What’s eating you? US study highlights bedbug incest
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What’s eating you? US study highlights bedbug incest



Thursday, December 8, 2011

At the meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, North Carolina State University (NCSU) researchers lead by Coby Schal and Ed Vargo presented preliminary research on the genetic diversity of populations of bedbugs. Their DNA analysis showed the diversity is low within a single building. The researchers discovered that the bugs can inbreed and evolve at the same time.

A part of the research included extensive DNA analysis of genetics of bed bugs in different apartments. The diversity was lower than it would be for a population of most other species. Coby Schal said, “We kept discovering the same thing. Within a given apartment, or even a given building, there was extremely low genetic diversity. In most cases there’s just a single female that founded the population.”

Another NCSU anthologist Zachary Adelman, not one of the researchers, said that the fact of different strains of bedbugs in the United States east coast “means they’re coming into the country from lots of different places”.

The discovery shows that pesticides are ineffective if they don’t eliminate the entire population. Just a few survivors can produce a new generation within the house or building quickly; and, as the offspring of those surviving pesticide use, pass on their genetic resistance; emphasising Schal’s remark that, “[t]he insecticides really need to be robust”.

Coby Schal said that for most species, limited diversity causes generic disorders and population does not survive, thus making the discovery a surprise. He said, “But somehow bedbugs are able to withstand the effects of inbreeding, and do quite well.” Schal was suggesting that as cockroaches inbreed successfully as well, its success may be related to the species’ reliance on humans to relocate from place to place. The research is at preliminary stage, meaning the scientists may carry out more analysis before a final release.


John Vanderslice plays New York City: Wikinews interview
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John Vanderslice plays New York City: Wikinews interview



Thursday, September 27, 2007

John Vanderslice has recently learned to enjoy America again. The singer-songwriter, who National Public Radio called “one of the most imaginative, prolific and consistently rewarding artists making music today,” found it through an unlikely source: his French girlfriend. “For the first time in my life I wouldn’t say I was defending the country but I was in this very strange position…”

Since breaking off from San Francisco local legends, mk Ultra, Vanderslice has produced six critically-acclaimed albums. His most recent, Emerald City, was released July 24th. Titled after the nickname given to the American-occupied Green Zone in Baghdad, it chronicles a world on the verge of imminent collapse under the weight of its own paranoia and loneliness. David Shankbone recently went to the Bowery Ballroom and spoke with Vanderslice about music, photography, touring and what makes a depressed liberal angry.


DS: How is the tour going?

JV: Great! I was just on the Wiki page for Inland Empire, and there is a great synopsis on the film. What’s on there is the best thing I have read about that film. The tour has been great. The thing with touring: say you are on vacation…let’s say you are doing an intense vacation. I went to Thailand alone, and there’s a part of you that just wants to go home. I don’t know what it is. I like to be home, but on tour there is a free floating anxiety that says: Go Home. Go Home.

DS: Anywhere, or just outside of the country?

JV: Anywhere. I want to be home in San Francisco, and I really do love being on tour, but there is almost like a homing beacon inside of me that is beeping and it creates a certain amount of anxiety.

DS: I can relate: You and I have moved around a lot, and we have a lot in common. Pranks, for one. David Bowie is another.

JV: Yeah, I saw that you like David Bowie on your MySpace.

DS: When I was in college I listened to him nonstop. Do you have a favorite album of his?

JV: I loved all the things from early to late seventies. Hunky Dory to Low to “Heroes” to Lodger. Low changed my life. The second I got was Hunky Dory, and the third was Diamond Dogs, which is a very underrated album. Then I got Ziggy Stardust and I was like, wow, this is important…this means something. There was tons of music I discovered in the seventh and eighth grade that I discovered, but I don’t love, respect and relate to it as much as I do Bowie. Especially Low…I was just on a panel with Steve Albini about how it has had a lot of impact.

DS: You said seventh and eighth grade. Were you always listening to people like Bowie or bands like the Velvets, or did you have an Eddie Murphy My Girl Wants to Party All the Time phase?

JV: The thing for me that was the uncool music, I had an older brother who was really into prog music, so it was like Gentle Giant and Yes and King Crimson and Genesis. All the new Genesis that was happening at the time was mind-blowing. Phil Collins‘s solo record…we had every single solo record, like the Mike Rutherford solo record.

DS: Do you shun that music now or is it still a part of you?

JV: Oh no, I appreciate all music. I’m an anti-snob. Last night when I was going to sleep I was watching Ocean’s Thirteen on my computer. It’s not like I always need to watch some super-fragmented, fucked-up art movie like Inland Empire. It’s part of how I relate to the audience. We end every night by going out into the audience and playing acoustically, directly, right in front of the audience, six inches away—that is part of my philosophy.

DS: Do you think New York or San Francisco suffers from artistic elitism more?

JV: I think because of the Internet that there is less and less elitism; everyone is into some little superstar on YouTube and everyone can now appreciate now Justin Timberlake. There is no need for factions. There is too much information, and I think the idea has broken down that some people…I mean, when was the last time you met someone who was into ska, or into punk, and they dressed the part? I don’t meet those people anymore.

