Oregon farmer eaten by his pigs – that’s all we know, so far!


You talking to me?

Authorities are investigating how a farmer in the state of Oregon was devoured by his pigs.

Terry Vance Garner, 69, went to feed his animals last Wednesday on his farm by the coast, but never returned.

His dentures and pieces of his body were found by a family member in the pig enclosure, but the rest of his remains had been consumed.

The Coos County district attorney’s office said that one of the animals had previously bitten Garner.

The animals are estimated by the authorities to each weigh about 700lb.

Investigators say it is possible that the hogs knocked Garner over before killing and eating him.

But they have not ruled out the possibility that the farmer could have collapsed from a medical emergency, such as a heart attack.

A pathologist was unable to determine the cause of Garner’s death and his remains have been sent to the University of Oregon to be analysed by a forensic anthropologist…

Coos County District Attorney Paul Frasier told the local newspaper: “For all we know, it was a horrific accident, but it’s so doggone weird that we have to look at all possibilities.”

Mr Frasier added that he had not intended to release details about the case, but changed his mind after word spread about the incident.

Cripes. Imagine the stories starting to spread on their own – without any public investigation or analysis. [Insert Twilight Zone theme]

There may be mobs with torches and pitchforks hunting were-pigs?

Pennsylvania judge defers voter discrimination law till after the election

A judge on Tuesday blocked Pennsylvania from requiring voters to show identification in November’s U.S. election, a decision that could influence turnout in a top electoral prize in the presidential race.

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson issued a partial preliminary injunction that halts the requirement that people show either a state driver’s license, government employee ID or a state non-driver ID card in order to vote on November 6…

Simpson, on orders from the state’s highest court to revisit his August ruling upholding the law, indicated the law could be implemented for future elections. He set a hearing for December 13 to schedule further proceedings in the case…

“This is a victory for the petitioners and people who will be able to vote on Election Day,” said Marian Schneider, one of the attorneys for the groups challenging the law.

National attention has been focused on the court fight over the law requiring voters to show a photo ID. The Republican-led Pennsylvania legislature passed it in March without a single Democratic vote.

Supporters say it is aimed at ensuring only those legally eligible to vote cast ballots. Critics say it is designed to keep minority voters, who typically vote Democratic, away from the polls. Similar laws have generated controversy in other states.

The state of Pennsylvania has acknowledged that there has never been a case of in-person voter fraud, according to court testimony.

That has been the case in every state where Republican governors, Republican-controlled state legislatures pushed this crap last-minute law through. They wasted taxpayer dollars trying to prove there was fraud and failed. They pressed ahead and passed laws premised on stopping fraud – that doesn’t exist. Truth remains – they’re trying to stop people from voting who generally vote for Democrats.

Given the history of the United States, a nation founded in discrimination that worked its way through the enfranchisement of women and Black folks – the nationwide effort by the Party-formerly-known-as-Republican is beneath contempt. And anyone who is fool enough to stand up in public and argue the phony case they try to make to justify this crime deserves as little respect as the hypocrites in charge of the campaign.

50 Years of the European Southern Observatory in Chile


Picture: ESO / Rex Features

This spectacular image of the large spiral galaxy NGC 1232 was obtained on September 21, 1998, during a period of good observing conditions. It is based on three exposures in ultra-violet, blue and red light, respectively. The colours of the different regions are well visible : the central areas contain older stars of reddish colour, while the spiral arms are populated by young, blue stars and many star-forming regions.

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) was created in 1962. In this gallery, we look at some of the most spectacular deep space images captured by ESO’s telescopes in northern Chile. These include the New Technology Telescope (NTT), the Very Large Telescope (VLT), the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) and the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT).

I love this stuff. We have one of the darkest places in New Mexico up on Galisteo Mesa and it’s a stunner to go up there with someone who owns a telescope. Cripes, even being up there with decent binoculars or a camera with a good zoom lens is rewarding.

NY Attorney General sues over Bear Stearns securities fraud that kicked off the Great Recession

The New York attorney general’s office has hit JPMorgan Chase & Co. with a civil lawsuit, alleging that investment bank Bear Stearns – prior to its collapse and subsequent sale to JPMorgan in 2008 – perpetrated massive fraud in deals involving billions in residential mortgage-backed securities.

The lawsuit is the first to be filed under the auspices of the RMBS Working Group, which was set up by President Barack Obama to investigate and prosecute alleged misconduct that contributed to the financial crisis…

Alleged misconduct is the accepted language for Wall Street types and the Party-formerly-known-as-Republican to describe criminal corruption.

