Shortly after reports surfaced today that the Boy Scouts of America had voted to lift its ban on gay youths, local homosexual child Max Lovell, 14, told reporters that he was looking forward to joining the organization and finally being ridiculed for another thing. “This is great. I get made fun of every day for being gay, but now I’ll be called a dork, too,” said the enthusiastic Lovell, who is routinely taunted for being homosexual but will now endure everything from light ribbing to vicious name-calling based on his affiliation with the outdoor-preparedness youth group. “It’s perfect because I’ve been looking for a second thing to get mocked for, and Boy Scouts seems like a great fit. I think it’ll really open me up to a whole new batch of cutting insults.” Lovell added that he also “can’t wait” to see what his peers will do when he joins the eighth-grade marching band in the fall.
Now they’re just messing with us. Physicists have long known that quantum mechanics allows for a subtle connection between quantum particles called entanglement, in which measuring one particle can instantly set the otherwise uncertain condition, or “state,” of another particle—even if it’s light years away. Now, experimenters in Israel have shown that they can entangle two photons that don’t even exist at the same time.
Senators are angry that tech giant Apple isn’t paying its fair share.
I’m not talking about taxes. This is about campaign contributions and lobbying fees.
An investigation by Sen. Carl Levin and a grilling of Apple CEO Tim Cook on Tuesday by the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations were ostensibly about Apple’s low tax bill. But nobody accused Apple of breaking the law. The company moved money around to minimize the tax it owed and then paid the amount the law required. Apple didn’t write the tax law or even lobby very hard to shape it.
And that’s just the problem. The grilling of Apple is best understood as a shakedown by politicians upset with Apple for not playing the Washington game that yields contributions, power, and personal wealth for congressmen and their aides.
Apple doesn’t have a political action committee to fund incumbents’ re-elections. Apple doesn’t hire many congressional staff or any former congressmen as lobbyists. Apple mostly minds its own business — and how does that help the political class?
Boruch Spiegel, one of the last surviving fighters of the Warsaw ghetto uprising of 1943, in which a vastly outgunned band of 750 young Jews held off German soldiers for more than a month with crude arms and Molotov cocktails, died on May 9 in Montreal. He was 93.
MAGALLON, Spain, May 20 (UPI) — Police in Spain said they arrested a man accused of breaking into a fortune teller’s home to recover the $212,000 he paid for a love spell that didn’t work.
Investigators said Jose Laparra, former manager of the Club Deportivo Castellon soccer team, paid the sum to a Magallon fortune teller in exchange for casting a spell to bring his former lover back to him, thinkSPAIN reported Monday.
However, Laparra allegedly broke into the woman’s house when the spell didn’t work and demanded his money back.
Police said Laparra suffered a panic attack during his arrest and was taken to Zaragoza’s Hospital Clinico.
So the fortune teller didn’t see that coming? What a surprise…
Arthur and Alfie Banks-Lowe were born a minute apart, sharing Down’s Syndrome and a carbon copy set of medical issues.
Yet, when mum and dad Emma and David applied for disability living allowance to help with round the clock care they got a bizarre reply.
Arthur was accepted and Alfie refused.
“We couldn’t believe it,” Emma said. “The boys are identical in every detail, they have exactly the same health issues, they need exactly the same care, yet one can get the allowance and the other can’t.
The Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt has claimed that the blanket net wiretapping already being performed by the Swedish government is completely compatible with freedoms of speech and expression, as it is “performed discreetly”. This remarkably Orwellian statement was made in a panel at the Stockholm Internet Forum today, where Bildt is trying to portray himself as net-friendly. The Swedish government’s credibility is below zero in these matters among activists, as the recently-enacted FRA law mandates the government to wiretap all traffic online in bulk without a warrant, if it happens to cross a country border (which you can’t know in advance if yours does).
“Instead,” the Pope continued, “the Lord has created us in His image and likeness, and has given us this commandment in the depths of our heart: do good and do not do evil”:
“The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”
So, Francis – are you telling me the Church renounces its policy of Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus?
It will be noisier than you are used to. Emotions will be higher than they are at home. The food will be awful. People will be drunk. The weather will be bad. Many of the supporters, even the ones cheering the loudest, will not appear to be having fun as we know it, and will be expressing their feelings in novel combinations of swear words. The discomfort, the din, the rudeness, the cleverness, the chanting, the verbal abuse, the unalloyed ecstasy, the abject despair, the love, the hatred — all these are part of the ritual, essential to even to the most meaningless, late-season, non-standings-affecting match.
The determination of David Cameron to press ahead with legalising gay marriage opens up the possibility of a lesbian queen giving birth to a future monarch by artificial insemination, Lord Tebbit has warned.
