11 Things People Would Tell Their Pets If They Could Speak the Same Language

Sometimes, it feels like pets speak the same language you do. But what if you could actually, truly understand your pets, and they could understand you?  What would you say? Here are 11 pet owners on what the subject of their conversation would be if they had one hour to tell their pets everything they felt.

Advertisement

Read more: http://twentytwowords.com/11-things-people-would-tell-their-pets-if-they-could-speak-the-same-language-ia/

Apple releases iOS 11.3 with new Animojis

Apple just released an iOS update for your iPhone and iPad. 11.3 introduces a ton of bug fixes but also a bunch of new features. If you forgot about Animjois, today is your lucky day as Apple is adding four new Animojis — a dragon, a bear, a lion and a skull.

But that’s not all. Apple already shared a preview of iOS 11.3 a couple of months ago. There’s a big ARKit update to ARKit 1.5. It can recognize more objects and surfaces.

And iOS 11.3 is also the battery update we’ve all been waiting for. There’s some new info in the settings about the status of your battery. It tells you the overall capacity and if it’s time to change your battery.

You can also choose to disable Apple’s controversial decision to throttle performance with old batteries. Apple says it’s a beta feature for now.

Apple is also introducing a new feature in the Health app. You can now centralize all your health records in the app. It’s only limited to a handful of clinics for now.

Apple is adding customer support conversations to Messages. You can initiate a conversation with a business to order something, book a table and more. Discover, Hilton, Lowe’s and Wells Fargo are already on board. Health Records and Business Chats are only available in the U.S. as a beta for now.

You’ll also see a new privacy icon across the operating system. A new website to export all your data is coming in May as well. Apple needs to add those features to comply with GDPR.

Finally, Apple Music is getting a new video clips section, the App Store Updates tab now shows you the size of each update and more tiny little things. And if you care about security, it’s always a good thing to update to the latest version of iOS. Unfortunately, iOS 11.3 still doesn’t include iMessage in iCloud.

Back up your iPhone or iPad to iCloud or your computer using iTunes before updating. You can then head over to the Settings app, then ‘General’, then ‘Software Update’. macOS, watchOS and tvOS updates are also available today.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/29/apple-releases-ios-11-3-with-new-animojis/

Trump Is Freaking Out About the Wrong Border: Killer Fentanyl Is Coming From Canada

President Donald Trump has made building a wall along the southern border the backbone of his anti-drug policy to keep deadly narcotics like fentanyl from entering the country from Mexico.

But last month, as the president was delivering remarks at yet another public listening session on the opioid crisis, focusing his attention on a multimillion-dollar security investment on Americas southwest border, law enforcement officials in Canada announced they had shut down a massive flow of deadly narcotics coming to the U.S. from the opposite direction.

The trafficking operation, based in Calgary, Albertajust a three-hour drive north of the Montana borderwas capable of producing an estimated 18,000 counterfeit pills an hour for export to the U.S. and Canadian markets.

Cutting dyes on seized pill presses bore the stamps 80 and CDN, which are commonly associated with the prescription painkiller OxyContin. But there was no oxycodone (the active ingredient in Oxys) to be found. Instead, investigators from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Clandestine Lab Enforcement and Response (CLEAR) Team discovered 18 kilos of suspected fentanyl in two different locations.

The investigation began in 2016 when police near Provo, Utah, pulled over a pickup truck carrying three men and 200 pounds of methamphetamine. Press reports at the time described it as the states largest ever meth bust, valued at $1.5 million on the street.

The men were all Canadian, and police would soon learn that meth trafficking was just a small part of the bilateral flow of drugs the group was moving across the U.S. border with Canada.

Had their trip been successful that day, the men would have continued traveling north on I-15, through Montana, and into Canada for their final stretch into Calgary. Thats where the leader of their group, Allistair Chapmanonce a rising star in Albertas competitive amateur ice hockey communityhad assembled a multi-national narcotics enterprise that exported counterfeit pills from Canada to the U.S. and returned home with cocaine and methamphetamine trafficked from Mexico. Primarily this group acted as a wholesale drug distributor. Were talking about large scale drug shipments at the multi kilo level, said Staff Sgt. Barry McCurdy, a spokesperson for the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) in Calgary, at a press conference on March 1 announcing the arrests of Chapman and five associates on drug and firearms charges.

At the time of the raid authorities said the pill presses were being used to manufacture steroids, but tests showed they were contaminated with fentanyl.

By dismantling this lab we cut off a significant amount of fentanyl, McCurdy said.

Investigators believe the group was also responsible for a double homicide committed in 2017 outside a Calgary shopping center that they believe was tied to a drug dispute.

