VAST HUMAN DNA DATABASE RAISES ALARMS IN THE US
Brimming with the genetic patterns of more than 3 million Americans, the nation's databank of DNA "fingerprints" is growing by more than 80,000 people every month, giving police an unprecedented crime-fighting tool but prompting warnings that the expansion threatens constitutional privacy protections.
With little public debate, state and federal rules for cataloging DNA have broadened in recent years to include not only violent felons, as was originally the case, but also perpetrators of minor crimes and even people who have been arrested but not convicted.
Now some in law enforcement are calling for a national registry of every American's DNA profile, against which police could instantly compare crime-scene specimens. Advocates say the system would dissuade many would-be criminals and help capture the rest.
But opponents say that the growing use of DNA scans is making suspects out of many law-abiding Americans and turning the "innocent until proven guilty" maxim on its head."These databases are starting to look more like a surveillance tool than a tool for criminal investigation,"
Just remember, if you ain't done nothing wrong, you haven't got anything to worry about....Unless, of course, someone makes a mistake analysing your DNA and you get hauled in and charged for a crime you didn't commit. But you did it, because DNA doesn't lie.
Or something like that.
Interesting how when this program first started, there were so many reassurances that only convicted criminals would be forced to hand over their genetic information.
Soon it will be everybody, man, woman and newborn child.
And people are worried about companies data-mining their credit-card shopping sprees. Wait till complete strangers start data-mining your genetic information and selling the results on the open market.
"Hello, Mr Jones, you don't know me, but I've recently looked at your DNA profile and did you realise that in twenty years you have a 85% chance of developing cancer of the arse? We have some products that may be of interest to you..."
Lobsters can diagnose viral infections in fellow lobsters and isolate the sick to stop the virus spreading through a crustacianal community.
The creatures not only detect a lethal virus before it produces any symptoms, but quarantine those infected.
Lobsters with the Panulirus argus virus are shunned by other members of their group.
Researchers made the discovery while observing Caribbean spiny lobsters off the coast of Florida.
"This is the first record of healthy animals avoiding diseased members of their own species in the wild."So they're smart. They make conscious decisions.
Wonder what they think about in those first few seconds after they're dropped alive into a boiling pot of water?
What do you think God was trying to tell this woman?
Worried about the safety of her family during a stormy Memorial Day trip to the beach, Clara Jean Brown stood in her kitchen and prayed for their safe return as a strong thunderstorm rumbled through Baldwin County, Alabama.
But while she prayed, lightning suddenly exploded, blowing through the linoleum and leaving a blackened area on the concrete.
She said 'Amen' and the room was engulfed in a huge ball of fire.
CHILD PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN
He was only 11 years old when pirates raided the ship he and his mother were travelling on in the Caribbean in the mid-1800s.
As he watched the pirates haul off the ship's cargo of sugar and tobacco, John King made a decision: He would leave his mother and join the pirate crew, led by Captain Sam Bellamy.
While teenage pirates were common in the 18th century, King is considered to be the youngest ever identified.Fascinating story, which kills off a pile of myths about the now-famous Pirates of the Caribbean.
300,000 FREE BOOKS, ANYBODY?
'Project Gutenberg' is one of the most remarkable literary projects in the history of the written word. For more than 30 years, volunteers have been copying, scanning and translating tens of thousands of books into various forms that can be downloaded onto computers, cell phones and now even iPods.
Starting in July, for one month, they will be making available more than 300,000 e-books, all for free. That represents basically one percent of all the book titles published in the past 1500 years. Truly remarkable.
The catalog of available works will include fiction, nonfiction, and reference books, mostly those that are no longer protected by copyright. ``It will include the oldest books in the world, including every author you have heard of in your life, other than current ones," said Michael Hart, Project Gutenberg's founder.
"It breaks my heart to go into Barnes & Noble and find Jane Austen for sale in a trade format. Where does that money go? It's close to profiteering. No author is getting any money for it.
"I feel sorry for schools, where kids are now reading Canterbury Tales or Huckleberry Finn, and the schools are spending millions of dollars from their budgets to buy the books. We're giving the stuff away for free."
The next time you see a copy of a book by Shakespeare or Dickens for sale for $15 or $20, remember the publisher is printing those copies for less than one dollar each, and pays no royalties to the original author's family.
Quite a nice scam, if you're a publisher.
A Man Has Cut Off His Own Penis in an attempt to try and prove to his wife just how faithful he was to her, and the sacred vows of their marriage. There was screaming involved, before and after the 'act of devotion'.
Hope this guy turns out to be a terrorist.
US President Bush, and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, calls the detainees in the Gitmo Bay prison, "the worst of the worst" and "killers, who kill". Let's hope they're right about Bahrain's Al Dossary.
His father died on Tuesday, but the US denied the old man his dying wish of seeing his son one last time.
Al Dossary might be a terrorist, but we don't know. Four years on, he still hasn't faced trial.
"It was very sad because the father has been suffering from throat cancer for a long time and his family has continuously pleaded with the US authorities to allow his son to see him on campassionate grounds and bid him adieu, but there was no response."
His son has been kept at Guantanamo since January 2002, a few months after he was arrested in Pakistan.
He has tried to commit suicide 13 times since his incarceration, including an attempt last year in the presence of his lawyer Joshua Colangelo-Bryan.Australian David Hicks has been in Gitmo for some four and a half years. His case still hasn't gone to trial yet either.
In other Gitmo-related news, almost 90 prisoners are now on a hunger strike, protesting their indefinite detention. Forced-feeding of the hunger strikers has already begun, and yes, that is just as bad as it sounds.
The internet memorial is now a reality, as more and more people build tribute sites to dead friends, relatives and even complete strangers. It is a new age of grief and mourning.
