YouTube’s ‘extremist-tackling’ technology misses mark by removing wrong content 

YouTube and parent company Google’s efforts to crack down on extremist content has resulted in embarrassment after its technology targeted videos from monitors, journalists and Syrian opposition, amongst others.A number of accounts, such as those of Airwars, Bellingcat, Middle East Eye and Orient News have had videos removed or suspended as a result of past videos deemed ‘extreme’ by YouTube’s machine learning.

Earlier this month, YouTube shared an update on its “commitment to fight terror [sic] content online,” boasting of “better detection and faster removal” thanks to “cutting edge” machine learning.

The post reported more than 75 percent of videos removed for “violent extremism” over the last month were taken down “before receiving a single human flag.” However, a lack of human flagging has resulted in inaccurate results.

Source: YouTube’s ‘extremist-tackling’ technology misses mark by removing wrong content — RT Viral

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Man with Cerebral Palsy Spends Five Years Typing Book with Only One Toe

38-year-old Wesley Wee, from Singapore, was born with cerebral palsy, and has never had any control over most of the muscles in his body. He is stuck in a wheelchair, and is unable to dress or feed himself, so writing a book seems out of the realm of possibility. However, his physical disabilities didn’t stop this ambitious man from spending five years typing every letter in his inspiring book, “Finding Happiness Against the Odds”, with just the big toe on his right foot.Growing up, Wesley had to deal no only with the challenges of his crippling condition, but also the abuse of his parents who were unable to deal with the hardships of raising a disabled child, and often took their frustration out on him. His mother would hit him and say things like  “You good for nothing, si geena (dead child in Hokkien), it is better you die,” to him, and his father pushed him to do difficult exercises every night, in an attempt to make him walk normally.

As a boy, Wesley was forced to use a walking frame to make ten rounds around the living room every night, a task that sometimes proved too difficult to complete. That’s when his father would lose his temper, drag him to the bathroom and dunk his head into a bucket full of water. His few happy childhood memories are of his grandmother, who, realizing the constant abuse he was subjected to, took him to live with her and ensured he received an education at the Spastic Children’s Association, something that his parents thought would be wasted on him.

Source: Man with Cerebral Palsy Spends Five Years Typing Book with Only One Toe | Oddity Central – Collecting Oddities

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Henry Kissinger Just Made A Stunning Admission About ISIS And Iran

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, a man who dares not travel in many parts of the globe due to fears of arrest, just made one of the most stunning admissions of his career to date.In an article for CapX, a British online news website founded by the Centre for Policy Studies, Kissinger warned against defeating ISIS because doing so could lead to an “Iranian radical empire.” He warned:“In these circumstances, the traditional adage that the enemy of your enemy can be regarded as your friend no longer applies. In the contemporary Middle East, the enemy of your enemy may also be your enemy. The Middle East affects the world by the volatility of its ideologies as much as by its specific actions.”Unsurprisingly, Kissinger, a documented war criminal, displayed a complete disregard for international law while expressing his major concerns. Kissinger said:“The outside world’s war with Isis can serve as an illustration. Most non-Isis powers — including Shia Iran and the leading Sunni states — agree on the need to destroy it. But which entity is supposed to inherit its territory? A coalition of Sunnis? Or a sphere of influence dominated by Iran?” Considering the majority of the territory belongs to Syria (and/or Iraq), perhaps it should not even be a question of who should inherit the land after ISIS’ downfall. If there are concerns that Syria will become an Iranian client state, perhaps the U.S. should have considered that before they targeted Syria for regime change in a short-sighted attempt to undermine Iran in the first place. It is only because the U.S. carried out this strategy – and continues to carry out this strategy – that Iran has emerged as a significant benefactor in the Syrian conflict. Nevertheless, Kissinger cautioned:“The answer is elusive because Russia and the NATO countries support opposing factions. If the Isis territory is occupied by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards or Shia forces trained and directed by it, the result could be a territorial belt reaching from Tehran to Beirut, which could mark the emergence of an Iranian radical empire.”To the 94-year-old, there is nothing more threatening than a dominant Iran, even when compared to the violent global jihad phenomenon that is ISIS. Contrary to popular neoconservative-propagated belief, Iran is widely regarded as one of the most stable countries in the region. It is also one of the most heavily engaged entities fighting ISIS, a terror group the Trump and Obama administrations had previously made the number one enemy.Objectively speaking, despite its abundant flaws, Iran is a natural ally in the fight against ISIS and radical jihad. However, as the truth comes to light from official statements of the ruling elite, in the eyes of the powers-that-be, ISIS has become a natural ally of the United States in its bid to undermine the Iranian government.