The bust was the third major fentanyl seizure in Alberta in less than a year, and the second since January. Last July, police in Edmonton raided five homes in what was then-touted as the largest fentanyl seizure in Canadian history: 130,000 counterfeit pills along with two presses capable of producing 10,000 pills an hour. Then in January, rescue personnel responding to a house fire discovered 16 kilos of carfentanila powerful synthetic opioid believed to be 10,000-times more powerful than morphinemixed with a cutting agent in the basement of another house in Edmonton. The powder was dyed pink and blue (indicating is was prepared to be pressed into pills).

For the Edmonton Police Service, in respect to carfentanil, its the largest seizure that Im aware of, Inspector Shane Perka of the Edmonton Police Service told reporters after the bust. This is a very substantial seizure.

Last July, police in Edmonton raided five homes in what was then-touted as the largest fentanyl seizure in Canadian history: 130,000 counterfeit pills along with two presses capable of producing 10,000 pills an hour.

Some of that fentanyl is making it onto U.S. soil. From 2013 to 2016 fatalities linked to illicit fentanyl in the U.S. rose more than 500 percent; most of those who died, including the musician Prince, didnt choose to take the drug.

A report this month indicates that Prince, who died in Minnesota (which shares a border with Canada) had exceedingly high levels of the synthetic narcotic in his system. Authorities found an assortment of counterfeit pills in the musicians home.

Investigators have not revealed where the fentanyl that killed Prince came from or how he obtained it, but the Minnesota Department of Health has identified Canada as a primary conduit for Chinese-made synthetic opioids entering the state.

As The Daily Beast reported in 2016, in recent years Chinese labs have become a supplier of powerful fentanyl analogs designed to skirt U.S. law by modifying the chemical structure of the drugs.Last year China banned more than 100 of these analogs, and over the past two years the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has scheduled dozens of new novel opioids with close chemical structures to fentanyl. However they were unable to keep up with innovative clandestine chemists, and in February the DEA classified all chemicals with a structure similar to fentanyl under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

Canada is hardly a new player when it comes to satisfying demand for contraband in the U.S.

Long-established smuggling routes exist across Americas notoriously porous northern border, which has 120 points of entry, and stretches more than 5,500 milesencompassing large areas of remote wilderness and numerous waterways.

The Northern Border doesnt always make headlines, but for too long it has been understaffed and there have not been sufficient resources to effectively combat drug trafficking and other crimes that can come across the border, said Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), who has sponsored legislation to strengthen security at the U.S.-Canada border.

During Prohibition, its estimated that 60-90 percent of booze entering the United States came from distilleries and breweries north of the U.S. border.

The border between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit was a nexus of post-war drug trafficking; and until the early 1980s, heroin traffickers associated with fragments of the French Connection were still funneling large quantities of heroin from French-speaking Quebec to distribution networks in New York.

In 1987, federal prosecutors in Florida indicted 49 people in a massive cross-border conspiracy that was responsible for supplying 3.5 million counterfeit quaaludes to the U.S. market, or 70 percent of the illegal trade in the drug, according to prosecutors. And in 2008, authorities shut down a marijuana smuggling operation that had been shuttling hundreds of pounds of high-quality pot across the border from Ontario and into Western Pennsylvania disguised as commercial food shipments.

In recent years, Canada emerged as a global epicenter of synthetic and counterfeit drug manufacturing and processingwith everything from MDMA to fake Viagra flowing from clandestine labs north of the U.S. border. A 2005 State Department cable identified Canada as a significant producer and transit country for precursor chemicals used to produce synthetic drugs, and a hot spot of rising clandestine lab activity.

From 2012 to 2015 more than 500 pounds of MDMA was seized at the northern border, accounting for more than 90 percent of all Customs seizures of the drug.

We are increasingly concerned about the multitude of routes of travel these illegal and grey-market synthetic drugs are taking as they come into the region, and Canada is one route we feel bears watching, said Jeremiah Daley, executive director of the Mid-Atlantic High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), a program run by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. While cross-border cooperation remains very strong with Canadian law enforcement, with so much focus being placed on our Southern Border, with good reason, we still need to be vigilant about threats coming from the North.

In 2016 alone, U.S. Customs officials reported 2,015 drug arrests at land crossings at the U.S.-Canada border, while Canadian officials made more than 18,000 drug seizures. Trafficking groups routinely engage in so-called double exchanges in which designer drugs passed from Canada to the U.S. are exchanged for other narcotics, such as cocaine, for shipment back to Canada.

Trafficking groups routinely engage in so-called double exchanges in which drugs passed from Canada to the U.S. are exchanged for other narcotics like cocaine for shipment to Canada.

A dozen U.S. states share a border with Canada, including some of those hit hardest by the overdose crisis, such as New Hampshire and Vermont.

A State Department document published in 2011 describes the difficulty of policing the flow of drugs over these border crossings:

The stealth with which both natural and synthetic drugs including marijuana, MDMA, and methamphetamine are produced in Canada and trafficked to the United States, makes it extremely difficult to measure the overall impact of such transshipments from this shared border country, although U.S. law enforcement agencies record considerable seizures of these substances from Canada.

