US soldiers reveal their location by jogging, working out

❝ An interactive map posted on the Internet that shows the whereabouts of people who use fitness devices such as Fitbit also reveals highly sensitive information about the locations and activities of soldiers at U.S. military bases, in what appears to be a major security oversight.

The Global Heat Map, published by the GPS tracking company Strava, uses satellite information to map the locations and movements of subscribers to the company’s fitness service over a two-year period, by illuminating areas of activity.

❝ Most parts of the United States and Europe, where millions of people use some type of fitness tracker, show up on the map as blazes of light because there is so much activity.

In war zones and deserts in countries such as Iraq and Syria, the heat map becomes almost entirely dark — except for scattered pinpricks of activity. Zooming in on those areas brings into focus the locations and outlines of known U.S. military bases, as well as of other unknown and potentially sensitive sites — presumably because American soldiers and other personnel are using fitness trackers as they move around.

❝ The U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State said on Monday it is revising its guidelines on the use of all wireless and technological devices on military facilities as a result of the revelations.

You can file this under: barn door, horse already gone

Truck full of hagfish rolls over releasing thousands of slimy sea creatures

Click for a close-up

❝ In a scene straight out of nightmares, a truck full of “slime eels” lost its load Thursday on U.S. 101, causing a five-car crash, dousing sedans with goo and sending sea creatures slithering across vehicles and the highway.

❝ Technically, the fish were not eels, but hagfish, which have a skull but no jaw or spine and they secrete slime when distressed, earning them the nickname “slime eels.”

And distressed they were, emitting gooey stuff that will make you shiver in your sandals — and that covered 101 along with the 7,500 pounds of fish.

Eeoouugh! Looks like a strategy meeting in the Trump White House.

College goes on firearms lockdown

A New York college that went on lockdown over a report of a gun on campus says the weapon turned out to be a light saber.

Students and staff members at Farmingdale State College on Long Island were told to shelter in place Wednesday while police investigated a report that someone was assembling a rifle in a school parking lot.

College spokeswoman Kathryn Coley says the rifle was actually a “Star Wars” toy.

Farmingdale State is part of the State University of New York system. It has about 8,700 students some of whom – no doubt – know the difference between a rifle and a light saber.

“FREE PARKING” ain’t always a good idea – especially on a frozen lake

Around 20 cars sank into a lake in Wisconsin…after visitors to a winter festival parked on its frozen top.

Emergency crews had to pull the vehicles out of the water Saturday after the vehicles fell through the ice during Lake Geneva’s Winterfest…

Since parking was scarce in the area, officials had allowed people to park on the frozen lake, but the ice cracked under the weight of the vehicles during the judging of the the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Competition…

Officials had told people they could park on the ice because parking in the area is scarce – but at least two rows of cars ended up in the water…No one was inside the cars when they began to sink…

So, officials said parking was allowed. Did any of them say it was safe? In front of witnesses. 🙂

Dumb crook of the day

Authorities say a burglar who broke into a middle school got stuck on an elevator and was forced to call 911 for help.

Local media outlets report that police say 19-year-old Michael Claude of Laurel broke into the school Monday. Officials say he was riding down the hallways on a buffing machine before he got on the elevator. After he got stuck, police say, Claude called 911 for help, and an elevator maintenance service was able to open the doors.

Police say Claude was found wearing a Laurel letterman jacket that did not belong to him. He was charged with third-degree burglary, criminal mischief and theft. He was released on $3,800 bond.


Trucker choking on his Dr Pepper crashes into 23 new cars

Park your truck before you chug your Dr Pepper

Police say the driver of a milk tanker truck was choking on a soft drink when he drove off a Pennsylvania highway and crashed into 23 new cars on a dealership lot.

Police in Hermitage say the driver choked on Dr Pepper on Sunday and drove the truck nearly 600 feet through a grassy area before smashing into a building at Montrose Buick-GMC-Cadillac.

The Sharon Herald reports the truck rumbled down an embankment before hitting the cars, including one that was pushed into the dealership showroom.

State police found no mechanical problems with the truck and no indication the driver tried to brake. The driver of the truck owned by Neimeyer Milk Transfer was cited for careless driving.

Careless is putting it kindly.

Oops! No need to go to Cape Canaveral to watch a rocket explode on launch

Click to enlarge

The USS The Sullivans got more than it expected during a test launch of a SM-2 “Standard” missile…The DDG-68 ship was sailing off the coast of Virginia performing when the missile was boosted out of the Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer’s Vertical Launch System cell and the SM-2 detonated in spectacular fashion…

Here is the official Navy statement:

On July 18 at approximately 9 a.m. (EDT) a Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) test missile exploded after suffering a malfunction as it was fired from the guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) during a planned missile exercise off the coast of Virginia. There were no injuries and only minor damage to the port side of the ship resulting from missile debris. The ship returned to Naval Station Norfolk for assessment. An investigation into the malfunction has been ordered and is being conducted by the Navy’s Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems, which is part of Naval Sea Systems Command. It is too early to determine what, if any, effect this will have on the ship’s schedule.

get the wieners
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I like the understated style of that last sentence. Wonder what they’d say if it took out the aft end of the ship?

Japan “interprets” regulations to hide over a ton of plutonium


The Japanese government has not declared about 640 kg of unused plutonium in its annual report for the International Atomic Energy Agency in 2012 and 2013, an amount enough to make 80 nuclear bombs…

Japan claims to own 44 tons of plutonium, while the actual amount is 45 tons, said Japan’s Kyodo News Agency. The unreported plutonium is part of the plutonium-uranium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel placed at an offline reactor in a nuclear plant in Saga Prefecture, southern Japan.

The MOX fuel was loaded in March 2011, shortly before the Fukushima Nuclear Crisis happened later that month. Until two years later, the unused fuel was taken out from the reactor which remained offline.

An official from Japan Atomic Energy Commission argued that the plutonium is considered being used and hence exempt from reporting to the IAEA.

But plenty of experts both abroad and at home criticized the action of the Japanese government for failing to recognize the seriousness of the problem…”From the safeguards point of view this material is still un- irradiated fresh MOX fuel regardless of its location,” former IAEA Deputy Director General Olli Heinonen said. Thus the unreported plutonium could be diverted to as many as 80 nuclear bombs.

Japan keeps the largest amount of plutonium among non-nuclear nations. The country used it for power generation in the past, but after the 2011 disaster at Fukushima, Japan’s nuclear reactors remain idle.

The big amounts of plutonium are causing regional worries over Japan’s motives, as well as global concerns over the security of these nuclear fuel reserves.

This ain’t an “oops!” moment. Reflect for a minute on what reasons there might be for Japan to hide a ton of plutonium. It’s not like they’re paying taxes or licensing fees on the stuff.

It isn’t likely Japan would sell plutonium to some other nation – especially when the first use that comes to mind is production of nuclear bombs or warheads, dirty or otherwise. Just when the Abe government is trying to unwrite the nation’s pacifist constitution.