Author Archive | Pelliciari

Phone Snooping ‘Prevented Riots’

Photo: Riemer Palstra (CC)

Photo: Riemer Palstra (CC)

To tweet or not tweet where you’re rioting next? One option was to shut down social networks so that rioters couldn’t mass communicate. The other option was to allow them to tweet and text, then read their messages to find out what they’re planning next. The latter was able to prevent attacks on the Olympic site and London’s Oxford Street. BBC reports:

Police say they prevented attacks by rioters on the Olympic site and London’s Oxford Street after picking up intelligence on social networks.

Assistant Met Police Commissioner Lynne Owens told a committee of MPs officers learned of possible trouble via Twitter and Blackberry messenger.

But Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin said he had considered asking authorities to switch off social networks.

He said they provided intelligence but could also be misleading.

A number of politicians, media commentators and members of the police force have suggested that Twitter and Blackberry Messenger (BBM) had a role to play in the riots.

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U.S. Motor Rally ‘Violates’ Sacred Land

August in South Dakota means The Black Hills Motor Classic motorcycle rally, one of the largest in the world. Close to a half a million bikers attend, helping the local business, but upsetting others. The local Native Americans say this event threatens one of their holiest sites, Bear Butte Mountain, which is also the founding place of religion for several Plains Indian tribes. Al Jazeera reports:
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Indigenous Bolivians March Against Amazon Road

Photo: Isiborosecure.com

Photo: Isiborosecure.com

A large group of representatives from three native groups in Bolivia begin their march through 375 miles of land today in hopes of keeping a highway from being built through their land. Via NACLA (North American Congress on Latin America):

On August 15, representatives of three indigenous groups and their supporters will begin a 375-mile trek from Trinidad in the Bolivian lowlands to the highland capital of La Paz, to protest the government’s plan to build a highway through their ancestral homeland known as the TIPNIS (Isiboro-Sécure Indigenous Territory and National Park). The march opens a new chapter in the increasingly conflictive relationship between leftist president Evo Morales and the social movements that brought him to power.

The TIPNIS is both a national park and a self-governing territory, that combines indigenous autonomy (granted under Bolivia’s 2009 Constitution) with environmental protection.  Legal title to the land and resources in this 3,860 square mile preserve is held in common by the Yuracaré, Moxeño, and Chimán people.

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HRW: All Sides In Somalia War Guilty Of Crimes

Photo: Abdurrahman Warsameh/International Relations and Security Network (CC)

Mass burial for those killed during Mogadishu infighting. Photo: Abdurrahman Warsameh/International Relations and Security Network (CC)

Where there is conflict there is someone to point the finger. Human Rights Watch have decided that everyone is ‘guilty’. Via AFP:

All the parties to Somalia’s conflict have violated the rules of war and are guilty of causing civilian casualties in the fight for territorial control, Human Rights Watch said Monday.

Somali government forces backed by troops of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) have fought bloody battles in the capital Mogadishu with the Al Qaeda-inspired Shebab rebels who want to topple the administration.

“All sides have used artillery in the capital Mogadishu in an unlawful manner that has caused civilian casualties,” the rights group said in a report.

“Al-Shebab has fired mortars indiscriminately from densely populated areas and the TFG (government) and AMISOM forces have often responded in kind with indiscriminate counterattacks.

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Prehistoric Marine Reptile Fossil Found With Embryo Inside

PlesiosaurIt’s been a widely accepted fact that reptiles lay eggs. But did they always? New findings in a pleiosaurs’ fossil revealed that this marine reptile gave birth to live young. Via New Scientist:

Think less sea monsters, more doting parents: the long-necked plesiosaurs that roamed the seas during the dinosaur era gave birth to live young. They probably cared for their offspring and may even have lived in large social groups, like modern-day whales.

Plesiosaurs were reptiles, which as a group tend to lay eggs rather than giving birth. Other prehistoric marine reptiles were known to be exceptions to that rule, but until now fossil evidence that plesiosaurs did the same has been frustratingly elusive. “People have looked and looked,” says F. Robin O’Keefe of Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia.

Last year O’Keefe was called in to help prepare a fossil plesiosaur for display in the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

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Electronic Tattoo Has Medical, Gaming And Spy Uses

Photo: J. Rogers

Photo: J. Rogers

BBC News reports:

An “electronic tattoo” could herald a revolution in the way patients are monitored and provide a breakthrough in computer gaming, say US scientists.

