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Christopher Reeve/Superman Dead at 52

MOUNT KISCO, New York (AP) — Actor Christopher Reeve, the star of the “Superman” movies whose near-fatal riding accident nine years ago turned him into a worldwide advocate for spinal cord research, died of heart failure, his publicist said. He was 52.

We always thought you would walk again one day, but I supposed you are now. We’ll all miss you.

Continue reading Christopher Reeve/Superman Dead at 52

Orgies are the way to ease social tensions, claims US judge

He is the conservative bastion of the US supreme court, a favourite of President Bush, and a hunting partner of the vice-president. He has argued vociferously against abortion rights, and in favour of anti-sodomy laws.

But it turns out that there is another side to Justice Antonin Scalia: he thinks Americans ought to be having more orgies.

Challenged about his views on sexual morality, Justice Scalia surprised his audience at Harvard University, telling them: “I even take the position that sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged.”

It seems unlikely that this is what President Bush meant when he promised to appoint more judges like Scalia to the court, should the opportunity arise. Crucially, Justice Scalia is one of the judges in favour of overturning Roe v Wade, the landmark judgment protecting abortion as a constitutional right.

One audience member also asked the judge “whether you have any gay friends, and, if not, whether you’d like to be my friend,” the Harvard Crimson newspaper reported.

“I probably do have some gay friends, but I have never pressed the point,” Justice Scalia responded. He offered no clue to the logic behind his claim that orgies eliminate social tensions.

Nobody asked him whether he was familiar with Rick Moody’s novel The Ice Storm, turned into a movie by Ang Lee, which appeared to suggest the exact opposite.

Oliver Burkeman in New York
Friday October 1, 2004
The Guardian


Image flaw exposes Windows PCs

Microsoft has issued a warning about a critical vulnerability in Windows that could let carefully crafted pictures act as bearers of malicious code.

The flaw was found in the code that the operating system and other Windows programs use to display images prepared in the popular Jpeg format.

The vulnerability has been found in more than a dozen Microsoft programs.

Millions affected

At risk programs include Office XP 2003, Office 2003, Windows Server 2003, Internet Explorer 6 plus some versions of Digital Image Pro and Picture It.

The software giant urged all users who are at risk to download and install a patch for the vulnerability.

Microsoft has also produced a tool that helps users find out if they are running software that contains the vulnerable computer code.

It said that the flaw could only be exploited if users are tricked into opening an image crafted to exploit the vulnerability.

Anyone falling victim to the loophole could have their computer taken over by an attacker.

Microsoft said that it had no evidence that the Jpeg loophole was being actively exploited.

However, because Internet Explorer is one of the programs vulnerable it is theoretically possible that someone could fall victim to a virus written to exploit the flaw just by visiting a website that used such carefully crafted images.

Any image written to exploit the flaw could prove successful because before now people have fallen victims to e-mail viruses when they clicked on attachments that claimed to be a picture.

The flaw in the way that Windows handles the popular Jpeg file format is called a buffer over-run.

Many old viruses have used buffer over-runs to get malicious code on to target machines.

The advisory about the Jpeg flaw is the 28th advisory that Microsoft has issued this year. Often these advisories detail several vulnerabilities. One advisory issued in April mentioned more than 20 separate loopholes in Windows XP.

Microsoft said that anyone who has downloaded and installed the SP2 update for Windows XP is not at risk from this vulnerability.

However, anti-virus firm Sophos said those that have installed SP2 should not be complacent.

“If you are running applications on XP SP 2 which do have the flaw you could be putting your computer at risk,” said Graham Cluley from anti-virus firm Sophos.

Mr Cluley urged users in such a situation to download and apply the patch.


Boiler kills on impact after sauna launch

Mon 13 September, 2004 04:45

(Reuters) – A boiler that exploded at a Chinese sauna sailed over a six-storey building and
landed on an old man crossing the road, Xinhua news agency says.
The 63-year-old pedestrian was killed instantly and three people
injured in Sunday’s bizarre accident in Baotou, Inner Mongolia, Xinhua quoted local
police as saying on Monday.
“A passerby tried to escape when he saw the large object flying towards him,
but he was hurt in his leg,” Xinhua said. “Two workers in a restaurant
next to the bathhouse were also injured after a wall of the restaurant collapsed.”
The explosion of the boiler, measuring two-metres (six-and-a-half-feet)
across, is under investigation.

