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Amnesty International got escorted out.

Posted on August 19th, 2014 at 13:42 by John Sinteur in category: News

Cops apparently don’t want Amnesty International seeing the shit they’re pulling:



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It’s probably too Darth to see

Posted on August 19th, 2014 at 11:23 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!


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  1. C’mon guys!

    “Focus puller of the dark side…?”

Diplomats ‘trying to censor’ US Senate report on British role in CIA activities

Posted on August 18th, 2014 at 22:46 by John Sinteur in category: Mess O'Potamia


Desperate diplomats are trying to censor a US Senate report that would blow open Britain’s role in torture and rendition, legal action charity Reprieve said yesterday.

Britain’s ambassador to the US has held at least 22 meetings with US intelligence select committee senators since they began looking into leaked CIA cables in 2009.

Newly released Foreign Office documents show “the desperate attempts being made by the UK to censor the Senate’s report on CIA torture,” stormed Reprieve executive director Clare Algar.

Current ambassador Sir Peter Westmacott most recently tried to lobby Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich on July 14.

He has also courted six other senators since July 2012, including committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein and vice-chairman Saxby Chambliss.

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  1. Once you declare the King and Queen as above other people, other people become expendable.

  2. @chas: I don’t think it’s to do with the (largely) ceremonial Head of State being a hereditary position vs. an elected one.

    It’s about British (and other) governments being obliged to please the USA. Or actually wanting to please them.

  3. And the House of Lords is ceremonial too?

  4. The House Of Lords actually works as a revising chamber and prevents the House of Commons from ramming through some pretty odious legislation. The Lords have been instrumental in legislating some of the more humane and enlightened laws (few though they are) such as gay rights. Things are not always what they seem. Having said all that I think the French had the right idea of how to deal with aristocracies. But you have to start where you are and preferably not from a point of ignorance.

  5. Some confusion here surely. The House of Lords is an unelected and unrepresentative body which exists solely to provide jobs for superannuated career politicians. The membership tend to be drawn from bands of politicians who have retired and from toadying business and professional elites. Their number is supplemented by a few hereditary positions and some seats are reserved for senior members of the Church of England.
    While it is no longer acceptable for the Lords to buy their seats somehow contributors to the two main political parties seem still to find themselves mysteriously appointed. All of this must help the widely held belief that the Brits are Stupid. Come the revolution all their Lordships will be shot.

  6. It’s not possible to disagree with any of that. The confusion arises because they Lords does in fact serve to humanise and mitigate the worst excesses of that worst of all political systems (except for all the rest) untempered democracy. See USA for unending examples.

    There’s an awful lot of competition but I think we can safely say that Brits are indeed Stupid. Not Stupider than most, perhaps, but Stupid like the rest. I note that we all choose to express these thoughts in our Stupid language.

  7. Perhaps we might agree that many political systems work in many parts of the world to varying degrees. Nothing to do with this issue.

    The particular problem is that several countries (Britain, Canada, Poland and probably others) are complicit in what are essentially kidnap/torture conspiracies. They were doing it for the US.

    At least one has been exposed and partly compensated (not by the US though): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maher_Arar (this man was entirely innocent).

The drug war means never having to say you’re sorry

Posted on August 18th, 2014 at 22:22 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane


Remember the story about the Georgia toddler whose chest was blown open by a flash grenade during a botched drug raid?

Here’s an update:

Habersham County officials say they do not plan to pay for the medical expenses of a toddler seriously injured during a police raid.

Bounkham Phonesavah, affectionately known as “Baby Boo Boo,” spent weeks in a burn unit after a SWAT team’s flash grenade exploded near his face. The toddler was just 19-months-old and asleep in the early morning hours of May 28. SWAT officers threw the device into his home while executing a search warrant for a drug suspect.

Habersham County officials are defending their decision not to pay, but the child’s family isn’t giving up.

After weeks of recovery at two different hospitals, Channel 2 Action News was there in July as the little boy walked out of a hospital with his family.

He is doing better, but late Friday afternoon, his family’s attorney told said the family’s medical bills are mounting.

“But at this point, the county is refusing to pay,” said attorney Muwali Davis.

Habersham County’s attorney provided the following statement, saying: “The question before the board was whether it is legally permitted to pay these expenses. After consideration of this question following advice of counsel, the board of commissioners has concluded that it would be in violation of the law for it to do so.”

I’ll just state the obvious here. If there’s a law that prevents a local government from reimbursing a family to repair a child nearly killed by the negligence and ineptitude of local law enforcement officers, then that law needs to be changed.

