Magyar anti-terror coppers seize weapons from zombie film crew

Hungarian police have seized a stockpile of weapons that was shipped to the Hungarian capital for the production of a film about zombies starring Brad Pitt…

Weapons expert Bela Gajdos, who has worked on the filming of zombie movie “World War Z” to ensure the safe handling of the weapons used, told national news agency MTI that each firearm had been converted to restrict its use to blank ammunition. Gajdos added that the weapons were completely harmless and had already been used on a shoot in London…

“We had a police permit to bring these guns into the country,” Gajdos told MTI, adding that the production had contracted arms experts to establish whether the guns complied with Hungarian laws. But the guns were seized before experts could inspect them…

Janos Hajdu, the chief of the Hungarian Anti-Terrorism Center on Monday said the agency seized a large stockpile of weapons, which arrived from England on a chartered plane…Hajdu said the firearms had not been properly disabled and could not be allowed into the country less than two weeks before a national holiday commemorating the 1956 uprising, MTI reported.

Anti-terrorism laws and the coppers chartered to enforce them are damned close to being as demented as the terrorists they say they’re fighting.

DC schoolkids + Michelle Obama = jumping jack record attempt

Jumping with excitement, First Lady Michelle Obama and hundreds of local school children attempted to make their way into the next edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.

Mrs. Obama, also known as the “Jumper-in-Chief”, led 400 kids from schools in the DC area ages 8-14, to break the record for the most people doing jumping jacks in a 24-hour period. She kicked the challenge off at 3:00pm, Tuesday, on the South Lawn of the White House with one minute of continuous jumping jacks. The attempt will continue with groups of children around the country jumping until Wednesday afternoon. More than 20,425 jumpers are needed to break the record.

The event was witnessed by officials from the Guinness Book of World records, along with former Olympic skater Michelle Kwan who served as an independent judge…

Ms. Obama used the event as a way to promote her initiative “Let’s Move!” which promotes healthy eating and exercise for America’s children.

What we’re going to show people today is that moving is fun, right?,” she said. “You can do it just dancing around in your backyard. You can get moving if you’re walking your dog. Or you can get moving doing some jumping jacks, right? There are so many ways to keep moving. ”

And keep moving is what they did. Once the one-minute of jumping jacks was over, Mrs. Obama was mobbed by children wanting to meet her…

My kind of First Lady.

Rupert Murdoch’s phony Wall Street Journal circulation numbers

Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

One of Rupert Murdoch’s most senior European executives has resigned following Guardian inquiries about a circulation scam at News Corporation’s flagship newspaper, the Wall Street Journal.

The Guardian found evidence that the Journal had been channelling money through European companies in order to secretly buy thousands of copies of its own paper at a knock-down rate, misleading readers and advertisers about the Journal’s true circulation.

The bizarre scheme included a formal, written contract in which the Journal persuaded one company to co-operate by agreeing to publish articles that promoted its activities, a move which led some staff to accuse the paper’s management of violating journalistic ethics and jeopardising its treasured reputation for editorial quality.

Internal emails and documents suggest the scam was promoted by Andrew Langhoff, the European managing director of the Journal’s parent company, Dow Jones and Co, which was bought by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation in July 2007. Langhoff resigned on Tuesday.

The highly controversial activities were organised in London and focused on the Journal’s European edition, which circulates in the EU, Russia, and Africa. Senior executives in New York, including Murdoch’s right-hand man, Les Hinton, were alerted to the problems last year by an internal whistleblower and apparently chose to take no action. The whistleblower was then made redundant

This stinks like someone digging up the bodies of Wall Street barons from the 19th Century and using them for reanimation experiments. Zombie subscribers and counterfeit editions of the Wall Street Journal indeed.

Former employees who fled before the paper was occupied by Scumbag Murdoch’s obedient lieutenants can pat themselves on the back for escaping the stain of association with this journalistic corruption. The complicity of bodies like the Audit Bureau of Circulation needs to be investigated as thoroughly as any of the other alleys reeking of deception and collaboration between Murdoch’s mafia and the businesses paid to participate.

RTFA for the details of the elaborate money-laundering, phony reconstruction of circulation numbers for a once-great newspaper.

