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December 25, 2003

Santas beaten in public spectacle
Globe and Mail | Submitted by: wingnut
"A seemingly harmless Christmas promotion arranged by the New York Islanders turned ugly, and all because of the team's fierce rivalry with the New York Rangers... The promotion invited fans to dress up as Santa Claus for Tuesday night's game against the Philadelphia Flyers and be admitted to the Nassau Coliseum for free. What's more, they were permitted to parade across the ice between periods. About 1,000 Santa Clauses showed up and as promised, they were invited on the ice after the first period... As the Santas milled around, two of them removed their red jackets to reveal jerseys of the rival Rangers... The interlopers were knocked to the ice and had the shirts ripped off. Other Santas went sliding across the ice during the melee that took six minutes to settle down."

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Hydrogen sulfide gas kills 200 Chinese
CNN | Submitted by: Mean Gene
"At least 191 people were killed and hundreds poisoned when a natural gas well in southwest China burst and released a cloud of toxic fumes, medical workers, officials and state media said on Thursday. Officials said a gas well burst in the Chuan Dongbei gas field northeast of Chongqing city, releasing natural gas and sulfurated hydrogen 'killing and poisoning many people,' the state-run Xinhua News agency reported. The state-run China Daily said poisonous gas hovered in the air, making 'an area of 25 square kilometers a death zone,' as many villagers were killed by the fumes as they slept."

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Hundreds of Filipinos buried alive
malaya.com.ph | Submitted by: Redge
"The official death toll in landslides that hit the Visayas and Mindanao over the weekend stood yesterday at 133, the National Disaster Coordination Council said. A total of 109 people are still missing in Southern Leyte, Central Visayas, Caraga, and Southern Mindanao. Four days after the first landslides, rescuers finally reached remote mountainous areas in the worst-hit Southern Leyte, where the mud cut a trail of devastation, sweeping flimsy houses into the sea, burying scores of people alive and cutting supply routes. 'The stench is too much,' Rico Maitim, a resident of San Francisco, said as teams of soldiers and local volunteers pulled twisted bodies from the muck. 'We hope they can send us equipment so we can finish this operation.'"

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Man chooses alternative to nagging wife
Reuters UK | Submitted by: efgkt
"A Tanzanian man killed himself by drinking a chemical used in cattle dips, leaving a suicide note saying it was to escape a nagging wife, police said on Wednesday."

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Frat boys kill, eat possibly rabid raccoon
ABC News | Submitted by: I Choose The Matrix
"The men had spotted the raccoon behaving erratically outside the Phi Kappa Psi house at the University of Georgia on Dec. 12. One hit it with construction pylon and shot it with a pellet gun in the fraternity's parking lot, Athens-Clarke County Animal Control officials said. Another skinned the raccoon, and a third cooked and ate some of its meat. Erratic behavior can be a symptom of rabies in an animal, but the raccoon could not be tested because its carcass was burned."

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American dream officially dead
AlterNet | Submitted by: A. P. Palled
"The other day I found myself reading a leftist rag that made outrageous claims about America. It said that we are becoming a society in which the poor tend to stay poor, no matter how hard they work; in which sons are much more likely to inherit the socioeconomic status of their father than they were a generation ago. The name of the leftist rag? Business Week, which published an article titled 'Waking Up From the American Dream.' The article summarizes recent research showing that social mobility in the United States (which was never as high as legend had it) has declined considerably over the past few decades. If you put that research together with other research that shows a drastic increase in income and wealth inequality, you reach an uncomfortable conclusion: America looks more and more like a class-ridden society."

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Another revolution in electric vehicles
Radio Nederland Wereldomroep | Submitted by: pushmonk
"A new Dutch invention can make cars, busses and other vehicles no less than 50 percent more efficient and thus more environmentally friendly. Better still, the technology is already available; it all comes down to a smart combination of existing systems... All this is made possible by an ‘in-wheel' electric engine, in fact nothing more than a normal electric engine turned inside out... Since the wheel is in fact the engine, no axles or any other friction-producing and therefore energy-wasting mechanical parts are needed."

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Memories stored using BSE-like brain prions
New York Times | Submitted by: Omniscience_is_a_virtue
"The shape-shifting protein in yeast and slugs has all the hallmarks of another protein, the infamous prion, found in humans and other animals. Such prions also assume two shapes. One serves a normal function in the brain. The second sets into motion a runaway process that converts normal prions into a toxic form. As a result, deadly clumps of protein leave holes in the brain and cause disorders like mad cow disease. The disease-causing prion and the memory-storage protein are not identical, said Dr. Eric R. Kandel, a neuroscientist at Columbia University who shared the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research on memory formation. But they share attributes that make prionlike behavior a perfect mechanism for storing memories."

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