Source: Henry Kissinger Just Made A Stunning Admission About ISIS And Iran

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Microsoft PowerPoint exploit used to bypass antivirus and spread malware

Cyberattackers are exploiting a vulnerability that allows them to evade detection by antivirus software and deliver malware via Microsoft PowerPoint.The flaw in the Windows Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) interface is being used by attackers to distribute malicious Microsoft Office files.The exploit is commonly used to deliver infected Rich Text File (.RTF) documents, but cybersecurity researchers at Trend Micro have spotted attackers using it to compromise PowerPoint slideshow files for the first time.As with many hacking campaigns, this attack begins with a spear-phishing email. The message purports to be from a cable manufacturing provider and mainly targets organisations in the electronics manufacturing industry.

Source: Microsoft PowerPoint exploit used to bypass antivirus and spread malware | ZDNet

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Revealed: The naughty tricks used by web ads to bypass blockers

Analysis Netizens may choose to block unwanted content – such as intrusive and misbehaving ads – but some advertising companies do not to accept that choice.Instart Logic describes itself as a content delivery service and much of that content happens to be advertising. The California-based biz is determined to help its clients present online ads despite the technical choices made by internet users to avoid that content – adverts bypassing ad blockers, in other words.The company’s technology disguises third-party network requests so they appear to be first-party network requests. This allows ad services used by website publishers to place cookies and serve ads that would otherwise by blocked by the browser’s same-origin security model.Raymond Hill, who maintains the popular uBlock Origin content blocker, on Wednesday updated his uBO-Extra add-on software to prevent Instart Logic’s code from bypassing uBlock Origin.In an explanatory note on UBO-Extra’s GitHub repository, Hill describes UBO-Extra as follows: “To foil hostile anti-user mechanisms used to work around content blockers or even privacy settings in a browser.”

Source: Revealed: The naughty tricks used by web ads to bypass blockers • The Register

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Video: Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Says Hate Speech ‘Not Protected by First Amendment’

Many on the left certainly have a novel interpretation of our Constitution. They are constantly finding new “rights’ buried between the lines of our founding document that many of the rest of us have trouble seeing.But in addition to their new discoveries and original interpretations of the Constitution, they also, apparently, have difficulty in reading what it says.

Source: Video: Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Says Hate Speech ‘Not Protected by First Amendment’ – American Renaissance

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New ‘Yoda’ Fruit Bat Officially Recognized

A fruit bat originally dubbed “Yoda” is finally being recognized with an official name.A researcher from the University of York officially registered the bat—which is native to Papua New Guinea— and dubbed it the happy (Hamamas) tube-nosed fruit bat, after it was previously nicknamed “Yoda” due to its resemblance to the Star Wars character.“The species is very difficult to tell apart from other tube-nosed bat species,” Nancy Irwin, Ph.D., an honorary research fellow in York’s Department of Biology, said in a statement. “Bat species often look similar to each other but differ significantly in behavior, feeding and history. Most of the morphological characteristics that separate this bat from other species are associated with a broader, rounder jaw which gives the appearance of a constant smile. Since most remote Papuans have never seen Star Wars, I thought it fitting to use a local name: the Hamamas—meaning happy—tube-nosed fruit bat.”The bat is characterized by a tube nose, bright colors, a thick stripe on its back and spots.