Because that’s exactly what happened in Belgium when they legalized gay marriage ten years ago.
Sen. James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, argued that there is no comparison between Hurricane Sandy relief, which he voted against last fall, and aid for his state in the wake of Monday’s devastating tornado because the two are “totally different.”
Of course. That was “them” and this is “us”.
Energy exists all around us — in the motion of a heartbeat, the fluorescent light in an office building, and even the flow of blood cells through the body. These individual units of energy are relatively small, but they are numerous. Dr. Zhong Lin Wang, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has developed a way to harness this ambient energy. After months of work, Wang and his team have developed the very first hybrid cell, which is capable of harnessing both motion and sunlight. By tapping into multiple sources of readily available energy, the tiny cells have the potential to revolutionize the way we power our devices.
All of our electronic devices, from medical sensors to calculators, require a constant supply of energy. Currently, the most common methods are a plug and power supply or batteries, both of which are large and thus limit miniaturization. Since Wang’s cell is small enough to work on the nanoscale, it can readily be incorporated into biomedical sensors, cellphones, and other small electronics. The cell’s hybrid design is an advantage as well: Solar energy alone produces high voltages but is unsuitable for devices used in the dark, while energy from ambient motion is more consistent but is available on a smaller scale. By combining these sources, Wang’s device can provide a highly reliable supply of electricity.
Wang developed the motion-harnessing component of the hybrid cell in 2006. These devices, called nanogenerators, can collect energy at the micro- and nanoscales of motion by relying on piezoelectricity, the production of a current from compression or strain. To construct a nanogenerator, Wang grew a vertical array of microscopic zinc oxide (ZnO) wires on a flat base. On top of this, he placed an electrode with multiple pointed peaks that give it a “zig-zag” appearance. When the ZnO nanowires are bent out of their ordered formation, they generate small electric charges due to piezoelectricity. They then touch the zig-zag edge of the electrode, which collects all the electricity to produce a current. Due to its sensitivity, a nanogenerator can capture even vibrations of very small magnitudes, which can then be harnessed to power an object such as a pacemaker. In fact, nearly a milliwatt of mechanical energy exists in each cubic centimeter of the ambient environment.
The Bronx Defenders took a more aggressively experimental tack several years ago when, with little fanfare, they quietly spun off a nonprofit called the Bronx Freedom Fund.
After raising around $200,000, the fund began doing something at once simple and completely revolutionary: It bailed people out. When lawyers at the Bronx Defenders took on a client who couldn’t make bail but wasn’t considered a flight risk and wasn’t charged with anything more serious than a misdemeanor or a nonviolent felony, they would refer him to Zoe Towns, the fund’s only employee. If the defendant met the criteria, Towns would go down to the courthouse with a certified check and bail him out. When the defendant returned to court for his next hearing and the bail came back, it would be rolled back into the fund to help someone else.
The fund kept a low profile, in large part because its advisers worried that if judges and prosecutors knew that it existed, they might inflate bails to keep people in jail. But over the course of more than a year, the fund bailed out nearly 200 people. That was a tremendous boon for the defendants who could go home rather than stay locked up, but the project also generated some remarkable data.
First, the fund’s numbers gave the lie to the assumption that defendants won’t return to court if they don’t have a personal relationship with the people posting bail for them. Ninety-three percent of the fund’s clients showed up for every single one of their subsequent court hearings—a return rate higher than that of defendants who post their own bail or get commercial bail bonds.
But the really shocking revelation of the Freedom Fund experiment was this: More than half of the fund’s clients eventually saw their cases either completely dismissed or knocked down to some noncriminal disposition. Not a single one ever went back to jail on the charges for which they were bailed out.
Without access to a bail fund, defendants in similar positions pleaded guilty to criminal charges 95 percent of the time. The fund’s numbers made wincingly clear what everyone had already vaguely known: The current bail system has the direct effect of slapping criminal convictions on poor people who would otherwise win their cases.
The experiment didn’t last. Eventually, a judge discovered the existence of the program and launched an investigation, ultimately ruling that the fund was illegal because it was effectively operating as an uninsured bail-bond company.
Apple says that it “complies fully with both the laws and spirit of the laws,” and that is surely true. It has plenty of good lawyers to make sure it complies with the actual laws, and as for the spirit … I mean, here is something Apple says:
From a tax policy standpoint, cost sharing agreements play an important role in encouraging companies like Apple to keep R&D efforts – and the high-paying, income tax generating jobs associated with them – in the US.
Here’s how to read that: “Congress stuffs the tax code with loopholes and oddities in order to offer ad hoc bribes and incentives to particular companies at particular times, depending on who’s been bamboozling Congress about what recently, and we’d be schmucks not to take advantage of all of them.” That, surely, is the spirit of the corporate tax code.