Daily Archives: March 19, 2009

Spark Nano: GPS tracking device gets tiny

CNET | Mar 18, 2009

by Dong Ngo

spark_nano_gpsYou’ve seen them in movies: tracking devices so small they can be put inside a tooth or embedded under the skin. In reality, tracking devices–for the general public at least–are not that tiny, but they can be pretty diminutive.

Lightning GPS introduced a small tracking device on Wednesday called the Spark Nano. Of course, you’ll need to take the “Nano” notion with a big grain of salt. The device is actually about the size of a 9-Volt battery–you know, the big one that’s used in a smoke detector. The Spark Nano is, however, rugged and waterproof.

Its size means you can easily install the Spark Nano on the object that needs tracking; you can clip it on a person’s belt or put it inside your kids’ backpack to keep tab of their whereabouts. The Spark Nano also features a panic button that the wearer can use to alert people if he or she is in danger. The alert would show exactly where the person wearing the tracking device was located.

For people at home, the Spark Nano can be tracked in real time via a Web site, either with a computer or via a smartphone. It can also be set to periodically send e-mails and text messages indicating the location of the tracked object.

The Spark Nano has a built-in rechargeable battery that can power the device for five continuous days with a full charge. It sports “Safety Zone” Technology that alerts you when the tracked object arrives at a target or exits a predefined area.

The new GPS tracking device is available now and costs $299.95. It also requires a service plan that starts at another $45 a month.

David René James de Rothschild warns that global crisis will leave governments with enormous public debt


David René James de Rothschild delivered a lecture on global crisis

He warned that the crisis will leave the governments’ coffers with enormous public debt.

EMportal | Mar 19, 2009

As far as the countries of Southeast Europe are concerned, Rothschild said that they are going to overcome today’s financial difficulties and continue to develop, emphasising the strategic importance of Greece’s investments in the region.

World renowned French banker and Chairmanof the Rothschild Group, David René James de Rothschild delivered a lecture titled “What Economic Crisis Teaches Us” on March 16, as part of the Megaron Plus series of events hosted by the Athens Concert Hall.

David de Rothschild estimated that the global economic crisis will come to an end in 2010.

He also stressed that the first signs of recovery will be stock markets rising, but he warned that the crisis will leave the governments’ coffers with enormous public debt.

As far as the countries of Southeast Europe are concerned, Rothschild said that they are going to overcome today’s financial difficulties and continue to develop, emphasising the strategic importance of Greece’s investments in the region.

On the occasion of his visit in Athens, David de Rothschild also had a meeting with Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis.



Baron David de Rothschild sees a New World Order in global banking governance

Despite economic meltdown, Rothschild posts record profits

Rothschild pays out record bonuses to staff

Victims of North Carolina eugenics program could receive reparations

Help for sterilization victims?

$250,000 proposed by Perdue for a foundation is ‘first step along that long road,’ Womble says

Winston-Salem Journal | Mar 19, 2009

By James Romoser

eugenicsRALEIGH – Gov. Bev Perdue’s budget proposal contains a small amount of money that could start the process of providing financial reparations to people who were forcibly sterilized under a state-sanctioned eugenics program.

Perdue’s budget doesn’t recommend the actual payment of reparations, which would likely cost the state tens of millions of dollars. But the budget does propose spending $250,000 to begin setting up a foundation that, according to budget documents, would “provide justice and compensate victims” of North Carolina’s sterilization program.

“Quite naturally, no, it’s not enough, but we’re very grateful and appreciative of the amount to get it started,” said state Rep. Larry Womble, one of the legislature’s biggest advocates on behalf of sterilization victims.

From 1929 until 1974, more than 7,600 people were sterilized under the state program. Most were young women who were classified — sometimes inaccurately — as mentally ill or mentally retarded. State officials estimate that 2,800 of the sterilization victims are still alive. The program was little known before 2002, when it was the subject of a series of articles in the Winston-Salem Journal.

Womble and Rep. Earline Parmon, two Democrats from Winston-Salem, have spent six years pushing for financial compensation for those victims. They have sponsored a bill this year that would spend $56 million in state money in order to provide $20,000 to each victim.

The bill’s chances of passing this year are considered slim because the state is facing a projected shortfall of $3.4 billion in the 2009-10 budget year.

