See You In The Hague

How ridiculous is this?

Six hundred million gamers could be war criminals, Red Cross says

THE Red Cross is investigating whether 600 million gamers are violating the Hague and Geneva conventions when they kill and blow stuff up for fun.

Delegates at the 31st International Conference of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Red Crescent raised the concerns over the potential “International Humanitarian Law” violations – which can constitute war crimes – during a workshop in Geneva.

“Exactly how video games influence individuals is a hotly debated topic, but for the first time, Movement partners discussed our role and responsibility to take action against violations of IHL in video games,” the Red Cross wrote in its daily bulletin.

See also:
Could Playing Videogames Be a War Crime?
Red Cross: 600m videogamers may be war criminals
War Crimes in Video Games Draw Red Cross Scrutiny
Are You a Video Game War Criminal?
Red Cross Investigating Virtual War Crimes
Red Cross Would Like Rules of War Applied to Video Games [Updated]
Red Cross: Violent video games violate international law
The Red Cross and Six Hundred Million Hague Convention Violations
Should the Geneva Conventions Be Applied to Video Games?
Should video games respect international war crimes law?
Red Cross vows not to prosecute video gamers for war crimes
Gamers are safe from war crimes prosecution
Red Cross: Gamers safe from war crimes prosecution

Whew, well, it’s good to know that the ICRC isn’t going to prosecute video gamers, so we dodged a bullet there. However, it’s incredibly troubling and well beyond insane that they’re even thinking about it. If you’re thinking about donating to the Red Cross this holiday season remember, there’s a huge difference between the American Red Cross and the International Red Cross.

/the former does good and important relief work, while the latter is just plain bat[expletive deleted] crazy

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Warp Speed?

Was Einstein wrong, can neutrinos blow through the speed of light stop sign?

Speedy Particles Put Einstein to the Test

An experiment purporting to show that subatomic particles can travel faster than light has scientists’ heads spinning. If confirmed, it would undermine key pillars of modern physics.

At a presentation in Switzerland, scientists said Friday they had recorded ghostlike particles, known as neutrinos, a tiny bit faster than light—an apparent breach of the cosmic speed limit set down by Albert Einstein more than a century ago.

. . .

Neutrinos are particles with almost no mass and no charge, and they can pass through ordinary matter unaffected. At any given moment, billions harmlessly stream through a person’s body.

In the experiment known as the Oscillation Project with Emulsion-Tracking Apparatus, neutrinos were measured as traveling slightly faster than light on a 450-mile trip from CERN near Geneva to the Gran Sasso underground lab in central Italy. The particles moved at a velocity just above the speed of light. That result was based on more than 15,000 neutrino events measured at the Italian lab, CERN said.

See also:
Measurement of the neutrino velocity with the OPERA detector in the CNGS beam
Neutrinos may have traveled faster than the speed of light
UPDATE 1-Particles found to break speed of light
Particles recorded moving faster than light – CERN
Scientists Question Faster-Than-Light Neutrinos
Light speed: Flying into fantasy
Those faster-than-light neutrinos. Four things to think about
Particles faster than light: Revolution or mistake?
CERN neutrinos don’t “disprove” Einstein
Details emerge about European scientists’ discovery
Physicists explain how neutrino beat Einstein
Challenging Einstein Is Usually A Losing Venture
Physicists wary of junking light speed limit yet
Faster Than Light Neutrinos? Don’t Bet On It
CERN – the European Organization for Nuclear Research
CERN
Welcome to LNGS – Gran Sasso National Laboratory
Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso
Oscillation Project with Emulsion-tRacking Apparatus (OPERA)
OPERA experiment

Are these results science fact or science fiction? Beats me. If it is true, it’s going to turn physics as we know it on its head.

/stay tuned, this is sure to be a hot topic of scientific debate for quite some time

Flight Of The Jew Haters

Oh boy, look at the pernicious useful idiots chanting “free Palestine” which, as their “Palestinian friends” define the phrase, means the destruction of Israel.

Israel Blocks Pro-Palestinian Activists’ ‘Fly-In’ Attempt

Israel has blocked an attempt by international activists to organize a high-profile, humanitarian visit to Palestinians in the West Bank.

