For those of you who followed our contributions to the mad science world, you may already know about Silvia-bot, our bomb defusing robot. The full tutorial for the robot including a demonstration video is now available in our Projects section. Take a look and feel free to make fun of my singing voice.
Many more images at boston.com
Revolutionaries in Aleppo launch improvised bombs from an improvised catapult. This is why it is important to learn to weld and the physics of elasticity.
Syrian revolutionary in Aleppo shot twice by government sniper crawls towards comrades who are helpless to rescue him. He was brought to a hospital but it is unknown if he survived.
Syrian girl climbs the tent roofs of a refuge camp along the Turkish border.
Via The Onion
Nation Suddenly Realizes This Just Going To Be A Thing That Happens From Now On
NEW YORK—Following Hurricane Sandy’s destructive tear through the Northeast this week, the nation’s 300 million citizens looked upon the trail of devastation and fully realized, for the first time, that this is just going to be something that happens from now on.
Gradually comprehending that this sort of thing is now just a fact of life, citizens all across America stared blankly at images of destroyed homes, major cities paralyzed by flooding, and ravaged communities covered in debris, and finally acknowledged that this, apparently, is now a regular part of the human experience.
“Oh, I see—this is just going to be how it is from here on out,” said New York City resident Brian Marcello, coming to terms with the fact that an immense storm that cripples mass transit systems and knocks out power for millions in the nation’s largest metropolitan area can no longer be regarded as an isolated, freak incident, and will henceforth be just a normal thing that happens. “Hugely destructive weather events are going to keep happening, and they are going to get worse and worse, and living through them is something that will be a part of all our lives from now on, whether we like it or not.”
“I get it now,” Marcello added.
Faced with the prospect of long months before any of the widespread damage is truly repaired, the millions who reside along the Eastern Seaboard told reporters today they fully understood, for the first time, that natural disasters killing scores of Americans and costing billions of dollars are going to be routine events, not just in the immediate foreseeable future, but permanently.
Sources added that by early Wednesday morning, it abruptly occurred to millions more citizens that the news stories they’ve been seeing that feature displaced families, photos of debris, shut-down businesses, and government relief efforts have already started to feel “extremely familiar,” because these are things that happen now.
“I was just watching a CNN news story about how much damage Sandy has caused in comparison to Katrina, Ike, or last year’s storm that ravaged the Northeast, and it dawned on me: ‘Ah, okay, being a human being on Planet Earth, pretty much no matter where you are, now involves the threat of one day having your home, city, or country decimated in a matter of hours by a severe weather event,’” Detroit resident Stacy Hillman said. “Looking at images of cities—actual American fucking cities—flooded with water is no longer an incredibly weird, unprecedented thing to see. It has happened before, it happened this week, and it will continue to happen again and again in the future, and to an even greater extent.”
“So, then, I guess that what it means to be a member of human civilization has changed forever, pretty much,” Hillman added. “And that this is the new world we live in.”
A Reuters poll conducted earlier this week found that 43 percent of Americans reported finally accepting the fact that a potentially endless number of increasingly lethal natural disasters would likely occur throughout the coming decades, while as many as 18 percent of respondents said they were “almost relieved” knowing that the possibility of their entire life being washed away in an instant now existed.
“Right now, Americans all across the country are watching the aftermath of this storm and at long last recognizing that this is what life is like now,” said Dr. Richard Morales, a climatologist at the University of Pennsylvania. “Admittedly, it could take a little while for some to fully acknowledge it, but at the end of the day, people will be much happier once they accept that they and their loved ones will likely suffer the consequences of an even stronger, more deadly hurricane at some point very soon. It’s going to happen.”
“I went through something very similar a few years ago when I finally came to terms with the fact that no one would ever listen to anything I said about global warming,” Morales added. “And that it is entirely too late to do anything about it.”