Source: New ‘Yoda’ Fruit Bat Officially Recognized

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Why Do Pay-What-You-Want Policies Work?

A restaurant owner in Guiyang, China, recently received a rude awakening about her fellow humans: To mark her establishment’s grand opening in early October, Liu Xiaojun and her partners — believing in the “inherent goodness of human beings,” according to Shanghaiist — instituted a weeklong “pay what you want” system, encouraging customers to leave whatever they felt was a “rational and fair” price for their food.The idea promptly blew up in their faces. Just a week after opening, Liu’s restaurant had already lost the equivalent of $15,000. More surprising than the promotion’s spectacular failure, though, may be the idea that it would work in the first place: Why in the world would you expect anyone — let alone lots and lots of people — to pay more than they had to?On its face, pay-what-you-want is kind of a bizarre concept. And yet it’s also a concept that’s alive and well, and in some places even reasonably successful. One of the most well-known examples may be Radiohead’s 2007 album In Rainbows, which fans could buy online for whatever price they chose. But even within the restaurant industry, some have managed to do okay: Panera, for example, operates Panera Cares cafés in St. Louis and Boston, both of which run on donations; next to each item on the menu is a suggested price, the amount of money the company says it needs to recoup food costs and have funds left over to feed the customers who can’t afford to pay. According to the Panera Cares website, the stores bring in “about 70-75% of what would otherwise be the retail value of the food,” which, by Panera’s estimates, means “that about 60% of people leave the suggested donation, 15-20% leave more and 15-20% leave less or nothing.”

Source: Why Do Pay-What-You-Want Policies Work? — Science of Us

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This Mysterious Military Spy Plane Has Been Flying Circles Over Seattle For Days

A very unique USAF surveillance aircraft has been flying highly defined circles over Seattle and its various suburbs for nine days now. Nobody at the DoD seems to know who the aircraft belongs to or what exactly it is doing flying so many missions over the Seattle area. But based on its visibly exotic configuration, and information collected by open source flight tracking websites, we can get a good idea of its capabilities and guess as to what it’s up to. The aircraft, which goes by the callsign “SPUD21” and wears a nondescript flat gray paint job with the only visible markings being a USAF serial on its tail, is a CASA CN-235-300 transport aircraft that has been extensively modified for the surveillance mission. You can see more pictures of the aircraft here.

Source: This Mysterious Military Spy Plane Has Been Flying Circles Over Seattle For Days – The Drive

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Max Martin incorporated an actual fart into this Backstreet Boys song

Producer Max Martin is no doubt responsible for some of your favorite pop songs, including Britney Spears’ “Oops! …I Did It Again” and most of Taylor Swift’s 1989. Apparently, he’s also responsible for turning a Backstreet Boy’s fart into a nice bass sound.Per a new interview from Billboard, Howie Dorough was putting so much heart and soul into recording Black and Blue single “The Call” that he let out a fart. Conveniently, the fart was “not only on the beat, but in key,” according to A.J. McLean — so Martin tweaked it a bit and kept it in the song.

Source: Max Martin incorporated an actual fart into this Backstreet Boys song

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Global Temps COOLER Now Than When Al Gore Won Nobel Prize

