Archive for U.S.

The danger at the beach you’d never expect

For being such a relaxing place, the beach is wildly dangerous.

You can be attacked by sharks.

You can be swallowed by a tsunami.

You can die of exasperation trying to find a parking spot in Santa Monica.

you need a damn Ph.D to fully understand the parking restrictions

Compared to an inland form of relaxation, the park–the beach is a war zone.

But it’s the unexpected that’s most terrifying.

One man is dead and a dozen are injured after being stricken by lightning…


…on Venice Beach.

also known as “lightning alley”

Of all the pitfalls you can experience of a visit to Venice Beach in the middle of summer, being struck and killed by lightning is somewhere between “being strangled by a man with health insurance and a 401k” and “getting a serious papercut on a moving pallet of ‘JUST SAY NO’” posters.

Of course, everyone panicked and trampled each other, so like the running of the bulls at Pamplona, it may not have been the horn but the crowd that killed him and injured the rest.

note the random passersby taking photos.  welcome to LA

All I know is there were likely some people walking out of the “FREE 420 MEDICAL DIAGNOSIS” clinic who thought they were having the worst trip of their lives. Further damage included a random house in Redondo Beach, a few miles away:

you know, if that happened to my house, i’d just keep it that way.  great story for the grandkids

now the neighbor will have to scorch his nearly-identical BMW 645ci convertible to keep up with the joneses

This was not the only surprise beach-related danger that happened today.

One man is dead and others are injured after being stricken by a crash-landing plane…


…in Venice, Florida.

for a second, this man looks like the most badass pilot since that guy who landed his plane on the hudson

How the heck can someone standing on a beach get hit by a plane? If someone in one of Venice’s canals was hit by a meteorite, the trifecta of tragedy today would be complete.

Cars playing leapfrog due to ice and snow in Long Island

This shot from Wantagh Long Island shows some of the damage a little snow can cause:

Man loses hair in background of Obama speech

Or at least that is what the optical illusion of these 2 photographs together would have you believe…

Satire about “Marijuana Overdoses” killing Colorado partakers fools social media potheads

The Daily Current is is a satire/fake-news website like The Onion, but with the Onion itself often times being mistaken for real news, it’s copycats fool many more.

Colorado and Washington state approved the sale of marijuana for recreational use in November though statewide ballot measures. Under the new policies pot is legal for adult use, regulated like alcohol and heavily taxed.
One of the principal arguments of legalization advocates was that cannabis has long been considered safer than alcohol and tobacco and was not thought not to cause overdose. But a brave minority tried to warn Coloradans of the drug’s dangers.

“We told everyone this would happen,” says Peter Swindon, president and CEO of local brewer MolsonCoors. “Marijuana is a deadly hardcore drug that causes addiction and destroys lives.
“When was the last time you heard of someone overdosing on beer? All these pro-marijuana groups should be ashamed of themselves. The victims’ blood is on their hands.”

The article is satirizing the people panicking over marijuana legalization. In reality, it is not possible to fatally overdose from cannabis usage.

Even those unfamiliar with the satire website however, needed only to look at some of its other headlines to know it is not real news…

Duke Rape Accuser got 5,233% more coverage on false accusation than murder conviction

Crystal Mangum, the stripper who incited a national scandal in 2006 when she falsely accused Duke University lacrosse players of rape has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the stabbing death of her boyfriend, Reginald Daye.

Mangum claimed that she fatally stabbed her boyfriend in self-defense after he threw knives at her, but in interviews before he died, he said that she stabbed him several times, the Raleigh News & Observer reported. The LA Times reports that the jury concluded that photographic and blood evidence didn’t match up with Mangum’s story. Mangum’s criminal history leading to this point became part of the trial:

Prosecutors in the murder case pointed to another incident, in 2010, when Mangum was found guilty of contributing to the abuse of minors in an episode where she trashed Daye’s car and set fire to his clothes.

The jury was unable to reach a verdict on a more serious arson charge, and she was sentenced to time served.

Her relationship with Daye appears to have been trouble from day one. When Daye’s nephew called 911 the day he was stabbed, the man immediately referred to her notoriety.

“It’s Crystal Mangum. THE Crystal Mangum,” he told the emergency operator. “I told him she was trouble from the damn beginning.”

Daye died in the hospital 10 days later.

Revisiting the Duke scandal:

“You have all been told some fantastic lies, and I look forward to watching them unravel in the weeks to come, as they already have in weeks past…. The truth will come out,” lacrosse player David Evans said after he was indicted.

