Failed Teenage Suicide Bomber Describes Deadly Mission

2:14:47 PM, Monday, April 18, 2011

"Umar Fidai survived when his explosive vest failed to detonate properly. His family has not been in touch since he was found lying in the street.

In early April a suicide blast ripped though a Pakistani shrine packed with thousands of devotees, leaving scores dead. Both attackers were schoolboys in their early teens. But one survived and told the BBC's Aleem Maqbool what made him want to take his life and the lives of others.

"All I was thinking was that I had to detonate myself near as many people as possible. When I decided it was the right time, it was a moment of happiness for me," said 14-year-old Umar Fidai.

"I thought that there would be a little bit of pain, but then I would be in heaven."

Umar did not make it to paradise. Instead, we find him in custody.

His left arm is missing, his right arm entirely strapped up, and there are bandages around his torso. But he is alert, polite and disarmingly frank.

"The plan was that Ismail would blow himself up near the shrine. I would wait for the ambulances to come and detonate myself near them to kill more people. I had no doubts at all beforehand."

But Umar's suicide jacket failed to explode properly.

He blew off his own arm, tore open his abdomen and was knocked unconscious. When he came round, Umar reached for a grenade in his pocket.

"We had been taught that if the belt does not go off, we should kill ourselves with the grenade. There were three policemen standing close by, and I thought if I killed them too, I would still make it to heaven."

As Umar raised the grenade to his mouth to pull out the pin with his teeth, a police officer shot him in the arm.

Extraordinary mobile phone footage shows Umar lying on the ground as police then went about defusing the remains of his suicide jacket..."

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Grime and Crime in New York 1970s - Public Transportation Issues

12:52:00 AM, Monday, April 18, 2011

-- Good stuff! Some great footage, check it.

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Nyusha - I Howl At The Moon / Нюша - Вою на луну

4:50:27 PM, Sunday, April 17, 2011
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Brave New World Among Top 10 Books Americans Most Want Banned

4:50:13 PM, Sunday, April 17, 2011

"Banned in Ireland when it first appeared in 1932, and removed from shelves and objected to ever since, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World is still making waves today. The novel of a dystopian future was one of the most complained about books in America last year, with readers protesting over its sexually explicit scenes, "offensive" language and "insensitivity".

The American Library Association (ALA) has just released its list of the 10 books which Americans tried hardest to ban last year. Topped yet again by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell's And Tango Makes Three, a picture-book telling the true story of a chick adopted by two male Emperor penguins at New York's Central Park zoo, the list is a compilation of complaints made to libraries and schools requesting a book be banned because of its content. Dozens of attempts were made to remove And Tango Makes Three from library shelves, said the ALA, with those seeking to ban the title protesting at the "homosexuality" of the two penguins and its "religious viewpoint".

Parent protests in Missouri over masturbation scenes in Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian helped the award-winning young adult novel into second place in the most-challenged list. Brave New World – ironically, set in a world in which books are banned – made it into the top 10 in third place. Huxley's novel is no stranger to complaints: in 1980 it was removed from classrooms for making promiscuous sex "look like fun", and it has been the subject of frequent challenges in the US over the years.

Brave New World is the only classic title in 2010's list. In 2009, JD Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, Alice Walker's The Color Purple and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird all provoked complaints from angry parents, but last year it was modern bestsellers that caused the most trouble. From Suzanne Collins's post-apocalyptic hit The Hunger Games to Stephenie Meyer's vampire bestseller Twilight, American parents have been making it their mission to complain about some of the most popular books published in recent years.

"[It's] a dubious honour", said novelist Natasha Friend, whose book Lush – about a teenage girl with an alcoholic father – made the list in sixth place for its mentions of drugs, its "offensive language" and "sexually explicit" scenes. "[But] as my editor at Scholastic says, this is 'just a part of being a Judy Blume for a new generation!' I guess I'll take it...""

-- Really, America?!? LOL at "Twilight" making the list though! Follow the link to see the rest.

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Freddie Mercury Interview - Musical Prostitute

12:49:25 PM, Sunday, April 17, 2011

-- Perhaps the most famous interview of Fred. Filmed in Munich as the band were about to release the works album in 1984. Freddie was interviwed by Rudi Dolezal at Musicland Studios.

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Bob's Burgers - Health Inspection

4:29:39 PM, Saturday, April 16, 2011

-- Why haven't I heard of this show until now!?

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Notorious B.I.G and Miley Cyrus - Party And Bullshit In The USA

1:01:39 PM, Saturday, April 16, 2011

-- Because nothing is sacred in this world.

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Long-Lost Letter Sheds Light On Lincoln's Faith

12:53:18 PM, Saturday, April 16, 2011

"(RNS) On the eve of the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, a long-lost letter has surfaced that describes President Abraham Lincoln's belief in God.

The Raab Collection of Philadelphia plans to sell a recently discovered letter written in 1866 by William Herndon, a Springfield, Ill., lawyer and Lincoln confidant.

