HOVERBIKES!

Seriously. Hoverbikes. If your heart didn't just skip a beat, you have no soul.

Aero-X Hoverbike To Go on Sale in 2017 - IEEE Spectrum

When Aerofex showed off its "hoverbike" almost two years ago, the California firm received a flood of emails from people asking when they could buy one of their own. Now Aerofex has unveiled plans to begin selling a commercial model in 2017 for about US $85 000—but anyone eager for a head start on living the "Star Wars" dream can put down a preorder deposit of $5000 toward the final price.

Marge: And who do you love now?
Bart and Lisa: Hoverbikes!
Marge: Close enough.
[The kids jump onto the hoverbikes, but they come crashing to the ground.]
Marge: [laughs] Sorry, kids! There's the no such thing as hoverbikes! They're just a couple of Huffys on a fishing line!

-- The Simpsons, The Joy of Sect

Well, there is now, Marge!

Bmore cops slay teen with taser

The taser is a potentially lethal weapon. It's overuse by poorly trained cops is criminal negligence. Seriously, five rent-a-cops and two real cops and you can't handle the situation without an electrical torture device? Yes, the taser has a place on the use-of-force continuum, but it's a hell of a lot further down the line than most forces are bringing it in now.

Teen dies after Taser shock at Baltimore hospital (Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore police said Thursday they are investigating the death of a 19-year-old hospital patient who went into a coma after being struck with an officer's Taser during a struggle with police and security staff at Good Samaritan Hospital last week.

...

The next day about 5:30 p.m., police said, officers were called to the hospital in the 5600 block of Loch Raven Blvd. for a report that the teen was "experiencing an emotional crisis and was combative with staff," said Lt. Eric Kowalczyk, a police spokesman.

He said two officers responded and saw the teen struggling with five security guards, and one of the officers struck the teen with a Taser.

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Sandy Hook "truther" tells victim’s mother her daugther never existed

Have some firearms prohibitionists used Sandy Hook to push for laws that would have done nothing to stop that massacre? Yes. Does that mean it was a "false flag" attack? Dude, consult your brain care specialist, because your meds need adjusting.

Sandy Hook truther steals memorial sign, tells victim’s mother her child never existed

A vinyl peace sign installed at a playground in Mystic, Connecticut, dedicated to a victim of the Sandy Hook shooting was stolen last week by a man claiming that the Newtown massacre never happened.

After stealing the 50-pound sign from the Grace McDonnell playground, the man called McDonnell’s mother...

According to the mother, Lynn McDonnell, the man told her that her daughter “never existed.”

black mass at Harvard cancelled

Because knowledge is dangerous, and we certainly wouldn't want college students learning stuff and having ideas challenged.

Harvard Black Mass Cancelled Amid Controversy (Boston Magazine)

After intense scrutiny from top religious leaders, Harvard administrators, and their fellow classmates—not to mention lack of a proper venue—the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club backed down from hosting a controversial reenactment and demonstration of a Satanic “Black Mass.”

...

The group had originally decided to move the ritual off campus, away from Harvard’s Queen’s Head Pub in Memorial Hall, due to increasing complaints coming in from every corner of the community...

At no point did administrators tell students to call off the ritual, citing the club’s rights to free speech and assembly, however, Faust did call the plan “abhorrent” and “deeply regrettable.”

...

But a less-public version of the Black Mass was still reportedly held at the Hong Kong bar just steps away from Harvard’s main campus area, according to group members from the Satanic Cult.

killing people is psychologically corrosive

If killing a human being is not disruptive to someone's mental and spiritual well-being, that person should probably not be walking around free.

The Executioner's Lament (NPR.org)

"This is not normal behavior for right-minded humans to engage in," says Steve Martin, who participated in several executions in Texas in the 1980s. His job was to man the phones in case of a reprieve. He says the whole process is emotionally crippling.

...

"People don't realize," he says, "you just killed somebody, and you've been a part of it, and it affects all of us."

Carroll Pickett was the chaplain at 95 executions in Texas through the mid-1990s. He remembers one time when prison staff spent 40 minutes trying to find a vein until the inmate sat up and helped them. "Some of them would go outside and throw up," he says.

Over time, Pickett says, the staff unraveled. "And these were some good, good men. Basically, they all left. Every one of them," he says.

will Barnes & Noble stores survive the year?

Will the death of the Big Bookstore mean the end of bookstores? Or will it re-open the market for small stores with more curated offerings?

Barnes & Noble: Gone By New Year’s | Focus Magazine of SWFL

This may be the last year that Barnes & Noble bookstores remain open.

It’s bad news for people who love books. It’s worse news for the next generation of readers, who may never experience buying a book in a bookstore.

...

...Serendipity — the sweet surprise of happening upon an unexpected book — is an experience that can happen only in a bookstore.

"we kill people based on metadata"

Apologists for NSA surveillance sometimes claim that the "metadata" they are collecting isn't really important. One big problem with that...

'We Kill People Based on Metadata'

by David Cole

Of course knowing the content of a call can be crucial to establishing a particular threat. But metadata alone can provide an extremely detailed picture of a person’s most intimate associations and interests, and it’s actually much easier as a technological matter to search huge amounts of metadata than to listen to millions of phone calls. As NSA General Counsel Stewart Baker has said, “metadata absolutely tells you everything about somebody’s life. If you have enough metadata, you don’t really need content.” When I quoted Baker at a recent debate at Johns Hopkins University, my opponent, General Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA and the CIA, called Baker’s comment “absolutely correct,” and raised him one, asserting, “We kill people based on metadata.”

Turkish double wife killer: "I won't kill number 3"

" "The woman who will marry me should not be afraid that I would kill her." Now there's a true romantic.

'I won't kill number 3', says Turkish double wife killer (Yahoo News)

A Turkish man who was kicked out of a TV dating show after revealing he had killed his two previous partners made a stirring romantic pitch by vowing not to kill a third wife.

The audience of the "Luck of the Draw" game show was gobsmacked Thursday when Sefer Calinak, a bald 62-year-old contestant sporting a heart-framed name tag, calmly explained he was a convicted double murderer.

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Vibram settles suits about health claims

Interesting. Now, given that "traditional" running shoes seem to increase the risk of injury, when will we see Nike get destroyed?

Adidas is facing a similar suit over its minimal running shoe.

A barefoot runner's take is here.

(I'm still doing my running in PF Fliers with drug-store padded inserts for a little extra shock absorption and a brace on the injured ankle.)

Vibram Agrees to Settle Class Action Lawsuit (Runner's World & Running Times)

Vibram USA, the company that makes FiveFingers running shoes, has agreed to settle a lawsuit that alleged the company made false and unsubstantiated claims about the health benefits of its glove-like footwear. According to the court filings, Vibram settled to put the matter to rest and avoid any additional legal expenses. “Vibram expressly denied and continues to deny any wrongdoing alleged in the Actions, and neither admits nor concedes any actual or potential fault, wrongdoing or liability,” read the court brief.

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becoming a cyborg on a budget

A wee bit cheaper than Six Million Dollars...

WUSTL students ‘print’ pink prosthetic arm for teen girl | Newsroom | Washington University in St. Louis

Thirteen-year-old Sydney Kendall had one request for the Washington University in St. Louis students building her a robotic prosthetic arm: Make it pink.

Kendall Gretsch, Henry Lather and Kranti Peddada, seniors studying biomedical engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, accomplished that and more. Using a 3-D printer, they created a robotic prosthetic arm out of bright-pink plastic. Total cost: $200, a fraction of the price of standard prosthetics, which start at $6,000.

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