Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

Blog of the real Xenophilius Lovegood, a slightly mad scientist

Archive for January 29th, 2013

BlackHat USA 2011: SSL And The Future Of Authenticity

Posted by Anonymous on January 29, 2013

BlackHat USA 2011: SSL And The Future Of Authenticity – YouTube.

Get the Firefox plug-in here: http://convergence.io/

 

Posted in Technology | Leave a Comment »

Common pesticides ‘can kill frogs within an hour’

Posted by Anonymous on January 29, 2013

Cute-frogs0Widely used pesticides can kill frogs within an hour, new research has revealed, suggesting the chemicals are playing a significant and previously unknown role in the catastrophic global decline of amphibians.

The scientists behind the study said it was both “astonishing” and “alarming” that common pesticides could be so toxic at the doses approved by regulatory authorities, adding to growing criticism of how pesticides are tested.

“You would not think products registered on the market would have such a toxic effect,” said Carsten Brühl, at the University of Koblenz-Landau in Germany. “It is the simplest effect you can think of: you spray the amphibian with the pesticide and it is dead. That should translate into a dramatic effect on populations.”

Trenton Garner, an ecologist at the Zoological Society of London, said: “This is a valuable addition to the substantial body of literature detailing how existing standards for the use of agricultural pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers are inadequate for the protection of biodiversity.”

Amphibians are the best example of the great extinction of species currently under way, as they are the most threatened and rapidly declining vertebrate group. More than a third of all amphibians are included in the IUCN “red list” of endangered species, with loss of habitat, climate change and disease posing the biggest threats.

Brühl had previously studied how easily frogs can absorb pesticides through their permeable skins, which they can breathe through when underwater. But pesticides are not required to be tested on amphibians, said Brühl: “We could only find one study for one pesticide that was using an exposure likely to occur on farmland.”

His team chose widely used fungicides, herbicides and insecticides. The most striking results were for a fungicide called pyraclostrobin, sold as the product Headline by the manufacturer BASF and used on 90 different crops across the world. It killed all the common European frogs used as test animals within an hour when applied at the rate recommended on the label. Other fungicides, herbicides and insecticides also showed acute toxicity, even when applied at just 10% of the label rate, with the insecticide dimethoate, for example, killing 40% of animals within a week.

The study, published on Thursday in Scientific Reports [will be live after embargo], concluded: “The observation of acute mortality in a vertebrate group caused by commercially available pesticides at recommended field rates is astonishing, since 50 years after the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring one would have thought that the development of refined risk-assessment procedures would make such effects virtually impossible.”

A BASF spokesman disputed the findings: “This study was performed under laboratory ‘worst-case’ conditions. Under normal agricultural conditions amphibians are not exposed to such pesticide concentrations. According to our knowledge, no significant impact on amphibian populations has been reported despite the widespread and global use of the fungicide pyraclostrobin.”

Brühl said the method, a single spray directly on to the frogs, sometimes at just 10% of the label rate, was a “realistic worst-case” scenario. He added that in the field, multiple sprays of a variety of pesticides was likely and that chemicals might run off into ponds where frogs lived.

Sandra Bell, Friends of the Earth’s nature campaigner, said: “From frogs to bees, there is mounting evidence that the pesticide bombardment of our farmland is having a major impact on our precious wildlife. Strong action is urgently needed to get farmers off the chemical treadmill.

“As well as banning the most toxic products, governments must set clear targets for reducing all pesticides and ensure farmers have safe and thoroughly tested alternatives.”

Earlier this month, the world’s most widely used insecticide was for the first time officially labelled an “unacceptable” danger to bees feeding on flowering crops, by the European Food Safety Agency. The agency had previously stated that current “simplistic” regulations contained “major weaknesses”. …

via Common pesticides ‘can kill frogs within an hour’ | Environment | The Guardian.

Posted in Biology, Earth, Food, Health, Survival | Leave a Comment »

Sexy heroine kicks knife out of suicidal woman’s hand, becomes online sensation

Posted by Anonymous on January 29, 2013

An unidentified woman in Guangzhou, who looks like she’s barely out of her teens, has become an online sensation after a display of athleticism and bravery last Saturday (January 5).

