“Rooster Monkburn” the cowboy sock monkey is without his pistol, thanks to a diligent TSA agent in St. Louis.
May and her husband were going through the screening process when she noticed that one of her bags was missing.
“And the (TSA agent) held it up and said ‘whose is this?’” she said. “I realized oh, my God this is my bag.”
May said the TSA agent went through the bag, through the sewing supplies and found the two-inch long pistol.
“She said ‘this is a gun,’” said May. “I said no, it’s not a gun it’s a prop for my monkey.”
“She said ‘If I held it up to your neck, you wouldn’t know if it was real or not,’ and I said ‘really?’” said May.
The TSA agent told May she would have to confiscate the tiny gun and was supposed to call the police.
“I said well go ahead,” said May. “And I said really? You’re kidding me right, and she said no it looks like a gun.”
“She took my monkey’s gun,” said May, who has retained her sense of humor.
“Rooster Monkburn has been disarmed so I’m sure everyone on the plane was safe,” she said. “I understand she was doing her job but at some point doesn’t common sense prevail?”
Via: Sydney Morning Herald:
The chemical spill at Ranger Uranium Mine last weekend was the second such incident in a week for the mine’s parent company, Rio Tinto, placing further scrutiny on the company’s uranium mining operations.
Processing at the Ranger site, in Kakadu National Park, was suspended by the federal government on Tuesday. Environment Minister Greg Hunt ordered ”an immediate investigation” into the incident in which a leach tank burst, spilling about 1 million litres of highly acidic uranium slurry.
It has since emerged that a virtually identical incident occurred just days before, at Rossing, Rio Tinto’s other uranium mine, in Namibia. On December 3, one of the 12 leach tanks at Rossing had a ”catastrophic structural failure”, spilling a large quantity of radioactive slurry.
”This is obviously a very serious incident, which is currently under investigation,” the mine’s general manager of operations, Ben De Vries, was quoted as saying.
”It’s the same company, same mineral, same piece of infrastructure,” said Dave Sweeney, of the Australian Conservation Foundation. ”This copycat incident shows there is a serious structural issue here and that the halt on processing at Ranger should not be lifted.”
Mr Sweeney believes that plans for an underground expansion of the Ranger mine, known as the 3 Deeps project, should be shelved.
”The mine is at full design life stretch: the pipes, pumps and tanks are over 30 years old,” he said. ”If the 3 Deeps project is processed through the same infrastructure, as ERA proposes, we will see an increasing likelihood of uncontrolled and unpredicted equipment failures.”
Ranger’s operating company, Energy Resources of Australia, maintains that water testing at the site shows no environmental damage has been caused to the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, which surrounds the mine.
Via: Tom Dispatch:
If all you’ve got is a hammer, then everything starts to look like a nail. And if police and prosecutors are your only tool, sooner or later everything and everyone will be treated as criminal. This is increasingly the American way of life, a path that involves “solving” social problems (and even some non-problems) by throwing cops at them, with generally disastrous results. Wall-to-wall criminal law encroaches ever more on everyday life as police power is applied in ways that would have been unthinkable just a generation ago.
By now, the militarization of the police has advanced to the point where “the War on Crime” and “the War on Drugs” are no longer metaphors but bland understatements. There is the proliferation of heavily armed SWAT teams, even in small towns; the use of shock-and-awe tactics to bust small-time bookies; the no-knock raids to recover trace amounts of drugs that often result in the killing of family dogs, if not family members; and in communities where drug treatment programs once were key, the waging of a drug version of counterinsurgency war.
Research Credit: conceptualdecay
Leading academic journals are distorting the scientific process and represent a “tyranny” that must be broken, according to a Nobel prize winner who has declared a boycott on the publications.
Randy Schekman, a US biologist who won the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine this year and receives his prize in Stockholm on Tuesday, said his lab would no longer send research papers to the top-tier journals, Nature, Cell and Science.
Schekman said pressure to publish in “luxury” journals encouraged researchers to cut corners and pursue trendy fields of science instead of doing more important work. The problem was exacerbated, he said, by editors who were not active scientists but professionals who favoured studies that were likely to make a splash.
The prestige of appearing in the major journals has led the Chinese Academy of Sciences to pay successful authors the equivalent of $30,000 (£18,000). Some researchers made half of their income through such “bribes”, Schekman said in an interview.
Writing in the Guardian, Schekman raises serious concerns over the journals’ practices and calls on others in the scientific community to take action.
“I have published in the big brands, including papers that won me a Nobel prize. But no longer,” he writes. “Just as Wall Street needs to break the hold of bonus culture, so science must break the tyranny of the luxury journals.”
Schekman is the editor of eLife, an online journal set up by the Wellcome Trust. Articles submitted to the journal – a competitor to Nature, Cell and Science – are discussed by reviewers who are working scientists and accepted if all agree. The papers are free for anyone to read.
Schekman criticises Nature, Cell and Science for artificially restricting the number of papers they accept, a policy he says stokes demand “like fashion designers who create limited-edition handbags.” He also attacks a widespread metric called an “impact factor”, used by many top-tier journals in their marketing.
On Wednesday, with just three weeks to go until he leaves office, Mr. Bloomberg’s controversial Board of Health is set to vote on new rules that would force children as young as six months old to be immunized each year before December 31 if they attend licensed day care or pre-school programs.
Spying could become much easier if a new lightweight, folding satellite concept gets off the ground.
