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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mexico finds cocaine haul hidden in frozen sharks

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's navy has seized more than a tonne of cocaine stuffed inside frozen sharks, as drug gangs under military pressure go to greater lengths to conceal narcotics bound for the United States.

Armed and masked navy officers cut open more than 20 shark carcasses filled with slabs of cocaine after checking a container ship in a container port in the southern Mexico state of Yucatan, the navy and Mexican media said on Tuesday.

"We are talking about more than a tonne of cocaine that was inside the ship," Navy Commander Eduardo Villa told reporters after X-ray machines and sniffer dogs helped uncover the drugs. "Those in charge of the shipment said it was a conserving agent but after checks we confirmed it was cocaine," he said.

Drug gangs are coming up with increasingly creative ways of getting drugs into the United States -- in sealed beer cans, religious statues and furniture -- as Mexico's military cracks down on the cartels moving South American narcotics north.

President Felipe Calderon has sent 45,000 troops and federal police across Mexico to try to crush powerful smuggling cartels. But traffickers armed with a huge arsenal of grenades and automatic weapons are far from defeated, worrying Washington as violence spills over into U.S. states like Arizona.

Some 2,750 people have died in drug violence in Mexico this year, a pace similar to that of 2008, when 6,300 were killed.

Led by Mexico's most wanted man, Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, smugglers from the Pacific state of Sinaloa are fighting a turf war with rivals. Guzman seeks to control Mexican and Central American smuggling routes into the United States.

(Reporting by Robin Emmott; editing by Patricia Zengerle)

Disabled stripper wants Constitutional right to White Castle Slyders

Yesterday, the Star Tribune's Whistleblower exposed a grave injustice on the front of the Sunday edition: Ariel Wade, a wheelchair-bound ex-stripper, can't drive her mobility scooter through the White Castle drivethru at 11 p.m. when she wants delicious mini-cheeseburgers.

Like all sensible fast food restaurants, White Castle only allows automotive vehicles in the drivethru, for fear that someone like Wade would get run over by an SUV.

But Wade says that's discrimination against the disabled, because the drivethru stays open one hour later than the dining room, and she has a Constitutional right to life, liberty, and late-night Slyders.

White Castle tried to mollify her with coupons, but she immediately went out to sue, and she may actually win:

The Minnesota Disability Law Center is weighing whether to take on Wade's case, said Justin Page, a staff attorney. It's an "unsettled" area of law, with few cases testing the issue, he said. But on first glance, the policy strikes Page as inconsistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"I would argue if you're open 24 hours, you need to be accessible and provide accessibility 24 hours," Page said.

22 porn-film actors got HIV since 2004

Health officials in Los Angeles said Friday that 22 actors in adult-sex movies had contracted HIV since 2004, when a previous outbreak led to efforts to protect employees in California's multibillion-dollar pornography industry.

The New York Times

Health officials in Los Angeles said Friday that 22 actors in adult-sex movies had contracted HIV since 2004, when a previous outbreak led to efforts to protect employees in California's multibillion-dollar pornography industry.

The officials accused an industry-supported health clinic of failing to cooperate with state investigations and of failing to protect industry workers and their sexual partners.

"We have an industry that is exposing workers to life-threatening diseases as part of their employment," said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of public health for Los Angeles County.

The latest controversy began Thursday, when the Los Angeles Times reported that an adult-film actress had tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS. The infection was confirmed by the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation, a clinic founded by a former adult-film actress.

The foundation's Web site states that the actress tested negative for HIV on April 29, but a positive test result was confirmed June 4. The woman performed in a film June 5. A second test came back positive last Saturday.

Co-stars of the woman have tested negative for HIV but have been quarantined from acting for the time being and advised to be retested in two weeks.

Clinic officials refused to comment Friday.

Dean Fryer, a spokesman for the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, said the clinic "is not cooperative with us."

"We don't even know who the employer is in the most recent case, we don't know who the talent is."

Regulations require filmmakers to provide protection against the transmission of disease, such as condoms or using film techniques that involve simulations. "There is no reason these infections should be occurring if these employers are following these precautions," Fryer said.

The pornographic-film industry is centered in the San Fernando Valley, northwest of downtown Los Angeles. An estimated 200 production companies in the region employ up to 1,500 performers, making up to 11,000 films and earning as much as $13 billion a year.

Some health advocates have pressed for legislation requiring condom use in sex scenes.

Steven Hirsch, chief executive of the sex-movie company Vivid Entertainment, said condoms were optional among its actors. "Performers have the right to choose to use or not use condoms. They're adults, they know what industry they're in."

Material from The Associated Press is included in this report.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

8th Grader Builds Solar-Powered Bike With GPS, iPod Dock

Eighth-grader David S. Dixon–along with his dad David G. Dixon–has built a street-legal quadricycle powered by a solar-charged electric motor. The bike not only carries his dog and three friends, but it has also has an iPod dock and GPS. Ya, it’s that cool!

Coined as the Solar Human Hybrid (SOHH), the vehicle was launched as part of David Jr.’s middle school project for the Novato Charter School.

David Jr. told that “I watched my dad install solar panels at home, I have had an interest in them ever since. I have had electric remote controlled cars, boats and helicopters that I would always take apart - and usually getting them back together with some kind of improvement.” David Sr. confirmed that “even his pinewood derby car in cub scouts back when he was 8 or 9 had LED taillights and headlights and ended up getting exhibited at the Marin County Fair.”

