Panic over radiation fears drive sales of kelp on West Coast

Fears of radiation from Japan have driven some customers at health food stores on the West Coast to stock up on kelp out of a belief its iodine content can protect against thyroid cancer…

Health officials have repeatedly said United States residents face no risk from radiation drifting across the Pacific Ocean from Japan’s stricken nuclear plants.

But that has not stopped some Americans from buying potassium iodide, considered a defense against radiation poisoning. Authorities have warned against taking potassium iodide unnecessarily because of a potential for side-effects.

Meanwhile, consumers are turning to more health-friendly sources of iodine, with kelp tablets high on the list and suppliers running out, health store owners and managers along the West Coast told Reuters.

Seaweed snacks and blue-green algae liquid are also popular items, and one Washington State homeopath is even recommending miso soup and brown rice, because of an anecdote that it helped a Japanese doctor protect against radiation decades ago…

Willow Follett said consumers are “just grasping at straws” in an effort to do anything they can to protect themselves, even though they face no risk…

That did not stop the phone from ringing off the hook at Justin Brotman’s Seattle supplements and health food store Heleo, from people worried about nuclear radiation.

Callers asked about potassium iodide, which Brotman said he would not sell them because of its potential side effects. Instead, he sold them the more healthy alternative of blue-green algae, which also has some iodine.

“I even stopped answering the phone to be honest with you”, said Brotman, 29.

A required reaction to natural disaster is watching out for criminal profiteering. In a case like this, Left-coasters stampeding like two-footed lemmings on the basis of unreasonable fear – I hope these people pay through the nose for their supply of homeopathic humbug.

In free Egypt – the time for the gun is over!

Abboud al-Zumar went to jail 30 years ago for his role in killing Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. Now a free man, he believes democracy will prevent Islamists from ever again taking up the gun against the state.

Zumar was a prisoner for as long as Sadat’s successor, Hosni Mubarak, was president.

His release with other leading Islamists jailed for militancy is a sign of dramatic change in Egypt in the five weeks since Mubarak was swept from power by mass protests.

Zumar, 64, was a founding member of the Islamic Jihad group which gunned down Sadat during a military parade in 1981. He was released along with his cousin, Tarek al-Zumar, who had also spent three decades in jail on similar charges.

“The revolution created a new mechanism: the mechanism of strong, peaceful protests,” said Zumar, released on March 12 and one of the political prisoners who owes his freedom to the peaceful revolt against Mubarak.

“Public squares around the Arab world are ready to receive millions who can stop any ruler and expose him,” added Zumar in an interview in his home village of Nahia on the rural outskirts of Cairo.

I hope, I wonder if western governments will have learned the same lesson. Will they continue to support despots in the name of profit and industry – or will they finally admit that a nation with mechanisms in place for all sides of discourse to meet the public, a nation, with an honest chance at success offers a better, safer future for all?

To many Egyptians, Zumar’s name evokes a violent chapter in the history of a country that has been an incubator for Islamist militancy.

His release has alarmed those concerned by the Islamists’ move to the heart of public life in the new Egypt, where groups including the Muslim Brotherhood are making the most of new freedoms to organize and speak out…

The climate for armed action is finished and the main reason is the atmosphere of freedom we are now establishing,” said Tarek al-Zumar, this week – still a leading figure in the Gama’a al-Islamiya…

“Our concern in this period is to anchor the basis of a just political system which guarantees freedoms and the state of law,” said Tarek al-Zumar, who studied for a law doctorate while in prison.

“The project of establishing the Islamic state as a political model will be determined by the ballot box … and the thing that will determine its continuation in power is the choice of the people,” he said.

RTFA. A piece of history ignored by the West. A product of the time when nothing was more important than protecting the safe flow of oil to American and European industry.

That’s changed. Uh, hasn’t it?

Mexico confirms U.S. drones in flyovers against drug gangs

Mexico has admitted that American unmanned drones operate over its territory, but denied that it constitutes a violation of its sovereignty.

Har. Send a copy of that memo to Pakistan!

U.S. Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles have been used to collect intelligence and track drug traffickers, but only under Mexican supervision, according to a statement by the technical secretariat for the Mexican National Security Council.

