Coppers taught to tuck in their shirts and tie their shoelaces

Police are being taught to tuck in their shirts and tie their shoelaces with the help of official leaflets.

Officers from Sussex Police were presented with flyers showing them “how to wear” their new uniform, which was introduced in May. The advice, which was handed out to 3,200 officers, compares a “prim and proper” policeman to a “shabby” colleague.

The leaflet states: “Serving Sussex Smartly by being proud of your appearance, you inspire confidence in the work that you do.”

On the reverse an officer appears with his shoelaces undone, shirt hanging out of his trousers and adopting a ‘slouching’ posture…

If the information on the leaflet does not suffice it states that further tips on wearing the uniform can be found on an internal police website. But the flyer has been branded insulting by officers.

“We’ve got these new uniforms – which to be honest are pretty rubbish as they shrink in the wash and tear too easily – and now they want to teach us how to wear them properly,” complained one officer who did not want to be named.

“We are all adults and have known how to tie our shoelaces and tuck our shirts in since we were kids…”

The new uniform includes zip-fronted “moisture management shirts” and cargo trousers.

The Sussex Police website states that the new uniform was paid for within the existing uniform budget without any additional funding.

It described the old uniform as “outdated and uncomfortable” and said that the new one was a “practical, fit for purpose operational uniform” which saved the force £55,000-a-year.

Ah-hah. I wondered when they would get to the important bit. Unless you think there’s something more near-and-dear to the hearts of beancounters than shaving costs?

No history offered – for the prototyping of the new uniforms, on the job, in the field? Humbug.

NOAA: Global record for warmest June

Last month was the warmest June on record worldwide, according to a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Warmer-than-average conditions were present across nearly all continents, including much of the United States, according to the organization’s State of the Climate report…

Although global sea surface temperatures ranked the fourth-warmest on record, the combination of land and sea anomalies pushed June 2010 past June 2005, previously the warmest June on record, the report said. June was also the fourth consecutive month in a row of record warmth worldwide…

June also marked a record low in Arctic sea ice — the 19th June in a row the sea ice has been below average.

“This is important, because sea ice reflects incoming solar radiation back to space,” said CNN Meteorologist Taylor Ward. “Without the normal extent of sea ice in the Arctic, we can expect more radiation to be absorbed into the ocean, leading to more melting. It’s what we call a ‘positive feedback.'” The amount of sea ice in the Arctic has been steadily declining since 1990.

Warmer-than-average temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, also known as El Nino, have been contributing to the warmth. La Nina conditions — cooler-than-average temperatures in the same region — are beginning to set in, which could prevent more monthly records from being set. However, La Nina combined with record-setting warm Atlantic sea surface temperatures is expected to fuel an active Atlantic hurricane season.

The announcement of June’s record-setting warmth comes during a period of extreme heat in the United States and Europe. Excessive heat warnings have been topping weather headlines in the United States for more than two weeks now, and Europe has been shattering temperature records as well, with a heat wave through the first half of July. Eastern Europe has seen the most significant temperatures, although much of the continent has experienced above-average heat.

Just in case you didn’t notice.

Chemistry major does NOT get extra credit for cooking meth!

William Cecil, 21-year-old computer science major and chemistry minor at the University of Central Florida, hosted a cache of explosive chemicals and a drug den.

Investigators on Wednesday found jugs of corrosive acids and other chemicals inside Cecil’s east orange County apartment. They also seized cocaine, Ecstasy and oxycodone tablets, methamphetamine and dozens of glass beakers and flasks used to ‘cook’ meth.

Cecil admitted to Orange County sheriff’s deputies that he used the compounds to make amphetamine, another controlled drug. He also rattled off a tally of substances he kept under his bed that read like the inventory list of a chemical supply company…

The apartment manager told investigators she acted on the call [from Cecil’s roommate] by entering Cecil’s apartment with the leasing manager. She photographed chemicals in the kitchen, including a jug labeled ‘methanol’ and ‘flammable’ as well as burners, frozen bottles and glass lab equipment.

She returned to the leasing office and searched for the chemicals on a computer and realized they were used to “cook crystal methamphetamine,” the arrest report shows.

This is the third case this year of a drug-related arrest involving UCF students.

No extra credit for initiative?

World celebrates Mandela Day

The world is marking the first Nelson Mandela International Day to commemorate the birthday of South Africa’s first black president, who turns 92 on Sunday.

The United Nations had last year agreed to commemorate Mandela’s birthday every year to recognise the Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s contribution to resolving conflicts and promoting race relations, human rights and reconciliation…

Mandela was jailed for 27 years by the country’s white minority government for resisting apartheid rule.

On his release in 1990, he led negotiations with apartheid rulers, a process that culminated in his election as the country’s first black president in 1994.