More than 200 pro-Palestinian activists in Europe were barred from boarding flights to Tel Aviv, after Israel sent a blacklist. Israeli authorities warned foreign airlines that activists were planning anti-Israel protests and disruptions at the airport and they would not be allowed into the country.

Some activists who managed to arrive in Israel were detained and face deportation.

Police said the 20 activists who made it to Ben Gurion Airport, near Tel Aviv, arrived from Switzerland, to be detained by security forces who were expected to expel them.

See also:
Israel blocks pro-Palestinian ‘flytilla’ activists
Pro-Palestinian ‘flytilla’ stopped at airports by Israeli security
Yishai commends “Flightilla” security forces at airport
Israel blocks flights to prevent Palestinian gathering
Israel blocks some activists, deports others
UPDATE 2-Israel orders pro-Palestinian air passengers deported
65 pro-Palestinian ‘fly-in’ activists transferred to detention facilities
Activists on ‘Air Flotilla’ prefer arrest to deportation
Activists Test Israel’s Policy on Territories
Israel’s no-go to pro-Palestinian activists
Who’s behind the ‘flytilla’?

Humanitarian mission my ass. How is chanting anti-Israel slogans and waving anti-Israel protest signs at an airport “humanitarian?

/the only reason they did this, pure and simple, is to hate on the Jews

Dialing Death To Bees

You know, if cell phone radiation does this to bees, holding them next to your head for extended periods of time probably doesn’t have any positive health benefits.

Cell Phones Caused Mysterious Worldwide Bee Deaths, Study Finds

Cellphone transmissions may be responsible for a mysterious, worldwide die off in bees that has mystified scientists.

Dr. Daniel Favre, a former biologist with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland, carefully placed a mobile phone underneath a beehive and then monitored the reaction of the workers.

According to a story in The Daily Mail, the bees were able to tell when the handsets were making and receiving calls. They responded by making the high pitched squeaks that usually signal the start of swarming.

“This study shows that the presence of an active mobile phone disturbs bees — and has a dramatic effect,” Favre told the Daily Mail.

Read the study:

Mobile phone-induced honeybee worker piping

See also:
Why a mobile phone ring may make bees buzz off: Insects infuriated by handset signals
Cellphones May Contribute to Bee Colony Collapse, Study Suggests
Cell Phones Are Killing The Bees: Study
Bees Being Killed by Cell Phone Signals?
Why answering your cellphone might be killing bees
Cell phone signals really are killing the bees, study shows
Cellphones Could Be Killing Bees [STUDY]
Your cell phone is driving bees crazy
Can you bzzzz me now? Study says cell phones are killing honey bees

If this is true, we could be in real trouble. Bees are crucial to agriculture and ever expanding cellphone ownership and networks will theoretically kill more and more bees. That’s not a good trend if you like to eat food.

/hey, don’t blame me, it’s not my fault, I don’t own a cell phone

Roundup At The Antimatter Corral

You know, I’m all for the advancement of physics research, but there’s a reason antimatter doesn’t exist in nature. It annihilates an equal amount of matter on contact and releases incredible amounts of energy.

Antimatter held for questioning

For physicists, a bit of antimatter is a precious gift indeed. By comparing matter to its counterpart, they can test fundamental symmetries that lie at the heart of the standard model of particle physics, and look for hints of new physics beyond. Yet few gifts are as tricky to wrap. Bring a particle of antimatter into contact with its matter counterpart and the two annihilate in a flash of energy.

Now a research collaboration at CERN, Europe’s particle-physics lab near Geneva, Switzerland, has managed, 38 times, to confine single antihydrogen atoms in a magnetic trap for more than 170 milliseconds. The group reported the result in Nature online on 17 November1. “We’re ecstatic. This is five years of hard work,” says Jeffrey Hangst, spokesman for the ALPHA collaboration at CERN.

An antihydrogen atom is made from a negatively charged antiproton and a positively charged positron, the antimatter counterpart of the electron. The objective — both for ALPHA and for a competing CERN experiment called ATRAP — is to compare the energy levels in antihydrogen with those of hydrogen, to confirm that antimatter particles experience the same electromagnetic forces as matter particles, a key premise of the standard model. “The goal is to study antihydrogen and you can’t do it without trapping it,” says Cliff Surko, an antimatter researcher at the University of California, San Diego. “This is really a big deal.”

