• DEADLY “THUMPA-THUMPA”

    Animal Rights

    Animal Rights – A two day techno rave held near Connyland Marine Park in Lipperswil, Switzerland is being blamed for the death of Shadow, an eight-year-old dolphin. Normally all you hear about a European rave is drug overdoses, hospital runs, arrests, and the occasional human death, but this time… a dolphin?

    Animal activists turned up to protest the event stating that the constant and loud “umph-umph-umph” of the music would upset the dolphin. One activist stated that “[t]he sound levels dolphins heard were comparable to a pneumatic drill.”

    After the event, Shadow looked disoriented and appeared to be very distressed. She was later found dead.
    Connyland bosses “denied any wrong doing.”

    Might this be the first rave-related dolphin casualty in the history of “thumpa-thumpa”?

    Read more at Sun.

  • SILENCE OF THE CHICKS

    Animal Rights

    Animal Rights – A Washington, D.C.-based animal protection group, Compassion Over Killing (COK), filed an animal cruelty complaint against California based Cal-Cruz Hatcheries Inc., after obtaining incredibly disturbing video footage of their processing factory.

    An undercover investigator from COK shot footage of the “alleged” abuse which shows “hatchlings with ripped skin and exposed organs being thrown into bins, trapped under machinery and drowned.” According to the lawsuit, the graphic video “documents numerous routine abuses–including acts amounting to felony animal cruelty–that are in violation of the California law.”

    The abuse was originally brought to the attention of the local district attorney in 2009, however, according to Cheryl Leahy, COK’s general counsel, despite the video and other legal statements, the DA said they wouldn’t be filing charges at that time.

    “The systematic torture and reckless neglect of baby birds at Cal-Cruz is not only shocking–it is also illegal under the California Business and Professions Code,” said Carter Dillard, litigation director for the Animal League Defense Fund (ADLF).

    Brian Collins, president of Cal-Cruz Hatcheries, confirmed that the video was indeed taken inside the factory and said he was planning on making a “change” in the policy regarding rejected chicks.

    “I think the employees get desensitized to the actual handling of the bird, and for them, it’s a job. […] Right now, the guideline is every 30 minutes you empty those boxes, I might make it 15 and be more diligent about it.” How kind of him…

    Cal-Cruz “hatches and ships millions of chicks each year to growers who raise the birds until they are slaughtered.” According to a representative from the death factory, the majority of the chicks are sent to “Bauer Family Farms and Carlson Family Farms,” where they eventually end up in the meat department of Northern California Grocery Stores.

    Read More HereHere, and Here.

  • CHARITY SWEAR BOX

    Celebrity Charities

    Swearing on Twitter can raise money for charities like UNICEF and the World Wildlife Fund, so let the @%#$ and the $%&@ fly.

    A new online Charity Swear Box is “the modern-day version of the office swear jar, asking people to hand over their pocket change as a consequence of letting curses slip.”

    Once you submit your Twitter name and sign up for an amount that you would like to donate for every naughty word (they suggest 10 pence which is about a quarter), Charity Swear Box checks your tweets for foul language over the course of a month and sends you a notice of how much you have accumulated. You can then choose to donate that amount to one of the charities listed on the site.

    If you are not a foul mouthed hooligan, have no fear, the website encourages you to start smutting up your twitter feed by using the following tweet:

    “Shit! I’m turning bad words into good deeds at http://charityswearbox.com #charityswearbox via @swearbox.”

    Learn more about Charity Swear Box and be sure to check out some of the other incredibly cool projects from Fueled.com, the development team behind this awesome new initiative.

    Read more at the Huffington Post.

  • GOD OF TORRENTS

    Social Issues

    Social Issues – It’s absurd, but it’s also great. Sweden, wonderful, beautiful, gentle Sweden has finally, after two years, accepted the Missionary Church of Kopimism as an official religion. Within these trying two years, the true believers did not give up, and for that they have been rewarded with legitimacy. If you are Swedish and a Kopimist, you may now feel free to practice openly. And if you don’t know what it is, Kopimism is the religious belief in copying, particularly in the form of electronic file sharing.

    The church has something of a social agenda (which church doesn’t?), and rather than stopping abortions, keeping marriage straight, or keeping homosexuals out of fill-in-the-blank, the Church of Kopimism seeks to end the stigma against “file sharing and remixing.”

    While I’ve not yet read enough literature to convert, I have to say that I enjoy the prospect of openness that the faith promises. Redefining our ideas of ownership isn’t new ground for a religion, and this faith may be in a position to best benefit from the increasingly electronic aspects of our identity. Who can really say, ya know?

    Of course, it will be ridiculed with terrible jokes. Kopimist heaven? Freeleech jokes go here. Kopimist hell? The answer is the cost/speed ratio for American high speed internet. Will there be an extremist sect like the Westboro Baptists who protest funerals because of the immoral acceptance of snatching? Something about a series of tubes? Something about the irony in digital files being more “tangible” proof than most, if not all, of the established religions can give of their divinities? I don’t know, but terrible, terrible jokes, I’m sure.

