Archive for February, 2012

New Google privacy rules March 1

Google’s privacy rules change March 1, and you know what that means. Starting Thursday, you won’t be able to search for Captain & Tennille lyrics without being spammed relentlessly about where to buy a muskrat fur coat.

The new privacy policy changes will help Google services work together to sell you stuff.

The new privacy policy changes will help Google services work together to sell you stuff. (Image by Google)

Or maybe not.

According to respected computer nerds, the new rules don’t change what information Google is harvesting. What’s changing is that Google’s multiple services (search, Gmail, YouTube, et al) now use the same privacy policy, and all the information gleaned from your web travels is now compiled into one profile usable by all Google services.

Thus, if you send your buddy Bob a Gmail about how much you enjoyed test driving a new Mazda, you may start seeing more car ads when you log onto YouTube. In this example, before the changes you’d have only seen personalized new cars ads when using Gmail.

Personally, I am not freaked out by the amount of …

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Meth user burns 5th oldest tree in the world

Four out of five dentists agree — smoking meth in a tree is as rough on the environment as it is on teeth.

Sarah Barnes, 26, is charged with burning tree, 3,500.

Sarah Barnes, 26, is charged with burning tree, 3,500.

Need proof? Consider the sorrowful tale of 26-year-old Sarah Barnes, arrested Tuesday in Florida for burning down the fifth oldest tree in the world, reports WFTV in Orlando.

Barnes has admitted starting the fire and is charged with meth possession with intent to sell and arson.

Police say she and a friend clambered into a 118-foot-tall bald cypress Jan. 16 and allegedly smoked meth. Since it was dark, Barnes is alleged to have lit a fire so she could see.

Somehow, the calm, dextrous hands of a meth user led to a blaze that burned the 3,500-year-old plant “from the inside out.”

The night of the blaze, firefighters ran a mile of hose in a desperate attempt to save the tree, reports wesh.com.

“I can’t believe I burned down a tree older then Jesus,” Barnes is alleged to have said to friends while showing them pictures …

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Vanity plate leads to $20,000 in tickets

Cleverness is its own  reward punishment.

Fortunately for cash-strapped parents, Georgia's plan to require giant license plates on small children went nowhere.

Fortunately for cash-strapped parents, Georgia's plan to require giant license plates on small children went nowhere.

A D.C.-area man, who, in an attempt at humor dared get a personalized license plate reading “NO-TAGS,” has been rewarded with $20,000 in traffic tickets, reports NBCwashington.com.

Jovial Redskins fan Danny White alleges he gets the bill whenever police come across a car without a license plate and write “No Tags” on the ticket.

White says he spends one day every few months hacking and slashing at the red tape his joke, and government bureaucracy, has created.

His driving record is so maimed by the wrongful tickets he can’t get his license or registration renewed, reports Channel 4.

I’m still trying to get ParkAtlanta to admit they double-ticketed me in August 2011, so I feel his pain.

The DMV, despite realizing they are wasting thousands of taxpayer dollars mailing tickets to the wrong motorist, seems unwilling to fix …

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The gift that keeps on giving: Untreatable VD

Valentine’s Day is here, love is in the air and untreatable gonorrhea isn’t far behind, according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control.

It would be wrong to assume either of these people has gonorrhea. (AP Photo)

It would be wrong to assume either of these people has gonorrhea. (AP Photo)

USnews.com reports gonorrhea, one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases, is rapidly overcoming even the latest, strongest antibiotics.

Gail Bolan, director of the CDC’s sexually transmitted disease prevention program, delivers the bad news in The New England Journal of Medicine:  ”The wily gonococcus has become less susceptible to our last line of antimicrobial defense, threatening our ability to cure gonorrhea.”

How quickly is “the clap” bacterium becoming unkillable? About 1.7 percent of gonorrhea is now resistant to cephalosporins, the wonder drug du jour. In 2006, only 0.1 percent was resistant. I wish my 401(k) grew like a vengeful diplococci bacteria.

There’s no miracle cure in the offing.

“I’m not aware of any new drugs in the pipeline,” …

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Onion article makes congressman weep

It’s hard to take an Onion article seriously, but it’s even harder if you do and you’re a U.S. congressman.

U.S. Rep. John Fleming

U.S. Rep. John Fleming

TheAtlanticWire.com reports the unfortunate turn of events for U.S. Rep. John Fleming (R-Louisiana) who is alleged to have taken as legit an Onion article bearing the headline “Planned Parenthood Opens $8 billion Abortionplex.”

