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  1.  (10727.1)
    One of my greatest aims is to make Whitechapel a nexus for Desirable Information.

    Memes, virals, that which makes you laugh, that which makes your bowels weep; anything found or scavenged online which has no informative value: that stuff will continue to go in “Around The Net.” I’ll be updating that once every four weeks too.

    This…? This is for everything else.

    News Stories. Mad Science. Horrific Nature. Metaphysical madness.

    Here is where we gorge ourselves on the creamy clostrum of Information. Here is where we nuzzle at the red-raw teat of the Up-To-Date Dataweb. Bring me the light of your Weird Wisdom and your New News.

    (Anything of particular interest, go ahead and create new threads in this category to delve deeper.)
    • CommentAuthorWood
    • CommentTimeJun 21st 2012
    Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn is making a Barbarella TV series

    This has the potential to be very good.

    Although to me, nicolas Winding Refn will always be the man who made the Pusher Trilogy, not just "Drive director".
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2012 edited
    BLDGBLG has a fascinating look at how Switzerland's national infrastructure (bridges, railways, road, tunnels, mountain passes etc) has been weaponized in case of invasion.

    To interrupt the utility of bridges, tunnels, highways, railroads, Switzerland has established three thousand points of demolition. That is the number officially printed. It has been suggested to me that to approximate a true figure a reader ought to multiply by two. Where a highway bridge crosses a railroad, a segment of the bridge is programmed to drop on the railroad. Primacord fuses are built into the bridge. Hidden artillery is in place on either side, set to prevent the enemy from clearing or repairing the damage.

    Near the German border of Switzerland, every railroad and highway tunnel has been prepared to pinch shut explosively. Nearby mountains have been made so porous that whole divisions can fit inside them. There are weapons and soldiers under barns. There are cannons inside pretty houses. Where Swiss highways happen to run on narrow ground between the edges of lakes and to the bottoms of cliffs, man-made rockslides are ready to slide.
    • CommentAuthorflecky
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2012
    @Wood: Pusher is a good film. I need to watch the other two.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2012
    Hitler was apparently obsessed with invading Switzerland - a multilinguistic, multicultural, mercantile, neutralist nation where the German-speakers lived on terms of peace and equality with their Italian-speaking and French-speaking compatriots was pretty much the embodiment of everything he hated.

    After the fall of France, his generals only just managed to talk him out of it, mainly by pointing out that the Swiss defenses were so good it'd require an invasion force the size of the one the Germans sent into Russia a little bit later and would preclude any other major German offensives for six months to a year.

    After World War II, the Swiss were still so suspicious of Germany that they had a secret nuclear weapons program. They never actually built, much less tested a bomb, but they had all the plans and materiel ready to do exactly that. That program actually survived right up until the 1990s. it was dusted off and updated after German reunification.
  2.  (10727.6)
    Only an idiot fucks with the Swiss.
    • CommentAuthorWood
    • CommentTimeJun 23rd 2012
    Chinese Woman Forcibly Aborted for Failure to Pay Fine (WARNING : THAT LINK IS PRETTY GRAPHIC)

    This is pretty horrible, even for Whitechapel, so I'm just gonna hide that quote. Read at your own risk

    In China on June 3, 2012, a young pregnant Feng Jianmei was forcibly aborted of her 7 month old baby after failing to pay RMB 40,000 in fines for violating China’s One-Child Policy.

    Chinese Family Planning Officials waited until Feng was alone and her husband was at work. They then beat her and dragged her into a vehicle, took her to a hospital, and forced her to sign an abortion consent form by inking her thumb and pressing it to the form.

    The officials then had the doctors inject a toxin into the unborn baby’s brain, which eventually caused the baby to pass. ”I could feel the baby jumping around inside me all the time, but then she went still,” the mother recounted.

    “They covered her head with a pillowcase. She couldn’t do anything because they were restraining her,” the husband stated.

    Feng gave birth to the deceased baby the following day, which they then laid next to her on her hospital bed.
    • CommentTimeJun 24th 2012
    Forced sterilisations and abortions have been part of China's policy in mainland China and Tibet for some time. It's a bloody disgrace. I can't find the link but I remember a particularly shocking account from one Tibertan woman, on a BBC doc, about how she underwent forced sterilisation with no anaethetic and only primitive medical equipment. It's well documented, happens regularly, but we in the West choose to ignore it because of our trade links with the Chinese. The policy shows how little regard the Chinese authorities have for human life and suffering, and how little that matters because so much of our economy depends on them. They have been committing genocide in Tibet for years, but apparently it matters very little to the rest of the world because it is a slow, creeping genocide, not a massive, industrialised one. Every time I pass the adverts for Pandas at Edinburgh zoo, for which the Scottish government paid millions to the Chinese, I feel deeply ashamed.Their policies on population control, specifically the way they are enforced, are perhaps the most appalling crimes taking place in the world today.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJun 24th 2012 edited
    On paper, the One Child Policy has been greatly modiefed in the last decade or so and ethnic minorities (including Tibetans) are supposed to be exempt.

    The problem is local officials still use it as an excuse to extort illegal "fines" from people.
    • CommentTimeJun 24th 2012
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJun 24th 2012 edited
    Morac: as to whether that's a good thing or a bad thing, ask me again in a couple of years.
    • CommentTimeJun 24th 2012
    From the way my Egyptian co-worker reports it, there is no way any of the possible outcomes could have been good.
    • CommentTimeJun 24th 2012
    Colorado is currently being razed by wildfires. There is one such fire slowly creeping toward my house, but my neighborhood hasn't been evacuated, and it doesn't seem likely to jump the ridge to get close enough. Still nervewracking.

    I put this together yesterday to give my friends and family some perspective about it. What I haven't yet told them is that the fire has crept a lot closer since yesterday. It's now about a mile away. But the Air Force is scrambling some planes together to douse the fireline, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

    • CommentTimeJun 24th 2012
    I was poking around nuclear things for, erm, "research", when I stumbled across this article written last year around the time of the whole Japan earthquake/nuclear reactor thing. Lessons from Chernobyl for Japan.
  3.  (10727.15)
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2012
    In other news: recently discovered the ONLY SCIENTISTS IN THE WORLD who haven't seen Planet of the Apes.
  4.  (10727.17)
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2012
    Google has launched its own tablet to compete with the iPad and the Kindle Fire. (Actually at a $199 price point and a 7' screen size it seems mostly to be aimed at competing with the Fire.)

    Between this and the Microsoft surface, we can expect a lot of competition in the Tablet market. Amazon is rumored to be considering dropping the price of the Fire to $150.
    • CommentTimeJun 26th 2012
    • CommentAuthorWood
    • CommentTimeJun 27th 2012
    German court rules cicumcision is 'bodily harm'

    A court in Germany has ruled that circumcising young boys for religious reasons amounts to bodily harm.

    In a decision that has caused outrage among Jewish and Muslim groups, the court said that a child's right to physical integrity trumps religious and parental rights.

    The case involved a doctor who carried out a circumcision on a four year-old that led to medical complications.

    Although male circumcision - unlike female circumcision - is not illegal in Germany, the court's judgement said the "fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents".

    Circumcision, it decided, contravenes "interests of the child to decide later in life on his religious beliefs".

    The doctor involved in the case was acquitted and the ruling is not binding, but correspondents say it sets a precedent that would be taken into account by other German courts.