For years hockey bags have been described as a favored means of moving drugs from the U.S. to Canada, and in some cases they have been literally thrown across the border for pickup on the other side.

A story published in the Canadian news magazine MacLeans in 2009 refers to Canada as The New Global Drug Lord, citing data showing that more than 60 percent of the methamphetamine seized in Japan and more than 80 percent in Australia is synthesized in Canada.

While the fentanyl crisis is often treated like a monolith in the U.S. press, there are wide geographical variations in supply of the drug. Mexico remains the dominant supplier of illicitly manufactured powdered fentanyl in most major heroin markets, but the first wave of fentanyl overdoses following the crackdown on prescription-drug abuse in the U.S. was driven largely by a wave of adulterated pills, many of the them from Canada.

Part of the blame lays with the pharmaceutical industry.

When Purdue Pharmaceutical introduced a new abuse-deterrent OxyContin in the U.S. in 2010which made it more difficult to crush for snorting and shootingthe original formulation remained on the market in Canada for another two years.

Smuggling of OxyContin from Canada to the U.S. spiked.

Im talking about trafficking organizations that are bringing in a thousand pills or so at a time, said James Burns, assistant special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administrations operations in the state of New York.

Then, suddenly, OxyContin dried up in the Canadian market as well. In May 2013, just months after Purdue began withdrawing the drug from the Canadian market, authorities in Montreal seized 10,000 pills made of acetyl fentanyl in a microwave oven and toaster that were destined for Colorado. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration enough additional material was seized to make three million more pills.

The RCMP blames much of the trafficking on criminal groups with connections to Asian source countries, where the precursors for most synthetic drugs are sourced. The Criminal Intelligence Service of Canada says Asian gangs are especially strong in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Torontoall cities where fentanyl is endemic. According to published reports, the powerful 14K and Sun Yee On triads are suppliers of precursor chemicals to Mexicos Sinaloa Cartel.

Much of the focus is on transnational shipments of the drugs and their precursor ingredients from China. And Asian organized crime groups in Canada have been implicated in a number of cross-border drug trafficking schemes over the years. A 2011 report from the Department of Justice said Vietnamese and Chinese gangs produce tens of millions of [MDMA] tablets for the U.S. market, smuggling the drugs through border crossings in Washington, Michigan, New York, and Vermont.

Last year, when federal authorities in the U.S. unveiled their first indictment of Chinese nationals for trafficking fentanyl they traced shipments to from China via Canada. The investigation was launched following the death of an 18-year-old North Dakota man.

Five Canadians were arrested as part of the trafficking ring.

Fentanyl is easier to synthesize in a lab than MDMA, and Canadian syndicates are not only pressing pills but also manufacturing the drug.

Between 2011 and 2015, six clandestine labs were identified in Canada where illicit fentanyl production occurred or was intended to occur, according to Health Canada.

In 2015 authorities in Alberta seized 100 kilograms of the fentanyl precursor N-phenethylpiperidinone (NPP) at the Edmonton International Airport. They said the precursor was capable of producing 38 million fentanyl pills. The seizure led to a nine-month investigation dubbed Project Alchemy that ultimately turned up four kilos of the synthetic opioid W-18, 3,200 fentanyl pills, 2.5 kilos of methamphetamine, and more fentanyl precursor chemicals.

Canadian authorities are so concerned about transnational trafficking in designer opioids that they issued an advisory in January describing red flags for exposing money laundering tied to the importation of fentanyl or precursors used to make the drug.

The Department of Justice declined comment on the administrations commitment to northern border security.However, the emerging threat of synthetic drugs trafficked from Canada has not gone unnoticed by officials in the U.S. In 2016, President Barack Obama signed the Northern Border Security Review Act, which was sponsored by Sen. Heitkamp and passed Congress with bipartisan support. As a result of the law, last year the U.S. government issued its inaugural Northern Border Threat Assessment identifying bilateral drug trafficking as the single greatest threat along the U.S.-Canada border.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) has just one agent at the northern border for every nine patrolling southwest points of entry, despite the Canadian border being more than twice as long.

With fentanyl on its way to replacing heroin in most major drug markets, its not a matter of if, but how traffickers will get the synthetic opioid on U.S. soil. President Trump seems intent on closing one window for traffickers, but it will have limited effect as long as another, even bigger window, remains ajar.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-is-freaking-out-about-the-wrong-border-killer-fentanyl-is-coming-from-canada

How Smallville Actress Allison Mack Became a Women-Branding Cult Leader

The difficult-to-pronounce word on everybodys lips this week is Nxivm, the self-help company that former members have deemed a cult.

Nxivm (pronounced Nexium) is currently in the press because its leader Keith Raniere was arrested in Mexico on Sunday. Subsequently, hes been charged with sex-trafficking and conspiracy to commit forced labor. FBI official William Sweeney detailed on Monday that, As alleged, Keith Raniere displayed a disgusting abuse of power in his efforts to denigrate and manipulate women he considered his sex slaves.

