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Serial killer caught in Lansing

Police arrest suspected serial killer - Yahoo! News

LANSING, Mich. - A suspected serial killer has been arrested in the deaths of five women in the city in just over a month — and he is also connected to an assault on a woman whose dog ran the attacker off, police said.

. . .

Police had been looking for clues and help from the public in five homicides since late July, including two this week, in the state capital, a city of 114,000 about 75 miles northwest of Detroit.

A 56-year-old woman was attacked Tuesday in her home, but her dog heard the commotion and charged the man, who fled. Her injuries were not life threatening.

Police credited her with providing key details that helped focus their investigation and led to a sketch of a suspect, but they declined to discuss the circumstances of the arrest or any motive.

IBM does away with tracking employee vacation time

At I.B.M., a Vacation Anytime, or Maybe None - New York Times

This seems cool, provided that you can actually find time in your schedule for it. I've had jobs where if this was the policy my boss wouldn't have ever let me take vacation.

SOMERS, N.Y. — It’s every worker’s dream: take as much vacation time as you want, on short notice, and don’t worry about your boss calling you on it. Cut out early, make it a long weekend, string two weeks together — as you like. No need to call in sick on a Friday so you can disappear for a fishing trip. Just go; nobody’s keeping track.

That is essentially what goes on at I.B.M., one of the cornerstones of corporate America, where each of the 355,000 workers is entitled to three or more weeks of vacation. The company does not keep track of who takes how much time or when, does not dole out choice vacation times by seniority and does not let people carry days off from year to year.

Instead, for the past few years, employees at all levels have made informal arrangements with their direct supervisors, guided mainly by their ability to get their work done on time. Many people post their vacation plans on electronic calendars that colleagues can view online, and they leave word about how they can be reached in a pinch.

Gay marriage now legal in Iowa

Judge: Same-sex couples can wed in Iowa - Yahoo! News

DES MOINES, Iowa - A county judge struck down Iowa's decade-old gay marriage ban as unconstitutional Thursday and ordered local officials to process marriage licenses for six gay couples.

Gay couples from anywhere in Iowa could apply for a marriage license from Polk County under Judge Robert Hanson's ruling.

Less than two hours after word of the ruling was publicized, two Des Moines men applied for a license, the first time the county had accepted a same-sex application. The approval process takes three days.

August 30, 2007

Wikirage, tracking the anger of the internet

wikirage: What's hot now on wikipedia

What pages are being edited by the most number of users at any given time? Wikirage will tell you. Right now Richard Jewell, Houston, Larry Craig and the moon are hot topics.

7 Deserted Wonders of the Postmodern world

Web Urbanist -- Urban Abandonments (Part Two): 7 More Deserted Wonders of the Modern World

(2) Detroit, Michigan: The population of detroit has decreased by half over the past fifty years. Vast areas of land have been cleared in an effort to rid the city of its abandonments, but many structures still remain. Even landmark buildings of historical and architectural value have been demolished. People tend to think that all urban areas grow over time, but Detroit provides a striking counterexample.

What The Office did on their summer holiday

Dead Things ON Sticks: Is It Late September Yet?

Tanzanian sorcerer dies while contacting lake spirits

Tanzania sorcerer dies in failed underwater spirit stunt - Yahoo! Canada News

This feels like a bad omen, doesn't it?

DAR ES SALAAM (AFP) - A traditional medicine man in Tanzania drowned after jumping in a river and promising to resurface three days later with relevations from ancestral spirits, police said Tuesday.

The local witch doctor, named as Nyasio Alfonso, staged his ill-fated stunt last week at the village of Masingo in the western Mpanda district near Lake Tanganyika, Rukwa regional police commander Daudi Siadi told AFP.

Dozens of villagers chanted and drummed as the fortune-teller dived to confer with the riverine spirits, he said.

"The incident was reported to us by the village leadership on Sunday, four days after Alfonso threw himself into the river," he said. "His decomposing body was fished out several metres downstream."

Teamsters aim to block plan giving Mexican trucks more U.S. access

Teamsters aim to block plan giving Mexican trucks more U.S. access - CNN.com

I haven't heard a peep about this until now. Am I wrong, or is this a way to get non-unionized Mexican truckers for cheaper than American truckers?

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Teamsters Union said Wednesday it will ask a federal appeals court to block the Bush administration's plan to allow Mexican trucks to carry cargo anywhere in the United States.