He stepped down as president in 1999, after serving one term in office and is still revered around the world for promoting peace and fighting against racism and HIV/Aids.

Happy Birthday, Nelson Mandela.

I ashamed of all the years my country, the United States of America, called you a terrorist.

You have always been a beacon of hope for anyone on this small planet who holds freedom and opportunity to be the birthright of human beings. Your fortitude through so many years of imprisonment is an inspiration.

Ending cancer’s immortality

Washington State University researchers have discovered a way to help cancer cells age and die, creating a promising avenue for slowing and even stopping the growth of tumors.

Hopefully, we can make cancer cells die like normal cells,” said Weihang Chai…Basically, you make the cancer cell go from immortal to mortal.”

Normal cells lose a little bit of their DNA every time they reproduce as the molecule’s strands lose part of their protective tips, called telomeres. Eventually, the telomeres become too short, signaling to the cell to stop replicating and growing.

But cancer cells have a mechanism to keep their DNA strands from shortening, giving them a near eternal life. This is because the enzyme telomerase extends one strand of the cancer cell’s DNA while other proteins help extend the second strand.

Chai and her colleagues, writing in the current issue of The EMBO Journal, say they have found a regulatory protein that controls the production of that second strand. They have also found a protein required to synthesize it.

If that second strand of DNA cannot be lengthened, says Chai, it behaves like a normal cell and dies a normal death. She says her team will now focus on developing a strategy to block the regulatory protein’s function.

People wonder why I have such a short fuse over questions of science vs. superstition? Time after time, our culture, our economy, the compass of our cultural direction is distorted and misdirected by the ignorance offered as the only “choice” to reason.

Living longer – as we do as a result of modern science and medicine – we encounter disease unknown in the Good Old Days of the Stone Age? Praise and thanks is owed to those who labor in the vineyard of these exciting new citadels of life.

Sweden weighs benefits of ditching cash

In many countries, debit and credit cards are steadily taking the place of cash in everyday transactions. In Sweden, the process has been given new momentum by a campaign to cut crime…

The campaign has some high-profile supporters, including former Abba band member Bjorn Ulvaeus.

There are no direct practical reasons, as far as I can see, to have coins and banknotes,” he wrote in a recent blog post…

He said that it was “patronising” to assume that the elderly, for example, would have problems paying for goods or services over the internet or with a card.

“There are, of course, those who need help, but if as a result they run less of a risk of being robbed, then perhaps it would be worth the inconvenience,” he wrote.

Buses in Stockholm have already gone cash-free. Strips of tickets or sim-based bus cards can be bought in advance, or payments can be made via mobile phones. After a series of attacks against bus drivers, Sweden’s health and safety authority stepped in and told the bus companies they had to find a way of protecting the cash more securely. The result was that buses stopped accepting notes or coins.

“All indications are that there have been a lot fewer problems on the buses. The drivers are very happy with the situation,” says Bernt Nilsson of the Swedish Work Environment Authority.

The Swedish central bank takes no position in this debate. But in a speech earlier this year, the bank’s deputy governor Lars Nyberg highlighted the higher cost to society of cash transactions, compared with those made with credit or debit cards.

Citing a survey from 2002 he said: “It is much more likely that the costs of using cash have increased rather than decreased. For example, the costs for increasing the security of transportation and ATMs have been substantial…”

Sweden’s version of Ron Paul/Tea Party libertarians oppose the idea. Cash preserves privacy, anonymity. They worry about little electronic footprints trailing around behind you wherever you go.

Crooks w/screwdrivers + woman w/gun = 1 dead, 1 wounded


Picking up the pieces

The victim of a home invasion fought off two attackers early Thursday by shooting both in the head, killing one, police said.

One of the intruders, Darreon Carter, 18, died in a Tulsa hospital. The other, Daniel Holman, 23, is in critical condition, police said…

Capt. Travis Yates said the woman was walking through a dark parking lot about 3:50 a.m. at the Brighton Park apartments in the 4800 block of South Darlington Avenue after a trip to a fast-food restaurant. As she opened her apartment’s door, the men demanded money and forced their way inside.

The woman initially cooperated, but when one intruder told her to undress, she pulled a snub-nosed revolver from her purse and shot him, police said.

A struggle for the gun broke out, and her boyfriend tried to help, police said.

Although she took blows to her head, the woman was able to shoot the other intruder. She fired five shots in all, Yates said.

“It seemed to be a courageous act, protecting their home and their life,” he said. “They were shaken up, but it was sort of impressive — they weren’t hysterical…”

Medics took both men to St. Francis Hospital, where Carter died. Holman remains in critical condition with bullet wounds to his head and stomach, police said.

We call this castle law in the Rockies. Your home is your castle. Attack at your own risk.