Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

News Flash: Hacker Killed by Self-Driving Car

December 28, 2016

La Satira News Service

Police in Manhattan have identified the victim of an accident involving a self-driving car as Lars Gynt, 34, of Oslo, Norway.  Mr. Gynt, a computer systems integration consultant, was attempting to cross a street outside a crosswalk when he was struck by the vehicle, which apparently failed to register the presence of a pedestrian.

The human occupant of the vehicle, Nadia Driver of Lower Muttering, Vt., was not injured.  Ms. Driver reported that Mr. Gynt had stepped out in front of the car without looking.  The car, an electric-powered model, would have been inaudible in the busy street.

Some witnesses have suggested that the car, rather than braking, accelerated slightly as it hurtled toward Mr. Gynt.

The company responsible for developing the car, GGM, has declined to comment pending an investigation into the car’s control software, sensors, and telemetry.

The accident highlights continued concerns over the safety and reliability of self-driving cars in the chaotic road environment.  While proponents continue to point out the advantages of computer drivers–faster reaction time, the ability to “see” in multiple directions simultaneously–skeptics often counter with doubts about the computer’s ability to distinguish what it sees or make moral judgments about how to react, as well as the potential for the computer to fall under the malicious control of computer hackers.

In an ironic twist, the hacker category is one that includes Mr. Gynt himself.  Records indicate Mr. Gynt, operating under the handle 1G0Tch@10101010, had worked with a number of hacker organizations over the past decade.  He was also under investigation by the FBI for his suspected involvement in a previous cyber-attack on control systems developed by GGM.

Rumors that the police are considering the case as one of justifiable homicide by the computer on grounds of self-defense have been flatly denied by police spokespersons.

Copyright 2016

Nutcrackers vs Elf on the Shelf

December 24, 2016

 

Merry Christmas from Punnery Productions and La Satira News Service!

News Flash: Aegean Maritime Board to Reverse Course, Allow Sirens

December 15, 2016

ITHACA–In a startling change of course, the Aegean Maritime Safety Board has voted not to pursue efforts to close down operations on the Island of the Sirens.

The island had been under investigation in the course of a larger study of potential hazards to navigation conducted by Odysseus Transport, Inc., along with other features such as the whirlpool Charybdis and Cyclops Island.  Previous studies had highlighted the Sirens as an attractive nuisance, potentially luring sailors to the island and causing them to wreck on the shallow reefs in the area.

“The island has produced a startling number of shipwrecks over the years,” said Lyabilites, the chief author of the report.  “However, we have demonstrated that the idea of the Sirens drawing all sailors to their doom is pure myth.

“Our research shows that the Sirens are only attractive to accident and personal injury attorneys.  Everyone else seems to find the Sirens to have a repelling effect; thus, they instinctively avoid the reefs and stay out of trouble.”

The report goes on to suggest that, while accident and personal injury attorneys play an important role in society, the Sirens provide a net service by weeding out the more aggressive and annoying ones.

The Board’s decision goes against the recommendations of the Aegean Association of Accident Attorneys (AAAA), who have threatened to sue the Board for negligence if the Sirens are permitted to continue operating.

In other action, the Board endorsed a recommendation to establish a coffee plantation on the Island of the Lotus-Eaters and approved the establishment of a meteorological forecasting office on the floating island of Aeolia.

Copyright 2016

 

 

Thoughts from an Introvert

August 3, 2016

Criticism of the person who stops listening to the other person in order to formulate a response fails to account for the other people who won’t stop talking long enough for a thoughtful response to be formulated.

News Flash: Lincoln Internet Quote is Genuine, Researchers Find

July 7, 2015

La Satira News Service

A popular quote making the rounds on the Internet was indeed spoken by Abraham Lincoln, researchers at the University of Pomme de Terre claim.

The quote, in which the 16th president purportedly lays question to the reliability of quotations posted on the Internet, is frequently used to invoke skepticism about the reliability of postings made by others.

“Naturally we were surprised to find evidence that the quote is genuine,” said Adam Smith of the university’s Department of Historical Research.  “Everyone has always assumed that Mr. Lincoln died long before the internet age.  And so he did.”

Prof. Smith points to new evidence that, owing to the questionable activities of certain time travel researchers from the University of Punxsutawney, the nation’s 16th president actually spent some time in the early 21st century, sharing an apartment suite with Elvis Presley.

“The facts clearly point to the conclusion that Mr. Lincoln spent some time in the not-so-distant past, or perhaps even the present,” Prof. Smith said.  “How else could he have such faith that the Union would survive the Civil War?”

Above:  An example of the meme.

Asked how Lincoln’s fateful trip to Ford’s Theater squared with his alleged knowledge of future events, Prof. Smith pointed only to Mr. Lincoln’s deep sense of destiny.

For its part, officials at the University of Punxsutawney denied the existence of any past, present, or future programs for studying time travel, and suggested that Prof. Smith’s imagination was perhaps running away with him.