The case did slowly fall apart as DNA evidence failed to tie Mangum to any of the 46 white players on the team. She eventually recanted her statement and said she was not sure she had been raped, although she insisted some sort of sexual assault had taken place.

In court, defense lawyers revealed that the prosecuting attorney and the lab director had withheld evidence that showed that the DNA on Mangum’s body did not match the defendants, and that it matched other men. The defense claimed that the district attorney who was prosecuting violated police policy by using a photo lineup that showed photos only of lacrosse players and did not mix in other men.

“She was, in effect, given a multiple choice test in which there were no wrong answers,” a defense motion said.

The district attorney withdrew from the case, resigned and was disbarred.

The North Carolina attorney general took over the case, and after a 12-week examination he dropped all charges against the defendants. Evans, who was indicted the day after he graduated from Duke, said the case Mangum brought against him and the other defendants had taken them “to hell and back.”

The intense and extensive coverage of the false story vs the whispers on the conviction highlights a bias in media attention and news reporting:

The story was explosive and politically correct: privileged white lacrosse players at a prestigious college rape underprivileged young black woman. As events developed, three lacrosse players were eventually arrested and charged; the Duke lacrosse coach, Mike Pressler, received threatening phone calls and was forced by Duke to resign; the president of Duke University, Richard Brodhead, suspended the entire lacrosse team for the season; liberal Duke faculty members, the “Group of 88,” signed an advertisement in the Duke Chronicle that reportedly  suggested the rape claims were true; the initial prosecutor, Mike Nifong, was disbarred for his misconduct and convicted of criminal contempt; all charges against the 3 players – Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty, and David Evans – were dropped.

Although the rape claims by Mangum were totally false, she was not charged with a crime.

The lacrosse players Finnerty and Seligmann were arrested on Apr. 18, 2006, and charged with rape and kidnapping. In the five days following, Apr. 18 – 22, a Nexis news search of the terms Duke, rape, and lacrosse in “All English Language News,” shows there were 673 news stories, 160 of which were from major television news outlets (and six that were on NPR).

Those 160 major television news outlets included ABC’s World News Tonight, Nightline, Good Morning America, the CBS Evening News, the Today show, NBC Nightly News, CNN Live, Fox News, MSNBC’s Scarborough Country and Countdown, and myriad other TV news programs.

The coverage of accusations surrounding Mangum dropped 5,233%:

The big television networks – ABC, CBS, and NBC – and the liberal MSNBC and NPR did not report on Mangum’s murder conviction.

The difference in coverage is noteworthy:  160 stories vs. 3 stories in the first five days of each event. That’s a ratio of 53 to 1, and a difference in coverage of 5,233%.

The television news industry (and NPR) gave 5,233% more coverage to the dubious allegations against the three lacrosse players — which were proven to be completely false and politically charged — than they gave the jury-tried murder conviction of Crystal Mangum, the false accuser.

No, Samsung didn’t pay Apple in Nickels, but here is the background

(Well, the image above almost surely happened. It just isn’t depicting what is being claimed)

Facebookers are spreading a hoax via a Youtubers WordPress blog that originated on a Mexican fake-news website that claimed Samsung is paying Apple’s owed 1 billion dollar fine via nickels. The fake story goes:

This morning more than 30 trucks filled with 5-cent coins arrived at Apple’s headquarters in California. Initially, the security company that protects the facility said the trucks were in the wrong place, but minutes later, Tim Cook (Apple CEO) received a call from Samsung CEO explaining that they will pay $1 billion dollars for the fine recently ruled against the South Korean company in this

The funny part is that the signed document does not specify a single payment method, so Samsung is entitled to send the creators of the iPhone their billion dollars in the way they deem best.

Although Snopes debunked the claim, labeling it False, Charlie Arthur at The Guardian has 6 in-depth reasons of its falsehood, including:

1) Samsung’s fine ($1.049bn) isn’t yet payable; the judge hasn’t ruled. All we have is the jury’s verdict. The judge’s decision, which could include a tripling of the fine, is due on 20 September (or possibly 6 December now; it’s unclear). Until then, Samsung only has to pay its lawyers. That should be less than $1bn.

