Tags: islam

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Internet scrapings and offbeat news


Scientists ecstatic at capturing video and actual sample of a whale shark taking a dump.



Michael Jackson is being sued in court by a Bahraini prince for reneging on a deal to record an album and write his autobiography, after the prince floated him cash to help him through his financial troubles.



A man left paralyzed after a vicious attack by Neo Nazis is planning a trip to Switzerland to commit suicide; while a famous disabled journalist pleads with him to choose life instead.



Supermarket gives back to the community, poisons discarded food to get homeless bums out of its garbage.

Also from Sweden: Man wins right to be legally named Madeline.


Islamic theologian hired for outreach to Muslims declares Mohammed probably never existed. Awkward? Fatwah in 3... 2... 1...

Hundreds of Indonesians protest anti-porn law, declaring it a threat to religious freedom.

Barclays avoids shareholder revolt by axing executive bonuses and revamping their payment plan.

Italian Air Force holding public name contest to come up with a less boring generic name for its new fighter jet. First price is a free ride in it.

Speaking of fighter jets, a Mig 29 could be yours for the low, low price of US $544,734.67 from this Russian military equipment webstore.

The word "meh" enters dictionary.

A gallery of the most extreme conditions ever recorded on the face of the Earth.

A visual guide to the financial crisis for the rest of us.

Five gadgets that were killed by the cellphone.

How to spot a fake Rolex.


As usual, more offbeat news over at fivethreenews and 53news.blogspot.com :D
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How to de-program a Jehadist.


The Saudi government has a lot of captured jihadists to deal with. Rather than keeping them locked up indefinitely, they are sent to a deprogramming facility, where they attend classes and are treated with Western luxuries:

"On arrival, each prisoner is given a suitcase filled with gifts: clothes, a digital watch, school supplies and toiletries. Inmates are encouraged to ask for their favorite foods (Twix and Snickers candy bars are frequent requests). Volleyball nets, PlayStation games and Ping-Pong and foosball tables are all provided. The atmosphere at the center — which I visited several times earlier this year — is almost eerily cozy and congenial, with mattresses and rugs spread on stubbly patches of lawn for inmates to lounge upon. With few exceptions, the men wear their beards untrimmed and their thobes, the long garments that most Saudi men wear, cut above their ankles in the style favored by those who wish to demonstrate strict devotion to Islam. The men are pleasant but many seem a bit puffy and lethargic; one 19-year-old inmate, Faisal al-Subaii, explained that they are encouraged to spend most of their daytime hours in either rest or prayer.

(...)

Most prisoners complete the program within two months. Upon release, each former jihadist is required to sign a pledge that he has forsaken extremist sympathies; the head of his family must sign as well. Some also receive a car (often a Toyota) and aid from the Interior Ministry in renting a home. Social workers assist former jihadists and their families in making post-release plans for education, employment and, usually, marriage. “Getting married stabilizes a man’s personality,” Hadlaq says. “He thinks more about a long term future and less about himself and his anger.” "

Could PlayStation, candy, and a job actually keep these men from going back to the jihad lifestyle? In the short term, the answer seems to be yes. Remember that many of these young Saudis jumped on the jihad bandwagon only for a lack of better things to do, so they can successfully be reformed. It's unlikely a true believer like Osama bin Laden would stop being a terrorist if he were given a Toyota, but for the wannabe jihadists, that might be more than enough.

Via The Invisible Pink Unicorn blog.
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Tonight's internet scrapings and oddities.

Al Quaeda in Iraq has banned women from buying cucumbers because they're too phallic, and men from buying tomatoes because they're too feminine. Just my humble opinion, but I think that rules like this say more about the mentality of the people making and enforcing them, than of those made to obey it.

Ten things you didn't know about oil.

What will the suburbs be like in ten or twenty years?

German farmer gets double arm transplant.

Bum stabs bum in argument over who was better panhandler. via kimberlin.


