Court orders Johnson & Johnson to pay $4.69 Billion to cancer victims

Scott Eells/Bloomberg

❝ Johnson & Johnson was ordered by a jury to pay $4.69 billion to women who claimed asbestos in the company’s talc products caused them to develop ovarian cancer, marking the sixth-largest product-defect verdict in U.S. history.

The award of $4.14 billion in punitive damages on top of the $550 million meant to compensate each of 22 women and their families for their losses sent the company’s shares down by as much as 1.4 percent in after-hours trading.

❝ The verdict Thursday by jurors in St. Louis city court came in the first test of plaintiffs’ claims of an asbestos-ovarian cancer link in use of J&J’s iconic baby powder. The asbestos cases are part of more than 9,000 claims alleging that J&J’s talc products cause cancer…

❝ J&J “will appeal till the cows come home, or until all the plaintiffs die,” plaintiffs’ lawyer Mark Lanier said in an interview Thursday. J&J should pull its talc-based products from the market or “mark it with a serious warning,” he said.

The era that has produced a wide and expanding gap between those who profit and those whose work creates value continues the work of thugs like Trump. Fear taking responsibility for your greed, the crimes committed in the name of profit? Don’t worry. You own a president who will try his hardest to stack the courts on the side of corporate wealth. Soon enough, with the cooperation of Congressional Republicans and so-called “centrist” Dems, all that is needed to continue the rape of this Earth will be sufficient buck$ to carry a case to the Supreme Court.

DrumPants will turn you into a human drum kit — WTF?

These days, turning yourself into a one-man band is as easy as slipping on a piece of clothing with a built-in sound board, like Machina’s MIDI Controller jacket or the Electronic Drum Machine shirt. DrumPants on the other hand uses sensor strips and electronics that attach to the inside of clothing, so you can walk down the street in your own clothes and play a beat just by rhythmically tapping your own body…

The basic DrumPants kit consists of two sensor strips and two foot pedal sensors that connect to a control box, all of which are small enough to conceal beneath most types of clothing. Each strip contains two velocity sensors and has thin Velcro patches so users can wear them as a band or run them along a part of their body.

This gives wearers control over six individual sensors at once, but the system can support up to 12 with the addition of extra strips. Once a strip is in place, it just needs to be tapped to produce a sound, which can be heard by connecting either a pair of headphones or an external speaker to the control box…

While the DrumPants were designed mainly with music in mind, the wearable sensors do offer some additional uses beyond tapping out a tune. Each sensor can be reprogrammed to trigger actions within a wide variety of apps, so the wearer can, for example, answer their phone, play a streaming video, cycle through a slideshow, or control a game. The software can also connect with certain Arduino boards, in case an industrious programmer wants to use the sensor strips to control another gadget entirely.

Click the link to the whole article to learn all the whizbang tech. Scroll down to the bottom of the Gizmag article and watch the KickStarter video. Prepare to drive everyone in your life crazy!

Did you brush your teeth while staying at the Cecil Hotel in LA? Better see your doctor!

Tourists staying at a Los Angeles hotel bathed, brushed teeth and drank with water from a tank in which a young woman’s body was likely decomposing for more than two weeks, police said.

Elisa Lam’s corpse was found in the Cecil Hotel’s rooftop water tank by a maintenance worker who was trying to figure out why the water pressure was low Tuesday.

Lam’s parents reported her missing in early February. The last sighting of her was in the hotel on January 31, Los Angeles Police said.

Detectives are now investigating the 21-year-old Canadian’s suspicious death, police Sgt. Rudy Lopez said.

It was not clear whether the water presented any health risks. Results on tests on the water done Wednesday by the Los Angeles Public Health Department were expected later in the day.

The water did have a funny taste,” Sabrina Baugh told CNN on Wednesday. She and her husband used the water for eight days…”We never thought anything of it,” the British woman said. “We thought it was just the way it was here.”

The hotel remained open after the discovery, but guests checking in Tuesday were told not to drink the water…according to Qui Nguyen, who decided to find a new hotel…Nguyen said he learned about the body from a CNN reporter, not the hotel staff.


Ethics debate rolls out over tech aiding brain and body

A British ethics group has launched a debate on the ethical dilemmas posed by new technologies that tap into the brain and could bring super-human strength, highly enhanced concentration or thought-controlled weaponry.

With the prospect of future conflicts between armies controlling weapons with their minds, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics launched a consultation…to consider the risks of blurring the lines between humans and machines.

“Intervening in the brain has always raised both hopes and fears in equal measure. Hopes of curing terrible diseases, and fears about the consequences of trying to enhance human capability beyond what is normally possible,” said Thomas Baldwin, a professor of philosophy at Britain’s York University who is leading the study.