While you all probably know that Al Gore has a terrible track record when it comes to all of his ludicrous climate change predictions, meteorologist Joe Bastardi of Weatherbell Analytics created a chart to disprove Gore’s global warming theories even further.The chart shows that global temperatures were warmer when Al Gore won the 2007 Nobel Prize than today, even after the 2015/16 super El Nino.From Climate Depot:Meteorologist Joe Bastardi explains: “Al Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize based on warnings of future events — the same future events that have not happened. The fact is that global temperatures from 2006-2007 while Gore was basking in the glory of his apocalypse-driven fame were warmer than they are now, and we are still falling off the Super El Niño peak. Additionally, much of the time in-between was lower than what it was in the run-up to ‘An Inconvenient Truth.’” Bastardi added: “Fact: Without monkeying around and ‘finding’ warming, temps have changed very little during 20 year AGW hysteria period.”Bastardi explained: “I am glad Al Gore has his new movie out. It reminded me of Irena Sendler, who he beat out for the Nobel Prize. Because it gave me a chance to write on someone whose story should be known and once again expose someone who has gotten rich off something that can’t hold a candle to the bravery of people in the era that Irena Sendler exemplified…Just what did she do? From this link: “Irena Sendlerowa was a Polish woman who, along with her underground network, rescued 2,500 Jewish children in Poland during World War II. Many of this number were already outside of the Ghetto and in hiding.”

Source: Global Temps COOLER Now Than When Al Gore Won Nobel Prize

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Cows in Antarctica? How one expedition milked them for all their worth

Domestic animals are rarely associated with Antarctica. However, before non-native species (bar humans) were excluded from the continent in the 1990s, many travelled to the far south. These animals included not only the obvious sledge dogs, but also ponies, sheep, pigs, hamsters, hedgehogs and a goat. Perhaps the most curious case occurred in 1933, when US Admiral Richard E. Byrd’s second Antarctic expedition took with it three Guernsey cows.The cows, named Klondike Gay Nira, Deerfoot Guernsey Maid and Foremost Southern Girl, plus a bull calf born en route, spent over a year in a working dairy on the Ross Ice Shelf. They returned home to the US in 1935 to considerable celebrity.Keeping the animals healthy in Antarctica took a lot of doing – not least, hauling the materials for a barn, a huge amount of feed and a milking machine across the ocean and then the ice. What could have possessed Byrd to take cows to the icy south?

Source: Cows in Antarctica? How one expedition milked them for all their worth

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DHS Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Protection and Restoration Guidelines for Equipment and Facilities

This document provides recommendations for protecting and restoring critical electronic equipment, facilities and communications/data centers from:(1) High Altitude EMP (HEMP)(2) Surface-burst Source Region EMP (SREMP) fields propagating outside of the radiation region(3) Currents induced on undersea cables and long lines by solar storm generated geomagnetic disturbances (GMDs)(4) Intentional Electromagnetic Interference (IEMI) from nearby sources such as Electromagnetic (EM) weapons (also known as Radio Frequency (RF) weapons).Collectively, these will be called by a general term in this document: “EMP”. However, it should be recognized that nearly all of the protection recommended in this document is for the frequency range above 10 kHz, which is the frequency range for E1 HEMP, SREMP and IEMI. A presentation describing the background, characteristics and effects of EMP is included in the Appendices to this document.There are four DHS EMP Protection Levels defined herein, as outlined in Table 1. These levels were initially developed for use by the federal continuity community, such as for the Continuity Communications Managers Group, but are also applicable to any organization that desires to protect its equipment, facilities, and services against EMP threats.In addition to making recommendations on how to physically protect electronic equipment from EMP, this guide provides guidance on how to help ensure communications and information systems (and their supported missions) can continue to function (or be rapidly restored) after one or more EMP events. Hence, Appendix C contains information on priority service programs (like GETS, WPS, and TSP) as well as on the SHARES alternate communications service that can be used to support critical missions and to facilitate and coordinate restoration activities.

Source: DHS Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Protection and Restoration Guidelines for Equipment and Facilities | Public Intelligence

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The story of Keith Haring’s courageous Berlin Wall mural 

What is the most politically effective thing that a street artist has ever painted on a wall? Was Banksy the person who did it? Did it read “ROMANI ITE DOMUM” (or “ROMANES EUNT DOMUS” for that matter)?Of street artists to whom we can apply a specific name, you could certainly argue that Keith Haring was the one who takes the prize, for his hundred or so meters of familiar Haring-esque figures that he painted on the Berlin Wall in October of 1986. It was a big enough deal to make the New York Times the next day.