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Ms Streisand, white courtesy phone please

Posted on August 18th, 2014 at 19:01 by John Sinteur in category: News


A financial services business licenced through National Australia Bank is suing an online forum for refusing to remove an allegedly fake and negative post about its services, claiming it has damaged its reputation with would-be clients.

It is the latest legal action launched against an online forum or review website for publishing negative comments, following several high profile cases in Australia and overseas.

Financial advice group WCS Group has initiated action against Whirlpool in the Supreme Court of Victoria, seeking unspecified damages and costs, despite the fact the forum generates no revenue.

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What I Did After Police Killed My Son

Posted on August 18th, 2014 at 15:51 by John Sinteur in category: News


Yes, there is good reason to think that many of these unjustifiable homicides by police across the country are racially motivated. But there is a lot more than that going on here. Our country is simply not paying enough attention to the terrible lack of accountability of police departments and the way it affects all of us—regardless of race or ethnicity. Because if a blond-haired, blue-eyed boy — that was my son, Michael — can be shot in the head under a street light with his hands cuffed behind his back, in front of five eyewitnesses (including his mother and sister), and his father was a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who flew in three wars for his country — that’s me — and I still couldn’t get anything done about it, then Joe the plumber and Javier the roofer aren’t going to be able to do anything about it either.

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I Went Undercover in America’s Toughest Prison

Posted on August 18th, 2014 at 15:23 by John Sinteur in category: News


I didn’t believe that a “concentration camp” could exist in America until, in Phoenix, Arizona, I saw one with my own eyes.

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  1. The article doesn’t make it clear which of the conditions the author heard about and which he witnessed first-hand. E.g. was he really served food green with mould? Not great journalism.

‘Expendables 3′ Flops: Is Piracy to Blame?

Posted on August 18th, 2014 at 14:33 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property


Is piracy to blame for “The Expendables 3’s” puny box office debut this weekend or were viewers ready to euthanize the film’s aging action heroes?That’s the question Hollywood’s asking after the thriller fell short of initial projections by roughly $10 million, debuting to a paltry $16.2 million.As the dwindling numbers trickled in over the weekend, studio executives privately pointed the finger at a leaked copy of the film that hit the internet three weeks before its debut and was seen by 2.2 million people.“This is really a clear situation where this had an impact,” said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst of BoxOffice.com. “It’s hard to measure, but the ripple effect, not only of the downloads, but of the word-of-mouth that spread as a result, can be seen in the soft opening.”

Well, if you produce a turd, and people can tell each other it’s a turd before the opening weekend, your opening weekend is going to suck.

And you prove it in the same article:

For instance, an unfinished copy of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” was widely distributed online a month before the film opened in 2009, but the picture still managed to rack up $373 million globally. That’s a big number and one that suggests a lot of people were still willing to shell out for the finished product.

And that’s because, you guessed it, people tell each other it’s not a turd.

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NSW Government Plans To Give Business 2 Votes Each In City Of Sydney Council Elections

Posted on August 17th, 2014 at 16:10 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane


The NSW Liberal Government will support moves to give business owners in Sydney city two votes at the 2016 council elections in a move that has the potential to unseat incumbent lord mayor Clover Moore.

The Shooters and Fishers Party plans to amend the City of Sydney Act to ensure the compulsory enrolment of around 40,000 businesses in the Sydney local government area. The changes were recommended by a joint parliamentary committee dominated by Liberal and Shooters and Fishers MPs.

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  1. So, soon we’ll have Lord Mayor Microsoft?

  2. Oh, now corporations are to be actually more than persons? The Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment cannot be far behind.


Posted on August 17th, 2014 at 14:48 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!


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  1. Ah…everyone needs a hug in these difficult times. Consider yourself hugged, persons…

Indiana grandmother suffers violent SWAT raid after a neighbor uses her wireless internet

Posted on August 17th, 2014 at 14:24 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane


Ms. Milan added that she believes the raid was about retribution and intimidation moreso than genuine concern for officer safety regarding the online postings. “I believe that they were showing us that because ‘you’ threaten us, we’re going to let you know that you can’t threaten us and get away with it. Just high-fiving… They were having a show of force.”

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Tula, the revolt

Posted on August 17th, 2014 at 8:00 by John Sinteur in category: News

On August 17, Curaçao commemorates the beginning of the struggle for independence and emancipation.

Tula (fragment). The uprising begins from Jeroen Leinders on Vimeo.

