Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Friday, 27 September 2013

Oregon shoppers find $100 bills in grocery items -

Oregon shoppers find $100 bills in grocery items - 

Grocery store shoppers in Salem, Ore., have been finding $100 dollar bills hidden inside egg cartons, behind bottles of formula, by the loaves of bread.

The manager of a Fred Meyer store in South Salem tells the Statesman Journal that seven customers have reported finding $100 bills in or near various types of groceries in recent weeks. April Richards says store employees aren't sure who is leaving the money behind.

Salem resident Ashley Beebehiser says she was shocked when she found $100 bill in a carton of eggs. She decided to turn it into the store. She'll get it back if no one claims it after 30 days.

Richard Silva says his wife also found a $100 bill at a Walmart store in South Salem Sunday. It was inside a pink candle.


Apple iOS 7 is sickening users, doctor confirms -

Apple iOS 7 is sickening users, doctor confirms - 

Now that’s what you’d call a rotten Apple!

The latest software powering Apple’s popular iPhones and iPads overhauls the look and feel of the interface, and features a variety of new digital animations and effects. But many users claim the new effects are more nauseating than nice.

“The zoom animations everywhere on the new iOS 7 are literally making me nauseous and giving me a headache. It's exactly how I used to get car sick if I tried to read in the car,” wrote one iPhone user on Apple’s support forums. That thread has been viewed over 15,000 times and features dozens of similar reports of carsickness and nausea.

“+1 here. Have headaches and nausea for past 3 days. Can't stand to look at my phone screen anymore while opening/closing apps. I just close my eyes or look away,” another user wrote.

Dr. George Kikano, division chief of family medicine at UH Case Medical Center in Ohio, told FoxNews.com those users are likely correct: the iPhone is making them carsick.

"There’s some validity to this, for people who are susceptible," he told FoxNews.com. But it's not the zoom animations that are responsible. It's a new "parallax" function that causes the background of the phone to subtly move back and forth, a feature that leads to an effect not unlike car sickness. 

 It’s no different than being in an IMAX theater," Kikano said. "The inner ear is responsible for balance, the eyes for vision. When things are out of sync you feel dizzy, nauseous. Some people get it, some people don’t, and some people get used to it."

Other experts said the effect is somewhat different. Charles Oman, a former director at NASA who has studied motion sickness for over 15 years, told ABC News that he's hesitant to call it motion sickness.

"It takes a couple minutes of sustained stimulation to activate motion sickness," he said. "If it were an immersive environment, like a headset or an IMAX screen, then I can believe it, but it's a little harder to believe on the small screens."


Too tempting? NSA watchdog details how officials spied on love interests -

Too tempting? NSA watchdog details how officials spied on love interests - 

The world learned in early June about the National Security Agency's stunning capability to spy on just about anyone it wants to. Now we're finding out that power was just too tempting for some of its own employees -- with the agency acknowledging that workers used NSA tools to spy on love interests.

In a letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, NSA Inspector General George Ellard admitted that since 2003, there have been "12 substantiated instances of intentional misuse" of "surveillance authorities," and "SIGINT," or signals intelligence.

Just about all of these cases involve an NSA employee spying on a girlfriend, boyfriend or some kind of love interest, or "loveint." Media reports had earlier claimed NSA workers were engaged in this kind of activity. The letter to Grassley gave specific details for the first time.

According to the letter, just prior to a polygraph examination in 2011 one NSA employee admitted that he queried information on his girlfriend's phone "out of curiosity."  However, that "subject retired in 2012 before disciplinary action had been taken."

Another employee went much further, tracking nine different telephone numbers for "female foreign nationals, without a valid foreign intelligence purpose" between 1998 and 2003 -- and listening to the phone conversations. The activity was uncovered after a female foreign national employed by the U.S. government, who was having sexual relations with the offending employee, told a colleague she thought her phone was being tapped.

In another instance, a female NSA employee admitted in 2004 to tapping a telephone number she found in her husband's cell phone "because she suspected that her husband had been unfaithful." In this case the NSA employee resigned before any disciplinary action.

The IG wrote that there are two additional open investigations into similar misuse of intelligence capabilities and yet another allegation for possible investigation.

Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that the NSA should have a zero-tolerance policy toward abuse.

