Wednesday, May 30, 2012

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Exactly What are 'Bath Salts' and How are They Dangerous?

On Saturday night in Miami, Florida, a naked “zombie-like” man attacked another man, biting off parts of his face such as his nose and eyeballs. Witnesses and police say the victim had no face after the attack occured. The zombie attack was halted, but only when police shot the attacker numerous times in a desperate effort to stop the assult. Speculators and obsessive zombie critics are saying this is just the begining to the zombie apocalypse.

Armando Aguilar, president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police, suspects that the attacker was under the influence of a type of drug known as "bath salts." These aren’t the same bath salts to make your tub water smell nice. “Bath salts” is just a fake name given to the drug, but users know it’s not really for the bath.

Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse described bath salts as an "emerging and dangerous product" in February 2011, urging parents, teachers and the public to be aware of the potential dangers associated with these drugs, which had already been linked to numerous visits to the E.R. and calls to poison control centers in the U.S. In October 2011, these "bath salts" and its related products were put on schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, which means that the drug has no legitimate use or safety in the U.S. and is highly addictive.

Bath salts contain amphetamine-like chemicals such as methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), mephedrone, and pyrovalerone. They’re referred to as a “designer drug of the phenethylamine class” by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Other drugs in this class include amphetamines, mescaline, and ephedrine. MDPV comes in a powdered form that is inhaled, swallowed or shot into a vein. Bath Salts are sold as "cocaine substitutes" or "synthetic LSD".

When MDPV gets to the brain, the effects include producing feelings of empathy, stimulation, alertness, euphoria, sensory awareness and hallucinations. Other reported effects include rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, and sweating. According to the DEA, MDPV has been reported to cause intense panic attacks, psychosis, and a strong desire to use the drug again.

“Addictive substances, whether they are bath salts, alcohol or other drugs, can have horrific and costly consequences. Sometimes these consequences can result from only one use; other times they are a result of the complex brain disease of addiction," says Susan E. Foster, vice president and director of policy research and analysis at The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

"Together, risky use of addictive substances and addiction constitute our nation’s largest and most costly health problem. In the interest of health and public safety, Americans must begin to understand that substance use is a preventable public health problem and addiction is a treatable disease," she added.

In 2009, reports began surfacing about teens and young adults abusing synthetic stimulant products sold as Bath Salts, “plant fertilizer," energy-1, Ivory Wave, Red Dove, Purple Wave, Blue Silk, Zoom, Bloom, Cloud Nine, Ocean Snow, Lunar Wave, Vanilla Sky, White Lightning, Scarface, and Hurricane Charlie.

The Drug Enforcement Administration's forensic monitoring system found two reports of MDPV in 2009. In 2010 that figure jumped to 338 cases. Between January through September 2011, the numbers skyrocketed to 911 MDPV cases, spanning 34 states.

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Northern Italy Stuck Again by Another Big Earthquake

An earthquake was felt through much of northern Italy on Tuesday, just over a week after a tremor had struck the region killing several people and destroying and damaging hundreds of buildings.

The latest earthquake caused more buildings to collapse in the areas already affected by the previous quake, where thousands are still sleeping outdoors in tents.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter of Tuesday's 5.8 magnitude earthquake, which struck at depth of 9.6 km (6 miles), was less than 30 km (19 miles) from Modena, not far from where the magnitude 6 earthquake struck just over a week ago.

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Monday, May 28, 2012

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Miami, Florida: Police Shoot Zombie During Attack

On Saturday afternoon around 2 p.m. in Miami, Florida, a police officer was forced to shoot and kill a naked man in an alleged zombie attack, who was eating the face of another man.

The officer approached the alleged zombie and saw that the naked man was actually chewing the victims head, according to a witnesses. The officer ordered the naked man (alleged zombie) to back away, and when he continued the assault, the officer shot him.

The attacker continued to eat the man, despite being shot, forcing the officer to continue firing. Witnesses said that they had heard at least a half dozen shots.

Armando Aguilar, who heads the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, said he has spoken with the officer who responded to the zombie attack. Aguilar said the officer saw what the man was doing, and ordered him to stop several times. He said the man growled at the officer, and then returned to his meal. Aguilar said the man ate his victim’s nose and eyeballs.

The officer then used his service weapon and shot the man, Aguilar said, but the gunshot had no effect.

Other sources confirmed that the man refused to obey, and continued his attack. Aguilar said the officer had no choice but to keep shooting until the zombie attacker was dead.

Investigators sharing limited details about the confrontation, saying only that the two men were fighting and the officers felt they had no choice but to take deadly force.”

“With the attacker dead, lying nude on the pavement, officers and paramedics were able to get to his victim and rush him to Jackson Memorial Hospital. Police sources say the man had virtually no face and was unrecognizable.

