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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Terrifying Video Shows Man Inches Away From Being Hit By Speeding Train

Terrifying Video Shows Man Inches Away From Being Hit By Speeding Train


Terrifying Video Shows Man Inches Away From Being Hit By Speeding Train

Posted: 18 Mar 2014 11:43 AM PDT

A man was literally inches away from being hit by a speeding commuter train in Northern California when he decided to ignore the warning bells and dash across the train tracks. Caltrain posted the heart-stopping video, captured by surveillance video at the Redwood City stop, to emphasize the importance of taking safety precautions. Apparently this lucky soul also ruined everyone else’s commuting schedules that day, since every near miss — and this was definitely a near miss — has to be investigated.

[CBS News]

It’s an Amazingly Awesome Week to Be Selling Pizza, Beer, and Wings

Posted: 18 Mar 2014 11:40 AM PDT

This week, the tipoff of March Madness comes on the heels of St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a perfect storm—in a good way—for businesses like Hooters, Domino’s, and Buffalo Wild Wings.

The Super Bowl of all pizza delivery days is well, the Super Bowl. Domino’s says that its busiest day of the year is indeed the Super Bowl, when the chain sells some 11 million total slices, a sum that’s roughly 80% higher than a typical Sunday.

But when it comes to a longer stretch of time in which the pizza business booms day after day, it’s hard to compete with the current week—which kicked off with St. Patrick’s Day and continues on with the start of the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament. Both of these events, it goes without saying, go hand in hand with alcohol and hot greasy food, so it’s natural for businesses focused on the selling of these goods to go all out to boost sales.

According to Kantar Media, March Madness pulls in more national TV ad revenues ($1.15 billion in 2013) than any other post-season sports franchise. That includes the NBA, MLB, and NHL post-season, as well as the much-watched NFL playoffs which, admittedly, feature many fewer games than the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. “March Madness is a marquee sports franchise and it’s an attractive opportunity for marketers to connect with consumers over a three week period,” Kantar Media chief research officer Jon Swallen said via press release.

(MORE: Why Your Next Designated Driver Will Be Some College Kid You Never Met Before)

It’s no surprise, then, that Pizza Hut chose this week to announce that its sister brand, WingStreet, has officially been launched nationally and now has a presence in 5,000 locations around the country. They also threw in a deal to try to tempt both St. Patrick’s Day revelers and March Madness viewers into ordering some wings. Starting on Monday, a promotion launched offering eight wings for $5. And if any of the 12 teams in the tournament with “Wings” in their name or a winged mascot winds up winning the NCAA championship, everybody gets a free four-piece order of wings for takeout on April 10.

Meanwhile, Pizza Hut’s biggest competitor, Domino’s, just launched at 50% off regular prices deal on all pizzas ordered online. Timed to coincide with the bulk of March Madness, the offer is good through March 24. (Just enter the code “50off” at checkout.)

Yet another pizza chain, Little Caesars, is repeating a big bet it made last year that no #16 seed would beat a #1 seed in the tournament. It’s never happened, but if such a monumental upset somehow did take place this year, Little Caesars would give away one Hot-N-Ready lunch combo for free to each customer from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 7. What Little Caesars really hopes, of course, is that the existence of this (highly unlikely) giveaway generates attention for its lunch combo, which includes a 20 oz. soda and four “Detroit-style DEEP!DEEP! Dish pizza slices” for $5.

(MORE: March Madness: Be Sure to Watch These Five Games)

Back in the world of wings—more specifically, wings, beer, sports on TV, and waitresses in skimpy tight orange uniforms—Hooters is encouraging fans to play hooky and watch the NCAA tournament while taking advantage of specials like free fried pickle appetizers and buy ten wings, get ten wings free.

Meningitis Death Tied to Princeton Outbreak Strain

Posted: 18 Mar 2014 11:30 AM PDT

(PHILADELPHIA) — A Philadelphia college student died of the same type of meningitis that caused an outbreak at Princeton University in New Jersey, suggesting the strain might still exist on the Ivy League campus despite a massive vaccination effort, federal health officials said Tuesday.

Stephanie Ross, a Drexel University sophomore from Pittsburgh, had been in close contact with Princeton students about a week before getting sick, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She died March 10.

