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Gregzs
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« on: November 22, 2013, 11:59:08 PM »

The One Person Archive

http://www.fastcompany.com/3022022/the-incredible-story-of-marion-stokes-who-single-handedly-taped-35-years-of-tv-news

The Incredible Story Of Marion Stokes, Who Single-Handedly Taped 35 Years Of TV News

From 1977 to 2012, she recorded 140,000 VHS tapes worth of history. Now the Internet Archive has a plan to make them public and searchable

In a storage unit somewhere in Philadelphia, 140,000 VHS tapes sit packed into four shipping containers. Most are hand-labeled with a date between 1977 and 2012, and if you pop one into a VCR you might see scenes from the Iranian Hostage Crisis, the Reagan Administration, or Hurricane Katrina.

It's 35 years of history through the lens of TV news, captured on a dwindling format.

It's also the life work of Marion Stokes, who built an archive of network, local, and cable news, in her home, one tape at a time, recording every major (and trivial) news event until the day she died in 2012 at the age of 83 of lung disease.

Stokes was a former librarian who for two years co-produced a local television show with her then-future husband, John Stokes Jr. She also was engaged in civil rights issues, helping organize buses to the 1963 civil rights march on Washington, among other efforts. She began casually recording television in 1977. She taped lots of things, but she thought news was especially important, and when cable transformed it into a 24-hour affair, she began recording MSNBC, Fox, CNN, CSNBC, and CSPAN around the clock by running as many as eight television recorders at a time.

She'd feed a six-hour tape into the recorders late at night. She'd wake up early the next day to change them (or conscript family members to do the same if she wasn't home). She'd cut short meals at restaurants to rush home before tapes ended. And when she got too old to keep up, she trained a younger helper named Frank to run the various recording equipment.

But the majority of her days were structured around paying attention to and saving whatever was on the news. "Pretty much everything else took a back seat,” says her son, Michael Metelits. “It provided a certain rhythm to her life, and a certain amount of deep, deep conviction that this stuff was going to be useful. That somehow, someone would find a way to index it, archive it, store it--that it would be useful.”

Stokes bought VHS tapes by the dozen. As she recorded, she made stacks so high they would fall over. The project took over several of the apartments she owned. “It was just a logistical nightmare--that’s really the only way to put it,” Metelits says. When people asked her why her home was filled packed with televisions, recorders, and tapes, she’d tell them, “I’m archiving, that’s all.”

How One Woman’s Eccentric Hobby Became Another Man’s Treasure

To acquaintances, Stokes’s extremely time-consuming and expensive passion for archiving could seem eccentric.

Roger Macdonald thinks it's heroic. He's the librarian who runs the television portion of the Internet Archive, a non-profit organization dedicated to building a free Internet library. Since 2000, his team has been recording national television news to a digital format in hopes of one day making it all part of a searchable archive (broadcasts from the last four years are already available). His system is much simpler than Stokes’ elaborate video cassette juggling act--it’s just a very small rack of computers with discs spinning and cables going in and out--but the visions behind both projects are aligned. “Television has been our most pervasive and persuasive medium,” Macdonald says, “but we’ve never really had much of a pause and rewind button on our experience of it to reflect back on television news, to compare and contrast and mine it for knowledge.”

When Macdonald heard about Stokes’s massive archive, he emailed her son for more information. He got an answer but it only made him more curious. So he called. “Everything I learned would ratchet my eyes ever wider. How many tapes are we talking about? How did that work? How did the family live like that? It’s just an amazing, amazing story.” The Internet Archive had received large collections of 100 or 200 tapes from individuals before, but nothing quite like this.

John Lynch, the director of the Vanderbilt Television News Archive had a similar reaction. “Normally when we get someone who calls in about a collection, we try to send them somewhere else really quick, because the nature of our collection is that we record things ourselves,” he says. But there was a special significance in what Stokes had accomplished.

Early broadcast news isn’t easy to find, Lynch says, because while networks often did a good job of archiving the footage they used to make the show, they were less meticulous about saving the show itself--a pattern he attributes to “a sense of modesty on their part.” More recent news reports are more likely to be available from stations themselves, but stations typically charge an access fee.

The Vanderbilt Television News Archive is one of the most, if not the most, comprehensive collections of television in the world. It has its own news recordings going back to 1968, and researchers can borrow them on DVD for a small fee to cover the costs of operation. Having been sued by a network during its early days, however, the organization is careful about the way it shares its content (“We’ve been doing this for a long time, and we want to be careful to not mess it up,” Lynch explains). It does not post all the footage online for anyone to access instantly.

The Internet Archive does want to make a television news archive available for instant search online. But it can’t simply borrow content from some place like Vanderbilt. It relies on donations for content recorded before 2000. So Macdonald agreed to accept, digitize and index Stokes’s archive.

“Some local news will be lost forever,” he says, “but who knows, because there may be other Marion Stokeses out there who had that similar passion.”

Turning 140,000 VHS Tapes Into An Archive

The Internet Archive wasn’t sure it would be able to digitize some of the older tapes, and Metelits sent them some samples to test. Arrangements have since been made to ship the rest of the tapes to the Internet Archive’s temperature-controlled storage center in Richmond, California. Shipping will cost Stokes's estate about $12,000. When the tapes arrive, they’ll sit until someone puts them into video players, one at a time, and begins to digitize them for the archive, a process almost as arduous as recording them in the first place.

“It will take a long time,” Macdonald says, “Like the little engine that can, we’ll just keep plugging away at it.”

There weren’t any provisions for the tape collection in Stokes’s will, but anyone who knew her knew she wanted them to be used as an archive. She had been born at the beginning of the Great Depression, and like many people of her generation, saved a lot of things. Scattered throughout the family's various properties, she had stored a half-century of newspapers and 192 Macintosh computers. But the tapes were special. “I think my mother considered this her legacy,” Metelits says.

The value of home-recorded newscasts isn’t immediately obvious, but when the collection becomes public, there will likely be many unanticipated ways to use it. Lynch remembers one year, back when students at Vanderbilt still had to physically visit its archive in order to use it, he looked through the list of those who had done so. “Every single school inside the university had used us,” he says, “Which meant the fine-arts school had found a reason why they wanted to look at old TV news. What happens is that when you make a rich collection available, there are the things you thought of, the reasons why you thought it was valuable, and those may be very much right--but what happens is that it turns out it has a life beyond that.”

On a trip to San Francisco in September of this year, when he visited the archive, Metelits saw the first digitization of his mother’s work. There, on a screen, was Ted Koppel talking about the Iranian Hostage Crisis on Nightline. Metelits started to tear up. And he did again when he recounted the story. “The idea that my mother’s project could be useful to someone was really kind of an emotional moment,” he says.

He recalled how Stokes had a habit of watching two televisions at once, and her son says she could pay attention to both at the same time. Plus, there were often several more televisions running without volume in bedrooms and hallways as they recorded other channels. It was a chaotic environment for most everyone but Stokes.

The day she passed away, December 14, was also the first day in a long time that no one changed the tapes. The house was quiet and absent the usual flickering screens casting frantic shadows. “Over time, I came to respect her project, but it wasn’t my project,” Metelits says. “It did feel weird, but it felt oddly kind of... the apartments were kind of peaceful in a way they hadn’t been in a long time.”

Had the TVs been on that day, they would have all carried news of the same event: the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.

"I got to the house and this horrific news was going on," Metelits says. "Kids being killed. Teachers being killed while shielding children, that sort of thing." He takes a pause. After about a minute he breaks the silence. "I remember being very grateful that that wasn’t the last news she saw."