Via The Guardian
A senior Greek police officer has claimed that the far-right Golden Dawn party has infiltrated the police at various levels. He has laid the blame on consecutive governments and the leadership of the police force for turning a blind eye to what he describes as “pockets of fascism”.
Speaking to the Guardian on condition of anonymity, the officer said the Greek state had been fully aware of the activities of Golden Dawn for several years, with the National Intelligence Service and other security agencies monitoring it closely. The officer claimed police chiefs had had the opportunity to isolate and remove these small “pockets of fascism” in the force but decided not to. The state, he said, wanted to keep the fascist elements “in reserve” and use them for its own purposes.
The officer said he believed that Golden Dawn members could be used against the Greek left, which has led popular street protests against the government and austerity measures imposed by the EU. He expressed his belief that neo-fascist groups may already have acted as agents provocateurs during demonstrations across the country, to provoke clashes between demonstrators and the police or even between demonstrators themselves.
A spokesman for the Greek police, Christos Manouras, denied the police were using or being used by “any political formation against any other”. Manouras rejected the existence of “pockets of fascism” within the force and said no unlawful behaviour would be tolerated.
He conceded that “individual cases can be found everywhere and at any workplace”. But he added: “It is unfair for the Greek police force to be accused with no evidence that they tolerate or support specific actions or to be identified with certain [political] beliefs … You should note that – in accordance with the constitution and laws of the Greek republic – only illegal acts can be prosecuted and punished. The same does not apply for political positions, even if characterised as ‘extreme’ by the other parties and the overwhelming majority of public opinion.”
Golden Dawn won 6.9% of the vote in elections in June, taking 18 seats in parliament, but a recent opinion poll conducted by research company VPRC suggested the party had doubled its support since then.
Human rights groups have accused the Greek police of being sympathetic to, or acting in collusion with, the group, and earlier this week a report of the Racist Violence Recording Network, a group consisting of 23 NGOs and the UN high commissioner for refugees, highlighted violent incidents in which police and racist violence overlapped.
“These incidents concern duty officers who resort to illegal acts and violent practices while carrying out routine checks,” says the report. “There are also instances where people were brought to police stations, were detained and maltreated for a few hours, as well as cases where legal documents were destroyed during these operations.”
Kostis Papaioannou, former head of the Greek national commission for human rights, said: “On some occasions there is a blurred line between Golden Dawn and the police.” Allegations of collusion resurfaced after anti-fascist protesters told the Guardian they had been “tortured by police” after clashes with Golden Dawn supporters. The minister of public order, Nikos Dendias, has denied the allegations.
The officer who spoke to the Guardian accused the government of abandoning Greek police officers and thus creating the conditions for Golden Dawn to infiltrate the force. “These policemen feel unappreciated and isolated. They are badly paid, they work under the worst conditions and they look for support,” he said, adding that they found it among the neo-Nazi community.
He also called on the ministry of public order to disclose reports of the internal affairs division, which he said showed cases of police brutality. “We should never accept policemen who attack journalists from behind,” he said, referring to an attack on the president of the Greek photojournalists’ union, who was taken to hospital with a brain injury last May.
The press officer of the Hellenic police restated the ministry’s commitment to establishing a special response team to combat racist violence.
Several cases of violent attacks carried out in the presence of Golden Dawn MPs have been reported recently, including the storming of flea markets and an incident in which stones were thrown, and racist abuse hurled, at audience members during the Athens premiere of Terrence McNally’s play Corpus Christi.
Earlier this year, Liana Kanelli, an outspoken Communist party MP, was assaulted during a live TV talkshow by Ilias Kasidiaris, Golden Dawn’s spokesman, in an incident that made headlines around the world.
This week the Greek parliament voted in favour of lifting the immunity of three Golden Dawn MPs who could now face trial for suspected violent attacks and allegedly assisting in a robbery. Among them is Kasidiaris, who has claimed he is the victim of political persecution.