Prof. Smith acknowledged that his claims were bound to meet with a certain amount of doubt.  “I can’t blame people for being skeptical,” he said.  “After all, President Lincoln’s quote is true, whether you believe he said it or not.  And there are far too many people who take things at face value.  Or, as Dr. Barney Cull, the octopus specialist in our Marine Biology Department, once famously observed, there’s a sucker born every minute.”

Copyright 2015

News Flash: Apples to Blame in Medical Shortage

October 4, 2014

La Satira News Service

Overwhelming barriers to entering the medical profession?  Forget it.  Difficulties in navigating the twin worlds of regulation and insurance?  Not the problem.  The rising cost of liability insurance?  Not even close.

A new study from the University of Pomme-de-Terre in Bayview, Idaho, suggests that the true reason for the increasingly acute shortage of medical professionals in the United States is as unexpected as it is counter-intuitive:  the proliferation of apples.

“Over the past sixty years, we’ve seen a strong correlation between the decline in the per capita number of practicing medical professionals and rising apple consumption in North America,” says Professor Jonathan Winesap of the University’s College of Statistical Folklore.  “And since First Lady Michelle Obama started her initiative on healthy eating, the problem has only gotten worse.”

Asked how the growing consumption of apples, generally regarded as a health food, could be prompting the medical shortage, Professor Winesap refused to go into specifics.  “There’s definitely room for more research on the topic.  The main thing we learn from this study is that the old adage about an apple a day keeping the doctor away is, in fact, true; we’re just learning that this isn’t always a good thing.”

The study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, is already attracting controversy.

“His logic is distinctly seedy,” said Professor N. V. Honeycrisp of the University of Punxsutawney’s College of Agriculture and Astrophysics, “if not rotten to the core.  I’ve never seen such a blatant example of the causation/correlation fallacy–not outside the comments section of online news articles, anyway.  Does he really think serious medical professionals have a vampire-and-garlic sort of relationship with apples?  If you ask me, Professor Winesap is really barking up the wrong tree.”

Meanwhile, Professor Winesap is already developing a strategy for reducing the country’s apple footprint.  “The first thing we need to do is rename a certain computer company to a different type of fruit.  Then we need recall all food products containing apples.  Oh, yes; and we need to recall all the copies of the game ‘Apples to Apples.’  It all sounds extreme, but it’s the least we can do to stop a medical catastrophe in the making.”

Copyright 2014

New Sponsor

August 31, 2014

Strangely, La Satira News Service seems to be picking up more advertisers even as they offer less and less actual content.  Or these days perhaps that isn’t so strange.  I understand Samuel Taylor Coleridge founded this company to help subsidize his poetry habit.

Albatross2

 

News Flash: Pet Rescue Group Rallies for Abandoned Pythons

April 6, 2013

La Satira News Service

A local animal rights group has added its voice to the chorus of disapproval surrounding Florida’s attempts to rid itself of invasive reptiles.  “All animals deserve to be treated with respect and love,” said Draco Narrasti, the head organizer of Runaway Reptile Rescue, an activist group seeking to end the barbaric treatment of Burmese pythons in South Florida.  The group seeks to stop hunts for the invasive species, seeking instead to introduce them into homes where they can get the love and care they deserve.

“That’s all any pet really wants, isn’t it:  a home where it can be loved, sheltered, and fed,” said Mr. Narrasti.  “Is it really so much?”

To some people, it would appear so.  “We would like to remind Mr. Narrasti and his group that most of the snakes in question have never in fact been pets,” said an unnamed spokesperson, speaking off-the-record for a department of the state government that wished not to be mentioned.  “We’re talking about reptiles, and wild ones at that.  They have no concept of love or affection… despite their reputation for being generous with hugs.”

The Runaway Reptile Rescue group has set up a picketing site in Tallahassee across from the office responsible for reigning in the rampant reptiles.

A second picketing site has been set up across the street by a group calling itself Houses for Mouses, which seeks to end the cruel practice of feeding live rats and mice to pet snakes.  “It really is the darkest side of the pet industry,” said Mick Saguaren, the spokesman for Houses for Mouses.  “We know what happens to all those cute little rats and mice that don’t get sold.  They aren’t given away–they’re just moved next door, as it were.  It’s high time the pet industry exercised a little self-control, and made the effort to find a good home for unsold rodents.”

Still, the news on that front isn’t all bad, said Mr. Saguaren.  “We just received word that there’s an organization in southern Florida that said they were interested in helping us out, and adopting all the unwanted rodents we could lay our hands on.  We don’t know much about them yet, just that they’re calling themselves ‘RRR.’  But they say they’ll be able to find suitable placement for them.”

“And that’s all any pet really wants, isn’t it:  a home where it can be loved, sheltered, and fed,” said Mr. Saguaren.  “Is it really so much?”

Copyright 2013

News Flash(es): A Premature Retrospective

April 1, 2013

One of the things that sometimes happens when artists go a long time without releasing a new album and there’s no new material to throw into the breach is that somebody gets it into their heads to release a “Best of…” album. I don’t know who makes this decision, or for that matter who decides which bits qualify as the artist’s “best,” or even what criteria they use.