Darpa, the military’s futuristic research agency, says it has plans to “break the glass ceiling” of space telescopes by shooting a new design into orbit that’s made of plastic and unfolds into a mammoth satellite that would dwarf the world’s most famous telescopes.
Darpa’s Membrane Optical Imager for Real-Time Exploitation (MOIRE) program redesigns the traditional glass telescope into an orbital telescope that’s bigger and lighter than previous imaging satellites, making it easier to spy on larger areas and for longer periods of time.
Launched as a tightly packed cluster of petals 20 feet in diameter, MOIRE stretches to 68 feet across once it reaches 22,000 miles above the earth. From orbit, MOIRE could view approximately 40 percent of the earth’s surface at once while recording high resolution images and video, making it the ultimate spying satellite (Darpa notes that it could also be beneficial in weather forecasting and disaster response).
President Vladimir Putin tightened his control over Russia’s media on Monday by dissolving the main state news agency and replacing it with an organization that is to promote Moscow’s image abroad.
The move to abolish RIA Novosti and create a news agency to be known as Rossiya Segodnya is the second in two weeks strengthening Putin’s hold on the media as he tries to reassert his authority after protests against his rule.
Most Russian media outlets are already loyal to Putin, and opponents get little air time, but the shake-up underlined their importance to Putin keeping power and the Kremlin’s concern about the president’s ratings and image.
The head of the new agency, to be built from the ashes of RIA Novosti, is a conservative news anchor, Dmitry Kiselyov, who once caused outrage by saying the organs of homosexuals should not be used in transplants.
“The main focus of … Rossiya Segodnya (Russia Today) is to highlight abroad the state policy and public life of the Russian Federation,” said a decree signed by Putin.
Sergei Ivanov, the head of the presidential administration, told reporters that the changes were intended to save money and improve the state media.
But the new organization has strong similarities to APN, a Soviet-era news agency whose role included writing articles about “the social-economic and cultural life of the Soviet people and items reflecting Soviet society’s point of view on important internal and international events”.
Not limiting their activities to the earthly realm, American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life, conducting surveillance and scooping up data in the online games played by millions of people across the globe, according to newly disclosed classified documents.
Fearing that terrorist or criminal networks could use the games to communicate secretly, move money or plot attacks, the documents show, intelligence operatives have entered terrain populated by digital avatars that include elves, gnomes and supermodels.
The spies have created make-believe characters to snoop and to try to recruit informers, while also collecting data and contents of communications between players, according to the documents, disclosed by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden. Because militants often rely on features common to video games — fake identities, voice and text chats, a way to conduct financial transactions — American and British intelligence agencies worried that they might be operating there, according to the papers.
But for all their enthusiasm — so many CIA, FBI and Pentagon spies were hunting around in Second Life, the document noted, that a “deconfliction” group was needed to avoid collisions — the intelligence agencies may have inflated the threat.
The documents do not cite any counterterrorism successes from the effort, and former American intelligence officials, current and former gaming company employees and outside experts said in interviews that they knew of little evidence that terrorist groups viewed the games as havens to communicate and plot operations.
WELCOME to Fukushima, where the radiation’s so bad it can be fatal within 20 minutes. The tsunami may have happened some 33 months ago, but the fallout just keeps getting worse.
Japanese media is reporting that the intensity of radiation levels in the nuclear powerplant devastated by the earthquake – and subsequent tidal waves – of March 2011 is now at its highest levels ever.
On Friday, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) reportedly detected the deadly radiation in a duct linking one of the damaged reactor buildings to a 120m tall ventilation pipe.
The radioactivity has been measured at 25 Sieverts (Sv) per hour. A total dose of two Sv is regarded as severe radiation poisoning. Six Sv produces a 100 per cent mortality rate after 30 days of suffering.
So let’s just get this straight: The same expensive equipment that’s used to drill for oil would be used to drill… for water. Man, sometimes, I just love coming to work at Cryptogon for the comedy factor alone.
Oh yeah, these are nonrenewable aquifers and prone to damage by drilling operations.
Maybe buy some canned air to go with this water…
Via: Science Daily:
Scientists have discovered huge reserves of freshwater beneath the oceans kilometres out to sea, providing new opportunities to stave off a looming global water crisis.
A new study, published December 5 in the international scientific journal Nature, reveals that an estimated half a million cubic kilometres of low-salinity water are buried beneath the seabed on continental shelves around the world.
The water, which could perhaps be used to eke out supplies to the world’s burgeoning coastal cities, has been located off Australia, China, North America and South Africa.
“The volume of this water resource is a hundred times greater than the amount we’ve extracted from the Earth’s sub-surface in the past century since 1900,” says lead author Dr Vincent Post (pictured) of the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) and the School of the Environment at Flinders University.
“Knowing about these reserves is great news because this volume of water could sustain some regions for decades.”
Dr Post says that groundwater scientists knew of freshwater under the seafloor, but thought it only occurred under rare and special conditions.
“Our research shows that fresh and brackish aquifers below the seabed are actually quite a common phenomenon,” he says.
These reserves were formed over the past hundreds of thousands of years when on average the sea level was much lower than it is today, and when the coastline was further out, Dr Post explains.
“So when it rained, the water would infiltrate into the ground and fill up the water table in areas that are nowadays under the sea.
“It happened all around the world, and when the sea level rose when ice caps started melting some 20,000 years ago, these areas were covered by the ocean.
“Many aquifers were — and are still — protected from seawater by layers of clay and sediment that sit on top of them.”