    Read More at Yahoo.

  • RUSSIAN SUPERWEAPON

    Opinion

    Opinion – Russia’s recent plan for a 100-ton nuclear missile nicknamed (of all things) “Satan” may be just a big pile of hot steamy borscht. While reports of these types of “superweapons” conjure images of the Cold War, they notoriously come more as a result of political posturing than actual reality. Previous examples of failed world-annihilating weapons include Saddam Hussein’s “Project Babylon,” a supergun that would be able to launch projectiles into space. The Nazis attempted a “sun gun,” a satellite that would collect and focus light into a beam that could blow up a city (how very Hellboy meets Gears of War). These have largely amounted to fear campaigns, hoping to terrify and weaken national enemies while rallying national pride. But not all superweapons have failed to see the light of day. America did achieve the otherwise unthinkable and created a true superweapon, the atomic bomb, which was quickly stolen by our friends on the other side of the cold war. The largest atomic bomb was created by Russia and tested in 1961. The 50-megaton nuclear superbomb’s explosion was visible 600 miles away. So maybe it is a possibility that we’ll see “Satan” reigning down on (hopefully just) Russian countryside. Maybe not, though.

    Read/watch More at Yahoo News.

  • STRIPPED OF CITIZENSHIP

    Civil Rights

    Civil Rights – A new bill proposed by Pennsylvania Republican Representative Charles Dent could potentially have the power to strip Americans of their citizenship in the event that they harbor “hostilities against the United States.”

    The purpose of the bill, officially named the Enemy Expatriation Act (EEA) is to add “‘engaging in or supporting hostilities against the United States’ to the list of acts for which United States nationals would lose their nationality.”

    “The Enemy Expatriation Act (H.R. 3166; S. 1698)… is similar to the Nazi Factions Nuremberg laws where Adolf Hitler took away Germans citizenship based on race, blood types, and those against the Hitler regime,” said Alex Jones of Infowars. While there is speculation that Jones might be a conspiracy junky, there might be a gleam of truth to his statement.

    Essentially, people are concerned that if passed, the EEA will give the U.S. “the authority to strip American citizens of their citizenship just by disagreeing with the government.”

    Considering that President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law these fears may not be baseless, as anyone who is stripped of citizenship could then potentially be considered a terrorist and be detained under the NDAA.

    Dissatisfied citizens could soon be facing a slippery slope with the threat of the “America regime” hanging over their heads.

    Read More Here and Here.

  • soylent pink slime

    LGBT Issues

    Just Weird – Grind together connective tissue, beef scraps, then flavor with ammonia hydroxide – to kill salmonella and other E. coli – and voila, you have hamburgers for school children. The recipe comes from Beef Products Inc., and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is purchasing seven million pounds of it to make hamburgers for school lunches.

    A decade ago, Gerald Zirnstein, former microbiologist at the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), said he did not “consider the stuff to be ground beef,” and Carl Custer, also of the FSIS, agrees with him.

    “We looked at the product and we objected to it because it used connective tissues instead of muscle. It was simply not nutritionally equivalent [to ground beef]. My main objection was that it was not meat.”

    Yet, the U.S. Department of Agriculture still serves the product, nicknamed “pink slime,” in schools. Custer first encountered the product in the late 1990s after becoming exposed to it through British chef Jamie Oliver. Even though Custer brought the treated product to the attention of colleagues at the time, the USDA ruled that the so-called “Lean Beef Trimmings” were safe for consumption.

    “Scientists in D.C. were pressured to approve this stuff with minimal safety approval,” Zirnstein said of BPI’s product which they consider a “high-risk” product. Many fast food chains have ceased using the product, including McDonalds, Taco Bell, and Burger King; The USDA, however, plans on buying 7 million lbs. of the beef byproduct from BPI for school lunches.

    In their defense the USDA said the role of food service inspectors was to insure purchases met “the highest standard in food safety,” and not to determine the merits of purchased products.

    Sadly, it seems as if it is impossible to escape even a little bit of “pink slime.” In 2005 the USDA limited the so-called Lean Beef Trimmings percentage in a serving of ground beef to 15 percent. However, labeling doesn’t reveal inclusion of the product or ammonia-treatment.

    “It’s more like Jell-O than hamburger, plus it’s treated with ammonia, an additive that is not declared anywhere,” Custer said.

    “They’ve taken a processed product, without labeling it, and added it to raw ground beef. […] pink slime at this point in time is a fraudulent lie,” added Zirnstein, who, as the father of a two-year-old son, does not want him encountering the product when in school.

    Does this in anyway remind you of the video clip below?

    Read more at The Daily.

