead focusing on minor violations.

The GAO report was issued as the House Committee on Homeland Security was set to hold hearings on the controversial ICE program, which was funded in hopes of identifying serious criminal behavior among illegal immigrants but which critics say has instead been used by local police to intimidate and racially profile foreign-looking people on the pretext of minor violations to check their immigration status, the Washington Post said.

The GAO says it found ICE has failed to consistently supervise how state and local authorities are using the program, known as 287(g), and warned confusion about its purpose could produce “misuse of authority” by local police.

There’s another big surprise. Is there any program in the so-called War on Terror that hasn’t been abused by politicians and police departments. The whole disaster has been consistently turned into local seek-and-destroy witch-hunts.

Brit writes iPhone app in bedroom

Since the launch of Apple app store, the number of applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch has boomed. There are now 15,000 different applications which have been downloaded more than 500 million times.

But the success of these apps is not just limited to Apple. For people like Simon Oliver from east London, it has changed their lives forever.

The 31-year-old said: “I’d been looking to make games for consoles or handhelds for a while but for platforms like PSP and Nintendo DS there are a lot of restrictions as to who can make games for them. When Apple announced they’d allow anyone to make applications for them I jumped at the chance.”

In March 2008 Simon Oliver sat down at his computer in his bedroom and started developing an application that would turn into the game Rolando.

The demo then attracted the attention of a software company in America.

It’s been an amazing success, beyond my wildest expectations,” he said. “When I started working on the game my goal was to sell several thousands copies, but it’s already sold hundreds of thousands and is still selling…It’s great when you hear about your own work spreading around the world…”

Go ahead. Tempt me! Isn’t it bad enough I’m involved with a couple of blogs, eh?

Mexico pours troops into drug war capitol

Daylife/Reuters Pictures

Nearly 7,000 Mexican soldiers and federal police have arrived in the U.S.-Mexico border city of Ciudad Juarez this week to restore security to a city plagued by a long-standing, bloody drug war.

Random vehicle checkpoints, patrols of masked soldiers and police in SWAT gear are some of the signs of the massive military buildup ordered by Mexico’s president, said Ciudad Juarez police spokesman Jaime Torres Valadez.

Another 1,500 soldiers are expected to join the 3,500 that rolled into Juarez earlier this week to support municipal police in street patrols and ultimately take control of their operations, Torres said.

In addition to the army troops, about 3,000 federal agents arrived to carry out investigations Torres likened to those of the FBI in the United States.

They’ll stay as long as necessary,” Torres said, in the city across the border from El Paso, Texas.

The federal government is footing the bill for the troops’ wages and food, and the municipal government is paying for their gas and living expenses, Torres said.

Surveillance cameras will be installed throughout the city to help police stem executions and assassinations in the streets, scene of many of Juarez’s 1,600 killings in 2008.

I’m quite happy not to be working in that neck of the prairie any longer. Used to be down there every other week.

Of course, 10 years ago, the drug wars were barely a blip on the radar compared to the wholesale slaughter in the streets of Ciudad Juarez nowadays.

British couple die together at assisted suicide clinic

An elderly British couple who died together at an assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland died “peacefully” after receiving “wonderful and humbling care” from their doctors, the couple’s family said.

Peter and Penelope Duff from Bath, England, died in Zurich on February 27, according to a statement released by their family and reported by Britain’s Press Association. Both had terminal cancer, the statement said.

“Penny had fought a rare cancer, GIST, since 1992 and Peter’s colon cancer had spread to his liver,” the statement said.

“Their decision in no way reflected on the wonderful and humbling care they have received from their consultant, doctors and nurses, for which the family, and they, were so appreciative…”

Dignity in Dying, a British charity that advocates the choice of assisted death for terminally ill patients, said it was “extremely sad” that the Duffs had to travel abroad to die.

“Had they had the option of an assisted death in this country they may still be alive, as their physical ability to travel would not have been a factor,” said Sarah Wootton, chief executive of Dignity in Dying.

Wootton called on Parliament to modernize laws on suicide to allow for assisted dying.

The sort of end I have to keep in mind – being an old geezer. I’d only have to travel about a thousand miles till I reached a state that has laws on assisted suicide that belong to the 21st Century.

Here in New Mexico, the good Christians of our state legislature oppose just about any modern idea this side of making a buck from alternative energy sources. We have a surplus of sunlight and wind – that is, non-political wind – so that works for our politicians. Otherwise, they’re about as courageous as an old crutch.

Cast on passenger’s broken leg – made entirely of cocaine

Daylife/AP Photo

A Chilean man with a broken leg was arrested at Barcelona airport after his “cast” was found to be made of cocaine not plaster.

The 66-year-old carried six cans of beer and two hollowed-out stools that also contained cocaine, they add.

The police statement said officers were investigating whether the injuries were inflicted intentionally “to facilitate trafficking through security checks”. Police suspect the leg was deliberately broken to aid the smuggling

It was discovered after police sprayed the cast with a chemical that turns bright blue when it comes into contact with cocaine, police spokesman Jose Antonio Nin told the Associated Press.

Har! Gotcha.

Overseeing nuclear proliferation: New method denatures plutonium

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev engineers have developed a technique to “denature” plutonium created in large nuclear reactors, making it unsuitable for use in nuclear arms. By adding Americium (Am 241), a form of the basic synthetic element found in commercial smoke detectors and industrial gauges, plutonium can only be used for peaceful purposes.

This technique could help “de-claw” more than a dozen countries developing nuclear reactors if the United States, Russia, Germany, France and Japan agree to add the denaturing additive into all plutonium.

“When you purchase a nuclear reactor from one of the five countries, it also provides the nuclear fuel for the reactor,” explains Prof. Yigal Ronen, of BGU’s Department of Nuclear Engineering, who headed the project. “Thus, if the five agree to insert the additive into fuel for countries now developing nuclear power…they will have to use it for peaceful purposes rather than warfare.”

“Countries that purchase nuclear reactors usually give the spent fuel back to the producer,” explains Ronen. “They wouldn’t be able to get new plutonium for weapons if it is denatured, but countries that make nuclear fuel could decide not to denature it for themselves.”

In other words, hypocrisy still rules. The atomic reactor-manufacturing nations won’t use the denatured plutonium in their own reactors. Let’s keep atomic warfare in the hands of a members-only club.

Filmmaker plans to replace prosthetic eye with “Eyeborg” camera

A Canadian filmmaker plans to have a mini camera installed in his prosthetic eye to make documentaries and raise awareness about surveillance in society.

Rob Spence, 36, who lost an eye in an accident as a teen-ager, said his so-called Project Eyeborg is to have the camera, a battery and a wireless transmitter mounted on a tiny circuit board. “Originally the whole idea was to do a documentary about surveillance. I thought I would become a sort of super hero … fighting for justice against surveillance,” Spence said.

“In Toronto there are 12,000 cameras. But the strange thing I discovered was that people don’t care about the surveillance cameras, they were more concerned about me and my secret camera eye because they feel that is a worse invasion of their privacy…”

He does not intend to create a reality TV show and the camera will be switched off when not needed, he said. “I don’t want to go into a locker room. I don’t want to show the world me going to the bathroom either … I’m not a life-caster and I don’t plan to be one,” he said.

Still, there could be variations on the theme, eh?