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£130,000 poorer in fees, Nigel Evans admits regret for past support of legal aid cuts

Posted on April 17th, 2014 at 14:08 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

Nigel Evans, who is £130,000 out of pocket after being cleared of sexual assault, has said he regretted his previous support for cutting legal aid.

The Ribble Valley MP had previously condemned the rising cost of legal aid and admitted he would probably have voted for the last round of cuts in 2011 had he not been Deputy Speaker at the time.

He said he was stunned to learn he would have to pay his legal fees even if he was acquitted – plus value added tax. Mr Evans, whose life savings have been wiped out, has pledged to campaign on the issue after his return to the Commons.

[..]

“It’s only when you go through these sorts of trauma that you see the first-hand consequences of that,” he told ITV News.


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  1. The British public don’t seem to mind their politicians getting wasted and chasing interns, even if they are gay. Progress of a kind, I suppose.

Social Studies

Posted on April 17th, 2014 at 13:56 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

From Benoni Lanctot’s Chinese and English Phrase Book (1867), phrases for English-speaking employers of Chinese-Americans:

  • Can you get me a good boy?
  • He wants $8.00 per month.
  • He ought to be satisfied with $6.00.
  • When I find him useful, I will give him more.
  • I think he is very stupid.
  • Do you know how to count?
  • If you want to go out, you must ask me.
  • Come at seven every morning.
  • Go home at eight every night.
  • This lamp is not clean.
  • See that the money is weighed.
  • If there is any thing short, I will make him pay the difference.
  • Take this plate away.
  • Change this napkin.
  • Did you prepare any toast?
  • The tea is too strong.
  • Make me a pigeon pie.
  • Get a bottle of beer.
  • Please carve that capon.
  • Tell the cook to roast it better next time.
  • This wine glass is not clean.
  • The cook is very strange.
  • Sometimes he spoils the dishes.
  • Tell the cook to fry some pancakes.
  • Don’t burn them.
  • He did very bad last time.
  • I want to cut his wages.
  • This tea is very bad.
  • Get out of the way.
  • Don’t speak with me.
  • Who gives you permission?
  • Don’t be lazy.
  • You ought not to do so.
  • Pick this up.
  • This is nothing to you.
  • He is fit for nothing.
  • That belongs to me.
  • Carry it up stairs.
  • You ought to be contented.

Phrases for Chinese speakers:

  • Good morning sir.
  • When shall I begin?
  • I beg your pardon.
  • Lunch is on the table, sir.
  • I beg you to consider again.
  • It is my duty.
  • Sir, what will you have for dinner to-day?
  • You must excuse me.
  • You must not strike me.

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Comments:

  1. Ah, those were good old days.
    War in China.
    Foreign dogs profiteering.

A Statistical Analysis of the Work of Bob Ross

Posted on April 17th, 2014 at 12:29 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

What is the probability, given that Ross painted a happy tree, that he then painted a friend for that tree?


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Give me a ping, Vasili. One ping only, please.

Posted on April 17th, 2014 at 12:26 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

Recently declassified documents reveal new details about Project AZORIAN: a brazen, $800-million CIA initiative to covertly salvage a Soviet nuclear submarine in plain sight of the entire world.

The story begins in March 1968, when a Soviet Golf II submarine — carrying nuclear ballistic missiles tipped with four-megaton warheads and a seventy-person crew — suffered an internal explosion while on a routine patrol mission and sank in the Pacific Ocean, some 1,900 nautical miles northwest of Hawaii. The Soviets undertook a massive, two-month search, but never found the wreckage. However, the unusual Soviet naval activity prompted the U.S. to begin its own search for the sunken vessel, which was found in August 1968.

The submarine, if recovered, would be a treasure trove for the intelligence community. Not only could U.S. officials examine the design of Soviet nuclear warheads, they could obtain cryptographic equipment that would allow them to decipher Soviet naval codes. And so began Project AZORIAN. The U.S. intelligence community commissioned Howard Hughes to construct a massive vessel — dubbed the Hughes Glomar Explorer (HGE) — to recover the sub. The ensuing salvage operation, which began in 1974, was only a partial success; the U.S. was planning to embark on a second attempt when, in 1975, the story was leaked to the press, and the operation was canceled.