These challenge us to think carefully about fundamental questions to do with the brain: What makes us human? What makes us an individual? And how and why do we think and behave in the way we do?.”

The Council…wants to focus on three main areas of neurotechnologies that change the brain: brain-computer interfaces (BCIs), neurostimulation techniques such as deep brain stimulation (DBS) or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and neural stem cell therapy.

These technologies are already at various stages of development for use in the treatment of medical conditions including Parkinson’s disease, depression and stroke, and experts think they could bring significant benefits, especially for patients with severe brain disease or damage.

But they also have huge potential outside the health context. In military applications, BCIs are being used to develop weapons or vehicles controlled remotely by brain signals, and there is big commercial scope in the gaming industry with the development of computer games controlled by people’s thoughts…

The ethics council’s consultation is at The deadline for responses is April 23 and it expects to publish a report with recommendations in 2013.

Borg rules. Resistance is futile.

OK to drop body in trash? Why do you think that’s allowable?

Pierce County prosecutors have charged Anthony T. Clark with first-degree murder, unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of a controlled substance…

Prosecutors allege Clark shot 16-year-old Devondre Davis in the back of the head on Wednesday…

Clark gave conflicting statements about what happened in the apartment and to Davis.

According to court documents, he initially said he didn’t know why he was arrested. He later said he’d shot Davis but it was an accident. He then told detectives that Davis had arrived at the apartment with rock cocaine and a gun. Clark said Davis was near the bedroom closet because they were looking for Clark’s mother’s jewelry to steal and sell.

The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the the 16-year-old boy found slain in a garbage bin on Tacoma’s East Side this week as Devondre D. Davis…

Tacoma police arrested the man Wednesday after he asked some neighbors if he could put a dead body in their trash can in an alley in the 500 block of East 36th Street. The neighbors reported the encounter to officers, who found Davis’ body.

Unlawful possession of a controlled substance? Charge him with unlawful possession of a brain!

Foot #11 washes ashore on a beach near Vancouver

False Creek Inlet by Vancouver

A human foot has washed up on a beach near Vancouver, the 11th such find in four years in the region, a Canadian coroner said Thursday, adding to a macabre mystery.

An autopsy on the foot established that it had become separated from its leg due to prolonged water exposure, a statement issued by the British Columbia Coroners Service said, noting no evidence of trauma.

DNA analysis was being carried out on the foot, which was found on Tuesday afternoon and was the eighth recovered in the Vancouver area since 2007. Another three feet have washed up on US beaches off neighboring Washington state in the same time period…

Although none of the medical analyses indicated foul play, local officials have said that the high number of bridges over waterways in the area points towards possible suicides of those whose feet were found.

“We cannot completely exclude a murder, we don’t know why they died, but we have no evidence they were murdered,” Coroner Stephen Fonseca, chief of the identification unit, told AFP.

Every year we find incomplete bodies in the woodlands, on land and in water. Feet will separate naturally, by decomposition and by action of scavengers — coyotes, bears and small rodents.”

I guess we’re to presume our helpful woodland critters then carry the feet of bodies found and munched as forest snacks to nearby bodies of water – to send them off on journeys to mystify those silly humans who live nearby.

Funeral home sued for losing body somewhere in a cemetery

The three daughters of Jimmie Lee Scott said in their lawsuit filed in the Circuit Court of Montgomery County that after their mother died, her body was handed over to Ross-Clayton Funeral Home.

The firm oversaw an April 2010 funeral service for Scott and her casket was taken to the Oakwood Cemetery Annex in Montgomery for burial, the lawsuit states.

The daughters and others in attendance left after a graveside service, where the casket was positioned over the plot where Scott was to be interred, court papers indicate.

Later, daughter Dakota Scott went to take flowers to her mother’s grave, but found the tombstone was far away from where she remembered the service being held, the lawsuit said. Nevertheless, the funeral home is said to have assured her the site was correct.

A representative of the funeral home later contacted Scott and told her the funeral home would have to move her mother’s casket and body, because another family owned the plot, the lawsuit states.

But when workers dug up the grave, no casket or body was found in the plot where Jimmie Lee Scott’s headstone had been placed, the court papers said.

The same day, other graves were dug up in a vain search for Jimmie Lee Scott’s body, which has still not been found, the lawsuit said.

“The plaintiffs have been forced to relive some of the saddest days of their lives — the death and burial of their mother — whom they deeply love and for whom they desire a peaceful and certain resting place,” attorneys for the three women wrote in the lawsuit…

The lawsuit does not say how old Jimmie Lee Scott was when she died.