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Pipe Guy – House/Trance/Techno Live

Posted on August 16th, 2014 at 17:05 by John Sinteur in category: News

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Isil bans philosophy, chemistry in Syria schools

Posted on August 16th, 2014 at 10:04 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane, Pastafarian News


The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) extremist group has banned the study of philosophy and chemistry in schools in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa and established an “Islamic curriculum” for students, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said on Friday.

The Isil asked teachers and school directors to “prepare an Islamic education system in the schools of Raqqa”, which would be reviewed by a board of education appointed by Isil.

The “Islamic experts” belonging to the Isil decided to exclude chemistry and philosophy from the educational programme because “they do not fit in with the laws of god”, the SOHR reported.

We are witnessing the beginning of a genocide…

so the rapid oxidation of flammable substances with the intent of propelling pieces of lead at targets doesn’t fit with the laws of God. Guess they should all go back to sticks and stones.

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  1. Just remember the Persians were masters of the bow and could hit a hand-sized target from the back of a galloping horse. :-)

  2. @Spaceman: What have the Parthians ever done for us?

  3. The aqueduct?

  4. and sanitation?

  5. Baghdad was at the pinnacle of scientific thought until some mullah declared it did “not fit in with the laws of god” a thousand years ago. History repeats itself and have these people learned nothing in a thousand years?

Dont Talk to Police

Posted on August 15th, 2014 at 19:32 by John Sinteur in category: News

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  1. I especially (dis)like that the courts can use police “heresay” against you.

EXCLUSIVE: 10 Ways to Use Our Sponsor’s Product More Often

Posted on August 15th, 2014 at 17:51 by John Sinteur in category: If you're in marketing, kill yourself


AdDetector is a browser extension that spots articles with corporate sponsors. It puts a big banner on top of any article that may appear unbiased at first glance, but is actually paid for by an advertiser.

For example, it turns the small, light-grey-on-white “Sponsored” on this deadspin article into a giant red banner.

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How the sun sees you

Posted on August 15th, 2014 at 17:35 by John Sinteur in category: News


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  1. Clever!

Dads Respond to Disney’s “Frozen”

Posted on August 15th, 2014 at 17:23 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!

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Robin Williams Was Battling Parkinson’s Disease

Posted on August 15th, 2014 at 8:26 by John Sinteur in category: News


“Robin spent so much of his life helping others. Whether he was entertaining millions on stage, film or television, our troops on the frontlines, or comforting a sick child — Robin wanted us to laugh and to feel less afraid.

Since his passing, all of us who loved Robin have found some solace in the tremendous outpouring of affection and admiration for him from the millions of people whose lives he touched. His greatest legacy, besides his three children, is the joy and happiness he offered to others, particularly to those fighting personal battles.

Robin’s sobriety was intact and he was brave as he struggled with his own battles of depression, anxiety as well as early stages of Parkinson’s Disease, which he was not yet ready to share publicly.

It is our hope in the wake of Robin’s tragic passing, that others will find the strength to seek the care and support they need to treat whatever battles they are facing so they may feel less afraid.”

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BGP Hijacking for fun and profit!

Posted on August 14th, 2014 at 20:40 by John Sinteur in category: Security


You got you this big-ass computer that was designed by big-brained dweebs to make money out of, I shit you not, thin-fucking-air.

Now, this ain’t folding money, this is the kind of money bankers and shit put down in ledgers, only there ain’t no more ledgers, that shit’s all computers on the internet now. So instead of hiring Sean and Vinnie to take a paper bag of the folding stuff to the bosses, it’s got to go over the internet, one computer to another.

Now, computers generally don’t talk to each other direct – they hand off like runners and bag-men. So, the big-ass computer pulls money almost literally out of it’s ass, and then hands it off to a bag-man, who stuffs it in a bag and puts the Boss’ name and organization on it. He hands it off to a runner, who runs up to the corner, and goes, “Hey, any of you guys know this dude?”

Bad-ass at the corner goes, “Nah, man, but I heard of the dude and his crew. Hard core motherfuckers. Head on over five blocks east, and ask there.”

This works, up until the runner comes across someone who got duped. He heard from someone important that the Boss works out of “The Cafe” out on the docks, but someone who seemed legit, but was a fucking weasel, just now told him that The Boss at the Organization was now running out of some garage just outside town.

“Who you running for, kid?”

“Big-Ass Computer’s bag-man, by way of the dude at that corner! This is for The Boss, at The Organization!”

“Hey, hey, you’re in luck! I know where that’s going! Just heard about it! Hand it over, guy, and you’re done for the night! My runner will take it from here! Good job!”