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« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2013, 02:14:31 AM »

http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/music/leonardo-da-vincis-wacky-piano-is-heard-for-the-first-time-after-500-years-20131118-2xpqs.html

Leonardo Da Vinci's wacky piano is heard for the first time, after 500 years

A bizarre instrument combining a piano and cello has finally been played to an audience more than 500 years after it was dreamt up Leonardo da Vinci.

Da Vinci, the Italian Renaissance genius who painted the Mona Lisa, invented the ‘‘viola organista’’ - which looks like a baby grand piano – but never built it, experts say.

The viola organista has now come to life, thanks to a Polish concert pianist with a flair for instrument-making and the patience and passion to interpret da Vinci’s plans.

Full of steel strings and spinning wheels, Slawomir Zubrzycki’s creation is a musical and mechanical work of art.

‘‘This instrument has the characteristics of three we know: the harpsichord, the organ and the viola da gamba,’’ Zubrzycki said as he debuted the instrument at the Academy of Music in the southern Polish city of Krakow.

The instrument’s exterior is painted in a rich midnight blue, adorned with golden swirls painted on the side. The inside of its lid is a deep raspberry inscribed with a Latin quote in gold leaf by 12th-century German nun, mystic and philosopher, Saint Hildegard.

‘‘Holy prophets and scholars immersed in the sea of arts both human and divine, dreamt up a multitude of instruments to delight the soul,’’ it says.

The flat bed of its interior is lined with golden spruce. Sixty-one gleaming steel strings run across it, similar to the inside of a baby grand.

Each is connected to the keyboard, complete with smaller black keys for sharp and flat notes. But unlike a piano, it has no hammered dulcimers. Instead, there are four spinning wheels wrapped in horse-tail hair, like violin bows.

To turn them, Zubrzycki pumps a pedal below the keyboard connected to a crankshaft. As he tinkles the keys, they press the strings down onto the wheels, emitting rich, sonorous tones reminiscent of a cello, an organ and even an accordion.

The effect is a sound that da Vinci dreamt of, but never heard; there are no historical records suggesting he or anyone else of his time built the instrument he designed.

A sketch and notes in da Vinci’s characteristic inverted script is found in his Codex Atlanticus, a 12-volume collection of his manuscripts and designs for everything from weaponry to flight.

‘‘I have no idea what Leonardo da Vinci might think of the instrument I’ve made, but I’d hope he’d be pleased,’’ said Zubrzycki, who spend three years and 5000 hours bringing da Vinci’s creation to life.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sv3py3Ap8_Y" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sv3py3Ap8_Y</a>
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« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2013, 03:59:11 PM »

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/12/20/21982638-alleged-child-sex-abuser-caught-after-tip-from-burglar?lite

Alleged child sex abuser caught after tip from burglar

A soccer-coach has been arrested in Spain after a thief broke into his house and stole videotapes containing incriminating footage of child sex abuse, Spanish police said.

The thief must have realized what he had taken some days after the break-in and called authorities anonymously from a pay phone to say he had evidence of the alleged crimes, police in the southern city of Jaén said in a statement on Thursday.

The alleged thief left the three videotapes -- which according to police contain footage of the suspect abusing children around 10 years old -- in a brown envelope under a car in the street.

The envelope included an anonymous note with the coach's address and a short message that read: "I've had the misfortune of having the tapes fall into my hands, and feel obligated to present them to you so you can do your job and put him ... in jail for life."

Police searched the address in Jaén and arrested the coach on suspicion of child abuse. They did not release the suspect's name.

Investigators allege the man gained access to minors through his position as a coach and made them watch pornographic films before sexually abusing them.

Four alleged victims have been identified by officers, including a girl under the age of 16 who police said was abused from the age of 10.

The coach reported the burglary nine days before he was arrested. He told police electrical items had been stolen, but did not report the camera or videotapes which allegedly contained the incriminating footage.
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« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2013, 08:54:38 PM »

The One Person Archive

http://www.fastcompany.com/3022022/the-incredible-story-of-marion-stokes-who-single-handedly-taped-35-years-of-tv-news

The Incredible Story Of Marion Stokes, Who Single-Handedly Taped 35 Years Of TV News

From 1977 to 2012, she recorded 140,000 VHS tapes worth of history. Now the Internet Archive has a plan to make them public and searchable

In a storage unit somewhere in Philadelphia, 140,000 VHS tapes sit packed into four shipping containers. Most are hand-labeled with a date between 1977 and 2012, and if you pop one into a VCR you might see scenes from the Iranian Hostage Crisis, the Reagan Administration, or Hurricane Katrina.

It's 35 years of history through the lens of TV news, captured on a dwindling format.

It's also the life work of Marion Stokes, who built an archive of network, local, and cable news, in her home, one tape at a time, recording every major (and trivial) news event until the day she died in 2012 at the age of 83 of lung disease.

Stokes was a former librarian who for two years co-produced a local television show with her then-future husband, John Stokes Jr. She also was engaged in civil rights issues, helping organize buses to the 1963 civil rights march on Washington, among other efforts. She began casually recording television in 1977. She taped lots of things, but she thought news was especially important, and when cable transformed it into a 24-hour affair, she began recording MSNBC, Fox, CNN, CSNBC, and CSPAN around the clock by running as many as eight television recorders at a time.

She'd feed a six-hour tape into the recorders late at night. She'd wake up early the next day to change them (or conscript family members to do the same if she wasn't home). She'd cut short meals at restaurants to rush home before tapes ended. And when she got too old to keep up, she trained a younger helper named Frank to run the various recording equipment.

But the majority of her days were structured around paying attention to and saving whatever was on the news. "Pretty much everything else took a back seat,” says her son, Michael Metelits. “It provided a certain rhythm to her life, and a certain amount of deep, deep conviction that this stuff was going to be useful. That somehow, someone would find a way to index it, archive it, store it--that it would be useful.”

Stokes bought VHS tapes by the dozen. As she recorded, she made stacks so high they would fall over. The project took over several of the apartments she owned. “It was just a logistical nightmare--that’s really the only way to put it,” Metelits says. When people asked her why her home was filled packed with televisions, recorders, and tapes, she’d tell them, “I’m archiving, that’s all.”

How One Woman’s Eccentric Hobby Became Another Man’s Treasure

To acquaintances, Stokes’s extremely time-consuming and expensive passion for archiving could seem eccentric.

Roger Macdonald thinks it's heroic. He's the librarian who runs the television portion of the Internet Archive, a non-profit organization dedicated to building a free Internet library. Since 2000, his team has been recording national television news to a digital format in hopes of one day making it all part of a searchable archive (broadcasts from the last four years are already available). His system is much simpler than Stokes’ elaborate video cassette juggling act--it’s just a very small rack of computers with discs spinning and cables going in and out--but the visions behind both projects are aligned. “Television has been our most pervasive and persuasive medium,” Macdonald says, “but we’ve never really had much of a pause and rewind button on our experience of it to reflect back on television news, to compare and contrast and mine it for knowledge.”

When Macdonald heard about Stokes’s massive archive, he emailed her son for more information. He got an answer but it only made him more curious. So he called. “Everything I learned would ratchet my eyes ever wider. How many tapes are we talking about? How did that work? How did the family live like that? It’s just an amazing, amazing story.” The Internet Archive had received large collections of 100 or 200 tapes from individuals before, but nothing quite like this.

John Lynch, the director of the Vanderbilt Television News Archive had a similar reaction. “Normally when we get someone who calls in about a collection, we try to send them somewhere else really quick, because the nature of our collection is that we record things ourselves,” he says. But there was a special significance in what Stokes had accomplished.

