You're Almost Definitely Not Going to Die: An Ebola Primer

Photo Credit: hukuzatuna via Compfight cc
Ebola virus, just kinda sitting there, not coming to get you.
The Ebola virus outbreak in west Africa is definitely nothing to trifle with. It's killed more than 800 people already, in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria, and Margaret Chan, the director general of the World Health Organization said Friday that the "outbreak is moving faster than our efforts to control it." That's not the kind of thing you want to hear.

And with news that two people have been treated at New York hospitals with possible symptoms of the disease, there's some understandable anxiety. But take a deep breath.

Here are a few things to know:

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Bystanders Cheer as Queens Man Brutally Beats an Off-Duty Cop [UPDATE]

Categories: Scary Things

Update: The video has been removed from both Facebook and YouTube.

Original item: A video of this weekend's vicious beating of an off-duty cop has surfaced, and it is not pretty. The video shows Sergeant Mohammed Deen pummeled in the middle of the street by 29-year-old Hayden Holder.

It is unclear what started the dispute -- Holder's attorney claims it was drunken argument that escalated, according to NBC New York. It is clear, however, that it ended outside the St. John's Express restaurant in Ozone Park when Holder attacked Deen and left him bloodied and unconscious in the street, while the person filming the video laughed and cheered Holder on.

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Watch a Basketball Hoop Crash on Top of a Player During a Harlem Globetrotters Game

Categories: Scary Things

screencap via YouTube
We finally have an answer to that age-old question: Is it possible to ball too hard? Yes, yes it is, and we have the video to prove it. During a "game" in Honduras, Harlem Globetrotters player William "Bull" Bullard went up for the dunk and brought the hoop and the entire stanchion down with him. He not only shattered the backboard, but the shrieking crowd watched the rim land square on his head as he fell backward. The man could have died, but shortly thereafter Bullard returned to the court with a bandage over his eye.

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Car Crashes Into East Village Shop, Puts 8 in Hospital (UPDATED)

Raillan Brooks
Just before 7 this morning, a car coming down 2nd Avenue crashed into an East Village bodega at East 4th Street. Eight people were injured, three of whom were employees of the store. A man claiming to be the owner of the business declined comment.

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Brick-Hurling Robot Beast Foreshadows Our Terrifying Future [VIDEO]

Less deadly than a Hellfire missile, but maybe creepier: This robot dinosaur sure knows how to fling a cinderblock.
Boston Dynamics, the contractor with a DARPA contract to make frightening robot novelties for the U.S. military, has come out with a new nightmare-inspiring video.

This latest video release comes after Boston Dynamics first unveiled an un-knockable-overable quadrupedal robo-mule called the "Big Dog," and then, on a lark, weaponized it with bull horns.

All of which was a little alarming, but we took comfort in the fact that if we ever met one of these things in the wild we'd at least be able to outrun it. Then Boston Dynamics dropped a video of a new four-legged death-machine-in-training called the Cheetah, which can achieve top speeds of 28.3 miles per hour, somewhat faster than the world's fastest man, Usain Bolt.

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Mayor Bloomberg Wants More Control Over Sexual Misconduct Cases in Schools

mayor and walcott.JPG
Sam Levin
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and State Senator Stephen Saland
Mike Bloomberg announced a new piece of legislation this afternoon that would give the mayor, via the city's school chancellor, more power to dismiss teachers who engage in acts of sexual misconduct in the classroom.

You'd think that inappropriate sexual behavior form teachers is something everyone could agree on, but apparently not.

Today's announcement from the mayor's office has already sparked an (admittedly unsurprising) war of words between the mayor and the Teachers Union with regards to how school systems across the state respond to allegations of sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior in schools.

Under the proposed statewide legislation, championed by the mayor today and brought forth by State Senator Stephen Saland, school districts would have enhanced abilities to dismiss teachers in sexual misconduct cases by having the final say of what action should ultimately be taken.

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Woman Gets Through Security At JFK With Dagger In Her Bag

Well, this is heartening terrifying news for anyone who plans on traveling through JFK in the near future. A woman got through security in Terminal 5 with a dagger in her bag, the New York Post reported. Nope, TSA people, you weren't hallucinating à la Macbeth. It was an actual antique dagger, which the woman, 26-year-old Gabrielle Olsen of Washington Heights, told police was given to her by her father for protection.

And it's not like Olsen hadn't caught the TSA's eye. Before the TSA noticed the dagger they confiscated a bottle of liquid from Olsen. Then -- after she passed through the checkpoint -- they noticed the pointy thing on "a screening-machine X-ray."

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Bad Boats: Cruise Ships See Outbreak Of Norovirus

Cruise ships have never been something we've found appealing, personally. Really, there's something about being trapped in a large vessel on the open sea with a bunch of people we don't know that has always kind of freaked us out. The boats themselves haven't been doing a lot to prove us wrong recently. First, the Costa Concordia tragedy. Now, CNN reports outbreaks of Norovirus on two Princess Cruise ships. Cruise ships, you aren't doing yourselves any favors here.

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R.L. Stine: The Lost Interview

R.L. Stine, wondering why this piece took so long.
Sometimes in the nonstop world of blogging you do something that takes a little more time, and which you're very excited about. But because of the nonstop world of blogging, and because you want to do it right, and because it takes more time to do that, the idea or scoop or interview you were so excited about gets pushed to the side, to do at night or on weekends, or in the rare blogging breaks. And sometimes by the time you get around to it, the peg -- and occasionally, the enthusiasm -- has been lost. Such pieces have been sacrificed for the greater good of "feeding the beast." They never get their day in the sun, and that is sad.

Today is my last day at the Voice (thank you, readers, coworkers, Tony Ortega, who hired me and set the last two crazy/wonderful years in motion, and everyone who supported and/or stayed friends with me throughout). And thank you to everyone I ever spoke to whose words didn't make it onto the published page. This one is for you.

On Thursday, January 13, 2011, I left my blog-shackles and my computer and trekked from Voice HQ to the Upper West Side to meet R.L. Stine at a Mexican restaurant for lunch and, presumably, what would become a published interview. He had been the inspiration, on the basis of a tweet, for my first viral blog post, "50 Reasons to Be Pretty Damn Euphoric You Live in New York City." I wanted to thank him for that (I think/hope I picked up the tab!), and also, I mean, it's R.L. Stine, a name I'd seen on bookshelves since childhood, a writing success story, an inspiration. He had a cranberry juice and his usual choice from the lunch menu; I drank Diet Coke and then coffee and, too nervous to eat, picked at whatever lunch I ordered. Three hours later we parted ways, me with a signed copy of one of his books from the Goosebumps stories; him with my promise to send him the link to the piece, "as soon as it was up."

That promise comes due today. Here is the lost (and, now, found) interview with R.L. Stine.

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Paraskevidekatriaphobia Sufferers Are Having a Bad Year

Paper cuts are THE WORST.
Today is a day that strikes fear in the hearts of some and general amusement or even glad tidings in the hearts of stauncher types. It is Friday the 13th. If you are one of the terrified, you suffer from "paraskevidekatriaphobia," a potentially crippling disorder that means you are among plenty of people who cannot possibly pronounce that word and are also afraid of Friday the 13th. Which is, as we mentioned, today.

For the record, fear of Friday the 13th is also called "friggatriskaidekaphobia," which is equally hard to say and terrifying.

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