In the lead-up to the financial crisis, subprime mortgages were sold to people with less-than-ideal credit. Many of them defaulted on their loans when the housing bubble burst and their introductory “teaser” interest rates skyrocketed.

Because many of those mortgages had been sliced and repackaged as securities that could be bought and sold – known as RMBS – the mass defaults led to huge losses at large U.S. banks and other financial firms, helping fuel the global economic meltdown.

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman is alleging that Bear Stearns led its investors to believe that the loans in its RMBS portfolio had been carefully evaluated and would be continuously monitored. Bear Stearns failed to do either, resulting in investors buying securities backed by mortgages that borrowers couldn’t repay and defaulted on in huge numbers…

The complaint further alleges that even when Bear Stearns executives were made aware of the problems, the firm failed to correct its practices or disclose material information to investors. The executives routinely overlooked negative findings and continued to package the loans into securities for sale to investors…

Investors have so far lost $22.5 billion on more than 100 subprime securities that Bear Stearns issued in 2006 and 2007, according to the complaint. That’s over one-quarter of the original principal balance of $87 billion. The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief, damages and payment of restitution to investors for “fraudulent and deceptive acts.”

Even overdue, it’s nice to see the chickens come home to roost. The sleazy corporatism of Wall Street investment banks – leading up to the Great Recession with the aid of paid flunkeys in Congress and the Bush/Cheney cabal – is rarely challenged. Between the stodgy ennui of American lawyers and the good ol’ boy network of country club politicians, American voters are probably the most under-represented electorate in the educated industrial world.

You pay a helluva price for elitism. It’s about time for a just end to it all.

Genetically modified cows produce hypoallergenic milk

Infants with milk allergies could have an alternative to formula after scientists created a genetically modified cow that produced hypoallergenic milk.

A team of researchers from New Zealand engineered the cow so that its milk would be almost entirely free of beta-lactuglobin, a protein which causes allergies in young children.

Tests on the milk revealed that it contained 96 per cent less beta-lactuglobin than normal, but higher levels of other proteins which meant its nutritional content was not diminished.

Engineering cows to produce hypoallergenic milk could benefit the two to three per cent of children who are allergic to dairy milk in their first year of life, experts said.

Allergic reactions to proteins in cows’ milk can cause a variety of symptoms including eczema, vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramps.

Children usually grow out of the condition before they reach school age, but in rare cases it can persist into adulthood…

Prof Bruce Whitelaw, Professor of Animal Biotechnology at Edinburgh University, who was not involved in the study, added: “This is notable since it represents one of the few RNA interference success stories in mammals and offers a good example of how these technologies can be used to provide alternative strategies to current manufacturing process.

Time will tell how widely applicable RNA interference will be in GM livestock – but this is certainly a milestone study in this field.”

The range of processes which can be genetically-altered to produce anything from less expensive sources of medical treatment up to and including replacement organs is beginning to reach pilot stage in research around the globe. Soon enough testing will evolve to determine which are long-term successes.

The usual conflicts between public good and private profit will be guaranteed – as will be the odd outburst of religious peristalsis from folks who still fear science more than superstition. Eventually, we will benefit as a species.

See – I told you. Cynic and optimist. We can get all this shit done – just not in my lifetime.

You really think Greece is competent to sort out their economy – when a child’s balloon can knock Athens airport radar offline?

A child’s helium balloon caused a power failure that knocked out Greece’s main civil aviation radar and snarled flights for more than an hour over the weekend…

The balloon knocked out the “heart” of the Athens flight information region (FIR) radar that oversees Greek airspace, claimed the Ta Nea newspaper.

Officials at Greece’s civil aviation authority and the electricity distribution network confirmed the problem but declined to comment on the report.

The civil aviation authority YPA said the radar controlling the Athens and Macedonia region had sustained a “loss of image” around midday on Saturday for more than an hour due to an electrical failure that followed a power outage.

And a source at state electricity distributors DEDIE said that an “aluminised” helium balloon had caused a 13-minute power failure in the area near YPA’s headquarters in southern Athens, some 40 minutes before the radar shutdown.

YPA insisted that aviation safety was not impaired for the duration of the power failure though delays in takeoff and landings were caused.

“Traffic controllers here remained in radio communication with the aircraft and radar remained operational at Athens International Airport and regional airports,” a civil aviation source told AFP.

A committee was formed to investigate the causes of the malfunction.

That’s like Congress holding hearings to come up with recommendations on balancing the budget for the next 10 years. The hearings will last 10 years.

In the end, the Party-formerly-known-as-Republican will offer a bill banning abortion.