Early broadcast news isn’t easy to find, Lynch says, because while networks often did a good job of archiving the footage they used to make the show, they were less meticulous about saving the show itself--a pattern he attributes to “a sense of modesty on their part.” More recent news reports are more likely to be available from stations themselves, but stations typically charge an access fee.

The Vanderbilt Television News Archive is one of the most, if not the most, comprehensive collections of television in the world. It has its own news recordings going back to 1968, and researchers can borrow them on DVD for a small fee to cover the costs of operation. Having been sued by a network during its early days, however, the organization is careful about the way it shares its content (“We’ve been doing this for a long time, and we want to be careful to not mess it up,” Lynch explains). It does not post all the footage online for anyone to access instantly.

The Internet Archive does want to make a television news archive available for instant search online. But it can’t simply borrow content from some place like Vanderbilt. It relies on donations for content recorded before 2000. So Macdonald agreed to accept, digitize and index Stokes’s archive.

“Some local news will be lost forever,” he says, “but who knows, because there may be other Marion Stokeses out there who had that similar passion.”

Turning 140,000 VHS Tapes Into An Archive

The Internet Archive wasn’t sure it would be able to digitize some of the older tapes, and Metelits sent them some samples to test. Arrangements have since been made to ship the rest of the tapes to the Internet Archive’s temperature-controlled storage center in Richmond, California. Shipping will cost Stokes's estate about $12,000. When the tapes arrive, they’ll sit until someone puts them into video players, one at a time, and begins to digitize them for the archive, a process almost as arduous as recording them in the first place.

“It will take a long time,” Macdonald says, “Like the little engine that can, we’ll just keep plugging away at it.”

There weren’t any provisions for the tape collection in Stokes’s will, but anyone who knew her knew she wanted them to be used as an archive. She had been born at the beginning of the Great Depression, and like many people of her generation, saved a lot of things. Scattered throughout the family's various properties, she had stored a half-century of newspapers and 192 Macintosh computers. But the tapes were special. “I think my mother considered this her legacy,” Metelits says.

The value of home-recorded newscasts isn’t immediately obvious, but when the collection becomes public, there will likely be many unanticipated ways to use it. Lynch remembers one year, back when students at Vanderbilt still had to physically visit its archive in order to use it, he looked through the list of those who had done so. “Every single school inside the university had used us,” he says, “Which meant the fine-arts school had found a reason why they wanted to look at old TV news. What happens is that when you make a rich collection available, there are the things you thought of, the reasons why you thought it was valuable, and those may be very much right--but what happens is that it turns out it has a life beyond that.”

On a trip to San Francisco in September of this year, when he visited the archive, Metelits saw the first digitization of his mother’s work. There, on a screen, was Ted Koppel talking about the Iranian Hostage Crisis on Nightline. Metelits started to tear up. And he did again when he recounted the story. “The idea that my mother’s project could be useful to someone was really kind of an emotional moment,” he says.

He recalled how Stokes had a habit of watching two televisions at once, and her son says she could pay attention to both at the same time. Plus, there were often several more televisions running without volume in bedrooms and hallways as they recorded other channels. It was a chaotic environment for most everyone but Stokes.

The day she passed away, December 14, was also the first day in a long time that no one changed the tapes. The house was quiet and absent the usual flickering screens casting frantic shadows. “Over time, I came to respect her project, but it wasn’t my project,” Metelits says. “It did feel weird, but it felt oddly kind of... the apartments were kind of peaceful in a way they hadn’t been in a long time.”

Had the TVs been on that day, they would have all carried news of the same event: the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.

"I got to the house and this horrific news was going on," Metelits says. "Kids being killed. Teachers being killed while shielding children, that sort of thing." He takes a pause. After about a minute he breaks the silence. "I remember being very grateful that that wasn’t the last news she saw."



any old school bodybuilding contests?
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« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2014, 01:16:46 AM »

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/12/31/22124881-dad-files-130m-lawsuit-after-son-in-utah-is-given-up-for-adoption?lite

Dad files $130M lawsuit after son in Utah is given up for adoption

A dad whose newborn son was given up for adoption by the birth mother — without his knowledge — is seeking $130 million in a lawsuit testing the boundaries of a biological father’s rights in Utah.

The adoption of Jake Strickland’s son just after he was born Dec. 29, 2010, was illegal and done “through gross misdirection and … clandestine conduct,” claims the suit filed Friday in the U.S. District Court of Utah.

Strickland alleges the mother, Whitney Pettersson, conspired with the adoptive parents, the adoption agency and attorneys to give up the boy — named “Baby Jack” in the suit — without allowing him to seek custody.

The complaint also strikes at Utah's parenting laws, accusing them of being “pro-adoption and anti-birth father.”

Attorney Wes Hutchins, speaking on behalf of Strickland, said his client just missed his son’s third birthday on Sunday — and is devastated that he can’t share important milestones in the boy’s life.

“It’s pulling him apart,” Hutchins told NBC News on Tuesday.

On his son's birthday, Strickland and his family gathered around a candle to sing “Happy Birthday” to his absent son, Hutchins said.

“They still think about him even though they don't have contact,” he added.

Strickland and Pettersson first met in 2009 as co-workers at a restaurant, according to court documents. Strickland said Pettersson was having problems with her marriage, and she later told him she got divorced. They began dating, and three months later, she texted him that she was pregnant.

Strickland left Utah for a temp job in Texas, but said he assured Pettersson that he wanted to be present in their child’s life, according to the lawsuit. He started a fund for the baby boy. The couple came up with a name: Jack.

But after Strickland returned to Utah, the romance dissolved. They began discussing parenting options. He said he told Pettersson that he would consider signing up with Utah’s putative father registry, which is how unmarried men can document with the state that they want parental rights.

But Strickland didn’t register. According to Hutchins, Pettersson warned him that if he did, she “would view it as an act of distrust” and keep his child from him.

“I don’t know if it was done as an act of vindictiveness,” Hutchins said.

Pettersson couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday, and attorneys involved in the adoption weren’t immediately available. The adoption agency, LDS Family Services, operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also didn’t respond to a request for comment.

According to the lawsuit, Strickland continued to financially support Pettersson, who also had a child from another relationship, until her alleged lies about their son began to unravel.

On Jan. 5, 2011, Strickland said he was astonished to learn that Pettersson had given birth  a week earlier — unbeknownst to him. He also learned she was still legally married, which meant her estranged husband was the presumed father under state law.

The most devastating discovery, Strickland said in the lawsuit, was that Pettersson had already given up their child for adoption.

She even got her then-husband to agree to the adoption by telling him that he would be the one saddled with child support payments if she kept the boy, according to Hutchins.

Strickland, who now lives in Arizona, mounted a paternity claim. But his fight was complicated because he had never registered with the state for his paternal rights.

Despite contesting the adoption, Strickland learned in November 2011 that it was completed.

After a 2nd U.S. District judge shot down Strickland’s bid to gain custody, he filed an appeal to the state. His case is still under review.

Concurrently, Strickland’s federal lawsuit is seeking $30 million for the loss of the parent-child relationship caused by the adoption and $100 million as a deterrent to ensure another dad doesn't suffer his fate.

Hutchins said Utah’s laws are onerous on biological fathers who try to gain custody, noting that they must file a paternity petition, get a sworn affidavit, create a detailed child care plan and prove they were financially invested in the pregnancy, among other requirements.

Strickland’s custody case, meanwhile, isn’t the only one gaining attention in Utah. In another high-profile petition, Colorado dad Robert Manzanares is fighting for sole custody of his daughter, whom he claims was unfairly given up by her birth mother when the woman fled to Utah.

Utah State Sen. Todd Weiler told NBC affiliate KSL-TV that despite the increased interest in the issue, he’s not persuaded that Utah laws need to be dramatically overhauled.