DS: Everything is fusion now, like cuisine. It’s hard to find a purely French or purely Vietnamese restaurant.

JV: Exactly! When I was in high school there were factions. I remember the guys who listened to Black Flag. They looked the part! Like they were in theater.

DS: You still find some emos.

JV: Yes, I believe it. But even emo kids, compared to their older brethren, are so open-minded. I opened up for Sunny Day Real Estate and Pedro the Lion, and I did not find their fans to be the cliquish people that I feared, because I was never playing or marketed in the emo genre. I would say it’s because of the Internet.

DS: You could clearly create music that is more mainstream pop and be successful with it, but you choose a lot of very personal and political themes for your music. Are you ever tempted to put out a studio album geared toward the charts just to make some cash?

JV: I would say no. I’m definitely a capitalist, I was an econ major and I have no problem with making money, but I made a pact with myself very early on that I was only going to release music that was true to the voices and harmonic things I heard inside of me—that were honestly inside me—and I have never broken that pact. We just pulled two new songs from Emerald City because I didn’t feel they were exactly what I wanted to have on a record. Maybe I’m too stubborn or not capable of it, but I don’t think…part of the equation for me: this is a low stakes game, making indie music. Relative to the world, with the people I grew up with and where they are now and how much money they make. The money in indie music is a low stakes game from a financial perspective. So the one thing you can have as an indie artist is credibility, and when you burn your credibility, you are done, man. You can not recover from that. These years I have been true to myself, that’s all I have.

DS: Do you think Spoon burned their indie credibility for allowing their music to be used in commercials and by making more studio-oriented albums? They are one of my favorite bands, but they have come a long way from A Series of Sneaks and Girls Can Tell.

JV: They have, but no, I don’t think they’ve lost their credibility at all. I know those guys so well, and Brit and Jim are doing exactly the music they want to do. Brit owns his own studio, and they completely control their means of production, and they are very insulated by being on Merge, and I think their new album—and I bought Telephono when it came out—is as good as anything they have done.

DS: Do you think letting your music be used on commercials does not bring the credibility problem it once did? That used to be the line of demarcation–the whole Sting thing–that if you did commercials you sold out.

JV: Five years ago I would have said that it would have bothered me. It doesn’t bother me anymore. The thing is that bands have shrinking options for revenue streams, and sync deals and licensing, it’s like, man, you better be open to that idea. I remember when Spike Lee said, ‘Yeah, I did these Nike commercials, but it allowed me to do these other films that I wanted to make,’ and in some ways there is an article that Of Montreal and Spoon and other bands that have done sync deals have actually insulated themselves further from the difficulties of being a successful independent band, because they have had some income come in that have allowed them to stay put on labels where they are not being pushed around by anyone.
The ultimate problem—sort of like the only philosophical problem is suicide—the only philosophical problem is whether to be assigned to a major label because you are then going to have so much editorial input that it is probably going to really hurt what you are doing.

DS: Do you believe the only philosophical question is whether to commit suicide?

JV: Absolutely. I think the rest is internal chatter and if I logged and tried to counter the internal chatter I have inside my own brain there is no way I could match that.

DS: When you see artists like Pete Doherty or Amy Winehouse out on suicidal binges of drug use, what do you think as a musician? What do you get from what you see them go through in their personal lives and their music?

JV: The thing for me is they are profound iconic figures for me, and I don’t even know their music. I don’t know Winehouse or Doherty’s music, I just know that they are acting a very crucial, mythic part in our culture, and they might be doing it unknowingly.

DS: Glorification of drugs? The rock lifestyle?

JV: More like an out-of-control Id, completely unregulated personal relationships to the world in general. It’s not just drugs, it’s everything. It’s arguing and scratching people’s faces and driving on the wrong side of the road. Those are just the infractions that land them in jail. I think it might be unknowing, but in some ways they are beautiful figures for going that far off the deep end.

DS: As tragic figures?

JV: Yeah, as totally tragic figures. I appreciate that. I take no pleasure in saying that, but I also believe they are important. The figures that go outside—let’s say GG Allin or Penderetsky in the world of classical music—people who are so far outside of the normal boundaries of behavior and communication, it in some way enlarges the size of your landscape, and it’s beautiful. I know it sounds weird to say that, but it is.

DS: They are examples, as well. I recently covered for Wikinews the Iranian President speaking at Columbia and a student named Matt Glick told me that he supported the Iranian President speaking so that he could protest him, that if we don’t give a platform and voice for people, how can we say that they are wrong? I think it’s almost the same thing; they are beautiful as examples of how living a certain way can destroy you, and to look at them and say, “Don’t be that.”

JV: Absolutely, and let me tell you where I’m coming from. I don’t do drugs, I drink maybe three or four times a year. I don’t have any problematic relationship to drugs because there has been a history around me, like probably any musician or creative person, of just blinding array of drug abuse and problems. For me, I am a little bit of a control freak and I don’t have those issues. I just shut those doors. But I also understand and I am very sympathetic to someone who does not shut that door, but goes into that room and stays.