But, obviously, her children are going to be a heck of a lot older before they find out where their mother was buried. If ever?

Body goes unnoticed in public swimming pool — for days UPDATED

The body of a woman who apparently drowned in a state-run swimming pool in Massachusetts remained in the water unnoticed for two days until passersby finally alerted police…

No one reported seeing Marie Joseph, 36, between Sunday and late on Tuesday, when police were called to Veterans Memorial Swimming Pool in a park in southeastern Massachusetts where they found her in the water, Fall River Police Lt. Roger LaFleur said on Thursday.

“There were some individuals who were in the park and who noticed there was a body in the pool and subsequently called police,” LaFleur told Reuters.

Authorities said visitors to the recreational pool on Monday and Tuesday apparently didn’t notice Joseph’s body…

Joseph, a resident of Fall River, a city about 50 miles south of Boston, was last seen at the pool on Sunday. Her belongings were later found there, but she had not been reported missing, police said.

Police Chief Daniel Racine told a news conference Joseph may have had an accident on a water slide at the pool, citing a 9-year-old boy whom she had been taking care of on Sunday. The boy said Joseph accidentally went down the slide and landed on top of him, then went underwater and failed to resurface…


Health inspectors had visited the pool twice that week over complaints of the water being “murky” – and found nothing wrong.

Eeoough, eeoough!!

UPDATE: Three staffers have been fired for incompetence.

Hit-and-run driver tries to escape with most of his victim’s body

A suspected drunken driver struck and killed a pedestrian on a Houston freeway early Tuesday, then drove for several miles after the victim had crashed through the windshield and landed next to the passenger’s seat, authorities said.

The driver, James Onak, 49, faces a felony charge of failure to stop and render aid in a fatality and a misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated, said Donna Hawkins, a spokeswoman for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Onak had an attorney…

The collision severed one of the victim’s legs and sent the rest of his body through the windshield. It landed under the dashboard, on the passenger’s side floorboard, authorities said.

Onak drove for about three miles before a Harris County Precinct 8 deputy constable noticed heavy damage to the front of his vehicle and pulled him over at about 12:40 a.m., said Capt. Jason Finnen, with the constable’s office…

“It wasn’t until the driver stepped out that the deputy could see what had happened,” Finnen said. “Because of the impact, the body was positioned up under the dashboard on the passenger’s side floorboard.”

Onak told the deputy he had hit something while traveling on the freeway but was not aware it was a person, Finnen said.

Another unit was sent back to the freeway, where the victim’s severed leg and the vehicle’s license plate were discovered…

The deputy indicated that Onak appeared to be intoxicated, Finnen said. A blood sample was taken from Onak but Hawkins declined to say what the results of the test were.

Hit-and-run drivers are especially disgusting. But, this scumbag – running off with the remains of his victim in the car – is particularly contemptible. Drunk is no excuse. Not noticing the body? Give me a break.

Give us all a break. Throw away the key.

Justice has been done – UPDATED

Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed Sunday in a firefight with U.S. forces in Pakistan and his body was recovered, President Barack Obama announced Sunday.

Justice has been done,” Obama said in a dramatic, late-night White House speech announcing the death of the elusive mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the New York and Washington.

Obama said U.S. forces led the operation that killed bin Laden. No Americans were killed in the operation and they took care to avoid civilian casualties, he said.

“The United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda and a terrorist who is responsible for the murder of thousands of men, women and children,” Obama said…

U.S. officials said that after searching in vain for the al Qaeda leader since he disappeared in Afghanistan in late 2001, the Saudi-born extremist was killed in the Pakistani town of Abbotabad and his body recovered.

Having the body may help convince any doubters that bin Laden is really dead.

He had been the subject of a search since he eluded U.S. soldiers and Afghan militia forces in a large-scale assault on the Tora Bora mountains of Afghanistan in 2001.

The trail quickly went cold after he disappeared and many intelligence officials believed he had been hiding in Pakistan.

While in hiding, bin Laden had taunted the West and advocated his militant Islamist views in videotapes spirited from his hideaway.

Besides September 11, Washington has also linked bin Laden to a string of attacks — including the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the 2000 bombing of the warship USS Cole in Yemen.

This death alone does not mean victory. But, this death is a significant moment and hopefully may be the beginning of an end to a deadly chapter.

UPDATE: Here’s a link to the IT geek’s tweets – Sohaib Athar (@ReallyVirtual – who live-blogged the raid without knowing what he was watching. Getting away from the city for the day, relaxing in the mountains.