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June 13, 2013

This hotel keeps killing people with a carbon monoxide leak, keeps renting the room

Dudes, you should probably get that fixed. How Three People Died Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning In The Same Motel Room, Six Weeks Apart – Consumerist
Back in April, an elderly couple died while staying in a Best Western motel in North Carolina. The local medical examiner couldn’t find a clear cause of death. The motel continued renting the room to others until last week, when an 11-year-old boy died and his mother was rushed to the hospital. The cause? Carbon monoxide poisoning from the pool heater. Here’s the galling part: while waiting for toxicology results, motel management just kept renting out the room to other guests. If management had some something wacky like hold off on renting that room until the results came back, maybe no one else would have died. The Charlotte Observer, hometown newspaper of the 11-year-old, reporters learned that in other jurisdictions, blood tests for carbon monoxide poisoning come back in a matter of hours, not weeks. The room in question happens to be right over the motel’s mechanical room. Carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless, deadly gas, seeped into the room through either the air conditioner or the gas fireplace vents. Officials believe that the gas came from the pool heater. Fire codes dictate that new houses built in North Carolina need carbon monoxide detectors, but they’re not required in motels. No staff from the medical examiner’s office visited the scene in April, and local emergency responders don’t carry equipment to detect carbon monoxide. Blood test results would have showed that the elderly couple in April died of carbon monoxide poisoning. They were kicking off a three-week vacation, but died within hours of each other instead. The family didn’t believe that both parents, who were active and in good health, died of abrupt and simultaneous heart attacks. “Do you know how mad I am right now? Why are they still renting out this room?” their son asked reporters after learning about the child’s death in the same room. . . .

May 29, 2013

Parents, don't let your teenagers carve their names into priceless ancient artifacts

Teenager Carves His Own Name Into 3,500-Year-Old Egyptian Relic
A family in Nanjing, China, was left embarrassed and apologetic after their 15-year-old son was found to have defaced an ancient Egyptian relic with the phrase "Ding Jinhao was here." A photo of the 3,500-year-old Luxor temple relic and the teenager's contribution was posted by another tourist to the Chinese social networking site Weibo last Friday. It sparked significant outrage, which led to a massive "human flesh search" for the boy's identity. He was eventually tracked down to a middle school in the Jiangsu Province capital, and reporters soon arrived in droves to interview the boy's family.

May 23, 2013

Operation Swill: New Jersey bars caught selling rubbing alcohol labeled as scotch

NJ - Caramel-Colored Rubbing Alcohol Sold as Scotch - NYTimes.com
TRENTON, N.J. — At one bar, a mixture that included rubbing alcohol and caramel coloring was sold as scotch. In another, premium liquor bottles were refilled with water — and apparently not even clean water at that. State officials provided those new details Thursday on raids they conducted a day earlier as part of a yearlong investigation dubbed Operation Swill. Twenty-nine New Jersey bars and restaurants, including 13 TGI Fridays, were accused of substituting cheap booze — or worse — for the good stuff while charging premium prices. As part of Operation Swill, investigators collected 1,000 open bottles of vodka, gin, rum, scotch, whiskey and tequila from the wells of the bars, state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said. "This alleged scheme is a dishonest ruse to increase profits and is a slap in the face of the consumer," Chiesa said. Within seven days, the establishments must turn over records to help state authorities determine how many patrons were overcharged and by how much. They also will have to inform the state which employees were at work the days samples were covertly taken earlier this year.

May 18, 2013

The Koch Bros. have dumped a mountain of toxic waste on Detroit's waterfront

This mountain of toxic coke began in November. This is six months of Canadian tar sands processing. Mountain of Petroleum Coke From Oil Sands Rises in Detroit - NYTimes.com
WINDSOR, Ontario — Assumption Park gives residents of this city lovely views of the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit skyline. Lately they’ve been treated to another sight: a three-story pile of petroleum coke covering an entire city block on the other side of the Detroit River. . . . Marathon Petroleum’s plant in Detroit processes 28,000 barrels a day of the oil sands bitumen. . . . “I’m not making a value statement, but it comes down to emission controls,” Mr. Routt said. “Other people don’t seem to have a problem, which is why it is going to Mexico, which is why it is going to China.” “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure,” he said. One of the world’s largest dealers of petroleum coke is the Oxbow Corporation, which sells about 11 million tons of fuel-grade coke a year. It is owned by William I. Koch, a brother of David and Charles. Lorne Stockman, who recently published a study on petroleum coke for the environmental group Oil Change International, says, “It’s really the dirtiest residue from the dirtiest oil on earth,” he said. . . .