DS: Is it a problem for you to work with people who are using drugs?

JV: I would never work with them. It is a very selfish decision to make and usually those people are total energy vampires and they will take everything they can get from you. Again, this is all in theory…I love that stuff in theory. If Amy Winehouse was my girlfriend, I would probably not be very happy.

DS: Your latest CD is Emerald City and that is an allusion to the compound that we created in Baghdad. How has the current political client affected you in terms of your music?

JV: In some ways, both Pixel Revolt and Emerald City were born out of a recharged and re-energized position of my being….I was so beaten down after the 2000 election and after 9/11 and then the invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan; I was so depleted as a person after all that stuff happened, that I had to write my way out of it. I really had to write political songs because for me it is a way of making sense and processing what is going on. The question I’m asked all the time is do I think is a responsibility of people to write politically and I always say, My God, no. if you’re Morrissey, then you write Morrissey stuff. If you are Dan Bejar and Destroyer, then you are Dan Bejar and you are a fucking genius. Write about whatever it is you want to write about. But to get out of that hole I had to write about that.

DS: There are two times I felt deeply connected to New York City, and that was 9/11 and the re-election of George Bush. The depression of the city was palpable during both. I was in law school during the Iraq War, and then when Hurricane Katrina hit, we watched our countrymen debate the logic of rebuilding one of our most culturally significant cities, as we were funding almost without question the destruction of another country to then rebuild it, which seems less and less likely. Do you find it is difficult to enjoy living in America when you see all of these sorts of things going on, and the sort of arguments we have amongst ourselves as a people?

JV: I would say yes, absolutely, but one thing changed that was very strange: I fell in love with a French girl and the genesis of Emerald City was going through this visa process to get her into the country, which was through the State Department. In the middle of process we had her visa reviewed and everything shifted over to Homeland Security. All of my complicated feelings about this country became even more dour and complicated, because here was Homeland Security mailing me letters and all involved in my love life, and they were grilling my girlfriend in Paris and they were grilling me, and we couldn’t travel because she had a pending visa. In some strange ways the thing that changed everything was that we finally got the visa accepted and she came here. Now she is a Parisian girl, and it goes without saying that she despises America, and she would never have considered moving to America. So she moves here and is asking me almost breathlessly, How can you allow this to happen

DS: –you, John Vanderslice, how can you allow this—

JV: –Me! Yes! So for the first time in my life I wouldn’t say I was defending the country but I was in this very strange position of saying, Listen, not that many people vote and the churches run fucking everything here, man. It’s like if you take out the evangelical Christian you have basically a progressive western European country. That’s all there is to it. But these people don’t vote, poor people don’t vote, there’s a complicated equation of extreme corruption and voter fraud here, and I found myself trying to rattle of all the reasons to her why I am personally not responsible, and it put me in a very interesting position. And then Sarkozy got elected in France and I watched her go through the same horrific thing that we’ve gone through here, and Sarkozy is a nut, man. This guy is a nut.

DS: But he doesn’t compare to George Bush or Dick Cheney. He’s almost a liberal by American standards.

JV: No, because their President doesn’t have much power. It’s interesting because he is a WAPO right-wing and he was very close to Le Pen and he was a card-carrying straight-up Nazi. I view Sarkozy as somewhat of a far-right candidate, especially in the context of French politics. He is dismantling everything. It’s all changing. The school system, the remnants of the socialized medical care system. The thing is he doesn’t have the foreign policy power that Bush does. Bush and Cheney have unprecedented amounts of power, and black budgets…I mean, come on, we’re spending half a trillion dollars in Iraq, and that’s just the money accounted for.

DS: What’s the reaction to you and your music when you play off the coasts?

JV: I would say good…

DS: Have you ever been Dixiechicked?

JV: No! I want to be! I would love to be, because then that means I’m really part of some fiery debate, but I would say there’s a lot of depressed in every single town. You can say Salt Lake City, you can look at what we consider to be conservative cities, and when you play those towns, man, the kids that come out are more or less on the same page and politically active because they are fish out of water.

DS: Depression breeds apathy, and your music seems geared toward anger, trying to wake people from their apathy. Your music is not maudlin and sad, but seems to be an attempt to awaken a spirit, with a self-reflective bent.

JV: That’s the trick. I would say that honestly, when Katrina happened, I thought, “okay, this is a trick to make people so crazy and so angry that they can’t even think. If you were in a community and basically were in a more or less quasi-police state surveillance society with no accountability, where we are pouring untold billions into our infrastructure to protect outside threats against via terrorism, or whatever, and then a natural disaster happens and there is no response. There is an empty response. There is all these ships off the shore that were just out there, just waiting, and nobody came. Michael Brown. It is one of the most insane things I have ever seen in my life.

DS: Is there a feeling in San Francisco that if an earthquake struck, you all would be on your own?

