who forges the forgers?

So you’ve spent $3,000 on what you thought was an authentic forgery by a master forger, only to find out that the forgery you bought was itself a forgery. What do you do next? You take the forgery forger to court, of course.

Dresden, Germany, resident Petra Kujau, 51, was fined $380,000 this week and given a two-year suspended sentence for selling 300 copies of masterpieces by artists like Vincent van Gogh, Franz Marc and Claude Monet. However, she never claimed that her paintings were originals by these great masters. Her crime was to wrongfully market them as copies made by her (supposed) great-uncle: counterfeiter extraordinaire Konrad Kujau, the man behind the Hitler Diaries, arguably the greatest fake of the modern age.

bikes and mayhem

Let’s start with an update on this guy:

Better to be in an Iraqi prison with the whole world knowing you’re the shoe-thrower than in as just some guy. But still, better to be on a beach somewhere.

OK, on to bikes and not-bikes. The first one is applicable to lots of places other than Portland:

And this one is just dumb. Note to GM and Segway: there’s already a two-wheeled vehicle out there that’s cheaper and doesn’t require any energy source you weren’t born with. Also, people who use them tend to develop hot-looking asses. I’m just sayin.

I promised you a zombie the other day, and it’s not even an Easter joke:

It was believed Ntsente had been shot dead in 2001 during taxi-related violence between the Ncedo and Border taxi associations.

Ntsente claims the gunmen were in white minibus taxi – and that he saw it all happening. “During the shooting I saw myself standing on another side watching a person who resembled me being shot in the forehead, right knee stomach and spine.”

Ntsente said his badly injured “duplicate” was taken to St Barnabas Hospital in Libode . “I witnessed this person dying. The body was taken to the hospital’s mortuary where (it was) cut open to remove internal organs before it was kept in a fridge.”

Ntsente claims he even witnessed his night vigil and funeral and was then taken by “four female witches” to a dark forest where he met “lots of other abducted people”.

“We mostly drank blood and ate izinsipa (used sorghum) and wild berries. I was released after witches said I was too powerful for them to make me do evil things,” he said.

Assorted other mayhem:

A MAN who had just had his hand severed with a samurai sword punched his attacker in the face with the stump, a court heard yesterday.

And two more cases of robbery fail:

failure and mayhem

Piracy fail:

In the attack on the German ship, pirates apparently mistook German FGS Spessart supply vessel for a commercial ship when they opened fire on it on Sunday afternoon, U.S. Navy 5th Fleet spokesman Lt. Nate Christensen said.

The German sailors returned fire and pursued the skiff while also calling in for support. Several naval ships — including a Greek and a Dutch frigate, a Spanish warship and the USS Boxer — sped to the area while a Spanish marine aircraft and two U.S. Marine Cobra helicopters joined the pursuit.

Robbery fail:

Assassination fail:

Bomb threat fail:

Kenneth James Archer admitted to calling in the threat because of a “dispute” with the crew members of Sea Shepherd. Police tracked him down because he made the call to the police from his cell phone.

Archer had been drinking at the time and was embarrassed by the whole ordeal. In court, the judge recognized this and issued a fine of $1,500 as the only punishment.

More animal mayhem:

“We had 15 missing kangaroos — it was complete panic,” she told AFP.

Firefighters, police and gendarmes were mobilised to track down the animals as they bounded through the woods.

Another cannibal:

driveby headlines

Beaverton Democratic Rep. Chris Barker said the bill would bring pot off the streets and into a “safer and more secure environment.”

Opponents, however, say the state has no idea what it is getting into. They say medical marijuana takes a lot of time and manpower to harvest. The bill’s opponents do not think the state will be able to handle the number of patients who rely on the drug.

There are no animal attack stories today, but we’ll always have pirates:

But while pirates took nearly 38 percent of the vessels they attacked in 2008, they have only seized about 13 percent in the first two months of 2009.

Cmdr. Jane Campbell of the Bahrain-based U.S. 5th Fleet, which patrols the Gulf, said the decline in the number of successful pirate attacks could be partly attributed to the increased number of warships in the area — between 15 and 20 at any one time.

Surveillance also is being conducted by unmanned drones, helicopters and aircraft flown from the shore. The helicopters have frequently intervened in attacks, firing at gunmen or even picking up crew who have jumped overboard from the sea.

But a major factor is increased awareness of the danger among mariners, she said.

“Last year, you had a situation where pirates were onboard a ship before the crew was even aware they were being attacked,” Campbell said. “This year, most ships are posting lookouts 24 hours.”

crime and mayhem

Let’s get right to the crime and mayhem:

Buoyed by the widely held belief that cannabis is California’s biggest cash crop, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano contends it is time to reap some state revenue from that harvest while putting a damper on drug use by teens, cutting police costs and even helping Mother Nature.

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty said Japan’s complaint about the Steve Irwin reached his organisation last week by way of the Japanese embassy in Canberra, and through the Australian embassy in Tokyo.

The official complaint stemmed from the director-general of the Japanese fishing agency.

Police confiscated the ship’s logbook and video footage of dramatic whale-killing scenes.

I’ve posted about the big civil disobedience at the US Capitol’s power plant before, but here’s more about it. All the contact people on their website seems to have Greenpeace and Rainforest Action Network emails. It’d be nice if this was the beginning of Greenpeace USA getting serious again. This here is the head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies:

And finally:

Geronimo died a prisoner of war at Fort Sill, , in 1909. A longstanding tradition among members of Skull and Bones holds that Prescott Bush — father of President George Bush and grandfather of President George W. Bush — broke into the grave with some classmates during World War I and made off with the skull, two bones, a bridle and some stirrups, all of which were put on display at the group’s clubhouse in New Haven, known as the Tomb.

