Now that the cat is pretty well out of the bag on the ‘Wall Street is Evil’ thing, it appears that stockbrokers are just kind of running with that image. For example, this morning, the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, the Temple Mount of American finance was rung by none other than the iconic face of evil for a generation, Lord Vader himself. Because they could think of no better way to make the world of finance seem decent than by associating it with one of the greatest villains in the history of fiction. Whose history as a manager includes letting the biggest project he was ever entrusted with blow up? Twice? This is who you want people to think of when they think of American finance?

I mean, I’m all for giving props to Star Wars, but you couldn’t have called in Chewie to be the face of the franchise? There were no Alec Guiness look alikes available on such short notice? No? Okay.

It's A Trap!

As the holiday season bears mercilessly down on us, we bring you news of things to worry about that you did not even know you needed to worry about.

You are welcome!

Today’s thing to be afraid of for the holidays is Wrap Rage. That is when you get so frustrated at opening a difficult to open package that you flip out and wound yourself. Because… that happens, apparently?

It totally does! According to a recent poll, 17% of adult Pennsylvanians have either hurt themselves or know someone who has hurt themselves while opening Christmas gifts. And most of them have seen this terror happen more than once! Truly, this Wrap Rage is a scourge upon the land!

In related news, 17% of adults Pennsylvanians are either total morons or know someone who is.

The latest problem to crop up unexpectedly at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider? A bird dropped a piece of bread on some machinery outside of it, causing significant overheating. For those of you playing along at home, this means the most sensitive and advanced piece of scientific equipment ever known to man is not only vulnerable to terrorists – it can’t even protect itself from pigeons.

The collider wasn’t operational at the time, because that would have required the collider to be operational at some point, but if it had been working when it was attacked by the highly advanced warfare of a bird carrying some bread, fail safes would have shut it down.


At what point do we give up and just turn this thing into the world's biggest, coolest Laser Tag arena?


Remember though – its distinctly possible this bird was a double agent, dispatched by the folks at ConCERNed to stop the LHC before it kills us all. They have a lawsuit alleging that turning the machine on is a violation of the human rights of the entire world coming before the UN, but I think we all know how effective the UN is in these matters. Could it be that ConCERNed is using an army of trained animals to covertly take matters into it’s own hands?

Hey, it’s not the least likely theory on why the LHC remains broke-ass down. That would be the recently published paper on how the collider is being sabotaged. From the future. By God. Which, it turns out, actually may not be as crazy as it sounds.

Though in all fairness: It’s really hard for anything to be as crazy as that sounds.

What does it take to get fired from the Air Force for gross incompetence? A damned lot, that’s what.

Maybe the nuclear bomber wing under you command failing a safety inspection would do it? Nah, probably not.

Perhaps if officers under your command fell asleep at the switch while in possession of nuclear weapon launch codes, that would be enough to get you canned?

But when a truck full of parts for the 150 intercontinental ballistic missiles loaded with nuclear warheads that you are responsible for goes off the road and tips the hell over because the driver saw a bug? Well, that, sir, is a bridge too far. That is the point at which the military deems you are no longer trustworthy of being in command of hundreds upon hundreds iterations of the most powerful and horrific weapon mankind has ever known.

Colonel Christopher Ayres, we will say good day to you, sir.

It’s really good to know that the military has a three strikes policy on fucking clowns running commanding legions of nuclear weapons. Because really, what could go wrong those first two times?

While nations across the world marked the 70th anniversary of World War II, Bush apologist and Rumsfeld groupie Victor David Hanson used his National Review column to ask the question that was on absolutely nobody’s mind  – Was WWII ultimately worth it? His perhaps surprising answer? A strong maybe.

But thanks to German AIDS awareness group Regenbogen e.V., that’s not the dumbest piece of WWII related news this week. The group is responsible for what purports to be an AIDS awareness commercial supporting their “AIDS is a mass murder” campaign that is actually a steamy sex tape which is totally hot until you realize the dude in it is totally Adolf Hitler. Who is…apparently giving someone AIDS? I guess. Anyway, not cool, Regenbogen e.V.! Now I’ve got a half stack over history’s greatest monster! How am I supposed to be okay with that?

“The campaign is designed to shake people up… Because anyone can become infected,” states the Regenbogen website. Even Hitler. And also, according to their accompanying posters, Sadaam Hussein and Stalin. The message that the group, which is totally not trying to be controversial for the sake of directing publicity towards themselves, comes through loud and clear – people with AIDS are evil and genocidal. And have facial hair. But mostly are evil.

Research firm Netbase wants to reinvent the way people search with their fancy new brand of semantic search.

Their website makes some heady claims, including this one:

Our Content Intelligence platform is able to read every sentence inside documents, linguistically understand the content and enable breakthrough search experiences.

Sounds pretty impressive, right? You would think, then, that their newly launched health care research tool, Healthbase, which is meant to be a showcase for their technology, would be reasonably intelligent, capable of parsing words in a variety of different contexts and retrieving meaningful, relevant data.

And, like Leena Rao of TechCrunch, you would be pretty surprised when Healthbase informed you that one of the leading causes of AIDS is “Jew.”

It’s a pretty serious gaffe, and just one of many you can read about in the comments on Rao’s piece, which basically turned into a blooper reel for the young search engine. But if HealthBase has a problem with ‘Jew,’ no worries. It can probably be treated with one of the standard remedies for Jew provided by the site. Like wine, course (sic) salt or Dr. Pepper.

That said, the site isn’t entirely unwise. When queried about treatments for “old age,” it provided some astonishingly frank advice about the condition, recommending medications like marijuana and cocaine.

Works for me.

Who is America’s front line defense against the swine flu pandemic?

Legions of underpaid, overworked school nurses who are often responsible for overseeing the health of hundreds or thousands of children on their own.

I don’t know about you, but the knowledge that the most serious potential health crisis in recent history will be managed on the ground by a group of people who, in my experience, find it vexing to administer care for injuries related to falling off the monkey bars makes me feel safer already.

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