News stories the mainstream media missed 02/13/10

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.

Jumbo Sized Edition Today!

* Kids are getting shorter attention spans thanks to the internet.
TL;DR: The internets gave us ADD. [DAILYMAIL.UK]

* A giant bit of space debris from a Russian Space Station hit 100 miles northeast of Mexico City, crating a 30 meter wide crater, and nobody noticed! Are giant KAWHOOOOOOMMMM kind of explosions really nothing to worry about in that area? Now that’s a rough neighborhood! [DISCOVER MAGAZINE]

* There’s a new mosquito killing system that actively tracks and shoots down mosquitoes with frickin’ laser beams! This was shown at the TED 2010 conference and actually works! Awesome video of mosquitoes getting zapped while still flying in mid-air in the link. [GIZMODO]

* Dude… we apparently live in a giant cosmic hologram. “The holograms you find on credit cards and banknotes are etched on two-dimensional plastic films. When light bounces off them, it recreates the appearance of a 3D image… Our everyday experience might itself be a holographic projection of physical processes that take place on a distant, 2D surface.” So by this theory, it’s entirely possible we’re all really data being loaded from a ginormous DVD and are nothing but a cosmic version of THE SIMS. Red pill anyone? [NEW SCIENTIST]

* And while we’re out there tripping in the galaxy, it seems “the cosmos we live in was actually created by the cyclical trillion-year collision of two universes that were attracted toward each other by the leaking of gravity out of one of the universes… the Big Bang was not the beginning of time but the bridge to a past filled with endlessly repeating cycles of evolution, each accompanied by the creation of new matter and the formation of new galaxies, stars, and planets.” My… brain… hurts…. now. I’m actually surprised we don’t see scientist’s heads exploding on TV more often. [DAILY GALAXY]

* China is backing away from all US investments that are not “US Treasuries or agency mortgage debt such as Freddie Mac that enjoys Washington’s implicit backing.” I say when the gambler with chips to spare pulls back from the table, you really need to re-evaluate the deal. [TELEGRAPH.UK]

* Hardcore medicaid cuts are beginning. In Nevada, they’re going to… “ration adult diapers, eliminate denture and hearing-aid programs, and force personal care assistants to buy their own disposable gloves.” But that’s not the worst part. “With proposed cuts so far totaling only half the state deficit, deeper cuts may be necessary.” Oh come on! You can’t ration memaw and peepaws friggin’ diapers! Heartless bastiches! [MSNBC]

* The pentagon / DARPA is spending $6 million to create “immortal synthetic organisms”. These organisms will live forever, but have a molecular “kill switch” in case something goes wrong. So lemme ask you something… if you knew you could be immortal by hacking a simple line of code in your DNA, would you? And what would you think of someone putting that strand in your genetic code just for the sake of controlling you? Ohhhh yeah. Highly pissed off Immortal Robot Skeleton Armies. This is going to end well. [WIRED]

* Speaking of military tech, according to this video from the Air Force Research Laboratory, they’re designing robotic birds and bugs with spy and attack capabilities and a rudimentary “blending in” ability. Seriously, I think hacking is going to be an insanely valuable (and probably highly illegal) skill in just a few years. [YOUTUBE VIDEO]

Yippie Ki Yay Dubai

* The world’s tallest building in Dubai has indefinitely shut down just one month after opening. Apparently there’s some small electrical problems in the sucker. Like elevators getting stuck 150 stories up after a explosion or two rocks the building. John McClane, please pickup the nearest courtesy phone. [CHRON]


* “President Barack Obama said he is “agnostic” about raising taxes on households making less than $250,000 as part of a broad effort to rein in the budget deficit.” So, by taxing those households making under $200k, he is rapidly closing in on taxing the middle class, if not expressly planning on doing so. And didn’t he expressly promise not to raise taxes on individuals making less than $200,000 or households earning less than $250,000 a year in his presidential campaign? So much for that. So what is the acceptable household income threshold of “you make enough money to be taxed much higher” now? $200k? $100k? $98k? Did I mention in a debate with Hilary Clinton during the presidential campaign, Obama said “Understand that only 6 percent of Americans make more than $97,000 a year. So, 6 percent is not the middle class; it’s the upper class.” To quote the ever quotable Samuel Jackson, “…hold on to your butts.” [BLOOMBERG]

* The Obama administration is also about to make a big push to ban Pepsi, french fries and snickers from the nation’s schools because they’re baaaaad for kids! Um… my generation had the sodas and candy bar thing going on at lunch, and with your typical teenager’s metabolism and just a little bit of exercise, it wasn’t a friggin’ problem! Why is there a need to mess with the few sources of happiness for kids still in High School? [NY TIMES]

* And speaking of big issues the administration is tackling, the Obama administration just shut down the LORAN navigation system. GPS has long overtaken LORAN in popularity, but LORAN was a fantastic plan B. Kind of like keeping a landline phone around even though cell phones are the norm. Here’s the real twist – shutting down LORAN is MORE EXPENSIVE than upgrading it! According to the Wikipedia article on LORAN, “The Independent Assessment Team (IAT)… concluded that the cost to decommission the LORAN system would exceed the cost of deploying eLORAN, thus negating any stated savings as offered by the Obama administration and revealing the vulnerability of the U.S. to GPS disruption…. it would cost just as much to shut down as to upgrade to eLORAN.” Don’t worry. I’m sure more brilliant decisions are already in progress. [CNN]

* And while I’m still on the topic of stupid government activity, the Administrator of the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs suggested the feds should “cognitively infiltrate” political groups that believe in conspiracy theories. Wonderful! Brilliant! Like the old saying goes, you’re only paranoid if they’re actually not out to get you! [HUFFINGTON POST]

Seriously, this is nuts. If I wanted a Republican in office to implement all this BS, I would’ve voted for one.


* John Edwards proposed to his mistress, Rielle Hunter and bought her a $3.5 million beach house. Meanwhile, his wife, who he is still married to, is completely alone dying of cancer. Imagine if this chucklehead actually got to be president and what kind of political turmoil this arrogant fool would have caused right now! His prize of choice is flying high right there with him! Rielle Hunter “would get extremely upset and threaten to go public whenever he discussed his love for his wife Elizabeth in the media” and even made fun of Edward’s dying wife! Oh yeah, they deserve to be in the same playpen together. And I give them 3 years tops before they’re done. [NY DAILY NEWS]

* So how bad is the jobless thing mushrooming into? Fugly Bad. FUBAR bad. Three bagger bad. As in “nation changing” bad. [THE ATLANTIC]

* MTV officially dropped the “music television” from their name, so MTV is Music Television no more. It’s not really a surprise this happened. Video may have killed the radio star, but reality shows killed the video star. [LA TIMES]

* Finally some good news! Beer is good for you! It fights osteoporosis, slows bone thinning, and boosts the formation of new bones! Booyah! And that’s just “pale ales”! I bet something like Guinness would cure cancer and help you see better! Or is that help you look better? It’s something like that. I forget. Anyway, have a cold one for your health! [TELEGRAPH.UK]

* A family cat starts a fire which proceeds to burn the home to the ground. The family dog, however, smelled the smoke, woke up the family, and saved everyone from the fire. I think that sums up dogs and cats pretty well, don’t you? [WPTV.COM]

* And now its time for the “awwwwww” movie of the week… “A New Zealand teenager faced legal action for stealing his own injured puppy from a clinic to save it from euthanasia when the family couldn’t afford expensive surgery after it was hit by a car.” The story has a happy ending though! The local community rallied to the plight of the boy and his 5-month-old puppy by raising money to pay the vet’s bill and save the dog! More happy endings, please! [MSNBC]