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    From Yesterday's New York Post:

    In this ‘war on New Year’s’, the animals won.

    A North Carolina town has nixed its tradition of dropping a live possum at the stroke of midnight — the odd celebration born as a “redneck response” to the Big Apple’s classic Times Square ball drop, according to a new report.

    Mayor James Reid of Andrews, N.C. — a tiny community of just 1,800 — told the Wall Street Journal on Monday that he was canning the event because he was sick of receiving protest calls over the two-decade tradition.

    “It’s done,” Reid said. “They can stick a fork in it.”

    The New Year’s Eve marsupial drop began in the 1990s and attracted hundreds of revelers each year who gathered to see a live possum lowered in a clear plastic box at midnight.

    But animal rights groups said the practice of putting a shy, nocturnal animal in a brightly lit box surrounded by fireworks and large crowds was cruel, according to the report.

    Millie, the possum used in last year’s drop, developed an infection after her leg was caught in a trap and she had to have it amputated, the report said.

    The drop was originally held in neighboring Brasstown but was move to Andrews last year when the festival founder retired.

    Reid said he wanted to keep the tradition alive but on Monday declared “Times are changing.”

    “Our plan is to have an awesome party and not have any live animals involved whatsoever.”

    The town of Tallapoosa in Georgia also has an annual New Year’s Eve possum drop but stresses that their possum is stuffed.

    Republican lawmakers have repeatedly tried to make outrage over the North Carolina tradition a political argument and passed legislation including the “Opossum Right to Work Act” in 2013 to keep it alive.

    “People in the mountains get tired of people in the city telling them what they can do and what they can’t do,” local Sen. Jim Davis said Monday.

    “It’s a very innocuous event,” he said. “I don’t understand the big to-do over it.”

  • #2
    What a stupid idea. What's a possum got to do with time and the changing of the year? It doesn't take a genius to realize that animal is likely terrified beyond anything it has ever experienced before, particularly when the box is spinning along with the loud noises and lights. Then again anyone who doesn't understand this is cruel to the helpless animal is clearly NOT a genius in the slightest.

    From the video I couldn't even see the animal in the cage, so why not use a stuffed one like Tallapoosa does. But then again, WHY A POSSUM???

    This is just dumb.


    • #3
      What in seven colored fuck? Imagine how backwoods your community must be for something this stupid to become TRADITION.

      God. Imagine putting a DOG, who TRUSTS HUMANS in that situation and how bad that would very obviously be. Now TEN FOLD that situation by trapping a wild animal and taking it out of it's habitat to do something this dumb??


      • #4
        This is pretty weird but gets weirder. Even though the possum is not killed, just traumatized, the state has an exemption for possum cruelty for New Year's Day and the two days before and after...purely to avoid interfering with this "festivity". During those days, under state law, you can legally do anything to live possums: light 'em on fire, drag a bunch behind your pickup, fire them from cannons... anything. Let your imagination run wild, head for NC with your possum traps, and go wild: you have two more days!


        • #5
          Agreed that "dropping" the live creature is pretty disgusting, but I can't see the harm with the town in Georgia using the taxidermized one, especially as he appears to have passed away of natural causes.


          • #6
            I'm glad they put a stop to that "tradition." Possums are a little on the weird side (they sure walk and run in an oddly wiggly way), but they're ultimately beneficial creatures. One thing they love doing is eating ticks. Freaking deer ticks can get horrible here in Oklahoma, so anything possums can do to cut that parasite population will be great. Recently I saw a wildlife camera video of a possum eating ticks off a deer's head. The deer stood still and let the possum do it.


            • #7
              There's a Wikipedia article about the phenomenon, but nowhere it explains the reason behind choosing an opossum instead of grandma's old undies...


              • #8
                Continuing from the old forum discussion on LED billboards, this from Engadget:

                Hackers made a Detroit interstate billboard play a porn scene

                Nobody was injured during the incident. Drivers in Auburn Hills, Michigan, got a heck of a surprise last Saturday night when an electronic billboard starting playing porn. The billboard, located alongside I-75 North between University Drive and highway M-59 in Auburn Hills, began playing the X-rated movie not long before midnight. It was shut down after 20 minutes, when police made contact with the sign's owner, Triple Communications.

                Unlike previous billboard shockers, this was definitely not a paid-for stunt. Auburn Hills Police Department has since released a photograph and video of two men suspected of breaking into the billboard's control room and hacking its computer. If found, the pair could face a possible penalty of 90 days in jail, and/or a $500 fine for promoting pornography, as well as potential burglary charges for forcing entry to the building.

                Reports in local media have repeatedly noted how dangerous the incident was, with many rubbernecking drivers slowing down to gawp and film the scene, creating numerous opportunities for accidents. Princess Leia, one of the adult film actresses featured in the movie, told Vice she was relieved that no-one was hurt. "It is my sincere hope that this will open a larger public discussion regarding the safety of electronic billboards," she said.

