Saturday on Earth

The Salt Lake Tribune endorsed President Obama for reelection Friday, with an editorial that was highly critical of Republican challenger Mitt Romney, the adopted ‘favorite son’ candidate for Utah. A vicious shunning of the paper by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will inevitably ensue.

Syria is the prime suspect in car-bomb assassination of Lebanese intelligence head Wissam al-Hassan, a high-profile al-Assad foe. A Syrian-directed car-bomb also killed Rafiq Hariri, the influential former prime minister, in 2005.  Outrage over Hariri’s death triggered protests that helped drive out the Syrian troops that had occupied Lebanon for nearly three decades. Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said Saturday the explosion is linked to al-Hassan’s recent investigation, in which he exposed an alleged plot by Syria to unleash a campaign of bombings and assassinations to sow chaos in Lebanon.

Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA), serial dickhead, has once again sacrificed national security for party politics, by disclosing the identities of several Libyans working with the U.S. government. Once again, “Attention GOP: this stuff is secret, so keep your idiotic blatherings private!”.

Ever heard of a “Stingray”? Also known as an IMSI spoofer, these systems covertly dupe all cellular phones within a specific area into hopping onto a fake network, where their encryption can be disabled and unique identity codes revealed that can be used to track a person’s movements in real time. The FBI would like to keep them a secret, but the Electronic Privacy Information Center is taking legal action to force the prompt disclosure of Bureau records concerning Stingray devices and their use. Security researcher Chris Padgett publicly demonstrated the technique in 2010, and a DIY drone-based platform for cell site spoofing and WiFi sniffing was demonstrated in 2011.

Two men in Rome have stumbled onto an ancient Roman tomb while trying to retrieve a runaway cat. “The cat managed to get into a grotto and we followed the sound of its miaowing,” he said. Inside the small opening in the cliff the two men found themselves surrounded by niches dug into the rock similar to those used by the Romans to hold funeral urns, while what appeared to be human bones littered the floor. Archaeologists called to the scene said the tomb probably dated from between the 1st century BC and the 2nd century AD. The cat, of course, gets no credit by name at all. Typical.

Learning from the chaotic multiple chargers required by the proliferation of cell phones, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has voted to adopt the J1772 Revision B combo plug as the standard plug for use in electric and hybrid vehicles sold worldwide. Hallelujah! A breath of sanity!

Good news for Science: radiocarbon dating just got more accurate, thanks to Japanese lake sediments.

On a sad note: “Big Tex”, the beloved 52-foot-tall cowboy who’s watched over the State Fair of Texas for decades, caught fire Friday morning and was quickly burnt to a crisp. He was 60. Fans of ‘Tex-kitsch’ around the world mourn his passing.


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2 Responses to “Saturday on Earth”

  1. Todd Roper Says:

    There are some progressives in Utah!

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