Sweeney continued, He allegedly participated in horrifying acts of branding and burning them, with the co-operation of other women operating within this unorthodox pyramid scheme. These serious crimes against humanity are not only shocking, but disconcerting to say the least, and we are putting an end to this torture today.

Unlike other, less glamorous cults, Nxivm has always flirted with celebrity. A 2010 Vanity Fair piece alleged that Raniere went out of his way to court wealthy and influential followers. That article, The Heiresses and the Cult, told the story of Seagrams heiresses Sara and Clare Bronfman, who quickly rose through the Nxivm ranks, helping to organize high profile events like the Dalai Lamas visit to Albany in 2009.

Vanity Fair reported that the Bronfman sisters relationship with Raniere lead to a massive gutting of their trust funds to help finance nxivm and the alleged investment schemes of its leader. The article continued, According to legal filings and public documents, in the last six years as much as $150 million was taken out of the Bronfmans trusts and bank accounts, including $66 million allegedly used to cover Ranieres failed bets in the commodities market, $30 million to buy real estate in Los Angeles and around Albany, $11 million for a 22-seat, two-engine Canadair CL-600 jet, and millions more to support a barrage of lawsuits across the country against nxivms enemies.

Slaves must immediately answer their masters any time they text or call them, and if they do not recruit enough slaves of their own, they are beaten with a paddle on their buttocks.

In 2017, The New York Times published a shocking report, substantiated by the testimonies of former members. One woman, Sarah Edmondson, claimed to have been branded during a Nxivm ritual. The Times reported that, Each woman was told to undress and lie on a massage table, while three others restrained her legs and shoulders. According to one of them, their master, a top Nxivm official named Lauren Salzman, instructed them to say: Master, please brand me, it would be an honor.

A female doctor proceeded to use a cauterizing device to sear a two-inch-square symbol below each womans hip, a procedure that took 20 to 30 minutes, the article continued, For hours, muffled screams and the smell of burning tissue filled the room.

A text message Raniere allegedly sent to a female follower that was obtained by The New York Times acknowledged both the branding and its unique design, reading, Not initially intended as my initials but they rearranged it slightly for tribute. The KR initials also, when inverted, spell the initials AM.

The New York Times also reported that the state police investigator told Ms. Edmondson and two other women that officials would not pursue their criminal complaint against Nxivm because their actions had been consensual.

Dynasty star Catherine Oxenberg spoke with the Times as wellher daughter, India, had reportedly also been initiated into the top-secret sorority.

Before fleeing the country, Raniere wrote a letter in response to the Times expose, describing the sororitys members as thriving, health, happy and better off, insisting that they haven't been coerced.

Catherine Oxenberg isnt the only minor celebrity to make an appearance in Ranieres tangled web. Smallville fans were shocked to learn that Allison Mack, the Teen Choice Award-winning actress who played Chloe Sullivan on the CW series, is allegedly a key recruiter at Nxivm.

Frank Parlato is a businessman who was accused by the Bronfman sisters of defrauding them in 2011. Hes gone on to publish information about Nxivm on his blog, The Frank Report, often citing anonymous ex-followers. According to Parlato, Mack helped form the secret sorority, otherwise known as DOS (Dominos Obsequious Sororium, which means Master Over the Slave Women), envisioning a united group of women branded in the name of Mr. Raniere and Miss Mackwhich will be a force for good, and a female force against evil.

According to a 2017 Daily Mail article, DOS operates as a master-slave hierarchy, with Raniere at the top and Mack as his immediate subordinateWomen in the group are allegedly kept on a 500- to 800-calorie a day diet because Raniere likes thin women and believes fat interferes with his energy levels, Parlato claims. Slaves must immediately answer their masters any time they text or call them, and if they do not recruit enough slaves of their own, they are beaten with a paddle on their buttocks.

The Frank Report alleged that Mack herself introduced corporeal punishment into the sorority.

In that 2017 blog post, Parlato claimed that Mack had also taken over Jness, a Nxivm womens group, writing, Both womens groups, Jness and DOS are based on the teachings of Mr. Raniere. Both require members to keep the teachings secret. Jness is open to females who want to take entry level self improvement courses on female empowerment. Abeginner is not told about the higher level teachings until she proves qualifiedSince Miss Mack has assumed control of both organizations, Jness is evolving into a training ground and recruitment camp for women who may qualify for the teachings of DOS. The cream of Jness women are invited to join DOS, and the cream of DOS women are invited to join Mr. Ranieres harem [subject to his approval].

According to the BBC, The FBIs criminal complaint similarly claims that, Once recruited as slaves, women were allegedly expected to perform menial chores for masters and have sex with Mr. Raniere, who was known as The Vanguard.