Perdue, a Democrat, is trying to cope with the shortfall by proposing major cuts throughout state government. Her budget proposal, which she released Tuesday, contains very few proposals for new spending, but the sterilization item is one. The foundation she is trying to establish is referred to as the Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation.

Although $250,000 is a tiny amount compared to what Womble and Parmon want, they said that it is a good beginning.

“At least it’s in the budget, and it will give us something to work forward on,” Parmon said.

Perdue’s budget plan now goes to the legislature, which will make changes over the next few months. “This is just the first step along that long road of trying to make these people whole again,” Womble said.

Message from man arrested for mailing a 7/7 DVD to a UK court

Message from Mr. Hill arrested for mailing a DVD

Wise Up Journal | Mar 16, 2009

By Gabriel O’Hara

We met with John Anthony Hill who got arrested for mailing a DVD (with no letter attached) to a UK court from Ireland (reported by the Irish Times). John is also the producer and narrator of this DVD. Mr Hill, 60 years old, showed us his arrest warrant and gave us permission to pass on information contained in it. The maximum sentence on the warrant is Life Imprisonment in England.

John had his computer and other property seized which is why he requested other people to help him as he is not able to defend him self properly as a result. The phony charge is possibly fabricating evidence that might cause injustice and this is from the same country that helped put people in Guantanamo and other torture facilities world-wide. The DVD only contains main stream media news (BBC, ITV, New York Times etc) and the small remainder is his political opinion which as of yet no one is legally supposed to be extradited for, within the EU. The DVDs were also never given to the Judge or Foreman of the trail which is to do with 3 men never mentioned in the DVD. Regardless if you agree or disagree with the contents of this documentary anyone who values freedom would see there is an injustice being carried out here.

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Terrafugia’s flying car makes maiden voyage


It may look like a Volkswagen Beetle in the belly of a carp, but the Terrafugia Transition (at right) is a bona fide flying car. (Credit: Terrafugia)

CNET | Mar 18, 2009

by Jonathan Skillings

The start-up Terrafugia first popped up on our radar screens in early 2006 with a one-fifth scale model, $30,000 in prize money, and an urge to build a car that could fly. Or is that an airplane you can take on the highway?

Some signs point strongly to the latter. Terrafugia describes its Transition vehicle as a “roadable aircraft” and is pitching it in part as giving private pilots an easy travel alternative when bad weather makes flying a bad idea, or simply to avoid having to take a separate car to the airport. Also, in the eyes of the Federal Aviation Administration, the vehicle falls into the light sport aircraft category.

On March 5, Terrafugia got to show that–whatever the eventual business prospects–the Transition can indeed fly. The maiden voyage (the duration wasn’t specified) took place at the Plattsburgh International Airport in New York, with a retired U.S. Air Force Reserve colonel in the pilot’s seat. The flight followed six months of static, road, and taxi testing.

As a car, the two-seat Transition is designed to be easy on garages and oncoming traffic–its wings fold up quite snugly. In folded mode, the approximately 19-foot-long vehicle is 80 inches wide, and 6 feet, 9 inches high. As an airplane, it stands a few inches shorter and has a wingspan of 27 feet, 6 inches.

The vehicle runs off unleaded fuel from your run-of-the-mill gas station for both terrestrial and aerial travel, cruising at highway speeds on land and better than 115 miles per hour in the air.

But Woburn, Mass.-based Terrafugia (Latin for “escape from land”) still has a long road ahead of it. The vehicle that flew earlier this month is still just a proof of concept, and a production prototype has yet to be built, tested, and certified. The company says it expects to make the first customer delivery of a Transition in 2011.

Teacher forced 5 year-old boy to eat food from the trash

Police arrest Conn. teacher accused of forcing 5-year-old to eat lunch boy had tossed in trash

Associated Press | Mar 18, 2009

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – A kindergarten teacher in Connecticut has been arrested for allegedly forcing a 5-year-old boy to eat food the child had thrown in a garbage can.

Sixty-seven-year-old Anne O’Donnell, a teacher at Park City Magnet School in Bridgeport, was arrested Tuesday on a charge of risk of injury to a minor.

School officials say the charge stems from an incident last week when the boy apparently tossed out his lunch of chicken nuggets and a banana from the school cafeteria.

