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Thursday, October 15, 2009

R.I.P. Captain Lou Albano -- A Video Retrospective

The passing of Louis "Captain Lou" Albano may have brought about a public outcry of "who?" but if your eyes were transfixed to kitschy '80s television like ours were, you remember the spunky WWF personality's rubberband-ed beard and flailing hand gestures. Even if you weren't a wrestling fan you had to recognize him from his cameo as the cranky dad in Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" video. Before T.I. was the "Rubber Band Man" there was Captain Lou.

Passing at 76 years of age, Albano proved himself to be a unique showman. An over-the-top wrestler and lovably bad actor who made his way into our homes and our hearts with his perpetually loud voice, boisterous antics and stereotypical Italian flair. From the wrestling ring to the the idiot box, StreetLevel looks back at a legend

Captain Lou's Wrestling Hotline

Captain Lou was a king of the ring, but he was much more than body slams and spandex--he was an entertainer. His tenure in Hollywood extended beyond his stint on the mat due to his big personality as you can see here in the vid as he hawks his services as a wrestling expert to unsuspecting kids with no concept of phone bills.

Hulk Hogan's Rock 'N' Wrestling

If you make enough money, you get an action figure and a cartoon. That might actually be a law. The WWF of the 1980s was a cash cow that they continually skewered for shish kebabs. "Hulk Hogan's Rock 'N' Wrestling" was one of the tastiest meat byproducts of the bum steer. Captain' Lou played a prominent part as a slovenly, overweight goofball in this real stretch of his acting chops.

The Super Mario Brothers Super Show

In another acting leap for Albano, the Captain was pegged to play the role of another overweight Italian from New York. How, you may ask, did he get into character to play the world's most beloved pixelated plumber, Mario? He cut off his beard. For the "Super Mario Brothers Show," Albano acted in vignettes book-ending an animated showcase of video game related cartoons which were in turn book-ended by a horrendous rap and an embarrassing dance That really should have been flushed down a warp pipe.

Captain Lou PSAs

Captain Lou, apparently in a rush home from the Mario job as he was still rocking the monogramed hat, was pull to the side by corporate and told he had to drop a PSA about the dangers of drugs. The Cap went into one of his unscripted tirade which he ended with a specific deep south address that you'll end up at if you get caught with the smack. You can't help but think that he's being a hypocrite though--Mario does 'shrooms all the time and we still think he's cool.

Captain Lou on "227"

Anyone who tuned in to 227 that historic Saturday night was in for a treat. In addition the Mary's sassy commentary and the curves of miss "Saaaaaaaandra" Clarke we got the gruff stylings of Captain Lou. Rubber bands and brightly colored shirts in full effect, Albano gave a tearjerker of a performance as a handyman with heart of gold. The Emmy for best accessorizing of rubber bands on prime time television goes to you Captain Lou. Rest in power, brother.


"Goonies R Good Enough" by Cyndi Lauper featuring the WWF All-Stars

Attacker slashed her throat, but he could not silence her

(CNN) -- Jennifer Schuett's search for the man who snatched her from her bed when she was 8, sexually assaulted her and left her for dead on top of an ant hill ended Tuesday with the arrest of a suspect.

Jennifer Schuett, 27, was abducted and left for dead at age 8. A suspect was arrested Tuesday.

Jennifer Schuett, 27, was abducted and left for dead at age 8. A suspect was arrested Tuesday.

Now begins another chapter in Schuett's 19-year quest for justice.

Standing in front of the television cameras, Jennifer Schuett blinked back tears.

"This is a huge day for me," she later told CNN over the phone. "And I want to see this through the end. The rest will come out during the trial."

Schuett, 27, joined a multi-agency team of investigators in her hometown of Dickinson, Texas, as they announced the arrest earlier in the day of Dennis Earl Bradford, a 40-year-old welder, in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The arrest came after new DNA testing and other evidence made it possible to identify Bradford as the suspect.

