Alright. Normally I give something the #GeekSexy tag to identify it as something geeks, nerds, and science types would probably think is cool.
In this case however, maybe the “sexy” part rings a little truer to its common definition. As I said on twitter, something about this distinctly female features designed robot says “geek-in-the-basement.”
For the article on why she was built, you can find out here.
Think they’ve programmed her to make sandwiches yet?
Contrary to a number of GITMO detainees who’d chosen to protest their internment by a hunger strike, another detainee’s lawyer now says his client, Tarek El-Sawah, is too fat to keep at the facility.
From the time of his arrival at GITMO 11 years ago, this man has gone from 215 pounds to 420 pounds, and doctors say he can no longer walk even minimal distances. I guess that new soccer field to which the detainees have almost full-time access hasn’t been a high priority. While other inmates may have legitimate illnesses such as cancer or mental disease, should we really even consider releasing this admitted “explosives trainer” just because he’s too unhealthy ?
MIAMI — Tarek El-Sawah is in terrible shape after 11 years as a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, a fact even the U.S. military does not dispute.
During his time in captivity, the weight of the 55-year-old Egyptian has nearly doubled, reaching more than 420 pounds at one point, and his health has deteriorated as a result, both his lawyers and government officials concede.
Lawyers for El-Sawah, and the doctors they have brought down to the U.S. base in Cuba to examine him, paint a dire picture — a morbidly obese man with diabetes and a range of other serious ailments. He is short of breath, barely able to walk 10 feet, unable to stay awake in meetings and faces the possibility of not making it out of prison alive.
In August, lawyers for El-Sawah filed an emergency motion with a federal court in Washington asking a judge to order the military to provide what it calls “adequate” medical care, including additional tests for possible heart disease and a device to help him breathe because of a condition they say is preventing his brain from receiving enough oxygen.
The government insists he is getting good care at Guantanamo and just needs to exercise more and eat less. “While (El-Sawah) is currently in poor health, his life is not in imminent danger,” lawyers for the Justice Department wrote in response.
The judge hasn’t ruled, but the request is secondary anyway. What El-Sawah and his lawyers want is the U.S. to release him, preferably back home to Egypt, in part because his health is too poor for him to pose any threat. “It boggles the mind that they are putting up a fight on releasing him,” Gleason said.
One parting thought. Recidivism for GITMO detainees is now nearly 29%.
The State Department is doubling down on the embarrassing revelation that just before the end of the fiscal year, it awarded a five million dollar contract for “hand-blown glassware” for our embassies around the world.
Not even bothering to contemplate the question, “Why in the hell are we paying that much money on hand-crafted stemware?” the State Department says to consider ourselves lucky because it really was a good deal.
A contract worth as much as $5 million was awarded to high-end Vermont glass and pottery designer Simon Pearce to design and manufacture glass stemware for U.S. foreign embassies just days before the October 1st government shutdown.
State Department spokesperson Marie Harf sought Wednesday to downplay the story.
“[T]here was no sort of $5 million midnight purchase trying to get it just in under the wire,” she said. “This contract was not connected in any way to the shutdown.”
But Harf did acknowledge the contract, which was awarded September 25, coincided with the end of the government’s fiscal year, at which time many agencies incorporate a “use it or lose it” mentality with their funding.
A spokesperson for Simon Pearce told CNN the contract is for 12,500 pieces of custom hand-blown glassware to be produced over five years and to be used at foreign embassies.
Simon Pearce stemware isn’t cheap — starting at $65 per piece. But the spokeswoman said the government has negotiated a “significant reduction” in price due to the volume order.
The company spokesperson said Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy was instrumental in securing the contract. Simon Pearce expects the contract to allow it to hire many additional workers at its Quechee facility, which was nearly destroyed by Hurricane Irene two years ago.
While it’s a good thing that this company can provide jobs for people out of work, the issue remains that our government should be spending our tax money wisely. What’s wise about buying glassware that starts at $65 a piece?
Standing in stark contrast to the terrorist attack in Libya which resulted in the death of four Americans, Russia seems to have taken the security of their embassy seriously.
TRIPOLI/MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s embassy in the Libyan capital of Tripoli came under fire on Wednesday and a group of people tried to force their way into the compound, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Diplomatic sources in Libya said security guards fired shots to disperse a group of about 60 people that had approached the embassy. An attempt to enter the building was repelled and according to the Foreign Ministry no diplomats were wounded.
“The attackers opened fire and tore the Russian flag,” the Russian Itar Tass news agency cited unnamed sources as saying. Embassy staff had been taken to the airport as a precaution.
More details of the attack and its possible cause from the UK Guardian:
Gun and rocket fire echoed through the streets around the compound, as police and army units were deployed around the building in pickup trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns.
The attack came hours after Libyan authorities arrested a 24-year-old Russian woman accused of the murder of the official in his apartment in Tripoli.
The woman, named as Katerine, is suspected of using a machine-gun to kill air force engineering official Mohamed Alsusi, said Hashim Bishar, head of Tripoli’s Supreme Security Committee, the government’s gendarmerie.
Bishar told the Guardian that the woman had also shot and stabbed the victim’s mother, then used the dead man’s blood to write Death to Rats in English on the wall of his home. He said he had interrogated her for six hours before handing her to judicial authorities.
“She entered Libya as a journalist, she is now in the custody of the attorney general’s office,” he said.
At least Putin didn’t do something pathetic such as blaming a YouTube video for the attack.
