There’s a Secret Collection at an Army Base in Kansas
❝ Located on the outskirts of Kansas City and home to 2,500 soldiers, Fort Leavenworth houses a 4,000-piece art collection, and almost no one knows it exists. The United States Army never meant to hide the collection, but also never meant to amass it.
Now, thanks to a local art gallery owner, portions of the collection have been on public display and the collection has a name: “Art of War, Gifts of Peace.”…
❝ This year, 119 students from 91 nations will spend almost a year in the accredited master’s-level courses to earn a Master of Military Art and Science. They also have the option of earning one of 12 other degrees by taking additional courses at a nearby university. Officers in foreign armies with the rank equivalent of a U.S. Army major are eligible to apply within their respective countries; the U.S. State Department and Department of Defense choose which nations may send students…
❝ Over the years, several, if not most of the esteemed officers presented something to the college upon graduating — but most of the items disappeared into storage. A select few adorned private offices and hallways, until they became part of the furniture, common objects no one gave much thought to.
Intricately carved ivory sailboats, gold-plated swords, and hand-worked pewter vases silently joined jewelry, bronze statues, and detailed ebony masks in the storage room. Regardless of the material or value, LaMoe says his obligation as a government employee is to accept the gifts and ensure that they are catalogued and stored properly. Nothing more.
So, the gift collection has grown in the darkness of the storage room for decades.
RTFA. Cataloging the collection must be a journey of delight and intrigue.
Zombies vs Vampires — legal battle between corrupt medical labs
❝Right now a dead, bankrupt and corrupt laboratory company is suing an active, morally bankrupt lab company. No matter who eventually wins the court battle all of us — patients, Medicare, insurance companies, not to mention our entire health and legal systems — will lose.
❝Health Diagnostics Laboratory is the zombie lab company. After raking in hundreds of millions of dollars in a few short years for its owners and others, HDL went out of business last year. The reason: the company’s business model was illegal and unethical.
The company bribed doctors to order unnecessary tests — lots of unnecessary tests. Then it told patients that they would not be billed for the tests. This is also illegal.
But in its heyday the company reaped hundreds of millions of dollars in payments from Medicare and insurance companies.
❝True Health Diagnostics is the vampire lab company. When HDL went out of business this new company bought its remaining assets and adopted its business model of bribing doctors to order their tests and not collecting the patients’ portion of the bill. (Despite the company’s denials, True Health appears to have close connections with at least some of the major figures involved with HDL.)
Late last year the surviving legal remnant of HDL began efforts to collect from patients on some of the bills on which the company had promised, in writing, never to collect…
❝Patients panicked when they suddenly found themselves faced with thousands of dollars in bills. Naturally many of them called their doctors to complain, and many of the doctors complained to their True Health sales reps, since in many cases this was the same person.
True Health in turn panicked. It threatened to sue HDL. If doctors and patients believed that there was even a small chance that patients would be held responsible for thousands of dollars for their tests then their entire sleazy business model would topple like a house of cards. So the company sent letters to doctors, telling the doctors to tell their patients to ignore the letters.
This did not sit well with HDL, which then sued True Health…
❝I have no idea how the legal issues here will be resolved. I don’t know if patients who were promised they would never receive a bill can be held responsible for those bills because those promises were illegal. This kind of situation is exactly why we have so many lawyers but so little justice.
But I do know this: the one thing missing in the battle of the zombie lab versus the vampire lab is justice.
The responsible figures — the HDL leaders, its salesmen, and, especially, the doctors who ordered and profited from all these unnecessary tests — are not being held responsible. Many of the same doctors and salesman who participated in the earlier HDL scheme are now participating in the True Health scheme…
❝We’ll probably never know how many hundreds of millions of dollars were made by the HDL executives and salesmen and the doctors who participated in their scheme. And unless people start going to jail there will be no incentive to stop more schemes like this. Civil suits, by the government or by private insurance companies, will simply be viewed as the cost of doing business.
Gotta love self-regulating, self-policing crafts, trades, industries. Seems to me a great deal of what is involved here is plain and simple fraud. Some of it must have crossed state lines. If states won’t act responsibly – well, that’s why we have federal attorneys.
Shot on iPhone 6 – Around the world
People take incredible photos and videos on iPhone 6 every day. And here are some of our favorites. Explore the gallery, learn a few tips, and see what’s possible with the world’s most popular camera.
I’ve been a photographer since single-digit years. Apple put this collection up to illustrate what folks have been doing with the camera in their iPhones in recent days and months.
I’m suitably impressed. I don’t own a smartphone; but, even the few snaps I’ve taken with my iPad came out of the ether as viewable and editable into something useful. The point is, however, you can get to being a decent photographer as long as the hardware is designed around a good lens – and helpful software comes with it.
