(TMU) — Law enforcement in the United States has been advised to look for a “possible green coating” on the tongues of people who have recently smoked marijuana.
Despite having no scientific evidence of this phenomenon whatsoever, a training program used throughout the world is instructing officers to be on the look out. And as it turns out, they’ve used this marker during cases of possible DUI for decades.
Bradley Myerson, a defense attorney in the state of Vermont, explained:
“If someone is going to be convicted, it should be based on facts proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Green tongue has nothing to do with marijuana ingestion, let alone impairment.”
An investigation by the York Daily Record revealed that in at least 28 of 1,300 DUI cases analyzed, the phrases “green coating,” “green film,” and “green tint” were mentioned.
So far, courts in two states have expressed their doubts when it comes to the green tongue phenomenon.
The Washington Court of Appeals upheld a ruling to throw out a case in 2000 involving the observation of a green tongue by a state trooper. The officer used their observation of the person’s tongue as justification to search the vehicle.
Judge Elaine M. Houghton wrote that, even if a green tongue did indeed mean that a person had recently used marijuana, a lack of additional observations of marijuana use as well as the fact that a green tongue can be caused by numerous things showed there was actually a lack of reasonable suspicion.
Houghton went on to explain:
“Although we assume the officer’s assertion to be true for purposes of this opinion, we are nevertheless skeptical as to its accuracy. We find no case stating that recent marijuana usage leads to a green tongue.”
Back in 2004, the Utah Court of Appeals ruled that the state trooper who arrested a man using observations that included his having a green tongue was not enough to support probable cause. In that case, Judge William A. Thorne Jr. noted the state “presented nothing, no scientific studies and no case law or other authority, to support the reliability of the trooper’s concern.”
The judge also said the court was left “troubled” that the state trooper in question considered a green tongue to be “proof of marijuana use.”
So where did this national, if not international, phenomenon originate?
According to the York Daily Record, Nick Morrow knows. Morrow worked for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department until the mid-90s as a certified drug-recognition expert and described himself as a “complete drug nerd.”
Morrow contends that a 1986 guide authored by Dr. Forest Tennant Jr. and titled Identifying the Marijuana User is the culprit. The book, which is dedicated to the California Highway Patrol, includes an image of a person with a green tongue.
Throughout his entire career, Morrow has only witnessed one case in which the green tongue phenomenon held true. “The guy was drinking green beer and smoking weed”—on St. Patrick’s Day.
Scott Harper, a West York defense attorney, describes the green tongue marker as “kind of junk science.” In fact, Harper recently argued in a DUI case that there exists “no evidence that a ‘green tongue’ is indicative of any specific degree of marijuana impairment.”
Harper says he’s “still waiting to see a green tongue someday.”
Erik Altieri, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) explained:
“The science behind marijuana consumption turning your tongue green is about as sound as the science behind the earth being flat or that lying makes your nose grow.”
Despite a lack of scientific evidence and multiple rulings that a green tongue doesn’t support probable cause, a Drug Recognition Expert Course instructor guide from 2018 reads “a greenish coating on the tongue has been documented in two peer‐reviewed articles.”
But in 2015, that same guide included a note stating, “Point out that there are no known studies that confirm Marijuana causing a green coating on the tongue.”
It turns out those two peer-reviewed articles are from 1998 and 2017, with the article from 1998 including the green tongue phenomenon simply because police officers were being taught it in the Drug Evaluation and Classification Program. It should also be noted that two of the five authors of the article worked in law enforcement at the time.
The 2017 article included data from a study in which police officers noted a “coating on the tongue” of a high percentage of people who had THC in their system. The study’s authors didn’t conclude if marijuana does indeed cause the coating on the tongue and didn’t comment on the color.
Nevertheless, Kyle Clark, national project manager of the Drug Evaluation and Classification Program for the International Association of Chiefs of Police, says the green tongue phenomenon is “common” and has been included in training manuals as far back as 1992.
Microsoft Wants to Reanimate You as a “Conversational” Chatbot After You Die
Black Mirror creator Charlie Booker made headlines earlier this year when he stated that the world was bleak enough without a new season of the infamously dark Netflix series. During the Trump and Covid years, many commentators have observed that reality seems to have matched and even outpaced the dire predictions of the world’s science fiction authors.
