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17-Year Brood II Cicadas Emergence Update: They’re Nearly Heeeere!

By JOHN METCALFE

17-Year Brood II Cicadas Emergence Update: They're Nearly Heeeere!

The red-eyed chittering horde that is 2013’s Brood II cicada swarm has been busy since we lastchecked in on them at the start of May.

Back then, the first bugs had mostly been spotted along the I-95 corridor, as if they were headed into the office in the world’s grossest commute. Look at the insectoid explosion that’s occurred in just the past few days, as visualized by the Magicicada Mapping Project:

Each virtual critter on this map marks a place where somebody’s spotted a nymph or adult cicada or the skin that the bugs throw off like divas jettisoning threadbare robes. There are cicadas waving stumpy antennae as far south as Tampa, cicadas thrumming tymbals way out west in Omaha and Austin, and cicadas absolutely crawling over the face of the East Coast. Check out this blown-up view of New York and its surroundings:

And here’s the even buggier lands around Washington, D.C.:

The six-legged horde will only spread more and grow larger as ground temperatures coax it from stasis. The soil in eastern America is reaching prime warmth for cicada-birthing, as shown in this temperature map from New York Public Radio:

If you own a dog in infested burbs, chances are it’s eaten at least three cicadas right before it last licked you. (Just my scientific guess.) In New Jersey, where the creatures are just now beginning to emerge, the ground is squirmy with boisterous young cicadas crawling from their subterranean dens:

Imagine trying to sleep through this wall of noise in Columbia, Maryland. Some TV journos have likened the sound to a “zombie apocalypse,” showing once again the media’s woeful ignorance of the sound flesheaters make (it’s RAAAWWGGH, for the record):

What should you do when these things come out in your neighborhood? Probably not whisk bunches of them into muddy water to make a delicious “soup,” as I did with childhood play-pals. (Kids can be so evil.) It’s best to let them go about their business, which boils down to having sex and dying soon after. You might even grab one of the harmless bugs to verify a Fun Cicada Fact: Between their bulging crimson eyes – which give them a goofy, Buscemi-esque expression – there are actually three more eyes, called ocelli, arranged in a trigon:

And if you’re the kind of person who refuses to go outside during cicada season for fear that one might fly into your hair, please satisfy any curiosity you have about these insects with this lovely montage from Cicada Mania. (It depicts a 2008 swarm in Ohio.) Warning: video contains grody footage of bugs missing body parts you’d assume are critical to life:

Top photo courtesy of Reuters/Nancy Hinkle/University of Georgia

John Metcalfe is a staff writer at The Atlantic Cities

Colo. Shooting: Community, Police Search for Answers

PHOTO: A written message that begins "To all the innocent souls... this is for you," is shown near a display of candles, flags, and other tributes on July 20, 2012, in Aurora, Colo.

Aurora, Colorado Shooting: The Next Day

By 

A shocked Colorado community is searching for answers today as police continue to deal with the booby-trapped apartment of the suspected gunman who opened fire inside of a packed movie theater at a Colorado mall.

James Holmes, 24, is suspected of killing 12 people at the screening of the latest Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado early Friday morning.

According to police sources, Holmes, told the officers arresting him that he was “The Joker,” referring to the villain in the second installment of the Batman movie trilogy, “The Dark Knight.” He also warned police that he had booby-trapped his apartment, leading officers to evacuate the Aurora apartment building.

Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said Friday that police, bomb squads and the ATF have found a large number of explosive devices and trip wires at Holmes’ apartment and have not yet decided how to proceed without setting off explosions. Some devices appear strapped to boxes of bullets, police said, and what look like mortar rounds.

“The pictures we have from inside the apartment are pretty disturbing considering how elaborate the apartment is booby trapped,” police said outside of the apartment complex Friday.

The “flammable and explosive” materials could have blown up Holmes’ apartment building and the ones near it, police said.

It’s so dangerous, authorities said they are afraid to set foot inside the apartmant and are sending in remote controlled cameras to scan the rooms and they have not gone in yet.

One official told ABC News that there wires everywhere and described Holmes as as like a mad scientist.