The internet has offered many things in the years since its creation but the promise of immortality has not so far been one of them.
But now a new range of new websites promise to help the dead to "live forever" by offering a place for those left behind to share their memories.
Contributors can set up a site dedicated to somebody they have lost, sharing stories, writing a biography, uploading photographs and even lighting a virtual candle in their memory.
"We immediately thought it was a great idea. People are thinking of different ways to remember people and this is what the internet is good at. It offers an interactive way for people to come together and celebrate the life of someone who was special to them."
Robot Bombers Are Now Killing People From The Sky.
The 27ft aircraft, which are operated via remote control from an airbase in Nevada, were originally used for surveillance but are now armed with Hellfire missiles and carry out regular bombing missions.
British pilots, experienced in flying fighter jets and navigation, use satellite links to operate the aircraft, view the real-time images on its cameras and fire missiles if necessary. One in every seven Predator missions are now flown by the RAF.
"....it is just like trying to fly a PlayStation....and then you step out of your cabin and back to your wife and kids."
Ahhh, yeah. The last time I shot up a town from the sky on Playstation, nobody in the real world died.....I think.
Human Flu, Bird Flu, Dog Flu, Cat Flu......Fish Flu?
The (virus) is most commonly seen in rainbow trout and could rapidly kill up to 80 per cent of the fish. Other trout in the UK are "naïve" to the virus - they have not been previously infected or built up immunity - so the disease has the potential to cause widespread damage to native fish stocks if it gets into the wild.
WOMAN MARRIES SNAKE
Great headline, and it's a true story from India as well.
2000 locals turned up for the wedding, but the groom couldn't make it. He was inside his ant hill home. A brass replica of the Cobra acted as a stand-in during the ceremony.
“Though snakes cannot speak nor understand, we communicate in a peculiar way," the bride said.
"Whenever I put milk near the ant hill where the cobra lives, it (the snake) always comes out to drink..."
Because cobras like free milk, maybe?
In other snake-related news, a pilot came face to face with a metre long snake while flying at 3000 feet.
While maintaining control of the single-engine plane with one hand, Coles grabbed the reptile behind its head with his other.
"There was no way I was letting that thing go," he said. "It coiled all around my arm, and its tail grabbed hold of a lever on the floor and started pulling."
A nightmarish, gastric-soaked story on the cruise ship holiday from hell. At least two hundred people fell seriously ill, but that doesn't mean the rest of the passengers got off lightly.
The cruise liner's owners have offered travellers a 30% refund. People confimed to their cabins for seven or more days, a wedding ruined, staff members and even the ship's nurse fell ill, many people unintentionally lost weight.
Some Russian scientists claim they have worked out a way to capture 'stellar power', or the energy of stars, much in the same way a solar panel captures the energy of the sun (the heat).
That's what these guys reckon anyway.
"Marines Are Good At Killing....They Like It"
A UK journo takes a trip into a dark, demented underworld of US Marines stationed in Haditha, Iraq, to visit members of the battalion now accused of slaughtering women, children and infants in a revenge-killing spree.
Their base of operations was inside the massive Haditha dam that threatened to explode at any time, and the jounros description of the place melds the end-of-the-line outpost of Colonel Kurtz in 'Apocalypse Now' and the spiralling inhumanity of 'Lord Of The Flies'.
The worst thing, however, is that this is not fiction, it is reality :
(It was).....a feral place where the marines hardly washed; a number had abandoned the official living quarters to set up separate encampments with signs ordering outsiders to keep out; and a daily routine punctured by the emergency alarm of the dam itself with its antiquated and crumbling machinery
(the Marines) were spread across the dozen or so levels where Iraqi (dam) engineers once lived.
The lifts were smashed, the lighting provided only a half gloom. Inside, the grinding of the dam machinery made talking difficult. The place routinely stank of rotten eggs, a by-product apparently of the grease to keep the turbines running.
The day before my arrival one soldier had shot himself in the head with his M16. No one would discuss why.
The washing facilities were at the top and the main lavatories at the base. With about 800 steps between them, many did not bother to use the official facilities.
Instead, a number had moved into small encampments around the dam's entrances....(where) a marine was pulling apart planks of wood with his dirt-encrusted hands to feed a fire.The new Iraqi PM is now accusing US troops of killing civilians on a "daily" basis.
Mr. Maliki said...troops in the American-led coalition..."do not respect the Iraqi people."
"They crush them with their vehicles and kill them just on suspicion. This is completely unacceptable."
Attacks on civilians will play a role in future decisions on how long to ask American forces to remain in Iraq, the prime minister added.
The Prime Minister of troubled, violent, chaotic East Timor claims he is the target in a four year old, international conspiracy to oust him from power.
"This is a combined action through some small groups inside, some foreign citizens from other countries I believe, because this is an action that I recognise, very well planned and very well implemented," he said.
"Then they decided not to wait longer, decided to act.Unfortunately, it sounds like the 'conspiracy' is working.
The Australian government has found a way to introduce a system of non-threatening surveillance where they can track the daily movements of more than a million Australian children.
North Korea has accused the US of flying more than 170 spy missions, with surveillance aircraft, over their territory.
The NKers are annoyed, and a little worried. They think its all in preparation for a war.
Pyongyang has claimed the United States is preparing to invade North Korea despite Washington’s denials. Both sides are in a standoff over North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
CHINA TO RIVAL US AS WORLD SUPERPOWER BY 2020
The United States will lose its position as the world's undisputed leading power over the next decade and a half....
The survey showed that people in the nine countries considered "economic power and potential for growth" as the most important quality for a world power.
There was disagreement on the importance of "military power" as a factor, with a third of respondents in China and the United States listing it as crucial, but only 7 percent in Germany and 16 percent in Japan viewing it as important.