__roo writes "In a bizarre case of life imitates the Simpsons, New York City officials introduced a population of opossums into Brooklyn parks and under the boardwalk at Coney Island, apparently convinced that the opossums would eat all of the rats in the borough and then conveniently die of starvation. Several years later, the opossums have not only failed to eliminate the rat epidemic from New York City, but they have thrived, turning into a sharp-toothed, foul-odored epidemic of their own."
An anonymous reader writes "Last week several defendants including one high-profile TV presenter were sentenced in Portugal in what has been known as the Casa Pia scandal. The judges delivered on September 3 a summary of the 2000-page verdict, which would be disclosed in full only three days later. The disclosure of the full verdict has been postponed from September 8 to a yet-to-be-announced date, allegedly because the full document was written in several MS Word files which, when merged together, retained 'computer related annotations which should not be present in any legal document.' (Google translated article.) Microsoft specialists were called in to help the judges sort out the 'text formatting glitch,' while the defendants and their lawyers eagerly wait to access the full text of the verdict."
In a decision that was reversed as soon as someone with half a brain in their PR department learned about it, Verizon charged a widow a $350 early termination fee. After the death of her marine husband, Michaela Brummund decided to move back to her home town to be with her family. Verizon doesn't offer any coverage in the small town so Michaela tried to cancel her contract, only to be hit with an early termination fee. From the article: "'I called them to cancel. I told them the situation with my husband. I even said I would provide a death certificate,' Michaela said."
An unnamed man flying from Nigeria to New York City found out he was added to a no-fly list somewhere above the Atlantic Ocean, when the plane stopped to refuel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Officials won't say what he did or why he was added to the list after he had already boarded a flight. He was not immediately charged with a crime and Customs and Border Protection will only say that he is a "potential person of interest." From the article: "The man, a citizen of Gambia, was not on the no-fly list when he boarded the aircraft in Dakar, Senegal, said a US official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly."
Amanda Flowers always liked her Wii Fit but now she can't get enough of it. Amanda claims a fall from her balance board damaged a nerve and has left her suffering from persistent sexual arousal syndrome. From the article: "The catering worker said: 'It began as a twinge down below before surging through my body. Sometimes it built up into a trembling orgasm.' A doctor diagnosed her with persistent sexual arousal syndrome due to a damaged nerve."
separsons writes "Scientists at the University of South Carolina recently transformed ordinary T-shirts into bulletproof armor. By splicing cotton with boron, the third hardest material on the planet, scientists created a shirt that was super elastic but also strong enough to deflect bullets. Xiaodong Li, lead researcher on the project, says the same tech may eventually be used to create lightweight, fuel-efficient cars and aircrafts."
alphadogg writes "Analysis from Georgia Institute of Technology of college newspaper egg donor ads showed that higher payments offered to egg donors correlated with higher SAT scores. 'Holding all else equal, an increase of 100 SAT points in the score of a typical incoming student increased the compensation offered to oocyte donors at that college or university by $2,350,' writes researcher Aaron D. Levine in a paper published in the March-April issue of the Hastings Center Report. Concerned about eggs being treated as commodities, and worried that big financial rewards could entice women to ignore the risks of the rigorous procedures required for harvesting, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine discourages compensation based on donors' personal characteristics. The society also discourages any payments over $10,000."
krou writes "After food activist and author Raj Patel appeared on The Colbert Report to promote his latest book, things seemed to be going well, until he began to get inundated with emails asking if he was 'the world teacher.' In events ripped straight from The Life of Brian, it would seem that Raj Patel's life story ticks all the boxes necessary to fulfill prophecies made by Benjamin Creme, founder of religious sect Share International. After the volume of emails and inquiries got worse, Patel eventually wrote a message on his website stating categorically that he was not the Messiah. Sure enough, 'his denial merely fanned the flames for some believers. In a twist ripped straight from the script of the comedy classic, they said that this disavowal, too, had been prophesied.'"
dogbolter writes "South Australian Attorney General, Michael Atkinson, infamous for the banning of R18+ rated games and the censoring of political comment in Australia, has quit. The recent South Australian election provided a massive swing against Atkinson's governing labor party. As a direct result of the South Australian election result, he is standing down. Hopefully someone with half a clue will assume the vacant post and overturn the decision to ban adult oriented computer games."
indiavision writes "A host of young Japanese are drawn to the allure of 'therapeutic ringtones' — a genre of melodies that promises to ease a range of day-to-day gripes, from chronic insomnia to a rotten hangover. Developed by Matsumi Suzuki, the head of the Japan Ringing Tone Laboratory, an eight-year-old subsidiary of the Japan Acoustic Laboratory, the tones are a hit with housewives as well as teenagers."
Kanan excerpts from a BBC report out of Scotland: "A study of sexually scrambled chickens suggests that sex in birds is determined in a radically different way from that in mammals. Researchers studied three chickens that appeared to be literally half-male and half-female, and found that nearly every cell in their bodies — from wattle to toe — has an inherent sex identity. This cell-by-cell sex orientation contrasts sharply with the situation in mammals, in which organism-wide sex identity is established through hormones." Kanan also supplies this link to some pictures of the mixed-cell birds.
I don't mind a visual re-branding, but the angular logo contrasts heavily with the rounded edges of the UI. Seems like a poor aesthetic choice IMHO.
jimjimovich writes "One new feature in Ubuntu 10.04 that caught my attention is the Desktop in the Cloud project. Ubuntu already has great EC2 support, and it's getting even better. Now you can launch Ubuntu Desktop instances on EC2 and connect to them with an NX client."
eldavojohn writes "Kotaku is running an investigative piece examining what internet censorship means for games in Australia. Australia has some of the most draconian video game attitudes in the world, and the phrase 'refused classification' should strike fear in game developers and publishers looking to market games there. Internet censorship may expand this phrase to mean that anybody hosting anything about the game may suffer censorship in AU. Kotaku notes, 'This means that if a game is refused classification (RC) in Australia — like, say, NFL Blitz, or Getting Up — content related to these games would be added to the ISP filter. [This would bring up] a range of questions, foremost of those being: what happens when an otherwise harmless website ... hosts material from those games (screenshots, trailers, etc) that is totally fine in the US or Japan or Europe, but that has been refused classification in Australia?' Kotaku received a comment from the Australian Department of Broadband Communication promising that the whole website won't be blocked, just the material related to the game (videos, images, etc). Imagine maintaining that blacklist!"
An anonymous reader writes "Homeopathic remedies work no better than placebos, and so should no longer be paid for by the UK National Health Service, a committee of British members of parliament has concluded. In preparing its report, the committee, which scrutinizes the evidence behind government policies, took evidence from scientists and homeopaths, and reviewed numerous reports and scientific investigations into homeopathy. It found no evidence that such treatments work beyond providing a placebo effect." Updated 201025 19:40 GMT by timothy: This recommendation has some people up in arms.