Conservative politician apologizes for saying people on welfare "needed putting down".

Francesca O'Brien, the Conservative candidate for the Gower constituency in the forthcoming UK elections, said that people appearing on the TV show "Benefits Steet" needed "putting down".

In the posts following the broadcast of the first episode of Benefits Street five years ago, Ms O'Brien said: "Benefit Street..anyone else watching this?? Wow, these people are unreal!!!"

Responding to another user's comment, she said: "My blood is boiling, these people need putting down."

In a statement released on Sunday, Ms O'Brien said: "These comments were made off the cuff, a number of years ago.

"However, I accept that my use of language was unacceptable and I would like to apologise for any upset I have caused."

Benefits Street was a Channel 4 documentary about people on welfare, broadcast in 2014, criticized at the time for "vilifying and misrepresenting benefits claimaints" in tabloid fashion. O'Brien neglected to delete her social media history before launching her bid for office. Read the rest

Beautiful art made from ashes of euthanized shelter animals

For her Stardust and Ashes project, Shannon Johnstone wanted to memorialize local shelter animals "with nobody to mourn their passing," so she used their ashes to make cosmic cyanotypes. Read the rest

This high-tech suicide pod offers a quick, painless death and a built-in casket

Dutch doctor Philip Nitschke of Exit International has created the Sarco, a controversial "suicide machine" that allows people an easy exit.

AlterNet reports:

The Sarco is a technological marvel, resembling some kind of futuristic sleeping chamber, that aids in voluntary assisted dying. Australian doctor Philip Nitschke, whom Newsweek identifies as the "Elon Musk of assisted suicide,” unveiled the new apparatus earlier this week, just days after lawmakers in the state of Victoria voted to legalize euthanasia. The device simplifies what Nitschke dubs “rational suicides,” ensuring that the process is painless and easy—an optimal way to go.

...The machine includes a base topped by a translucent chamber perfectly proportioned to comfortably fit a human which. After settling in the pod, the user will push a button and the chamber will start to “fill up with liquid nitrogen to bring the oxygen level down to about 5 percent.” Around the minute mark, the user will become unconscious, experiencing almost no pain, according to the Newsweek report. (The doctor describes the changes as akin to “an airplane cabin depressurizing.”) After death comes, which is fairly swift, the chamber can be used as a coffin. The base, just fyi, is reusable.

...the Sarco “was designed so that it can be 3D printed and assembled in any location” and that blueprints “will be free, made open-source, and placed on the Internet.” While accessibility is a major selling point, there is one hurdle would-be users will need to clear: a “mental questionnaire” that’s available online.

Read the rest