Con Ed Tattoo With Every Skateboard Purchase

August 15, 2004 — A 26-year-old skateboarder is scarred for life after she fell onto a red-hot Con Edison manhole cover — mere blocks from the scene of a tragic death earlier this year when a woman stepped onto an electrified Con Ed cover.

Magazine receptionist and DJ Liz Wallenberg told The Post she was skating to see friends at an East Village club early Wednesday when she hit a bump in the road at 13th Street and Second Avenue.

“I landed with my arm and back straight onto the metal cover,” Wallenberg said. “I noticed it was kind of hot, but I didn’t realize how bad it was until my skin started to sizzle.”

A distressed Wallenberg lifted her shirt and saw a large red imprint from the manhole cover on her back. She rushed to the next block, to Second Avenue nightspot Second Nature, to get her friends’ help.

They took her to the emergency room at Beth Israel Hospital, where she spent the next seven hours.

“It was such awful pain,” Wallenberg said. “There was blistering, and it was like I was branded. You can see the ‘O’ and the ‘N’ from ‘Con Edison.’ The doctor said a lot of this will scar for life.”

The accident occurred two blocks from where psychology student Jodie Lane died on Jan. 16. The 30-year-old woman was walking her two dogs when she stepped onto an electrified manhole cover and died instantly.

A mixture of melted snow and salt, which corroded electrical wires, was found to have caused Lane’s death — which stunned New Yorkers and led to community outcry.

Con Ed publicly apologized for Lane’s death in February while the electricity giant’s safety practices were put under the microscope. A spokesman for Con Ed at the time said an audit of all manhole covers in Manhattan deemed them safe.

But when asked yesterday about the latest incident, spokesman Chris Olert said they were “looking into” the incident.

“If there is a problem there, we’ll fix it,” he said, admitting that the incident sounded “severe.”

But Wallenberg, who lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, said: “They promised they would check everything and fix those problems. And now I have a manhole cover [branded] on my back.”

She said she’s considering legal action against Con Ed, as she was unable to work for three days — nor was she able to perform her regular set, as “DJ L-Train,” at the Williamsburg club Metropolitan on Wednesday.

“I’m on prescription creams and painkillers,” she said. “I ache all over, and I find it really hard to sit down.”


600-Pound Woman Dies After Being Surgically Removed From Couch

STUART, Fla. — A dramatic rescue ended tragically in Stuart, Florida, a rescue so difficult firefighters say they have never seen anything like it.

Woman Stuck To Couch

It happened late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning at the home of a 600-pound woman who was having trouble breathing. Rescuers went in not knowing how difficult it would be to get her out. 40-year-old Gail Grinds was literally stuck to her couch and had to be removed surgically at the hospital.

Authorities estimate she had been on the couch anywhere from two to five years.

Martin County Fire amd Rescue crews faced what seemed to be an impossible mission. Everyone going inside had to wear protective gear. The stench was so powerful they had to blast in fresh air.

They tried to cut out the front door, but at four-and-a-half feet wide, it wouldn’t work. They had to cut plywood since a normal stretcher wouldn’t do.

An ambulance was too small, so they brought in a trailer to get her out. While rescue crews came up with a back-door rescue plan, detectives secured what had become a crime scene, questioning family members about how it got so bad.

Using planks, they loaded the woman on to the trailer, still attached to the couch. Removing her would be too painful, since her body is grafted to the fabric. After years of staying put, her skin has literally become one with the sofa and it must be surgically removed.

Detectives are investigating whether they have a case of neglect, or if it is simply a very sad story.

Grinds was taken to the Martin Memorial hospital where doctors removed her from the couch, but she died in spite of all the attempts to save her life.