  • WASTE-ED

    Environment

    Environment – The debauchery that is Fat Tuesday ended with thousands of party-goers flooding the streets of New Orleans, along with an estimated 25 million pounds of plastic beads, cups, and tokens. Instead of the items ending up in a landfill, a few companies worked towards making Mardi Gras a bit more eco-friendly.

    Verdi Gras, an environmental group in New Orleans, partnered with Arc Enterprise to recycle the millions of beads handed out during parades. Last year they recycled over 100,000 pounds of beads that were turned in by the citizens of New Orleans, school bead drives, and through recycling bins set up outside of grocery stores.

    This year Verdi Gras and Arc Enterprises joined together and created a float called “Catch and Release” that followed three parades and collected 1000 pounds of discarded goodies. Parade attendees even joined in on the movement by throwing back any extras that pile up on the sidewalks. Bins were also set up along a six-block stretch during the Krewe of Pontchartrain parade to encourage recycling.

    Next year the groups plan to increase the Catch & Release trailers to cover all the parades.

    Arc Enterprises sorts the beads in their facilities where they are re-sold to float riders for other festivities. These recycled beads are not just an answer to pollution, but also to the many workers overseas who cram out new beads each year under questionable working conditions.

    Warning: Video may not be suitable for all viewers.

    To read more visit Nola and Treehugger.

  • BOTANICULA

    Environment

    Independent video game distributor Humble Bundle has been pretty progressive since its inception in 2010. The website has always used a pay-what-you-want model in selling 100% DRM free indie game packages and they’ve supported a number of different charities including Child’s Play, the Electric Frontier Foundation, and the American Red Cross.

    For its latest deal that launched April 19, Humble Bundle is selling a group of three games from Amanita Design: Botanicula, Machinarium, and Samorost 2 with their respective soundtracks. According to Humble Bundle, the brand new release, Botanicula, “has players adventuring as a motley band of tree creatures trying to save their home from parasitic invaders.”

    It’s fitting, then, that the World Land Trust is this deal’s beneficiary organization. The English-based conversation charity was founded in 1989 and has since helped protect the earth’s most threatened habitat, acre by acre.

    When gamers purchase the bundle, they can choose how much they want to pay, as well as how the funds are divided between the developers, World Land Trust, and Humble Bundle. According to their tracking widgets on Humble Bundle’s site, more than 56,000 people have bought the deal, therefore preserving almost 900 acres of land.

    The Botanicula bundle is available across all platforms (Windows, Mac, and Linux) and fans who pay more than the current average for the games will also receive a download of Kooky, a feature-length film by Jan Svěrák and an additional click puzzle game called Windosill created by Vector Park.

    Read more at Develop and the World Land Trust.

  • [NOT] LAUGHING COW

    Animal Rights

    Animal Rights – PETA investigators have discovered a laundry list of horrific abuses that occur daily at Adirondack Farms, a dairy factory farm that takes 180,000 pounds of milk from a mere 1,800 cows every day in Clinton County, New York. The disturbing video footage shows workers carelessly beating, burning, and dragging cows as they are led into the stalls to be milked.

    On a related note, if you live in the New England area, enjoy dairy, and believe ignorance is bliss STOP READING THIS RIGHT NOW!

    Adirondack Farms takes the milk yielded from the abused cows to Massachusetts-based Agri-Mark, Inc., the alleged “largest supplier of fresh farm milk in New England” and distributor of the popular Cabot and McCadam cheeses. And while the milk may be “fresh” it is far from cruelty free as PETA investigators discovered that workers routinely smacked cows with a pole and a cane as they were led into the room to be milked.

    When the abuses were brought to the attention of a farm manager, he simply conceded that the workers “get carried away with” striking cows.

    Unfortunately for the manager, he was also caught “getting carried away” when he repeatedly electro-shocked a cow in the face on video. He then proceeded to jab a fully conscious downed cow in the ribs with a screwdriver, called it a “dumb bitch,” and then proceeded to drag the cow approximately 25 feet with a small vehicle.

    The abuse doesn’t stop there, and neither does the animal suffering. Calves are routinely subjected to “de-budding” as workers burn off their horn-buds without use of an anesthetic. One worker was caught on video as he watched a calf “thrash around in agony [with] smoke rising from her seared flesh,” after he burned off her buds.

    Other workers were seen using “‘guillotine cutters’ to ‘lop off’ the horns of older animals — again without anesthetics or pain relief.”

    Kids, the moral of this story is if you don’t want to be complicit in what is tantamount to a cow gulag, then don’t support Adirondack Farms, Agri-Mark, or Cabot and McCadam cheeses.

    Send an email to Agri-Mark CEO Dr. Richard Stammer here.

    WARNING: The below videos contain countless acts of abuse and cruelty. There are disturbing images that may make your eyes leak, make you sick, or make you have an urgent desire to throw away all the dairy products in your fridge. You have been warned.

    Read more at PETA.

    Find out more about going Vegan

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