However, Black Mirror brought an especially sharp edge to the genre, so closely mirroring our own society’s disintegration into techno-dystopian chaos that at times it felt like a real-time satire that was a bit too on the nose.
Now, in a move that eerily invokes a number of Black Mirror plot arcs, reality seems to be trying to reclaim its monopoly on dystopia. The tech giant Microsoft has filed a patent for software that can “revive” a version of a person who has died and use that version as the basis for a conversational chatbot.
The patent describes harvesting “social data,” which includes images, voice data, emails, text messages, social media posts, written letters, user profile and behavioral data, transactional data, geo-location data and more, in order to “modify a personalized chat index in the theme of certain person’s personality. This personality may resemble anyone for whom enough social data can be found and could also be a historical figure, a fictional character, or a celebrity.
In other words, Microsoft plans to take the concept of data mining even further, imagining that even after we die it can continue to collect the digital breadcrumbs we’ve left behind online and on our computer devices. It further fancies reassembling those relics to construct lifelike character-versions of our personalities, mannerisms, and behaviors.
Obviously, not every patent leads to a finished product and many corporations, especially the Big Tech behemoths, file rafts of moonshot patents every year in the anticipation of future developments. But the very fact that Microsoft would see potential here strikes some as haunting, especially given our recent experience with the first generation of celebrity holograms.
It begs the question: would the average person want a chatbot themed off them guiding consumers through a user interface? Would consumers even want that? A chatbot themed on Elvis or Groucho Marx makes more sense, but a deceased friend or family member?
As noted by RT, Black Mirror‘s creative synergy has been oddly prescient, depicting the “social credit score” scenario before it was firmly on the public radar. There is also an episode in which a pop singer, played by Miley Cyrus, is algorithmically simulated by her record label so that when the real-life singer dies they can continue making money off her likeness forever.
Clearly, Microsoft is willing to invest in the R&D needed to explore the idea of chatbots themed off our personalities, but would such an idea fly? Even if they are able to elude the uncanny valley associated with machine simulations of humans, would the average person want to interact with a digital recreation of a dead loved one?
Federal Investigation Launched For Florida Manatee Found With ‘TRUMP’ Scraped on Its Back
While the United States remains caught in the throes of the fallout of last week’s storming of the U.S. Capitol Building by pro-Trump rioters, authorities are seeking the details of a far different type of political crime far from Washington.
Last Sunday, an endangered Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) was discovered by a boat captain in the waters of the Homosassa River with the word “TRUMP” written on its back. The case of animal abuse was first reported by the Citrus County Chronicle.
The sad assault on wildlife would seem shocking until recent years, but it’s only the latest in a disturbing trend of animals being branded with the names of politicians, with a black bear in Asheville, North Carolina, also being found last year with a Trump 2020 sticker affixed to its collar.
However, officials with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) are taking this latest incident very seriously and have launched a full investigation of the harassment of a federally protected marine mammal. Anyone found responsible for this latest crime could find themselves liable to pay up to $100,000 while also facing up to a year in federal prisons.
Fortunately, early reports that the word was “carved” into the manatee’s back proved to be inaccurate, so it appears that the manatee hasn’t been injured. According to a statement by USFWS quoted by the Miami Herald, “it seems the word was written in algae on the animal’s back.”
“Manatees aren’t billboards, and people shouldn’t be messing with these sensitive and imperiled animals for any reason,” said Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director at the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), in a press release. “However, this political graffiti was put on this manatee, it’s a crime to interfere with these creatures, which are protected under multiple federal laws.”
Florida manatees enjoy a range of special protections due to their unfortunate position as a threatened and very slow-moving animal. Any interference with the gentle giants carries heavy penalties under the 1972 U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act, the 1973 U.S. Endangered Species Act, and the 1978 Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act. Even President Trump himself signed into law the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act in 2019, which makes intentional acts of cruelty to animals a crime punishable by federal law that could result in seven years in prison and heavy fines.
Regardless of whether the creature sustained a serious injury, authorities are keen on bringing the vandal to justice, with the CBD offering a $5,000 reward for any information that can lead to apprehending the culprit of the crime.