So, the next day, the Boss rolls on up to an abandoned garage, all the money the computer pulled out of its ass is gone. The weasel got snuffed, but even he didn’t know where the money was headed.

These modern times, I tell ya.

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Congressman Who Voted Against Minimum Wage Hike Complains He Hasn’t Gotten A Raise Since 2008

Posted on August 14th, 2014 at 13:20 by John Sinteur in category: News


Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) is fighting pressure to agree to a pay cut for members of Congress, instead complaining that the $174,000 annual salary was already frozen.

On Monday, Terry’s Democratic challenger, State Sen. Brad Ashford, proposed that congressional salaries be cut 10 percent and promised to do so unilaterally if elected. Terry, in response, took umbrage at the notion that congressmen are overpaid.

“What he’s not telling you is that Congress hasn’t had a cost of living increase since 2008, when I led the charge for a freeze,” Terry told KMTV.

I say we raise his pay to $15/hour. Also, he needs to keep a time card from now on.

Piss test him, too, he shouldn’t be receiving government benefits if he’s blowing them on crack.

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The Pentagon Gave the Ferguson Police Department Military-Grade Weapons

Posted on August 14th, 2014 at 13:17 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane


The local community of Ferguson, Missouri, may not look like a war zone, but the Pentagon has helped the police treat it like one.

According to Michelle McCaskill, media relations chief at the Defense Logistics Agency, the Ferguson Police Department is part of a federal program called 1033, in which the Department of Defense distributes hundreds of millions of dollars of surplus military equipment to civilian police forces across the U.S.

That surplus military equipment doesn’t just mean small items like pistols or automatic rifles; towns like Ferguson could become owners of heavy armored vehicles, including the MRAPs used in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“In 2013 alone, $449,309,003.71 worth of property was transferred to law enforcement,” the agency’s website states.

All in all, it’s meant armored vehicles rolling down streets in Ferguson and police officers armed with short-barreled 5.56-mm rifles that can accurately hit a target out to 500 meters hovering near the citizens they’re meant to protect.

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Robin Williams’s daughter Zelda driven off Twitter by vicious trolls

Posted on August 13th, 2014 at 23:30 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane


In yet another demonstration of the Internet’s bottomless lows — and of Twitter’s still-uncontrolled abuse problems — Robin Williams’s daughter signed off Twitter for “a good long time” Tuesday night after receiving menacing messages from two trolls on the service.

The world needs more mental health care professionals

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  1. I’m not one who thinks trolls are mentally ill. They’re more normal than we care to know. There’s a broad spectrum of hate in the world in which these guys are just tiny dots.

    (That doesn’t make it desirable, right, nice or fair. And it can’t be fixed, sorry ’bout that.)

Tea Party official opens Miss. meeting with prayer asking for violence against Republicans

Posted on August 13th, 2014 at 22:18 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane, Pastafarian News


“We’re asking, Father, for two things,” he said. “We’re asking, Father, that you would expose them, set division amongst them, set them one against another, bring confusion and fear into their camp, into their thinking, for the purpose of pulling them down, for casting them down out of their high offices and reducing them, Lord, to having no power in this state.”

“So, Lord, that you might raise up and seek the righteous in the positions of power that this state might once more be a state that honors you in all that it does,” Nicholson concluded.

الله أكبر الله اكبر

الله أكبر فوق كيد المعتدي
الله للمظلوم خير مؤيدي
أنا باليقين وبالسلاح سأفتدي
بلدي ونور الحق يسطع في يدي
قولوا معي قولوا معي
الله الله الله أكبر
الله فوق المعتدي

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What’s the hardest bug you’ve debugged?

Posted on August 13th, 2014 at 20:36 by John Sinteur in category: Software


This is the only time in my entire programming life that I’ve debugged a problem caused by quantum mechanics.

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  1. I’ve had to debug stuff like this. QM not withstanding, sometimes hardware has behaviors that are not easily predictable, causing this sort of problem. I won’t go into my experiences with robotic controllers… :-) In any case, the resolution was “don’t do it that way”.

Rant of the day: Sophos is breaking the internet

Posted on August 13th, 2014 at 20:26 by John Sinteur in category: Software


So, spending hours trying to debug their software we figured out their Antivirus was blocking JavaScript CORS requests.
The guys at Sophos know they’re breaking standard web-functionality and have a fix ready but will not release it to its free customers.

Oh, and you know what else they said? They said I should just tell our customers to disable Sophos Antivirus to fix the issue. Being the compliant guy I always am that’s exactly what I’ll do:
Stop using Sophos Antivirus, now.