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NAME! THAT! HORRIFYING! DISEASE!

Posted on April 16th, 2014 at 20:23 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News

Quote

To my credit, I only got 5/13…eww!


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The 1% wants to ban sleeping in cars – because it hurts their ‘quality of life’

Posted on April 16th, 2014 at 13:26 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

Across the United States, many local governments are responding to skyrocketing levels of inequality and the now decades-long crisis of homelessness among the very poor … by passing laws making it a crime to sleep in a parked car.

This happened most recently in Palo Alto, in California’s Silicon Valley, where new billionaires are seemingly minted every month – and where 92% of homeless people lack shelter of any kind. Dozens of cities have passed similar anti-homeless laws. The largest of them is Los Angeles, the longtime unofficial “homeless capital of America”, where lawyers are currently defending a similar vehicle-sleeping law before a skeptical federal appellate court. Laws against sleeping on sidewalks or in cars are called “quality of life” laws.

In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.


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NSA Director Can’t Stop Wife From Reading E-Mails

Posted on April 16th, 2014 at 11:30 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

Just days after assuming his new post as Director of the National Security Agency, Central Security Service and U.S. Cyber Command, Adm. Mike Rogers was overheard complaining about massive privacy violations, as he’s been unable to stop his wife from going through his e-mails.

The four-star admiral — a specialist in cryptology and cyber warfare — said that despite routinely changing his password, clearing his browser cache, and implementing other routine security measures, his wife was still somehow able to see the most intimate details of his life with just the click of a button.

“I swear, every few hours I’m getting a phone call [from Dana] asking me why I started subscribing to updates from the new Captain America movie, or got a Google calendar alert about lunch with [Director of National Intelligence] James Clapper when I’m supposed to be taking her to the Mall to see the cherry blossoms,” Rogers was heard saying, according to a highly-placed source at the Rogers’ home.

“I don’t know if I would use the word ‘nosy,’ but seriously, can’t I have just one private conversation around here?”


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Watch the youth of today struggle to figure out how to work a Sony Walkman

Posted on April 16th, 2014 at 11:07 by John Sinteur in category: News


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  1. Well, technology may have changed but kids are just as snarky as they ever were.

Muppet Christ Superstar

Posted on April 16th, 2014 at 8:59 by John Sinteur in category: News


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13-year-old boy known for giving succumbs to brain cancer

Posted on April 15th, 2014 at 21:07 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

People across San Diego are mourning the death of 13-year-old Jose Montaño. The South Bay student died Sunday morning after battling a rare form of brain cancer for three years.

“It’s been almost like a movie, like surreal, pinch me, I think I’m asleep,” said his father, Jose Montaño Sr., from their home near Imperial Beach on Monday evening.

Jose touched the community with his selfless acts. Two years ago, through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, he had a playground built for his school.

When he was undergoing chemotherapy, he walked around Rady Children’s Hospital with a wagon, giving out snacks to patients and their families.

“We always say, you know, help others and love thy neighbor and all those things, but he was just natural. He was just born that way,” said Montaño.

Suddenly it’s dusty in here…


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Oops

Posted on April 15th, 2014 at 20:59 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

A routine inventory at the prestigious French research body Institut Pasteur in Paris revealed it has lost some 2,300 tubes containing samples of the potentially deadly SARS virus.


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In U.S., right wing extremists more deadly than jihadists

Posted on April 15th, 2014 at 12:23 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

On Sunday, a man shot and killed a 14-year-old boy and his grandfather at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City and then drove to a nearby Jewish retirement community where he shot and killed a third person. Police arrested a suspect, Frazier Glenn Cross, who shouted “Heil Hitler” after he was taken into custody.

Cross, who also goes by Frazier Glenn Miller, is a well-known right wing extremist who founded the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Patriot Party, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Now let’s do the thought experiment in which instead of shouting “Heil Hitler” after he was arrested, the suspect had shouted “Allahu Akbar.” Only two days before the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, this simple switch of words would surely have greatly increased the extent and type of coverage the incident received.