At around 8:20 p.m., a woman in her thirties was seen standing on a street corner at Baogang Boulevard waving a knife and threatening to kill herself, Southern Satellite Television reports.

As onlookers gathered round, she became more hysterical and started throwing money around, including 100 yuan and 50 yuan notes as well as small change. By this stage, she was already bleeding out of her hands, according to one witness, Miss Li.

Nobody dared approach the woman but some people picked the money off the ground. Then, a woman, thought to be in her late teens and wearing shorts in spite of the weather, picked up some notes and tentatively approached the hysterical woman, offering to give her the notes back.

As the knife-wielding woman was about to accept the notes, the woman kung fu kicked the knife from her hands with enormous speed and athleticism before both women fled in seperate directions.

Netizens have nicknamed the brave young woman “heroine with sexy legs” due to the length, whiteness and athleticism of her legs.

All of the cash was returned to police and neither woman had been identified as of yesterday afternoon.

via Video: Sexy heroine kicks knife out of suicidal woman’s hand, becomes online sensation | Nanfang Insider.

Posted in Strange | 2 Comments »

Guy attacks an ostrich as part of elaborate suicide attempt, ultimately fails

Posted by Anonymous on January 29, 2013

A man was rescued by police in a zoo in Shaoguan City on January 19 after a bizarre suicide attempt which followed even more bizarre behaviour, Shenzhen Satellite Television reports.

The man, Li, 27, from Yunnan Province, attacked an ostrich in the zoo and bit it to death in front of onlookers who included children and elderly people. He then slashed his wrists as police were called.

Xu Jianwen, deputy head of Datang Road police station told reporters that when he arrived at the scene, Li was highly excitable and simulated firing a gun at the policemen. He was already covered in blood when police arrived.

As he began to lose strength, Li lay on the ostrich’s corpse like a pillow before police approached him tentatively. He offered little resistance before police dragged him away.

He was rushed to hospital where his condition soon stabilized. However, that night, his condition worsened and he was returned to hospital. He appears to be out of the woods now. A suicide note was found on his person. The note urged his parents to have a good life, saying there was no need to worry about him anymore.

Li works as a security guard and has been described by colleagues as an introvert who is unusually quiet when at work. He was also described as being straight-forward. …

via Guy attacks an ostrich as part of elaborate suicide attempt, ultimately fails | Nanfang Insider.

The killing may have been symbolic. Perhaps he felt like an ostrich, always hiding from something.

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Iran launches monkey into space, showing missile progress

Posted by Anonymous on January 29, 2013

A still image from an undated video footage released on January 28, 2013 by Iran’s state-run English language Press TV shows a monkey that was launched into space. Iran said on Monday it had launched the live monkey into space, seeking to show off missile delivery systems that are alarming to the West given Tehran’s parallel advances in nuclear technology. REUTERS/Press TV via Reuters TV

Iran said on Monday it had launched a live monkey into space, seeking to show off missile systems that have alarmed the West because the technology could potentially be used to deliver a nuclear warhead.

The Defense Ministry announced the launch as world powers sought to agree a date and venue with Iran for resuming talks to resolve a standoff with the West over Tehran’s contested nuclear program before it degenerates into a new Middle East war.

Efforts to nail down a new meeting have failed repeatedly and the powers fear Iran is exploiting the diplomatic vacuum to hone the means to produce nuclear weapons.

The Islamic Republic denies seeking weapons capability and says it seeks only electricity from its uranium enrichment so it can export more of its considerable oil wealth. …

The small grey monkey was pictured strapped into a padded seat and being loaded into the Kavoshgar rocket dubbed “Pishgam” (Pioneer) which state media said reached a height of more than 120 km (75 miles).

“This shipment returned safely to Earth with the anticipated speed along with the live organism,” Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi told the semi-official Fars news agency. “The launch of Kavoshgar and its retrieval is the first step towards sending humans into space in the next phase.”