JV: Yes, of course. Part of what happened in New Orleans is that it was a Catholic city, it was a city of sin, it was a black city. And San Francisco? Bush wouldn’t even visit California in the beginning because his numbers were so low. Before Schwarzenegger definitely. I’m totally afraid of the earthquake, and I think everyone is out there. America is in the worst of both worlds: a laissez-fare economy and then the Grover Norquist anti-tax, starve the government until it turns into nothing more than a Argentinian-style government where there are these super rich invisible elite who own everything and there’s no distribution of wealth and nothing that resembles the New Deal, twentieth century embracing of human rights and equality, war against poverty, all of these things. They are trying to kill all that stuff. So, in some ways, it is the worst of both worlds because they are pushing us towards that, and on the same side they have put in a Supreme Court that is so right wing and so fanatically opposed to upholding civil rights, whether it be for foreign fighters…I mean, we are going to see movement with abortion, Miranda rights and stuff that is going to come up on the Court. We’ve tortured so many people who have had no intelligence value that you have to start to look at torture as a symbolic and almost ritualized behavior; you have this…

DS: Organ failure. That’s our baseline…

JV: Yeah, and you have to wonder about how we were torturing people to do nothing more than to send the darkest signal to the world to say, Listen, we are so fucking weird that if you cross the line with us, we are going to be at war with your religion, with your government, and we are going to destroy you.

DS: I interviewed Congressman Tom Tancredo, who is running for President, and he feels we should use as a deterrent against Islam the bombing of the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

JV: You would radicalize the very few people who have not been radicalized, yet, by our actions and beliefs. We know what we’ve done out there, and we are going to paying for this for a long time. When Hezbollah was bombing Israel in that border excursion last year, the Hezbollah fighters were writing the names of battles they fought with the Jews in the Seventh Century on their helmets. This shit is never forgotten.

DS: You read a lot of the stuff that is written about you on blogs and on the Internet. Do you ever respond?

JV: No, and I would say that I read stuff that tends to be . I’ve done interviews that have been solely about film and photography. For some reason hearing myself talk about music, and maybe because I have been talking about it for so long, it’s snoozeville. Most interviews I do are very regimented and they tend to follow a certain line. I understand. If I was them, it’s a 200 word piece and I may have never played that town, in Des Moines or something. But, in general, it’s like…my band mates ask why don’t I read the weeklies when I’m in town, and Google my name. It would be really like looking yourself in the mirror. When you look at yourself in the mirror you are just error-correcting. There must be some sort of hall of mirrors thing that happens when you are completely involved in the Internet conversation about your music, and in some ways I think that I’m very innocently making music, because I don’t make music in any way that has to do with the response to that music. I don’t believe that the response to the music has anything to do with it. This is something I got from John Cage and Marcel Duchamp, I think the perception of the artwork, in some ways, has nothing to do with the artwork, and I think that is a beautiful, glorious and flattering thing to say to the perceiver, the viewer of that artwork. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at Paul Klee‘s drawings, lithographs, watercolors and paintings and when I read his diaries I’m not sure how much of a correlation there is between what his color schemes are denoting and what he is saying and what I am getting out of it. I’m not sure that it matters. Inland Empire is a great example. Lynch basically says, I don’t want to talk about it because I’m going to close doors for the viewer. It’s up to you. It’s not that it’s a riddle or a puzzle. You know how much of your own experience you are putting into the digestion of your own art. That’s not to say that that guy arranges notes in an interesting way, and sings in an interesting way and arranges words in an interesting way, but often, if someone says they really like my music, what I want to say is, That’s cool you focused your attention on that thing, but it does not make me go home and say, Wow, you’re great. My ego is not involved in it.

DS: Often people assume an artist makes an achievement, say wins a Tony or a Grammy or even a Cable Ace Award and people think the artist must feel this lasting sense of accomplishment, but it doesn’t typically happen that way, does it? Often there is some time of elation and satisfaction, but almost immediately the artist is being asked, “Okay, what’s the next thing? What’s next?” and there is an internal pressure to move beyond that achievement and not focus on it.

JV: Oh yeah, exactly. There’s a moment of relief when a mastered record gets back, and then I swear to you that ten minutes after that point I feel there are bigger fish to fry. I grew up listening to classical music, and there is something inside of me that says, Okay, I’ve made six records. Whoop-dee-doo. I grew up listening to Gustav Mahler, and I will never, ever approach what he did.

DS: Do you try?

JV: I love Mahler, but no, his music is too expansive and intellectual, and it’s realized harmonically and compositionally in a way that is five languages beyond me. And that’s okay. I’m very happy to do what I do. How can anyone be so jazzed about making a record when you are up against, shit, five thousand records a week—

DS: —but a lot of it’s crap—

JV: —a lot of it’s crap, but a lot of it is really, really good and doesn’t get the attention it deserves. A lot of it is very good. I’m shocked at some of the stuff I hear. I listen to a lot of music and I am mailed a lot of CDs, and I’m on the web all the time.

