Finn bests Olympic javelin distance with old Nokia cellphone

A Finnish teenager won a mobile phone throwing contest on Saturday by hurling his old Nokia phone 101.46 meters.

The annual contest is one of many offbeat events such as wife-carrying that are held in the summer when normally reserved Finns like to celebrate the warmer weather with silliness and outdoor sport.

Ere Karjalainen, who beat around 50 contestants, including some who had travelled from England and India, said he had practiced only once and prepared mainly “by drinking”.

Not that the skills are totally comparable, but he bettered the gold medal javelin throw at the London Olympics by nearly 17 meters.

Practice, practice, practice. Was he popping cans or unscrewing bottle tops?

A plea to the SEC for Section 1504 rules — stand up to Big Oil

After four decades of tyrannical rule by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, financed largely by our country’s oil wealth, Libyans have taken steps this summer toward a true democracy. Last month, we got to vote in legislative elections, and this month we experienced the first peaceful transfer of power, from the Transitional National Council to a new national assembly, in our country’s modern history.

While we are grateful to the Western countries that helped us topple Colonel Qaddafi last year, something perverse is happening in those countries now. Oil industry lobbyists are using their influence in Washington and Brussels to try to undermine transparency measures that could help prevent future tyrants from emerging. That must not be allowed to happen…

If we are to transform Libya, we must not only investigate the past but also reform the whole relationship between the energy industry and our government. We need to ensure that bidding is fair and open, that deals are transparent and aboveboard and that revenues are used properly. Public disclosure and legislative oversight of contracts and payments are crucial.

We cannot meet these goals without help from abroad. Colonel Qaddafi’s rule depended on the collusion of powerful foreign allies who would turn a blind eye to blatant corruption deals involving international oil companies and his regime.

America can help prevent such corruption from happening again.

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The virtual border copper who knows if you’re lying – according to the creeps who built him

A lie-detecting virtual border official nicknamed “Elvis” is the latest high-tech approach to securing borders in the United States.

Well, “securing borders” – or just harassing people in general with populist paranoia.

Developed by University of Arizona researchers in collaboration with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the computer is known as the Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time — or AVATAR — kiosk.

It uses sensors to screen passengers for unusual physiological responses to questioning — which can indicate a subject is lying…

The kiosk is being trialled at Dennis DeConcini Port in Nogales, Arizona — a checkpoint on the U.S.-Mexico border — as a way of processing passengers looking to sign up to CBP’s “Trusted Traveler” program. The program allows travelers pre-approved as “low-risk” to be fast-tracked through security processes.

Applicants for the program must undergo an interview and biometric fingerprinting to be eligible for the program — both of which can be performed by the AVATAR kiosk…

Travelers simply stand in front of the unit — which “looks like an ATM on steroids,” according to Derrick — and respond to yes/no questions asked in Spanish or English. “You speak to it like you speak to a person,” he said.

Their answers are monitored, with any unusual physiological responses passed on to “a human field agent” who then subjects them to “a more careful interview process,” said CBP spokesman Bill Brooks.

Unusual responses were not a sure sign of a lie, said Derrick. “There might be valid reasons for it beyond deception…”

If you dare to be a non-conformist.

Brooks said the project was still in the early phase of field testing, and participating in the AVATAR interview process was entirely voluntary at this stage.

But if successful, the initiative could be rolled out in other parts of CBP’s operations. Derrick said it was hoped that, as well as providing better detection of suspicious behavior, the AVATAR kiosk would prove to be “a really important time and money saving tool.”

And you WILL answer the machine’s questions or become a suspect. Some of us already feel like suspects in our own country – all the time. Ever wonder if that’s the effect desired by Homeland Insecurity?

Prankster beats security at Blair’s London home

Heydon Prowse was not questioned by armed police guarding the West London house and was allowed into the doorway by a maid, in the stunt filmed for a new BBC programme.

He was wearing a T-shirt bearing the words “Foundation for the Glorification of Tony Blair” and told a policeman that he was in discussions with the Vatican about the ex-Labour leader being canonised.

Mr Prowse was carrying a semi-circular window showing Mr Blair surrounded by doves and Iraqi children, in a further sign that should have raised questions…But he was allowed to measure it for fitting above the doorway after a housekeeper provided him with a ladder to help his unusual task.

Joe Wade, one of the co-creators of the show The Revolution Will Be Televised, which is broadcast on BBC3 on Wednesday, said: “We were very surprised to get into Blair’s home, and past the security without any problems…

Mr Blair’s office did not respond to requests to comment.

What can they say other than to repeat the lies, deceit, rationales and excuses relied upon in the failed quest to justify his lapdog role in Bush’s War in Iraq?

What I appreciate – is attacking an opportunist politician like Blair by poking him with the stick of humor. He deserves little more than that. History will record his role as the sort of window-dressing from an ally whose “special relationship” has generally been unquestioning and obedient.

Pill didn’t cure cancer – but, may aid male contraception

Now you know why they call these “birth control-glasses”

The scientists have discovered a drug that blocks sperm production, rendering a male infertile…They believe the “pill” could be used as a contraceptive, liberating women from the burden of family planning.

The research, carried out by scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, discovered the compound, called JQ1, when they were searching for a cancer cure.

Although not effective at treating cancer cells, it was found to disrupt the development of sperm in male mice.

When given to a sample group, the rodents that received JQ1 had lower sperm counts and their sperm was less mobile than those not given it, according to the research published in the journal Cell.

Researchers also found the ‘pill’ did not affect testosterone production, mating behaviour, or the health of offspring conceived, and sperm production went back to normal when it was discontinued…

All things men worry about – whether they admit it or not.

And if it works well in mice – it certainly should work well on most men. 🙂

Scientists develop catalyst that cleans diesel emissions without platinum

Diesel engines are a classic example of good news and bad news. The good news is that diesel engines are much more fuel efficient than petrol engines. The bad news is that they belch out some pretty nasty emissions like nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide. The good news is that catalytic converters can scrub those out. The bad news is that last Friday the platinum needed by the converters is selling for $1,473+ an ounce. Now the good news is that a team at Nanostellar in Redwood, California, has developed a mineral catalyst that outperforms platinum at a fraction of the cost…

Reporting their findings in the August 17 issue of Science, Cho relates that computer modelling showed that mullite was a cost-effective substitute. Mullite is a silicate mineral discovered on the Isle of Mull, Scotland in 1924. It’s rare in nature, but a synthetic version is produced commercially for use in various porcelains, such as crucibles and heating balls. It has a very high melting point of 1840 C and as a mixed-phase oxide mineral it makes a very attractive catalyst. In addition, laboratory tests indicate that converters using mullite would have 45 percent lower emissions than with platinum…

“Our goal to move completely away from precious metals and replace them with oxides that can be seen commonly in the environment has been achieved,” Dr. Kyeongjiae “K.J.” Cho said. “We’ve found new possibilities to create renewable, clean energy technology by designing new functional materials without being limited by the supply of precious metals.”

They call the new catalyst Noxicat. No doubt venture capital around the world will be lining up to move Dr. Cho’s work towards commercial use.