Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Looting spreads in Argentina’s third largest city as police go on strike -

Looting spreads in Argentina’s third largest city as police go on strike - 

Scenes of the looting were aired by local channels

Looting and robbing spread to several areas of the Argentine city of Cordoba on Tuesday evening and night following a walkout from the police in the midst of a conflict over pay and other benefits.

The Supermarkets association has anticipated its members will not open their stores on Wednesday unless police forces are back patrolling the streets of Argentina’s third largest city which is also an important manufacturing pole.

Television film showed mostly youngsters breaking into supermarkets and robbing food, drinks and electronics, while the stores were defenseless. Women could also be seen.

Public transport has warned that without law enforcements officers back on the beat they will not be operating on Wednesday since some of their units and passengers have been mugged.

The conflict started after negotiations for salary increases with the provincial government broke down and the police force decided to go on strike.

Read more -
More than 2 million passwords for Facebook, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google have been stolen and posted online - 

More than 2 million passwords for sites including Facebook, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google have been stolen and posted online, BCC reports.

Security firm Trustwave has discovered the trove of login credentials, email credentials and passwords, it announced on Tuesday.

Security experts told BBC that a criminal gang may be behind the security breach. The stolen information can be used to extract people's personal information from the websites, which can then be sold, according to BBC.

“Facebook takes people’s information security extremely seriously and we work hard to protect it," a Facebook spokesperson told The Huffington Post. "While details of this case are not yet clear, it appears that people’s computers may have been attacked by hackers using malware to scrape information directly from their web browsers."

The spokesperson also emphasized that all of the compromised passwords have been put into Facebook's password reset process, and that Facebook users can protect their accounts by activating Login Approvals and Login Notifications in their security settings.

"We immediately reset the passwords of the affected accounts," a spokesperson from Twitter told HuffPost. A Google spokesperson pointed us to a blog post about the ways in which the company combats "account hijackers."

The passwords and credentials were taken from people all over the world, Trustwave finds, and the site where the information was posted is written in Russian.

The stolen passwords are, in general, weak ones. The most popular password that was stolen is "123456," followed by "123456789," "1234" and "password."


Cops: Woman injured when her glass drug pipe shatters in her vagina after she rear-ended a car... -

Cops: Woman injured when her glass drug pipe shatters in her vagina after she rear-ended a car... - 

As if you need another reason not to hide a glass meth pipe in a body cavity, a North Dakota woman was discovered bleeding from her vagina Monday after she rear-ended a car on a Fargo roadway, police report.

When police responded to the crash scene, they arrested Jeana Marie Smart, 26, after a warrant check revealed that she had failed to appear in court on a pending narcotics and drug paraphernalia case.

After transporting Smart to the Cass County jail, Officer Michael Benton spotted blood on the back seat of his patrol car. “When I asked Smart about this, she said she was on her period,” Benton noted in a Fargo Police Department report.

But as Smart (seen above) was walked to the booking area, blood continued to drip from her “crotch area onto her legs and the floor.” She subsequently “admitted she had ‘a pipe’ in a body cavity,” Benton reported.

Jail personnel then “recovered a broken, clear glass meth/crack pipe and a capped syringe from Smart’s vagina.” The pipe was booked into evidence, while the needle was discarded. 

Since Smart continued to bleed, she was brought to a local hospital, where “medical staff removed some additional broken glass from Smart’s vagina.” After being medically cleared, she was returned to jail, where she was booked into custody for possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance.

Smart, whose bail was set at $2000, was subsequently released from custody. She is scheduled for a January 3 preliminary hearing in District Court.


US Retailer Hell In One Chart - In brief: sales down and inventories soaring -

US Retailer Hell In One Chart - In brief: sales down and inventories soaring - 

The chart below from the WSJ, summarizes perfectly the hell that US retailers find themselves in. In brief: sales down and inventories soaring, means liquidation sales have to surge, while profits and cash flows crater.

