Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Man shooting up heroin while driving crashes into police cruiser -

Man shooting up heroin while driving crashes into police cruiser - 

A Slidell, LA police lieutenant suffered minor injuries after a man suspected of shooting up heroin while driving crashed into the back of the lieutenant's police vehicle.

The crash happened around 4 p.m. Monday. The officer was monitoring traffic and was parked on the shoulder of Fremaux Avenue when he noticed a 2004 Lincoln LS veer off the roadway and head straight for his police vehicle. The officer saw the man driving look up but was unable to react before he crashed into the Chevy Tahoe.

The driver of the Lincoln was 32-year-old Ronald Caplina. He was driving about 40 miles per hour when he crashed into the officer.

The impact pushed the police officer's vehicle several feet, causing minor injuries to both the officer and Caplina, who was not wearing his seatbelt.

Slidell Police tried asking Caplina why he was distracted, but he could not give them a clear answer. Police discovered a fresh syringe, along with suspected heroin, inside the vehicle. Police say the syringe had dried blood on the needle and Caplina had fresh injection marks on his arm.

Police believe Caplina was distracted because he was injecting heroin at the time of the crash.

Caplina was cited with careless operation, driving under suspension and no seat belt. He was also booked for possession of a schedule I narcotic (heroin) and possession of drug paraphernalia.


Telekinesis Prank Scares the Crap Out of Unsuspecting Caffeine Junkies -

Telekinesis Prank Scares the Crap Out of Unsuspecting Caffeine Junkies - 

Scaring people is hard. Scaring New Yorkers is even harder.

It's clear that the folks behind the prank in the video above know a thing or two about how to successfully freak out even the most skeptic seen-it-alls. And what they execute is as impressive as anything you'd find on a high-budget Hollywood set.

The skilled pranksters constructed a fake wall inside West Village coffee shop 'Snice Cafe in NYC, installing a cable and pulley that send an stuntman unsuspecting patron flying up into the air. Chairs, books, and tables are all remotely controlled, giving the illusion that a young woman's anger-induced, out-of-control telekinesis is behind a room full of moving objects.

Anger? Telekinesis? A young woman? Hmmm.

If this all sounds suspiciously timed with and thematically linked to the release of the new "Carrie," then you're on to something. The folks behind the horror re-imagining set up the crazy prank as a way of getting the word out about the movie. And look, it worked!

"Carrie," starring Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore, hits theaters on October 18.


Peanut Butter smell test confirm Alzheimers -

Peanut Butter smell test confirm Alzheimers - 

A dollop of peanut butter and a ruler might be a way to confirm a diagnosis of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

Jennifer Stamps, a graduate student in the McKnight Brain Institute Center for Smell and Taste and the University of Florida, came up with the idea of using peanut butter to test for smell sensitivity when she was working with Kenneth Heilman, a professor of neurology at the University of Florida.

The ability to smell is associated with the first cranial nerve and is often one of the first things affected in cognitive decline. Because peanut butter is a “pure odorant,” it is only detected by the olfactory nerve and is easy to access.

“Dr. Heilman said, ‘If you can come up with something quick and inexpensive, we can do it,’” Stamps says.

For a small pilot study published in the Journal of Neurological Sciences, patients who were coming to the clinic for testing also sat down with a clinician, 14 grams of peanut butter—which equals about one tablespoon—and a metric ruler.

The patient closed his or her eyes and mouth and blocked one nostril. The clinician opened the peanut butter container and held the ruler next to the open nostril while the patient breathed normally. The clinician then moved the peanut butter up the ruler one centimeter at a time during the patient’s exhale until the person could detect an odor.

The distance was recorded and the procedure repeated on the other nostril after a 90-second delay.

The clinicians running the test did not know the patients’ diagnoses, which were not usually confirmed until weeks after the initial clinical testing.

Patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease had a dramatic difference in detecting odor between the left and right nostril—the left nostril was impaired and did not detect the smell until it was an average of 10 centimeters closer to the nose than the right nostril had made the detection in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

This was not the case in patients with other kinds of dementia—instead, these patients had either no differences in odor detection between nostrils or the right nostril was worse at detecting odor than the left one.

Of the 24 patients tested who had mild cognitive impairment, which sometimes signals Alzheimer’s disease and sometimes turns out to be something else, about 10 patients showed a left nostril impairment and 14 patients did not. The researchers said more studies must be conducted to fully understand the implications.