Raniere has maintained a rotating group of fifteen to twenty women with whom he maintains sexual relationships, the FBI further stated in its complaint. These women are not permitted to have sexual relationships with anyone but Raniere or to discuss with others their relationship with Raniere. Some of the Nxivm curriculum included teachings about the need for men to have multiple sexual partners and the need for women to be monogamous.

Mack, who has acted sparingly since Smallville, praises Raniere on her blog. In the bio section, she writes, Over the course of several years, Mr. Raniere mentored Allison in her study of acting and music. As such, she has developed a deep connection to the nature of humanity as it relates to acting as an art form, and a tool for personal evolution. The blog continues, In 2013, Mr. Raniere worked with Allison and a small group of equally skilled and dedicated professionals to develop a curriculum that is currently taught through a private arts academy, The Source. There Allison serves as president and is one of its top trainers.

Frank Parlato told The Sun that Mack is one of the women who can be seen panicking over Raniere in a leaked video clip of his arrest. According to prosecutors, the women that were reportedly living with Raniere in Mexico chased the car in which the defendant was being transported in their own car at high speed.

Nxivms official website currently reads, In response to the allegations against our founder, Keith Raniere, we are currently working with the authorities to demonstrate his innocence and true character.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-smallville-actress-allison-mack-became-a-women-branding-cult-leader

London murder rate overtakes New York’s

Image caption Two teenagers were stabbed to death in Camden on 20 February

A spike in violent crime in London saw more murders committed in the city in February and March than there were in New York, figures show.

So far in 2018, the Met Police has investigated 46 murders, compared with 50 in the US city.

But, while New York’s murder rate decreased from the end of January, London’s rose markedly from that point.

Ex-Met Police Ch Supt Leroy Logan says it is proof that “London’s violent traits have become a virus”.

Statistics from the New York Police Department (NYPD) and the Metropolitan Police, reported in the Sunday Times and obtained by the BBC, highlight narrowing murder rates between the two cities, which have similar population sizes.

City Hall says it is “deeply concerned” by knife crime in the capital, but, along with the Met Police, insists London “remains one of the safest [cities] in the world”.

  • In January, the Met investigated eight murders whereas the NYPD looked into 18 killings
  • By February, the NYPD’s figures had dropped to 11, while London’s rose to 15
  • In March, 22 murders were investigated in London while 21 inquiries were launched in New York

The Met said it was “concerned at the increase in murders in London”.

“One murder is one too many, and we are working hard with our partners to understand the increase and what we can all do to prevent these tragedies from happening in the first place,” a spokesman said.

However, it is a murder rate that has left Mr Logan feeling “absolutely devastated”.

Image caption Former Ch Supt Leroy Logan retired from the Met Police in 2013 after 30 years’ service

“I cannot understand how things have gotten out of hand,” he said.

“We have seen the virus of violence spreading. It is endemic in so many different parts of societies.

“It can only be dealt with in a holistic manner, because it is so holistic in its impact.

“Police can’t just arrest or stop and search their way out of this problem; it has to be done in partnership with the communities.”

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionYouth club leader describes an ‘increasing level of violence’ among teenagers.

The Met Police has launched 44 murder investigations in 2018, 31 of which have been as a result of stabbings.

The deaths of 47-year-old Laura Cecilia Navarrete De Figueira, from Twickenham, and her sons Claudio, 10, and Joaquin, seven, are part of the same Met Police murder investigation. She was found stabbed in London, while the boys were discovered dead, along with their father, at the foot of Birling Gap, in Sussex.

Croydon Central MP Sarah Jones, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on knife crime, told the BBC’s Today programme that London could learn from New York in how to reduce violent crime.

Image copyright Jacob Sacks-Jones
Image caption Sarah Jones says “London needs to treat violent crime like a disease”

“New York has been able to bring down serious violence through a public health approach,” she said.

“We need a proper strategy that looks at all of the issues.

“Knife crime and violent crime acts like an epidemic, so you need to go in at the source to cut it off and then you need to inoculate the future young people against it.

“Going in at source means major intervention work with youth workers, inoculating means going into schools, changing the social norms, educating kids, teaching them what it is to be a man, teaching them how they don’t need to carry knives.”

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Met has investigated 46 murders in 2018 – of which 31 were stabbings

In February, the Met’s Commissioner Cressida Dick visited police in Glasgow to learn about a public health approach which has seen murder rates in Scotland drop dramatically.

There are plans for Ms Dick to carry out more “fact-finding trips”, in New York and with the West Midlands, Durham and Avon & Somerset forces.

Meanwhile, the government has launched a £1.35m campaign aimed at 10 to 21-year-olds.

The adverts to run across social media and digital channels feature stories of teenagers who have been stabbed.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-43610936

10 Sex Facts They Never Taught You in High School Sex Ed

Ah, sex education in America. It’s really not the best, is it? Sex Ed teaches you the basic facts, very cut and dry, but it definitely doesn’t teach all the strange, wacky facts about sex you definitely should know. Here are 10 of the best ones.