There was no independent confirmation of the launch. …

The West worries that long-range ballistic technology used to propel Iranian satellites into orbit could be put to use dispatching nuclear warheads to a target.

Bruno Gruselle of France’s Foundation for Strategic Research said that if the monkey launch report were true it would suggest a “quite significant” engineering feat by Iran.

“If you can show that you are able to protect a vehicle of this sort from re-entry, then you can probably protect a military warhead and make it survive the high temperatures and high pressures of re-entering,” Gruselle said.

The monkey launch would be similar to sending up a satellite weighing some 2,000 kg (4,400 pounds), he said. Success would suggest a capacity to deploy a surface-to-surface missile with a range of a few thousand kilometers (miles).

Michael Elleman, a missile expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies think-tank, said Iran had demonstrated “no new military or strategic capability” with the launch.

“Nonetheless, Iran has an ambitious space exploration program that includes the goal of placing a human in space in the next five or so years and a human-inhabited orbital capsule by the end of the decade,” Elleman said. “Today’s achievement is one step toward the goal, albeit a small one.” …

via NewsDaily: Iran launches monkey into space, showing missile progress.

… Monkeys have never been lucky in space. After successfully launching and retrieving a cargo of fruit flies, the US in 1948 sent Albert, a rhesus monkey, 68km up atop a V2 rocket. He died of suffocation during the flight. Albert II, who followed a year later, was burnt to a crisp when his parachute failed to open.

At this point a new, luckier name might have been tried but instead they stuck with Albert, and number three was torn to pieces when the rocket blew up. Albert IV went the same way as Albert II. After yet another parachute failure put paid to Albert V, Albert VI – who went up with a mouse called Yorick – became the first monkey to return to Earth alive, only to die two hours later.

Iran’s monkey follows an earlier live payload, consisting of rats, turtles and, significantly some might say, a can of worms. Like the numerous heroic American Alberts, the point was to demonstrate that a creature not all that different from a human could go up and come down in one piece. Iran makes no secret of the fact that it hopes to get a human being into space by 2019, and on to the Moon by 2025. …

via www.independent

And return it to Earth safely… right? They returned the monkey to Earth alive, right? It would seem so:

http://www.independent.co.uk/incoming/article8470453.ece/ALTERNATES/w140/monkey-revised.jpgThe state news agency, Fars, later reported that the scientists had “brought back and recovered the living cargo”.

Posted in Space, Technology, War | 1 Comment »

Ancient bones found 100 years ago belong to undiscovered species

Posted by Anonymous on January 29, 2013

Prehistoric Blood Biting Predator Discovered

Prehistoric bones discovered more than a century ago belong to a previously-undiscovered species of ocean predator, research has revealed.

The partial skeleton, including a jawbone and teeth, has been identified as belonging to a group of ancient crocodiles that were similar to dolphins.

An amateur palaeontologist found the specimen in a clay pit near Peterborough in the early 1900s, and it has since been held by The Hunterian Museum at the University of Glasgow.

The newly confirmed species, which was examined by a team of experts led by the University of Edinburgh, helps scientists better understand how marine reptiles were evolving about 165 million years ago.

The animal’s pointed, serrated teeth and large gaping jaw meant it would have been suited to feeding on large-bodied prey.

Researchers said it represents a missing link between marine crocodiles that fed on small prey, and others that were similar to modern-day killer whales, which fed on larger prey.

Scientists were able to reach their conclusions by studying the size and shape of the jawbone and teeth, which showed that the animal had a wide gap and shearing bite.

They have named the animal Tyrannoneustes lythrodectikos, meaning “blood-biting tyrant swimmer”.

Dr Mark Young, of the University of Edinburgh’s school of geosciences, who led the study, said: “It is satisfying to be able to classify a specimen that has been unexamined for more than 100 years, and doubly so to find that this discovery improves our understanding of the evolution of marine reptiles.” …

via Ancient bones found 100 years ago belong to undiscovered species | News | Edinburgh | STV.