Kanelli characterised Golden Dawn as an “ideological and political pimp” serving “a mission that the system assigned to it”. According to Kanelli, immigrants were just the first victims of the party, which also threatens workers and has attempted to infiltrate unions.
“If an employer wants to blackmail you, he threatens to call Golden Dawn,” said Javed Aslam, a leader of the Pakistani community in Greece.
“Today is October 10th, 2012, and I am ready to go to prison,” announced 24-year-old Leah-Lynn Plante yesterday. By Thursday morning, the Portland activist was in custody and could remain incarcerated in a U.S. federal prison for 18 months, although she has not been charged with a crime.
Along with two others in the Pacific Northwest, Plante was remanded into federal custody for her refusal to provide a grand jury testimony regarding activists in the region. Matt Duran and Kteeo Olejnik were jailed in previous weeks for, like Plante, refusing to cooperate with a grand jury. All three are now being held in U.S. federal prison, not because they are being punished for crime, but, as the National Lawyers Guild’s executive director Heidi Boghosian told me earlier this year, “to coerce cooperation.”
Writing for Truth-Out in August about the Northwest grand juries and those resisting cooperation, I noted that grand juries “are among the blackest boxes in the federal judiciary system.” The closed-door procedures are rare instances in which an individual loses the right to remain silent. As was the case with the Northwest grand juries resistors, the grand jury can grant a subpoenaed individual personal immunity; Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination are therefore protected, but silence is not. In these instances, refusal to speak can be considered civil contempt. Non-cooperators can be jailed for the 18-month length of the grand jury.
“The arbitrary issuing of subpoenas to activists and pressuring them to divulge information about others in secret proceedings extends to arresting them when they decide to resist,” NLG’s Boghosian told me Thursday, commenting that the grand jury subpoena process has a “star chamber quality.”
Lawyers, scholars and activists alike have long complained about the use of federal grand juries as tools for political repression. The case of the Northwest grand jury resistors is now well-known in activist and anarchist circles around the country. As I wrote in August:
The Seattle grand jury subpoenas were served in late July, when the FBI and a Joint Terrorist Task Force conducted a series of raids on activist homes and squats in Portland, Olympia and Seattle with warrants seeking out computers, phones, black clothing and “anarchist literature.” The FBI has stated only that the grand jury pertains to “violent crime,” but it is believed to relate to property damage in Seattle during this year’s May Day protests…
Will Potter, author of “Green Is the New Red,” who has long covered the state persecution of environmental activists and anarchists, noted in a recent interview… “I think what’s most indicative of what’s going on though is that specific call for agents to seize ‘anarchist literature’ as some kind of evidence of potential illegal activity.” He added that the convening of a grand jury is “especially troubling because grand juries have been used historically against social movements as tools of fishing expeditions, and they’re used to seek out information about people’s politics and their political associations.”
Facing a number of months in prison, Plante remained steadfast in her refusal to speak to the grand jury. Aware that she would likely face jail time, given the previous incarceration of two other resistors, Plante gave a public statement the morning of her grand jury hearing Wednesday. She detailed the depression and fear triggered by the threat of jail time, but said, “I never once considered co-operation and never would. It is against everything I believe in. On my right arm I have a tattoo reading ‘strive to survive causing least suffering possible.’ This is something I live by every single day and will continue to live by whether I am in a cage or not.” Plante is being held at the Federal Detention Center Sea Tac in Seattle.
Since news of the Seattle grand jury and its resistors emerged a few months ago, a host of protests, rallies, acts of graffiti and sabotage have taken place across the country to express solidarity with the Northwest anarchists. Large banners have been illegally dropped in cities from New York to Atlanta, while police vehicles and substations have been graffitied and vandalized in Oakland, Calif., San Francisco, Illinois and elsewhere. The Committee Against Political Repression put out a petition to the U.S. attorney, with nearly 400 organizations signed on, stating opposition to the treatment of the subpoenaed activists.