From WSJ:

 Simeon Siegel, an analyst with Nomura Equity Research, looked at the inventory carried by those and other specialty-apparel retailers at the end of the third quarter and compared it with his projections for the chains' fourth quarter sales. He found that in most cases inventory growth far outpaced sales growth. Normally, the two should be growing about the same. "The ratios are the worst we have seen in quite a while," Mr. Siegel said.

"The worry now is about demand falling, not going through the roof," Mr. Johnson said.

Abercrombie ended the third quarter with inventory up 22% from a year earlier. Yet Mr. Siegel of Nomura predicts the retailer's sales will fall 14% in the fourth quarter.

Marshal Cohen, the chief industry analyst for the NPD Group, said he spotted signs throughout the weekend that stores were overstocked, including goods
stacked high up on shelves and ample merchandise in storerooms.

"When the most common sizes of popular items don't sell out, that's a problem," Mr. Cohen said.
Yes, it is - it means the consumer is fully tapped out courtesy of Bernanke's 5 year (and ongoing) wealth transfer experiment from the middle class to the 0.1%.

Gap and L Brands have had strong years, with their shares up more than 30%. But apparel sales have been suffering as shoppers direct their attention elsewhere. Many consumers, when they are spending at all, are plowing money into their homes and buying new cars.
They don't call it "fun-da-mentals" for nothing. And with Uncle Sam providing all the car loans one could ever need, why buy clothes when you can live naked (or simply rent clothes as they do in Europe) in their NINJA loan purchased (thanks to the government's generosity) Government Motors.

Finally, don't worry about any of the above: surely there is a weather excuse for all of it.


US woman is the first person to get a traffic ticket for wearing Google Glass -

US woman is the first person to get a traffic ticket for wearing Google Glass - 

A US woman thought to be the first person to get a traffic ticket for wearing Google Glass pleaded not guilty in court, her lawyer said.

Cecilia Abadie, who was wearing the hi-tech eye-wear but says it was not turned on at the time, was charged with speeding and distracted driving on a San Diego area freeway on October 29.

On Tuesday, her lawyer William Concidine appeared in court with the 44-year-old to deny the charges.

"Our primary argument is that Ms. Abadie was not driving while the Google Glass was actually operational," he told AFP, adding: "There is nothing illegal about simply wearing the Google Glass while it is not turned on."

The traffic code on which she was cited makes it a violation to drive a vehicle "if a television receiver, a video monitor, or a television or video screen" is visible, according to the LA Times.

The speeding ticket alleges that she was driving at 80 mph (130 kmh) in a 65 mph (105 kmh) zone.

"The issue will be what does the officer who cited Ms. Abadie testify to at the trial regarding whether he saw, or did not see, the Google Glass being used while Ms. Abadie was driving the vehicle," said her lawyer.

A judge set a trial date of January 16, her lawyer said.

Concidine added: "I believe that this case is unique in that this ...is the first known case involving Google Glass. As technology continues to advance, we always question how the law will respond to that technology.

"Google Glass is that next step in technology, and it will be interesting to see if the law changes as new devices are developed or if the legislature leaves it to the courts to decide how to interpret the existing laws."


Parents putting GPS trackers on children... -

Parents putting GPS trackers on children... - 

This holiday season some parents are going high-tech and getting their child a watch that tracks their every move. It's called the FiLIP: a watch and phone with GPS geared at kids aged 4 to 11 -- basically before they are ready for a smart phone.

Parents can program up to five numbers into the gadget, which kids can call with the touch of a button. Using the FiLIP app, parents and other preauthorized adults can track the child's location, make calls, send texts and set "SafeZones." Parents get an alert when a child leaves a safe zone.

"What we learned after doing a lot of interviews with families, with moms dads and kids, is that they would like to have some of the sophisticated technology of a smartphone but take away some of the features like internet access," Kirbak says.

The FiLIP was named after the CEO's son, who went missing and was found at a mall 4 years ago.