Fleming, or his staff, posted a link to the article on his Facebook page with the message “More on Planned Parenthood, abortion by the wholesale.”

A Facebook commenter quickly opined — “The Onion is satire. How exactly did you get elected?”

Fleming’s spokesperson told Politico.com the post had been removed from Facebook but had no further comment.

The Abortionplex article is not new, it first appeared in 2011, but the article was making the rounds again in wake of the Susan G. Komen/Planned Parenthood imbroglio.

It’s also not new that Onion articles are taken way too seriously.

In 2002, one of China’s most popular newspapers …

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Joke of the Year pokes fun at eye ailment

The British are good at many things: making beer, the idolatry of royalty, parliamentary put-downs and humor.

David Mitchell and Robert Webb, stars of UK comedy hit Peep Show.

David Mitchell and Robert Webb, stars of UK comedy hit Peep Show.

For an island nation roughly the size of Michigan, they’ve cranked out a lot of history and laughs. [See Peep Show, not Benny Hill]

So, when our allies proclaim a one-liner as Joke of the Year, the world best pay attention.

The winning witticism? “Conjunctivitis.com – that’s a site for sore eyes.”

I’ll give you a moment to recover from that knee-slapper.

Ready for some more?

Comedian Tim Vine, creator of the aforementioned quip, also scored big in 2010 with this gem: “I’ve just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I’ll tell you what, never again.”

What jokes did Vine beat out in this year’s Loaded Laftas comedy awards?

The Week recaps the competition:

  • Jimmy Carr: “I know a couple who get on like a house on fire. They both feel trapped and are slowly suffocating to death.”
  • Sarah Millican: “My mother …

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Nude men abandon transatlantic paddle boat quest, again

What separates man from beast is not the opposable thumb. Even ‘possums have those, after all.

Dutch sailor Laura Dekker is less educated than the nude paddle boat crew, but selected a proper boat when sailing around the world alone. (AP Photo/Stephan Kogelman)

Dutch sailor Laura Dekker selected a proper boat for her 'round the world voyage. (AP Photo/Stephan Kogelman)

No, what makes humans truly unique in the animal kingdom is the ability to dream brave dreams, vanquish new, uncharted realms (cue Star Trek theme music) and boldly go where no naked pair of paddle boaters has ever gone before.

Such is the tale of clothing-challenged co-captains Kieran Sweeney, 26, and Callum MacDonald, 25, who hail from some place in England I’ve never heard of.

The BBC reports Tuesday that Sweeney and MacDonald were forced to abandon their quest of paddling a boat naked across the Atlantic Ocean, which is really big.

Food (not sun) poisoning and a helicopter rescue halted the noble mission, the BBC reports.

Also, the handmade 22-foot watercraft was getting slammed by waves reminiscent of “getting hit by a small car.”

The engineers, who prefer to boat nude …

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Georgia farmer considers retirement after rabid cow attack

Farming is tough business.

Area cows have donated a nice recliner for the farmer's recovery. (Unrelated AP Photo)

Area cows have donated a nice recliner for the farmer's recovery. (Unrelated AP Photo)

Droughts, weeds and bugs all conspire against the modern husbandman.

And don’t forget the threat of 900-pound rabid farm animals. The Associated Press reports a Georgia farmer “in his early 70s” is considering retiring from his ancient profession after being attacked by a rabid cow.

Raymond Parks, of the Maysville area, located about 60 miles northeast of Atlanta on I-85, said he feared he would not survive the assault — a violent head-butting that threw him into a barbed wire fence.

Parks suffered broken ribs, but told WXIA TV he was still able to blast the unnamed and unarmed cow three times with his shotgun. Still, the animal didn’t die and a veterinarian was called several days later to put the animal out of its misery.

How did the animal contract rabies? The AP reports Parks’ Jackson County farm is near the spot where a rabid bobcat was recently …

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Woman professes love for Costa Concordia captain

The house arrest of the married sea captain believed responsible for an infamous shipping disaster just got a little less comfortable.

Domnica Cemortan

Domnica Cemortan

The New York Post reports “Costa Concordia blonde admits she is in love with Italy shipwreck captain.”

Something tells me the wife’s not going to be bringing him Capt. Francesco Schettino his morning espresso.

The blonde, aka Domnica Cemortan, was allegedly on the bridge of the cruise ship sipping wine when it hit rocks off the coast of Italy Jan. 13, sinking the $570-million ship and killing at least 17 passengers. Fifteen more passengers remain missing.

Cemortan, 24, is a former employee of the cruise ship company.

Schettino, 52, faces multiple charges of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship.

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