DS: I’ve done a lot of photography for Wikipedia and the genesis of it was an attempt to pin down reality, to try to understand a world that I felt had fallen out of my grasp of understanding, because I felt I had no sense of what this world was about anymore. For that, my work is very encyclopedic, and it fit well with Wikipedia. What was the reason you began investing time and effort into photography?

JV: It came from trying to making sense of touring. Touring is incredibly fast and there is so much compressed imagery that comes to you, whether it is the window in the van, or like now, when we are whisking through the Northeast in seven days. Let me tell you, I see a lot of really close people in those seven days. We move a lot, and there is a lot of input coming in. The shows are tremendous and, it is emotionally so overwhelming that you can not log it. You can not keep a file of it. It’s almost like if I take photos while I am doing this, it slows it down or stops it momentarily and orders it. It has made touring less of a blur; concretizes these times. I go back and develop the film, and when I look at the tour I remember things in a very different way. It coalesces. Let’s say I take on fucking photo in Athens, Georgia. That’s really intense. And I tend to take a photo of someone I like, or photos of people I really admire and like.

DS: What bands are working with your studio, Tiny Telephone?

JV: Death Cab for Cutie is going to come back and track their next record there. Right now there is a band called Hello Central that is in there, and they are really good. They’re from L.A. Maids of State was just in there and w:Deerhoof was just in there. Book of Knotts is coming in soon. That will be cool because I think they are going to have Beck sing on a tune. That will be really cool. There’s this band called Jordan from Paris that is starting this week.

DS: Do they approach you, or do you approach them?

JV I would say they approach me. It’s generally word of mouth. We never advertise and it’s very cheap, below market. It’s analog. There’s this self-fulfilling thing that when you’re booked, you stay booked. More bands come in, and they know about it and they keep the business going that way. But it’s totally word of mouth.


eBay removes Canadian town’s listing of sperm whale carcass
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eBay removes Canadian town’s listing of sperm whale carcass



Thursday, May 8, 2014

Citing violations of its policy regarding “Marine mammal items”, eBay terminated an online listing on Monday by the town of Cape St. George, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, for a 40 ft (12 m) sperm whale carcass reportedly beached upon its shores about a week prior.

With an initial asking price of 99 cents, bidding for the carcass reportedly rose to C$238.03 within 15 bids. Reports variously state the final price of the whale, prior to the removal of the listing from the auction site on Monday at about 2:30pm, was C$2,025 or C$2,075. Listed in eBay’s “really weird” category, the carcass was considered by eBay to be an example of “items made from marine mammals regardless of when the product was made”, which are prohibited as per site rules.

Following a council meeting on Sunday in the town of 950 residents, Cape St. George’s mayor, Peter Fenwick, put the whale up on the auction site in a bid to have it removed from the town’s premises, citing a lack of cooperation from provincial and federal government officials on the matter. “It’s your problem, you solve it”, Fenwick recounted to The Globe and Mail (TGaM) as the response he received from them. Apart from eBay, Kijiji was also suggested as another avenue by which to sell the carcass.

Fenwick told CTV News, several years prior another sperm whale measuring 15 ft was beached in the area, but disappeared without incident, an act Fenwick attributed to be the work of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. “This time”, he remarked, “the authorities have told us that it’s our whale, it’s our responsibility to get rid of it.”

On putting the carcass for sale, Fenwick remarked, “We knew we had to do something with it and this seemed to be the least expensive way of disposing of it.” In a news release, Fenwick highlighted a possible use for the carcass, particularly its bones. “The 40 foot sperm whale will make a spectacular exhibit once the fat and muscle is removed, and the town is asking museums and other organizations that could use a whale skeleton to contact the town for further details.”

On retaining the whale himself, Fenwick stated, “As a town we would dearly love to keep the whale and put it on exhibit in the town but the cost of such a venture would be hard to justify.” Fenwick told TGaM the whale was “in half decent shape”. “This one looks like it died very recently and hasn’t decomposed much”, which Fenwick suggested elsewhere was due to the whale’s present location, partially submerged in near-freezing water. However, Fenwick noted its close proximity to a residential area, saying homeowners who lived there were “very interested in seeing the whale gone.”

eBay was not the only organization who barred the sale from taking place. “We also got threatened by the federal department of the environment, and told to pull the ad off or they would prosecute us”, said Fenwick on the opposition he said he received from Environment Canada, which viewed the sale as contravening a federal act designed to protect endangered species. “I received a call from the federal department of the environment saying that you’re not allowed to sell any parts of sperm whales, even if they’re dead.” he added. “So I said, ‘Oh that’s very good, I’m glad to hear that, now can you send somebody over here to get rid of it for us?'” Fenwick’s request was met with a negative response from Environment Canada.

“They’ve got to sort it out somehow. The uncertainty means it just sort of sits there and rots.” Once decomposition sets in, Fenwick remarked the carcass would become a “real nuisance”. “I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a whale that’s been rotting on the beach for a couple of months — actually sometimes you can’t see it for the clouds of flies around it — but you can smell it for about a mile”, he added.