Need a Braille keyboard? There’s an app for that!

A team of US researchers has devised a way for people with impaired vision to use the touchscreen of an iPad as a Braille keyboard. It turns some previously fundamental thinking about how to make technology accessible to blind people on its head.

Instead of using a keyboard or mechanical writer, users type directly onto the flat glass.

“Instead of having fingers that find the buttons, we built buttons that find the fingers,” said Stanford’s Sohan Dharmaraja, one of the researchers on the project.

Users place eight fingers on the screen and the keyboard appears. Shaking the device activates a menu, and further interaction is achieved by regular touch gestures.

Mr Dharmaraja, alongside team-mates Adam Duran – an undergraduate from New Mexico University – and assistant professor Adrian Lew, came up with the idea during a boffin’s X-Factor-style contest…

There are some obvious benefits to using touchscreen technology over traditional Braille writers.

“Current physical note takers are big and clunky and range from $3,000 to $6,000. Tablet PCs are available at a fraction of the cost and do so much more,” said Mr Dharmaraja…

Accessible touch screen devices such as the iPad offer a huge range of possibilities for developers and for blind and partially sighted people,” said Robin Spinks, the Royal National Institute for Blind People’s manager of digital accessibility.

“This prototype Braille keyboard for touch screen devices represents a very promising development, and RNIB look forward to being able to test it with our members in the future,” he added.

Bravo! There is so much capability for development with additions for accessibility in the new touchscreen devices. And options like Siri – in iOS5 – will add even more potential for developers.

There’s a video demo over at the Stanford University site.

Salt Lake City hotel evacuated because of bear repellent

A housekeeper was hospitalized Sunday after a can of bear spray discharged in the Marriott Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City.

The woman was pushing her housekeeping cart on the 6th floor of the hotel, near 100 South and West Temple, when the cart bumped a can of bear spray that had been left on the floor of the hall.

The can sprayed when it was struck, shooting out a substance that “is like pepper spray, only 10 times stronger,” said Salt Lake City battallion fire chief Clair Baldwin. Investigators were trying to determine why the can was left in the hallway.

The woman was unable to open her eyes after being exposed to the spray, so she was taken to a hospital, Baldwin said. All guests at the hotel were evacuated for about a half hour while crews ventilated the building.

WTF? I never stayed in a hotel as snazzy as the Marriott when I used to be on the road in that neck of the prairie. My budget didn’t allow for that level of classiness.

But, even in the lower-priced motels near downtown, I don’t think anyone was ever worried enough about bears strolling in from the woods to bring a can of bear repellent indoors!

Independent Left party to push for secular Poland

An ultra-liberal party that surged from nowhere to third place in Poland’s election plans to shake up the political system with demands for the repeal of restrictions on individual freedoms and an end to the Catholic Church’s privileges.

Janusz Palikot, a wealthy former vodka tycoon, has stormed into parliament with 10 percent of the vote in Sunday’s election at the head of a motley crew of political novices that includes Poland’s first transsexual lawmaker, Anna Grodzka.

A tired but jubilant Palikot, a former member of Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s ruling centre-right Civic Platform that has won re-election, said on Monday Poland was ripe for change. “We’re fighting a culture of delegalisation. In Poland, you go to jail for insulting the President, for a word, for insulting religious feelings, insulting an official,” the 46-year-old divorcee and father of four told reporters.

“You go to jail for drinking beer and then walking with your bike. You go to jail for smoking a joint. For abortion. This is a nihilist policy which hurts people.”

Palikot’s Movement, as the party is known, has tapped into a rich vein of disaffection, especially among young people, by supporting gay rights, abortion, public funding for in vitro fertilisation and legalisation of soft drugs…

Palikot has scandalised conservative Poles with stunts such as waving a dildo and a toy gun at a news conference to publicise a rape case against a policeman, and with his outspoken call for an end to the Catholic Church’s privileges…

But Palikot wants to end tax exemptions for priests and public funding for religion classes in state schools.

Bravo!

I haven’t visited Poland in decades; but, it sounds like life is getting exciting. Challenging the Catholic Church not only demands sound analysis and forethought – it also sounds like the time is coming ripe for secular freedom for Polish culture.