See also:
Scientists briefly trap a form of antimatter
Upping the Anti: CERN Physicists Trap Antimatter Atoms for the First Time
Antihydrogen trapped at CERN
Snagging Antimatter Atoms
Antimatter created, captured for the first time
Gotcha!
Breakthrough! Scientists Create and Capture Antimatter
‘Antimatter’ captured by CERN scientists in dramatic physics breakthrough
Anti-matter is finally trapped for an instant
Antimatter Trapped For the First Time
Antimatter atom trapped for first time, say scientists
Antimatter atoms caught at last
Scientists Hold Antimatter Captive — For Milliseconds
ALPHA – Antihydrogen Laser PHysics Apparatus
ATRAP – Antihydrogen TRAP
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC)
CERN

So far, they’re only dealing with 38 atoms and let’s hope the scale of the research stays small. However, if they can trap and hold a tiny amount of antimatter, eventually the technology could be developed to trap and hold larger quantities and then we could be in trouble if the technology ever fell into the hands of bad actors.

The reaction of 1 kg of antimatter with 1 kg of matter would produce 1.8×1017 J (180 petajoules) of energy (by the mass-energy equivalence formula E = mc²), or the rough equivalent of 43 megatons of TNT. For comparison, Tsar Bomba, the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated, reacted an estimated yield of 50 megatons, which required the use of hundreds of kilograms of fissile material (Uranium/Plutonium).

/of course, there’s probably nothing to worry about, but still, they’re not playing with Tinkertoys here

A Really Bad Day For Rich Tax Cheats

Fess up or go to jail.

UBS to Give 4,450 Names to U.S.

Swiss bank UBS AG will hand over some 4,450 names of U.S. account holders as part of a U.S.-Swiss tax-evasion settlement and investigation that could produce a total 10,000 account identities.

UBS and the governments of the U.S. and Switzerland agreed on a final settlement last week, but the details weren’t made public until Wednesday. UBS isn’t expected to pay a monetary fine as part of the settlement.

Separately, the Swiss government said it is exiting its six-billion Swiss franc ($6.46 billion) investment in the bank, made as part of a rescue package the height of the financial crisis. It was lining up investors to buy its 332 million shares late Wednesday, and the sale was expected to be completed soon.

No details on the sale price were given. The government needs to sell the shares at around 13 francs each to break even on its investment, bankers say. The announcement came well after stock markets had closed. UBS shares shed 0.9% to 16.90 francs in Zurich.

As part of the tax settlement, U.S. tax authorities will file a treaty request with the Swiss government to obtain the data on the American UBS clients, IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said on a conference call with reporters. The Swiss government will then direct UBS to turn over the account data to the IRS, the agency said.

Mr. Shulman said the legal agreement allowed the IRS to obtain substantially all the information it was interested in.

He said the criteria used to select the 4,450 accounts to be turned over are being kept confidential. Lawyers involved in representing UBS clients believe that violations of Swiss law would be a factor.

Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said the agreement fully complies with Swiss law and doesn’t violate banking secrecy, which she emphasized isn’t meant to protect criminal behavior.

“With this agreement, we have managed to avoid a conflict between the sovereignty of two states,” Ms. Widmer-Schlumpf said.

The U.S. will drop the John Doe summons it was pursuing to get access to 52,000 sets of client data as part of the settlement, the Swiss government said in a statement.

Mr. Shulman said the IRS would be receiving information on various account types with a wide range of dollar values. UBS will turn over data on bank accounts, custody accounts, securities accounts and accounts that were set up as sham trusts, he said.

The total of 10,000 identities is a figure the IRS expects to have by Jan. 1. That includes the 4,450 names being turned over by UBS. That number includes the 250 names produced by UBS as part of a $780 million criminal settlement reached with the Justice Department in February. It also includes UBS clients expected to come forward through a special IRS disclosure program where UBS clients acknowledge unpaid income tax. The IRS declined to say how many will use that program. Additional identities could stem from leads generated from the 4,450 accounts or the voluntary disclosures.

If the total identities do reach 10,000, it would represent a staggering number of Americans who banked with UBS and now are having to have their identities revealed.

US says building criminal cases against UBS clients

The United States is building criminal cases against more than 150 American clients of Swiss bank UBS as part of a crackdown on tax evasion now made easier by a deal over access to secret account information.

