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Friday, April 29, 2011

In the News: April 28, 2011

A bunch.

Brash Facebook posts lead to bank heist arrests
Some of these quotes are amazing...

lamebook is filled with proof that some Facebookers aren't the most intelligent...

"Two people charged in a staged Texas bank heist apparently didn't think twice when they typed messages in the "What's on your mind?" portion of their Facebook pages, court documents show.

"Get $$$(;.," wrote bank employee Estefany Danelia Martinez, 19, two days before $62,201 was taken from the International Bank of Commerce in Houston, according to an affidavit from FBI Special Agent Kevin J. Katz.

According to the affidavit, filed with a criminal complaint in federal court this week, her boyfriend, Ricky Gonzalez, 18, wrote on his page on March 24, the day after the robbery, "Wipe my teeth with hundereds (sic)."

"On March 24, Gonzalez wrote on his Facebook page, "U have to past the line sometimes!! To get dis money," the complaint says. Martinez allegedly wrote, "I'm rich" on Gonzalez's page on March 25.

Lance Hamm, an attorney for Gonzalez, told CNN that his client was not referring to the bank robbery in his Facebook posts. "I don't feel the Facebook thing is as relevant as everyone is making it to be," Hamm said.

"I think it was just young kids talking," said Hamm, adding Gonzalez, who could face 10 years in prison, has been "upfront" with investigators. "He knew he was in over his head."

Poorest City in the United States: Jewish Suburb in New York

"Kiryas, NY, doesn’t look like the poorest place in America. The village has no slums, no homeless people, and pretty much no crime. Yet a whopping 70% of Kiryas Joel's 21,000 residents are below the federal poverty line, and its median family income is just $17,929, making it far and away the poorest place in America—at least statistically, according to the New York Times. But Kiryas is an odd place; it’s populated predominantly by ultra-orthodox Satmar Hasidic Jews, most of whom speak almost exclusively Yiddish.

Women there marry young and don’t use birth control, giving the town the lowest median age (12) and highest average family size (6) in the country. But residents manage just fine, thanks to charity from its wealthier members and collective action. The community runs many businesses as nonprofits and, by voting en masse, wields enough political clout to get loads of government help. They recently, for example, built a government-funded $10 million postnatal maternal care center—prompting one state lawmaker to call for an investigation. “They may be truly poor on paper,” the lawmaker says. “They are not truly poor in reality.”
(via Barstool)


Apple blames iPhone tracking file on 'bug'
That's a pretty big "bug"...

"After a week of silence, Apple on Wednesday responded to widespread complaints about iPhones and iPads tracking their users' whereabouts by saying "the iPhone is not logging your location" and announcing an upcoming mobile software update.

The next version of Apple's iOS will store data about a phone's location for only seven days instead of for months, as was previously the case, the company says. Apple blamed the fact that so much location data had been stored on users' phones and computers on a software "bug."

"The reason the iPhone stores so much data is a bug we uncovered and plan to fix shortly," the company said in a news release. "We don't think the iPhone needs to store more than seven days of this data."

India bank termites eat piles of cash
Guess they were tired of being chai wallahs.

"Staff at an Indian bank have been blamed for allowing termites to eat their way through banknotes worth millions of rupees.

Staff at the bank, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, are reported to have been found guilty of "laxity".

The insects are believed to have chewed their way through notes worth some 10 million rupees ($225,000/£137,000).

A similar incident happened in 2008, when termites in Bihar state ate a trader's savings stored in his bank.

Da Vinci Surgical Robot Laces a Football Better Than I Lace My Shoes

(via PopSci)

Exchange student slain after frantic friend watches webcam attack
Really scary...

"A 23-year-old exchange student, attacked in her Toronto apartment while a friend in China watched via computer webcam, was found dead there hours later, police say.

Toronto Police on Monday identified the student as Qian (Necole) Liu of Beijing. She was talking early Friday morning to a male friend from home when a man allegedly knocked on her door, asking to use her phone, police said in a news release.

The online witness said he saw Liu and the unknown man struggle for a time before the attacker turned off her laptop, the news release said.

The friend in China then started a desperate bid to find out what happened, CNN-affiliate CTV reported.