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The Islamic State

Posted on August 13th, 2014 at 20:22 by John Sinteur in category: News


VICE News reporter Medyan Dairieh spent three weeks embedded with the Islamic State, gaining unprecedented access to the group in Iraq and Syria as the first and only journalist to document its inner workings. In part one, Dairieh heads to the frontline in Raqqa, where Islamic State fighters are laying siege to the Syrian Army’s division 17 base.

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Avila, Bhargava, Hairer, Mirzakhani

Posted on August 13th, 2014 at 11:53 by John Sinteur in category: News


he 2014 Fields medallists have just been announced as (in alphabetical order of surname) Artur Avila, Manjul Bhargava, Martin Hairer, and Maryam Mirzakhani (see also these nice video profiles for the winners, which is a new initiative of the IMU and the Simons foundation). This time last year, I wrote a blog post discussing one result from each of the 2010 medallists; I thought I would try to repeat the exercise here, although the work of the medallists this time around is a little bit further away from my own direct area of expertise than last time, and so my discussion will unfortunately be a bit superficial (and possibly not completely accurate) in places. As before, I am picking these results based on my own idiosyncratic tastes, and are not necessarily the “best” work of these medallists.

Artur Avila works in dynamical systems and in the study of Schrödinger operators. The work of Avila that I am most familiar with is his solution with Svetlana Jitormiskaya on the ten martini problem of Kac, the solution to which (according to Barry Simon) he offered ten martinis for, hence the name. The problem involves perhaps the simplest example of a Schrödinger operator with non-trivial spectral properties, namely the almost Mathieu operator {H^{\lambda,\alpha}_\omega: \ell^2({\bf Z}) \rightarrow \ell^2({\bf Z})} defined for parameters {\alpha,\omega \in {\bf R}/{\bf Z}} and {\lambda>0}” title=”{\lambda>0}” class=”latex”> by a discrete one-dimensional Schrödinger operator with cosine potential:</p>
<p align=\displaystyle (H^{\lambda,\alpha}_\omega u)_n := u_{n+1} + u_{n-1} + 2\lambda (\cos 2\pi(\theta+n\alpha)) u_n.

This is a bounded self-adjoint operator and thus has a spectrum {\sigma( H^{\lambda,\alpha}_\omega )} that is a compact subset of the real line; it arises in a number of physical contexts, most notably in the theory of the integer quantum Hall effect, though I will not discuss these applications here. Remarkably, the structure of this spectrum depends crucially on the Diophantine properties of the frequency {\alpha}. For instance, if {\alpha = p/q} is a rational number, then the operator is periodic with period {q}, and then basic (discrete) Floquet theory tells us that the spectrum is simply the union of {q} (possibly touching) intervals. But for irrational {\alpha} (in which case the spectrum is independent of the phase {\theta}), the situation is much more fractal in nature, for instance in the critical case {\lambda=1} the spectrum (as a function of {\alpha}) gives rise to the Hofstadter butterfly. The “ten martini problem” asserts that for every irrational {\alpha} and every choice of coupling constant {\lambda > 0}” title=”{\lambda > 0}” class=”latex”>, the spectrum is homeomorphic to a Cantor set. Prior to the work of Avila and Jitormiskaya, there were a number of partial results on this problem, but they mostly required some sort of perturbative hypothesis, such as <img src= being very small or very large, or {\alpha} being either very close to rational (i.e. a Liouville number) or very far from rational (a Diophantine number). The argument uses a wide variety of existing techniques, both perturbative and non-perturbative, to attack this problem, as well as an amusing argument by contradiction: they assume (in certain regimes) that the spectrum fails to be a Cantor set, and use this hypothesis to obtain additional Lipschitz control on the spectrum (as a function of the frequency {\alpha}), which they can then use (after much effort) to improve existing perturbative arguments and conclude that the spectrum was in fact Cantor after all!

Mirzakhani, a professor at Stanford, is the first woman to win math’s highest prize, and Avila is the first South American.

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4/2599 NOTAM Details

Posted on August 13th, 2014 at 11:13 by John Sinteur in category: News



Of course. It would be bad to have news helicopters report on what’s happening there.

Oh, for reference, in case you missed this story.

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I think “The Confirming Moose” would be a great band name.

Posted on August 13th, 2014 at 10:41 by John Sinteur in category: News


This is a tale of love, pain, loss, and redemption – and of a baboon, Amelia.

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  1. I too have submitted entries to the Bulwer-Lytton contest – never won of course. It’s really hard to write that bad! :-)

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