Schuett's boyfriend and two police investigators who kept the case alive stood beside her. Fighting tears, she thanked them for their support.

"Throughout this journey, I've had two main goals," she said. "And they were to find the man who kidnapped, sexually assaulted and attempted to murder me 19 years ago so that he could not hurt anyone else. And to use my voice in telling my story to as many people as I possibly could over the years in hopes that I may encourage other victims of violent crimes to stand up and speak out against criminals." Video Watch Schuett explain why she's speaking out »

She continued, "Today, I can say very proudly that I have accomplished both of these goals."

Schuett spoke with CNN two weeks ago about her 1990 ordeal. CNN normally does not identify victims of sexual assaults. But Schuett decided to go public with her story and her name to increase the chances of finding and prosecuting her attacker.

Schuett was in her bed when a man crept in through a window on August 10, 1990. She remembers waking up in a stranger's arms as he carried her across a dark parking lot. She said he told her he was an undercover cop and knew her family.

He drove her through the streets of Dickinson, pulling into an overgrown field where, she said, he sexually assaulted her.

She passed out. When she regained consciousness, she was lying on top of an ant hill with her throat slashed and her voice box torn. She spent about 14 hours in the field before she was found and rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

"Three days after the attack, I started giving a description. The doctors told me I would never be able to talk again, but I proved them all wrong," Schuett said. She believes she got her voice back so she could tell her story.

At the news conference, a driver's license photo of the suspect was shown next to the 1990 sketch based on her description. There was a clear resemblance. Video Watch the sketch artist's memories of Schuett »

On the left is a driver's license photo of suspect Dennis Earl Bradford. At right, a 1990 police sketch.

Shauna Dunlap, a spokeswoman for the FBI's Houston office, said Bradford lived in North Little Rock, with his wife and two children -- a boy, 12, and a girl, 15. He also has three adult stepchildren.

Bradford worked as a welder for United Fence in North Little Rock. A company representative said Bradford had been working there for 10 years and was a "good guy" who had mended "his old ways" and "changed his life." He wouldn't go into specifics about what those "old ways" were. Court documents give some indication.

In 1996, Bradford was accused of kidnapping, sexually assaulting and cutting the throat of a female victim. He was initially charged with attempt to commit first-degree murder, but prosecutors amended the charges to rape and kidnapping.

Dennis Earl Bradford, a 40-year-old welder, was arrested after DNA allegedly tied him to the crime.

A Garland County Circuit Court jury found him guilty of kidnapping but was not able reach a verdict on the rape charges. Arkansas corrections officials said he entered prison in March 1997, facing a 12-year-sentence, and was paroled in February 2000. Investigators also found Bradford lived slightly more than two miles from Schuett's residence and just a mile and a half from where she was found, according to an affidavit released Tuesday.

"It's truly a rare occasion when we have the opportunity to prosecute a case like this," said Galveston County District Attorney Kurt Sistrunk. His office is charging Bradford with attempted capital murder.

"Jennifer has been a tremendous asset to this investigation from the beginning, an inspiration to all of us, and we are going to be very proud to have Jennifer by our side as we continue with our efforts to seek justice for you in the courtroom," said Sistrunk.

The break in the case came after FBI agent Richard Rennison and Dickinson police Detective Tim Cromie persuaded the FBI's Child Abduction Rapid Deployment (CARD) team to get involved.

"The main reason the CARD team picked this case was because she was alive," Rennison said. "In cases of child abduction, it is rare that the child is recovered alive. Frequently, you recover a body. And most times, you never find them."

In March 2008, the investigators found evidence collected 19 years ago -- the underwear and pajamas Schuett was wearing, as well as a man's underwear and T-shirt, which were found in the field where Schuett was left for dead.

The clothes had been tested in 1990, but the sample wasn't large enough for conclusive results. But newer techniques allow DNA to be isolated from a single human cell.