In the mid-1980s, the director of the Checkpoint Charlie Museum, a man named Rainer Hildebrandt, extended an invitation to Keith Haring to come to Berlin and use the Wall for his canvas. When Haring received word of the invitation, he was touring Europe and was eager to exercise his agitprop instincts in a world-historical manner by attempting to “destroy the wall by painting it,” which in a way was exactly what ended up happening, not to overstate Haring’s importance to that process.

Source: The story of Keith Haring’s courageous Berlin Wall mural (which is now lost to history) | Dangerous Minds

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DOJ Goes Way Overboard: Demands All Info On Visitors Of Anti-Trump Site

Not all search warrants are bad. Indeed, most of them are perfectly legitimate, and meet the qualifications under the 4th Amendment that there is probable cause of a crime being committed, and the warrant is narrowly tailored to seek out evidence to support that. But… not always. As Ken “Popehat” White explains in a recent blog post, the Justice Department has somehow obtained the mother-of-all bad search warrants while trying to track down people who were involved in protests of Donald Trump’s inauguration back in January. The government has brought felony charges against a bunch of protestors from the inauguration, and now it appears the DOJ is going on a big fishing expedition.

As Ken notes, it’s quite likely that some protestors committed crimes, for which they can be charged, but prosecutors in the case have decided to go ridiculously overbroad in trying to get any info they can find on protestors. They got a search warrant for the well known hosting company DreamHost, who hosts the site (as an aside, the fact that a site like that doesn’t default to HTTPS for all connections is really, really unfortunate, especially given the rest of this article). The warrant basically demands everything that DreamHost could possibly have on anyone who did anything on disruptj20, including just visiting. As White notes in his post, it’s not that unreasonable that the DOJ sought to find out who ran the site, but now they’re requesting basically everything, which likely includes the IP addresses of all visitors:

Source: DOJ Goes Way Overboard: Demands All Info On Visitors Of Anti-Trump Site | Techdirt

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NSA whistleblower discusses ‘How the NSA tracks you’

At the outdoor hacker camp and conference SHA2017, which is taking place in the Netherlands, NSA whistleblower William Binney gave the talk, “How the NSA tracks you.”As a former insider, Binney knew about this long before Snowden dropped the documents to prove it is happening. Although he didn’t say anything new, Binney is certainly no fan of the NSA’s spying — he calls the NSA the “New Stasi Agency.” If you are no fan of surveillance, then his perspective from the inside about the “total invasion of the privacy rights of everybody on the planet” will fuel your fury at the NSA all over again.In today’s cable program, according to Binney, the NSA uses corporations that run fiber lines to get taps on the lines. If that fails, they use foreign governments to get taps on the lines. And if that doesn’t work, “they’ll tap the line anywhere that they can get to it” — meaning corporations or governments won’t even know about the taps.

Source: NSA whistleblower discusses ‘How the NSA tracks you’

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Man Caught Masturbating In Public Blames Incident On Groundhog

Registered sex offender Robert McCoy offered officers a strange explanation for his behavior at a Louisville park last week.Louisville Metro CorrectionsRobert McCoyKentucky police have arrested a man accused of masturbating in a public park before blaming the incident on a groundhog.An unidentified victim told police that, on the evening of August 10, Robert McCoy followed her and another person around Louisville’s Lannan Memorial Park with his genitals exposed as he pleasured himself, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal.After police arrived on the scene, McCoy sped away on a moped, writes local WDRB news, only to be caught later that evening.

Source: Man Caught Masturbating In Public Blames Incident On Groundhog

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Bikini butt charms are a thing

These terribly uncomfortable-looking bikini “butt charms” are apparently now a thing and are made by Japanese merchandiser BoDivas. I haven’t actually seen a single person sporting this butt bling so far this summer, so I’m not sure how much of a “thing” this crotch jewelry really is. To be fair though, it’s been awhile since I’ve visited a swimming pool or a beach. Maybe they’re everywhere?They’re called “Beachtails” and they range in price from $19.50 to $22.50. The Beachtails also come in lots of colors so you can strategically coordinate them with your swimwear bottoms.