The vehicle’s Scott 24-volt motor provides 1 horsepower and it has a top speed of 14 mph. First geared to 18 mph, but it was then re-geared to provide enough torque for making steeper hills.

The SOHH uses GreenSaver Silicone Gel Cell batteries. The batteries, iPod, and GPS are all fed by 20-watt solar panels. They used a small motor as to keep pedal-power the priority for the bike. By doing so, the battery remained light-weight and the solar panels a reasonable size.

The base vehicle used, and the priciest part of the project, was a Switzerland-built ZEM (Zero Emission Machine) 4cycle. It’s made out of an aluminum frame and each rider can pedal at their own pace. In fact, the 4cycle took 3rd place at the human powered vehicle world championships at Interlaken, Switzerland.

And while the ZEM 4cycle is no longer produced, they got one from a dealer in Maryland who purchased the last 3 from the US distributor. It cost them $3,900.

“[The SOHH] has replaced our cars for errands around town, and it has grown into more than we envisioned with a lot of interest from the community,” David Dixon Sr. told

And for the win, they documented the project on their website with all parts and schematics so that anyone can build one. They don’t plan to mass produce the vehicle but would love it if someone else does. Though David Sr. did express an interest in updating the bike with a lighter battery “such as lithium polymer, but no budget for it yet.”

Of course, we’d love to see that too. But I had to ask if the dog actually rides in the SOHH.

David Sr. told us “Not really, but she [Mimzy] would rather come along than be left behind.”

Source: and The SOHH Project

MIT Developing Concrete That Lasts for 16,000 Years

by Kevin Dalias
sustainable design, green design, building material, concrete, franz-josef ulm, mit, high density concrete
Civil engineers at MIT are currently developing a new breed of concrete that will be able to last for 16,000 years. Concrete is one of the most frequently used and widely produced man-made building material on earth, with over 20 billion tons produced per year globally. The use of this new ultra high density concrete will have enormous environmental implications, given its ability to deliver lighter, stronger structures capable of lasting many civilizations, while drastically decreasing the carbon emissions sent into the atmosphere by its inferior predecessor.

sustainable design, green design, building material, concrete, franz-josef ulm, mit, high density concrete
One of the inventors of the new material, Franz-Josef Ulm offers, “More durable concrete means that less building material and less frequent renovations will be required.” Ulm, alongside Georgios Constantinides successfully designed this long lasting concrete, with significantly reduced creep, (the time-dependent deformation of structural concrete), by increasing its density and slowing its creep by a rate of 2.6.
“The thinner the structure, the more sensitive it is to creep, so up until now, we have been unable to build large-scale lightweight, durable concrete structures,” said Ulm. “With this new understanding of concrete, we could produce filigree: light, elegant, strong structures that will require far less material.”
With regard to environmental impact, the annual worldwide production of concrete creates between 5 and 10% of all atmospheric CO2. Ulm explains, “If concrete were to be produced with the same amount of initial material to be seven times normal strength, we could reduce the environmental impact by 1/7. Maybe we can use nanoengineering to create such a green high-performance concrete.”
The ultra high density concrete could deliver exponential results both in terms of strength and durability, and is undoubtedly poised to redefine architects’ relationship with man’s most reliable building material while literally changing the face of the earth.
Lead photo by Jeff Kubina

'Karate Kid' Gets A New Writer


quick take'Karate Kid' new writer? Apparently all the good karate movie plots were taken by the 90's.
In a turn of events that can only be described as “buttcheek vibrating”, the Jaden Smith Karate Kid project has picked up a new writer. It’s strange, you’d think a movie starring Jackie Chan and Will Smith’s kid, partially financed by the Chinese government, set in China, and called Karate Kid even though the Chinese martial art is Kung Fu would practically write itself. (after you beat with a truncheon and lock it in a sweat shop).Columbia has brought on Steven Conrad, who penned 2006’s “The Pursuit of Happyness,” to work on the studio’s reboot of the 1980s film [replacing Chris Murphy]. The screenwriter also penned the Nicolas Cage family tale “The Weather Man” and is attached to write the Scott Rudin-produced drama “Aloft” and the celebrity look-alike dramedy “Chad Schmidt.”Production will begin next month on the new “Karate,” which [Agent Cody Banks and Pink Panther 2 director] Harald Zwart is directing. Jaden Smith occupies the role played by Ralph Macchio in the 1984 film, while Jackie Chan takes on the Pat Morita part. [THR/RiskyBiz]Meanwhile, I will continue playing the part of dog-covering-his-eyes-with-his-paws. Ruh-roh!GET MORE LIKE THIS AT FILMDRUNK.COM !

Eddie Murphy Rollercoaster

Eddie Murphy is no longer the edgy and fearless comedian that he was in the 1980s. When it comes to his movies nowadays, Murphy seems to be resigned to strictly family friendly fare - the type of banal bullsh*t the Eddie of old would have mocked. Regardless of where you stand on the actor/comedian, it's important to take into account the breadth of his entire career. From Beverly Hills Cop, Coming to America and his no holds barred stand up specials, to Pluto Nash, Meet Dave, and his most recent bomb, Imagine That, Mr. Murphy has produced some of the best and worst comedies of the last 25 years. With so many ups and downs, we felt a rollercoaster would make a lot of sense when mapping out his career. To take the ride, click the below image.

One Year Beard Growth Time Lapsed — Christoph Rehage walked 4646km from China to Germany and pictured himself every day for one year.You will see in the video that he grew a “mighty long beard” throughout that time.