This doesn’t really qualify for the #GeekSexy tag, but it is kind of fun. Perhaps someday there will be the perfect gift for the Star Wars fan in your life that has everything:
They may have been used a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away but scientists have made one right in our own backyard.
That’s right, researchers at Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology say they have built an actual lightsaber, like the ones used in George Lucas’ Star Wars saga.
Harvard Professor of Physics Mikhail Lukin and MIT Professor of Physics Vladan Vuleti led the study.
The team of physicists say they have discovered a new kind of matter, using things called “Photonic Molecules.”
They say unlike typical lasers which pass right through each other, these bind together so you can whack them against each other.
They say it all ends up looking like the iconic Jedi weapon.
Even though the Obama administration’s guidelines for Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) agents to not arrest certain illegal immigrants likely violates the law, one federal court has ruled it doesn’t have the authority to do anything about it.
Immigration agents are weighing an appeal after a judge this week tossed out their lawsuit trying to halt the administration’s nondeportation policies, saying the federal courts don’t have jurisdiction over a personnel matter, agents said Thursday.
District Court Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that the Obama administration was likely in violation of the law by ordering Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and officers not to arrest many of the illegal immigrants they encounter. But Judge O’Connor said federal employment laws meant his court didn’t have the power to overrule the president.
The ICE agents and officers had argued that federal law requires them to arrest any illegal immigrants they encounter, disputing President Obama’s guidance that told them only to arrest those illegal immigrants who appear to have serious criminal records.
One of those policies, known as “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” or DACA, applies to younger illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. by their parents. Another memo issued by top ICE officials instructs agents only to go after immigrants who have serious criminal records or who have repeatedly violated immigration laws.
It seems the court is choosing to interpret this as an employee ”performance” issue.
As an employee in the private sector, an employer has certain tasks its employees are expected to perform. The employer also has the ability to prioritize or even eliminate certain tasks based on the needs of the company.
The complicating issue here is that these are not private sector employees but federal government employees. The job that these employees are required to perform is to enforce existing laws governing our country. And the employees themselves are subject by law to do just that.
Herein lies the rub. Although the laws the ICE agents are supposed to uphold have been passed by both houses of Congress and signed by a president, we have a single presidential administration placing its political wants above existing law and forcing its employees to violate the law in order to accomplish these political desires.
So how can it be a “personnel matter” or an issue of performance when a single administration is directing these federal employees to break the law? How can one administration overrule existing law on a whim without any Congressional authority to do so?
Only in America can a federal employee be told by his government employer that he should knowingly and purposely break the government’s own laws and he will not be held accountable when doing so. Some really are more special than others.
Let’s make sure to clarify things. Hawaii wants to send packing non-native Hawaiian homeless people to go anywhere but here. I’ve got no idea if this includes homeless illegal immigrants who happen to be hanging around the islands. Perhaps Hawaii would welcome them for the dreamers they are.
Hawaii has set aside $100,000 for a “return-to-home” program that officials are hoping can alleviate the strain on the Aloha State’s welfare system.
The program is meant to buy one-way tickets aboard flights and cruise ships for homeless non-native Hawaiians to comfortably travel back to their states of origin.
State Rep. Rida Cabanilla, a Democrat, told a local newspaper that her decision to support the program was a no-brainer.
Even if a homeless individual comes back to Hawaii after only months away, Cabanilla said, the state would still have saved thousands on food, shelter, and medical costs, the Honolulu Civil Beat reported.
Funny how this heavily Democrat state isn’t so caring about the less fortunate in their midst. Hawaii is happy to foot the bill and send the homeless packing so long as it saves them from having to fork over welfare benefits. What? Where’s the compassion in a one way ticket outta there? I thought only conservative “rethuglicans” were capable of such atrocities!!
Funnily enough, Hawaii isn’t even the first to try the idea. That honor goes to New York City, another accepting and tolerant Democrat enclave.
But Hawaii’s relocation plan isn’t a new idea. It is fashioned after a New York City program implemented six years ago. The Mayor Michael Bloomberg-backed plan bought hundreds of homeless families bus tickets, train rides and airfare so they could leave the city.
According to the latest figures available, New York City spent at least $500,000 annually on Project Reconnect. From 2007 to 2009, the Bloomberg administration, which has struggled with homelessness, sent more than 550 families packing. They argue that sending away families is a lot less expensive than housing them in shelters which cost the city more than $36,000 a year per family.
In Baton Rouge, La., the city’s Metro Council approved a measure to send its 800 homeless residents out of the area. Officials initially named the program “Clean Sweep” but quickly changed it to the Homeless Outreach Prevent Efforts – or HOPE – after people started complaining that “Clean Sweep” seemed like the city was comparing its homeless to trash. The council approved $5,000 for the trial program which they say is enough for 30 bus tickets.
In San Francisco, you don’t even need to be homeless to qualify. The city’s Homeward Bound Program provides bus tickets for low-income residents who can’t afford to move themselves.
To qualify, a person must be live in San Francisco, have family of friends who will vouch to take them in, and be medically stable and sober. Personal hygiene “must be at an acceptable level to travel,” although the city’s Human Service Agency, which runs the program, provides clothing and shower facilities to people before they board the bus.
City commissioners in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., recently green-lighted a $25,000 program to get the homeless out of their area. Funding for The Homeless Reunification Program is taken out of the Florida Law Enforcement Trust Fund, which is made up of money confiscated by criminals
Similar programs were also started in Florida’s Palm Beach County and West Palm Beach.
Nothing says caring like a one-way ticket away…