On finding alternate means to dispose of the carcass, Wayne Ledwell, a member of Newfoundland’s Whale Release and Strandings, suggested the whale be towed out to a remote area. “They need to do that right away, when they come in and they’re fresh,” said Ledwell. “No one wants to go touch them … everything becomes gooey and slippery and you can’t stand up on the whale and it gets on your boots and you can’t get the smell off and then you go home and the dog rolls in it and you get it in your kitchen and you curse the whales, and you curse the government and … it becomes a mess.” Fenwick said they’d considered the idea, enlisting a local fisherman who, however, judged his engine too small for the job.

Previously, blue whale carcasses washed ashore in the towns of Trout River and Rocky Harbour, located about 150 km further north, and were taken by Royal Ontario Museum for preservation of the skeletons. Fenwick suggested the sperm whale carcass in his town might also meet a similar fate, as the sperm whale’s status as the largest toothed whale might prove to be a drawing attraction for such a facility.

Regarding what he plans to do next with the carcass, Fenwick said “If we’re not allowed to sell it, we’re willing to drop our 99 cent price down to a zero.” He said he hoped some eBay bidder stays interested in the whale. “We’ll be glad to talk to them about giving them the whale. We’re hoping that’s not illegal.” He also said he hoped the publicity from the town’s predicament, which garnered national attention, and its unusual means of finding a solution, would draw in someone interested in taking the whale off his hands at their own expense.

Should the whale fall under new ownership, Fenwick advised it be moved away from the town to a beach devoid of people, and the blubber left as food for seagulls, insects, and other predators. He estimated “It’ll probably take a year or so to get down to the skeleton.” As monetary gain was reportedly not what the town cared about, Fenwick was willing to offer the carcass for free, though one report noted money raised from the listing could have gone towards the building of a skate park.

The listing on eBay, as put up by Fenwick, read:

This 40 foot sperm whale rolled up on the beach last week. The actual seller is the town of Cape St. George which is responsible for disposing of it before it starts to decay. Once the fat and flesh is removed you have a spectacular 40 foot skeleton of the largest toothed whale in the world, great for museums and other attractions. To prevent it rotting in the town it can be towed to isolated beaches on the Port au Port Peninsula to allow the seagulls and other birds to remove the flesh. Call 709-644-2290 or 709-649-7070 for more details.

Please note the successful bidder will have to remove the whale within 30 days


Reus to miss Euro 16 due to injury
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Reus to miss Euro 16 due to injury



Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Today, Joachim Löw, manager of the German national football team, dropped Borussia Dortmund midfielder Marco Reus from the UEFA Euro 2016 squad. Marco Reus, who turned 27 years old today, is suffering from a groin injury. He also missed the 2014 FIFA World Cup with an ankle injury.

Löw said their medical staff wasn’t sure Reus could meet the demands of the forthcoming games. He added, “Marco has serious fitness problems; he can only run in a straight line at the moment.” ((de))German language: ?Marco hat massive gesundheitliche Probleme, im Moment kann er nur geradeaus laufen.

Löw also did not include other Bundesliga players Karim Bellarabi, Julian Brandt, and Sebastian Rudy from the provisional squad in the final selection. Thanking the four German internationals for their performance in training, he said, “It’s not a decision against those four players, but rather one in favour of the other 23.” ((de))German language: ?Es ist keine Entscheidung gegen vier Spieler, sondern eine Entscheidung für 23 Spieler.

Germany are due to play their final friendly match before the start of Euro 2016 on June 4 against Hungary. On June 12, Germany will open their account in Euro 2016 when they face Ukraine in Lille, France.


‘Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography’ released, $100 million lawsuit in planning stages
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‘Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography’ released, $100 million lawsuit in planning stages



Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography, a biography of actor Tom Cruise written by journalist Andrew Morton, was released in the United States yesterday amidst the potential for a US$100 million lawsuit against its publisher, St. Martin’s Press. The book will not be published in Australia, Britain, and New Zealand due to strict libel laws in those countries. Morton had previously written the biography of Diana, Princess of Wales, Diana: Her True Story. The book has reached number nine on Amazon.com‘s list of top sellers.

The book describes Cruise as the No. 2 leader of the Church of Scientology, blames Scientologists for the breakup of Cruise and actress Nicole Kidman, and states that Cruise’s latest mission is to recruit David Beckham and wife Victoria into Scientology. The book also describes how some Scientology followers thought that Cruise’s wife Katie Holmes was impregnated with frozen sperm from L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, and Morton compares the situation to Rosemary’s Baby “In her more reflective moments, Katie might have felt as if she were in the middle of a real-life version of the horror movie ‘Rosemary’s Baby,’ in which an unsuspecting young woman is impregnated with the devil’s child.”

Insinuations that Mr. Cruise is second-in-command of the church are not only false, they are ludicrous. He is neither 2nd nor 100th. Mr. Cruise is a Scientology parishoner and holds no official or unofficial position in the church hierarchy.

