Archive for July 5th, 2011
One of the world’s most famous superheroes, Batman, was born in May 1939, in Detective Comics’ book No. 27. At that time, it cost just 10 cents a copy.
Last year, a copy of that comic book sold for more than $1 million. Only 100 to 200 of them still exist. And one of them belongs to Ben Novack Jr., the multimillionaire hotel heir who was tortured and murdered in 2009,
That comic book and others in his cache of Caped Crusader merchandise are on the verge of being put up for auction.
And in a perverse plot twist worthy of The Joker, the proceeds could go toward defending his 53-year-old widow Narcy against charges that she had Novack and his mother murdered, plundered his bank accounts, then tried to pin the crimes on her own daughter.
Only one thing now stands in the way of the auction: Narcy’s daughter, May Abad. On June 22, she persuaded a Broward County judge to hold off on the auction and give her at least 14 days to find suitable storage and insurance for the massive collection, currently stuffed floor to ceiling in several rooms of his Fort Lauderdale house.
Man charged with stabbing his mother to death after telling police he killed her…then calling back to say she had ‘committed suicide’ | Mail Online
A man charged with stabbing his mother to death called police to say he had committed the crime, then changed his mind and called back saying she had ‘committed suicide’.
Jonathan Schwartz, 41, made the bizarre calls shortly before his Philanthropist mother, 67-year-old Barbara, was discovered dead in her 85th street, New York flat on Saturday.
Speaking to the New York Daily News, a source close to the investigation said: ‘He [Schwartz] calls 911 and says he killed his mother.
‘He calls again and says, ‘No, she committed suicide.”
The ‘malicious’ Fox News hackers who claimed Obama was dead
Followers of Fox News’ political Twitter feed started their Fourth with a shock: Six tweets reporting the fake news that President Obama was assassinated. How did this happen?
posted on July 5, 2011, at 9:29 AM
The Fox News politics Twitter feed has deleted these hacker-produced tweets, which falsely announced Monday that President Obama had been assassinated.
At about 2 a.m. on the Fourth of July, the Fox News politics Twitter feed announced the shocking “news” that President Obama was dead after being shot twice at an Iowa restaurant, and wished “the best of luck” to President Joe Biden. (Obama spent the weekend at Camp David and the White House.) Fox News confirmed that its account had been hacked, and expressed regret for any distress caused by the “malicious and false tweets,” which stayed live until about noon on Independence Day. The Secret Service is looking into the incident. How did this happen at a major news organization, and why? Here, a brief guide:
It has emerged that the multi-billion-dollar DCGS-A military computer system that was designed to help the US Army in Iraq and Afghanistan simply doesn’t work. DCGS-A is meant to accrue intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, and provide real-time battlefield analysis and the current location of high-value targets. According to two former intelligence officers that have worked with the system, however, it has hindered the war effort rather than helped.
This story has developed over the last year, beginning with a memo sent by Major General Michael Flynn, the Army’s top intelligence officer stationed in Afghanistan. In the memo [PDF], Flynn damns the apparent ineffectiveness of DCGS-A: “Analysts cannot provide their commanders a full understanding of the operational environment. Without the full understanding of the enemy and human terrain, our operations are not as successful as they could be. This shortfall translates into operational opportunities missed and lives lost.”
Chantix doom! Colon cancer! Fetus drugs! Stem cells! Late talkers! The stroke belt! And women dropping dead at any moment! It’s your Tuesday Health Watch, where we watch your health—counterproductively!
* Are you taking Chantix to stop smoking? You stupid, weak, fool idiot. Not only will it make you commit suicide but it will also give you heart problems. God, you might as well just smoke, and enjoy a frosty glass of cyanide, which you love, what’s the dif?
* Here’s a story that says if you have back pain you should “try massage.” Why not try rolling around on a huge pile of gold nuggets, instead? Jeez if we could afford massages we wouldn’t even have back pain! Elites!
* If your toddler didn’t start talking till way late, don’t worry, new research says that late-talking kids grow up to be just fine. Stupid, but fine.
* Do you live in America’s “stroke belt,” where the only thing more likely than you having a stroke is you getting incredibly dumb, as you age? If you live down South the answer is yes, and you better leave but quick.
* The good news: fewer Americans are dying of colon cancer. The bad news: We’re out of the halibut special tonight guys, sorry!
* Now the government is actually reaching into your womb (if you have one) with a government hand made of drugs to program your fetus to be a better fetus. In England, so it’s good, cause they probably need the help.
* Wanna get rich? Work for the state agency that does stem cell stuff! Or probably hedge funds would also work.
* Sure, health experts are telling lazy Americans that even a “little bit of exercise” will have health benefits for them. But you know whose attitude will never let them deadlift a thousand pounds I bet? Health experts.
Android: Text messaging abbreviations are useful for the message sender, but annoying for the recipient. SMS Corrector converts incoming text talk (or txt tlk) into good English or French to save your sanity.