Source: Bikini butt charms are a thing | Dangerous Minds

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Kassam: They’re Coming for Mount Rushmore, But They SHOULD Be Tearing Down the DemoKKKrat Party

I I I I  I agree with Laura Ingraham and Pete Hegseth. It is only a matter of time before the left comes for Monticello, or Mount Vernon, or indeed Mount Rushmore.Never content with their destructiveness, wait until they learn the history of Mount Rushmore. Not even 1,000 Confederate statues would draw the same outrage.The 60-foot high sculpture in South Dakota — depicting Presidents Washington, Jefferson, T. Roosevelt, and Lincoln — was sculpted by a Ku Klux Klan member. Prepare for the onslaught.Gutzon Borglum originally worked on the Stone Mountain project, which one Democrat candidate has already demanded be permanently vandalised in an attempt to erase American history. As AJC News reports:

Gutzon Borglum originally worked on the Stone Mountain project, which one Democrat candidate has already demanded be permanently vandalised in an attempt to erase American history. As AJC News reports:

Removing the faces of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson would take a monster of a sandblaster and require a change in state law. The Georgia code has a clear mandate for the memorial, saying it should be “preserved and protected for all time as a tribute to the bravery and heroism of the citizens of this state who suffered and died in their cause.”

How befitting then, that the totalitarian left should come for the Shrine of Democracy next. After all, the Nation of Islam has already decried the great American monument, and the uncomfortable truths about its sculptor will add fuel to the fire for the anti-conservationist minded.

Writer Alex Heard revealed in the New Republic some correspondence between Borglum and then-KKK Grand Dragon D.C. Stephenson, who cut his political teeth in the Socialist Party, before joining the Democrats, then in later life, defecting to the Republican Party

Source: Kassam: They’re Coming for Mount Rushmore, But They SHOULD Be Tearing Down the DemoKKKrat Party

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Evolutionary psychology is the most obvious example of how “science” is flawed.

t’s 2017, and people are still debating whether or not women are intellectually inferior to men, and whether we are entitled to a workplace that isn’t toxic to people simply based on their gender and sex. The Google employee memo about the apparent harms of diversity policies in Silicon Valley is both a shocking news story for the general public and for many women and gender minorities—especially of color—working in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine, a banal sign of normalcy.At least science is helping us make progress, right? Science is sold to us as an almost holy, objective pursuit: a pure endeavor, a way of pursuing truth and only truth. As a high school senior planning to study physics and astronomy in college, I was thoroughly convinced that solving quantum gravity would trickle down to improved human relations. Of course, I was adorably naïve about both the difficulty that quantum gravity presented us (we’ve made little progress in the 18 years since I started university) and about the relationship between science and humanity’s various imperfections.

Source: Evolutionary psychology is the most obvious example of how “science” is flawed.

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34 criminal cases tossed after body cam footage shows cop planting drugs

Maryland prosecutors have tossed 34 criminal cases and are re-examining dozens more in the aftermath of recent revelations that a Baltimore police officer accidentally recorded himself planting drugs in a trash-strewn alley.Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said that, in all, 123 cases are under review in the wake of a scandal in which one officer has been suspended and two others put on administrative duty. Body cam footage revealed nearly two weeks ago showed one of the officers planting drugs when he didn’t realize his body cam was recording. The Baltimore Police Department’s body cams, like many across the nation, capture footage 30 seconds before an officer presses the record button. The footage was turned over to defense attorneys as part of a drug prosecution—and that’s when the misdeed was uncovered.

