Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Friday, 24 August 2012

Voice of 'Sesame Street's' 'Count' dies - one, two -

Voice of 'Sesame Street's' 'Count' dies - one, two - 
Voice of 'Sesame Street's' The Count dies at 78

Puppeteer Jerry Nelson, famous for lending his voice to Muppets on “Sesame Street,” “The Muppet Show” and “Fraggle Rock,” died Thursday, according to People. He was 78.

The cast and crew of “Sesame Street,” and the staff of Sesame Workshop, released the following statement in memoriam: “A member of the ‘Sesame Street’ family for more than 40 years, [Nelson] will forever be in our hearts and remembered for the artistry in his puppetry, his music, and the laughter he brought to children worldwide…”

Nelson is, perhaps, best recognized as the voice of Count von Count, a friendly vampire with an unmistakable laugh and an affinity for numbers:

Counting floors:

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China could penetrate US with new huge missile -

China could penetrate US with new huge missile - 

It might be time to sweep the cobwebs out of that old nuclear bunker at the bottom of the garden after reports in state-run Chinese media confirmed that the People’s Liberation Army is actively developing an intercontinental missile capable of penetrating US defences.
News first emerged of the planned ‘super missile’ from defence industry bible Jane’s Defence Weeklylast week, according to South China Morning Post.
It apparently claimed that a Dongfeng-41 (DF-41) intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), had been fired in testing last month by the PLA’s Second Artillery Corps.
This third-generation missile, US military sources told Jane’s, contain multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs) – effectively multiple warheads – meaning they would be almost impossible for current US defences to take down.

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Trusts set up so people can pass music, e-books on to their heirs... -

Trusts set up so people can pass music, e-books on to their heirs... - 

Many of us will accumulate vast libraries of digital books and music over the course of our lifetimes. But when we die, our collections of words and music may expire with us.

Someone who owned 10,000 hardcover books and the same number of vinyl records could bequeath them to descendants, but legal experts say passing on iTunes and Kindle libraries would be much more complicated.

And one’s heirs stand to lose huge sums of money. “I find it hard to imagine a situation where a family would be OK with losing a collection of 10,000 books and songs,” says Evan Carroll, co-author of “Your Digital Afterlife.” “Legally dividing one account among several heirs would also be extremely difficult.”

Part of the problem is that with digital content, one doesn’t have the same rights as with print books and CDs. Customers own a license to use the digital files—but they don’t actually own them.

Apple AAPL +0.08%    and Amazon.com AMZN +1.88%    grant “nontransferable” rights to use content, so if you buy the complete works of the Beatles on iTunes, you cannot give the White Album to your son and Abbey Road to your daughter.

According to Amazon’s terms of use, “You do not acquire any ownership rights in the software or music content.” Apple limits the use of digital files to Apple devices used by the account holder.

“That account is an asset and something of value,” says Deirdre R. Wheatley-Liss, an estate planning attorney at Fein, Such, Kahn & Shepard in Parsippany, N.J.

But can it be passed on to one’s heirs?

Most digital content exists in a legal black hole. “The law is light years away from catching up with the types of assets we have in the 21st Century,” says Wheatley-Liss. In recent years, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Indiana, Oklahoma and Idaho passed laws to allow executors and relatives access to email and social networking accounts of those who’ve died, but the regulations don’t cover digital files purchased.

Apple and Amazon did not respond to requests for comment.

There are still few legal and practical ways to inherit e-books and digital music, experts say. And at least one lawyer has a plan to capitalize on what may become be a burgeoning market. David Goldman, a lawyer in Jacksonville, says he will next month launch software, DapTrust, to help estate planners create a legal trust for their clients’ online accounts that hold music, e-books and movies. “With traditional estate planning and wills, there’s no way to give the right to someone to access this kind of information after you’re gone,” he says.

Here’s how it works: Goldman will sell his software for $150 directly to estate planners to store and manage digital accounts and passwords. And, while there are other online safe-deposit boxes like AssetLock and ExecutorSource that already do that, Goldman says his software contains instructions to create a legal trust for accounts. “Having access to digital content and having the legal right to use it are two totally different things,” he says.

The simpler alternative is to just use your loved one’s devices and accounts after they’re gone—as long as you have the right passwords.

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NYC officers kill gunman and upwards of 9 bystanders were injured in the crossfire @ Empire State Building this morning -

NYC officers kill gunman and upwards of 9 bystanders were injured in the crossfire  @ Empire State Building this morning - 
Empire State Building Shooting -- Gunman Jeffrey Johnson Shot Dead on Sidewalk

The man who gunned down several rush-hour commuters outside the Empire State Building this morning was killed in a hail of police gunfire ... in plain view of the public.

53-year-old Jeffrey Johnson was fired from his job last year at Hazan Imports, a woman's clothing store ...  across the street from the Empire State building. He returned this morning around 9AM for revenge, shooting and killing a former co-worker with a .45-caliber handgun.

The streets were packed with tourists and commuters at the time -- and according to police, Johnson fled the scene ... walking up 5th Avenue with his gun concealed in a black bag under his arm.

An eyewitness who saw the shooting alerted nearby officers who then approached Johnson -- and cops claim Johnson responded by taking out his gun and opening fire.

The officers returned fire, killing Johnson -- and upwards of 9 bystanders were injured in the crossfire.

Mayor Bloomberg released a statement saying, "What I want to do is assure everybody this has nothing to do with terrorism."

Read more: http://www.tmz.com/2012/08/24/empire-state-shooter-shot-dead/

70% of Obama's 19 million TWITTER followers fake... -

70% of Obama's 19 million TWITTER followers fake... - 

President Obama's Twitter account has 18.8 million followers -- but more than half of them really don't exist, according to reports.