"Mr. Lincoln's religion is too well known to me to allow of even a shadow of a doubt; he is or was a Theist & a Rationalist, denying all extraordinary -- supernatural inspiration or revelation," wrote Herndon of the nation's 16th president.

"At one time in his life, to say the least, he was an elevated Pantheist, doubting the immortality of the soul as the Christian world understands that term. He believed that the soul lost its identity and was immortal as a force. Subsequent to this he rose to the belief of a God."

The collection estimates the letter is worth $35,000.

Lincoln's faith has long been an elusive topic for historians. He was never baptized, did not join a church and usually did not discuss his beliefs.

"In rare instances, he divulged his true feelings to one close friend, longtime confidant and law partner, William Herndon," said Nathan Raab, vice president of the Raab Collection. "He did believe in God, however difficult it might be to easily define those beliefs.""

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Runaway Tractor Wreaks Havoc At Wal-Mart Parking Lot

12:34:31 PM, Saturday, April 16, 2011

-- Yep, you read that right.

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Why Homosexuality Should Be Banned

11:54:23 PM, Friday, April 15, 2011

-- Old, but unfortunately still very relevant. Seven impenetrable reasons for making gay-ness illegal.

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Astronomy Picture of the Day : Young Stars in the Rho Ophiuchi Cloud

5:13:42 PM, Friday, April 15, 2011

-- "Dust clouds and embedded newborn stars glow at infrared wavelengths in this tantalizing false-color composition from WISE, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer. The cosmic canvas features one of the closest star forming regions, part of the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex some 400 light-years distant near the southern edge of the pronounceable constellation Ophiuchus. After forming along a large cloud of cold molecular hydrogen gas, young stars heat the surrounding dust to produce the infrared glow. Stars in the process of formation, called young stellar objects or YSOs, are embedded in the compact pinkish nebulae seen here, but are otherwise hidden from the prying eyes of optical telescopes. An exploration of the region in penetrating infrared light has detected emerging and newly formed stars whose average age is estimated to be a mere 300,000 years. That's extremely young compared to the Sun's age of 5 billion years. The prominent reddish nebula at the lower right surrounding the star Sigma Scorpii is a reflection nebula produced by dust scattering starlight. This view from WISE spans almost 2 degrees and covers about 14 light-years at the estimated distance of the Rho Ophiuchi cloud. "

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China’s Ghost Cities

4:06:30 PM, Friday, April 15, 2011
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The Atlantic, In Focus: Libya's Shifting Civil War

3:17:21 PM, Friday, April 15, 2011

"For the past couple of months, Libyan rebels have been advancing and retreating along a dangerous coastal highway in their battle with forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. NATO airstrikes have reportedly helped the rebels, despite several reported "friendly-fire" incidents. Qaddafi retains a strong hold on much of western Libya, where the rebel military effort appears to be shifting more to guerrilla tactics. Last night, Qaddafi accepted a cease-fire proposal brought to him by an African Union delegation, but rebel forces claim that they will not negotiate unless Qaddafi steps down. Several journalists are currently unaccounted for in Libya, some of whom are thought to be detained by the Libyan government, including Clare Morgana Gillis, a U.S. citizen who has reported from Libya for TheAtlantic.com and USA Today. Collected here are scenes from the country over the past several weeks."

-- Some really powerful photography, follow the links for the rest.

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RAF Typhoon Jets Draw MPs' Flak Over £20bn Price Tag

2:56:56 PM, Friday, April 15, 2011

"Despite years of delays and soaring costs, Typhoon fighters – the RAF's latest fast jet – are suffering from a shortage of spares, with planes being cannibalised and pilots grounded, according to a Commons investigation.

The aircraft, originally called the Eurofighter in a joint project with Germany, Italy and Spain, was conceived in the cold war when the Ministry of Defence ordered 232. The RAF will end up having fewer than half that number from a project in which the cost of each plane has increased by 75% to £126m each.

The overall project is costing £20.2bn, £3.5bn more than first expected, says the report by MPs on the Commons cross-party public accounts committee. The RAF has had to spend an extra £2.7bn buying 16 additional aircraft it does not need to honour contractual commitments to other countries producing the planes. In 2019, it will scrap more than 50 Typhoon jets that became operational only three years ago to a cost of more than £4.5bn because it cannot afford to update them.

The RAF is experiencing difficulties now as its priority is to adapt as many planes as possible for a ground attack role. "Problems with the availability of spares mean that Typhoons are not flying the hours required and the department is forced to cannibalise parts," the MPs say in the report.

"As a result, it is not fully training all its pilots, and only eight of the 48 Typhoon pilots were capable of undertaking ground attack missions on Typhoon. In addition, the [MoD] had to ground five pilots temporarily in 2010."

The problem is likely to be exacerbated as Typhoons are used in a wider range of operational roles, today's report says..."

-- Apparently we're not the only ones building over-priced jets.

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Exploding Hydrogen Bombs in Space

2:29:08 PM, Friday, April 15, 2011

-- Short video produced by NPR about the 1962 event when the U.S. government exploded an H-bomb 1000x more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb in outer space.

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