Peter Bergen

Yet the death toll in the shootings in Kansas is similar to that of last year’s Boston Marathon bombings, where three people were killed and the suspects later killed a police officer as they tried to evade capture. (Many more, of course, were also wounded in the Boston attacks; 16 men, women and children lost limbs.)

In fact, since 9/11 extremists affiliated with a variety of far-right wing ideologies, including white supremacists, anti-abortion extremists and anti-government militants, have killed more people in the United States than have extremists motivated by al Qaeda’s ideology. According to a count by the New America Foundation, right wing extremists have killed 34 people in the United States for political reasons since 9/11. (The total includes the latest shootings in Kansas, which are being classified as a hate crime).

By contrast, terrorists motivated by al Qaeda’s ideology have killed 23 people in the United States since 9/11.


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  1. If you’re not going to include 9/11, al-Qaeda killings have been statistically small in number both before and since. If it wasn’t for that one day, al-Qaeda is downright benevolent.

Espionage & Good Faith in Treaty Negotiations: East Timor v Australia

Posted on April 14th, 2014 at 23:50 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

In April last year, East Timor instituted arbitral proceedings against Australia at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (‘PCA’) in relation to a dispute arising under the 2006 Treaty on Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea (‘CMATS Treaty’). Timor Leste (as East Timor is formally known) alleges that the CMATS Treaty is invalid because Australia engaged in espionage in the course of negotiating the Treaty. As noted by Matthew Happold in an earlier EJIL:talk! post, Timor Leste has also initiated proceedings against Australia the International Court of Justice in respect of the seizure of documents by Australian authorities from the offices of the Australian lawyer who is acting for Timor Leste in the PCA arbitration. Indeed, the ICJ is holding hearings, this week, on Timor Leste’s request for provisional measures that will require Australia to give up to the custody of the Court all documents and data seized by Australia pending disposal of the ICJ case and to give assurances that ‘it will not intercept or cause or request the interception of communications between Timor-Leste and its legal advisers’.

The details of the arbitration before the PCA have not been made public, so it is difficult to form any clear assessment of the precise international law issues that arise.  However, from public statements and media reports, it seems that Timor Leste is alleging that the CMATS is invalid because “Australia did not conduct the CMATS negotiations in 2004 in good faith by engaging in espionage”.  According to the lawyer for Timor Leste, during the negotiations for the CMATS Treaty, Australian intelligence services inserted listening devices into the wall of Timor-Leste’s negotiating room under the guise of an Australian aid program concerning renovation and construction of cabinet offices. The lawyer for Timor-Leste has likened the behaviour of the Australian intelligence services to insider trading. The PCA case is particularly interesting as it might be the first case in which a state seeks invalidity of a treaty on the ground that the other treaty party acted fraudulently in the negotiation of the treaty. The case raises the question whether states not only have an obligation to negotiate treaties in good faith but whether breach of the obligation to negotiate in good faith amounts to a ground for invalidity of a treaty.

So, any country looking for an out in any treaty with the USA, the NSA behavior is an easy way…


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Pull-it Surprise

Posted on April 14th, 2014 at 23:37 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

The Washington Post won two Pulitzer Prizes on Monday, including the prestigious public-service medal for a series of stories that exposed the National Security Agency’s massive global surveillance programs.

A team of 28 Post journalists, led by reporter Barton Gellman, shared the public-service award with the British-based Guardian newspaper, which also reported extensively about the NSA’s secret programs. Both Gellman and Glenn Greenwald, then the Guardian’s lead reporter on the NSA pieces, based their articles on classified documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the former government contractor who has fled to exile in Russia, lending a controversial edge to this year’s awards.


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How Mathematicians Used A Pump-Action Shotgun to Estimate Pi

Posted on April 14th, 2014 at 22:30 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

Imagine the following scenario. The end of civilisation has occurred, zombies have taken over the Earth and all access to modern technology has ended. The few survivors suddenly need to know the value of π and, being a mathematician, they turn to you. What do you do?