“What we’re looking at in this lawsuit and a few other high-profile lawsuits are one or two bad examples out of 10,000,” Weiler said. “I don’t think it’s good policy for the state to look at one or two exceptions and say, ‘Let’s change the laws for everyone.’”


 
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« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2014, 01:21:17 AM »

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/12/23/22024819-new-jersey-realtors-used-clients-home-for-sexual-escapades-report?lite&lite=obinsite

New Jersey realtors used client's home for 'sexual escapades': report

A pair of realtors are accused in a lawsuit of trying to keep buyers away from a New Jersey home so they could use the place for “sexual escapades,” which were caught on camera, according to a report.

Richard and Sandra Weiner of Denville, N.J., filed a suit in Passaic County on Dec. 6 alleging that former Coldwell Banker realtors Robert Lindsay and Jeannemarie Phelan intentionally priced their house in Wayne above market values so they could use the home as a love nest in late 2011 and early 2012, reports The Record of Bergen County.

"Lindsay and Phelan, through Lindsay’s illegal and dishonest acts, used the Weiners’ home as their play pad to have sexual relations in the Weiners’ bedroom, among other places in the home," the suit states.

Lindsay told the couple repeatedly that their house would sell for $650,000 in early 2010, the news site reports. In December 2011, they had Lindsay list the home.

Then, on Dec. 27, 2011, the home's security cameras caught Lindsay and Phelan kissing and hugging in the kitchen. Afterward, cameras showed the pair of realtors going to the master bedroom and having sex on the bed, the suit states. The pair of realtors were spotted in the home nine more times over the following month.

During the realtors’ last visit on Jan. 23, 2012, The Record reports, Sandra Weiner was checking the house’s video feeds when she saw people inside and what she thought were flashlights. The couple called police, who found Lindsay pulling up his pants when they arrived. Lindsay told officers that he and Phelan were there to prepare for an open house.

Coldwell Banker ended its affiliation with Lindsay and Phelan when the brokerage firm learned about the lawsuit, the newspaper reports.

Neither of the realtors could be reached by the newspaper for comment.
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« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2014, 07:41:27 AM »

http://news.yahoo.com/legal-recreational-pot-industry-opens-colorado-150209553.html

Legal recreational pot industry opens in Colorado

DENVER (AP) — Crowds were serenaded by live music as they waited for the nation's first legal recreational pot shops to open. They ate doughnuts and funnel cakes as a glass-blower made smoking pipes. Some tourists even rode around in a limo, eager to try weed but not so eager to be seen buying it.
Related Stories

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And when the sales began, those who bought the drug emerged from the stores, receipt held high and carrying sealed shopping bags, to cheers.

"I'm going to frame the receipt when I go home, to remind myself of what might be possible: Legal everywhere," said musician James Aaron Ramsey, 28, who did some time in jail for pot possession in Missouri and played folk tunes with his guitar for those in line.

Activists hope he's right, and that the experiment in Colorado will prove to be a better alternative to the costly American-led drug war, produce the kind of revenue that state officials hope and save the government costs in locking up drug offenders.

Just on the first day, prices in some places rose to more than $500 an ounce, and some shops announced midafternoon they would close early because of short supply. It's too soon to say whether the price spikes and long lines will persist.

Washington state will open its pot industry later this year. Both states' programs will be watched closely not just by officials in other states, but by activists and governments in other countries because the industries will be the first to regulate the production and sale of the drug.

Some countries have decriminalized the drug, and the Netherlands lets people buy and sell it, but it's illegal to grow or process it.

Just as shops opened Wednesday, the Denver Police Department tweeted, "Do you know the law?" and linked to city websites on state and local laws that include bans on public consumption, driving under the influence, taking marijuana out of state and giving pot to anyone under 21.

Denver police said one person was issued a summons for public consumption. The Colorado State Patrol reported no pot-related incidents. No pot-related incidents were reported at Denver International Airport, where signs warned travelers that they can't take the drug home.

At least 24 pot shops in eight towns opened. In Denver, pot users welcomed the new year and the new industry by firing up bongs and cheering in a cloud of marijuana smoke at a 1920s-themed "Prohibition Is Over" party — a reference to the 1930s-era law that outlawed marijuana.

Shopper Jacob Elliott said he wrote reports in college about the need to end pot prohibition, but never thought it could happen in his lifetime.

"This breaks that barrier," said Elliott, who traveled to Colorado from Leesburg, Va., to be among the first to buy legal weed.

Preparation for the retail market started more than a year ago, soon after Colorado and Washington voters in 2012 approved legal pot industries. Uruguay passed a law in December to become the first nation to regulate pot, but regulatory system isn't in place yet.

Pot advocates, who had long pushed legalization as an alternative to the drug war, had argued it would generate revenue for state coffers — and in Colorado's case to support education — and save money by not locking up low-level drug offenders.

"I feel good about it. The money's going to schools," said shopper Joseph Torres of Denver.

The price for high-quality weed at some shops was around $400 an ounce. That's about four times what smokers are paying on the black market in Colorado, according to crowd-sourced Internet surveys. Much of the extra cost was attributed to state and local taxes in excess of 25 percent.

People who were waiting in line shared their pot incarceration stories over coffee and funnel cakes.

"Trafficking conviction. Nineteen years old. For a plant, how stupid," said 24-year-old Brandon Harris, who drove 20 hours from Blanchester, Ohio.

Colorado set up an elaborate plant-tracking system to try to keep the drug away from the black market, and regulators set up packaging, labeling and testing requirements, along with potency limits for edible pot.

The U.S. Justice Department outlined an eight-point slate of priorities for pot regulation, requiring states to keep the drug away from minors, criminal cartels, federal property and other states in order to avoid a federal crackdown.

With the additional police patrols, the airport warnings and various other measures, officials hoped they have enough safeguards in place to avoid predictions of public health and safety harm from the opening of the pot shops.

A group of addiction counselors and physicians said they're seeing more marijuana addiction problems, especially in youths, and that wider pot availability will exacerbate the problem.

"This is just throwing gas on the fire," said Ben Cort of the Colorado Center for Dependency, Addiction & Rehabilitation at the University of Colorado Hospital.

Some medical marijuana patients groups say they're worried about supply. That's because the retail inventory for recreational use is coming entirely from the preexisting medical inventory. Many in the industry warned patients to stock up before the sales began.

It was too soon to tell whether prices for medical marijuana patients were going up.

For now, they should have plenty of places to shop. Most of Colorado's 500 or so medical marijuana shops haven't applied to sell recreational pot, and many that have plan to serve both recreational and medical patients

The industry has not just given rise to shops, but a whole line of other businesses, including tours.

Addison Morris, owner of Rocky Mountain Mile High Tours, had 10 clients waiting inside a limo who paid $295 for three hours of chauffeuring by a "marijuana concierge" who would help them choose strains and edible pot products.

Morris said she's booked through the end of February with out-of-state clients, who get samples in designer bags. And for the tours, guests are asked to leave cameras at home. She said she's selling discretion.

"We're your grandmother's pot connection," the 63-year-old said.
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« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2014, 04:23:48 AM »

http://laughingsquid.com/isaac-asimovs-predictions-for-the-year-2014-that-he-made-in-1964/

Isaac Asimov’s Predictions for the Year 2014 That He Made For 50 Years in the Future in 1964

After visiting the New York World’s Fair in 1964, Isaac Asimov was inspired to make some predictions about the world in the year 2014, 50 years in the future. His predictions, published in the New York Times, included many remarkably accurate forecasts—that robots would be cleaning up around the house, we’d we watching 3-D movies, and riding self-driving cars. He also predicted earth’s population at 6.5 billion (it’s actually 7 billion today). Some of his predictions were a little too optimistic however: moon bases, flying cars powered by compressed air, and the widespread use of the underground home.

http://www.nytimes.com/books/97/03/23/lifetimes/asi-v-fair.html
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« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2014, 02:28:51 AM »

http://foxnewsinsider.com/2014/01/07/trevor-connor-and-austin-bartz-build-16-foot-snow-shark-minnesota

3 Minnesota Brothers Build 16-Foot Snow Shark!

Three Minnesota brothers made the most of the extreme weather, building a 16-foot-high shark out of snow.

