Daily Archives: March 7, 2011

Charlie Sheen to marry Rachel Oberlin and Natalie Kenly and start a “porn family”

Commitment marriage … Actor Charlie Sheen wants to make good of Natalie Kenly and Rachel Oberlin – his 24-year-old bottle blonde live-in women Pic: Daily Mail

Daily Telegraph | Mar 7, 2011

TROUBLED actor Charlie Sheen wants to marry both his bottle blonde girlfriends – as he sets out to create a “porn family.

The hard-living actor, 45, has ­declared undying love for porn star Rachel Oberlin and model Natalie Kenly – the 24-year-olds he calls his “goddesses” – since moving them both into his Los Angeles mansion.

His dream appeared to be in tatters on Saturday when Oberlin, aka porn actress Bree Olsen, walked out. Sheen revealed on Twitter she had left, and invited applications for a replacement.

But she returned to his home above Beverly Hills and he jubilantly told pals: “She’s back.”

The Two and a Half Men star plans a ­”commitment marriage” – a ­non-legally binding ceremony used by polygamous families in America to get around laws against having more than one spouse.

“Charlie has strong feelings for both Rachel and Natalie and thinks their ­relationship is much more healthy and loving than most marriages,” a source told Sunday Mirror in the UK.

“He would love to make both of them his wives. He thinks they are going to be very happy ­together for a long time.

“Despite having two women living with him, life in Charlie’s house is surprisingly normal.”

Last week Oberlin defended the threesome, saying: “I’ve always felt that a man should be able to be with as many women as he likes.”

Sheen took both his girlfriends on holiday in the Bahamas with his estranged wife Brooke Mueller, 33, mother of his two-year-old twins Bob and Max.

The toddlers were taken away from Sheen by police and are now with Mueller, who has been granted a temporary restraining order against her estranged husband. Afterwards Sheen accused her of smoking crack during their holiday.

Charlie Sheens twins removed from his care

In a TV interview he showed off a “shrine” to the twins, with Bob’s drinking cup on a shelf. Sheen – recently in hospital after a suspected cocaine overdose – said: “This is the actual sippy cup that Bob was holding the other night.”

He said he and his girlfriends would touch the bottle as a good-luck ritual whenever they passed by.

On another TV show last night Sheen accepted an invitation from Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn to go to Haiti with him to help victims of last year’s earthquake.

In an odd response he told Access Hollywood: “If I can bring the attention of the world down there, then clearly this tsunami keeps cresting.”

Sheen, whose rambling interviews and now record-setting tweets (he broke the Guinness Book of Records with 1 million followers on Twitter in 25 hours and 17 minutes) have brought him unparalleled notoriety, now has a live stream at ustream.tv.

Calling the show “Sheen’s Korner,” Sheen was accompanied by two men and one of his “goddesses” Kenly.

“Everyone is wondering where the other half (Rachel Oberlin) of this goddess beauty is. She had to take care of some business in some town in middle America. We love you, we miss you,” Sheen said.

Sheen apparently resorted to airing his own show to avoid speaking with major broadcast news networks, at the insistence of his lawyers. Minutes after going live, Sheen held up a bottle of red liquid, saying that he wanted to thank “the makers of tiger blood” who he said had sponsored the show.

He also greeted his five children and took a swipe at his ex-wives.

“If you’re watching, tell mom to leave the room, because it’s on.”

In a rambling monologue, at times interrupted by his friends in the background, Sheen discussed winning, showed several photos of cats and dogs fighting, said he was going to take a phone call from the president, declared he had the “boogers of a seven-year-old” before blowing into a white handkerchief or tissue, and referred to either himself or the show as a “movement.”

“Everyone who has been supporting this entire movement is winning,” said Sheen, who smoked throughout the hour-long show.

Winning was a recurring theme, with Sheen at one point showing the word “winning” tattooed on his wrist.

He also read out a list of “winners,” including an eagle that survived a crash and an 80-year-old woman named Josie Dimples, who he said had sent him a message via Twitter.

More than 90,000 viewers watched much of the show, which has the tagline “You’re either in Sheen’s-Korner or you’re with the trolls”, according to the ustream.tv log in counter.

“Green” lightbulbs too dangerous for trash collectors to handle

Fears: One of the low-energy lightbulbs that are classed as ‘hazardous waste’

‘We will not pick up toxic new bulbs’: Councils say energy-saving lights are too dangerous for binmen

Daily Mail | Mar 6, 2011

By George Arbuthnott

Councils across the UK are refusing to pick up low-energy lightbulbs from homes as they contain toxic mercury, which gives off poisonous vapours.