2) If Samsung tried to pay the fine in five-cent coins, Apple could legitimately tell the trucks to turn around and head back to Samsung (if the trucks weren’t imaginary in the first place). Here’s the relevant phrase from the US Treasury web page:

Q: I thought that United States currency was legal tender for all debts. Some businesses or governmental agencies say that they will only accept checks, money orders or credit cards as payment, and others will only accept currency notes in denominations of $20 or smaller. Isn’t this illegal?

A: The pertinent portion of law that applies to your question is the Coinage Act of 1965, specifically Section 31 U.S.C. 5103, entitled “Legal tender,” which states: “United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues.”

This statute means that all United States money as identified above are a valid and legal offer of payment for debts when tendered to a creditor. There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a State law which says otherwise. For example, a bus line may prohibit payment of fares in pennies or dollar bills. In addition, movie theaters, convenience stores and gas stations may refuse to accept large denomination currency (usually notes above $20) as a matter of policy.

Snopes also pointed out the weight factors:

A single nickel weights 5 grams (about .011 pounds), so a billion dollars’ worth of nickels would weigh in at about 110,000 tons. That load would far exceed the carrying capacity of 30 or so trucks (requiring each truck to carry over 3,600 tons, or more than 7.2 million lbs. each). Even if the considerable weight of the trucks themselves weren’t taken into account, the equivalent of about 2,755 eighteen-wheeler trucks, each hauling 40 tons’ worth of nickels, would be needed to transport the weight of that many coins (and even that calculation still doesn’t take into account the volume of physical space needed to assemble, transport, and store 20 billion nickels).

The Facebook link catching fire is that of “The Blade Brown show” whose tagline is “God’s Don’t Mingle With Mortals.” Evidently they also don’t fact check their news items.

But perhaps the most bizarre feature of the post is that the clipart used in the blog appears to use pennies when the story clearly states that the coin used was nickel. From the Guardian:

5) There probably aren’t that many nickels in circulation anyway. The New York Times noted in 2006 that there were about 20bn nickels in circulation at the time; rising metal prices were encouraging people to melt them for the copper and zinc. Another dose of reason.

6) The amount of copper involved (95% of each nickel) is truly humungous because a billion is a very big number. 100,000 tonnes of copper (let’s assume that’s what it is for now) would, at a density of 8,940 kg/cubic metre (that’s 8.94 tonnes/cubic metre), occupy just over 11,185 cubic metres. As an Olympic swimming pool has a capacity of 2,500 cubic metres (aka “one olymp“), that would be the same as four and a half Olympic swimming pools filled entirely with copper. Imagine that if you can.


High School Student delivers smackdown against Common Core

Ethan Young, a student at Farragut High School in Knox County, Tenn., made his case at a local school board meeting earlier this month in a brief but impassioned and articulate address on the problems with Common Core standards.

Young believes the school district should drop the new national education standards, a set of guidelines that were never voted on by Congress, the Department of Education nor by local or state governments.

The problem is, the extremely bright student continued, “education is unlike every other bureaucratic institute in our government” because the “task of teaching is never quantifiable.”

“If everything I learn in high school is a measurable objective, I have not learned anything,” Young proclaimed. “I’d like to repeat that. If everything I learn in high school is a measurable objective, I have not learned anything.”

Bill Clinton tweets Bush Seniors “western cactus” themed socks

The former President, attending an annual lunch with the former President he won an election against used the hashtag #sockswag in reference to H.W. Bush’s colorful footwear.

Unarmed 22 year old homeless man calls cop a “bitch”, executed immediately

Santa Ana Police Department noted that the man, a convicted burglar, was “combative” when he reportedly got into altercations with various people in a McDonald’s parking lot.

The witness, who wished to remain unidentified, was standing in the parking lot of the Harbor Place Shopping Center on South Harbor Boulevard around 3 p.m. Tuesday when he said he filmed a confrontation in front of Jugo’s La Tropicana between an officer, later identified as a 13-year veteran, and victim Hans Kevin Arellano.

“She exited her patrol car, gun drawn, and asked the gentlemen to get on the ground. The gentlemen didn’t get on the ground, he was still inside the restaurant. She asked again. The man then exited the restaurant, and as he was exiting the restaurant, he said, ‘What are you gonna do, b—-?’ About a second later, she shot him in the chest,” he said.

Pictures of the police officer or the man who was fatally shot have not been released so in the mean time we have this random clipart via Google Images:

Stay tuned for more details as they arrive.


Time Magazine covers, often dumbed down for U.S. as opposed to the rest of the world