Authorities said there is widespread concern over copy cats and police in New York City, Washington, D.C., and other jurisdictions have stepped up their securities.

Holmes is accused of opening fire on moviegoers during a sold-out midnight screening of the new “Batman” movie, “The Dark Knight Rises,” at a mall in Aurora, killing 12 people and injuring 58 others.

Two other people died at the hospital, including 24-year-old aspiring sportscaster Jessica Ghawi. Police said thirty people remained hospitalized with 11 of them in critical condition. Bullets from the shooting spree tore through the theater and into adjoining theaters, where at least one other person was struck and injured.

Authorities said they have finished the grim task of identifying the 10 victims who were killed inside the theater when Holmes allegedly opened fire during the midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises,” and are now going door-to-door to notifiy families.

Among the dead include Micayla Medek, 23, Alex Sullivan, 27, who was attending the movie for his birthday, Ohio native Matt McQuinn and Alex Teves, 24.

John Larimer, a member of the U.S. Navy, was also confirmed by his family to be among the dead.The family said they were notified at their Illinois home around mignight today by a Navy notification team that Larimer was dead.

The number of casualties makes the incident the largest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Chief Oates announced Friday that Holmes had purchased four guns at local shops and more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition on the Internet in the past 60 days.

“All the ammunition he possessed, he possessed legally, all the weapons he possessed, he possessed legally, all the clips he possessed, he possessed legally,” an emotional Oates told reporters at a press conference.

The chief declined to say whether the weapons were automatic or semi-automatic, but “he could have gotten off 50 to 60 rounds, even if it was semi-automatic, within one minute,” Oates said. Eyewitness AccountsEyewitness and victim accounts of the mass shooting that took place inside of a packed movie theater in Aurora, Colo., Friday morning continue to paint a picture of panic and horror.

Eric Hunter said this morning that he was in an adjacent theater to where the shooting took place, when bullets “came right through the walls.”

“When the first three shots rang out, we didn’t know if it was part of the movie or not,” he said. “I saw blood on the stairs and I turned to the crowd and said there’s something wrong and we need to call the cops.”

Hunter then said he made his way to the emergency exit door, where he saw two teen girls outside, one of whom had been hit by bullet and was asking for help. Thats when Hunter said he saw the shooter.

“I saw the gunman coming around the corner so I held the door for about five seconds,” Hunter said. “He’s banging on the door, banging on the door…I didn’t know if he was going to shoot the door. I didn’t know what he had.”

PHOTO: As night falls, candles sit iluminated along the sidewalk in front of a makeshift memorial for the victims of a mass shooting at the Century 16 theatre east of the Aurora Mall in Aurora, Colo. on July 20, 2012.

As night falls, candles sit iluminated along the sidewalk in front of a makeshift memorial for the victims of a mass shooting at the Century 16 theatre east of the Aurora Mall in Aurora, Colo. on July 20, 2012.

An honors student and Ph.D. candidate at a nearby college with a clean arrest record, Holmes allegedly entered the movie auditorium wearing a ballistics helmet, bulletproof vest, bulletproof leggings, gas mask and gloves. He detonated multiple smoke bombs, and then began firing at viewers in the sold-out auditorium, police said Friday.

Holmes, who is being held in jail and will make his first court appearance Monday, is originally from Riverside, Calif., where he attended the University of California branch, Oates said Friday.

“Neighbors report that he lived alone and kept to himself,” he added.

Holmes was apprehended within minutes of the 12:39 a.m. shooting at his car behind the theater, where police found him in full riot gear and carrying three weapons, including an AR-15 assault rifle, which can hold upwards of 100 rounds, a Remington 12-gauge shotgun, and a .40 Glock handgun. A fourth handgun was found in the vehicle.

Agents from the federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms are tracing the weapons.

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14-year-old boy clings to life after being shot in head in Brooklyn walking home from a party

‘He was bleeding out his ears and his mouth,’ neighbor said of teenager shot in Bushwick who was in critical condition at Brookdale University Hospital on Thursday

BY /

 NEW YORK

 	Crime scene officers search for evidence at the scene where a 14 year old boy was shot and killed on Evergreen Avenue in Brooklyn. ( Vic Nicastro / New York Daily News )

Crime scene officers search for evidence at the scene where a 14 year old boy was shot.

