Aryeh Nirenberg captured a remarkable sight for the rest of us to enjoy while on vacation: the northern lights as they appeared from a plane window on New Year's Eve. Better than any fireworks! Read the rest
Lancaster University's Aurora Watch issued an alert on Tuesday that the Northern Lights would be clearly visible in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, the alert was cancelled after the scientists determined that the data from one of their magnetometers was spurious. A surge in geomagnetic energy is indicative of auroras but this particular spike was likely caused by a lawnmower.
"We believe the interference was caused by University staff mowing the grass on a sit-on mower," Aurora Watch stated. "We’ll work with the facilities team to try and avoid an incident such as this occuring in the future!"
The University of Colorado psychiatrist who treated mass shooting suspect James Holmes was so concerned by his behavior, she alerted colleagues in June that he was potentially dangerous. CNN reports that "University officials never contacted Aurora police with Fenton's concerns before the July 20 killings." She "made initial phone calls" about engaging a university threat response team in early June, according to the report, but things "never came together" because Holmes began the process of dropping out of school around this same time. Once he was no longer a student, they "had no control over him." Read the rest
"Student, writer, and self-identifying geek" A.J. Focht, writing on a Suicide Girls blog, talks about the experience of surviving the recent mass shooting at "The Dark Knight Rises" premiere at an Aurora, CO movie theater— and, how a friend and fellow survivor was hounded by content-hungry television producers:
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With only a small charge left in her phone one of the members of my group thought it best to send out a blanket distress beacon via Twitter so she could conserve her battery to call her parents and a ride home. Caitlin tweeted from her account @dingos8myTARDIS informing her family and friends of the chaos and that she was physically alright. Her tweets were some of the first online, and within the hour BBC, CNN, and others were broadcasting her messages on the news. The hundreds of media outlets that contacted her throughout the night were unexpected, but we could understand they were just trying to do their jobs. Once we had been released, Caitlin, not wanting the mass media attention, released these tweets:
dingos8myTARDIS: To the media: I was tweeting earlier because my phone was on 10%batt & I needed to let people know I was okay. I am (in) no shape for interviews.
dingos8myTARDIS: To rephrase: I have no interest in interviews at this time. I was merely sending an emergency beacon.
Despite her requesting to be left alone, she was perpetually bombarded by yet more media requests via Twitter from outlets including FOX News and The Huffington Post. As if the mass attention on Twitter was not enough, other news networks took it upon themselves to get her phone number and start calling her.
He is currently in intensive care in an induced coma. He lost his right eye and suffered brain damage. His wife Katie "is about to give birth to their first child," one floor away, according to this CBS News report.
Update: Katie, 21, just gave birth to their first child. Snip from Reuters update:
Katie Medley and her husband, Caleb, both wearing Batman apparel, were at a showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in the Denver suburb of Aurora when a gunman clad in tactical body armor, helmet and gas mask opened fire during a midnight showing early on Friday. Twelve people, including a 6-year-old girl, were killed and 58 wounded.
Caleb is currently listed in critical condition at the University of Colorado Denver Hospital. He is showing some signs of progress. Like a number of people injured in the Aurora shooting, he is uninsured. His family has been told that the cost of his medical treatment may exceed $2 million.
There's a fundraising site here, where friends and family are gathering donations to help with his health care costs. America would be an even greater country if people didn't have to do stuff like this to get life-saving medical treatment.
Okay, so this happened: Madonna had a show in Scotland on Saturday (part of her world tour, going on since late May) in which she and her dancers "waved" a bunch of fake machine guns and pistols, despite what happened in Aurora, Colorado a day before involving actual machine guns and pistols. She was warned against using such questionable props (which are actually banned in Scotland), but ignored the warnings and used them anyway, her staff claiming that nothing should stand in the way of "art." I'm sure the only thing we're missing here is context. Comforting, sense-making context... Oh, that was it? Madonna is just going out of her way to be an asshole and claim "art"? Okay then! Let's bolt all possible projectiles to the ground and handle this together. Read the rest
When the Columbine shootings happened in Colorado in 1999, many pundits and politicians blamed games, goth culture, and dark pop figures like Marilyn Manson. After today's shooting in Aurora, Colorado, Manson's "Whose Fault Is It?" essay from that same year is worth a read again.
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When it comes down to who's to blame for the high school murders in Littleton, Colorado, throw a rock and you'll hit someone who's guilty. We're the people who sit back and tolerate children owning guns, and we're the ones who tune in and watch the up-to-the-minute details of what they do with them. I think it's terrible when anyone dies, especially if it is someone you know and love. But what is more offensive is that when these tragedies happen, most people don't really care any more than they would about the season finale of Friends or The Real World. I was dumbfounded as I watched the media snake right in, not missing a teardrop, interviewing the parents of dead children, televising the funerals. Then came the witch hunt.
Man's greatest fear is chaos. It was unthinkable that these kids did not have a simple black-and-white reason for their actions. And so a scapegoat was needed. I remember hearing the initial reports from Littleton, that Harris and Klebold were wearing makeup and were dressed like Marilyn Manson, whom they obviously must worship, since they were dressed in black. Of course, speculation snowballed into making me the poster boy for everything that is bad in the world.
The Telegraph's swiftly-deleted article about the "curse" of Batman movies (still live here) is not, however, today's craziest coverage of the shootings in Colorado. That prize surely goes to Nikki Finke: "It is a very real possibility this terrifying tragedy may affect The Dark Knight Rises‘s opening box office today and this weekend." [Deadline Hollywood via Gawker. Read the rest
A Colorado gunman walked into a 12:30 a.m. showing of the The Dark Knight Rises, tossed a gas can into the crowd, then began shooting. At least 12 are dead, according to reports, with another 50 hurt.
The police took him into custody and are searching for explosives at his apartment. Redditor iteg3r collated an exhaustive timeline based on local police scanner broadcasts, tweets, and TV bulletins as the night unfolded.
In claimed video of the aftermath (right), a bloodied patron is seen leaving the theater amid confusion and chaos.
At least 12 have been killed, and at least 38 are confirmed wounded, according to Colorado law enforcement. Victims include a 3-month-old baby. The shooter, according to eyewitnesses speaking to local TV news reports, ran in to the theater, lit a "gas can," shot into the ceiling, then into the crowd.
President Obama, Vice President Biden, and the First Lady have cancelled presidential campaign activities today. Obama: "This is a day of prayer and reflection for the victims."
A suspect is in custody: James Holmes, a 24yo white male who is said to have been wearing a gas mask, a bulletproof vest. According to law enforcement, at least four types of guns were used in the shooting, including an "AK-type" assault rifle, a shotgun, and two handguns. The suspect also used a canister of what is presumed to have been tear gas. Read the rest