The Town Scryer is a mixed bag of humor, socio-political observations and ephemera from the perspective of a eclectic Pagan veteran of the counter-culture.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Why I Won't Buy a Smart Phone

   Recently Malte Spitz, a German Green Party politician, sued Deutsche Telecom (parent of T-Mobile in the USA) requiring that they hand over six months of his phone data. Because  he wasn't in the USA, he actually won. He turned the information over to Zeit. They combined this information with Twitter feeds, blog entries, and other information freely available on-line.

     If you go to the link you can see just how much of his life is no longer private to anyone with access.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Masked Penis Thief

   Fey Lin lives in China's Zhejiang province. One night, according to his police report, four masked men burst into the room where he lay sleeping, pulled down his pants, and stole his penis.

     "They put something over my head and pulled down my trousers and then they ran off. I was so shocked I didn't feel a thing - then I saw I was bleeding and my penis was gone."

    Emergency workers searched, but were unable to find the missing member. In spite of his denials, police suspect revenge as the motive.

     Be seeing you

Fly Away and Be Free!

I think I like these people!

Be seeing you,

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Detroit Make-Over: A Zombie Theme Park

Personally, I'd have gone with Robocop, but maybe too much time has passed since the film.

     Mark Siwak is trying to raise $145,000 to buy or lease enough abandoned property to build Z World-Detroit, a zombie apocalypse theme park. Considering the current state of some residential neighborhoods in the motor city, not much work would be needed.

     What with the city and the Governor reducing services and some of the locals hunting Possum and squirrel as a source of protein and selling them as a source of ready cash, it may just be an idea whose time has come.

     Siwak's proposed site would involve buying at least some of the land from the city, and so far the city has not expressed any interest.

     Siwak's fund-raising efforts will continue until Aug. 10 at He has received about $5,500 in pledges. More than money, "Realistically, it needs to attract a local developer," he said. "We're just some people with an idea."

     Detroit Free Press

     Be seeing you.

    (Image from Sam Raimi's "The Evil Dead")

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Heartbreak of the Naked Ape

Pony before [inset] and after. Photos courtesy of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation

     " Pony is an orangutan from a prostitute village in Borneo. We found her chained to a wall, lying on a mattress. She had been shaved all over her body."

     "If a man walked near her, she would turn herself around, present herself, and start gyrating and going through the motions. She was being used as a sex slave. She was probably about six or seven years old when we rescued her, but she had been held captive by a madam for a long time. The madam refused to give up the animal because everyone loved Pony and she was a big part of their income. They also thought Pony was lucky, as she would pick winning lottery numbers." (Quote is from Michelle Diselets, the Director of The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation.)

     I don't know why it is that a story about animal abuse like this has the power to affect us in ways that stories about our cruelty to each other do not. It is true none the less. The story indicates that the village where Pony was rescued was a place where the rain forest is being cut down to produce palm oil. It does not indicate if this has removed the livelihood of the village or if the village is the local equivalent of a logging camp. I am searching in my mind for a cause for such depravity. 

     I need very much to believe in one, that no group of people can be naturally this corrupt.

     "It took us over a year to rescue her, because every time we went in with forest police and local officers we would be overpowered by the villagers, who simply would not give her up. They would threaten us with guns and knives with poison on them. In the end it took 35 policemen armed with AK-47s and other weaponry going in there and demanding that they hand over Pony." 

     Be seeing you.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Peep Show Becomes Art


 The National Gallery in London has chosen a unique medium in an attempt to portray part of an exhibit featuring scenes from Greek mythology. Turner Prize-winning artist Paul Wallinger has arranged for six women to portray the Goddess Diana at bath as they sit naked in a mocked-up bathroom while the public glimpses them through peep holes. The exhibit is intended to evoke the myth of the hunter Actaeon who stumbled upon Diana at bath and was hunted for his offence.

The price of admission to view the modern Diana will be somewhat less dear. If fact, it's free.

