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Archive for the ‘news and links’ Category

  •  While GM and Chrysler are in their last throes, Ford is trudging on. Obama may have fired GM’s CEO and told Chrysler exactly what to do but he has had no such luck controlling Ford. The company has refused offers of taxpayer life support and believes it can not only survive this recession but in fact prosper. It’s CEO, Mullaly does not hide his admiration for Toyota and believes that in a few years Ford will be viewed on par with the Japanese giant. “I would love people in the future to say, ‘There’s Toyota and Honda and Ford,’ ” says Ford’s North American chief Mark Fields. “We have the goods to do it.”
  • It may be the strangest worm to ever hit the internet. The unknown creators of the Conficker worm have earned praise for their breathtaking sophistication even from the supranational security forces that are currently trying to track them down. So far the worm has done nothing except morph into more sophisticated variants but estimates for the number of infected — and thus controllable — computers range from five to fifteen million. Microsoft has announced a $250,000 bounty for information leading to the identity of the hacker who created it. Everyone only agrees on two things: it is the most complex and brilliant piece of malware written in years and no one knows what it can really do if it’s controller decides to wake it up.
  • Today, the federal excise tax on every pack of cigarettes will jump from 39 cents to $1.01, the single largest federal tobacco tax increase ever. Future plans in the works include outlawing risky sports, putting a 1000% tax on cheeseburgers, and having fines for too little exercise; eventually anything that places a ‘needless burden on society’ will be either banned or taxed to such an extent that everyone will be forced to conduct themeselves in an exemplary manner. Ok, I made up the last sentence. But you get the idea. You see, it is for the sake of the children.
  • Brooke Oberwetter has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Parks Police officer who arrested her last year. She was arrested while — and apparently because — she was quietly dancing to her iPod during a planned celebration at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.
  • Celebrities are getting strange fantasies involving President Obama and have no qualms about admitting it. “I’ll collect paper cups off the ground to make [Obama’s] pathway clear,” Halle Berry recently told the Philadelphia Daily News, “I’ll do whatever he says.” And in February, author Judith Warner used her New York Times blog to confess that “The other night I dreamt of Barack Obama. He was taking a shower right when I needed to get into the bathroom to shave my legs.”
  • A beautiful piece by former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper on drug legalization.
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Go, suck an egg

From a West Virginia legislator comes this bizarre proposal of banning Barbie dolls because they send the wrong message to young girls etc.

I think the Kardashian sisters’ response is the best. From the Fox story:

“He can suck an egg, seriously. He’s probably butt-ugly and always wanted a girlfriend that looked like Barbie but could never get one. People like that really annoy me,” Khloe Kardashian said, with her sis Kourtney adding that it was “so ridiculous.”

“She’s been around 50 years and girls love her. Its fun, it’s a doll — get over it people,” Kourtney added.

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I present below, without comment, a recent interview of Schiff (investor, Austrian economist, accurate predictor of the current crisis) where he talks about the economic crisis and the stimulus. He predicts hyper-inflation worse than anything we have ever seen if we keep going down this path.

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Having a Wall Street boyfriend isn’t as attractive when there is a financial crisis.

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Sometimes, I just love Tyler Cowen.

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A new Georgia law requires anyone convicted of a sex offence in the past to hand over all their user-names and passwords to the government.

Mind you, this law isn’t aimed only at child rapists and suchlike. It will cover everyone who has ever been convicted of a sex related offence. In essence, what this law says is, if you err sexually once — however minor your crime is — you lose all  privacy rights for the rest of your life. Oh — and did I mention that past laws have already made it impossible for these people to find a home or get a job long after they have finished serving their sentences?

Actually, I think these are great laws. For they further a very important principle: offenders must never ever be allowed to reintegrate into society.

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The bizarre story of three young serial killers who tortured and killed 21 people and took live videos of their gruesome murders on cellphone camera. They did it as a ‘hobby’, so that they could have interesting memories when they grew old.

The thee youths dubbed themselves The Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs.

By all accounts, each victim came about by total chance. The three killers just picked them act random, trying to select people who wouldn’t fight back too much. Not exactly the “man as the ultimate prey” type, but just three thugs looking for thrill kills.

Of curse, they weren’t satisfied with only committing murder, they wanted things to remember their victims by for, as one of the killer put it, “when we’re old”. So they took pictures — Lot and lots of pictures. Three hundred to be exact, plus 2 complete videos of 2 murders.

[…] Man’s inhumanity to man has rarely been this ugly. We read about murders every day, and how many times have we heard that someone was bludgeoned to death. Well, up until today bludgeoning didn’t have a face, and now we know its face is a bloody, pulpy mass of flesh. These kids were having a great time watching a total stranger suffer unimaginable pain and their biggest concern was cleaning up the murder weapons while they made fun of the victim’s death throws.

It’s not like these kids were abused, or came from broken homes, just the opposite, they were quite wealthy and allegedly committed the crimes just for fun. They are thought to have used iron pipes and hammers on their victims. Mobile phone footage also suggests they practiced on cats first.

Later on one of the suspect quit and 2 guys continued to murder. Also they attended funerals of their victims, and took pictures of the mourners.

The Police are not revealing how they caught them but, with mobile phone footage of some of the murders, officers have little doubt of the identity of the criminals. “We think they were doing it as a hobby, to have a collection of memories when they get old,” said Detective Bogdan Vlasenko.

I am usually opposed to the death penalty, even for terrible crimes but for the first time ever, I simply can’t think of any reason why these three should live. Maybe it is the effect of watching the video.

Talking of the video, here’s a warning: It is much much more gruesome than anything you can imagine. I started watching the video but had to put it off less than 50 seconds through, and I am anything but the sensitive type. If you want to go ahead and watch the video, do so — but it may make you physically sick. Please don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The link I posted above does not contain the video itself; it only links to another site which has the video. But it does have a transcript of the video, so if you do not want to read a vivid description of the murders, do not click on it either.

(Hat Tip: Boing Boing)

Addendum: The other blogs dealing with this story seem to have lot of angry commenters complaining that they were emotionally scarred by the video (why did they click on it despite the warnings?) and blaming the blogger for writing about it. If you are one of those types or otherwise outraged that I posted this story here, please do me a favor and not bother expressing your moral indignation in the comments.

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