On the whole, I’m not a great fan of “Best of…” albums. From the consumer’s perspective, while it may be nice to have all the “best” in one place, it’s somewhat irksome to spend money for tracks that one may already possess. To some extent this problem is relieved by services like iTunes, if you don’t mind going without liner notes (which I enjoy reading) and enduring the constant trickle of messages asking you to download, install, and agree to the End User License Agreement for the latest version (which seem to arrive about twice as often as I use the service).

From the artist’s perspective, “Best of…” albums, unless somebody bothers to indicate a time period, come with the tacit and uncomfortable admission that all one’s future endeavors are going to be, by definition, no better than second-best, and that career-wise it’s all downhill from there–in which case there’s no particular reason for customers to buy further albums.

But since it’s been a while since I’ve posted much in the way of new material, and since I do have a few readers who may not have run across some of the older stuff–and since you won’t have to pay for this one–now seems as good a time as any to post a “Best (so far) of…” list for my La Satira News Service news flashes. And since today is April 1st, the timing seems especially conducive. The listing is based entirely on the statistics provided by WordPress and is not indicative of tastes, preferences, or actual quality.  In fact there are a couple on the list that I found rather surprising.  But the facts are the facts.  Maybe next time I’ll post a “personal favorites” set.

So here we go. Read, enjoy, and feel free to share. 🙂

10.  News Flash:  License Agreement Dooms Supermarket Chain

9.  News Flash:  Kettle Arrested in Identity Theft Probe

8.  News Flash:  Exotic Snake Bites Man at Australian Themed Restaurant

7.  News Flash:  Weather Bureau’s Scheme for Storm Names Generates Whirlwind of Controversy

6.  News Flash:  Mob Seeks Vengeance for Weather Prank 

5.  News Flash:  Antique Lamp Leaves Messy Legacy 

4.  News Flash:  State Party Schedules 2016 Primaries–For 2013 

3.  News Flash:  Spelling-Deficient Zombies Reportedly Hunting Brians 

2.  News Flash:  Code Violations, Unpermitted Burn Tied to Valhalla Tragedy 

1.  News Flash:  2 Injured in Sleigh Wreck; NTSB Investigates 

Copyright 2013

News Flash: Time Traveller Confesses to ‘Holiday Impacts’

March 20, 2013

La Satira News Service

WEST PUNXSUTAWNEY, PA–Authorities are conferring over what to do about a self-proclaimed time-traveller who turned himself in this afternoon, confessing to “crimes against the time-space continuum” and citing impacts to how certain holidays are treated in American culture.

A man calling himself Dr. Chronophobos showed up at the police station and insisted he wanted to turn himself in for crimes related to his invention of a time machine.  Dr. Chronophobos claims to be a research professor at the nearby University of Punxsutawney’s Department of Temporal Physics.  According to Dr. Chronophobos, he was able to create a working time machine and during a trial run made modifications that changed the relative importance of certain ethnic Celtic holidays in America.

After consulting with the Assistant District Attorney, the West Punxsutawney police force declined to arrest Dr. Chronophobos due to lack of evidence. “The lack of evidence,” Dr. Chronophobos was heard to say as he was escorted from police headquarters, “is exactly what proves my point.”

“I didn’t really notice the impacts until last November, when just after Thanksgiving the grocery stores failed to stock their normal supply of haggis and turnips to celebrate St. Andrews Day on November 30th,” Dr. Chronophobos explained as he set up a small camp on police property which he pledged to occupy until the police take him seriously.  “Then the day came and went without any Scottish Heritage parades or anything–they didn’t even dye the Chicago River plaid, like they normally did.  Then March rolls around, and suddenly corned beef and cabbage go on sale.  And now we have the parades and all.  And the dyeing of the river.  Whoever heard of dyeing a river green?”

When asked how exactly one dyes a river plaid, Dr. Chronophobos lamented, “We’ll never know, now.”

Professor David George, professor of sociology at the University of Punxsutawney, is not among those convinced by the story.  “Even if it were possible to go back in time and swap the relative importances of the Scottish and Irish national holidays, I’m not sure St. Andrew’s Day would have been the big one.  If you’re expecting a celebration of a particular person to morph into a celebration of that person’s culture, it helps if the person you’re ostensibly celebrating is uniquely associated with that culture.  From that perspective, Dr. Chronophobos’ story would have sounded more probable if Robert Burns Day had been the big event.”

“Of course,” Professor George added, “you could also make the argument that if he were lying he would have come up with a better story.”

University officials deny that there is or ever has been a Dr. Chronophobos associated with the University, never mind a Department of Temporal Physics. “Well, not now, obviously,” said Dr. Chronophobos when asked about this fact. “But if people keep experimenting in time travel, who knows what might happen? We might turn around and there wouldn’t even be a University of Punxsutawney.”

Copyright 2013–yes, really.

Does La Satira News Service really exist?  Check out the main page and judge for yourself.