A 14-year-old boy was clinging to life after he was shot in the head in Brooklyn Wednesday night, police and witnesses said.

The violence unfolded as the boy, whose name was not immediately released, was walking home from a party with a group of friends, according to police sources. The victim and his pals bumped into another group of young men and women at the corner of  Evergreen Ave. and Cornelia St. in Bushwick just before 11 p.m.

Sources said words were exchanged between the groups and at some point, someone in the second group pulled out a handgun and fired, hitting the boy in his temple.

He was rushed to Brookdale University Hospital, where he was in critical condition, according to police sources.

A woman who lives on the corner where the boy was shot said she heard gunfire, looked out her window and saw the youth lying on the  ground.

“I just heard four gun shots right in a row, pop, pop, pop, pop,'” said Lupe Estrella, 48. “When I looked out my window, I saw a young man laying there. It looked almost like he was convulsing.”

SHOT29N_1_WEB

Officer searches for evidence at the scene where a 14 year old boy was shot on Evergreen Avenue in Brooklyn

Estrella, who is a former volunteer emergency medical technician and still keeps up her certifications, sped out of her house in her pajamas and tried to help the boy.

“It was just basic instinct. I ran out to him and he had barely a pulse,” she said. “He was bleeding out his ears and his mouth, and he had what looked like a bullet right in the middle of his forehead, between his eyes.”

“I still cannot believe it,” she said of the shooting. “I’m still traumatized.”

Police have not made any arrests and are continuing their investigation.

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Teen says bullies beat him, sues New York schools

By Julie Cannold 

Kardin Ulysse, 14, is suing the New York school system, saying it failed to supervise the youths who beat him.

Kardin Ulysse, 14, is suing the New York school system, saying it failed to supervise the youths who beat him.

A New York City middle school student, who says he was blinded in one eye after being assaulted by a group of boys at a Brooklyn school, has filed a $16 million lawsuit against the city, according to his attorney.

“I can’t see from my right eye at all, nothing,” Kardin Ulysse said Tuesday.

The 14-year-old says he was attacked in the cafeteria of Roy Mann Junior High School on June 5, said his attorney, Sanford Rubenstein. The lawsuit says the school failed to properly supervise the students accused of the attack.

Two of the accused attackers have been arrested and face disciplinary action, according to the New York City Department of Education.

The boys have not been identified, and police did not immediately respond to CNN inquiries.

Kardin’s father, Pierre Ulysse, said his son had complained about bullying on multiple occasions, telling reporters that his son was beaten, kicked and punched in the face.

The younger Ulysse has undergone two unsuccessful surgeries to try to restore his sight, and will try for a cornea transplant, his father said.

“It has been so hard on us because we are very private,” said the elder Ulysse. “And it’s like very, very hard, we can’t really function.”

The Department of Education said, “We take bullying very seriously and have programs to address this.”

“The principal reported it and police were called,” the statement said.

Middle schoolers bully bus monitor, 68, with stream of profanity, jeers

Teen says bullies beat him, sues New York schools

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Alec Baldwin punches Daily News photographer after obtaining marriage license in New York with fiancee Hilaria Thomas

‘I knew he was going to attack me. I stepped back, and he kept coming,’ says News lensman
BY 

Alec Baldwin shoves Daily News photographer Marcus Santos after leaving the Marriage Bureau  Tuesday morning.

An enraged Alec Baldwin punched a Daily News photographer in the chin Tuesday morning for snapping his picture outside the city Marriage License Bureau.

The volatile “30 Rock” star popped lensman Marcus Santos once in the face outside the Worth St. office after apparently obtaining a license to wed fiancee Hilaria Thomas.

Santos was standing innocently with two other photographers when Baldwin, 54, approached with an angry glare.

“He was looking mad,” said Santos. “He said, ‘Step back, step back.’ I said, ‘We’re moving back.’”

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Baldwin then grabbed a second News photographer, Jefferson Siegel, and Santos told the “Rock of Ages” star to back off.