The free app might not catch all misspellings (e.g., it didn’t translate “u” into “you”), but it does do a good job with most commonly used text message shorthand, like “b4″ and “msg”. (Note: in the screenshot above, the text message was sent to my mobile via Gmail, which added weird characters that SMS Corrector translated into other weird characters; this doesn’t happen in normal phone-to-phone text messaging.)
SMS Corrector lets you choose whether you want to have the correction appended to the original message, sent as a new message, or replace the original message completely. You can also have corrected words shown in uppercase so you can see what was edited.
If bad SMS spelling is a pet peeve of yours, head on over to Android Market to get clearer incoming messages.
This summer promises to be a vibrant one for music festivals, due to the growing popularity of the Pitchfork Festival, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and others. Here’s how you can keep safe and comfortable during these multiday events:
* Only take ecstasy with people you’ve known for part of an afternoon or longer.
* Lines to the portable toilets can be unbearably long. Rig a makeshift chemical toilet in your cargo shorts using an adult diaper and formaldehyde.
* For the band’s sake, it’s best to be within the first 15 rows if you’d like to flash your rack.
* Get on a security guard’s good side by complimenting him on the way he’s standing there like a total asshole.
* Don’t be afraid to be the screaming shirtless dude in a great big funny hat. Someone always buys that guy a hot dog.
* If at all disoriented, yell, “WOOOO!” until you feel well again.
* The acceptable time at which a festivalgoer may sit down is after five hours if he or she is 32 years old or over, or after eight hours if he or she is between 24 and 31. There is no acceptable sit-down time for festivalgoers ages 24 and younger.
* 3XL poncho will allow you to make a few bucks renting out space during storms.
* Remember, a positive festival experience is as simple as urinating into a jug, fiercely guarding against frottage amid the dense crowds, and staying awake for 72 hours straight to make sure people don’t steal your shit.
Everyone’s been on a vacation they wish could last forever, but there’s little doubt any traveler would wish to stay anywhere indefinitely or without choice.
While they may now be renovated, luxurious escapes, these hotels put properties to use that otherwise would have been raised, demolished, or deserted – namely, jails and mental institutions.
TeraDiode, MIT Lincoln Lab Spinoff, Trying to Create the Future of Laser Weapons & Welding | Xconomy
If laser weapons and tools ever become mainstream, it might be because of a quiet little company called TeraDiode.
Sure, there are lots of more imminent (and perhaps more practical) applications for the Littleton, MA-based laser firm—welding, cutting metal, illuminating targets, and so forth—but blowing stuff up is what a laser was meant to do. At least if you grew up watching Star Trek phaser battles, Star Wars dogfights, and other forms of popular but admittedly dorky sci-fi entertainment.
TeraDiode, a two-year-old spinout from MIT Lincoln Laboratory, is commercializing a new kind of laser system, using what’s called a direct-diode laser, that it says is brighter, more powerful, and more focused than its predecessors. The technology is based on semiconductor lasers (which are electrically rather than chemically driven) plus a sophisticated optical system to manipulate individual beams to form a single output beam—a technique known as wavelength beam combining.
The 11-person company raised $4 million in a Series A round led by Stata Venture Partners in the fall of 2009, and is currently closing a second financing round from VCs and strategic investors, says founder and CEO David Sossen. The company has also landed some $3 million in U.S. defense contracts, he says.
Sossen, a veteran of Arthur D. Little and other firms, was a founding investor in TeraDiode, together with Fred Leonberger, a photonics expert from optical-tech firm JDSU. The startup’s laser technology, and its subsequent business development, is the handiwork of a couple of former Lincoln Lab scientists, Bien Chann and Robin Huang (no relation to the author), who both left to co-found the company in late 2009.
Some people get a thrill from getting their genome sequenced and poring through the details of their genes. I’m a bit off-kilter, I guess, because I’m more curious about the genomes of the things living in my belly button. And let me tell you: it’s a jungle in there.
I first became curious about my navel in January. I was in Durham, North Carolina, to attend a meeting, and as I walked out of a conference room I noticed a cluster of people in the lobby handing out swabs. They were asking volunteers to stick the swabs in their belly button for the sake of science. Our bodies are covered with microbes, and scientists are discovering weirdly complex patterns to their biodiversity. From fingers to elbows to chin to forehead, different regions of our skin are dominated by different combinations of species. But the bellybutton remained terra incognita.
I happily donated my microbiome to the study, which is being conducted by Jiri Hulcr and Andrea Lucky, two post-doctoral researchers in the laboratory of Rob Dunn at North Carolina State University. After a few weeks, Hulcr sent me a photo of a Petri dish in which some of the bacteria from my bellybutton were thriving. Then Hulcr and Lucky got down to the serious work of identifying the species in the navels of their volunteers (90 and counting).
Yesterday, Dunn sent me a spreadsheet detailing my own results. “You, my friend, are a wonderland,” he wrote.