Advertisement

Read more: http://twentytwowords.com/10-sex-facts-they-never-taught-you-in-high-school-sex-ed/

Pennsylvania couple beat toddler to death over spilled cereal, police say

A Pennsylvania couple has been charged with first-degree murder for allegedly beating to death a 4-year-old child for spilling his cereal.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele announced Friday that the boy’s 19-year-old mother, Lisa Smith, and her boyfriend, Keiff King, 26, are being charged “for the senseless killing of young Tahjir (Smith).”

On January 22 at about 6 p.m., police responded to a reports “of a respiratory emergency,” according to a report from the Montgomery County District Attorney.

When paramedics arrived, they found the boy “limp and unresponsive.” He was later pronounced dead at Abington Jefferson Health Hospital.

MARYLAND MOTHER ARRESTED AFTER ATTMEPTING TO SAW OFF HEAD OF AUTISTIC SON BECEAUSE SHE FELT ‘OVERWHELMED,’ POLICE SAY

An investigation by Abington Police revealed that Tahjir had been beaten by his mother and King earlier in the day for spilling his breakfast cereal, police said. Investigators said Smith and King told them they used their hands and a sandal to give Tahjir a “butt whooping.” He was repeatedly beaten in the head and torso.

The final autopsy report showed that the toddler died “from multiple blunt injuries, thermal injuries and shock,” and concluded that the cause of death was “homicide.”

“The forensic pathologist’s determination that Tahjir’s death was homicide shows what detectives found in our investigation—that this was a violent, sustained beating of a 4-year-old that caused his death,” Steele said in the press release. “And it was a beating at the hands of the mother’s boyfriend and the mother, the very person entrusted to care for the boy.”

MOM CHARGED WITH DECAPITATING HER 7-YEAR-OLD SON IN WESTERN NEW YORK

The two are charged with first degree murder and are scheduled to appear in court on April 18. They were not offered bail.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/04/06/pennsylvania-couple-beat-toddler-to-death-over-spilled-cereal-police-say.html

Mini Brains Just Got CreepierTheyre Growing Their Own Veins

The first human brain balls—aka cortical spheroids, aka neural organoids—agglomerated into existence just a few short years ago. In the beginning, they were almost comically crude: just stem cells, chemically coerced into proto-neurons and then swirled into blobs in a salty-sweet bath. But still, they were useful for studying some of the most dramatic brain disorders, like the microcephaly caused by the Zika virus.

Then they started growing up. The simple spheres matured into 3D structures, fusing with other types of brain balls and sparking with electricity. The more like real brains they became, the more useful they were for studying complex behaviors and neurological diseases beyond the reach of animal models. And now, in their most human act yet, they’re starting to bleed.

Neural organoids don’t yet, even remotely, resemble adult brains; developmentally, they’re just pushing second trimester tissue organization. But the way Ben Waldau sees it, brain balls might be the best chance his stroke patients have at making a full recovery—and a homegrown blood supply is a big step toward that far-off goal. A blood supply carries oxygen and nutrients, allowing brain balls to grow bigger, complex networks of tissues, those that a doctor could someday use to shore up malfunctioning neurons.

“The whole idea with these organoids is to one day be able to develop a brain structure the patient has lost made with the patient’s own cells,” says Waldau, a vascular neurosurgeon at UC Davis Medical Center. “We see the injuries still there on the CT scans, but there’s nothing we can do. So many of them are left behind with permanent neural deficits—paralysis, numbness, weakness—even after surgery and physical therapy.”

Last week, it was Waldau’s group at UC Davis that published the first results of vascularized human neural organoids. Using brain membrane cells taken from one of his patients during a routine surgery, the team coaxed them first into stem cells, then some of them into the endothelial cells that line blood vessels’ insides. The stem cells they grew into brain balls, which they incubated in a gel matrix coated with those endothelial cells. After incubating for three weeks, they took a single organoid and transplanted it into a tiny cavity carefully carved into a mouse’s brain. Two weeks later the organoid was alive, well—and, critically, had grown capillaries that penetrated all the way to its inner layers.

A stained cross-section of a brain organoid showing that blood vessels (in red) have penetrated both the outer, more organized layers and the inner core.
UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures

Waldau got the idea from his work treating a rare disorder called Moyamoya disease. Patients have blocked arteries at the base of their brain, keeping blood from reaching the rest of the organ. “We sometimes lay a patient’s own artery on top of the brain to get the blood vessels to start growing in,” says Waldau. “When we replicated that process on a miniaturized scale we saw these vessels self-assemble.”

