Forget Big Brother – big Google’s got it covered

If you think addressing an email determines who will receive it, think again. Ever accommodating to customers who need to know, Google makes no bones about sharing your emails – emails you think are private – with third parties intent on learning all they want to know about you.

The Inquirer reports: “Google has admitted that, even though it has stopped scanning your Gmail accounts for ad-targeting, it still lets third-parties at them.”

The practice is covered apparently by Google’s new policy to limit access to those app companies that have a transparent privacy policy. Transparent? What does that mean, exactly?

“Google says it is able to suspend apps that subjugate the rules before they do any damage in the ‘majority of cases.’ It does not, however, give any indication of how many apps have been found and removed, but does reiterate that no human reads Gmail messages except in ‘very specific cases where they ask us to and give consent.’ This usually means a complaint made to Google about a user.”

User’s complaints have been heard, though – to the tune of upcoming Senate hearings that will exact specifics about customer privacy from Google, Twitter, Amazon and Apple. We’ll see who is looking out for whom.

"I'm not dead yet!"

“I’m not dead yet!”

Like a challenge? Choose your coffin

Six Flags theme parks aim to please. Chills, thrills and plenty of screams are regular fare at parks across the country. Heart-stopping roller coasters and adrenaline are the order of the day.

But why draw the line at being entertained when you can be part of the entertainment? Why stop at rides, when head trips can be so much better? A slow-burn dare that involves you on a very intimate level would be so much better, no?

Enter the Six Flags St. Louis coffin challenge. That’s right – coffin. The box. The final resting place.

Sound creepy? Well, with hourly bathroom breaks and cell phone charging, thirty hours stuck in a coffin cannot compare to the horror of being buried alive. This very real (though infrequent) happenstance in the not-too-distant past led to the development of coffin bells.

Wiki explains, “The general fear of premature burial led to the invention of many safety devices which could be incorporated into coffins. Most consisted of some type of device for communication to the outside world such as a cord attached to a bell that the interred person could ring should they revive after the burial.”

Coffin bell

Makes sense, since the practice of embalming had yet to come into vogue. A coma, concussion or some other unknown malady could see a person six feet under with no bathroom breaks in sight. Inventors tackled the problem with vigor. “In 1822,” according to Ancient Pages, “Dr. Adolf Gutsmuth wanted to demonstrate how ingenious his safety coffins were. He was buried alive and stayed underground for several hours and even ate a meal delivered to him through the coffin’s feeding tube.”

Check out the video that demonstrates five real buried-alive cases below:

Disturbing, no? That’s the idea. And on October 13, Six Flags St. Louis is offering six lucky participants the opportunity to win $300 by staying put inside a real live coffin. Unannounced visitors may stop by – count on a vampire slayer with a stake in hand. The breakout is as follows, according to WSPA News:

  • 2′ x 7′ ‘slightly used’ coffins
  • Meals, snacks, drinks
  • One six-minute bathroom break every hour
  • Phone charging stations
  • Random visits by ‘Fright Fest Freaks’
  • Anyone who exits the 2′ x 7′ box for any other reason will be disqualified

Those who endure the trial will be entered to win the cash prize. Not too much money, but it’s the thought that counts.



Donating to the needy. Isn’t that special?

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol are going bananas about a special donation to a Texas prison. The gift, forty-five boxes of the yellow bananas, arrived last Friday from Ports of America in Freeport. A kind gesture … “kind” if one discounts the underlying packing of suspicious white powder that turned out to be cocaine.

“The Texas Department of Criminal Justice says in a Facebook post that the drugs were found in two pallets of bananas that were donated because they were already ripe,” according to the Associated Press.

No small haul; 540 packages of cocaine were discovered in all. That’s some donation. Try about $18 million worth.

Was it going to waste? Check out the following clip to get the details:

Authorities are working together to unmask the generous soul responsible. A long-term stay at a Texas prison may just be the thank-you they receive.

When pigs fly

Check out this video clip of Berlin hot air hijinks. Too cool to miss:

That’s the seventh anniversary of the Kite Festival in Berlin. Kite enthusiasts from across Europe attended with their handmade masterpieces, and so did the wind which proved more than accommodating.

Which was your favorite?

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