The teacher is accused of retrieving the items from the garbage can and forcing the boy to eat them in front of her.

O’Donnell has been released on a promise to appear in court.

Army responds to record number of suicides

In 2004, the U.S. Army reported 12 suicides; last year, 143.

Minnesota Public Radio | Mar 18, 2009

by Nikki Tundel

The U.S. Army recently made suicide prevention training mandatory for every single person in the service. This initiative comes on the heels of news that the Army suicide rate has reached its highest level since the Pentagon began keeping records in 1980.

Minneapolis, Minn. — It’s 0800 hours and the 88th Regional Readiness Command has reported for duty.

“Turn to the person next to you and say, ‘Are you thinking of killing yourself?'”

On this morning, there are no push-ups or jumping jacks. No one’s learning how to disable a roadside bomb or survive a chemical attack. Instead, the focus is on suicide awareness and prevention.

In 2004, the U.S. Army reported 12 suicides; last year, 143. At this point in 2009, more soldiers have lost their lives to suicide than have been killed in combat.

In light of these numbers, the Army ordered what it calls ‘a service-wide stand down’, giving suicide prevention training priority over everything else.

“Typically in the military, commanders took care of their soldiers. If somebody got a broken leg, we fixed it. Now we’re realizing all of the other things we have to do to help take care of our soldiers,” said Lt. Col. Cynthia Rasmussen, a combat stress officer for the U.S. Army Reserve at Fort Snelling.

For years, Rasmussen has been the one soldiers have turned to when they feel like life just isn’t worth living.

It’s not hard to see how the horrors of war can affect one’s well being. What is difficult, says Rasmussen, is getting soldiers to reach out for help when they need it.

“In the military you’re trained to be tough. You can’t let nobody know you’re weak,” said Staff Sgt. Charlotte Dubois, who spent a year in Iraq.

When the native of Trinidad and Tobago returned to Minnesota, she struggled to fit back in.

“I felt alone,” Dubois said. “When I looked at everybody, I felt more or less like, ‘Ok you guys have no idea what we’ve been through over there.’ Everybody is laughing and having a good time. But at the same time you don’t want to deal with nobody. There were times I couldn’t sleep at night. I would have dreams. I would wake up sweating, just feeling hopeless.”

Still, she was afraid that asking for help would ruin her military career.

“I thought they were going to look at my medical records and it was going to make me look like I’m a mental case,” Dubois said.

Eventually Dubois sought help at a V.A. hospital, where she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome and severe depression. Today the staff sergeant says she’s “back to normal.” But overcoming the stigma attached with seeking psychological help wasn’t easy.

Letting soldiers know it’s OK to talk about their traumatic experiences in battle is important, said Lt. Col. Rasmussen, but that only addresses one portion of the problem.

One third of soldiers who kill themselves have yet to be deployed; they’ve never seen combat.

That statistic has surprised many — but not Rasmussen.

“What I’m seeing is a lot of the young kids coming in now are missing some of the basic coping skills that you need just to deal with life,” she said. “They come from abusive families, chaotic families, that kind of thing. They go to basic training. Then they come home and it’s all confusing because what’s the most important thing in your life when you’re 18? Your friends. You leave for six months, what happens with your friends? They all find new friends.”

Trying to deal with the loss of your support system isn’t easy when you don’t have any coping skills to start with.

This isn’t the Army’s first attempt at suicide prevention training. But what’s different this time around is that preventing suicide is now a compulsory part of the military mission – just like protecting security points and fighting insurgents.

All soldiers are required to ask others in their unit how they’re doing and it’s their responsibility to alert leaders when they think something is wrong with a fellow soldier.

This kind of systematic tactic of caring for others may seem forced to the average civilian. But Rasmussen is convinced it’s the only approach that will work in an organization she describes as “paternalistic”. “If you think about it, we’re used to being told what to do. We pretty much look the same, we think the same, we act the same because we are told to. It sounds kind of weird, but unless you’re in the military or wear the uniform, (you) don’t understand that that’s how we function. So we really do need from the top down, permission to change the way we interact and care for each other,” Rasmussen said.

The way Rasmussen puts it, the Army may not be able to stop war. But it can certainly do a better job of helping soldiers move on from it. She’s hopeful this new initiative will do that.