Despite the horrific and tragic nature of the case, bloggers, zombiephiles, and zombie news sites almost immediately picked up on the story as a real-life case of a zombie attack. Zombie news site Zombie Zone News has followed the story in order to document those aspects of the event that could link it to a widespread zombie outbreak.

While the attack is of course no laughing matter, that hasn't stopped zombiephiles from speculating. The facts are these:

A man was eating the flesh of another person. That man did not respond to verbal orders or react to being shot. That man snarled at the police officer who intervened in the attack.

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

75 Years Since Opening the Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge opened 75 years ago on Sunday. Building the Golden Gate was a larger than life engineering project undertaken against dangerous odds at the cost of 11 lives.

The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most astonishing and admired man-made wonders of the world. However, the bridge was not at first welcomed by many with open arms.

Ferry operators and environmentalists had opposed it at the time of its construction, and many engineers doubted such a structure over a treacherous Pacific Ocean strait could be built at all. Even the military doubted it, they worried a collapsed Golden Gate span could block access to the Bay during war time.

According to historians, some San Franciscans even fought against it because they thought a bridge might actually ruin the view, but look at the magnificent view it gives now.

Yet building the Golden Gate Bridge, at an estimated cost of $1.2 billion in current dollars, was an extremely difficult task. While the idea had taken hold in the1920s, by the time ground was broken the Depression had left many people desperatly seeking for jobs.

"Launched midst a thousand hopes and fears; Damned by a thousand hostile sneers," was how the head engineer for the bridge, Joseph Strauss, described the bridge in a poem he wrote to mark its completion in 1937. He than died less than a year later.

Even the bridge's arresting dark orange color was an accident, first used as a primer while designers decided what to paint it. The Navy had argued for black with yellow stripes, to ensure it could be seen in a strait hostile to mariners, with dense fog, heavy winds and strong ocean swells.

In the end, bridge authorities decided they liked the color - known as International Orange - and stuck with it.

Construction began in 1933, 14 years after Strauss was first approached. Bank of America archivist David Mendoza said it took a personal appeal from Strauss to Amadeo Giannini, founder of the then-San Francisco-based bank, to secure funding.

Celebrations for the 50th anniversary became infamous for the frightful swaying of the bridge under the weight of 300,000 people. This time round, the bridge will be closed to cars and pedestrians during a fireworks show that will cap a day of festivities along the bay waterfront on Sunday.

Beyond the revelry and Tributes, the bridge's dark side will lurk in the background: An estimated 1,400 people have jumped off the bridge to end their own lives, a grim reality brought to the attention of many people with a 2006 documentary film, "The Bridge," by Eric Steel. The filmmaker secretly captured more than 20 suicides from the bridge.

The Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District is now studying the costs and feasibility of draping nets along it to catch any jumpers, a twist on the nets deployed during construction, which saved the lives of 22 workers.

Pope's Butler Involved In Scandal: Arrested

The Vatican had confirmed on Saturday that the pope's butler has been arrested in its embarrassing leaks scandal, adding a twist of power struggles, intrigue and corruption in the highest levels of Catholic Church governance. Surprise surprise!

Paolo Gabriele, a layman and member of the papal household, was arrested Wednesday after secret documents were found in his Vatican City apartment and was continuing to be held Saturday, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said in a statement.

Gabriele is often seen by Pope Benedict XVI's side in public. He has been the pope's personal butler since 2006, one of the few members of the small papal household.

His arrest followed behind yet another shocking development at the Vatican this week, the ouster of the president of the Vatican bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, by his board. Sources close to the investigation said he, too, was found to have leaked documents, though the official reason for his ouster was that he simply failed to do his job.

The "Vatileaks" scandal has seriously embarrassed the Vatican at a time during which it is trying to show the world financial community that it has shed its reputation. Vatican documents have leaked to the press in the recent months and have undermined that effort, alleging corruption in Vatican finance as well as internal bickering over the Holy See's efforts to show more transparency in its financial operations. But perhaps most critically, the leaks have seemed aimed at one main goal: to discredit Pope Benedict XVI's No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state.

The scandal took on even greater weight last week with the publication of "His Holiness," a book which reproduced confidential letters and memos to and from Benedict and his personal secretary. The Vatican called the book "criminal" and vowed to take legal action against the author, publisher, and whoever leaked the documents.

The Vatican had already warned of legal action against the author, Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, after he broadcast letters in January from the former No. 2 Vatican administrator to the pope in which he begged not to be transferred for having exposed alleged corruption that cost the Holy See millions of euros in higher contract prices. The prelate, Monsignor Carlo Maria Vigano, is now the Vatican's U.S. ambassador.