While it wasn’t clear from this experiment whether or not there was rodent blood coursing through its capillaries—the scientists had to flush them to accomplish fluorescent staining—the UC Davis team did demonstrate that the blood vessels themselves were comprised of human cells. Other research groups at the Salk Institute and the University of Pennsylvania have successfully transplanted human organoids into the brains of mice, but in both cases, blood vessels from the rodent host spontaneously grew into the transplanted tissue. When brain balls make their own blood vessels, they can potentially live much longer by hooking them up to microfluidic pumps—no rodent required.

That might give them a chance to actually mature into a complex computational organ. “It’s a big deal,” says Christof Koch, president of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, “but it’s still early days.” The next problem will be getting these cells wired into circuits that can receive and process information. “The fact that I can look out at the world and see it as spatially organized—left, right, near, far— is all due to the organization of my cortex that reflects the regularity of the world,” says Koch. “There’s nothing like that in these organoids yet.”

Not yet, maybe, but it’s not too soon to start asking what happens when they do. How large do they have to be before society has a moral mandate to provide them some kind of special protections? If an organoid comes from your cells, are you then its legal guardian? Can a brain ball give its consent to be studied?

Just last week the National Institutes of Health convened a neuroethics workshop to confront some of these thorny questions. Addressing a room filled with neuroscientists, doctors, and philosophers, Walter Koroshetz, director of the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, said the time for involving the public was now, even if the technology takes a century to become reality. “The question here is, as those cells come together to form information processing units, when do they get to the point where they’re as good as what we do now in a mouse? When does it go beyond that, to information processing you only see in a human? And what type of information processing would be to a point where you would say, ‘I don’t think we should go there’?”

Of course, that assumes that neuroscientists would be able to recognize consciousness in an organoid if they saw it. Biology has yet to settle on a theory of consciousness in humans, let alone measure it in a ball of brain cells. Because, after all, a brain isn’t really a brain until has experience. You can have all the right wires and connections, but until it’s hooked up to some kind of input, it won’t process anything. Blood vessels are a good start—but we won’t start worrying about consciousness until the brain balls have eyes.


More Brain Balls

Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/mini-brains-just-got-creepiertheyre-growing-their-own-veins/

Sociologists Examine Hackathons and See Exploitation

As the gospel of Silicon Valley-style disruption spreads to every sector in the economy, so too have the industry’s favorite competitive ritual, hackathons. The contests, where small teams of “hackers” build tech products in marathon all-night coding sessions, are a hallmark of Silicon Valley culture. Recall Facebook’s most famous hackathon, thrown on the eve of its IPO to show the world that the demands of being a public company would not kill the “hacker way” at One Hacker Way.

Now, sponsors ranging from Fortune 500 conglomerates to conference organizers host them. Even New York Fashion Week and the Vatican have hosted hackathons. They’ve become part of a “toolkit” for large organizations seeking a veneer of innovation. Some organizers view them as recruiting opportunities, others as opportunities to evangelize their company’s technology platforms, and others simply want to be associated with something cool and techie. They’re so common that hackathon enthusiast Mike Swift started a company dedicated to organizing and building community around them called Major League Hacking. Last year the company provided services for more than 200 hackathons with more than 65,000 participants.

The phenomenon is attracting attention from academics. One pair of sociologists recently examined hackathons and emerged with troubling conclusions. Sharon Zukin, professor of sociology at Brooklyn College and CUNY Graduate Center, spent a year observing seven hackathons, mostly sponsored by corporations, in New York City, interviewing participants, organizers, and sponsors. In a study called “Hackathons As Co-optation Ritual: Socializing Workers and Institutionalizing Innovation in the ‘New’ Economy,” she and co-author Max Papadantonakis argue that hackathons create “fictional expectations of innovation that benefits all,” which Zukin writes is a “powerful strategy for manufacturing workers’ consent in the ‘new’ economy.” In other words, institutions use the allure of hackathons, with sponsors, prizes, snacks, and potential for career advancement, to get people to work for free.

To Zukin, this is a problem, because hackathons are making the “hacker subculture” they promote into the new work norm. That norm, which coincides with the labor market trend of less-secure employment, encourages professional workers to adopt an “entrepreneurial” career and market themselves for continually shifting jobs. The trend also includes motivating workers with Soviet-style slogans venerating the pleasures of work.

Zukin tells WIRED the unpaid labor of hackathons recalls sociological research on fashion models, who are also expected to spend time promoting themselves on social media, and party girls, who go to nightclubs with male VIPs in hopes of boosting acting or modeling aspirations. Participants are combining self-investment with self-exploitation, she says. It’s rational given the demands of the modern labor market. It’s just precarious work.

Zukin was surprised to find that hackathon participants almost universally view the events positively. Hackathons are often social, emotionally charged, and a way to learn. Swift says his company found that 86 percent of student participants say they learn skills they can’t get in the classroom, and a third of them believe skills they learned at a hackathon helped them get a job.

Zukin observed hackathon sponsors fueling the “romance of digital innovation by appealing to the hackers’ aspiration to be multi-dimensional agents of change,” she writes. The themes of exhaustion (participants often work for 24 or 36 hours straight), achievement, and the belief that this work could bring future financial reward, were prevalent at the events she observed.

