Dogging' craze sex disease risk [BBC]

The BBC reports that “The internet and text messaging are fuelling a practice which involves unprotected sex with strangers in public parks.

Health chiefs in Kent have taken to posting messages on sites promoting “dogging” – warning of a rise in sexually-transmitted diseases.

They say the craze may be partially responsible for rises in chlamydia, HIV, syphilis and hepatitis.

More than 20,000 people are registered with one UK “dogging” newsgroup.

Dogging is an extension of “swinging” parties – and involves exhibitionist sex in semi-secluded locations such as car parks or country parks.

The location of dogging “events” is now frequently advertised on websites or communicated via mobile phone text message.

Those attracted by these messages may simply act as voyeurs – or be invited to participate.” MORE

This conjure up a Ballardian vision of a rampaging middle class, off rutting in the forests and parks.

Here we have yet another Smart Mob technology facilitating consensus networks, in this case kinky shaggers dropping their keys into the virtual pot and rogering their snaggy arse neighbours.

There is only one massive drawback of this sort thing: One might end up having an “encounter” with a parent or colleague.

More controlled paranoia…or a real risk?

Mobiles ‘make you senile’

Mobile phones and the new wireless technology could cause a “whole generation” of today’s teenagers to go senile in the prime of their lives, new research suggests

The study – which warns specifically against “the intense use of mobile phones by youngsters” – comes as research on their health effects is being scaled down, due to industry pressure. It is likely to galvanise concern about the almost universal exposure to microwaves in Western countries, by revealing a new way in which they may seriously damage health.

How Ravenous Soviet Viruses Will Save the World [Wired]

Enterococcus, a common bacteria that infests the human stomach and intestinal tract, was showing signs of resistance to vancomycin, the antibiotic of last resort. Between mid-’92 and mid-’94, vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, or VRE, infected 75 patients, killing 6. A random sampling in fall ’93 found that 20 percent of patients had VRE in their bloodstream. People were dying, and there was nothing anyone could do about it.

The Georgian microbiologist was nonplussed. Where he came from, infections were treated not only with antibiotics, but with viruses that attack and destroy bacteria. One day, as Morris lamented his inability to fight the outbreak, Sulakvelidze interrupted to ask: “Why don’t you try bacteriophages?”

With that question, Sulakvelidze initiated a new phase in the age-old struggle between humans and microbes – one in which scientists are enlisting the power of evolution rather than fighting it.

The cause of the Maryland med center’s sudden epidemic was no mystery. Wanton use of antibiotics, both in human patients and animals raised for food, reduces the danger of bacterial infection, but also forces bacteria to adapt at a prodigious rate. The germs that survive breed new generations of superbugs, impervious to even the most powerful medicines.” MORE

Afrikaans farmers being killed at twice the rate of US soldiers in Iraq

Open Letter to President Bush and President Mbeki:

September 18, 2003 is black Thursday for US forces in Iraq after 3 soldiers died in an ambush. Since May 1, 2003 when the US entered the guerrilla stage of the war a total of 76 soldiers have been killed in hostile activities. Do your calculations on a total of 150,000 American troops in Iraq over the 4 month and 18 day period and you will see that the average monthly fatality rate of US soldiers embroiled in guerrilla war is 11.04 for every 100,000 soldiers. That is on average 11.04 American soldier fatalities per month per 100,000 soldiers. The 1,590 murdered Boer farmers since 1991 of a total of 50,000 remaining Boer farmers represent on average 20.84 fatalities per month per 100,000 population. Despite black Thursday for US soldiers, Boer farmers have suffered every month for over a decade a fatality rate that is 88.8 percent higher than that of the average monthly fatality rate of US forces in Iraq. Boer farmers in South Africa are killed at almost twice the rate of US soldiers who are at war in Iraq.

Now I ask you President Bush and President Mbeki: Who is really at war?

Yours sincerely,

George Bakker


Innovative use of SMS for crime fighting

South Africa is the bellweather for crime and security trends we can expect here in Europe in 10 years time. From Carjacking to Gated Communities, where South Africa leads, the world follows. I think this sort of granny network could be super useful here in the UK. From the News 24 website:

“A woman never thought one of her hijackers would be caught, but nobody had bargained with an SMS network of Alexandra “grannies”, who helped police nab a suspect within an hour.

