Friday, November 20, 2009

Gang 'killed victims to extract their fat'

In Peru police arrested three men, and are looking for at least seven more in connection with a scheme to ‘harvest’ body fat from humans to turn into a wrinkle reducer.  The black market in these fats has to this point been largely though of as an urban legend, since there is a plentiful supply of liquid fat available from donors.  The arrests let us know that not only is the black market real, but at about $50,000 for two bottles of human body fat, it is lucrative anywhere, but particularly in locations where incomes are far less than in the US and Europe. 

Many of us heard stories of the Boogieman as children.  He seems to take on different characteristics depending on where one lives.  In Peru, the Boogieman is the Pishtaco – a sort of demonic creature, said to resemble a human with white skin.  The Pishtaco were said to murder Indians on the roads and trails, and mutilate their remains.  When the Caucasian missionaries came they initially terrified many Incas because they resembled the white-skinned Pishtaco of legend.  The missionaries were thought to kill peasants for their body fat, which they used to keep their oil lamps lighted and their church bells oiled. 

I just cannot think of a single thing to say in commenting on this.  It is hard to imagine that dozens of people could be murdered simply to harvest body fat for high-end wrinkle treatment.  I wonder if this development will cause a decline in sales for the treatment, or if the pattern we saw with ‘blood diamonds’ – sales were not affected overall – and it will be something people express concern about but go right on with their purchases. 

I guess I can think of one thing to say:  It seems to me that this case cries out for the death penalty, and certainly it should be followed by extraction of body fat from the perpetrators of all these murders.  It is amazing what our consumerism and vanity becomes as it ripples across the globe to lower income societies.  Something we think little about because we can afford it, can be so extremely valuable in the second and third world as to cause murder – as in this case where the murdered number in the dozens.  Does that make the men who killed and removed body fat modern-day Pishtacos?  Are the people buying human body fat as anti-wrinkle treatments responsible in some way also?  I have to say that I will be quite surprised if we begin to learn that similar rings are going on around the world, but instead of body fat their target is harvesting organs. 

The Guardian


Thursday, November 19, 2009

First-Year Police Officer Britt Sweeny Ready to Return to Duty, Honor Fallen Comrade

I think most of us have idly thought at some point about how we would react if we were involved in a shooting incident.  Maybe not as the shooter, but perhaps because of a news story or television show or movie, the thought came unbidden.  We can’t really know until we know, as the saying goes, and may I add that I don’t want to know.  When Officer Britt Sweeny – on her second night with training officer Tim Brenton (#6699) – was faced with just that situation she learned, as the rest of the police force and the city learned how she would react.  Her partner was killed instantly, and without hesitation Officer Sweeny radioed the call for help “shots fired”, and she jumped from the patrol car and returned fire.  When detectives found the car used in the attack they also found that one of Officer Sweeny’s slugs had hit the fleeing vehicle.  How terrible it is that Officer Sweeny had to learn firsthand and unequivocally of her mettle, created by an internal strength that cannot be taught.  She will say that her training is responsible for her actions, and to an extent that is true.  It is also no doubt true that she reacted in a split second to a threat, called instantly for aid, and still managed to step out of the patrol car and return fire.  I’m sure there were many veterans, fine officers all, who privately wondered if they’d have responded so brilliantly in the same circumstances.  How sad that Officer Sweeny, in her first year as an officer, has had to learn what she has learned about herself.  I am certain she’d have loved to be one of those officers who have never fired their gun on duty.  But that wasn’t Officer Sweeny’s lot.  She drew a very short stick – only Officer Brenton’s was shorter – in a very high stakes situation, and she mastered it.  I believe that training is excellent.  It is exceeded in excellence by this officer and her sense of duty, and her courage.

Local News | Rookie ready to 'fight the fight,' return to duty after officer's fatal shooting | Seattle Times Newspaper

Stagnating Temperatures: Irony puts a Silly Hat on Yet Another Global Climate Change Summit

Okay, so if I haven’t bored you with my lame metaphysical theory before, lucky you.  But not that lucky, as I will do it now.  After observing the world, the way it works, the way we interact; in fact the sum total of my education and experience from birth to the moment of epiphany went into this theory:  At the root, at the smallest possible level, we will someday learn that the universe and all of its’ components are built of this basic material.  What is it?  Irony.  Yes, irony.  Look closely enough at almost any situation and one finds irony of varying degrees.  For example, let’s say you were going to have a global summit to face the crisis of global warming.  You were going to invite Prince Charles to repeat his prediction of immanent disaster if we don’t reduce greenhouse gases dramatically this year.  Let’s say you are planning to press national governments to enact and enforce emissions standards projected to cost hundreds of billions of dollars at a time when the global economy is teetering on the brink of a huge depression.  What would be ironic, in this situation?  I think the subject of the following article does the trick nicely in showing us the irony of which we are all assembled.  According to this Spiegel article (and many other reports in news sources, journals and science magazines as well), the earth has stopped warming.  Just in time to make the people who have been predicting catastrophe look a bit silly and alarmist.  Whether you attribute this phenomena of stagnated temperatures to ocean current patterns, or the historic low levels of sunspot activity since 2000, you must admit that I may be right.  Irony might be the cause of the whole thing.

Stagnating Temperatures: Climatologists Baffled by Global Warming Time-Out - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Monday, November 16, 2009

Daily Express | World News :: Million hit by 'plague worse than swine flu'

This is a spooky development which has begun in the Ukraine.  The mortality rate of the illness which begins with three virus types mutating and working together to cause serious illness – seemingly much more deadly than swine flu.

Daily Express | World News :: Million hit by 'plague worse than swine flu'

Sunshine on Discovery Bay

Sunshine on Discovery Bay
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