Archive for December, 2012

Video of eagle trying to take toddler a hoax?

Mothers were warned against listening to The Steve Miller Band's "Fly Like An Eagle." (YouTube)

Mothers were warned against listening to The Steve Miller Band's "Fly Like An Eagle." (YouTube)

UPDATE: Definite hoax by film students.

Original column follows: Video hoaxes are older than the Internet (see Bigfoot), but video editing technology is so good now that it is getting difficult to separate online fiction from reality.

Tuesday, someone posted a video on YouTube of an eagle allegedly nabbing a child in a Montreal (that’s in Canada) park.

In real time, it looks very real. The eagle swoops down and lifts the unsuspecting child a couple feet off the ground before dropping the babe largely unharmed to the turf.

The cameraman captures the moment of liftoff, but the camera loses focus as he rushes to the alleged rescue.

Skeptics say the video can’t be real. One animal expert says the bird is not a golden eagle, as is alleged, but is an osprey. I don’t see how the species of the bird disproves the video.

But other folks with more time on their hands (and eagle eyesight) say …

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Westboro Baptist hacked for planned Sandy Hook protests

newtown-shrineTwitter has suspended an account linked to Westboro Baptist Church, either for messages detailing the group’s plan to picket the funerals of those killed Friday in the Connecticut school shootings or because the account has been hacked by the group Anonymous.

The URL for Westboro’s Twitter feed only says the account of  church spokesman Shirley Phelps-Roper has been suspended.

Phelps-Roper, hours after the shootings in Newtown, Conn., tweeted “‘Westboro will picket Sandy Hook Elementary School to sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment.”

Westboro Baptist, which has just a handful of members in Topeka, Kan., has been in the news before, of course. It first gained notoriety for anti-gay protests at the funerals of U.S. soldiers.

Anonymous hackers must have been displeased, reports are the group hacked the church’s website — — and took control of Phelps-Roper’s @DearShirley Twitter account. reports the hack is the …

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Preppers prep for ‘End of World’ Friday

Proof the world will not end in 2012.

Proof the world will not end in 2012.

As the Mayan End of the World approaches, Russians are hoarding matches and torches like they’re forming a D&D raiding party.

“People are buying candles saying the end of the world is coming,” Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said in a Guardian article. “Does no one realize that once the end of the world comes, candles won’t help them?”

The Russians are not alone, of course.

According to a Reuters survey of 16,000 people in 21 countries, at least 10 percent of the population is genuinely concerned that we’ll all be annihilated on Dec. 21, the day one Mayan calendar ends. Other Mayan calendars say nothing unusual will occur in 2012.

“Preppers,” folks who hoard food, ammo and whatever else they think they will need during whatever apocalypse they have conjured, are located all over the world, including the U.S.

Heck, there’s even a TV show about them, Doomsday Preppers, on the National Geographic Channel.

The American Preppers Network

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Homemade Syrian tank uses video game controller

A damaged poster of Syrian President Bashar Assad. (AP)

A damaged poster of Syrian President Bashar Assad. (AP)

“War never changes,” the saying goes, but the implements of destruction certainly do.

Rebels in Syria working to topple dictator President Bashar Assad have slapped together a homemade tank that uses a video game controller to aim its machine gun. Hit up Agence France-Presse for a picture.

A crew of two controls the SUV-sized vehicle. One steers with a wheel like you’d find in a car. The other aims the forward-mounted gun with the PlayStation-styled controller.

Five cameras attached to flatscreen TV show the video gamers … I mean rebels … what is going on outside.

The homegrown “Sham II” hasn’t been used in battle yet, but I wonder if Sham I was controlled with a Wiimote?

I’m not sure I’d want to go into battle in a $10,000 homemade tank, but you have to credit the rebels for thinking outside the metal, wheeled box.

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‘Faces of Meth’ ad a shocking look at drug use

facesmethThe “Faces of Meth” — before and after police mugshots of drug users that depict the effects of methamphetamine on the human body — debuted eight years ago this month. It has aged a lot better than the folks using the drug.

A new ad has just been released and the pictures will horrify you. I’ve used one of the least shocking photos at right.

Many Americans learned most of what they know about meth from the TV crime drama “Breaking Bad.” In the acclaimed TV series, a high school chemistry teacher makes the drug in a home lab and begins selling it, raking in millions and running afoul of organized crime.

That’s what makes the drug so hard to control. Almost anyone can make it using common chemicals.

Making meth is dangerous. Toxic gasses are created and homemade labs have been known to explode.

Using meth is even worse. Whether injected, snorted or smoked, meth affects the central nervous system, creating a temporary high. It also creates brain damage and in a matter of months …

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