It took Trevor, Connor and Austin Bartz 95 hours to make the massive sculpture, which is on display in their parents' front yard.

Living in Minnesota, they probably get a lot of practice with snow-sculpting.

The three brothers had previously made a pufferfish and a walrus..

The Bartz brothers explained how they make the snow sculptures this morning on America’s Newsroom.

If you're in the New Brighton, Minnesota area and want to check it out, it should be there for a while. The current temperature is -8 degrees Fahrenheit.
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« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2014, 11:59:06 PM »

http://compliancex.com/dozens-of-former-new-york-police-and-firemen-in-911-disability-fraud/?utm_source=CompliancEX+Newsletter+January+8%2C+2014&utm_campaign=Got+a+Swiss+Bank+Account%3F&utm_medium=email

Dozens of former New York police and firemen in 9/11 disability fraud

Dozens of US former emergency service workers have been arrested in a sweeping fraud investigation involving federal disability benefits, New York authorities say.

Prosecutors say 72 police officers, eight firefighters and five corrections officers are among those charged.

Some reportedly falsely claimed disabling conditions arising from the 11 September 2001 attacks.

The fraud is believed to have cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

“The brazenness is shocking,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said on Tuesday.

“Many participants cynically manufactured claims of mental illness as a result of September 11, dishonouring the first responders who did serve their city at the expense of their own health and safety,” he added.
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« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2014, 10:49:10 PM »

http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/14/travel/china-titanic-replica/

Chinese theme park to reenact Titanic iceberg collision

(CNN) -- A Chinese company plans to build a full-scale replica of RMS Titanic, complete with a simulation of an iceberg collision, at a theme park in Daying County, Sichuan Province, China.

The RMB 1 billion ($165 million) model will be one of the key attractions at the Romandisea Seven Star International Cultural Tourism Resort, which will also feature a museum dedicated to the 1912 maritime tragedy, a man-made beach, Turkish baths and what is being called a "6D cinema."

The park is slated to open in 2016.

The ship's design will be based on the blueprint of Titanic's sister ship, RMS Olympic, and produced in a shipyard in Hubei Province, developer Seven Star Energy Investment Group said in an interview with Xinhua news.

The sinking of the Titanic, on its maiden journey from Southampton to New York, resulted in more than 1,500 deaths and inspired James Cameron's hit film.

The South China Morning Post said the replica will be permanently docked on the Qi River, some 930 miles from the nearest coast. But visitors will get to safely experience an iceberg "collision" thanks to a high-tech simulation involving light and sound effects.

"There are museums dedicated to Titanic in the U.S. and Europe," said Su Shaojun, chairman of Seven Star. "It's time for China to honor the spirit of human responsibility -- how passengers tried to save one another as the ship sank."

Last year Australian billionaire Clive Palmer announced he would be funding a working replica of the Titanic -- the Titanic II cruise. That ship is also being made by a Chinese shipyard and plans to set sail in the same year the theme park opens.
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« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2014, 10:50:59 PM »

http://foxnewsinsider.com/2014/01/11/weight-lifting-grandma-tackles-purse-thief

Caught on Camera: Weight Lifting Grandma Tackles Purse Thief

Don’t mess with this grandma! A weight-lifting grandmother of six, Shirley Rupp, tackled a man who tried to steal her purse.

The incident was caught on a surveillance camera. The 64-year-old said the man snuck up behind her in Tucson, Arizona on New Year’s Day.

Rupp credits her weight-lighting with being able to take him down. The thief dropped her wallet before running away. He is still on the loose.
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« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2014, 03:22:58 PM »

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/12/31/22124881-dad-files-130m-lawsuit-after-son-in-utah-is-given-up-for-adoption?lite

Dad files $130M lawsuit after son in Utah is given up for adoption

A dad whose newborn son was given up for adoption by the birth mother — without his knowledge — is seeking $130 million in a lawsuit testing the boundaries of a biological father’s rights in Utah.

The adoption of Jake Strickland’s son just after he was born Dec. 29, 2010, was illegal and done “through gross misdirection and … clandestine conduct,” claims the suit filed Friday in the U.S. District Court of Utah.

Strickland alleges the mother, Whitney Pettersson, conspired with the adoptive parents, the adoption agency and attorneys to give up the boy — named “Baby Jack” in the suit — without allowing him to seek custody.

The complaint also strikes at Utah's parenting laws, accusing them of being “pro-adoption and anti-birth father.”

Attorney Wes Hutchins, speaking on behalf of Strickland, said his client just missed his son’s third birthday on Sunday — and is devastated that he can’t share important milestones in the boy’s life.

“It’s pulling him apart,” Hutchins told NBC News on Tuesday.

On his son's birthday, Strickland and his family gathered around a candle to sing “Happy Birthday” to his absent son, Hutchins said.

“They still think about him even though they don't have contact,” he added.

Strickland and Pettersson first met in 2009 as co-workers at a restaurant, according to court documents. Strickland said Pettersson was having problems with her marriage, and she later told him she got divorced. They began dating, and three months later, she texted him that she was pregnant.

Strickland left Utah for a temp job in Texas, but said he assured Pettersson that he wanted to be present in their child’s life, according to the lawsuit. He started a fund for the baby boy. The couple came up with a name: Jack.

But after Strickland returned to Utah, the romance dissolved. They began discussing parenting options. He said he told Pettersson that he would consider signing up with Utah’s putative father registry, which is how unmarried men can document with the state that they want parental rights.

But Strickland didn’t register. According to Hutchins, Pettersson warned him that if he did, she “would view it as an act of distrust” and keep his child from him.

“I don’t know if it was done as an act of vindictiveness,” Hutchins said.

Pettersson couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday, and attorneys involved in the adoption weren’t immediately available. The adoption agency, LDS Family Services, operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also didn’t respond to a request for comment.

According to the lawsuit, Strickland continued to financially support Pettersson, who also had a child from another relationship, until her alleged lies about their son began to unravel.

On Jan. 5, 2011, Strickland said he was astonished to learn that Pettersson had given birth  a week earlier — unbeknownst to him. He also learned she was still legally married, which meant her estranged husband was the presumed father under state law.

The most devastating discovery, Strickland said in the lawsuit, was that Pettersson had already given up their child for adoption.

She even got her then-husband to agree to the adoption by telling him that he would be the one saddled with child support payments if she kept the boy, according to Hutchins.

Strickland, who now lives in Arizona, mounted a paternity claim. But his fight was complicated because he had never registered with the state for his paternal rights.

Despite contesting the adoption, Strickland learned in November 2011 that it was completed.

After a 2nd U.S. District judge shot down Strickland’s bid to gain custody, he filed an appeal to the state. His case is still under review.

Concurrently, Strickland’s federal lawsuit is seeking $30 million for the loss of the parent-child relationship caused by the adoption and $100 million as a deterrent to ensure another dad doesn't suffer his fate.

Hutchins said Utah’s laws are onerous on biological fathers who try to gain custody, noting that they must file a paternity petition, get a sworn affidavit, create a detailed child care plan and prove they were financially invested in the pregnancy, among other requirements.