Although 90 percent of Princeton’s students and staff received inoculations for the meningitis B strain in December, vaccinated individuals can still carry the bacteria in their throats and transmit it to others, the CDC said in a statement. The agency urged vigilance in preventing new cases.

“Although transmission is from person-to-person, this organism is not highly contagious and requires sharing respiratory and oral secretions to spread,” the statement said.

The CDC said there is no outbreak at Drexel, which is about 40 miles from Princeton.

Meningitis causes swelling of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord and is fairly rare in the U.S. But the illness develops quickly and, left untreated, can be fatal within a couple of days. Symptoms include a stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity and confusion.

Drexel officials said they have provided preventive antibiotics to everyone who came into close contact with Ross, a mechanical engineering major who was found unresponsive at her sorority house.

The Princeton outbreak began in March 2013 and sickened seven students and a campus visitor. All have recovered.

About 5,300 members of the Princeton community received shots of the B strain vaccine in December, a couple of weeks after the most recent case was identified.

No new cases have been reported since then. A statement from Princeton released Tuesday urged people not share drinking glasses, eating utensils, smoking materials and other items.

The vaccine, Bexsero, made by Switzerland-based Novartis, is approved for use in Europe, Australia and Canada but not yet for general use in the United States. The CDC recommended the unusual step of allowing Princeton to offer it, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Federal officials also permitted the University of California in Santa Barbara to hold a vaccination clinic with Bexsero in February.

Four students at UC Santa Barbara fell ill in November with a form of bacterial meningitis similar to the Princeton cases. Three recovered and the fourth had both feet amputated.

Woman Loses 100 Pounds For Soldier Husband’s Return Home

Posted: 18 Mar 2014 11:29 AM PDT

When Larry Shaffer returned from Afghanistan, he had no idea of the surprise awaiting him at home.

When Shaffer left, his high school sweetheart weighed about 260 pounds. When he returned after a year, she was less than 155 pounds. At the airport, Misty Shaffer, 25, just ran and jumped into her Army specialist husband’s arms. It was the first time he’d been able to lift her.

He said just one word: “Wow.”

Misty Shaffer said that she decided to lose weight because she wanted to surprise her husband and have a better life.

“I just sat in bed one night and was like, ‘I can do this,’” she told CNN. “‘I need to do this.’”

Watch the video above for the details.

$400 Million Mega Millions Jackpot for Tuesday

Posted: 18 Mar 2014 11:29 AM PDT

(DES MOINES, Iowa) — An estimated $400 million is up for grabs in the latest Mega Millions jackpot.

Tuesday night’s potential jackpot would be the sixth-largest lottery prize in U.S. history.

If a single player matches all six numbers, the winner would have the option of taking a $224 million lump-sum prize.

Mega Millions changed its rules in October to help increase jackpots by lowering the odds of winning the top prize.

If no one hits on all six numbers, the jackpot rolls over to Friday’s drawing and a grand prize that would start marching toward $500 million.

Mega Millions is played in 43 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Watch Neneh Cherry and Robyn’s Unsettling Video for “Out of the Black”

Posted: 18 Mar 2014 11:29 AM PDT

Last month, Neneh Cherry released Blank Project, her first solo album since 1996′s Man. The album, produced by Four Tet, showed a dramatic, bold and dynamic side of the artist — best known in the U.S. for her 1998 hit “Buffalo Stance,” an irrepressible track which is still in heavy rotation on certain iPods (mine, mostly).

Today, via Noisey, she unveiled the album’s first official video for lead single, “Out of the Black”, which features fellow Swedish pop icon Robyn; she hasn’t put out nearly enough music lately, so we’ll take all we can get.

The clip pushes the boundaries visually as dramatically as the track does sonically. Created by artist Dario Vigorito, a.k.a. 241-24-7, the video plays like a cross between Max Headroom, Tapeheads and, perhaps fittingly, the interstitials on the old MTV show Remote Control — filled with dissonant images cut and pasted over each other into an unsettling collage set to an agitated beat.

Watch it up top.

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Putin’s Irony Curtain

Posted: 18 Mar 2014 11:24 AM PDT

Ukraine is haunted by history. The most powerful ghosts tormenting its relationship with Russia are certainly those of the estimated 7 million who died in the genocidal famine unleashed against Ukrainian peasants by Stalin from 1932-33. And looming behind the counterclaims of fascism leveled by western-oriented Ukrainians and the separatists who have seized control of Crimea are, among others, the estimated 100,000 victims–most of them Jewish, many of them women, children and the elderly–who were killed at Babi Yar outside Kiev by the Nazis and their local collaborators in 1941.