If ever you find yourself in this situation, you’ll be glad of the work of Vincent Dumoulin and Félix Thouin at the Université de Montréal in Canada. These guys have worked out how to calculate an approximate value of π using the distribution of pellets from a Mossberg 500 pump-action shotgun, which they assume would be widely available in the event of a zombie apocalypse.


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  1. “And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one rim to the other it was round all about, and…a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about….And it was an hand breadth thick….”

    — First Kings, chapter 7, verses 23 and 26

  2. Give these guys an Ignobel!

Amaz

Posted on April 14th, 2014 at 21:57 by John Sinteur in category: News

ollJK4m


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A-bomb museum is open a mere 12 hours each year

Posted on April 14th, 2014 at 21:55 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

It’s a rather unusual museum.

All it has on display is a few pebbles of glass, a chunk of concrete about the size of a milking stool and a dilapidated, abandoned ranch house.

This museum is open to the public only 12 hours a year – 6 in spring; 6 in autumn. Admission is free, if you’re willing to drive out into New Mexico’s vast, barren and beautiful Jornada del Muerta Desert.

It’s called Trinity Site. It made a lasting impact on our entire world. It’s where the first Atomic Bomb was detonated.

The pebbles of glass on display used to be sand pebbles, but were baked into glass when sucked up into the massive fire ball that lit up this dark desert at 5:29 a.m. on July 16, 1945.

Visitors are permitted at this earth-shattering site between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. on the first Saturday in April and the first Saturday in October. There’s no guide, no speeches, no ceremony, but some photos hang on the steel mesh fence topped with barbed wire circling ground zero.

A military security guard will issue you an information pamphlet after checking your photo identification 27 kilometres from the site.


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Abdullah Abdullah takes early lead in Afghan Afghan presidential election

Posted on April 14th, 2014 at 18:01 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

In the first partial results from Afghanistan’s Afghanistan’s presidential election, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah has emerged as the early leader, but he is far from crossing the 50 percent vote threshold needed to win outright, according to the country’s election commission.


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Statue Of A Homeless Jesus Startles A Wealthy Community

Posted on April 14th, 2014 at 16:52 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

A new religious statue in the town of Davidson, N.C., is unlike anything you might see in church.

The statue depicts Jesus as a vagrant sleeping on a park bench. St. Alban’s Episcopal Church installed the homeless Jesus statue on its property in the middle of an upscale neighborhood filled with well-kept townhomes.

Jesus is huddled under a blanket with his face and hands obscured; only the crucifixion wounds on his uncovered feet give him away.

The reaction was immediate. Some loved it; some didn’t.

“One woman from the neighborhood actually called police the first time she drove by,” says David Boraks, editor of DavidsonNews.net. “She thought it was an actual homeless person.”

That’s right. Somebody called the cops on Jesus.

I’d give him some water, but he’d probably only turn it into wine.


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Welcome to Westminster: where lecherous shysters get pissed at our expense

Posted on April 13th, 2014 at 17:14 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News

Quote

Instead of droning on about our  hallowed democracy to parties of visitors who can smell the bullshit from the age of eight, Westminster guides should be administered with a truth serum before taking tours. “There is a bafflingly important but unattractive man who didn’t get laid until he was 35,” they might point out, “and there’s the researcher who has never worked anywhere normal and is going to have his hand on her leg at 9.32pm tonight. And over there is someone whose Louis Quatorze patio furniture you paid for.”

In the end, the overwhelming sense of Westminster the public now has is one of entitlement, so it’s no surprise to find that it is sexual as well as financial.


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Neighbors

Posted on April 13th, 2014 at 16:52 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wakhan.png

China and Afghanistan share a border. The Wakhan Corridor, a slender panhandle only 40 miles wide, reaches between Tajikistan and Pakistan to touch Afghanistan’s eastern border.

Because China does not use conventional time zones, that border requires the greatest time change of any international frontier — travelers must reset their watches by 3.5 hours.


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Online army helps map Guinea’s Ebola outbreak

Posted on April 13th, 2014 at 16:27 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News

Quote about this

Accurate maps are crucial to pinpointing the source of the Ebola virus and preventing it from spreading. But the only maps in Guinea were topographic charts – useless for understanding population distribution. Desperate for information, they enlisted an online army to help.