A new Web tool has determined that 70% of Obama's crowd includes "fake followers," The New York Times reports in a story about how Twitter followers can be purchased.

"The practice has become so widespread that StatusPeople, a social media management company in London, released a Web tool last month called the Fake Follower Check that it says can ascertain how many fake followers you and your friends have," the Times reports.

"Fake accounts tend to follow a lot of people but have few followers," said Rob Waller, a founder of StatusPeople. "We then combine that with a few other metrics to confirm the account is fake."

Notes the Times:

If accurate, the number of fake followers out there is surprising. According to the StatusPeople tool, 71 percent of Lady Gaga's nearly 29 million followers are "fake" or "inactive." So are 70 percent of President Obama's nearly 19 million followers.

Republican opponent Mitt Romney has far fewer Twitter followers -- not quite 900,000 -- but it's a good bet that some of them are fake as well.

Both campaigns have denied buying Twitter followers.


Dogs gone wild! Pack of crazed pit bulls demolish California minivan - trying to get to cat hiding in fender -

Dogs gone wild! Pack of crazed pit bulls demolish California minivan - trying to get to cat hiding in fender - 
Palm Springs, California - This stray kitten was stuck in the bumper of a Dodge minivan and survived a 25-mile drive to Palm Springs and an attack by four pit bulls, who mauled the car's bumper. It has been named Fender Lynx.

A pack of pit bulls ripped through the front of a Southern California man’s minivan in a stunning display of force that would make Cujo cringe.
So what drove the dogs to such destruction? A kitty stuck in the bumper area, Palm Springs police Sgt. Mike Kovaleff said Tuesday.
The unidentified owner's Dodge minivan was parked at his home in Banning where he saw the damage to his vehicle Monday morning, according to CBS affiliate KESQ in Palm Springs.
“He discovered that his vehicle had been significantly damaged by his four pit bull dogs, in an attempt to attack an unknown animal or rodent while his vehicle was parked overnight,”' Kovaleff told the station.
Although the car had a flat, the man drove to work in Palm Springs about 25 miles away where he made a flabbergasting find: A feline was taking refuge in the engine compartment, KESQ said.
An animal control officer was called and helped retrieve the cat, who was taken to an animal hospital and found to be OK, Kovaleff told the station.
The kitty, described as a short-haired tabby about seven weeks old, was even given a name “Fender Lynx” — after the fender she was found in and because her ears resemble those of a lynx.
No more car fenders for this plucky pussy cat. The Palm Springs Animal Shelter hopes to find her a permanent home Saturday.

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Skydivers miss airport, land at high-security submarine base... -

Skydivers miss airport, land at high-security submarine base... - 

Skydivers will no longer be able to drop from the sky out of an airport less than three miles from the highly restricted Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base.
The St. Marys Airport Authority voted Wednesday night to revoke The Jumping Place’s permit to operate out of the small airport. The decision came after two jumpers landed on the base Aug. 12. Altogether, seven skydivers have landed on the base in the past three years.
The vote came after a lengthy and sometimes heated discussion between authority members and the owners of The Jumping Place. Airport Authority member Frank Frasca motioned to revoke the permit shortly after Navy Cmdr. Jeff Pafford told the authority, “This cannot happen again.”
About 5,200 people used the skydiving service each year, The Jumping Place owner Cathy Kloess told the board. She said during the meeting that all of her operations have been above board, strictly following FAA regulations. She said everyone is first shown aerial photographs as well as a video warning that they must not land on the base. She said she could not guarantee, however, that a skydiver wouldn’t land on the base again because skydivers are sometimes blown off course against all odds, and they must land in the safest area available.
The airport authority at first discussed whether to form a committee to decide how to proceed. But when Pafford was later asked for his input, he said, “They cannot land at Submarine Base Kings Bay. We cannot make it any clearer than that. … The issue is not what to do after a skydiver lands [on the base]. They cannot land at Submarine Base Kings Bay. It cannot be a last resort area.”
The base is highly restricted, with one of the country’s few prohibited areas — where planes are not allowed to fly below 3,000 feet over and near certain areas.

Read more - http://jacksonville.com/news/georgia/2012-08-22/story/skydivers-be-kept-away-kings-bay-base

Health officials link brain-eating amoeba deaths to tap water -

Health officials link brain-eating amoeba deaths to tap water - 

Following the deaths of two people from Louisiana who contracted brain-eating amoeba infections from their own home water systems last year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are warning people to follow appropriate guidelines when using a popular home remedy for sinus infections.
The victims, a 28-year-old man and a 51-year-old woman from different parts of the state, died from primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) – an almost universally fatal infection – after using neti pots filled with tap water to irrigate their sinuses.  
Water samples taken from the victims’ homes tested positive for Naegleria fowleri (N. fowleri), a climate-sensitive amoeba found in warm freshwater lakes and rivers. N. fowleri has over a 99 percent fatality rate, with only one known survivor in the U.S. since 1962.
The amoeba enters the body through the nose and migrates through the olfactory nerve to the brain.  Symptoms, which occur one to seven days after exposure, include headache, fever, stiff neck, loss of appetite, vomiting, confusion, seizures, coma and death.
In response to the findings, the CDC and FDA are reminding consumers to use boiled, distilled or filtered water when using neti pots or other nasal-rinsing devices.
“Some tap water contains low levels of organisms, such as bacteria and protozoa, including amoebas, which may be safe to swallow because stomach acid kills them,” the FDA said in a released statement. “But these ‘bugs’ can stay alive in nasal passages and cause potentially serious infections.”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/08/23/health-officials-link-brain-eating-amoeba-deaths-to-tap-water/?test=latestnews