The FBI lab recently informed Rennison that the DNA in the man's underwear matched Bradford's DNA profile. He was entered into the database after the 1997 kidnapping conviction in Arkansas.

Bradford was arrested on Tuesday morning on his way to work. He awaits extradition to Texas.

Lizard disguised as autumn leaf

A Satanic leaf-tailed gecko, a type of lizard that can camouflage itself to resemble a shrivelled autumn leaf, has been captured on camera in a stunning image.

A Satanic leaf-tailed gecko, a type of lizard that can camouflage itself to resemble a shrivelled autumn leaf, has been captured on camera in a stunning image.
The Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko Photo: ARDEA

The gecko, perched on a branch, has blended itself into its surroundings so well that its coil-shaped body is hard to spot amid the foliage.

Its body is twisted into a corkscrew shape, disguising its remarkable leaf-shaped tail against the decaying brown leaves.

The picture was taken at the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park in Madagascar, off the eastern coast of Africa.

Satanic leaf-tailed geckos (Uroplatus phantasticus) can be between 8cm and 30cm long and are found on the central eastern side of the island.

They are named because of their apparent 'horns' and some specimens have red eyes. The skin can appear a variety of colours including brown, yellow, green or orange.

Inactive during the day, they hunt for insects during the night and are almost impossible to see when at rest on a mossy or lichen covered branch. They can flatten themselves to the branch, creating a perfect match to their surroundings and avoiding any shadow being cast.

Modified scales form an irregular edge to the body that blends in nearly seamlessly with the bark.

When disturbed, larger members of the species stand up open mouthed and let out a large hiss.

The geckos are adapted to life in a rainforest and their disguises are so good that species and sub-species are still being discovered.

Kellogg's 'laser-etched' cornflakes

Laser etched cornflakes - Kellogg's / TwitPic
This is the image Kellogg's posted online as an example of laser-etched food. Picture: Kellogg's / TwitPic

IS this a marketing stunt, an elaborate hoax or a bizarre attempt by one of the world's biggest food producers to protect an iconic breakfast cereal from imitators?

The British PR office for Kellogg's claimed on its Twitter feed today that it has succeeded in etching its brand into individual corn flakes so they stand out against any copies.

Related story UPDATE: Kellogg's confirms laser-etched cornflakes are real - but not in Australia »

"Now you'll always be able to tell your Corn Flakes from your corn fakes!" Kellogg's UK announced on Twitter, with a link to an image of branded cereal.


Kellogg's claims the image, which looks like a badly doctored photograph, shows the result of a laser process that directs a concentrated beam of light onto the flake, using mirrors to control the burn.

The UK's Daily Telegraph today quoted a food technologist named as Helen Lyons as saying: "We want shoppers to be under absolutely no illusion that Kellogg's does not make cereal for anyone else.

"We've established that it is possible to apply a logo or image onto food, now we need to see if there is a way of repeating it on large quantities of our cereal," Ms Lyons said.

"We're constantly looking at new ways to reaffirm this and giving our golden flakes of corn an official stamp of approval could be the answer."

Laser-etching has been used to customise gadgets, create artworks and – in one dangerous experiment – tattoo a teenager's arm.

In 2005, Time magazine recognised Greg Drouillard for his invention of fruit tattoos, which was being tested at the time.

Mr Drouillard, a researcher for Sunkist Growers, says the laser essentially cauterises the burn on the food to stop it from spoiling.

Fergie to Dolphins Approved by Owners

As in, G-L-A-M O-R O-U-S. Glamorous. Glamorous, glamorous. You get the point.

Fergie -- female vocalist for the Black Eyed Peas -- is set to become the franchise's latest celebrity part-owner. It's music to the ears of the legions of hip pop/dance fans -- a genre I just made up -- in South Florida.

Owner Stephen Ross is compiling a roster of talent off the field that may have already eclipsed the goods on the team. Ross hopes the celebrities will create enough buzz to keep fans in the seats even if the wildcat loses its charm.

In addition to Fergie, the Dolphins have Marc Anthony, Jimmy Buffett, Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez, and the Williams sisters on board. You know what that means, one killer conga line. Conga!

via PFT

Start Your Car From Your iPhone


Remote starters are always a popular holiday gift in Northern climes, so particularly lazy shoppers will be heartened to learn one can be downloaded on iTunes.

The Viper SmartStart from Directed Electronics is an iPhone-compatible remote starter capable of warming up or cooling down a car. Even if you’re not a fan of letting your car idle in a parking lot, Viper says the SmartStart could come in handy for remotely locking or unlocking the doors, popping the trunk or even sounding the car alarm.

Best of all, instead of pointing a squared-off keyfob at a car that’s parked a mere 30 feet away, you can start your car from anywhere provided there’s a cell phone signal.

“Our customers have consistently told us that the two most important features in a remote starter are range and user interface,” Directed Electronics president Kevin Duffy said in a statement. “We developed the Viper SmartStart in response. Range is virtually unlimited, and iPhone owners can use the elegant touch-screen interface they already carry in their pocket.”

The SmartStart can either be installed separately for $499 or mated to an existing remote starter for $299. There’s also an annual service charge, which tacks on an additional $29.99 a year. The system is also compatible with the iPod Touch, but its range is limited to within existing WiFi networks.

Photo: Directed Electronics.

Crazy Tesla Taxi Takes Customers On Delusional Journey

A New York taxi company owner makes enough money to not only live near Monaco but also to buy a Tesla Roadster. More shocking? He wants his neighbors to actually know how he made his money with a taxi-liveried Tesla.

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The anonymous exploiter of lost tourists and underpaid immigrants alike apparently owns a fleet mostly made up of Escape Hybrids, so in his mind we're sure the connection between not-terribly economical taxis and an electric supercar painted to look like a cab makes total sense.

Missing the Humor, Le Blog Auto points out the electric-two seater wouldn't make a very practical taxi, largely due to the inability of magnetic signs to stick to the carbon bodywork. We'd add that the lack of trunk space and long recharge time should also be considered before any enterprising individuals attempt to make a business out of this. Also, there's the whole "no back seat" thing. [Le Blog Auto via Green Car Reports]

EU energy plans favour solar power

Solar Power in Europe

Solar Power in Europe

The EU has big plans for its renewable energy future, and much attention has thus far been directed towards wind generated power, with nations such as the UK and Germany leading the way in making the most of Europe's wind potential. For this reason, the European Commission's latest plan to reduce carbon emissions by pumping a huge slice of the 50 billion euros available for research and development into solar power, may raise a few eyebrows.

Power generated from solar panels and carbon capture-and-store technology are the two major components of the EU's plans, as the commission tries to demonstrate how it is taking the necessary steps to meet ambitious carbon cutting targets. The plan, due to be released tomorrow, is a direct attempt to raise the EU's profile before the UN summit meeting in Copenhagen in December on reaching a new global agreement to curb climate change.

Even as the world emerges from a financial crisis, a new order in the region is in motion as companies are being increasingly encouraged to invest heavily in clean energy technology. "Markets and energy companies acting on their own are unlikely to be able to deliver the needed technological breakthroughs within a sufficiently short time span to meet the EU's energy and climate policy goals," the commission said in a draft of the plan obtained by the International Herald Tribune.

While 50 billion euros may seem like a tall order with the economy barely out of recession, experts agree that the large-scale investment will pay off. The market for the technology is exploding, offering the prospect of massive earnings and millions of jobs for countries that take an early lead.

Solar Power in Europe

"Increasing smart investment in research today is an opportunity to develop new sources of growth, to green our economy and to ensure the EU's competitiveness when we come out of the crisis," said Janez Potočnik, commissioner for science and research.

The plan, still in its early stages of development, will come in addition to the costly cap and trade system used to regulate greenhouse gases that are already in place. Some of the 27 EU member countries also tax carbon dioxide emissions associated with heating homes and running cars.

In a plan for allocating the money, the commission calls for 16 billion euros for solar power over the next 10 years, 13 billion euros for carbon capture and storage, seven billion euros for nuclear and six billion euros for wind.

However, as much as the commission's plans are a sign of the regions commitment to the fight against climate change, environmentalists cannot be entirely happy with the significant commitment also made to carbon-capture technologies. But the commission argues this is totally necessary in order for Europe to meet its carbon-cutting targets and remain competitive.

But the plans to drive forward with the development of European solar power will no doubt be welcomed by environmentalists.

Fingerprint may lead to new da Vinci discovery

A yellow box in the upper left hand corner highlights a fingerprint art experts believe belongs to Leonardo da Vinci.

TORONTO (AP) — Art experts believe they have identified a new Leonardo da Vinci— in part by examining a fingerprint on the canvas.

Peter Paul Biro, a Montreal-based forensic art expert, said Tuesday that a fingerprint on what was presumed to be a 19th-century German painting of a young woman has convinced art experts that it's actually a da Vinci.

Canadian-born art collector Peter Silverman bought "Profile of the Bella Principessa" at the Ganz gallery in New York on behalf of an anonymous Swiss collector in 2007 for about $19,000. New York art dealer Kate Ganz had owned it for about 11 years after buying it at auction for a similar price.

One London art dealer now says it could be worth more than $150 million.

If experts are correct, it will be the first major work by da Vinci to be identified in 100 years.

Biro said the print of an index or middle finger was found on the painting and that it matched a fingerprint from da Vinci's St Jerome in the Vatican. Biro examined multispectral images of the painting taken by the Luminere Technology laboratory in Paris. The lab used a special digital scanner to show successive layers of the work.

"Leonardo used his hands liberally and frequently as part of his painting technique. His fingerprints are found on many of his works," Biro said. "I was able to make use of multispectral images to make a little smudge a very readable fingerprint."

Technical, stylistic and material composition evidence also point to it being a da Vinci. Biro said there's strong consensus among art experts that it is a da Vinci painting.

"I would say it is priceless. There aren't that many Leonardo's in existence," Biro said. He said he had heard that one London dealer felt it could be worth more than $150 million.

Silverman said his Swiss friend saw it first and told him it didn't look like a 19th century painting. When Silverman took a look at the painting at the Ganz gallery in 2007, he thought it might be a da Vinci, although that seemed far-fetched. He hurriedly bought the painting for his Swiss friend and then started researching it.

"Of course you say, 'Come on, that's ridiculous. There's no such thing as a da Vinci floating around,"' Silverman said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "I started looking in the areas around da Vinci and all the people who could have possibly done it and through elimination I came back to da Vinci."

Last year, Silverman bumped into Nicholas Turner, a former curator of drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum and the British Museum. Turner said it was a da Vinci and other leading art experts have backed it up as well.

Silverman said thanks to the fingerprint image at the Luminere Technology laboratory it was confirmed.

"That was icing on the cake," he said.

Silverman describes the Swiss private collector as a very rich man who has promised to buy him "lunch and dinner and caviar for the rest of my life if it ever does get sold."

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Meghan McCain posted this Boobtastic (PIC) on Twitter The photo was re-hosted in the event she decided to delete it, but this picture was tweeted by Megan McCain to tell the world about her "spontaneous" (she used the quotation marks) night in with a book, a webcam and her breasts pushed together.

China’s Fairytale Terror-Trail

Steep steps
Image: Philip Lai

Far up on Yellow Mountain in the south east of China’s Anhui province is a trail of tens of thousands of granite steps. Partly lacking rails to hold on to, they are a traveller’s only guide past deep ravines and steep descents. Weather-wise, a whole year can pass in just one day: spring in the morning, summer at noon, autumn in the afternoon and winter at night. The most dangerous part yet might be the breathtaking views that can easily make visitors forget where they have to tread.

Wooooow, don’t look down – Fairytale Bridge:
Fairy tale bridge
Image: Jesse Warner

And from top:
Fairy tale bridge
Image: Philip Lai

Huang Shan, or Yellow Mountain in Chinese, is a mountain range consisting of 76 peaks. It has been a popular hiking trail for more than 1,200 years and has been immortalised in innumerable Chinese paintings and poems.

The most remarkable features of Huang Shan are its famous granite steps, said to have been started more than 1,500 years ago – 60,000 steps and altogether more than 50 km of footpaths. Considering that every granite slab had to be carried by hand, building the steps really becomes a Herculean task.

Can you make out the steps to Tiandu („Heaven“)?
Tiandu peak
Image: Jakemete

If you think the next image looks scary and the walk strenuous, consider that the original steps were just hewn into the rock face and people traversing them had to hold a chain hanging off the wall for support!

Just plastered to the mountain – don’t look down while you walk!
Path along the mountain
Image via Pixdaus

Hey, we told you not to look down!
View down
Image: Eden Li

Getting to the top requires 5 hours of climbing the steep granite steps but there is an easier route for those who can bear the stomach-churning, 3,700-m-ascent in a cable car. The 8-minute ride often goes directly along the rock face!

Skirting the mountain:
Cable car
Image via hpmuseum

Once on top, visitors have thousands of stairs in front of them and various trails to choose from for exploring the mountain. That doesn’t mean solitude, serenity and quiet. No, as one of China’s most popular tourist attractions – especially the East and North trails preferred by tour guides – the area is thronged with people huffing and puffing up the mountain, all the while whooping away to try out the echo. So much for serenity.

Coming through! The crowds trekking Huang Shan:
Image via lewisesinchina

The line for the cable car back – the last one leaves at 5 pm, hurry!
Cable car line
Image via lewisesinchina

A handful of expensive and small hotels and hostels await visitors at the top. Everything that is up on the mountain, from the smallest brick to the hotel’s water heaters, was carried up the mountain on one of the porter’s backs. That’s right, no cable car for supplies as they are too heavy and porters are cheaper than the fare, as they make the equivalent of about $5 per trip.

A hotel, literally in the mountains:
Hotel in the mountains
Image via lewisesinchina

Because the porters are fast, they manage two trips in a day – 4 hours from the Huang Shan village to the top where the hotels are and 2 hours back to the village. The same walk for an untrained person will take 7 hours to the top and 5 hours back down!

The path less travelled?
Mountain path
image via hpmuseum

The mountain range was formed in the Mesozoic about 100 million years ago by an ancient sea that disappeared due to uplift. The region’s peculiarly shaped granite peaks were formed in the Quaternary Period through the influence of glaciers. The three highest peaks are almost 2,000 meters (6,500 feet) high.

But looking up is not how you enjoy the magnificence of the Yellow Mountain; you have to look down:

Huang Shan’s famous Sea of Clouds:
sea of clouds
Image: Eden Li

The Yellow Mountain’s vegetation varies with altitude: forest below 1,100 meters; then patches of trees up to the tree line at 1,800 meters; and above that, alpine grass-lands. The Chinese especially love the Huangshan Pine – many trees are more than a hundred years old – because it is a hardy plant that can grow anywhere and in almost any condition.

Many fern species are represented as well and the whole Huang Shan region is an important habitat for rare and threatened plant and animal species. Because of this fact and the spectacular scenery and sunsets, Yellow Mountain was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.

If you’re thinking of visiting, here’s some good advice for you:

Don’t enjoy the views and by no means flirt with the monkeys!
Tourist advice
Image via lewisesinchina

Oh, and do watch this video before you go as it gives you a pretty good idea of a visit on a crowded day:

If you can see this, then you might need a Flash Player upgrade or you need to install Flash Player if it's missing. Get Flash Player from Adobe.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

Farmers Arrested Planting Hemp On DEA Headquarters Lawn (VIDEO)

Ryan Grim

UPDATE: Scroll down for a video of the arrests.

A group of civilly-disobedient hemp farmers and business leaders were arrested Tuesday morning while digging up the lawn to plant industrial hemp seeds at the headquarters of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

David Bronner, the president of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, a more than 60-year-old company that does tens of millions of dollars of business annually, was among those arrested.

Bronner buys the hemp used in his soaps from Canadian farmers. He was arrested outside the DEA museum, which shares space with the headquarters.

"Our kids are going to come to this museum and say, 'My God. Your generation was crazy. What the hell is wrong with you people?'" he said as Arlington County Police handcuffed him and walked him to a waiting car.

The group was arrested for trespassing.

A DEA spokeswoman referred comment to the Department of Justice "because they're the people who set the policy for drugs." A DOJ spokeswoman declined to comment.

Hemp, however, is not a drug and has no capacity to get someone stoned, the farmers pointed out. Wayne Hauge and Will Allen, farmers from North Dakota and Vermont respectively, brought shovels and seeds to the protest, where they were joined by representatives of Vote Hemp, which advocates for federal legislation that would allow states to craft their own hemp policies.

Currently eight states -- Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia -- allow industrial hemp production or research, but federal law, which requires nearly-impossible-to-obtain-permits to grow hemp, trumps those state laws. A bill introduced by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) would allow states to craft their own policies.

Isaac Nichelson, head of LiViTY Outernatioanl, a hemp clothing company, was also planting seeds, telling the officers and a handful of reporters that he'd rather buy his raw material domestically than from China.

"Who's got a permit?" asked David Smith, DEA security supervisor, when he spotted the collection of farmers volunteering their agricultural services to his agency.

"As far as I know, we applied for the permit a long time ago," Nichelson told him.

The farmers asked the next DEA official to arrive if he knew the difference between hemp and marijuana.

He wasn't sure. "It's a cousin, right? Or is it an uncle?"

Hauge is one of two farmers licensed by the state of North Dakota to grow hemp, but he can't do so because of the federal ban. Mother Nature is apparently unaware of the federal restriction: Hemp grows wild through the United States.

President Reagan invested significant resources going after hemp, uprooting millions of plants of what it calls "ditchweed." Reagan's effort against ditchweed steadily increased and by 1989 the DEA was able to claim it had uprooted 120 million ditchweed plants. By 2001, that number reached half a billion.

The farmers argued that Instead of uprooting hemp, the government should allow American farmers to grow it, especially since American companies can already legally sell hemp products. "We've got a billion dollar industry we're sleeping on," said Hauge, who is suing the DEA for the right to raise hemp.

Hauge traces his interest in growing hemp back to the founding fathers, and one particularly famous hemp farmer. "The DEA would have arrested George Washington," he said.

The Huffington Post has obtained a video of the arrests. The first protester collared - the one taken down pretty hard -- is Adam Eidinger, communications director for Vote Hemp, a hemp clothing store owner and a veteran arrestee. Next comes David Bronner, he of the magic soap. Then goes Will Allen, a Vermont organic farmer, followed by Isaac Nichelson, the hemp clothing company owner. Steve Levine, president of the Hemp Industries Association, is taken in last. Wayne Hauge, the North Dakota farmer, was also arrested but isn't in the video.

Video Link WATCH:

Ryan Grim is the author of This Is Your Country On Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America

Read more at:

$1.5M Russian SUV Features Diamonds, Whale Penis Leather

Whale penis leather interior. That's all you really need to know about the $1.5 million Dartz Prombron Monaco Red Diamond Edition. Yes, the diamond-encrusted white gold gauges and gold-plated bulletproof windows are impressive, but seriously, whale penis leather interior.