                I'm surprised that the porn "actress" who named herself after a Star Bores character hasn't been sued for copyright and/or trademark infringement.
                Last edited by Leo Enticknap; 01-12-2020, 11:37 AM.


                • #9
                  From Ars Technica:

                  Cooler Master is tired of telling parents their kids aren’t on drugs Goodbye, dedicated paste-spreading tool—and hello, wide-tipped applicator.

                  Early this morning, Cooler Master tweeted a picture of its new spade-tipped thermal compound applicators and captioned it "we didn't change the shape of the syringe to make applying thermal paste a lot easier, but because we're getting tired of having to explain to parents that their kid isn't using drugs."

                  It took the Ars staff a few minutes of grappling with Poe's Law to figure out if they were serious or not. On the one hand, how many parents would really mistake thermal compound for a medical syringe? On the other hand... the world's a big place, and as recently as 2015, I needed to tell parents en masse that the most prevalent server operating system on the planet isn't malware, so who knows? But Cooler Master is probably just joining the likes of Wendy's, Denny's, and Old Spice on Snarky Brand Twitter.

                  What we're sure of is that the spade-tipped applicator looks a lot more pleasant to use than the general purpose closed-needle-tip syringe senior techs and enthusiasts have been grappling with for ecades. If you're not accustomed to it, thermal compound is thick, goopy, and an absolute nightmare to clean off of any credit card you unwisely use to try to spread a thin film of it evenly across your new CPU, as guides have advised for as long as thermal compound has existed. (Some techs keep a "fake" credit card around for just this purpose, which at least lets them get some use out of spam credit card offers.)

                  Spreading the thermal compound manually isn't necessarily a real requirement—as PC Gamer recommends, a pea-sized blob of compound squeezed directly onto the center of the CPU will be squashed out into the requisite thin paste by the pressure of the heat sink alone. And if you're a PC tech who swaps out a heatsink or CPU once a day, you'll get the hang of that method quickly enough—but most people, even hardware enthusiasts, won't do a heat sink replacement more often than once every couple of years.

                  We think Cooler Master's new applicator looks like a real win for people who don't feel sure enough of the "blob it and hope" method.

                  If there are parents who believe that syringes of thermal paste are drugs, then they will really freak out if their kids ever get their hands on an inkjet cartridge refill kit (which also includes needles)...

                  Attached Files


                  • #10
                    Thanks to the Marx Brothers, I've heard of duck soup ... but bat soup?! This from NewsHub (New Zealand):

                    Originally posted by NewsHub
                    Sickening footage of a woman eating a bat in the Chinese city of Wuhan has gone viral as the country is ravaged by the deadly coronavirus, where scientists believe bats to be a major carrier. The virus is linked back to the sprawling city's food markets, where various animal species are sold such as dogs, pigs, chickens, bats, snakes, and even koalas.

                    Experts have said that bats are the original hosts of the virus, where they then spread it to other animals and onto humans, reports Business Insider. And horrifyingly, the flying mammal was being sold and consumed at a restaurant at Wuhan’s Huanana seafood market where the video was filmed. Video shows the woman beginning to nibble at the bat’s wings.

                    So far, the coronavirus has killed 25 people and infected more than 830 says the National Health Commission and Wuhan, a city of 11 million people where the new strain of the virus began, has been put under lockdown. This newly identified virus has created fear due to it being not very well understood. There is no vaccine for the virus and symptoms include fever, difficulty breathing and coughing, similar to many other respiratory illnesses. Identifying a source of the virus is vital to establish a treatment.


                    • #11

                      Police search for child in distress turns up screaming goat instead

                      When Ottawa police went to check out a report of a child calling for help in the city's rural west end last week, they didn't find the kid — but they did get their goat. On the evening of Jan. 27, officers responded to a call from a resident who said he heard the sound of a child calling for help coming from a wooded area near his property.
                      They searched, but they neither heard nor saw a child in distress. The officers went to check with neighbours, and at one house found a woman with her three children all accounted for.
                      When the father arrived, he told police his goat had been screaming earlier, and when he went to investigate he found the animal with its head stuck in a fence.
                      "The farmer said the sound could be mistaken for a child screaming. He led the officers to the area and sure enough, it was exactly where the complainant reported the sound coming from," police said in a news release.
                      "All kidding aside, police are reminding residents to report suspicious activity immediately so we can check it out. It's always better to be safe than sorry."


                      • #12
                        This is just dumb
                        Hey, no surprise; to paraphrase Mr. Heston, "It's people...dumb is people!".


                        • #13
                          A Florida traffic stop turned into a surprise narcotics bust after police found what looked to be a bag full of drugs in the car.
                          The clue?

                          It was labeled "Bag Full Of Drugs."

                          A Florida Highway Patrol trooper made the stop after observing a car going 25 miles per hour over the limit Saturday, the Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office said.
                          A Sheriff's K-9 arrived at the scene and alerted police to the presence of contraband inside.That's when police said they found the narcotics -- there were approximately 75 grams of methamphetamine, 1.36 kilograms of GHB, 1 gram of cocaine, 3.6 grams of fentanyl, 15 MDMA tablets and drug paraphernalia.