Strickland’s custody case, meanwhile, isn’t the only one gaining attention in Utah. In another high-profile petition, Colorado dad Robert Manzanares is fighting for sole custody of his daughter, whom he claims was unfairly given up by her birth mother when the woman fled to Utah.

Utah State Sen. Todd Weiler told NBC affiliate KSL-TV that despite the increased interest in the issue, he’s not persuaded that Utah laws need to be dramatically overhauled.

“What we’re looking at in this lawsuit and a few other high-profile lawsuits are one or two bad examples out of 10,000,” Weiler said. “I don’t think it’s good policy for the state to look at one or two exceptions and say, ‘Let’s change the laws for everyone.’”


Wow,

OMG Poor guy.  Cry That woman is some piece of work. She appears to be one heckuva manipulative woman

Quote
But Strickland didn’t register. According to Hutchins, Pettersson warned him that if he did, she “would view it as an act of distrust” and keep his child from him.

“I don’t know if it was done as an act of vindictiveness,” Hutchins said.


I'm shaking my head in disbelief over this statement. She threatened to keep his child from him if he didn't do what she wanted, ...and he questions whether or not she is vindictive?
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« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2014, 12:28:15 AM »

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2014/01/31/22527053-woman-put-fecal-matter-in-husbands-iv-police-say?lite

Woman put fecal matter in husband's IV, police say

An Arizona woman has been accused of trying to kill her hospitalized husband by injecting fecal matter into his IV line, police in suburban Phoenix said Friday.

Rose Mary Vogel of Sun Lakes was arrested Thursday on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder after a nurse found the 65-year-old handling her husband's IV line, which was found to contain a brown substance, police said. Police don't have a possible motive.

A hospital lab test identified the brown substance in the IV line as fecal matter, and a trace amount of a brown substance also was found in the needle of an otherwise empty syringe found in Vogel's purse, police said.

When it was searched in the hospital, Vogel's purse contained a total of three syringes, including two with a clear liquid, police said. Police documents said Vogel is a retired registered nurse who formerly worked at the hospital, Chandler Regional Medical Center.

Investigators plan to conduct forensic tests on all the materials involved over the next week or two, police Sgt. Joe Favazzo said However, the hospital had to test the brown substance in the IV line immediately for treatment purposes.

"The lab came back with fecal matter," he said.

The incident occurred after the 66-year-old man had undergone a heart procedure. He's expected to survive that, as well as the alleged attempt on his life.

Vogel declined to be interviewed by police and asked for an attorney. Favazzo said he didn't know whether she has one yet. Her bond was set at $100,000 at her initial court appearance Friday.
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« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2014, 02:30:30 AM »

http://www.runnersworld.com/general-interest/former-300-pound-nfl-lineman-runs-356-marathon?cm_mmc=Facebook-_-RunnersWorld-_-Content-News-_-NFLLinemanMarathon

Former 300-Pound NFL Lineman Runs 3:56 Marathon
Alan Faneca made debut at Sunday's New Orleans Rock 'n' Roll Marathon

After dropping more than 100 pounds since retiring from the NFL in 2011, former offensive lineman Alan Faneca ran his first marathon Sunday in 3:56:17.

Faneca, 37, started training for the New Orleans Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon back in October after chatting with his former Pittsburgh Steelers. He followed a training plan made by a friend but said he was still nervous on race day.

“I was very nervous about going from the slow long run pace to all of a sudden running 30-45 seconds faster,” he said. “I got the adrenaline thing but adrenaline doesn’t last for four hours.”

During his training, Faneca focused on running for time instead of distance and incorporated intervals and long runs in order to meet his goal of breaking 4 hours. He said his discipline from his football days helped keep him on track while training for the marathon.

“I was always very strict in my training, taking notes and writing things down,” he said. “I had something to lean on.”

He picked the New Orleans race because it’s close to his home just outside the city limits and his 8-year-old daughter Annabelle, and 2-year-old son Burton could go.

“They made the signs and everything,” he said. “They made it to the finish line five minutes before I came across.”

Faneca celebrated his 26.2-mile accomplishment with an Abita beer at the finish line.

“A lot of people ask me, do I miss football? I don’t miss football but what I do miss is that first beer after a game," he said. "I had the same feeling after the race.”

Faneca was a first round draft pick in 1998 when he was drafted from Louisiana State University to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Faneca, who now lives in Louisiana, also played professionally for the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals, earning nine-time All Pro and Pro Bowl selection as well as a Super Bowl ring in 2006 with the Steelers.

Faneca went from weighing 320 pounds to 215 after his football career ended. He said that by cutting back on his daily calories and sticking to a six-days-a-week cardio plan, he was able to take the weight off easily.

“For athletes, when you stop [playing] you have to realize you can’t keep eating the things you were eating because you’re not doing the things you were doing,” said Faneca, who reduced his calorie intake to 1,800 calories a day after he retired.

Faneca said his family tried the paleo diet for three and a half months and while they don’t eat strictly paleo anymore, they stick to the diet’s principles of clean eating.

“We stay away from heavy carbs and gluten, but we’re heavy on vegetables and protein,” he said.

Faneca said he doesn’t have any other marathons on his schedule soon, but is considering a duathlon.

“I just want to mix it up and have some fun,” he said.

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« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2014, 11:58:15 AM »


He's now justified to stand his ground.
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« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2014, 11:35:51 PM »

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304626804579363013633022416?mod=dist_smartbrief

Port Authority Funds PATH Link to Newark Airport

$1.5 Billion Project is in Capital Spending Plan, Along With Airport Renovations

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will forge ahead with a $1.5 billion plan to connect its PATH train system to the rail station at Newark Liberty International Airport, officials said Tuesday.

The PATH extension to the airport from its current terminus in downtown Newark is a key priority of New Jersey officials at the bistate authority. It also has drawn support from real estate interests in downtown Manhattan, who believe a quicker connection to a key regional airport will boost the competitiveness of a rebounding residential and office district.

The announcement comes as part of the Port Authority's proposed 10-year, $27.6 billion capital spending plan, which was unveiled Tuesday morning at a committee meeting of the authority's Board of Commissioners. The spending plan had been delayed for months by wrangling within the agency, as representatives of New York and New Jersey negotiated over which of the states' respective priorities would get funding, officials said.

Among the other big-ticket projects the authority will commit to completing by 2023 are $8 billion in upgrades to two of its most-maligned facilities: the Central Terminal Building at La Guardia Airport and Terminal A at Newark. The authority will also spend to upgrade PATH stations, improve access to container port facilities and continue major repair operations, such as the $1.2 billion project to replace the 85-year-old suspender cables that support the roadways across the George Washington Bridge.

Officials hailed the plan as part of a continuing effort to return the authority to its core mission: building and maintaining the transportation infrastructure that links the states and the region. The agency recently endured more than a decade of politically contentious efforts to rebuild the World Trade Center complex and continues to absorb criticism after apparently politically motivated lane closures at the George Washington Bridge last year.

The authority will focus on keeping its costs in balance and managing its debts as the capital plan is adjusted over the next decade, Vice Chairman Scott Rechler said. If costs increase, some projects will have to "exit" the authority's agenda, or new sources of capital will have to be developed to pay for them, he added.

"We're going to pay as we go, and if we can't afford to do something, we're not going to do it," Commissioner David Steiner said.

New Jersey officials have lobbied hard for the PATH extension, including the now-departed deputy executive director of the authority, Bill Baroni, who resigned in the bridge scandal. In September, The Wall Street Journal reported that Mr. Baroni, in negotiations to bring major air-carrier service to Atlantic City International Airport, had suggested that the authority would be willing to complement new service by building the rail link to Newark.