Be seeing you.


Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Vikings Invented Baseball (sort of)

"...a ball game called knattleikr was played, which involved at least four men throwing a ball, chasing and running, and sometimes also involved a bat. Gardeła relates that in the saga of Egill Skallagrimsson, a game was arranged that brought people from around the district to watch. The story goes that “Egill, who must have been under 12 years old, was competing against an 11-year-old boy named Grımr, who seems to have been much stronger. At some point Egill lost his temper and struck his opponent with a bat, but was immediately seized and dashed to the ground. After complaining about these events to his friend Þorðr Granason, Egill took an axe and drove it into Grimr’s head.”

   More about other Viking game at

Be seeing you

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cops Violate Your Rights? There's An App For That!

    The ACLU of New Jersey has launched an app for the Android, with an i-Phone compatible app in the works, that enables the user to discreetly record police stops. Once the appropriate button is pressed the screen clears so that if you are searched the policeman will not know the device is in recording mode. Once the recording is complete, it is sent to the ACLU-NJ where it is reviewed for civil rights violations.

     The app has three options: There's a "Know Your Rights" button that tells you your rights if you encounter the police in your home, in your car, or on the street. There are two more buttons that record audio and video.



Arafat Assassinated With Radioactive Isotopes?

   According to the Guardian, Palastinian authorities have agreed to allow the body of Yasser Arafat to be exhumed and tested for poisoning by radioactive isotopes. This follows a nine-month investigation by a journalist from Al Jazeera who learned that radioactive substances were found on the Palastinian leader's clothing and toothbrush when he was examined by the Institut de Radiophisique in Switzerland. It is reported that the substances found were consistent with exposure to Polonium 210. (Probably the presence of known decay products of Polonium 210 which has a half-life of only 138 days.)

     "I can confirm to you that we measured an unexplained, elevated amount of unsupported polonium-210 in the belongings of Mr Arafat that contained stains of biological fluids," François Bochud, director of the Lausanne institute, said in the documentary.

     Polonium is a very rare element which, although it can be found in small quantities in phosphate fertilizer, requires a very sophisticated lab to produce. The production is almost entirely done by national governments.

     While polonium is a vigorous emitter of alpha particles, it does not emit gamma radiation. Alpha particles are not capable of penetrating very far beyond the skin and alpha emitters generally have to be ingested to cause death. 

     For more, including a link to the Al Jazeera video, see rawstory.

     Be seeing you.


Flying a Bit Too Low

    Two Brazilian Air Force Pilots doing a fly-over at speed came a bit too close to the Supreme Court Building with their Mirage 2000 fighters and shattered nearly all of the windows.

Video at link.


Monday, July 2, 2012

"Human Breast Milk" From Chinese Cows

Chinese scientists have produced a herd of genetically modified cows that make milk that could substitute for human breast milk.

     Chinese researchers have successfully introduced human genetic material into Holstein embryos and then implanted the embryos into bovine surrogate mothers. 

     "The genetically modified cow milk is 80 percent the same as human breast milk," said Li Ning, a professor and the project's director as well as lead researcher.
"Our modified cow milk contains several major properties of human milk, in particular proteins and antibodies which we believe are good for our health and able to improve our immune system."

     There are now over 300 genetically modified cattle on a farm in suburban Beijing with more new calves being delivered each week. 

     Greenpeace has noted that China has been investing heavily in GMO research but is concerned about lack of supervision and inspection.

     Be seeing you.


In American Capitalist Republic, The Book Reads You!

    Your e-book may be tracking your reading habits. The major players in e-book publishing can easily track how much time you spend on a page, whether you take notes or underline, and how many pages you read at a sitting. They can also track what search terms you use to find that e-book in the first place.

     Earlier this year California passed the "Reader Privacy Act" which makes it more difficult for law enforcement to gain access to people's e-book reading habits. As of now there is no way to tell Barnes and Noble or Amazon not to track this information.

     For more on this see: Wall Street Journal