“I said, ‘Don’t touch him,’” the 42-year-old Santos said. “I knew he was going to attack me. I stepped back, and he kept coming.

“He comes after me, starts shoving and punching me — one time, right in the chin. And then he started shoving me, and pushing me. Then he goes the other way.”

Eyewitness Goran Veljic said Baldwin’s face filled with rage as he went after the shooters.

Hilaria

Hilaria Thomas kept a short distance behind Baldwin after leaving the Marriage Bureau.

“He was like crazy, you know?” said freelancer Veljic, who takes photos outside the office every day. “There was an eruption of mad. … You’re going to get a marriage license, you should be happy. What happened with this guy?”

Baldwin, whose first marriage to Oscar-winning actress Kim Basinger ended in a contentious divorce, had seemingly found serenity with his younger yoga instructor.

But his notorious nasty side surfaced on the otherwise happy occasion as Baldwin stormed away without saying a word. Thomas, 28, was not with Baldwin when the punch was thrown.

An unrepentant Baldwin presented his version of the clash, via Twitter: “A ‘photographer’ almost hit me in the face with his camera this morning. #allpaparazzishouldbewaterboarded”

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Baldwin

Veljic said the photographers were hardly in Baldwin’s face before the enraged actor went nuts.

“They were away from him,” said Veljic. “Then he starts running at them. Pushing, very angry, his hands up.”

It wasn’t Baldwin’s first clash with a cameraman — the combative Long Islander attacked a photographer outside his Central Park West home in 2010.

More recently, the angry actor was booted from an American Airlines flight after ignoring directions to turn off his iPad.

And he famously insulted his then-11-year-old daughter, Ireland, as “a rude, thoughtless little pig.”

Alec Baldwin punches Daily News photographer after obtaining marriage license in New York with fiancee Hilaria Thomas  

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo seeks to cut marijuana penalty

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at the Capitol in Albany. Cuomo is proposing the decriminalization of the possession of small amounts of marijuana in public view.

By Michael Muskal

New York will join more than a dozen states in decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana displayed in public if the state Legislature approves a proposal made Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

At an Albany news conference, Cuomo, a Democrat, called for changing the state law to make possession of 25 grams of marijuana — whether in public or private – punishable by a fine. Currently having at least 25 grams on public view is a misdemeanor, though having the same amount in private is just a violation.

Civil libertarians have long criticized the difference in approaches, which they contend discriminates against minorities and the young. A person could have a small amount of marijuana in his or her pocket and be charged with no more than a violation. But if ordered by a police officer to empty that pocket, the marijuana would be on public display and the suspect could face a misdemeanor charge.

According to state statistics, more than half  of the 53,000 people arrested last year were younger than 25, and 82% were black or Latino. Less than 10% were ever convicted of a crime, Cuomo stated.

Moreover, 94% of the arrests took place in New York City, where a  stop-and-frisk policy has become a sore point in relations between police and the minority communities.

“Today’s announcement is about creating fairness and consistency in our laws since there is a blatant inconsistency in the way we deal with small amounts of marijuana possession,” Cuomo said in a statement. “This is an issue that disproportionately affects young people — they wind up with a permanent stain on their record for something that would otherwise be a violation. The charge makes it more difficult for them to find a job. Together, we are making New York fairer and safer, and ensuring that every New Yorker has access to justice system that doesn’t discriminate based on age or color.”

Cuomo’s proposal would not change the status of smoking marijuana in public; that would remain a misdemeanor.

If the measure were approved, New York would be following in the footsteps of such states as California and Connecticut, which have taken similar action. New York in 1977 made the penalty for privately possessing 25 grams or less of pot a violation that carries a maximum fine of $100 for first-time offenders. An ounce is about 28 grams.

New York City officials backed Cuomo’s proposed changes, saying in a statement that they follow police practices instituted last year.

In a statement, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg noted:

“Last year, Police Commissioner [Raymond] Kelly issued a policy order directing officers to issue violations, rather than misdemeanors, for small amounts of marijuana that come into open view during a search. The governor’s proposal today is consistent with the commissioner’s directive, and strikes the right balance by ensuring that the NYPD will continue to have the tools it needs to maintain public safety – including making arrests for selling or smoking marijuana.”