United Airlines eventually announced a decision to extend service to Atlantic City, and an airline spokesman said at the time that discussions of the PATH extension project were "irrelevant to the Atlantic City service." United is the dominant airline at Newark, carrying about 70% of the passengers who use the airport annually.

The project has strong support from groups that have lobbied to improve the region's airports, such as the nonprofit Global Gateway Alliance.

"Extending PATH from the World Trade Center stop directly to Newark Airport is affordable," the group's Chairman, Joe Sitt, said Tuesday. "It is doable, requiring a less than two mile track extension from Newark Penn Station, rather than having to dig a new tunnel or build flyovers. It is good for New York. It is good for New Jersey."

Officials inside and outside the authority have questioned whether the PATH spending should be as high a priority as it has been in the new capital plan. Several pointed to ongoing state-of-good-repair needs at the authority's two tunnels and four bridges.

A port spokesman said that about $1.2 billion of the $1.5 billion total PATH project cost will be spent over the decade covered by the plan.

Meanwhile, the authority still must cope with its most eye-catching and politically delicate project of all: in the next five years, it will spend $4.9 billion to complete the development of the World Trade Center complex in lower Manhattan, officials said.

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« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2014, 05:38:48 PM »

http://foxnewsinsider.com/2014/02/18/caught-tape-sleepy-bus-driver-goes-road-slams-boise-idaho-building

Some scary video was shown this morning on Fox and Friends out of Boise, Idaho, where a bus driver fell asleep at the wheel.

You can see the bus veer off the road and slam into several lampposts and street signs. Then it careens through a parking lot and eventually crashes through the Idaho Power headquarters, causing significant damage.

Luckily no one was walking in the path of the bus. Nine people were aboard during the crash last month, but no one was seriously hurt.

The driver originally claimed the brakes had failed, but he was later charged with misdemeanor negligent driving after the video showed him falling asleep.

Officials released the dashcam video yesterday.
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« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2014, 07:39:33 PM »

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/olympics-fourth-place-medal/most-interesting-man-in-the-world--mexican-skier-hubertus-von-hohenlohe-100207496.html
Most interesting man in the world: Mexican skier Hubertus von Hohenlohe

He is a German pop star who has put out eight albums, with his newest record featuring the single, "Higher Than Mars." He's also an award-winning photographer whose work has been featured in galleries and commercial campaigns. Fluent in five languages, an heir to an automotive fortune and a former friend to Andy Warhol during the days of Studio 54, 55-year-old six-time Olympian Hubertus von Hohenlohe, ahem, Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe (he is a descendent of German royalty), is representing Mexico on the Alpine ski course in Sochi. He has never medaled, but von Hohenlohe is the second-oldest Winter Olympian ever in the history of the Games.

Von Hohenlohe is the real-life most interesting man in the world.

Although he grew up in Europe, von Hohenlohe was born in Mexico and spent the first four years of his life there. He has dual citizenship in Austria and the Latin American country, which allows him to represent Mexico at the Games.

The prince began competitively skiing while a student in Austria, and at 21, he won the university downhill championship and then began participating in the World Cup circuit. In 1981, the citizen of the world founded the one-man Mexican Ski Federation and then represented Mexico at his first Winter Games in the 1984 Sarajevo Games.

"I hope Mexicans are proud to have someone at the Olympics and, through that, hopefully they get to know who I am,” Von Hohenlohe told NBC.

Von Hohenlohe has become more known for his popular garb on the slopes than his final Olympic results, though. In Vancouver, he wore a ski suit inspired by Mexican banditos, which featured fake pistols and bandoliers. Last week, he showed off his newest outfit -- a Mariachi-style ski uniform that he will wear in this year's game. The skier said the suit is meant to pay homage for the country he is representing.

"We [in Mexico] are 100 million people and the only chance we have [of winning a medal] is up to me, but we don't have to look at it like that, you have to see it as I'm an ambassador of this country, an ambassador with style and a human force that goes beyond the result, " he told CNN.
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« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2014, 11:43:33 AM »

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/12/31/22124881-dad-files-130m-lawsuit-after-son-in-utah-is-given-up-for-adoption?lite

Dad files $130M lawsuit after son in Utah is given up for adoption

A dad whose newborn son was given up for adoption by the birth mother — without his knowledge — is seeking $130 million in a lawsuit testing the boundaries of a biological father’s rights in Utah.

The adoption of Jake Strickland’s son just after he was born Dec. 29, 2010, was illegal and done “through gross misdirection and … clandestine conduct,” claims the suit filed Friday in the U.S. District Court of Utah.

Strickland alleges the mother, Whitney Pettersson, conspired with the adoptive parents, the adoption agency and attorneys to give up the boy — named “Baby Jack” in the suit — without allowing him to seek custody.

The complaint also strikes at Utah's parenting laws, accusing them of being “pro-adoption and anti-birth father.”

Attorney Wes Hutchins, speaking on behalf of Strickland, said his client just missed his son’s third birthday on Sunday — and is devastated that he can’t share important milestones in the boy’s life.

“It’s pulling him apart,” Hutchins told NBC News on Tuesday.

On his son's birthday, Strickland and his family gathered around a candle to sing “Happy Birthday” to his absent son, Hutchins said.

“They still think about him even though they don't have contact,” he added.

Strickland and Pettersson first met in 2009 as co-workers at a restaurant, according to court documents. Strickland said Pettersson was having problems with her marriage, and she later told him she got divorced. They began dating, and three months later, she texted him that she was pregnant.

Strickland left Utah for a temp job in Texas, but said he assured Pettersson that he wanted to be present in their child’s life, according to the lawsuit. He started a fund for the baby boy. The couple came up with a name: Jack.

But after Strickland returned to Utah, the romance dissolved. They began discussing parenting options. He said he told Pettersson that he would consider signing up with Utah’s putative father registry, which is how unmarried men can document with the state that they want parental rights.

But Strickland didn’t register. According to Hutchins, Pettersson warned him that if he did, she “would view it as an act of distrust” and keep his child from him.

“I don’t know if it was done as an act of vindictiveness,” Hutchins said.

Pettersson couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday, and attorneys involved in the adoption weren’t immediately available. The adoption agency, LDS Family Services, operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also didn’t respond to a request for comment.

According to the lawsuit, Strickland continued to financially support Pettersson, who also had a child from another relationship, until her alleged lies about their son began to unravel.

On Jan. 5, 2011, Strickland said he was astonished to learn that Pettersson had given birth  a week earlier — unbeknownst to him. He also learned she was still legally married, which meant her estranged husband was the presumed father under state law.

The most devastating discovery, Strickland said in the lawsuit, was that Pettersson had already given up their child for adoption.

She even got her then-husband to agree to the adoption by telling him that he would be the one saddled with child support payments if she kept the boy, according to Hutchins.

Strickland, who now lives in Arizona, mounted a paternity claim. But his fight was complicated because he had never registered with the state for his paternal rights.

Despite contesting the adoption, Strickland learned in November 2011 that it was completed.

After a 2nd U.S. District judge shot down Strickland’s bid to gain custody, he filed an appeal to the state. His case is still under review.

Concurrently, Strickland’s federal lawsuit is seeking $30 million for the loss of the parent-child relationship caused by the adoption and $100 million as a deterrent to ensure another dad doesn't suffer his fate.

Hutchins said Utah’s laws are onerous on biological fathers who try to gain custody, noting that they must file a paternity petition, get a sworn affidavit, create a detailed child care plan and prove they were financially invested in the pregnancy, among other requirements.

Strickland’s custody case, meanwhile, isn’t the only one gaining attention in Utah. In another high-profile petition, Colorado dad Robert Manzanares is fighting for sole custody of his daughter, whom he claims was unfairly given up by her birth mother when the woman fled to Utah.