Here’s where he’s supposed to be buried at Fort Sill, OK:

politics, crime, collapse and space

This story hasn’t gotten much play. It may fizzle, it may explode, but it’s bound to be interesting either way. Maybe it’ll even work. It’s certainly going to be closely watched by many people, although not the American media:

Worried about the collapse of civilization? Concerned that Kyoto is too little, too late? Overwhelmed by feelings of doom and gloom? Here’s a new take on the standard story of humans consuming themselves to death:

“Societies don’t just go into a tailspin and self-destruct,” says Stevenson, an archaeologist at the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. “They can and do adapt, and they emerge in new ways. The key is to put more back into the system than is taken out.”

While evidence suggests the Rapa Nui people cut down 6,000,000 trees in 300 years, for example, they were also developing new technological and agricultural practices along the way—such as fertilization techniques to restore the health of the soil and rock gardens to protect the plants. As a result, every rock on Easter Island has probably been moved three or four times, Stevenson said.

What they don’t say is that it’s any fun to live through this sort of adjustment. I wouldn’t take it as an excuse to let things go to shit.

Here’s someone with some political courage. It’ll be interesting to see who attacks him for this:

How does all this stimulus money affect things I care about?

Tales of crime:

Things that fall from the sky:

And things that go up into the sky:

this post is not vegan

On the afternoon of June 12, 1981, a Japanese man named Issei Sagawa walked into the woods in Bois de Boulogne, France, carrying two suitcases. The postgraduate student at the Sorbonne had shot and killed a female exchange student, a classmate of his, the day before. After eating portions of her body, he tried to dump the corpse in a remote lake. Witnesses saw him and he was soon arrested. According to reports, Issei uttered the following to the French police who raided his home: “I killed her to eat her flesh.”

This one’s a couple of weeks old by now, but I didn’t want to let it go. Welcome to hard times in America….

just a post-happy hour quickie

And a quick visit to Minnesota for more shenanigans from Coleman v. Franken. I blog about this shit so you don’t have to:

DeMuth’s ballot was rejected because the signature on his application didn’t match the one on his ballot, and he said nobody ever called him to inform him of the problem. Upon his initial direct examination by Coleman lawyer James Langdon, DeMuth explained how it happened: Instead of signing the application with a pen, he downloaded a PDF copy and converted it into a JPG, then typed in the relevant text and “signed” his initials by using the mouse.

“It’s hard to get the signature I normally use, so I just used my initials,” DeMuth explained.

He then e-mailed the application in and got a ballot days later, which he filled in and signed his full name to in the old-fashioned way. Upon cross-examination, Franken lawyer Kevin Hamilton asked: “Do you have a pen in your dorm-room at Fargo?”

space, somalia and the genius of cops

I’m inclined to think that military force will follow humans wherever we go. That doesn’t mean working towards limits on it is a bad idea, though.

“There’s still a lot of wiggle room” in the administration’s statement on military space, said analyst Victoria Samson with the private Center for Defense Information. “But just the sheer fact that they are discussing it represents a real shift from the Bush administration.”

This might actually be good news for the law and order crowd, although supporters of human rights won’t be so happy:

The usual post-soviet geekery:

And finally, you know I can’t resist a good crime story, especially when it makes the police look like idiots:

The boy, who has been charged as a juvenile for impersonating an officer, walked into the Grand Crossing District station, 7040 S. Cottage Grove Ave., dressed in a Chicago police uniform, police spokeswoman Monique Bond said. The boy, who reported for duty about 1:30 p.m., partnered with another police officer for about five hours.

The boy identified himself as an officer from another district but was detailed for the day to Grand Crossing and also was savvy enough to sign out a police radio and a ticket book, according to a source. The source also said the boy went on traffic stops with the officer he went on the street with.


Starting with News of the Stupid:

Junior Brandon Davis said “it all started in good nature, but then people were throwing them as hard as they could at each other.” Junior Matt Lunchick said an officer chased and arrested a student after being hit in the back with a snowball.

“The group of vigilante men came to report that while they were on patrol they saw some hoodlums attempting to rob a car. They pursued them. However one of them escaped while the other turned into a goat,” Kwara state police spokesman Tunde Mohammed told Reuters by telephone.

“We cannot confirm the story, but the goat is in our custody. We cannot base our information on something mystical. It is something that has to be proved scientifically, that a human being turned into a goat,” he said.

And on to News of the Grim:

I’m an optimistic pessimist. I think it’s wrong to assume we’ll survive 2 °C of warming: there are already too many people on Earth. At 4 °C we could not survive with even one-tenth of our current population. The reason is we would not find enough food, unless we synthesised it. Because of this, the cull during this century is going to be huge, up to 90 per cent. The number of people remaining at the end of the century will probably be a billion or less. It has happened before: between the ice ages there were bottlenecks when there were only 2000 people left. It’s happening again.

And now this:

Nine pirates armed with rocket launchers and heavy machine guns boarded the ship at 12:43 pm (Beijing time) on Dec 17. The 30 sailors locked themselves in the cabins, using fire hydrants and self-made firebombs to keep the attackers at bay.

The beer bottles worked as real weapons, flying like missiles and exploding on impact. And the shards of broken glass made walking on the deck difficult for the pirates because most of them were barefoot.

A couple of these:

And bad news in space, too: