Weird, Interesting, And Depressing News Stories

悪魔天;13242951 said:
I was up there last October to visit my girlfriend(I lived in New York at the time).Looking to go up again in February.

Very cool. If you are looking for anything to do, let me know and I can give you a list of some places to hit up.
Your threads make me sad. make a cheerful thread like dancing ducks or singing ducks or wacky ducks or, well you get the idea it dont have to be duck related either.
Your threads make me sad. make a cheerful thread like dancing ducks or singing ducks or wacky ducks or, well you get the idea it dont have to be duck related either.

Five years ago the staff at Ken Gan's auto repair shop told him they needed to find a better way of communicating with customers who were deaf.

''I said, let me go shopping — I'll buy you whatever's out there,'' said Gan, of Rochester, N.Y., which has a significant community of deaf people.

For three months, Gan came up empty-handed. There wasn't anything in the market to facilitate face-to-face communication in a situation such as a shop or office.

So Gan hired some electrical engineers and a patent attorney and came up with the Interpretype. The small device with a keyboard and display hooks up to another Interpretype or a PC, allowing a hearing person and a deaf person to type messages to each other. It turned out to be such an improvement over passing scribbled notes that Gan gets up to 30 deaf customers a month, up from two to three per month before.

Gan started a business above the shop that has sold more than a thousand Interpretypes to schools, libraries, government offices and businesses. The basic setup starts at $995.

With roughly 1 percent to 2 percent of the U.S. population either deaf or hard of hearing, new technologies like Gan's device are coming into wider use. They allow deaf people to overcome many frustrations in simple commercial situations such as asking: What's wrong with my car?

Or if you want to rent a car. James Barons, manager an Enterprise Rent-a-Car branch in Rochester, said he's seen interactions with deaf customers improve markedly after installing one of Gan's text-exchange devices.

''It made the whole transaction of renting a car a lot smoother,'' Barons said.

Other technologies are also making inroads in bridging the gap between hearing people and the deaf.

Jason Curry founded a company in Independence, Mo. with his father that makes a communications device similar to the Interpretype. The UbiDuo uses two portable units, connected by wireless technology. A pair, which can be folded together, starts at $1,995.

Curry has already sold hundreds since starting sales at the beginning of the year, and expects to sell several thousand next year. He said he's talking with Starbucks Corp. about getting UbiDuos installed in coffee shops.

Curry, who is deaf, said that he was able to directly communicate with his wife's family for the first time last Christmas by using one of the devices. Not having his wife interpret was a ''life-changing experience'' for him, he said.

''Deaf people have a lack of power to sit down across from a hearing person and have a conversation without a third party interpreting for them,'' Curry said through a sign language interpreter.

Another technology that has seen even greater growth in recent years is the video relay service, which allows a deaf person to telephone a hearing person using a sign language interpreter. The interpreter and the deaf person communicate in sign language using a broadband video connection, while the interpreter speaks with the hearing person over a speakerphone.

Deaf people say video relay services mark a major improvement over the previous telephone method available, which involved an operator reading text that a deaf person would type into a device called a TTY — a technology more than 20 years old that exchanged basic text over phone lines using a modem.

Norman Williams, a senior research engineer at Gallaudet University, a school for the deaf and hard-of-hearing in Washington, D.C., uses a video phone every day for a variety of calls including talking to his kids' teachers, arranging doctors' visits or ordering pizza.

''I can't imagine living without it,'' Williams said in an interview using a video relay service. ''Before we could use TTY, but that's a really slow process. Right now I can sign, just like somebody is speaking, so it's more like real-time conversation.''

Video relay services have only come into common use in the last three years or so, and usage is growing rapidly, having jumped from about 1 million minutes per month in August 2004 to about 6 million minutes in August of this year, according to the National Exchange Carrier Association.

Under federal law, phone companies are required to offer those and other telecommunications services for people with disabilities, funded by the charges at the bottom of your phone bill.

A number of deaf people, however, use other technologies that don't require sign language. Jay Wyant, the incoming president of The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, said deaf and hard-of-hearing people were ''among the first to be heavy users of e-mail and IM, and text messaging after that.''

Wyant, who has some hearing thanks to a cochlear implant, was communicating through yet another assistive technology — CART, or Communication Access Realtime Translation.

Wyant read text being typed online by an operator who was listening in on a conference call, and spoke his answers back. A Web link allowed all parties to see the text of what was being said in real time.

Alan Hurwitz, dean of the National Technology Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology, said many assistive technologies have been a godsend to deaf people.

''Any technology that allows me to communicate with hearing people instantly, without any barriers — that's amazing to me,'' Hurwitz said in an interview through a video relay service.

But what really excites Hurwitz is a brand new technology already being used in Europe and Japan, but not yet in the United States, that allows deaf people to communicate with each other in sign language over cell phone cameras using real-time video.

It's unclear when the necessary approvals and upgrades will come in for that technology. But ''once it gets here, that will hands-down be the biggest impact'' on communications among the deaf, he said.
You should have a happy news thread, showing us the good in the world. something to make us smile too.
This weird story totally wins
NHS offers hymen repair ops Thursday, 15 November 2007

Women are being given controversial "virginity repair" operations on the NHS, it has emerged.

24 hymen replacement operations took place between 2005 and 2006, and increasing numbers of women are paying up to £4,000 in private clinics for the procedure.

Dr Magdy Hend, consultant gynaecologist at the Regency Clinic, Harley Street, London, who started hymen reconstruction more than 18 years ago, said "In some cultures they like to see that the women will bleed on the wedding night. If the wife or bride is not a virgin, it is a big shame on the family."

Dr Hend said he was surprised by the "very good response" to the service and said there is "big competition on the market".

Most of his clients are in their teens or early 20s.

Dr Hend said demand is increasing, particularly from UK residents.

The operation can involve suturing of a tear in the hymen, such as might be caused by sexual assault, to help healing.

But it can also be conducted as a purely cosmetic procedure. A membrane is constructed, sometimes including a capsule of an artificial blood-like substance.

This operation is intended to be performed within a few days before an intended marriage.

Virginity repair operations have become a source of controversy in France, where gynaecologists report a growing number of requests from women.,8599,1684427,00.html?cnn=yesRobotic Roaches Do the Trick

Thursday, Nov. 15, 2007 By MICHAEL D. LEMONICK

The first thing Jose Halloy wants you to know is that he will not help you get rid of the cockroaches in your apartment. It's true that he and his colleagues at the Free University of Brussels and several other European institutions have created a set of tiny robotic Pied Pipers that can trick roaches into following them — even to places where a sensible roach would never venture. But the research they've just described in Science has to do not with extermination strategy but with understanding how roaches make decisions. "When you observe cockroaches," says Halloy, "you see that they act as a group; they tend to stay together. So how do they do that? Is there a leader? What kind of information do they use? How do they share it?"


To observe ordinary roach behavior, Halloy and his colleagues created an enclosure with two "shelters" inside — red-tinted plastic disks mounted so that roaches could scurry underneath to avoid bright light, which they do instinctively. When the insects were dumped into the enclosure, they scrambled around randomly for a while, but eventually all huddled under the same shelter. That they huddled is no surprise, since roaches like to gather in crowds. But since cockroaches don't have enough intelligence to allow for leadership skills or even communication, the fact that they collectively decide on one shelter looks, says Halloy, "like a kind of magic trick."
Veteran roach-watchers have a more mundane explanation. Cockroaches, they hypothesize, use just two pieces of information to decide where to go: how dark it is and how many of their friends are there. At first, the roaches will wander arbitrarily into one shelter or the other — but at some point, enough of them will end up under one shelter to reach a critical mass, which then becomes more attractive to the others.
If it the critical-mass hypothesis has merit, Halloy and his co-workers figured they should be able to trick the roaches into doing something unnatural. To do that, they would need a rogue roach to infiltrate the herd. "One way to get them," Halloy says, "would be to create mutants somehow, with abnormal behavior. But we don't have a genetic institute for cockroaches." Instead, the researchers recruited some engineers to build them roach robots that would slip into the crowd and manipulate it from within. "It turns out," he says, "that roaches aren't very discriminating" — they'll accept anything of roughly the right size and smell. In the end, the engineers came up with little wheeled robots shaped like matchboxes and perfumed with eau de roach. They were programmed to have the same likes and dislikes as roaches — that is, to prefer crowds and darkness.
When introduced to the real roaches, the robots fit right in — the gathering behavior of the horde was pretty much unchanged. Researchers then reprogrammed the robots to prefer a less-dark hiding place — unnatural for a roach. The insects and the infiltrators were put back into the enclosure, except this time one of their hiding places was more lightly tinted than the other: It was brighter inside. Again, all the roaches scurried around randomly for a while, but the robots eventually settled under the lighter, less shadowy disk — and the real cockroaches followed. Which means that the hypothesis — that a group of individual bugs, each with just two cognitive "rules," can make a collective decision about shelter — appears to be correct.
In principle, say the researchers, the idea could be extended to other, more complex group-living animals. Although robots would obviously have to be more sophisticated to penetrate and alter the behavior of a herd of sheep or a flock of geese, for example, it's at least conceivable that this could someday be done. In fact, Halloy and his colleagues are already working on a robot chicken to try and manipulate the behavior of chicks.
No comment from Halloy, though, on whether his robots could trick a million or so roaches into leaving your apartment and infesting the neighbors'.
I know its a cold world out there, and that bad news is just a natural part of life and all, but could we skip on the depressing news, especially an article like that. Knowing that something like that has happened, its pitiful. I try to come here to escape all that

i come here to talk about it.
I always feel a sudden vomiting sensation at the back of my throat whenever I read one of your "weird, interesting, and depressing" new stories. That doesn't mean I don't like them though.:down:huh::up:
I got one

Arizona Girl Falls Off Wall, Lands on Cactus, Gets Bitten by Dogs While Playing

The girl was playing in her backyard Monday and was somehow able to climb to the top of a cinderblock fence, when she fell off the wall and landed on a neighbor’s cactus plant, reported. She was subjected to further bad luck when the neighbor’s two dogs bit her and dragged her across the yard.,2933,312473,00.html
thats funny. i hope she is healed so she can have a good laugh about it.

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