Each of these actions is undertaken with full respect to the law,” the statement says…

The flights had been kept secret “because of legal restrictions in Mexico and the heated political sensitivities there about sovereignty,” The New York Times reported.

1. So what changed?

2. When will the joint committee supervising the flights ask that they be armed with missiles?

Microsoft helps the Feds take down Rustock spambot network

Rustock, purveyor of more e-mail spam than any other network in the world, was felled last week by Microsoft and federal law enforcement agents.

A lawsuit by Microsoft that was unsealed at the company’s request late today triggered several coordinated raids last Wednesday that took down Rustock, a botnet that infected millions of computers with malicious code in order to turn them into a massive spam-sending network.

This botnet is estimated to have approximately a million infected computers operating under its control and has been known to be capable of sending billions of spam mails every day,” Richard Boscovich, senior attorney in the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, wrote in a blog post today.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that it was Microsoft’s digital crimes unit, working in concert with U.S. marshals, that raided seven hosting facilities across the country and seized the command-and-control machines that ran the network. Those are the servers that send instructions to the fleet of infected computers to dish out spam messages hawking such items as phony lottery scams and fake and potentially dangerous prescription drugs.The takedown was known internally as Operation b107.

Shutting down Rustock could put a huge dent in spam worldwide. Tech security giant Symantec estimated last year that Rustock was responsible for 39 percent of the world’s spam. Global spam levels dropped 12 percent after Dutch authorities took down a Trojan horse named Bredolab last November.

Rock on, Microsoft. Cleaning up the ethically-diseased flavor of hacker is always worthwhile.

No doubt there will be a new rationale for script kiddies – or the occasional “honest” crook – who will rejoin the scumsuckers of spam. Their relationship to ordinary folks who simply wish to avail themselves of modern communications will continue to be parasitic.

Berlusconi booed at event to mark united Italy

The public holiday saw joyful celebrations in cities such as Rome and Turin, but also further signs of how fractured the country still seems at times. Politicians in the wealthy north questioned whether workers and students should have been given the day off, while some in the south said they were tired of being regarded as second-class citizens.

Berlusconi’s government declared a one-off national holiday to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the day Victor Emanuel II became the first king of a united Italy following centuries of rivalry among city-states and foreign occupation along the peninsula…

State TV and the Italian news agency ANSA said Berlusconi was greeted with catcalls on the Janiculum Hill, where monuments and a museum honour efforts by Giuseppe Garibaldi and other Italian heroes top forge a united nation.

Berlusconi is due to stand trial in the coming weeks for allegedly paying an underage Moroccan teenager for sex and for using his position to try to cover up his relationship with her – charges he has consistently denied.

His three-year-old government suffered the defection of a major ally last year, and his most important coalition partner is now the Northern League, which once advocated the north’s secession from Rome. Several Northern League politicians criticised the declaration of a public holiday and others said they would keep town halls in the region open in defiance.

The 150th anniversary doesn’t mean a lot to my Italian grandma’s family. Their village in the Tirol was still under the heel of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Her family was forced to adopt Germanic family names. They weren’t able to become officially Italian again until the end of World War I.

By then, she was already in the United States, working as a housemaid and dating a young toolmaker from Mantua.

Quick-draw parking tickets in train station car park

A motorist was furious to return to his car and find a warden issuing a parking ticket – only 30 seconds after he’d parked there.

29-year-old Andrew Oxley had found a space in Exeter Central Train Station car park, and had gone to pay for a ticket. On his return he found a warden writing out a £75 penalty fine.

The female warden, from Premier Parking Solutions (PPS), was taking a photograph of his car and warned him that failure to pay within seven days would see the fine jump to £100.

PPS has been accused of overzealous ticket issuing before, and was recently criticised for handing a £75 fine to a man in the same car park who had left his car for four minutes. He too was paying for a ticket at the time.

In this case Mr Oxley is refusing to pay the fine, and is willing to take the matter through the courts…

According to research by car insurer LV, in 2010 UK drivers paid almost £60m in parking fines when they actually had grounds for appeal.

Go for it, dude. It’s worth the time to challenge the money machine that parking tickets provide most municipalities.

Thanks, honorarynewfie