Within 10 minutes of hearing about the hijacking in Highlands North, Johannesburg, on Wednesday, 28 “grannies” from the township sent police SMSs from their cellphones and told them where one of the suspects was.

Police reservists from Sandton and Norwood caught the unsuspecting man at his girlfriend’s house in Alexandra about an hour after the incident.

The co-operation between Alexandra’s “grannies” (woman of esteem in the community) and police is part of a e-blockwatch cellphone network.

The women and their support groups are continuously on the lookout for suspects. Information is then passed on to the e-blockwatch control centre via SMSs.

[After the hijacking] a police reservist sent an SMS to a “granny”.

The reservist, who asked not be named, said: “I heard from them in 10 minutes. Without their help we would never have captured the suspect.

…”They are the poorest of the poor, but they get involved.” MORE

This is the future of crime fighting. In the USA they have superb block-by-block crime maps available to citizens. In the UK it is nearly impossible to find out what is happening in ones own neighborhood. Crime information is seldom released so all we are left with are rumors, newspaper reports and serious crime witness appeal boards.

I would like to see both e-blockwatch and crime statistics/mapping schemes here in London. I think it could have a powerful impact and crystalize community civic crime defense around the twin kernels of information and neigbourly alliances.

Also see:
Be a crime buster by Lucille Parker.

The wave of the future washes up in London..

Gated Communities fine are one thing, but they can be undermined by governments. Better to use the law to protect yourself, and your neighbours like the scheme below…


This is the “Mare Street Anti-Social Exclusion Zone” and is yet another example of citizens trying innovative ways of fighting criminals and anti-social pests. In this case the street appears ton be coordinating the use of Anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos) to bar undesirables from the area.

I saw a poster some time ago in Sainsbury’s saying they are part of a “Civil Retrieval Scene”(?) where shoplifters and people who assault their staff are sued by the company in the Civil Courts where real justice is more likely to be found. I think this is a good idea and ought to be aggressively perused at a neigbourhood level.

Want an Alpha stare? [US] that hypnotizes those who see it? “instead of staring at the person you should stare THROUGH him, as though he wasn’t their and you were looking at the wall behind him. Atkinson said this would actually give you the appearance of looking attentively at the person. He also said this ability could be built up by doing things like staring into the open night sky.”

Monkeys show sense of justice [BBC]

“Monkeys have a sense of justice. They will protest if they see another monkey get paid more for the same task.”

We designed a very simple experiment to see whether or not [Capuchin Monkeys] react to differential rewards and efforts.”

Capuchins like cucumber, but they like grapes even more. So a system was devised whereby pairs of capuchins were treated differently after completing the same task.

“They had never before been in any sort of situation where they were differentially rewarded,” she said.

“We put pairs of capuchins side by side and one of them would get the cucumber as a reward for a task.”

The partner sometimes got the same food reward but on other occasions got a grape, sometimes without even having to work for it.”

…The response was dramatic, the researchers said.

“We were looking for a very objective reaction and we got one. They typically refused the task they were set,” Sarah Brosnan said.

“The other half of the time they would complete the task but wouldn’t take the reward. That is a highly unusual behaviour.

“Sometimes they ignored the reward, sometimes they took it and threw it down,” she added.

The researchers were not surprised that the monkeys showed a sense of fairness, but they were taken aback that they would turn down an otherwise acceptable reward.

“They never showed a reaction against their partner, they never blamed them,” Sarah Brosnan said.

Commenting on the results, experts in the subject told BBC News Online that the idea of a long evolutionary history for a sense of fairness was an exciting one.” MORE

Intelligence Programs and Systems

“This resource is a comprehensive alphabetical listing of intelligence programs, including both those for which detailed descriptions are available, as well as those for which profiles are not yet available. It is an extremely mixed bag that includes major hardware programs for which extensive profiles are available, medium-sized software implementations which are briefly described, as well as a whole bunch of other cats and dogs which are not and may never be profiled, but whose existence is known and which are included for the sake of completeness and potential future inclusion. In 1993, the Secretary of Defense directed all functional areas to select standard information systems and applications, and eliminate legacy systems. To date, the Department has identified 1,849 information systems, of which functional communities have selected 247 as migration systems. DoD will eliminate at least 1,079 of these legacy systems by the year 2000.”