Utah State Sen. Todd Weiler told NBC affiliate KSL-TV that despite the increased interest in the issue, he’s not persuaded that Utah laws need to be dramatically overhauled.

“What we’re looking at in this lawsuit and a few other high-profile lawsuits are one or two bad examples out of 10,000,” Weiler said. “I don’t think it’s good policy for the state to look at one or two exceptions and say, ‘Let’s change the laws for everyone.’”


 

It's a hard life for a dad. You have no say in an abortion, or for custody and support.
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« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2014, 12:33:01 AM »

http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13970_7-57619421-78/htc-chairwoman-our-smartwatch-will-be-ready-by-christmas/?ftag=CAD9f89b0c

HTC chairwoman: Our smartwatch will be ready by Christmas

Here's one more potential item for your holiday wish list: a smartwatch that HTC promises will be fashionable. Another project for HTC: Tablets

BARCELONA, Spain -- HTC's smartwatch is indeed real, and it'll be here in time for the Christmas shopping season.

That's according to HTC Chairwoman Cher Wang, who confirmed to CNET that the company is working on a smartwatch and that it will be ready for the holiday season.

"It's natural for us to have wearables because we're a design company," Wang said.

Wang agreed with this reporter's assessment that many of the current smartwatches in the market lack aesthetic appeal, and promised that HTC's offering will be fashionable.

"People think watches are jewels," she said, making the point that any wearable would have to match that design standard.

HTC knows a thing or two about design, and its metal-clad HTC One is considered one of the best-looking smartphones in the market, in some ways outdoing even the  iPhone 5S's nearly all-metal body.

In addition to aesthetics, Wang said that HTC will focus on battery efficiency, noting that people don't want to have to take off their watch to charge it all the time.

Wang added that HTC's smartwatch will likely tether to a smartphone via Bluetooth, rather than work independently with its own cellular radio.

Another area that HTC is looking at is  tablets. She said it makes sense for the company to be in this area, and that it is something we could see this year.

Wang and CEO Peter Chou held their Mobile World Congress press conference to unveil two new mid-tier phones, the Desire 610 and 816, which the company hopes will make it more competitive with consumers who are more budget-conscious.

Many, of course, were hoping for the successor to the HTC One. But the company made it clear it will launch the phone at a separate event on March 25. Wang declined to give any details on the next phone, only asking for a little bit of patience.

Another HTC executive did note that the next flagship will be significantly different than the HTC One, although the person noted that it won't be as big of a jump as between the HTC One X and HTC One.
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« Reply #21 on: March 05, 2014, 02:06:14 PM »

http://foxnewsinsider.com/2014/03/05/pregnant-mom-drives-minivan-3-kids-ocean-daytona-beach

'Mommy's Trying to Kill Us': Pregnant Mom Drives Minivan With 3 Kids Into Ocean

It was a terrifying scene at Daytona Beach in Florida on Tuesday afternoon. A pregnant mother drove her minivan with her three children inside into the ocean.

Steve Harrigan reported that the incident happened yesterday around 5:00 p.m. ET. It is legal to drive on parts of Daytona Beach, but beachgoers were startled when the minivan turned toward the surf.

Video above shows people running toward the minivan to help. One person was able to pull two of the kids, ages 9 and 10, to safety. Before the vehicle submerged, a lifeguard pulled out a three-year-old girl strapped to a car seat. That lifeguard became stuck in the van and had to be rescued by another lifeguard.

The mother escaped through the window.

Witnesses say that one of the older kids was screaming that their mom was trying to kill them.

WESH 2 in Orlando spoke to Tim Tesseneer, of North Carolina, who said he was one of the people who helped rescue the family.

Tesseneer told WESH 2, "The two in the back seat was crying, with their arms out saying 'Our mommy's trying to kill us, please help.”

Police say the woman is being cooperative and is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation. The three kids were held overnight in the hospital, but reportedly suffered no serious physical injuries. Officials say they could be placed in their grandparents’ custody.
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« Reply #22 on: March 08, 2014, 12:40:33 AM »

http://laughingsquid.com/new-world-trade-center-transportation-hub-in-new-york-city-well-on-its-way-to-completion/

New World Trade Center Transportation Hub In New York City Well On Its Way To Completion

The tragic events of September 11, 2001 have taken an enormous toll on so many people across the country and around the world. New Yorkers are reminded everyday of the tragedy when they look south and don’t see the Twin Towers that so definitively graced the Manhattan skyline. Even 13 years later, one can’t help but look for them. Slowly, however, the World Trade Center is being rebuilt, a piece at a time. One World Trade Center is now the tallest building in the United States. The new WTC Transportation Hub is also being built with a stunning modern design to serve an incredible number of visitors. The showpiece of the hub will be the Oculus, which will serve as the hub’s main concourse containing multi-level retail and restaurants.


The state-of-the-art World Trade Center Transportation Hub, when completed in 2015, will serve over 200,000 daily commuters and millions of annual visitors from around the world. At approximately 800,000 square feet, the Hub, designed by internationally acclaimed architect Santiago Calatrava, will be the third largest transportation center in New York City, rivaling Grand Central Station in size. In a joint venture with the Westfield Group, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will develop, lease and operate a major retail space at the WTC site, including in the Transit Hub.



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« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2014, 11:14:41 AM »

http://www.guy-Climbs-World-Trade-Center-Spire-Security-Photos-Trespass-Freedom-Tower-251176781.html?partner=xfinity1

New Jersey Boy, 16, Slips by Security, Climbs to Top of 1 World Trade Center to Take Photos

A New Jersey teenager fascinated by the construction of 1 World Trade Center scrambled though a hole in a fence at ground zero in the middle of the night and made his way past several layers of security to the top of the tower, where he took pictures for hours.

According to court papers, 16-year-old Justin Casquejo told authorities he first canvassed the construction site and figured out the best way to get to the roof.

Around 4 a.m. Sunday, Casquejo sneaked out of his home and headed to lower Manhattan. He crawled through a hole in the fence at the World Trade Center site, then got on an elevator, and, even though he had no identification on him, the operator took him to the 88th floor, the New York Post reported.

The teen then climbed the stairs to the 104th floor, where the Post says he passed a sleeping guard assigned to cover the top of the tower, got out to the roof and made his way up to the antenna.

Casquejo wasn't caught until he was coming back down from his two-hour photo excursion. A construction worker spotted him and alerted authorities. He was taken into custody by Port Authority police and charged with misdemeanor trespassing. His camera and cellphone were seized after authorities obtained a search warrant. 

Officials believe the teenager may have donned a hard hat to try to disguise himself as a construction worker, the Post reports. He told the Post he wasn't allowed to talk about the case.

He waved to an NBC 4 New York reporter outside his home Thursday morning but didn't answer questions. Casquejo is next due in court April 2.

His Facebook page is filled with photos of him posing near 1 World Trade Center and mentions a litany of past daredevil exploits. But the fact he was able to get by a security system designed to protect a terror target raises other concerns.


The Port Authority Police Department, the NYPD and a private security company all are responsible for securing the outside of the site. A private company patrols the interior.

Joe Dunne, chief security officer for the Port Authority, told the Associated Press that any security breaches are taken seriously and will be prosecuted.

"We continue to reassess our security posture at the site and are constantly working to make this site as secure as possible," Dunne said.

According to the Post, the guard who was sleeping at the top of the tower was fired. The elevator operator who took the teenager to the 88th floor has been re-assigned. 

Neither the NYPD nor the private companies responded to the Post's requests for comment.
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« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2014, 04:27:46 AM »



impressive
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