"There were thousands of bodies piled high. I saw hearts that had been taken from live people in medical experiments... They said a wife of one of the SS officers saw a tattoo she liked on the arm of a prisoner, and had the skin made into a lampshade. I saw that."
James Hoyt, one of the four U.S. soldiers to first see Germany's Buchenwald concentration camp, has died at 83.



Flat Earthers still complain of prejudice from people everywhere for believing the earth is a flat disc surrounded all around by the icy ring of the South Pole (pictured).
Quote: "People are definitely prejudiced against flat-Earthers," society member John Davis tells the BBC. "Many use the term 'flat-Earther' as a term of abuse, and with connotations that imply blind faith, ignorance or even anti-intellectualism."


Actual headline: Court grants injunction to stop woman cutting off man's penis.



The White House has its own interrogation room.
...a disturbing case in Washington, D.C., where security officials detained and interrogated Usman Khosa, a Pakistani U.S. college graduate, because he was “fiddling” with his iPod near White House gates. Officials took Khosa to an interrogation room “beneath” the White House. “Usman Khosa is a Pakistani national in his early twenties, a graduate of Connecticut College now working for the International Monetary Fund,” Suskind notes...



More pics of the world's lowest low-riding van.




Introducing the world's smallest solar powered car.
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A slideshow of various rich New Yorkers' sweet rooftop pads.
Via Cynical-C Blog.



Man builds working Batman: The Dark Knight Tumbler batmobile thingy on his own with bare hands, using only the DVD as reference.




Tiny sub-virus (?) that attacks bigger virus discovered, proves viruses are a form of life.
Like a bacteriophage, or a virus that attacks bacteria, except this attacks other viruses.


Member of Saudi Religious Police has been accused of having six wives, which is two over the limit by Saudi sharia (Islamic) law.


How magic teaches us about human cognition, and how it manipulates it.
"Our picture of the world is kind of a virtual reality... it's a form of intelligent hallucination." The benefit of these sorts of cognitive shortcuts is that they allow us to create a remarkably rich image of our environment despite the fact that our two optic nerves have roughly the resolution of cell-phone cameras. We don't have to, for example, waste time making out every car on the highway to understand that they are, indeed, cars, and to make sense of how they are moving - our minds can simply approximate from the thousands of cars we have already seen in our lives. But because this method relies so heavily on expectation - not only to fill in the backdrop around us but to determine where to send what psychologists call our "attentional spotlight" - we are especially vulnerable to someone who knows our expectations and can manipulate them, someone like a magician. "In magic," says Teller, half of the well-known duo Penn & Teller and one of five magicians credited as coauthors of the Nature Reviews Neuroscience paper, "we tend to take the things that make us smart as human beings and turn those against us."
Entire article here.



Cracked: 5 scientific theories that will make your head explode.



Athletes and fitness buffs have better brains.


WIRED: 10 green concept cars that are way out there.


Apple can remotely disable apps installed on your iPhone. As much as I love Apple, I'm not surprised :(


Jupiter and its moons may be plotting to explode and trigger a nuclear winter or even wipe out all life on Earth. Scientists have been observing as the star-like gas planet developed two new red spots, or giant storms five and ten times the size of Earth, and one of its moons flipped over to its side, its icy poles trading places with its equator, among other freaky shit.


New Google network box for offices can scan ten million files.


Exploring the myths and contradictions of coffee.


25 examples of clever and creative navigation in website design.


12 popular modern myths busted. Examples: It takes seven years to digest gum / The Great Wall of China is the only manmade structure visible from space / A penny dropped from the top of a tall building could kill a pedestrian / etc.


The Large Hadron Collider fires up for the first time tommorrow, creating tiny black holes and causing paranoid people with inadequate science education to freak out and believe the world will be destroyed. Yeah, we should be so lucky.


About a dude that had sex with 400 cows. He also tortured and sometimes killed them.


Spam king sentenced to four years in prison.


Also, I want a good subject title for these link farm offbeat news bizarre oddities posts that have become a nightly habit for me by now. Any suggestions?