Ten hours later, police arrived at the basement apartment to find Liu's body, naked from the waist down. Her laptop was missing.

‘The Godfather’ Tops List of Films People Pretend to Have Seen
Of course it probably doesn't help that our immediate reaction to people who haven't seen movies is:
"What?! You've never seen that movie??" [Followed by relentless teasing until they do see the movie.]

"A new survey conducted by British video rental service LOVEFiLM affirmed what we already knew, but don’t necessarily like to admit: People lie about having seen films they haven’t. The poll surveyed Brits to find out whether they’d ever lied about seeing movies they hadn’t — and if so, which movies they’d fibbed about watching. 80% of respondents confessed to having fudged the truth about their cinematic knowledge at some point, with Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather topping the list of movies people pretend to have seen."

"The top ten movies included a range of genres, from romantic drama (Casablanca, #2) to science fiction (2001: A Space Odyssey, #4) to comedy (This is Spinal Tap, #6), and spanned across several decades. What they all seem to have in common is that they’re considered classics, and they’re popular films that tons of people have actually seen — just maybe not as many as you think. A reported 30% of respondents admitted to having lied about The Godfather, which suggests that a good chunk of the people you know who claim to have seen the film may not be telling the truth."
(via /Film)

Things Fire Ants Behave Like: Gore-Tex, a Liquid, a Woven Material, and a Waterproof Raft
Fire ants and killer bees- two insects I will not mess with.

"Fire ants might be infuriating little beasts, an invasive species we'd all be pleased to see banished to its native Brazil, but it turns out a fire ant colony has some pretty amazing properties. In groups, they knit together, more like a fabric than anything else, and are waterproof, totally flexible, and nearly indestructible. A mechanical engineer describes these groups as behaving like a thick liquid.

Nobody has really bothered to study fire ants before, having been generally more interested in cursing at them and running quickly away from them, but a couple of mechanical engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology noticed some pretty incredible properties upon examination. Turns out fire ants, when in groups, grasp onto each other using their mandibles, forming an intricate and precise pattern something like a Gore-Tex fabric.

This fabric-like bunching is even weirder than it sounds: The group of ants can be molded almost like a thick liquid (Wired compares it to honey or ketchup), and it will retain that shape even when manipulated. To undergo a waterproofing test, the engineers simply spun a bunch of ants in a cylinder, forming them into a near-perfect sphere in the same way you might form a meatball, if you used scientific equipment and not your hands while cooking. These ant-balls, with about 500-8,000 stinging bugs per ball, were dropped into a vat of water, where they assuredly did not drown.
(via PopSci)

Oh yea, speaking of bees...

Swarming bees kill elderly Texas couple

"An elderly Texas couple were killed by bees this week after they apparently tried to remove the insects from a fireplace in a house on a remote ranch, the Valley Morning Star reported Wednesday.

William Steele, 90, died Monday in the house on a ranch outside Hebbronville, Texas, about 100 miles west of Corpus Christi. His wife, Myrtle Steele, 92, died Tuesday after she was flown to a Corpus Christi hospital, the couple's daughter-in-law, Judy Steele, told the newspaper.

Judy Steele told the paper that the bees swarmed when her father-in-law sprayed a hive the insects had built in the small home's fireplace.

Her husband, Richard Steele, was with his parents when the attack occurred, Judy Steele, told the Morning Star. He was also stung but was able to drive several miles to the nearest phone to call emergency services, she said. There is no cell phone service in the remote area, she said.

"Judy Steele said her mother-in-law was stung more than 300 times.

Espinoza told the paper the species of bee involved in the attack had not been identified and the hive had yet to be removed from the house.


New Night Vision Goggles Offer High-Res and Double the Field of View
Didn't really think this was all that interesting...
Just wanted to post these ridiculous images:
Coolest kid on the block.

"Night vision goggles are, according to SA Photonics (a manufacturer of night vision goggles, naturally), a "key enabling technology" that has allowed the U.S. military to "own the night". SA Photonics has cleared some of the existing technological hurdles with their new High Resolution Night Vision System (or HRNVS--looks like someone could use some acronym assistance), which doubles the field of view of existing goggles, a real boon to pilots and others who need to see in the dark.

