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A Charles Fort-style New Year! "Arkansas Game and Fish Press Release: BEEBE, Ark.-- Friday night, ringing in the New Year took on a whole different meaning for the citizens of Beebe. Around 11:30 p.m., enforcement officers with Arkansas Game and Fish Commission began getting reports of dead black birds falling from the sky in the city limits of Beebe. Officers estimated that over 1,000 birds had fallen out of the sky over the city before midnight. Most of the birds were dead, but some were still alive when officers arrived. The blackbirds fell over a one-mile area in the city....

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Flashback 25 November 2010, before the WikiLeaks cables came out: 'US diplomatic cables set for imminent release by WikiLeaks will reportedly show that NATO ally Turkey aided Al Qaeda in Iraq, while the US supported the PKK, a Kurdish separatist group fighting Turkey' - so said the Raw Story, noting that 'The claim was made in the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat' and the story was also taken up by Reuters. I waited for cables to come out that verified this (or not) but none came. I wrote to The Guardian, who possess the cables, and they replied: 'We've not seen...

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Me and my friends were really really really really drunk one night in Saint Denis in 1793, and although I kept the head I stole from the Royal Chapel, I completely lost track of it later in the 90s. Now the mystery of its whereabouts is solved! 'Scientists say they have identified an embalmed head as belonging to King Henri IV of France, who was assassinated in 1610 at the age of 57. The head was lost after revolutionaries ransacked the royal chapel at Saint Denis, near Paris, in 1793. A head, presumed to be that of Henri IV, has...

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Discrepancies, discrepancies. 'A Cat's Mirror of Wikileaks Cablegate site' carries the latest update of the embassy cables from the WikiLeaks 'cablegate' page but also: - '13 cables...which were deleted from wikileaks cablegate site' - '...at least 11 cables... in a more free version (as they were previously disclosed) while they are now presented (a little little little little little little little bit) (or more) censored on the... Cablegate website' - '138 cables... disclosed by Lebanese Al-Akhbar paper, but were not yet put into Wikileaks releases' - '33 cables... which were disclosed by the British Guardian paper, but not yet included...

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Chine Types, from the George Eastman House collection. CC license From the Wall of Death blog:

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Ok, this music has been stuck in my head for the last week. Now, I've been a Rubberbandits fan for a while, especially since A Song For Willie, but these plastic-bag (w)rapped lads From Limerick have outdone themselves this time. There's talks of them attempting an Irish #1 via Itunes, there's a Facebook Event to help orchestrate it. I'll leave you to it; but a word of warning, don't play this out loud in the office, or in front of those of a polite disposition.

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(1) 'It was an off-hand compliment during a January 2007 dinner meeting between Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, plus staff, and then-U.S. Central Commander boss General John Abizaid. But Al Nayhan's jocular praise, as reported in WikiLeaks' trove of leaked diplomatic cables, is a rare admission that the United States played a central role in the disastrous December 2006 Ethiopian Woyanne invasion of Somalia, a move that ultimately emboldened the very Islamic extremists the U.S. and Ethiopia Woyanne had hoped to squash.' Full story at Ethiopian Review. (2) 'Frazer spread rumors of a possible jihadist...

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Most 'terrorists' these days have been indoctrinated and radicalized by FBI agents, because the Federal Bureau of Entrapment cannot find any real terrorists to arrest and has to look busy rather than close up shop once and for all, on the grounds of uselessness. However, sometimes people just don't want to become 'terrorists', so when the feds sent an agent to a Los Angeles mosque to get some jihad goin' on, their man soon found that the mosque did not like his views and had taken out a restraining order against him! So he didn't get to start any 'terrorism'...

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'NASA-funded astrobiology research has changed the fundamental knowledge about what comprises all known life on Earth. Researchers conducting tests in the harsh environment of Mono Lake in California have discovered the first known microorganism on Earth able to thrive and reproduce using the toxic chemical arsenic. The microorganism substitutes arsenic for phosphorus in its cell components. "The definition of life has just expanded," said Ed Weiler, NASA's associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at the agency's Headquarters in Washington.' - Read the full story on the NASA website. Research article abstract on sciencemag.org.

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Original entry from 13 April 2010: 'Bacha bazi is an old Afghan tradition of taking young boys, dressing them up like girls, and making them perform for older men in tea rooms, weddings, and other private venues. The boys are "owned" by single or married men who trade or keep the boys as concubines... the age-old ritual of man-boy predatory sex, which is obliquely condoned throughout Afghanistan because of a pervasive fear or indifference about prosecuting it on any serious level... has proliferated after decades of poverty, corruption, and a lack of enduring social institutions... poor families sell their children,...