But confused consumers are putting the new bulbs – classed as hazardous waste – in their dustbins when they burn out, potentially putting the safety of thousands of binmen at risk.

Previously, the public disposed of traditional lightbulbs, used in Britain for 120 years, in a domestic bin.

However, they are being phased out under a European Union ruling and are being replaced with energy-saving bulbs, many of which contain mercury.

Last night UNISON, the union which represents thousands of rubbish collectors across Britain, said it was concerned at the risks binmen are facing.

A spokeswoman said: ‘We are worried as most people do not know these bulbs are not to be put in dustbins. The Government is not doing enough to make people aware of the risks.’

The most common types of low-energy bulbs are known as ‘compact fluorescent lamps’.

A study by Germany’s Federal Environment Agency found that when one of them breaks, it emits levels of toxic vapour up to 20 times higher than the safe guideline limit for an indoor area.

If a bulb is smashed, the UK’s Health Protection Agency advice is for householders to evacuate the room and leave it to ventilate for 15 minutes.

People are also advised to wear protective gloves while wiping the area of the break with a damp cloth and picking up fragments of glass – which should be placed in a plastic bag and sealed.

The advice then states the lightbulb should be taken to a council dump and placed in a special recycling bank because councils do not collect hazardous waste.

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed many councils will not collect the bulbs. A spokesman said last night: ‘If a low-energy lightbulb breaks, the mercury contained in it does not pose a health risk to anyone exposed.’

Last week a Mail on Sunday survey revealed the lightbulb market had been thrown into chaos since the traditional bulbs began to be phased out.

We found it was almost impossible to find a direct replacement for old-style lightbulbs from the vast array of bulbs of different shapes and sizes, power and prices now on offer.

Beijing raises spending on internal security to curb public unrest

China’s security budget includes funding for jails, police, paramilitary and even internet monitoring. Analysts said spending on both public security and national defence was higher than reported.

FT | Mar 6, 2011

By Leslie Hook in Beijing

China’s spending on internal public security overtook national defence for the first time last year, underlining Beijing’s growing concern about public unrest.

The finance ministry said, in a budget released at the weekend, that spending on public security grew 15.6 per cent to Rmb549bn ($84bn) last year, compared with defence spending that grew 7.8 per cent to Rmb533.4bn. Public security spending was Rmb34.6bn, or 6.7 per cent, over budget.

Security spending, budgeted at Rmb624bn, is this year scheduled to outpace defence, at Rmb602bn, and will be more than the combined budgets for healthcare, diplomacy and financial oversight.

This reprioritisation underscores Beijing’s nervousness at escalating public unrest. Violent riots in Xinjiang and Tibet have prompted more spending on public security forces, including paramilitary forces known as the people’s armed police.

The increased spending comes as calls for a Middle East-inspired “Jasmine revolution” have gone largely unanswered in China. On Sunday, would-be gathering points for the protests in Beijing and Shanghai appeared devoid of any demonstrators, although about a dozen foreign journalists were temporarily detained by police in Shanghai.

Nevertheless, the calls for protests in China have sent security forces into overdrive. Dissidents have been rounded up or placed under heightened surveillance, and several foreign journalists were beaten by security officers as they visited potential protest sites on Sunday February 27.

Security officials have, over the past week, warned foreign journalists to stay away from potential protest sites and in some cases asked for signed promises not to report on protests.

Wen Jiabao, premier, acknowledged some public discontent in his state of the union speech on Saturday. “We have not yet fundamentally solved a number of issues that the masses feel strongly about,” he said in his annual address, citing illegal land appropriation, corruption, poor medical services and “exorbitant” housing prices.

Inflation is also viewed as a threat to social stability. Mr Wen said fighting rising prices was the top economic priority for Beijing this year.

China’s internal security apparatus has grown more powerful with the rise of Zhou Yongkang, security chief, a member of the politburo standing committee.

In one reminder of the scale of the internal security apparatus, official media reported that 739,000 security guards were dispatched to ensure order and direct traffic as China’s annual congresses began in Beijing over the weekend.

Officials at those meetings were highly critical of the idea of a “Jasmine revolution”. It was “preposterous and unrealistic” to suggest that the uprisings in the Middle East would have parallels in China, said Zhao Qizheng, spokesperson for the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Congress, according to Xinhua news agency. Meanwhile state-run papers have urged stability, and pointed to the chaos caused by uprisings in the Middle East.

China’s security budget includes funding for courts, jails, police, paramilitary and even internet monitoring. Analysts said spending on both public security and national defence was higher than reported.