New York News


Colorado ski resorts warn against pot-themed trips -

Colorado ski resorts warn against pot-themed trips - 

The stakes are high for Colorado’s multi-billion dollar ski industry.  

As the state prepares to legalize recreational marijuana on Jan. 1, Rocky Mountain resorts are preparing for a rush of pot smokers looking to light up on the slopes. One might think that skiing and pot-smoking would be an unwise combination -- and that's probably correct. But a handful of marijuana-themed ski trips already are being marketed, and the state's ski industry is trying to get in front of what could be a dangerous fad. 

Mountain managers are concerned not only about safety but their tourism image. The fear is that some of the more conservative, family-run resorts will see a backlash from people who don’t want to be in a cannabis cloud. 

Jennifer Rudolph of Colorado Ski Country USA, a trade association that represents 21 resorts in the state, says the ski industry generates about $3 billion in tourism revenue annually and Colorado had more than 11 million skier visits last year, outpacing every other state in the nation.

It’s those kinds of numbers that tourism operators hope to cash in on.

Colorado Highlife Tours is offering a party package starting at $75 per person which includes “affordable Marijuana friendly ski buses” for groups to Breckenridge, Winter Park, Eldora, Loveland, Echo Mountain, Keystone, Copper Mountain Resort and Vail.

The tour operators will pick up passengers, drive customers to ski resorts/towns and provide refreshments on the bus.

“We can stop off at one of the many retail marijuana stores for you to buy some of Colorado’s finest marijuana products and smoking accessories,” the site boasts. “We then will take you to your hotel for front door drop off & for you to have a fabulous time on the slopes. Some of the local resort towns have marijuana to buy also!”

According to the site, there’s also a concert featuring Redman and Method Man, although FoxNews.com has not been able to independently verify the claim.

Not to be outdone, my420tours.com  is offering their guests a trippy time with cannabis sampling, a daily 4:20 happy hour party and well as a marijuana cooking and recipe class.

Rudolph says her group is pushing back on the promises of pot fun on the slopes.

“We are being proactive in educating the public in what to expect when they come to Colorado to ski,” Rudolph told The Associated Press.

She added: “We’re getting the word out that we have a lot of things to offer guests, but smoking marijuana is not one of them. ... We have so much to offer our guests that outweigh the legality of possession of marijuana.”

Rudolph says her organization is informing visitors through social media and its blog about the new pot laws, which were passed last year and legalize marijuana possession in small amounts for adults over 21, including out-of-state visitors. Some resorts also are addressing the issue with their respective towns and chambers of commerce.

Aspen’s home county approved the measure by margin of more than 3 to 1, and more than two-thirds of voters also approved marijuana in the home county of Colorado’s largest ski resort, Vail. A whopping eight in 10 voters in the home county of Telluride ski resort favored marijuana legalization.

It’s also relatively easy to smoke marijuana at resorts without getting caught. Wooded areas off some of Colorado’s slopes already are dotted with “smoke shacks,” old mining cabins that have been illicitly repurposed as places to use the drug out of the cold and wind.

Read more -
DELTA bumps all passengers for a basketball team... - 

Travelers at the Gainesville Regional Airport were forced to reconfigure their plans Sunday afternoon after Delta Air Lines canceled their commercial flight to Atlanta so the University of Florida men's basketball team could use the airplane.

A maintenance delay grounded the aircraft meant to carry the team from Gainesville to Storrs, Conn., for its Monday-night game against the University of Connecticut, which was scheduled to start at 7 p.m. The airline canceled Delta Connection flight 5059, which had been Atlanta-bound, and used the aircraft for a charter flight for the team instead.

Delta spokesman Michael Thomas told The Sun in an email that the passengers from flight 5059 were accommodated on other flights and given vouchers valid for use through Delta for future trips.

The airplane originally meant for the basketball team required maintenance, he wrote, and, "due to operational need and aircraft routing requirements as a result of the busy travel holiday," Delta decided to use the other airplane and cancel the commercial flight for which it had been initially scheduled.