“At the moment, we can use this test to confirm diagnosis,” Stamps says. “But we plan to study patients with mild cognitive impairment to see if this test might be used to predict which patients are going to get Alzheimer’s disease.”

The researchers say the test could be used by clinics that don’t have access to the personnel or equipment to run other, more elaborate tests required for a specific diagnosis, which can lead to targeted treatment.

One of the first places in the brain to degenerate in people with Alzheimer’s disease is the front part of the temporal lobe that evolved from the smell system, and this portion of the brain is involved in forming new memories.

“We see people with all kinds of memory disorders,” Heilman says. Many tests to confirm a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias can be time-consuming, costly, or invasive. “This can become an important part of the evaluation process.”


4-Year-Old Boy Bring 8 Bags Of Crack To School... - and flashed a roll of cash -

4-Year-Old Boy Bring 8 Bags Of Crack To School... - and flashed a roll of cash -

A Pre-K drug discovery has parents and children at a Philadelphia school concerned and police searching for answers.

A preschooler reportedly brought eight bags of crack cocaine and $173 to a Philadelphia grade school Tuesday morning and was showing it off to classmates, police said.

The incident happened at the Thomas Mifflin Elementary School in the 3600 block of Conrad Street in the city’s East Falls section.

“I’m shocked that a kid was able to bring drugs to school, but it isn’t really surprising with the drug epidemic in the city,” said mom Jennifer Gallagher.

Others were left speechless.

“I don’t know what to say about that.”

According to police, a four-year-old boy reportedly flashed a roll of cash and a bag of narcotics to fellow classmates. A classmate then alerted a teacher.

“It is something to play with. He showed it to classmates. You know, I commend the classmate for bringing it to the attention of the teacher,” said Chief Inspector Cynthia Dorsey.

It is hard to believe, but those from the school district say it has happened before.

“Not very often, but unfortunately it has happen in the past.  There have been incidents in which children have access to these types of substances,” said Fernando Gallard, the Chief of Communications for the School District of Philadelphia.

Police are still investigating exactly who gave the drugs and cash to the child, but made it clear that the four-year-old is not to blame.

“The child is a victim of a situation, wherever that situation is occurring either in the home or somewhere else. We are providing that child with the support that we can,” Gallard said.

K-9 dogs canvassed the campus and no other drugs were found.  The district is bringing counselors to talk to the Pre-K class about what happened and waiting to hear if anyone is found responsible.

Police are questioning the uncle of the four-year-old boy. Eyewitness News is told the boy was taken to St. Christopher’s Hospital for a medical evaluation and because he is after all just four-years-old, the school district says he will be allowed to return to school.

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FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: American adults dumber than average human... -

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: American adults dumber than average human... - 

It’s long been known that America’s school kids haven’t measured well compared with international peers. Now, there’s a new twist: Adults don’t either.
In math, reading and problem-solving using technology – all skills considered critical for global competitiveness and economic strength – American adults scored below the international average on a global test, according to results released Tuesday.
Adults in Japan, Canada, Australia, Finland and multiple other countries scored significantly higher than the United States in all three areas on the test. Beyond basic reading and math, respondents were tested on activities such as calculating mileage reimbursement due to a salesman, sorting email and comparing food expiration dates on grocery store tags.
Not only did Americans score poorly compared to many international competitors, the findings reinforced just how large the gap is between the nation’s high- and low-skilled workers and how hard it is to move ahead when your parents haven’t.
In both reading and math, for example, those with college-educated parents did better than those whose parents did not complete high school.
The study, called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, found that it was easier on average to overcome this and other barriers to literacy overseas than in the United States.
Researchers tested about 166,000 people ages 16 to 65 in more than 20 countries and subnational regions. The test was developed and released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which is made up of mostly industrialized member countries. The Education Department’s Center for Education Statistics participated.
The findings were equally grim for many European countries – Italy and Spain, among the hardest hit by the recession and debt crisis, ranked at the bottom across generations. Unemployment is well over 25 percent in Spain and over 12 percent in Italy. Spain has drastically cut education spending, drawing student street protests.
But in the northern European countries that have fared better, the picture was brighter – and the study credits continuing education. In Finland, Denmark, and the Netherlands, more than 60 percent of adults took part in either job training or continuing education. In Italy, by contrast, the rate was half that.
As the American economy sputters along and many people live paycheck-to-paycheck, economists say a highly-skilled workforce is key to economic recovery. The median hourly wage of workers scoring on the highest level in literacy on the test is more than 60 percent higher than for workers scoring at the lowest level, and those with low literacy skills were more than twice as likely to be unemployed.
“It’s not just the kids who require more and more preparation to get access to the economy, it’s more and more the adults don’t have the skills to stay in it,” said Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement the nation needs to find ways to reach more adults to upgrade their skills. Otherwise, he said, “no matter how hard they work, these adults will be stuck, unable to support their families and contribute fully to our country.”
Among the other findings:
-Americans scored toward the bottom in the category of problem solving in a technology rich environment. The top five scores in the areas were from Japan, Finland, Australia, Sweden and Norway, while the US score was on par with England, Estonia, Ireland and Poland. In nearly all countries, at least 10 percent of adults lacked the most basic of computer skills such as using a mouse.
-Japanese and Dutch adults who were ages 25 to 34 and only completed high school easily outperformed Italian or Spanish university graduates of the same age.
-In England, Germany, Italy, Poland, and the United States, social background has a big impact on literacy skills, meaning the children of parents with low levels of education have lower reading skills.
America’s school kids have historically scored low on international assessment tests compared to other countries, which is often blamed on the diversity of the population and the high number of immigrants. Also, achievement tests have long shown that a large chunk of the US student population lacks basic reading and math skills – most pronounced among low-income and minority students.
This test could suggest students leaving high school without certain basic skills aren’t obtaining them later on the job or in an education program.
The United States will have a tough time catching up because money at the state and local level, a major source of education funding, has been slashed in recent years, said Jacob Kirkegaard, an economist with the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