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I've also been watching a ton of documentaries lately, since my favorite TV shows are off the air. I realized I never mention them, many of them are mindblowing to put it mildly and it bugs me that so many people haven't seen these.

From Beirut to Bosnia by Robert Fisk
A controversial documentary by journalist legend Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent for The Independant for over thirty decorated and multiple award winning years, the three films seek to answer the simple question of why Muslims have come to hate the West so much. Illuminating to put it mildly. The Discovery Channel banned the documentary originally back in 1993, proving that the press is no longer free and that the media, especially in the west, is now a well-oiled propaganga machine.

An example of how advertising and lobbying groups censor American news, this three part documentary by the famous middle east war correspondent Robert Fisk was banned by the Discovery channel in 1993. The films seek to explain the rise of anti-Western sentiment throughout the Muslim world (from the Middle East to the Balkins, the range of the former Ottoman Empire) by highlighting the oppressiveness of Western-supported governments (Israel and Egypt, in particular) and the West's broader anti-Muslim racism. The Discovery channel pulled the films in response to a letter campaign by pro-Israel groups.

Part I: The Martyr's Smile:
This Films for the Humanities production focuses its capable eye on Lebanon's guerilla war that aims to liberate southern Lebanon from Israeli control. The scope of this tragic conflict is brought into sharp focus in this documentary through the use of extensive interviews with participants from the Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad movements, views of civilian casualties caused by Israeli air attacks, and photographic evidence of the ongoing destruction of life and property in the region. The viewer should be advised that this video contains some disturbing scenes of this conflict.

Part II: The Road to Palestine:
Another in the Beirut to Bosnia series from Films for the Humanities, The Road to Palestine provides the viewer with a glimpse into the ongoing conflict in the region around Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Through interviews with members of the militant Islamic group Hamas, as well as Zionist settlers and Jewish refugees, this documentary succeeds at revealing some of this tragic situation.

Part III: To the Ends of the Earth:
Another in the compelling series Beirut to Bosnia from Films for the Humanities, To the Ends of the Earth compares the plight of Muslims in Egypt and Bosnia. Though separated by geography and the distinct cultures in which they live their lives, this video reveals the feeling of betrayal by the West experienced by these two Muslim communities. Interviews with Islamic freedom fighters and war casualties shed light on the dynamics of the ongoing struggle for the survival of these communities.


If you watch just one documentary this year, make it this one. It's a VHS rip so the quality isn't as perfect as you may be used to but the knowledge locked inside is more than worth it.

Read up more on Robert Fisk's career here:

Robert Fisk article on Wikipedia.

The Pirate Bay: From Beirut to Bosnia torrent.
word can help write your suicide note

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word can help write your suicide note

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word can help write your suicide note

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A phone number written out on a piece of cardboard is “the classic approach,” Fahad said, but most of the time he and his friends use Bluetooth to try to send their phone numbers directly to the cell phones of girls in the vicinity. Usually this means chasing cars containing women, but sometimes Fahad and his friends drive past the entrances of shopping malls where women wait for their drivers. It’s not easy to tell which of the black-shrouded shapes might be young women, Fahad admitted, but there are a few tricks.

“You look at the style of the abaya, the way she holds her bag,” Fahad explained. “See that one there, how thin she is, and how carefully she’s covered up her face?”

He pointed out a slight figure with a pastel handbag. Sure enough, a pair of girlish-looking sneakers were just visible beneath the hem of her abaya.

“I’d say that maybe 3 out of 10 nights of numbering,we have some success,” Fahad explained.

“You mean that 3 out of 10 nights you get a girl to talk to you?” I asked.

“No, no,” Fahad laughed. “Maybe 3 out of 10 nights we get one phone number. Getting a girl to actually talk to you on the phone is much rarer. But it happens, so we’re always hoping.”


Article: How teenage boys cruise for chicks in Saudi Arabia.

Via BoingBoing.