News stories the mainstream media missed 12/05/09

Here are some news stories from this week that I think the mainstream media completely missed out on. All links are from legitimate news sources and not the fringe / wacko sites.

* North Korea completely devalued their currency to fight runaway inflation. All North Koreans are now required to swap out any of their existing paper money (won) for brand new currency at an exchange rate of one to 100. 100 bucks of old money now gets you 1 buck in the new and improved currency. A government cap of 100,000 bucks (wons) per family (which the article says is about £475 at the current exchange rate) means anyone hording large amounts of paper money was completely wiped out. “There were reports of public outrage and confusion after the announcement of the measure. Loud sounds of weeping in every house have not ceased since the news was released… Weeping and fighting between couples has not stopped anywhere. The atmosphere of the city is terrible now.” This is definitely something to keep an eye on. [TIMES ONLINE . UK]

* Senior Goldman Sachs managers “have loaded up on firearms and are now equipped to defend themselves if there is a populist uprising against the bank.” Seriously. Not a joke. Someone high up on the fed chain needs to go knock on Goldman’s door and ask if there’s something we need to know. [BLOOMBERG]

* A secret copywright treaty in America?  Caled the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, this sneaky way-under-the-radar treaty “..allows for criminal sanctions against noncommercial file-sharers, demands border-searches of laptop hard-drives and personal media players and phones for pirated material, requires ISPs to spy on their users, and gives movie and record companies the right to take whole households off the Internet with unsubstantiated allegations of piracy… Two US Senators, Bernie Sanders (I-VI) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), have written to the US Trade Representative demanding that the text of the secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement be made public.” So far, no news. So now everyone is going to be subject to a law they can’t review and can’t see? That’s some pretty impressive change! [BOINGBOING and KEIONLINE]

* It’s nice to see that Iran is continuing to make giant strides toward freedom and democracy. They just sentenced five people to death and sentenced 81 others to 15 year long prison terms for having the nerve to protest the election results back in June. The state calls them “terrorist and armed opposition groups.” Naturally! [AL JAZEERA NEWS]

* Credit card companies are now planning to charge you if you don’t use their card for an extended period! Bank of America alone is looking at annual fees ranging from $29 to $99. And they still can’t figure out why comsumers are dropping them left and right. [BLOOMBERG]



* How do you build something that needs to hold toxic waste for a million years? In a secure location that will always keep everyone safe? This link is an interview with Abraham Van Lui, geoscientist with the U.S. Department of Energy and a walkthrough of the proposed nuclear waste-entombment site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. After the interview, check out the official  US DOE fact sheet of the mountain project by clicking here.

* Spray-able liquid wound dressing technology is under development that will “forms a tough hydrogel in seconds that conforms directly to the wound without sticking to it when removed.” It is being upgraded for military use and is specifically being prepared for the “far-forward soldier…to complete his or her mission”. The one complaint I have is about the wording in the article. Every so often, they refer to soldiers as “warriors”. There’s a big difference in those two words, and I think keeping the US armed services under the “soldiers” definition is pretty important. [US Department of Defense Military Health System]

* A professional Swiss pilot, Yves Rossy, was testing out a jet-propelled wing by attempting to fly from Morocco into Spain. It konked out along the trip, but he parachuted into the ocean and was completely OK. He’s already made a succesful test flight from Calais to Dover at 125 mph, so it does work to a limited degree. If I was a millionaire, I would fund scientific research like this. So long as part of the funding, I would get one of my own. You know. For personal and ongoing research purposes. [DAILY MAIL . UK]

Rocket Man

Rocket Man