But it seems even humanitarianism can haunt Ukraine. In 1999, then-President Bill Clinton launched a 78-day air war against Serb forces controlling the largely ethnic Albanian province of Serbia called Kosovo, in the former Yugoslavia. Clinton justified the intervention because he and his NATO allies suspected the Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic was beginning a new round of genocidal ethnic cleansing like the one he had unleashed elsewhere in the former Yugoslavia eight years earlier. Russia, Serbia’s traditional ally, opposed the intervention, blocking any potential UN authorization of it. In hindsight, even the war’s supporters now admit it violated the UN charter and was illegal under international law.

Following Kosovo's early-2008 declaration of independence, the United States formally recognized the province as a sovereign state. In an attempt to limit the example the war and Kosovo’s subsequent secession might set elsewhere, the State Department declared, "The United States considers Kosovo to be a special case that should not be seen as a precedent for other situations."

Predictably enough, however, Russia is using the Kosovo war as a pretext for its annexation of Crimea. As Harvard's inimitable Jack Goldsmith relates:

Russia is now invoking Kosovo—both the 1999 intervention, and Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence—in support of Crimea's independence movement. Last week Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov proclaimed (at just before the 10-minute mark): 'If Kosovo is a special case then Crimea is a special case; it's just equally special.'

In fact, there is little moral equivalence between the two cases. Milosevic had unleashed the worst violence targeting an ethnic or religious group on the European continent since the Holocaust. In 1999 his forces were killing ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. And the NATO intervention was driven primarily by humanitarian concerns. All of which has led the West to declare that the war was "illegal but legitimate".

By contrast, there is no recent history of anti-Russian genocidal violence in Ukraine. There is no credible evidence that ethnic Russians have been targeted by the government of Ukraine in the recent months of unrest there. And one only need review the public comments out of Moscow to see that Russia's intervention is primarily strategic and nationalistic, not humanitarian.

Unfortunately, moral legitimacy doesn’t carry as much weight as it might in international affairs. And there are plenty of ancillary facts that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government can use to muddy the waters.

For example, in an interesting 2008 debate with Jeremy Scahill, then of The Nation, the current U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power admitted with trademark frankness that in Kosovo the West was also partially driven by the strategic goal of bolstering NATO's credibility, which was in question after its sluggish response to the wars in the Balkans and its ill-defined rationale for expansion. And while the West may point to the questionable backgrounds and legitimacy of the pro-Russian Crimeans who have taken power using dubious parliamentary procedures, many of the ethnic Albanians the U.S. backed in Kosovo were thugs—some were eventually charged and convicted of war crimes.

Now pro-Russian forces are unleashing mob-violence against Ukranians–one chilling report tells of a mob burning Ukranian language accounts of Stalin’s genocidal famine. With Russia using the Kosovo war as a pretext for its violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty, it is ironic that some who argued for the Kosovo intervention saw it as an opportunity to establish the international doctrine of humanitarian intervention (Power and current National Security Advisor Susan Rice were among the proponents of the idea, which also had the support of some neo-conservatives).

It is also ironic that the West’s strategic interest of bolstering NATO’s credibility through intervention in Kosovo may also be undermined by the events in Ukraine. In Washington it is hard to imagine the unrest in Ukraine could lead to a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia. But it may be much easier to imagine in one of the six NATO capitals that directly border Ukraine or Russia.

For those countries, the ghosts now haunting Ukraine raise another specter from the past: whether the West would abandon a treaty committing it to the defense of countries in central and eastern Europe in the face of a resurgent regional power. Fortunately, there seems to be little chance of NATO being put to that test now. But Putin’s moves in Crimea, and his use of Kosovo to justify them, certainly weaken NATO’s credibility. The long-suffering people of central and eastern Europe may well worry how many old ghosts Putin plans to raise, and whether he intends to add to them.