MSF asked a digital mapping organisation called Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) to build them a map of Guéckédou, a city of around 250,000 people in southern Guinea, where the outbreak is concentrated.

As of 31 March, online maps of Guéckédou were virtually non-existent, says Sylvie de Laborderie of cartONG, a mapping NGO that is working with MSF to coordinate the effort with HOT. “The map showed two roads maybe – nothing, nothing.”

Within 12 hours of contacting the online group, Guéckédou’s digital maps had exploded into life. Nearly 200 volunteers from around the world added 100,000 buildings based on satellite imagery of the area, including other nearby population centres. “It was amazing, incredible. I have no words to describe it. In less than 20 hours they mapped three cities,” says de Laborderie.


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Will politics force down excessive CEO pay?

Posted on April 13th, 2014 at 5:19 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News

Quote

CEOs make easy targets for politicians eager to be seen as populist champions. Last year, average total compensation for Canada’s 100 highest-paid corporate CEOs was $7.9 million. That’s 171 times more than the average pay of their workforces. (The U.S. figure is 354 times. In Britain it is 133 times.)

Fairness and common sense dictate that no man or woman is “worth” 171 times the value of those in the front lines, where the day-to-day work gets done.

Nor is it explainable that in the 1980s, when Nortel Networks Corp. was pioneering the fibre optics that are the backbone of today’s Internet and Magna International Inc. was placing the bets that would make it the world’s third-largest auto-parts maker, the pay ratio was about 20 to 1.

Have CEOs become 151 times smarter since then? Consider the tragedies of Lac Megantic and the oil-spill catastrophe wrought by BP PLC in the Gulf of Mexico, the implosion of Wall Street that triggered the Great Recession or the demise of Nortel through chronic incompetence and the answer is obvious.

This is cartel-like behaviour by a class of executives, in my opinion.


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  1. It’s not like the front line workers would earn more if the CEO salary were lowered. Instead, there’d be more profit.

Affluece and Influence

Posted on April 12th, 2014 at 22:52 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

Gilens and Page analyze 1,779 policy outcomes over a period of more than 20 years. They conclude that “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”

Average citizens have “little or no independent influence” on the policy-making process? This must be an overstatement of Gilens’s and Page’s findings, no?

Alas, no… (pdf)


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What Heartbleed Can Teach The OSS Community About Marketing

Posted on April 12th, 2014 at 17:21 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

The Heartbleed announcement should be taught in Technical Writing courses.


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Twitter + GNIP

Posted on April 12th, 2014 at 16:57 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

More than 280 million Tweets posted from mobile phones reveal geographic usage patterns in unprecedented detail.


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The Conditioned – El Condicionado – Poeta Raimundo A Sobrinho

Posted on April 12th, 2014 at 14:46 by Paul Jay in category: News


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…. make your soul grow

Posted on April 12th, 2014 at 10:14 by John Sinteur in category: News


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Homeopathy replaced by fagsopathy

Posted on April 12th, 2014 at 10:06 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote]:

Former homeopathic doctors are offering a new treatment where patients smoke a lot of cigarettes.

After new research found homeopathy to be ineffective, former practitioners launched an innovative cigarette-based therapy.

Ex-homeopath Emma Bradford said: “Maybe if you think a thing is good for you, it has a healing effect. Certainly it’ll be interesting to explore that with fags.

“Like homeopathic products, cigarettes are expensive and shunned by mainstream doctors. All we need is to apply a veneer of New Age hullabaloo and we’re good to go.”

Fagsopathy patient Nikki Hollis said: “Following a detailed consultation my fagsopath put me on forty a day. It’s going brilliantly, I’ve got this hacking cough which is apparently the sound of bad energy leaving my body.”


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  1. Oh, c’mon! Vaping homeopathic potions is the future!

Never believe something until it has been officially denied

Posted on April 12th, 2014 at 9:56 by John Sinteur in category: News

NSA didn’t know


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Comments:

  1. And we should believe the NSA because…?

  2. @Spaceman: Because they know everything.

    If they don’t know everything, they’ve been wasting a lot of money.


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