Andrew Gilholm, analyst at Control Risks, said technology spending might be playing a part in the growing security budget. “A lot of the focus at the moment is on technology . . . and the obsession with staying ahead of technology and social media is probably quite a costly one.”

Genetically altered salmon spook Northwest lawmakers

McClatchy | Mar 6, 2011

By Rob Hotakainen

WASHINGTON — Fearing for the wild salmon industry in the Northwest, Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state wants to stop the Food and Drug Administration from making a quick decision on whether to approve genetically modified Atlantic salmon for human consumption.

Republican Rep. Don Young of Alaska says that Congress can’t allow “these alien fish to infect our stocks.”

Murray and Young are part of a growing bipartisan coalition on Capitol Hill that’s out to stop a Massachusetts biotechnology company from winning federal approval to sell its fast-growing fish, which critics are calling “Frankenfish.”

“I’m very concerned this is being rushed through with massive potential for negative ramifications,” Murray said.

Two pieces of legislation have been introduced in Congress: The first would ban the fish outright, while the second would require it to be labeled as transgenic if the FDA approves it.

So far, the legislation has the backing of 64 environmental and other organizations, including fishing associations, retailers and the Center for Food Safety, an advocacy group.

Andrew Kimbrell, the center’s executive director, said Congress “has to step in to correct the failures of the Obama administration,” which he criticized for allowing the FDA to proceed.

“FDA’s decision to go ahead with this approval process is misguided and dangerous for consumers, the environment and our economy,” he said.

But the fish are not without their fans.

In November, Time magazine named the genetically engineered salmon as one of the top 50 inventions of 2010, noting that Americans love to eat salmon but wild populations are dwindling.

That prompted a letter to the editor from Democratic Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska, who chided the magazine for its selection.

“Want more salmon?” he asked. “Here’s a better idea: Protect its natural habitat, maintain water quality and manage wild stocks for sustainability. That’s what Alaska has done for over 50 years.”

The company that’s seeking FDA approval, AquaBounty Technologies Inc., says the fish are perfectly safe and wouldn’t require labels because they’d be indistinguishable from other salmon.

Company officials said the eggs from the genetically modified fish included a growth-hormone gene from the Pacific Chinook salmon: They have the advantage of growing to market size in half the time of conventional salmon.

“In all other respects, AquAdvantage salmon are identical to other Atlantic salmon,” the company says in a statement on its website.

The FDA hasn’t said when it will make a decision, but it’s already held a public hearing. FDA officials said it was the first time the agency was considering an application for a genetically engineered animal intended for food use.

Genetically modified plants such as corn and soybeans already are grown and consumed in the U.S.

The chief sponsors of the bills are Young and Begich, who represent a state where the issue has become particularly potent. Last month, House of Representatives Democrats from the Alaska State Legislature introduced a resolution that urged the FDA to deny any application to sell genetically modified fish.

When Begich introduced his legislation in January, he said the fish were called Frankenfish for good reason, calling them “a monster that threatens our wild stocks and their habitat, our food safety and economic harm to Alaska wild salmon fishermen.”

Murray, who’s co-sponsoring both bills, called the salmon industry “extremely important to the Northwest, both from an economic standpoint and a cultural standpoint.”

“And it’s a health issue,” she said. “I do not want to see FDA rush through a rule that can undermine our economy and this important resource for Washington state — and actually for the world — without very thoughtful, smart decisions,” she said.

Murray and Begich are three of 11 senators who support the legislation, according to the Organic Consumers Association. There are 31 supporters in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The 11 senators have written a letter to the FDA complaining that the agency’s review of the genetically modified fish has involved far too little scrutiny.

If the FDA approves the fish and Congress doesn’t ban them, Murray said, lawmakers should insist on labeling.

“You have a right to know what you’re buying, absolutely,” she said.

GM seeds seen as getting a boost from higher food prices

Biotech groups see modified crop boost

FT | Mar 6, 2011

By Hal Weitzman in Chicago and Clive Cookson in London

The surge in food prices could spur greater acceptance of genetically modified seeds in emerging markets, leading companies have told the Financial Times.

Global food prices rose to a record last month, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. The International Monetary Fund warned last week that the world faced a prolonged period of high food prices.

GM seeds, designed to have higher yields, have encountered resistance in emerging economies such as India and China. The debate has intensified as changing diets have driven up demand for grain, principally to feed livestock.

“I see a change in attitudes in many countries,” said Daniel Rahier, from DuPont ’s Pioneer, the second biggest seed company of the US by revenues.