A 15-page statement released by the Church of Scientology denied Morton’s assertions of Cruise’s No. 2 standing within the organization. In the statement the Church of Scientology claims that Morton did not respond to requests for an interview “The Church of Scientology requested to be interviewed or be presented with any allegations so we could respond. Morton refused despite our insistence in offering our cooperation.” The Church of Scientology also specifically responded to the claims regarding Hubbard’s frozen sperm: “Was Katie impregnated by L. Ron Hubbard’s frozen sperm? … As distasteful as it is to have to say it, Mr. Hubbard’s sperm was never frozen.”

According to the AFP, “the Church of Scientology is reportedly considering legal action against US publishers St Martin’s Press.” The Church of Scientology’s general counsel, Eliot Abelson, discussed the potential for litigation in an interview with the Mail on Sunday “We are seriously considering legal action and will wait to see the public reaction.” Cruise’s attorney Bertram Fields expressed thanks for the strict libel laws in Britain “It’s not being published in England. The American publishers criticised the libel laws in Britain because they require an author to tell the truth. Well, thank God for the British libel laws.” New York’s Daily News has reported that the Church of Scientology and lawyers for Cruise are planning a US$100 million lawsuit over the book’s publication. Rogers & Cowan, the public relations agency that represents Cruise, issued a statement which criticized Morton for not interviewing “one person who has known or worked with Tom” in the past twenty-five years.

The Church of Scientology statement also pointed out that the book is not being published in Australia, Britain and New Zealand due to the countries’ strict libel laws. Australia-based companies Pan Macmillan Australia and retailer Dymocks Booksellers decided not to stock copies of the book on their shelves, due to fears of potential defamation actions against them. A spokesperson for Pan Macmillan Australia stated that they had not received threats from Cruise’s representatives or from Scientologists, but that their attorneys had advised them not to sell the book. Don Grover, chief executive for Dymocks Group stated after legal advice their company had decided to “play it safe” – though neither their lawyers or publishers had read the book itself. A representative of MacMillan stated that the book would not be published in New Zealand, but would make no further comment on the matter. A Dymocks New Zealand representative explained that it was possible that the book could be published by their company in New Zealand, but would have to look into it further “The US has different legislation than New Zealand and Australia. There are some issues with the book having legal questions asked and we would need those tidied up before we stock it.”

It’s nonsense for them to say that, because he’s one of the most significant members of the church. I stand by every word in the book. This book is very carefully researched, very carefully vetted.

Morton spent two years doing research for the book, and spoke with individuals who knew Cruise personally, and executives within the Church of Scientology. Morton stated that some of these executives emailed him, confirming the accuracy of material within the book. Morton described the desire for anonymity by some of the sources in the book “Some people, obviously, will not go on the record to talk about Tom Cruise because they’re scared of him.”

In an interview on The Today Show with Meredith Vieira, Morton defended his work and responded to the statement from the Church of Scientology. Morton stated that it was unusual for a church to respond in such a way if Cruise is simply an ordinary member, asking “How many churches support one parishioner — a lowly parishioner — that way?” Morton described the response as an attack “Their policy is always to attack the attacker. Their tactic is to denigrate those who seek to talk about it.” He told Vieria that he had attempted to contact the head of the Church of Scientology, David Miscavige, but “They refused it. I formally asked for it. I was instructed to ask for it by the publisher’s attorneys, and so what they’re saying is nonsense.”

Morton explained his motivation for writing the book “He’s no longer just an actor or producer, but a powerful advocate for a cult that’s out to expand, especially in Europe.” Morton stated that his interest was piqued after Cruise jumped on Oprah’s couch during a May 23, 2005 appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and got into a heated debate with Matt Lauer about his beliefs regarding psychiatry during a June 24, 2005 appearance on The Today Show.

 This story has updates See “Unauthorized” Tom Cruise bio hits number one on Amazon.com, New York Times best sellers list 


Christian youth camp directors charged with dragging 15-year-old girl behind van
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Christian youth camp directors charged with dragging 15-year-old girl behind van



Monday, August 13, 2007

Charles Eugene Flowers and Stephanie Bassitt, who run Love Demonstrated Ministries in San Antonio, Texas, United States, have been arrested and charged with aggravated assault for tying a girl to their van and dragging her behind it on her stomach.

The victim had stopped running with a group of campers, after falling behind. She says Bassitt yelled at her while Flowers tied her to the van.

The girl was treated for injuries on her stomach, legs and arms. She reported that this was the second assault. Flowers and Bassitt remain in jail on US$100,000 bond each.

Love Demonstrated Ministries is a 32-day Christian boot camp for girls whose parents feel they are “at risk teens”. Such camps have raised controversy before.

An organization called the International Survivors Action Committee maintains a list of U.S. organizations where numerous abusive incidents have been reported; however, their list should not be taken as exhaustive. Neither Love Demonstrated Ministries nor New Horizons Youth Ministries, which has an alumni site describing abuse appeared.