U.S. prosecutors gave their first official confirmation of the initial number of criminal investigations in a filing on Tuesday with a federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The number of criminal probes is widely expected to mushroom soon.

In the same court document, the prosecutors requested a sharply reduced prison sentence for ex-UBS banker Bradley Birkenfeld, a key informant in the ongoing U.S. prosecutions of wealthy American clients of UBS.

See also:
UBS, IRS Reach Tax Pact
Swiss Government Says UBS, IRS Tax Pact Within Swiss Bank Law
IRS wins a skirmish in the war on wealth
Names Deal Cracks Swiss Bank Secrecy
UBS Case Shows IRS ‘Is Going To Be Relentless’ In Going After Tax Evaders
150 Americans targeted in UBS Swiss bank tax-evasion case
Over 150 UBS Clients Face US Tax-evasion Probe: Reports
U.S. Builds Crime Cases on Clients of UBS
US preparing to prosecute 150 UBS account holders
150 US clients of UBS investigated
UBS
Internal Revenue Service
United States Department of Justice
Prison Ahead For Rich And Famous People

It’s too late to file amended tax returns.

/better hurry up and try to plead guilty and beg for leniency, because all that money saved by evading taxes is worthless in prison

Comrade Clinton’s Comedy Club Cackle Caper

U.S. seeks to ‘reset’ relations with Russia

The Obama administration has been talking about “pressing the reset button” with Russia after relations “crashed” when Russia invaded Georgia last August.

When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greeted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva on Friday before sitting down to their working dinner, she presented him a small green box with a ribbon. Insclide was a red button with the Russian word “peregruzka” printed on it.

“I would like to present you with a little gift that represents what President Obama and Vice President Biden and I have been saying and that is: ‘We want to reset our relationship and so we will do it together.'”

Clinton, laughing, added, “We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?” she asked Lavrov.

“You got it wrong,” Lavrov said.” Both diplomats laughed. “It should be “perezagruzka” (the Russian word for reset,) Lavrov said. “This says ‘peregruzka,’ which means ‘overcharged.'”

Are you telling me there’s not one person in the whole State Department who knows how to read and write Russian? And Hillary wasn’t done for the day yet.

Hillary Clinton Rewrites History in Front of Puzzled Europeans

Members of the European Parliament in Brussels were shaking their heads today after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton incorrectly said U.S. democracy is older than Europe’s. Clinton compared Europe’s multi-party political system to our two-party version: “It is hard enough with two parties to come to any resolution, and I say this very respectfully, because I feel the same way about our own democracy, which has been around a lot longer than European democracy.”

Europeans trace their Democratic tradition back thousands of years to the days of classical Greece. Later Secretary Clinton raised eyebrows again when she mispronounced the names of two of her EU counterparts.

Clinton’s gaffe: You say Solana, I say Solano

Hillary Clinton came to Brussels on a mission: to show Europe that the days of America thinking it is bigger, better, brighter than everywhere else were over. But her strenuous efforts were undermined by a series of minor gaffes that left the officials scratching their heads.

At a lunch, Mrs Clinton bungled the name of the EU external relations commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, calling her Benito, of all things. Javier Solana, the EU foreign policy chief, became Solano from her lips.

Are you telling me there’s not one person in the whole State Department who vets her remarks or prepares her for these appearances on the international stage?

See also:
Button gaffe embarrasses Clinton
Language Expert Comments on Hillary Clinton’s Russian Language Gaffe: What a Difference a Couple of Letters Make!
Clinton: First Slip of the Tongue then Major Gaffe
Clinton gaffe: US has an older democracy that Europe
Gaffe Watch: Hillary Tells Europeans U.S. Democracy Much Older Than Europe’s
And We Thought Biden Was the Gaffe Machine
Tongue-tied Clinton gets warm welcome
Biography of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov
Sergey Lavrov
European Commission – Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner
Benita Ferrero-Waldner
Welcome to the Homepage of Javier Solana
Javier Solana
U.S. Department of State

Wow, three major gaffes in front of an international audience, all in one day, she must be taking lessons from Joe Biden. Hard work in the service of your country Hillary, take a break!

/and then she climbed back into her clown car for the clown caravan back to the clown cottage