See the First Interactive Picture from the Lunar North Pole

Posted: 18 Mar 2014 11:22 AM PDT

The first American spacecraft to photograph the moon up close did its work in the last 15 minutes of its life. On the morning of July 31, 1964, the Ranger 7 spacecraft was falling toward the lunar surface at the end of a three-day trip that was always intended to culminate in a suicide plunge. At precisely 6:25 AM, when the ship was at an altitude of 1,500 miles (2,400 km), its six on-board cameras flicked on and it began beaming pictures back to Earth. In that quarter hour—before Ranger 7 annihilated itself in the moon's Sea of Clouds—it sent home 4,316 pictures that flashed on black and white TV screens at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. In front of each screen was a 35-mm film camera. A moon portrait would appear, the cameras would snap, and the film would automatically advance—a triumph of mid-century optics and machining.

It needn't be said that things are more sophisticated now. When the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter arrived at the moon in June 2009, it also carried along a battery of cameras, but ones that capture images with a granularity and spectral sweep that were unimaginable 45 years ago, as this stunning, interactive image of the north lunar pole shows. The picture covers an area equal to about 25% of the surface of the continental U.S.—and that's the very least of its impressive metrics. It required 867 billion pixels to assemble the entire panorama, each pixel representing about 6.5 ft (2 m) of lunar real estate. A 300 dot-per-inch printout would call for a piece of paper larger than a football field; the digital file consumes 3.3 terabytes of memory.

But never mind that. The greatness of the picture is in the seeing of it—not just the detail it provides of the face of the moon, but the freedom it allows to sweep and pan and dive, exploring that tortured landscape from so many different altitudes. Ranger 7 once took a dive there too. The difference is, we'll all live to tell the tale.

Prosecutors: Don’t Let Tsarnaev See Victims’ Autopsy Photos

Posted: 18 Mar 2014 11:15 AM PDT

Federal prosecutors want to prevent accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from seeing autopsy photographs of the bombing’s victims, unless the photos are used at his trial.

Prosecutors said that allowing the man accused of setting off the explosives to see graphic photos of their lifeless bodies “would violate the victims’ rights to dignity and privacy and subject them to needless harm and suffering,” according to court documents filed on Monday.

The photos show the mutilated, semi-naked bodies of the victims. "He does not need to review photos that will not be used against him in order to prepare his case or exercise any of his constitutional rights," prosecutors wrote. Restricting Tsarnaev’s access to the images would not hinder any of his constitutional rights, prosecutors said.

Tsarnaev, 20, is accused of orchestrating the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people and injured 260 others. He and his brother Tamerlan, who was killed during the post-marathon manhunt, also allegedly killed an MIT police officer in Cambridge.

Read more: Boston Bombing: What it Was Like Photographing Suspect's Arrest

No One Made Phone Calls From The Missing Jet, And This Could Be The Reason

Posted: 18 Mar 2014 11:14 AM PDT

There has been much discussion about the lack of cell phone calls from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 as it went missing this month, which seems especially surprising following the flurry of such calls that came from passengers aboard the airplanes hijacked on 9/11.

One theory is that a deranged pilot depressurized the aircraft, causing oxygen deprivation that knocked the passengers out in a matter of minutes. Others cite the plane's altitude for the dearth of calls, and note that some of the calls made on 9/11 came from radio-telephones no longer in use.

But as anyone whose dinner, movie or recital has been interrupted by cell-phone calls can attest, there must be a way to thwart such calls. All you have to do is visit Phonejammer.com to see a variety of such portable devices on offer.

"A phone jammer transmits low-powered radio signals to cut off communications between cell phones and cell base stations," Phonejammer.com says. "It does not interfere with any communications other than cellular phones within the defined regulated zone. Upon activating a phone jammer, all idle phones will indicate ‘NO NETWORK.'"

The portable units available from Phonejammer.com include the Palm Mini Jammer (a cellphone-sized unit for $149 with a 5-meter range, available in black, silver, beige and green), the High Power Portable Jammer, a smaller device with a range of up to 20 meters for $205, and the Portable Adjustable Power Jammer ($395) with a range of up to 30 meters and five-hour battery life.

Phonejammer.com doesn't specify where it's located, although it appears that most of these devices are manufactured in—where else?—China (check out jammerfromchina.com for evidence). True, they'd have to be snuck through security, and it might take two or three to shut down cell-phone calls from the entire aircraft. But it would seem to be a far surer way of cutting off communication than cutting off oxygen.

Passengers flying in the U.S. and Europe can rest easy: They can't be shipped there "due to FCC/CE [Conformité Européenne] restrictions," Phonejammers.com says.

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