Many other agencies rely on the data provided by the SSA, such as the IRS. People who have been wrongfully declared dead face many problems, such as rejection of tax returns, cancellation of health insurance, closure of bank accounts etc.
"The accuracy of death information is critical to SSA and its beneficiaries, as well as other federal, state and local government agencies," it said in a 2006 report. "Input of an erroneous death entry can lead to benefit termination and result in financial hardship for a beneficiary."
Apparently it is far easier to declare a person's death than it is to correct the mistake.
Social Security says an erroneous death record can be removed only when it is presented with proof that the original record was entered in error. The original error must be documented, and the deletion must be approved by a supervisor after "pertinent facts supporting reinstatement" are available in the system.
It appears that up until mid-2006 death records were openly available, but now they are classified as top-secret."
For the first time in U.S. history, more than one in every 100 adults are in jail or prison, according to a new report documenting America's rank as the world's No. 1 incarcerator. It urges states to curtail corrections spending by placing fewer low-risk offenders behind bars.
Using state-by-state data, the report says 2,319,258 Americans were in jail or prison at the start of 2008 — one in 99.1 adults. Whether per capita or in raw numbers, it's more than any other nation.
In contrast, in China there are 1.5 million prisoners and in Russia a mere 890,000."
superbrose writes: "Despite lots of legal difficulties regarding Internet privacy the UK government is going to punish ISPs for allowing their customers to download illegal music and films:
The government will on Friday tell internet service providers they will be hit with legal sanctions from April next year unless they take concrete steps to curb illegal downloads of music and films.
Britain would be one of the first countries in the world to impose such sanctions. Service providers say what the government wants them to do would be like asking the Royal Mail to monitor the contents of every envelope posted.
Apparently there is 'rampant piracy' with more than 6 million broadband users downloading files illegally every year."
superbrose writes: The New Scientist reports that scientists at the University of Alberta have found that the well known, widely available drug DCA kills cancer cells while leaving other cells in tact.
It sounds almost too good to be true: a cheap and simple drug that kills almost all cancers by switching off their "immortality". The drug, dichloroacetate (DCA), has already been used for years to treat rare metabolic disorders and so is known to be relatively safe.
the researchers don't know yet, but they believe that DCA may just kill all cancers. Clinical tests of cancer patients are planned. These will require money from charities, universities and governments, because pharmaceutical companies won't pay for a discovery that cannot be patented.
superbrose writes: In addition to Iran's recent decision to drop the US dollar in favour of the euro, it looks like there's another good reason to get paranoid. The Funny Money Report writes that
The United States Mint has implemented regulations to limit the exportation, melting, or treatment of one-cent (penny) and 5-cent (nickel) United States coins, to safeguard against a potential shortage of these coins in circulation. The United States Mint is soliciting public comment on the interim rule, which is being published in the Federal Register.
Currently the face value of these coins is lower than the value of their metal content.
superbrose writes: The Portuguese Expresso reports that World Peace is going to become reality on Winter Solstice Day (Dec 22, 2006). Everybody is going to contribute through sheer pleasure, at the same time. By what means, you may ask? A global synchronised orgasm for world peace.
According to the article, a non-governmental organisation called Global Orgasm is trying to get the largest possible number of people to have an orgasm at the same time whilst devoting their thoughts to World Peace.
From the Global Orgasm website:
The results show that human consciousness can be measured to have a global effect on matter and energy during widely-watched events such as 9/11 and the Indian Ocean tsunami. There have also been measurable results during mass meditations and prayers.
To aid synchronisation, a countdown timer has been installed on the Global Orgasm website.