“In Indonesia, for example, it was in recent years very difficult to make progress on biotechnology. Now, the government is actively encouraging companies to file applications to get approvals for biotech seeds. It’s a similar story in Vietnam, Cambodia and Kenya.”

Stefan Marcinowski, head of plant science and crop protection at BASF of Germany, said: “Rising food prices are a wake-up call to use all available technologies we have in order to produce sufficient food, feed and energy for the world’s growing population.”

Hugh Grant, chief executive of Monsanto, the world’s biggest seed company by revenues, said: “If you do the ‘temperature check’ in the world in the past 24 months, a lot of the agricultural areas have made significant policy shifts. The gap in yields between the US and other countries gets magnified in times of shortage.”

Developing countries accounted for 48 per cent of GM crop production last year and are expected to overtake industrialised countries by 2015, according to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agribiotech Applications.

Land planted with GM crops rose 10 per cent last year to 148m hectares, a 10th of the global area of cropland, the ISAAA said.

Helen Wallace, director of GeneWatch UK, an anti-GM group, said: “There is a danger that the industry will use rising food prices to tempt more farmers, particularly in developing countries, into GM.

The farmers will then find themselves trapped in a cycle of poverty as they face spiralling costs for expensive seeds and chemicals.”

USDA to drop genetic A-bomb on organic agriculture

USDA to drop a genetic bomb

inforum.com | Mar 6, 2011

By Stephen D. Merrill, Mandan

By allowing the unrestricted release of genetically modified, Roundup Ready alfalfa, the U.S. Department of Agriculture under Secretary Tom Vilsack is allowing Monsanto to drop a genetic atomic bomb on organic agriculture, family farmers and consumers.

By allowing the unrestricted release of genetically modified, Roundup Ready alfalfa, the U.S. Department of Agriculture under Secretary Tom Vilsack is allowing Monsanto to drop a genetic atomic bomb on organic agriculture, family farmers and consumers.

Pollinated by bees, RR alfalfa will spread to fields of both conventional and organic farmers. This will be especially devastating to organic dairy farming.

Roundup is glyphosate, a relatively lower toxicity, broad-spectrum herbicide and probably agriculture’s best. High percentages of corn, soybean and cotton crops carry the glyphosate-tolerant RR trait, and the result has been millions of acres infested with glyphosate-tolerant weeds.

But unlike these other crops, alfalfa can grow and spread on its own. Alfalfa, the “queen of the forages,” puts nitrogen in the soil and is very important to crop rotations, especially in organic farming. When farmers want to take out alfalfa or an alfalfa-grass mix to put in another crop, they have the soil-friendly choice of using glyphosate and seeding by no-tillage.

But not if a new superweed, deeply rooted glyphosate-tolerant alfalfa is allowed to spread. They’ll have to use other, more toxic herbicides, or soil-disturbing, erosion-risking tillage, or some combination of the two. Thus, the genetic atomic bomb is also menacing the environment and our most important natural resource, the soil.

Tracking Software Uses Reasoning to Figure Out Who and Where You Are

Spiky Security Cameras Wikimedia User Mike1024

POPSCI | Ma 3, 2011

By Dan Nosowitz

Researchers at SUNY Buffalo and Amrita University in India have managed to create a tracking network that works well even with the cheapest of cameras. How? It uses the power of its cold, rational brain to make up for any flaws in the equipment.

The idea behind the software was to eliminate the need for other, more physical forms of tracking, like RFID (or, in the future, RFID’s more powerful brother, NFC), but using artificial intelligence to supplement mid- or even low-end cameras. Simply recognizing a face from a security camera is no joke–people can look vastly different day to day, and there are all kinds of variables (angle, lighting, clothing, posture) that can throw off the effectiveness of that kind of software. But what if said software could make certain rational assumptions?

This system requires cameras–though not necessarily top-of-the-line cameras–be placed at building entrances or exits, a place where they can capture with reasonable quality a person’s face, height, or gait. That information is fed to a central computer, which notes not only the appearance of that person but also their location. From there, the central computer cross-checks that person’s scan with all the others currently in the building, thereby eliminating some of the troublesome variables. If Dr. ScrubStealer is in the supply closet on the fifth floor, she couldn’t possibly also be the similar-looking Nurse SleepsALot, who is down in the second-floor lounge, napping in the middle of her shift.

That further reasoning allows the system to identify people with much higher accuracy than other systems using low-quality cameras, which can be a boon for struggling hospitals (hospitals being one of the prime candidates for the system) that are unable to pay for pricey HD security loops.