Posted in Archaeology, Biology | Leave a Comment »

Photos: Sperm whales adopt deformed dolphin

Posted by Anonymous on January 29, 2013

Whales1Toronto-born behavioural ecologist Alexander Wilson has discovered an unlikely friendship in the North Atlantic.

A group of sperm whales have apparently adopted a bottlenose dolphin with a spine deformity, swimming alongside him and at times nuzzling and rubbing up against him, at least temporarily.

Wilson and partner Jens Krause of the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Berlin made the discovery in 2011 while observing sperm whales about 15 to 20 kilometres off the island of Pico in the Azores. …

For one week, they captured stunning photographs of the rare sight, which is the first discovery of its kind for sperm whales. The squid-hunting creatures are not known for their gregariousness.

“Sperm whales have never been observed to interact with another species in a non-agonistic way; basically, that means in a friendly way,” said Wilson when reached by phone at his office in Berlin.

“Dolphins, on the other hand, are the exact opposite. They are extremely gregarious. They’re very, very social.”

The researchers were so surprised that at first they weren’t sure what they were witnessing. However, they noticed enough physical gestures initiated by both species to determine it was a social interaction.

“The touching of flutes and nuzzling with the rostrum, these are all extremely friendly, social gestures for cetaceans to do to one another,” he said.

Wilson, 32, was born and raised in Etobicoke and attended Guelph University and the University of Ottawa. His findings are set to be published in Aquatic Mammals. …

via Photos: Sperm whales adopt deformed dolphin – thestar.com.

Posted in Biology, Strange | Leave a Comment »

State targets executive orders

Posted by Anonymous on January 29, 2013

imageNorth Dakota lawmakers are looking to get tough on potential direct actions taken by President Barack Obama, proposing a bill to grant the Legislature the right to review, approve or reject any executive order issued by the president.

House Bill 1428 is designed to give legislators the power to suspend orders implemented unless the orders have been upheld by a vote of Congress.

Rep. Bob Skarphol (R-Tioga) is a co-sponsor of the bill and said some members of the Legislature don’t believe in governing by executive order. He said there are checks and balances ingrained into the government for a reason, and those balances should be followed.

“It’s a serious issue with us,” Skarphol said. “If our president wants to circumvent Congress, then we’ll see it the same way as if our governor wants to circumvent us.”

He said there were no direct issues that led to the proposition of the bill. Obama recently enacted executive actions on gun control, though not handing out any direct executive orders.

Skarphol said, however, there will be some gun laws that the Legislature would not allow the North Dakota police departments to enforce.

As far as hydraulic fracturing goes, no executive orders have been made to stop or limit the drilling practice, but Skarphol said there have been rumors of some in the past.

If the Obama administration does place an executive order on fracturing, under the bill, the state could choose to ignore the action until Congress passes an official law.

“That potential exists,” Skarphol said. “The EPA does some things that some of us think go beyond the consent.” …

via State targets executive orders – Williston Herald: News.

Brilliant. There is still hope for the USA if States take back their rightful power.  How the hell did we even get to a place where the federal government is at odds with what the states and the people want?  It started with Paperclip if you ask me.  The Nazi ideas did not end with the war. We imported them and they have been growing inch by inch, year after year, like a deadly black spider. If it moves slowly enough, you will stay asleep until it crawls into your mouth. Already it is on the bed. You heard the noise when it broke down the front door to your house, but it was dressed up like Osama Bin Laden. (An absurdly thin disguise, but you bought it.) You paid for it too, feeding it not only the $2.3 trillion it stole from your bank the day before, but also gleefully granting it an additional massive budget for war. It fed on terror and grew strong. It stung and paralyzed your prized guard dogs. It taunted you with torture and dazzled you with drones. It manipulated you with  lessons learned from human experimentation, with drugs and thugs and deadly deception. It is now preparing for the final lunge. Don’t move. You see those little fangs and dripping venom, but don’t move. The spider says it is here to protect you. It sees a dangerous fly in your mouth. A terrorist fly. Ignore the conspiracy loonies. Trust the government. Open wide. The spider will protect you … to death.

Posted in Politics | Leave a Comment »

 
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