The already bulletproof and wildly over-the-top 8.1 liter GM V8-powered Dartz Kombat T98 is getting a name change to Prombron and along with it will come a complete and brain-maimingly bourgeoisie upgrade with the Monaco Red Diamond Edition. The world's most expensive ultra-luxury SUV will debut at the 2010 Top Marques Monaco show with luxe features crazy enough to make a Maybach blush. For your $1.5 million you get the following features:

1. Ruby Red matte paint
2. Gold-plated bulletproof windows
3. 22" Kremlin Red Star bulletproof wheels
4. Whale Penis Leather interior
5. Tungsten exhaust
6. Tungsten and white gold gauges with diamonds and rubies
7. White gold diamond and ruby encrusted badges - grill, side and dashboard
8. Special edition Vertu mobile phone with "alert" button
9. Additional outside kevlar coating
10. Rogue Acoustic Audio System.

And, of course, of course -
THREE BOTTLES OF World Most Expensive Vodka - RussoBaltique Vodka, drink edition, same as in the RussoBaltique car when it visited Monaco at 1912.

We have a lot of questions about this car, most of them whale penis leather-related, but in the bigger picture, this brazen finger-in-the-eye raises a good point, so to speak. What makes a luxury vehicle? Things we used to think of as luxury - bovine leather, wood trim, high-end audio, etc., have become mainstream. Does it take exceptionally ridiculous material selection and bold ostentatious flair to define new luxury? Is it encapsulating yourself in a vehicle capable of taking a direct hit from a rocket propelled grenade? Does it mean emulating the wild excess of past luxury much like the Red Diamond is doing? Who knows. But we're betting the tzars would roll in one of these babies.
[Dartz via Jameslist]

Apple To Switch On Sleeping FM Radio in iPhone, iPod Touch


Rumor site 9to5Mac reports that Apple is on the cusp of releasing an FM radio application for the iPhone and iPod Touch. And get this: it will be for the current models, not for some new hardware revision. According to the rumor, Apple will awaken the slumbering FM transceiver already dormant within the devices, currently only used to talk to the Nike+ widget.

This speculation seems to fit in with Apple’s switching on of the Bluetooth functionality inside the second-gen iPod Touch with the 3.0 software update, but the rumor then gets a little weird:

The holdup on this app is that Apple is trying to integrate the Mobile iTunes Store purchases into the functionality of the program.

Yes. Apple, which has already managed to put tune-tagging into the iPod Nano, is apparently having trouble doing it with the way-more-powerful iPhone platform. This sounds like nonsense, but it doesn’t mean we won’t see a radio app. What great news. Now there will be, along with the stocks application, yet another app that I will never use yet cannot remove from my iPod.

In-house in the works for iPhone and iPod touch [9to5Mac]

Image credit: 9to5Mac

Stockholm's rabbits burned to keep Sweden heated

The bodies of thousands of wild rabbits culled each year from Stockholm's parks are being used to fuel a heating plant in central Sweden.

Stockholm's rabbits burned to keep Sweden heated
Six thousand bunnies were killed last year Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Animal rights activists have claimed that domestic pets are also being rounded up and incinerated.

"Those who support the culling of rabbits think it's good to use the bodies for a good cause. But it feels like the power company is trying to turn the animals into an industry rather than look at the main problem," said Anna Johannesson of the Society for the Protection of Wild Rabbits.

The rabbits going up in smoke are the inhabitants of Stockholm's parks who are culled to protect the shrubs and trees on which they gorge. But many of them are tame domestic pets turned loose by owners who no longer want them.

Six thousand bunnies were killed last year. The corpses were frozen and then sent to a special heating plant at Karlskoga, in central Sweden, where the cadavers were burnt in order to help heat the homes of residents of Värmland.

But animal rights activists have called for better treatment for the wild rabbits.

Mrs. Johannesson told local newspaper Vart Kungsholmen; "We want to see them start looking at other solutions for the rabbits. Helsinki in Finland sprays the plants to make them unappetizing and they have also set up a system of shelters for animals to be donated to. They have come much further along than us."ra