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Prescription drug abuse now more deadly than heroin and cocaine combined -

Prescription drug abuse now more deadly than heroin and cocaine combined - 

More people are dying in the US from prescription drugs than from heroin and cocaine combined, a new study says, signaling that pill abuse is not just the leading cause of drug overdose deaths, but that it also requires more oversight and training by both doctors and state health agencies.
Deaths involving prescription pills have quadrupled between 1999 and 2010, according to a report released Monday by Trust for America’s Health, a nonprofit organization in Washington that studies health policy. About 6.1 million people abuse prescription pills, and overdose deaths have at least doubled in 29 states, where they now exceed vehicle-related deaths. In 10 of those states, rates tripled; in four of them, they quadrupled.
“We’ve been struck how quickly this probably has emerged … it warrants a strong public health response,” says Andrea Gielen, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy in Baltimore, who served as a consultant for the report. “We’re concerned about preventing misuse or overdoses, which are very real and heart-wrenching problems that have been skyrocketing recently.”
Prescription-drug overdose rates are highest in the poorest regions of the US: Appalachia and the Southwest. West Virginia has the highest rate, at 28.9 deaths per every 100,000 people – a 605 percent increase since 1999. Following close behind are New Mexico, Kentucky, Nevada, and Oklahoma.

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California court rules spanking with wooden spoon not abuse -

California court rules spanking with wooden spoon not abuse - 

A state appeals court on Tuesday tossed out child abuse findings against a frustrated Northern California mother who spanked her 12-year-old daughter hard enough with a wooden spoon to cause bruising.

The 6th District Court of Appeal in San Jose reversed the child abuse determination made by the Santa Clara County Department of Social Services. Social workers waned to report Vernica Gonzalez to the state Department of Justice's child abuse database with a "substantiated" abuse determination. That determination was upheld by a trial court judge.

The appeals court said the spanking came close to abuse, but that social workers and the lower court judge failed to consider the family's entire circumstances.

Gonzalez and her husband testified that other forms of punishment such as groundings and taking away her phone had failed to persuade their 12-year-old daughter to do her schoolwork and avoid gang culture. The parents said that other family members had testified that spankings in the household were a rarity.

The appeals court said the mother's growing frustration with her daughter's behavior and her intention not to inflict harm in the April 2010 spanking weighed heavily in its ruling.

"Nothing in the record suggests the mother should have known she was inflicting bruises," Justice Conrad Rushing wrote for the unanimous three-judge panel. Rushing continued that "the spanking was entirely the product of a genuine and deliberate disciplinary purpose, i.e., to arrest troubling behavior patterns exhibited by the daughter."

The court ordered the child abuse report to be withdrawn or Gonzalez given another hearing in which the San Jose family's entire circumstances are considered and the spanking put into context with the parents' growing frustration with a recalcitrant daughter.

"We cannot say that the use of a wooden spoon to administer a spanking necessarily exceeds the bounds of reasonable parental discipline," Rushing concluded.

Read more -