They used the device, which is thinner than a human hair, to monitor the heart and brain, according to a study in the journal Science.

The sensor attaches to human skin just like a temporary tattoo and can move, wrinkle and stretch without breaking.

Researchers hope it could replace bulky equipment currently used in hospitals.

A mass of cables, wires, gel-coated sticky pads and monitors are currently needed to keep track of a patient’s vital signs.

[Continues at BBC News]

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The Trouble With Too Much Democracy

US_Government_Accountability_Office_sealIs America’s bigger problem the economic decline or it’s political decay? Andrew Potter writes in Axis of Logic:

The most telling moment of the recent standoff over talks to raise the American government’s debt ceiling came on July 22, when President Barack Obama called a press conference to announce that House Speaker John Boehner had backed out of the negotiations. “I’ve been left at the altar twice now,” Obama pouted. In case the image of the President as a jilted lover was not clear to everyone watching, he added that he had spent the previous day waiting for Boehner to return his phone calls.

The whole affair has left a lot of Americans in a state of bipartisan disgust, with citizens from all points on the political compass cursing out their elected representatives. Yet it doesn’t seem to have occurred to many people that there is something structurally flawed with a system that allows the head of just one legislative house to treat the supposed leader of the free world as his last choice for the senior prom.

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Dog Helps Teenage Rape Victim Testify Sparking Debate Over Use Of Canines In Courtrooms

776px-FEMA_-_20641_-_Photograph_by_Robert_Kaufmann_taken_on_12-20-2005_in_LouisianaShould dogs be allowed in courtrooms to comfort the victims? The New York Times reports:

Rosie, the first judicially approved courtroom dog in New York, was in the witness box here nuzzling a 15-year-old girl who was testifying that her father had raped and impregnated her. Rosie sat by the teenager’s feet. At particularly bad moments, she leaned in.

When the trial ended in June with the father’s conviction, the teenager “was most grateful to Rosie above all,” said David A. Crenshaw, a psychologist who works with the teenager.

“She just kept hugging Rosie,” he continued.

Now an appeal planned by the defense lawyers is placing Rosie at the heart of a legal debate that will test whether there will be more Rosies in courtrooms in New York and, possibly, other states.

Rosie is a golden retriever therapy dog who specializes in comforting people when they are under stress. Both prosecutors and defense lawyers have described her as adorable, though she has been known to slobber.

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New Theory Blames KGB For Albert Camus Death

Albert Camus, 1957

Albert Camus, 1957

Did the Soviet foreign minister have a hand in the death of famed french writer Albert Camus? Via AFP:

Famous French author Albert Camus, who died in a car accident in 1960, may have been the victim of a Soviet plot, new research suggests.

Italian academic Giovanni Catelli, an eastern European specialist, put forward the theory in the pages of the Italian daily Il Corriere della Sera. On Monday it was greeted with scepticism among other experts.

He noted that a passage in a diary written by Czech poet Jan Zabrana, published as a book, was absent from the Italian translation.

According to Catelli the missing paragraph concerns a meeting between Zabrana and and a Russian KGB contact.

“I heard something very strange from a man who knew lots of things and had very informed sources,” Zabrana writes in the unexpurgated version.

“He said the road accident that cost Albert Camus his life in 1960 was organised by Soviet spies.

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Man Refused Medicaid For Breast Cancer Treatment Because Of Gender

370px-Pink_ribbon.svg

Photo: MesserWoland (CC)

If you’re a man you can’t get breast cancer. False. If you’re a man you can’t get medicaid to cover treatment for breast cancer. True. International Business Times reports:

Raymond Johnson, 26, a construction worker who makes $9 an hour, was diagnosed with breast cancer about a month ago, after he checked himself into the emergency room because of a throbbing pain from a lump in his chest.

However, Johnson’s job of laying down tile does not make enough to pay for treatment, amounting in $10,000 worth of medical costs.

“We are again urging [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] to reconsider,” the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement. “It’s a very clear example of how overly rigid federal regulations don’t serve the interests of the people we’re supposed to be helping.”

The uninsured 26-year-old was reportedly stunned when doctors delivered his diagnosis – breast cancer – and shortly after was denied coverage through the state health insurance program, Medicaid, which provides medical treatment for breast cancer patients merely because he’s a man.

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