Beautiful photos taken by the Mars Rovers over the last 10 years
Click to enlarge — NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell University
Ten years ago, when the rovers Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars as part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover mission, engineers expected them to each last 90 Martian days, about three months of Earth time. Spirit lasted a remarkable six years before getting stuck in soft sand, and ultimately losing radio contact with its minders on Earth.
Compared to Opportunity, though, Spirit was a flash in the pan. Hundreds of millions of miles away in the bitter Martian cold, Opportunity has kept on ticking—exploring new areas, taking scientific measurements and capturing beautiful photos—this entire time.
As part of a new exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum, “Spirit and Opportunity: 10 Years Roving Across Mars,” John Grant and other scientists involved with the mission have curated 50 of the most scientifically significant and visually stunning photos taken by the rovers over the years from a collection of several hundred thousand images.
Priest says woman hypnotized him and stole church donations
He said she hypnotized him?!
A woman stole a Padua, Italy, church’s Christmas offerings after hypnotizing a 71-year-old priest, police said.
The woman, described as a Roma, or gypsy, about 35, made off with 1,800 euros collected by Padua’s Santa Giustina abbey during the Christmas period…adding she entered the cloister area of the church where the presence of women is forbidden.
The priest learned of the theft and alerted police after he came out of the hypnosis-induced trance…
Anyone else think there may be a chance the “trance” was induced by something other than hypnosis?
A week of top AP photos
Click to get to slide show – AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky
Photographers capture the liftoff of the Soyuz-FG rocket booster with the Soyuz TMA-11M spaceship carrying new crew members to the International Space Station from the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan…
The rocket also carried the Olympic flame in preparation for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
I’ve been a photo bug since before most of y’all were born. I have a special feeling about photo journalists – growing up when B&W news photos were the most striking element of news coverage. AP is pretty good.
Cellphone users can block robocalls
Consumers have a right under a federal law to revoke their consent to being contacted on their cell phones by automated dialing systems, a U.S. appeals court decided on Thursday in a defeat for computer maker Dell Inc.
Reversing a lower court ruling, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled in favor of a Pennsylvania woman, Ashley Gager, who complained that Dell hounded her with more than 40 calls in less than three weeks to collect a delinquent debt after she had sent a letter asking it to stop.
Circuit Judge Jane Roth said Congress intended the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 to protect consumers from unwanted automated calls, a conclusion supported by a 2012 Federal Communications Commission ruling in an unrelated case…
According to court papers, Gager had in 2007 filled in her cellphone number in place of her home number on an application for a Dell credit line, which the Honesdale, Pennsylvania resident used to buy thousands of dollars of computer equipment.
After Gager defaulted, Dell began leaving the automated messages, and continued doing so even after receiving a letter in December 2010 from Gager asking it to stop, the papers show…
“Dell will still be able to telephone Gager about her delinquent account,” Roth said. “The only limitation imposed by the TCPA is that Dell will not be able to use an automated dialing system to do so.”
Robocalls are useful to warn of collective emergencies. That’s it. Everything that remains is audible spam or harassment. Generally from some cheap-ass company trying to keep from paying even minimum wage to part-time workers.
One more facet of the decline in privacy in the Land where Liberty is defined by profit structures.
The surface of Mars — 35 photos
The base of Mars’ Mount Sharp – the rover’s eventual science destination – is pictured in this August 27, 2012 photo taken by the Curiosity rover. The image is a portion of a larger image taken by Curiosity’s 100-millimeter Mast Camera on August 23. Scientists enhanced the color to show the Martian scene under the lighting conditions we have on Earth, which helps in analyzing the terrain.
Click on the photo to start through the series.
Women on trial for sexual assaults to steal semen
A favored spot near Harare
Three Zimbabwean women have been accused of a series of sex attacks on male hitchhikers, purportedly to steal their semen for use in ritual practices. In a case that has gripped media and public imagination, the gang appeared in court to face charges of aggravated indecent assault.
Sophie and Netsai Nhokwara, sisters aged 26 and 24, along with 28-year-old Rosemary Chakwizira, are the first suspects to be arrest since accounts of women gang-raping men in Zimbabwe emerged two years ago. They were charged along with Thulani Ngwenya, 24, who is Sophie Nhokwara’s boyfriend.
The gang’s alleged 17 victims identified so far include a soldier and a police officer whom they allegedly forced to have sex without condoms, the Herald newspaper reported…
The women were arrested when they were involved in an accident and police reportedly found 31 used condoms – three half-full of semen – in the boot of their car.
James Sabau, a spokesman for Harare police, told state media that preliminary investigations suggested a ritual link to the collection of victims’ semen.
“We are still trying to figure out why semen was collected,” he was quoted as saying. “Information we have gathered so far links the entire female rapist issue to rituals that make people rich. It is, however, still unclear how the supposed rituals work.”
RTFA. Honestly – I haven’t a comment for this one. What do you think?