The union said it has been told by officials in the Transportation Department's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that the first Mexican trucks will be coming across the border Saturday.

Teamsters leaders said they planned to seek an emergency injunction Wednesday from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

"What a slap in the face to American workers, opening the highways to dangerous trucks on Labor Day weekend, one of the busiest driving weekends of the year," said Teamsters President Jim Hoffa. . . .

Supporters of the plan say letting more Mexican trucks on U.S. highways will save American consumers hundreds of millions of dollars.

Labor and driver-owner groups have been fighting the measure -- part of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement -- since it was first proposed, saying the program will erode highway safety and eliminate U.S. jobs.

An epic tale of urine drinking, coal eating and brave miners

On a diet of coal, urine and grim jokes, brothers tunnel their way back to life | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited

An epic tale of urine drinking and coal eating has made modern Chinese heroes of two migrant miners who dug their way out of a collapsed tunnel, four days after they were given up for dead.

The survivors' tale of Meng Xianchen and Meng Xianyou is the talk of a nation that has grown used to grim stories of mining disasters as China races to boost its economy despite an enormous toll in human lives.

. . .

Xianyou told the Beijing News that the two men were devastated when they heard the digging stop above them, but maintained morale with jokes about what their wives would do after they died. "At first we believed we would be saved by the people outside - by our relatives and mining brothers. But when the sound stopped, we thought we could only wait for our family to call the emergency services so that the government could save us."

"I laughed too, I said my wife could find a rich man in Shenyang," Xianchen said. "But then I thought, I have two children and my wife is ugly, so it'd be hard for her to remarry."

Despite 20 years of mining experience, the brothers were confused about directions in the pitch black mine. Using a pick and their hands, they mistakenly dug three horizontal tunnels before starting the sharply rising, 20 metre one that eventually took them to the surface.

Italian scientists designing wall-crawling spidersuit

Scientist suggests super-sticky Spidey suit - CRN

A professor from the Polytechnic of Turin has developed a method for building a suit that could allow humans to cling to vertical surfaces like the comic book hero Spiderman.

The suit would use a similar principle used by geckos and spiders, which possess millions of tiny hairs on their limbs allowing them to stick to surfaces.

It is generally accepted that the microscopic hairs adhere to the surfaces, not by gripping in the traditional sense, but by using intermolecular phenomena called van der Waal forces, which are the same that allow an atom's protons not to burst apart.

Adhesion strength drops exponentially as the surface area and weight increases, so creating the same effect in a human-sized subject has been considered impossible.

However, Professor Nicola Pugno has calculated how sufficient stickiness could be generated in the same way to support an adult human's bodyweight.

This would be achieved by creating gloves and shoes coated in an hierarchical structure of carbon nanotubes to provide the same effect.

The grip of the gloves could be released with little effort by a peeling motion, which would break the adhesion little by little.

(via)

Space Fireworks

Space fireworks ::: Pink Tentacle

People in Japan this Saturday evening will be treated to a “space fireworks” show consisting of three balls of red light in the sky, each glowing as bright as the moon.

These luminous orbs will be the result of three clouds of lithium vapor released into the ionosphere by a rocket launched in an experiment to study the atmosphere. The red glow will be caused by sunlight striking the lithium vapor clouds as they disperse. “In the first few seconds after each lithium release, the light should become as large and bright as the moon,” says team member Masayuki Yamamoto, a professor at Kochi University of Technology.

Currently scheduled for Saturday (Sep 1, 2007) at 7:29 PM, the one and a half minute long space fireworks show will be most visible in western Japan at about 20 degrees above the southern horizon, but people in the Tokyo area may be able to see the light at about 10 degrees above the southwestern horizon.

Update: No progress in Iraq

Eschaton

Iraq has failed to meet all but three of 18 congressionally mandated benchmarks for political and military progress, according to a draft of a Government Accountability Office report. The document questions whether some aspects of a more positive assessment by the White House last month adequately reflected the range of views the GAO found within the administration.

The strikingly negative GAO draft, which will be delivered to Congress in final form on Tuesday, comes as the White House prepares to deliver its own new benchmark report in the second week of September, along with congressional testimony from Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker. They are expected to describe significant security improvements and offer at least some promise for political reconciliation in Iraq.

The White House has already announced they're going to white wash and bury this report.