                          "Note to self- do not traffic your illegal narcotics in bags labeled 'Bag Full Of Drugs,'" a Facebook post from the Sheriff's office read. "Our K-9's can read."


                          • #14
                            Police spokeshole quote in Frank's goat story:

                            All kidding aside...

                            Reminds me of a naughty limerick that circulated when I was in high school:

                            A man in a long overcoat
                            attempted to bugger a goat.
                            But his groin took a whack
                            when the creature kicked back,
                            and he now has a very sore scrote.


                            • #15
                              From The Guardian:
                              Virtuoso mourns beloved £150,000 piano smashed by movers

                              Angela Hewitt’s unique F278 Fazioli was destroyed in an attempt to lift it on to a trolley

                              A unique piano which was treasured by the Canadian virtuoso Angela Hewitt as her “best friend” was broken beyond repair when it was dropped by specialist instrument movers.

                              The expensive accident happened late last month after Hewitt finished recording Beethoven’s piano variations at a studio in Berlin. She said it left her in such shock that it took her 10 days before she could announce the news to her followers.

                              In a Facebook post Hewitt said her F278 Fazioli, the only one in the world fitted with four pedals, and worth at least £150,000, was “kaputt”. She said: “I hope my piano will be happy in piano heaven.”
                              The broken instrument was inspected by the firm’s Italian founder, Paolo Fazioli, who declared it “unsalvageable”. The piano’s iron frame smashed when the 590kg instrument dropped as movers tried to lift it on to a trolley. The force of the break, compounded by the high tensions in the piano’s strings, was so strong that it split the piano’s lid in two.

                              “It makes no sense, financially or artistically, to rebuild this piano from scratch. It’s kaputt,” Hewitt said.

                              The accident left Hewitt in mourning. She said: “I adored this piano. It was my best friend, best companion. I loved how it felt when I was recording – giving me the possibility to do anything I wanted.”

                              The unnamed firm of movers was “mortified” by the accident, she said. “In 35 years of doing their job, this had never happened before,” she wrote. “At least nobody was hurt.”

                              Hewitt, who the Guardian described as “one of the great Bach interpreters of our day” had used the piano on all her European recordings since 2003, including a celebrated recent performance of Bach’s six partitas. They are all that remains of the piano.

                              Hewitt, who divides her time between London and a home near Lake Trasimeno in central Italy, said an “insurance saga” was already under way which she hoped would be resolved quickly so that she could find a replacement.

                              Terence Lewis, co-owner of London’s Jaques Samuel Pianos, who has supplied other Faziolis to Hewitt and spoke to her about the accident said the destruction of the piano was “like losing a limb”.

                              He said: “Every single piano is different and you grow with them and they change as they age and you develop together. For a pianist at that level a piano becomes an extension of your body and that’s why she dragged it around for her recordings.”

                              Lewis is responsible for providing Faziolis in London venues for international pianists including Daniil Trifonov and Herbie Hancock. He played Hewitt’s piano when it was made in the early 2000s at the Fazioli factory in Sacile north-east of Venice.

                              “I know this piano really well,” he said, “I practised on it for a three or four hours after it was made.”

                              Lewis said its four pedals made it unique among pianos of this model, which are worth £150,000 new. “Paolo [Fazioli] says he will never fit four pedals ever again to it [a F278] because it was such a pain in the arse.”
                              Lewis said he felt for the moving firm involved. “Accidents do unfortunately happen, but this was a very big one. She would not have let it be moved by anyone she didn’t trust. She was very happy with them. I would have cried if I’d been involved. They must feel terrible because they would understand what the instrument means to her.”

                              He pointed out that if the piano had not been damaged, Hewitt could have sold it for more than any other second-hand Fazioli of its age. “What would have added value is that fact that it was the great lady’s piano, because she is the goddess of the piano. If that piano went to auction unbroken that would have given it a very large premium.”

                              He added: “Faziolis are truly handmade. They make up to 150 a year. It is absolutely bespoke, incredible quality. Once pianists start using Fazioli they become dedicated to them.

                              “I spoke to Paolo [Fazioli] and he said, no, it’s absolutely dead. He is sad because it is one of his creations. And he is sad for Angela, but it’s life there is not a lot you can do about it.”

                              A spokeswoman for Fazioli said the firm could not comment. She said: “Unfortunately, in such a circumstance we cannot give information about the instrument value, since an insurance investigation is in progress.”
                              If she decides that this is the cue for a career change, the insurance money would probably just about buy her a Barco L-series...

                              590 kilos (1,300 pounds and six ounces) - oof! I don't look forward to the heavy lifting involved in installing projectors, and have occasionally wondered about the consequences of dropping one. But I can't think of any that heavy! The Philips DP70/Norelco AA was said to be 1,004lb including the OEM pedestal and magazines, so with a lamphouse it would be close, but I don't know of any digital projector that would come in at even half that.