"Delta apologizes to those customers on Delta Connection flight 5059, operated by ExpressJet, who were impacted by the resulting cancellation of their flight," he stated.

Laura Aguiar, spokeswoman for the Gainesville Regional Airport, said the passengers were booked on different flights, the last of which left Monday. The flight was originally scheduled for around 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

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Homeless Man Charges $2000 for Course in 'Applied Homelessness'... -

Homeless Man Charges $2000 for Course in 'Applied Homelessness'... - 

Mike Momany worked as a contract programmer for years before falling on hard times. Now homeless in Seattle, he has been experimenting with innovative ways to make money ever since. 
His main focus at the moment: a "private course in Applied Homelessness," whereby he offers folks a chance to experience the homeless lifestyle during a three-day tour. Tuition is $2000 of which 25% will be donated back to shelters and pay for expenses, like the purchase of clothes for potential clients. 
Although Momany looks at the venture as a business, he's also hoping to raise awareness of the growing homeless population in Seattle which has increased by 15% since 2007. By offering a real life homeless experience, he's hoping to inspire new approaches to solving the problem. 
According to Momany, students will be dressed in appropriate homeless garb, given new names as well as "a simple life script." The dense curriculum includes visits to popular homeless hangouts like the Seattle Public Library and students will be given opportunities to converse with other homeless people, pan handle and nap on benches. On one particular night, they will roam the streets at 3 a.m. Each night will be capped off with a stay in a $15-per-night hostel. 
Momany's venture is already stirring up controversy. 
MJ Kiser, program director at Compass Housing Alliance in Seattle, said Momany's tour would use up much-needed resources like housing and food, and that his $2,000 fee "could help a homeless family for two months or provide meals for all [220] of the folks in Compass shelters one night."
Michael Stoops, director of community organizing at the National Coalition for the Homeless, said he thinks Momany's intentions are in the right place, but he doesn't think it's right to charge $2,000 or for Momany to pay himself such a big fee. If the experience is really about giving people an inside look at homelessness, then it shouldn't be about turning a profit, Stoops said.
Stoops says that his nonprofit coalition offers a similar program, called the Homeless Challenge where people can spend 48 hours living on the streets of Washington, D.C., with a guide who is either currently or formerly homeless. The coalition only asks for a $50 nightly donation to local shelters. "It's not a moneymaker," Stoops said. "We do it to give [people] the experience and to let them interact with other homeless folks."

Read more -

The city of Montreal police service unveiled with great fanfare this morning the purchase of 24 surveillance drones -

The city of Montreal police service unveiled with great fanfare this morning the purchase of 24 surveillance drones - 


The city of Montreal police service unveiled with great fanfare this morning the purchase of 24 surveillance drones to be deployed in Montreal North to assist the police in their fight against organized crime and street gangs. Buying more than $ 400 million fits in the policy of the city downsize police within the next 15 years and ensure the safety of the police in one of the areas most at risk of the city.

"It's very exciting," assures the Chief of police of the sector. "Initially, it will allow us to we used to work with this technology. The drones to facial recognition will patrol the streets 24 hours a day. Officers will interrogate individuals suspected of criminal acts or searched directly through speakers and microphones installed in the drones, but soon, they can be provided with appliances capable of neutralizing on-site suspects pending the intervention of the law enforcement officers. It will mainly make our less dangerous work, especially in an area where there are many social tension"said a coordinator of the SPVM, the project.

Questioned as to the means used by drones to neutralize the suspects, a spokesman for the SPVM has explained to us that "UAVs will carry persuasive technologies, but non-lethal types, such as electric shock, blinding or paralysing gases". "The possibilities are endless, but there will be no lethal weapons, at least, it is not intended for the moment" he kindly comment.

The program should be implemented as soon as the first months of 2014 and only in some districts of Montreal North we confirmed the person in charge of the project.