To the tech industry and its imitators, these are normal ideas. To a sociologist, they’re exploitative. “From my perspective, they’re doing unpaid work for corporations,” Zukin says. (Even hackathons thrown by schools, non-profits, publishers, and civic organizations tend to have corporate sponsors.)

Viewed through a sociologist’s framework, Zukin says the events’ aspirational messaging—typical Silicon Valley-style futurebabble about changing the world—feels dystopian. Hackathons show “the fault lines of an emerging production system” by embodying a set of “quasi-Orwellian” ideas that are prevalent in the current economic climate, she writes. Zukin encapsulates those ideas in slogans that could be at home on the walls of a WeWork lobby: “Work is Play,” “Exhaustion is Effervescent,” and “Precarity is Opportunity.”

Zukin only examined hackathons that were open to the public. But many companies, like Facebook, host internal hackathons over weekends. Zukin notes that such events, in which employees may feel obligated to participate, are a form of labor control. “They’re just trying to squeeze the innovation out of [their workers],” she says.

Hackathons reflect an asymmetry of power between the hackathons’ corporate sponsors and their participants, the study argues. Their corporate sponsors outsource work, crowdsource innovation, and burnish their reputations while concealing their business goals.

I noticed this phenomenon while reporting on a dozen hackathons between 2012 and 2014. At a 2013 college-sponsored hackathon, it seemed that everyone involved wanted something from the participants: Sponsors wanted to lay the groundwork for potential investments, hire the hackers, convince them to use particular software to build tools and apps, and boost their own reputations by offering cash, snacks and other prizes.

Swift, of Major League Hacking, doesn’t think sponsor involvement is bad for participants. “The corporate sponsors enable these amazing experiences that the students have at these hackathons,” he says. Their sponsorship “demonstrates that the companies understand developers, care about their interest and goals, and are investing in this community,” he says. He notes that because of sponsors, participants get to work with tools they might not have access to, like VR headsets or expensive software platforms.

The irony is that, regardless of whether hackathon participants willingly participate in self-exploitation or are simply having fun and learning, they rarely produce useful innovations that last beyond the event’s 36 hours. Startup lore has plenty of tales of successful companies that were created at hackathons—a popular example is GroupMe, the messaging app created at a TechCrunch hackathon, which sold to Skype for $85 million one year later. But such examples are rare. “Hacks are hacks, not startups,” Swift wrote in a blog post. “Most hackers don’t want to work on their hackathon project after the hackathon ends.”

Hackathons are not particularly effective as recruiting strategies for large companies, either, the study finds. But they sell the dream of self-improvement via technology, something companies want to be associated with regardless of any immediate benefit to their bottom line. As symbols of innovation, they’re not likely to go anywhere anytime soon.

Hacking Away

  • More than 100 students recently coded for 36 hours straight at the Vatican’s first-ever hackathon.
  • Some participants in a federal government hackathon aimed at solutions to the opioid crisis had second thoughts.
  • A photographer documented the networking parties, hackathons and grubby crash pads where techies tap away at their laptops.

Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/sociologists-examine-hackathons-and-see-exploitation/

THIS Woman Allegedly Cooked Her Chihuahua To Death In An Oven Because She Thought Her Ex Was INSIDE The Animal

Earlier this month, an Oregon woman allegedly cooked her pet Chihuahua to death in an oven because she thought her ex-boyfriend was INSIDE the animal.

According to Clatsop County Jail records, Noelle Georgia Moor (above) has been charged with first-degree animal abuse for the alleged incident.

Related: Uber’s Self-Driving Car Just Killed A Pedestrian!

Clatsop County District Attorney Joshua Marquis told People that on March 19, authorities arrived at the 28-year-old’s residence at least twice over a dispute. When they entered the property, they “realized something was very wrong,” and eventually found the poor dog in the oven.

Court records obtained by The Oregonian say Moor, who was detained at Columbia Memorial Hospital, believed a former flame was actually inside the canine.

Although Marquis is awaiting the results of her mental health investigation, “it’s likely going to be handled as a criminal case,” adding:

“A lot of people who do very bizarre things also have mental health issues.”

The suspect is currently at the Clatsop County Jail, and will appear in court on Tuesday.

[Image via Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office.]

Read more: http://perezhilton.com/2018-03-26-noelle-georgia-moor-clatsop-county-jail-chihuahua

Dwayne The Rock Johnson’s Mental Health Tweet Fuels Thoughtful Discussion

When The Rock of all aptly nicknamed people steps forward to discuss his ongoing battle with depression (see interview here) you better believe his fans are going to connect with it. Always a beautiful thing to see famed celebs use their time under the spotlight to discuss meaningful struggles that trouble the rest of the world. The Rock just keeps giving us reasons to love the shit out of him.