Hard drive technology breaks storage density record
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Hard drive technology breaks storage density record



Sunday, April 10, 2005

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, the San Jose, California-based joint venture of Japanese storage vendor Hitachi and U.S. technology giant IBM, has set a new record for storage density at 230 gigabits per square inch (Gb/in2). The company has developed technology to implement a recording method known as perpendicular recording, which allowed the increase in density above the current ~130 Gb/in2 limit.

Techworld claims there is a race between Hitachi and Toshiba for who will get the first drives to market which use the technology. According to Hitachi, they expect, “to ship [their] first perpendicular recording product in 2005 on a 2.5-inch hard drive”. Toshiba is also planning to ship a drive in 2005 that uses perpendicular recording.

According to Techworld, Toshiba will ship an 80 GB, 1.8″ drive in 2005. Toshiba’s 1.8″ drives are used in portable electronic devices such as Apple’s iPod, which is currently available in sizes 60 GB and smaller.

While all commercially available hard drives to date use longitudinal recording, perpendicular recording has roots in research done in academic circles over 100 years ago.

Hitachi Tech has produced a Flash animation that explains the rudiments of perpendicular recording in a music-video style.

Inspired by the 1970s Schoolhouse Rock series of educational animation shorts, the flash movie features whimsical moments with data bits and disk platters that speak and sing (not possible with today’s technology), it also contains realistic details. Of no importance to the viewer, but perhaps of interest to some, the animation shows Texas Instruments’ UC5608DWP chips visible briefly in the background. While TI’s UC5608DWP 18-line SCSI terminator chips have been made obsolete by the new UCC5618, the chips are indeed designed for use in hard drives.


US Congress may re-establish the Luxury Tax
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US Congress may re-establish the Luxury Tax



Monday, December 11, 2006

There are suppositions that the US Democratic Congress may re-establish the luxury taxes, which were already once introduced in the 1990s. The suppositions resulted in the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors commissioning a report on various tax issues.

Material goods such as jewelry, watches, expensive furs, jet planes, boats, yachts, and luxury cars had already been subjected to additional taxes back in 1990. After 3 years these taxes were repealed, though the luxury automobiles tax was still active for the next 13 years.

Rodderick A. DeArment, a representative of law firm and lobbyist Covington and Burling, guided the report. The report outlined the fact that, in 1993, the Congress did not collect as much money from the luxury taxes as it had predicted. It also stated that although its ravaging effect on employment in several industries was sensible, “the turnover that occurred in Congress made it possible for the new group to learn the same lessons again”.

The luxury tax could produce unpredictable effects for the watch industry and the report was meant to inform the members of this branch about the effects of these taxes on this luxury goods’ industry.


Police make significant progress in London bombings investigation
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Police make significant progress in London bombings investigation



Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Dramatic developments today have revealed new information about last Thursday’s bomb attacks on London. One person has been arrested after a series of raids in Leeds.

The four men alleged to be responsible for the bombings travelled by train from Leeds to King’s Cross on Thursday morning, where they were seen on CCTV at 8.30am. Three of them, likely British citizens of Pakistani origin, came from Leeds while another joined them en route. One of the three from Yorkshire was reported missing by his family at 10pm that evening.

Three of them then boarded underground trains. The fourth alleged bomber – the man reported missing from Leeds – died onboard the bus, but there are no clear reasons for why he did not follow the same pattern as the others. It has been confirmed that at least three of the four bombers died in the blasts. Forensic evidence and items belonging to all of the men were found in the debris of the target vehicles.

Police also found a car at Luton train station, which is on the route from Leeds to King’s Cross. A series of controlled explosions was carried out on the car. It is understood that one of the bombers drove equipment in the car to Luton, while the others travelled by train.

Materials used to make explosives were also found at one of the houses in Leeds.

A second car was found on the property of a recovery company in Leighton Buzzard; it had been ‘routinely recovered’ from Luton train station on the evening of Tuesday, July 12. Bedfordshire Police, working in conjunction with the Metropolitan Police and the British Transport Police, sealed off the area within a 50 metre radius of the vehicle. The area was re-opened at 9.30pm BST, although a police presence remained until the next day. It has not yet been revealed why the car was towed away or what was contained inside it.


Canterbury farmers to get aid because of snow
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Canterbury farmers to get aid because of snow



Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The New Zealand government officials have announced that it will give NZ$160,000 in aid to help farmers who were affected by the huge amounts of snow in Canterbury, New Zealand two weeks ago.

The aid package will provide four regional offices for co-ordination, food supplies and ongoing support.

The Federated Farmers for mid Canterbury say that the aid will be a start to what looks like a tough winter. President of the mid Canterbury Federated Farmers Rupert Curd says, “It is too early to say exactly how much help the relief package will provide.”

The snow has not yet reached a crisis point.

The Insurance Council has estimated the cost of the snow storm has reached $35 million so far. Chief Executive of the Insurance Council says, “There has been damage to homes, commercial premises both on farms and in town and vehicles. Businesspeople who have been without power are also claiming for loss of income.”

The Minister of Agriculture Jim Anderton has said that they are not ruling out giving further aid.


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