Posts tagged “crime”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] An App for Sharing Photos With Friends [] – [Instagram is betting on word overload, predicting that people will want to share and see their friends' mobile visual feeds rather than text-based snippets.] Instead of following people’s 140-character thoughts, Instagram users can follow their photo stream and get a glimpse of what they ate for lunch and the view from their office. Instagram also plans to introduce a Web site soon. Building a mobile app before a Web site would have been a foreign concept just a few years ago, but Instagram’s founders say that communicating in quick snippets with a phone, on the go, is a new form of communication. The app is free now but Instagram plans to eventually charge a dollar or so for extra filters. “Filters are not the billion-dollar business,” Mr. Systrom said. “It’s photography. The next network is people interested in sharing life visually.”
  • [from julienorvaisas] Check Out Tagxedo, A Ridiculously Cool Word Cloud Generator [Tech Crunch] – [Yet another great visualization tool, this one highly customizable, combining word-clouds with images. The impulse to make sense of the word-avalanche on the web by morphing it into infographics is fun and beautiful, for sure, but I wonder whether conveying pretty word-frequency charts is actually providing useful information.] You can use the app to create visually stunning word clouds by inserting words (e.g. speeches, news articles, letters, slogans, themes, and so on). You can do so by uploading a document, entering a URL or simply by pasting text into the appropriate field. Tagxedo will size words appropriately to highlight the frequencies of occurrence within the body of text, leaving out small words like “is”, “are”, “do”, etc. With just one click, you can rotate the cloud, modify its colors and font, and also alternate between themes and shapes as you please. You can even upload your own images and have the word cloud assume the shape of the image.
  • [from steve_portigal] A Spray of DNA to Keep the Robbers Away [] – [Technology offers new detection methods but the social performance of the tech serves best as prevention] The new system involved a device that sprays a fine, barely visible mist laced with synthetic DNA to cover anyone in its path, including criminals, and simultaneously alerts the police to a crime in progress. The mist — visible only under ultraviolet light — carries DNA markers particular to the location, enabling the police to match the burglar with the place burgled. Now, a sign on the front door of the McDonald’s prominently warns potential thieves of the spray’s presence: “You Steal, You’re Marked.” The police acknowledge that they have yet to make an arrest based on the DNA mist, which was developed in Britain by two brothers, one a policeman and the other a chemist. But they credit its presence — and signs posted prominently warning of its use — for what they call a precipitous decline in crime rates (though they could not provide actual figures to back that up).

A spiciness that is hard to describe

Sites like Canada Only demonstrate the emotional draw of food from home. I’d love some Shreddies, butter tarts, or Aero bars. But if you’re African, maybe you’re hungering for bushmeat (the “meat of African wild game…in this case, pieces of baboon, green monkey and warthog”).

Prosecutors, meanwhile, cast Ms. Manneh as a thriving businesswoman, “selling traditional African foods to immigrants who undoubtedly miss home,” as Mr. Green put it in his response. He compared the meat to ham, reasoning that the tradition of serving ham on Easter “does not render ham a sacred, religious food.”

Outside the courtroom on Tuesday, Corinthian was fuming. She said she has eaten dried monkey meat, which has the ropy consistency of beef jerky, and does not understand why government objects to it.

Until fairly recently, bushmeat was sold openly in immigrant neighborhoods, said Dr. Wonkeryor, who teaches in the African-American studies department at Temple University. He said the case against Ms. Manneh has made it more expensive and hard to find.

Several immigrants acknowledged interest in the case but were loath to comment on what has become a sensitive issue. One man noted only that a small amount of bushmeat can change the character of a stew, adding a spiciness that is hard to describe.

The Rev. Philip Saywrayne, pastor of Christ Assembly Lutheran Church on Staten Island, said many people in the community are accustomed to carrying small amounts of bushmeat back from Africa. They remain puzzled about what American law allows, he said, and worried for Ms. Manneh.

This further raises my suspicions about Gorilla Barbecue, just around the corner from our office.

How many people died?

The reports (and slow-to-appear-details for those of us that read RSS headlines) of yesterday’s gunman-rampage in Montreal raised an interesting detail question: how do we consider the loss of life of the perpetrator of a crime?

When I read that some asshole goes charging into a school with a gun, I don’t care what happens to him (except that he is stopped). If he commits suicide or is killed by police, does he get included in the total of dead?

If a suicide bomber detonates an explosive belt in the middle of a crowded marketplace, do we count her as well?

Headlines tell us “XX dead in Baghdad suicide bomb” or “Shooting rampage leaves Y people dead.” Do you expect the total to include only victims?

I’m not suggesting what is right, only what we are conditioned to expect. Perhaps there are some journalistic standards for accuracy here. Perhaps they vary by region. The headlines from Montreal are emphasizing that two people are dead, but one of those is the shooter.

It’s not even a moral judgement of the value of life, but just a reaction to the story “Oh my God – what happened – how many people were killed?” that focuses strongly on the victims of the crime.

Just some thoughts on mulitiple perspectives buried within a story…

Cellphone assault claim a mouthful

A story that wouldn’t have been possible a few years ago:

BLUE SPRINGS, MO. — A woman who police thought deliberately tried to swallow her cellphone during an argument with her boyfriend was apparently the victim of an assault instead, authorities said.

Police have a suspect in the bizarre incident that sent the 24-year-old woman to the hospital last week, Sgt. Allen Kintz said. Police would not say whether the boyfriend was the suspect and would not explain exactly what they believe happened.

Early Friday, police responded to a call from a man who said his girlfriend was having trouble breathing. Police arrived to find a woman with a cellphone lodged in her throat. Police were initially told the boyfriend wanted the phone and the woman tried to swallow it so that he could not get it.

yo something Taco Bell

news story

A San Mateo man accused of stealing a car with a bride sitting in the passenger seat in her wedding gown pleaded not guilty Tuesday to one count of carjacking and one count of being under the influence of a controlled substance, authorities said.

Alan Ticas-Soto, 21, allegedly stole the car from a Taco Bell parking lot in San Mateo at about 11 p.m. Oct. 29.

He is accused of jumping into the driver’s seat and backing up the car with bride Valerie Zahn seated inside.

Zahn, 22, was waiting for her new husband, Almanza Zahn, to return with takeout food.

The couple had stopped while on their way to a hotel in Burlingame following their wedding.

Responding to his wife’s cries for help, Almanza Zahn helped her escape, uninjured, from the car.

Wait – they had a wedding and went for Taco Bell aftewards? It was 11 pm, so presumably not a civil ceremony, presumably some sort of reception? Obviously the the crime is terrible anytime and terrifying in this instance, but as far as going to Taco Bell afterwards, I don’t know whether to feel bad, or disturbed.


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