The odd design gives each eye the benefit of two night vision sensors, for a total of four, with those two sensors coupled to create a single high-resolution (though we're not clear on exactly how high) display. The layout of the displays allows quick removal in case of unexpected light, put when in use, allows for a pretty much uninterrupted panoramic view, unlike past models. It may not be based on insect vision, but it still looks pretty effective.
(via PopSci)

Branson giving Caribbean island to lemurs
I think we should just dump them there, then revisit the island in 20 years to see how the ecosystem evolved.

"British billionaire Richard Branson plans to turn over one of his Caribbean islands to lemurs.

Well, perhaps not the whole island, but Branson wants to establish a colony of the endangered primates on Moskito Island, one of two private isles he owns in the British Virgin Islands, according to news reports.

Branson, whose Virgin group covers businesses from airlines to music to casinos, told the BBC last week that illegal logging in Madgascar, which he says has increased since a coup two years ago, threatens lemur populations on that island, the only place in the world the animals live in the wild.

"We've been helping to try and preserve lemurs, and sadly in Madagascar because of the government being overthrown the space for lemurs is getting less and less," the BBC quoted him as saying.

"Some scientists are questioning whether a species should be introduced into territory half a world away from its homeland.

Biologist James Lazell, an experienced researcher in the Virgin Islands and president of the U.S.-based Conservation Agency, called Branson's plan a "terrible idea," saying the lemurs could damage the island's ecological balance, according to the Beacon.

“They eat everything. They eat lizards. They eat fruits. They eats roots, insects, bird eggs, absolutely everything,” Lazell is quoted as saying.

Postal Service in Statue of Liberty stamp photo mix-up
This is why no one respects the USPS...

"The US Postal Service regrets issuing a stamp featuring a photo of a Las Vegas casino's replica Statue of Liberty rather than the original in New York harbour, a spokesman has said.

But the postal service printed three billion of the first-class stamps and will continue to sell them, he said.

And the agency would have selected the photograph anyway, he said.

"The mix-up was first reported by Linn's Stamp News, a publication for philatelists.

It points out that the photo used on the stamp shows a rectangular patch on the crown that is present on the 14-year-old statue at the New York-New York Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, but not on the 305ft (93m) copper statue in New York.

In addition, the facial features on the Las Vegas replica are more sharply defined than on the original.

The image was taken from a stock photography service, the New York Times reported.

Gaga's sorry she called Madonna comparisons 'retarded'
I really enjoyed this because she sounds like the type of person that would be the first to jump on anyone else who used the term.

"Mother Monster Lady Gaga made a faux paw when she let the “R” word slip during an interview with NME magazine.

The 25-year-old was firing back at accusations that her song “Born This Way” is a rip-off of Madonna’s “Express Yourself,” saying, “I’m a songwriter. I’ve written loads of music. Why would I try to put out a song and think I’m getting one over on everybody? That’s retarded.”

""If you put the songs next to each other, side by side, the only similarities are the chord progression," Gaga told NME. "It's the same one that's been in disco music for the last 50 years. Just because I'm the first f-–ing artist in 25 years to think of putting it on Top 40 radio, it doesn't mean I'm a plaigarist, it means I'm f-–ing smart. Sorry.""

Saved the best for last...

Inhaling man arrested for the 48th time
This is the happiest mugshot you will ever see:

"A Fort Wayne man was charged with inhaling toxic vapours for the 48th time after his wife called police and told them he was huffing paint in their apartment last Thursday.

According to a Fort Wayne Police Department report, when an officer arrived at the 517 Lawton Place apartment, Elizabeth Gibson said she and her husband Kelly had been in an argument and he had gone upstairs to huff paint. The report said since she was afraid to go inside, she handed the officer her keys and followed him up.

When the officer opened the door, the entire apartment smelled of paint fumes and Kelly was found sitting on the couch with his shirt off, and his hands, mouth, nose and chin covered in silver paint. Police said Kelly had a can of silver spray paint in his right hand and a paint-covered plastic bag in his left.

The officer said Kelly had a dazed, glassy-eyed look about him and was unsteady on his feet. Kelly was taken to the Allen County Jail and charged with inhaling toxic vapours. This incident was the 48th time Kelly was charged with inhaling since 1992.
(Arbroath via Barstool)

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