For his part, Kelly stated: “The proposed legislation takes a balanced approach and comports with the spirit of the NYPD operations order issued on the subject last year. Further, the department’s ongoing quality of life enforcement is supported by preserving the penalties for smoking marijuana in public.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo seeks to cut marijuana penalty

Judged a Failure by the Data, a School Succeeds Where It Counts

By 

Aniah McAllister was a lost girl of New York, one of tens of thousands of children edging toward an adulthood drained of hope.

At 18, she possessed just 17 high school credits; she knew the streets and little more. She wandered, almost on a whim, into Bushwick Community High School in Brooklyn, a last-chance school for last-chance kids.

Two years later?

“I’m 20 years old, I have 46 credits, and I want to go to college.”

Ms. McAllister shakes her head, as if amazed to have just claimed that desire as her own. “This school made realize,” she says, “that I am much better than I thought I was.”

That’s a pretty fair bottom line for any school, although in the up-is-down world of public education in New York, it might just be an epitaph for this small marvel of a high school. Known as a transfer high school, Bushwick Community admits only those teenagers who have failed elsewhere. Most students enter at age 17 or 18, and most have fewer than 10 credits.

You can muck around quite a bit trying to find someone who has walked the school’s corridors, talked to its students and faculty, and come away unmoved. Most sound like Kathleen M. Cashin, a member of the State Board of Regents and a former superintendent. “They care for the neediest with love and rigor,” she said. “They are a tribute to public education.”

Yet Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, whose insistence that he has presided over an educational miracle recognizes few bounds of contrary fact, has proposed laying off the principal and half the teachers before it can reopen for the next school year. City officials complain that a majority of students fail to graduate in six years.

This bill of indictment appears math-challenged.

If students enter at 17 or 18, with less than a year’s worth of credits, the chances seem strikingly good that the students will not graduate within six years of freshman year. (The State Education Department takes the view that the metrics, rather than the high school, are most likely broken.)

The city’s Education Department has adopted a resolutely cheery tone.

“This really empowers them to take ownership of this school,” a department spokesman said. “What kind of change can they imagine?”

Public education across the nation has sunk deep into a bog of metrics. We presume to measure teaching and achievement as a chemist does a proper mixture of chemicals. To this conceit, you can add the draconian demands of the federal No Child Left Behind law, which offers millions of dollars in help for poor urban schools only if city officials adhere to the same unyielding metrics.

This is a particular problem for a transfer high school, whose faculty takes children bruised by years of neglect. Bushwick Community is run, in part, by its faculty members, who offer the usual collection of the smart, the eccentric and the deeply committed found in most schools that work.

To sit with a dozen of the students at a community center not far from the high school was to watch as one girl nursed a baby and another spoke of living with her child in a shelter. Two had been tossed out of their family homes. Another lived with her grandmother on Coney Island — she commutes one and a half hours each way to this high school in Bushwick.

These are nonlinear kids with nonlinear lives.

There are no fairy tales in public education. These teachers are their own harshest critics. Yet the Education Department’s report card compares this school with other transfer schools, and gives it a 95 percent grade in improving student attendance, 90 percent for passing the English Regents exam and 100 percent for the math Regents.

All of which is fine, though not nearly as moving as listening to these teenagers talk of lives adrift until they washed ashore here.

Justin Soto, short and muscular with a goatee, raises his hand. “I had not passed a class since junior high school,” he says, as tears roll down his cheeks and a girl rubs his neck. “I’m 21, but I’m not a man yet. This school has given me a life.”

Ms. McAllister raises her hand. A year ago, she asked her teacher if she was smart enough to graduate. He spent an hour talking to her. Next year, she will attend Medgar Evers College. She, too, is crying.

“Failure was all I knew,” she says.

What, I ask, would you like to be?

“A teacher, oddly,” she says. “I mean, it’s inspiring when you know what you were and see what you are now.”

Judged a Failure by the Data, a School Succeeds Where It Counts

Education Is Key

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