"I appreciate the transparency that the Inspector General has provided to the American people. We shouldn't tolerate even one instance of misuse of this program," he said. "Robust oversight of the program must be completed to ensure that both national security and the Constitution are protected."


Drugs, caffeine, and chemicals found in Lake Michigan -

Drugs, caffeine, and chemicals found in Lake Michigan - 

Pharmaceuticals, caffeine and items such as toothpaste additives have been found farther out in the Great Lakes than ever before, according to a new study that also raises concerns about their levels.

The presence of pharmaceuticals and personal care products — or PPCPs — has previously gone largely unstudied within the Great Lakes, according to Rebecca Klaper, a co-author of the study released last month.

Klaper, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences, said the expectation has been that the Great Lakes’ huge volumes of water would dilute the PPCPs into undetectability. Lakes Michigan and Huron, which are connected, together have 2 quadrillion, or 2,000 trillion, gallons of water, for example.

Pharmaceuticals found in Lake Michigan 2 miles offshore from two Milwaukee wastewater treatment plants included a diabetes medication and a hormone used in birth-control pills. The new findings are alarming researchers, even as they continue to learn more about what the presence of PPCPs means. The concern is that the products, or mixtures of them, might affect fish and other aquatic life in ways that harm the ecosystem, Klaper said.

“If it does cause an impact, we need to start targeting some of our treatment processes,” she said.

Klaper and her team looked for 54 PPCPs and hormones in Lake Michigan surface water and sediment samples at varying distances from Milwaukee’s two main wastewater treatment plants. The samples were collected on six dates over two years.

Thirty-two of the PPCPs were found in Lake Michigan’s water and 30 in the lake’s sediments. The most frequently found products — detected as far out as 2 miles from the waste water treatment facilities — included:

■ Metformin, a prescription diabetes medicine.

■ Caffeine, found from some natural sources but also from coffee, tea, pop and energy drinks.

■ Sulfamethoxazole, an antibiotic used to treat ailments such as urinary tract infections and inner-ear infections.

■ Triclosan, an antibacterial and antifungal agent found in many consumer products, including toothpaste and antibacterial soaps.

Of the detected drugs and care products, 14 were found to be in concentrations of “medium” or “high” ecological risk, according to the study.

“The concentrations found in this study ... indicate a significant threat by PPCPs to the health of the Great Lakes, particularly near-shore organisms,” the research report states.

While only Lake Michigan was studied, PPCPs likely persist in other Great Lakes that take wastewater outflows, according to Klaper.

It’s alarming that the chemicals are found that far from shore in the new study, said Olga Lyandres, research manager for the Alliance for the Great Lakes, a nonprofit lake advocacy group.

“The argument used to be the lakes are so large, of course right by the discharge point you need to check for the stuff, but it’s not affecting the lake as a whole,” she said.

The number and variety of PPCPs making their way into the environment from many sources raises the concern, Lyandres said.

“There are some questions that are still unanswered,” she said. “You can study one chemical at a time, but in reality, we’re exposed to a chemical soup.”


Residents Want Concrete Traffic Safety Posts Removed Because They Look Like Penises... -

Residents Want Concrete Traffic Safety Posts Removed Because They Look Like Penises... - 

Photo Credit: KDKA

New traffic barriers, known as bollards, are causing some controversy in the Glendale section of Scott Township. It’s not the function, but the form.

“When you really look at all four close together, they look like male body parts, which I don’t think is appropriate,” says Glendale resident Pat Martin.

She raised the issue at Tuesday night’s township commission meeting.

“Everyone’s laughing about them,” she adds, “because of the way they’re put and what they resemble to people.”

Commissioners Eileen Meyers and Pat Caruso disagree.

“We looked through and found something that we thought was pleasing to the eye, but apparently to one person it was not,” Commissioner Meyers says.

Six more of the controversial posts have been installed further down the hill, at the intersection of Carothers and Magazine Street. That brings the total to 10.

Would they tear them all down?

“I can’t imagine spending taxpayers’ dollars for a situation like this because somebody has a narrow mind,” says Commissioner Caruso.

Director of Public Services Randy Lubin says cheaper options are possible.

“Is there something that could go over top of these bollards that we could retrofit,” Lubin says, “and again there will be a cost to that.”

To replace, to cover, or leave alone?

Randy Lubin has one more question: “What’s to say the next replacement isn’t going to offend somebody else?”

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