“It’s heartbreaking that this manatee was subjected to this vile, criminal act,” Lopez told the Herald. “It’s clear that whoever harmed this defenseless, gentle giant is capable of doing grave violence and needs to be apprehended immediately.”
The specific animal is a West Indian manatee, which is a species known to congregate in secluded, spring-fed waters of Citrus County during this time of the year.
“This is very out of character for this community,” said Craig Cavanna, a senior federal wildlife officer and current investigating officer. “Wildlife conservation is a core value in Citrus County. That’s why it’s called the Nature Coast.”
Manatees are lovingly known as “sea cows” due to their placid, bovine disposition and penchant for munching on water grasses, weeds and algae. In addition to being the Sunshine State’s marine mammal, the manatee is also one of the most strange and charismatic aquatic creatures in the United States. Its gassy diet means that it retains a large amount of methane in its gut, which it uses to regulate its buoyancy and reach the surface easily. Whenever it wants to sink back to the depths, it simply farts to release its gas.
Such a gentle and unique creature hardly deserves to have the name of America’s outgoing president scrawled onto its skin, so anyone with information related to this incident is encouraged to contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-888-404-3922 or the USFWS wildlife crime tips hotline at 1-844-397-8477 and email at [email protected]
Ex-Soldier Raids Animal Shelter With Assault Rifle, in Full Tactical Gear, To Get Cat Back
An ex-soldier in full tactical gear armed with an assault rifle launched a one-man raid on an animal shelter after he believed that his missing cat was being held at the facility.
The strange chain of events unfolded Monday in the southeastern suburbs of Melbourne, a court has learned, and offers a strange twist on your Rambo-style tale of a combat veteran running amok in the civilian world.
Tony Wittmann, a 44-year-old father of three and veteran of the Australian Army, was reportedly so enraged when he was informed by workers at the Lost Dogs’ Home in Melbourne that he threatened the shelter worker with a loaded assault rifle before tying her up and holding her captive in the parking lot of the facility.
“Do as I say and listen to me, I won’t shoot you,” he allegedly threatened her, according to reports from the court. “Don’t try anything or I’ll shoot you.”
The former soldier, who was discharged for a failure to render efficient service, is now facing multiple serious charges including kidnapping, false imprisonment, and armed robbery.
Wittmann was clad in a military-style flak vest, balaclava, and tactical helmet when he stormed the Cranbourne West animal shelter on Monday night after learning that his cat was being held overnight at the shelter.
Upon learning that the shelter would be unable to release his feline friend until the next morning, the former soldier decided to escalate matters by invading the premises and brandishing his assault weapon at the worker. According to her, the firearm looked like “something a SWAT team in the movies would use.”
The unhinged gunman then proceeded to grill the woman about “where all the cats were” as he continued brandishing the weapon with his finger on the trigger. He eventually forced the woman to get on her knees before he tied her hands behind her back with zip-ties.
“The accused said, ‘I’m going to close this door. If I see you, I’ll shoot you,’” Detective Senior Constable Jo MacDonald told the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
After Wittmann left, the woman eventually managed to free herself before notifying her boss, who promptly alerted local authorities.
The next morning, as detectives combed over the scene for any evidence of the strange incursion, Wittmann returned to retrieve his cat. In addition to failing to get his cat back, he was also detained and jailed, and has been deprived of the right to post bail.
“The community would be at risk personally of him committing further offences if granted bail,” Magistrate Greg McNamara said. “The strength of the prosecution case is a very strong one. Firearms were involved, loaded firearms.”
The crime has also left victims in a state of fear over what transpired, according to officials.
“On this occasion, [Wittman has] acted to get back possession of a cat, which he was only going to be without for possibly 10 hours,” MacDonald informed the court. “The victim and her work colleagues are absolutely traumatized by what’s happened.”
“He’s aware of their workplace. He lives close by. He has shown a complete disregard for the safety and wellbeing of the general public,” MacDonald continued.
“He has collected a series of weapons. I’ve looked through his mobile telephone which highlights he’s purchased further weapons which are due to be delivered to his home address.”
In Wittmann’s defense, attorney Crystle Gomez Vasquez said that he had suffered a number of physical injuries and was suffering post-traumatic stress disorder due to his military service.
Wittmann is due to return to court in April.
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