New Airport Scanners Break Child Porn Laws

From The Guardian:

The rapid introduction of full body scanners at British airports threatens to breach child protection laws which ban the creation of indecent images of children, the Guardian has learned.

Privacy campaigners claim the images created by the machines are so graphic they amount to “virtual strip-searching” and have called for safeguards to protect the privacy of passengers involved.

Ministers now face having to exempt under 18s from the scans or face the delays of introducing new legislation to ensure airport security staff do not commit offences under child pornography laws.

They also face demands from civil liberties groups for safeguards to ensure that images from the £80,000 scanners, including those of celebrities, do not end up on the internet. The Department for Transport confirmed that the “child porn” problem was among the “legal and operational issues” now under discussion in Whitehall after Gordon Brown’s announcement on Sunday that he wanted to see their “gradual” introduction at British airports.

Oops for the Night

Talking Points Memo on why Michele Bachmann suddenly has stopped urging voters to not participate in the Census:

The state of Minnesota could be on the verge of losing a House seat after 2010 — and interestingly enough, it’s been a while since we heard Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) talk about refusing to participate in the Census.

Last year, Bachmann repeatedly said she would defy the Census by not completely filling out the information on the forms, but would instead only give the number of people in her household. She said that Census data was used to conduct the 1940’s Japanese-American internment, and warned that the government was seeking to gather information about people’s mental health. But as far as we can tell, her last anti-Census public statement was in August.

The largest newspaper in Minnesota, the Star-Tribune, is calling on the state’s citizens to vigorously participate in the Census. The key issue here is that according to current population estimates, Minnesota is right on the cusp of losing one of its eight seats in Congress, and will be in a close competition with Missouri, Texas and California for that district. The Strib points out that “Minnesota traditionally has had one big advantage — the cooperation of its civic-minded citizens.”

Bwahahaha. And here’s the really fun part:

The really fun fact, as I’ve learned from Minnesota experts, is that Bachmann’s district would likely be the first to go if the state lost a seat. The other seats are all fairly regular-shaped, logical districts built around identifiable regions of the state (Minneapolis, St. Paul, the Iron Range, and so on). Bachmann’s district is made of what’s left over after such a process, twisting and turning from a small strip of the Wisconsin border and curving deep into the middle of the state. As such, the obvious course of action if the state loses a seat is to split her district up among its neighbors.

Shooting in Las Vegas Courthouse

From CNN:

Two federal personnel were shot, one fatally, Monday in the lobby of a federal courthouse building in Las Vegas, Nevada, federal officials said.

“A deputy U.S. marshal and court security officer were shot at the Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse in Las Vegas this morning,” said U.S. Marshals spokesman Jeff Carter.

“The gunman was shot by Marshals Service personnel and has been pronounced dead. The deputy U.S. Marshal is in stable condition at a local hospital. Unfortunately, the court security officer succumbed to his wounds and passed away.”

The incident occurred about 8 a.m. PT, FBI Special Agent Joseph Dickey said.

Authorities were in the process of securing the building, Carter said.

“We do not know the motive for the shooting at this time, and the investigation into the shooting is still under way,” he said.

What a $300 Massage Feels Like

VegasTripping’s report on the wallet-hurting spa at the new Mandarin Oriental in Vegas.

It was around 3pm. The concierge made a 4pm appointment for an 80-minute massage and informed the spa that I would be heading down (“down” to the 8th floor from the 23rd floor Sky Lobby). The elevator doors open and a young lady greets me with a deep bow: “Hello Mr. E. We’ve been expecting you. Welcome to the spa at Mandarin Oriental.”

They bow a lot here. And you instinctively start to bow back. And before you know it, the bowing gets out of control. It reminds me of that one Simpsons episode: “Now with 20% more bowing!”

I was seated in the gorgeous lobby and told to remove my shoes and hand them to my hostess as a “Chinese symbol of leaving all your cares behind when entering the spa.” She probably just made that part up. I was then given a brief form to fill out indicating health issues and specific areas I’d like my massage to focus on. Why other spas I’ve been to don’t do this, I have no idea. Having your therapist know exactly what you need beforehand so you can just lay at her mercy and melt away is nothing short of awesome.

My personal attendant arrives and greets me with delicious tea as I complete the form. He then takes me on a full tour of the facility. The locker area is a bit cramped, but you get a full toiletries bag (yours to keep) and an incredible, alpaca fur-lined robe. Amazing.

You’ll find the standard amenities of wet and dry saunas as well as a lanconium room (overheated dry sauna), experience showers, an “ice fountain” to rejuvenate between heated facilities, and finally, a hot tub with champagne bubbles.