Source: 34 criminal cases tossed after body cam footage shows cop planting drugs | Ars Technica

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Super Simple Hydraulics Using Syringes

When making a toy excavator arm, or any robotic arm, the typical approach is to put motors at the joints, or if there isn’t room, to put the motors somewhere else and transfer the force using fishing line and pulleys. [Navin Khambhala] chose instead to do it more like the real excavators, with hydraulics using syringes. And we have to admit, the result it pretty elegant in its simplicity.

Source: Super Simple Hydraulics Using Syringes | Hackaday

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Robocall operation ‘called out’ by FCC

Ever wonder what happens to a scammer in the U.S. that is caught by the feds? In one recent case, the Federal Communications Commission recommended to a federal court an alleged Florida robocall scammer be fined $120 million.For many years, Better Business Bureau Serving Acadiana has received thousands of calls from consumers and businesses trying to stop these annoying calls. BBB has also heard horror stories of people being ripped off as a result of scammers placing these calls.The company caught by the FCC, Market Strategy Leaders, is accused of making 100 million robocalls over just a few months selling discounted “travel” services to the elderly as well as altering call ID information in order to perpetrate a fraud, according to FCC documents.It is believed by the FCC that the call center was actually part of a Mexico-based call center engaged in selling timeshares and vacation packages using aggressive and illegal sales tactics.

Source: Robocall operation ‘called out’ by FCC

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Marijuana politics emerge as 2020 flash point 

Marijuana legalization just moved from the fringes of the last presidential campaign to center stage in 2020.Between a sweeping new package of legislation introduced last week by one of the top Democratic presidential prospects and, on the other end of the spectrum, Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ vigorous opposition to recreational use of marijuana, the debate over legalization of cannabis is about to receive a full airing on the presidential campaign trail.While Bernie Sanders also supported medicinal use of marijuana and the decriminalization of recreational marijuana, drug policy stayed on the outskirts of the 2016 presidential debate, and growing action at the state level was barely acknowledged.Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, a bipartisan nonprofit advocacy group, said New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker’s introduction of “the farthest-reaching bill ever proposed” will have a catalytic effect on the politics of legalized marijuana and the myriad criminal justice issues related to it.

Source: Marijuana politics emerge as 2020 flash point – POLITICO

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Street Artist Sabo’s Facebook Page Shut Down After Zuckerberg Stunt

The work of a conservative street artist known for skewering the liberal politics of celebrities and corporations has been deemed “hate speech” by Facebook, which shut his page down on Sunday.The notice comes just days after the artist known as Sabo attacked Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg with posters disparaging his alleged presidential aspirations. “F*ck Zuck 2020,” read the posters, the symbol after the “F” being a middle finger. They were hung in the dead of night last week in various California cities.Courtesy of”Your page has been unpublished for using hate speech,” read the message at the Unsavory Agents fan page run by Sabo.Sabo is the artist’s pen name and Unsavory Agents is the name of his website and business where his artwork is sold.Sabo last struck on Friday when he plastered fake ads and posters around Google and YouTube offices in Venice, California. Those ads, some as large as 30 square feet and some plastered onto bus stop benches, ridiculed Google as a place that is hostile to free thinkers, a reference to the recent firing of an employee who penned a 3,000-word memo to co-workers critical of his employer’s focus on diversity in its hiring practices.

Source: Street Artist Sabo’s Facebook Page Shut Down After Zuckerberg Stunt | Hollywood Reporter

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Holy smoke! The church of cannabis

It started, naturally, with a group of friends smoking a joint. Steve Berke, a graduate of Yale University, was temporarily living in an old church in Denver, Colorado. His estate agent parents had bought the 113-year-old building with the plan to turn it into flats. He and Lee Molloy, as well as a few friends, had just moved from Miami to capitalise on Colorado’s lucrative marijuana market. But then, in the words of Lee: “We started having these stupid, fantastical conversations. What if we kept it as a church?” So Steve convinced his parents to give him the building and, nine months later, on 20 April 2016 – 4/20, as it’s known in the United States, the unofficial pothead’s holiday (because it’s 4.20pm somewhere, right?) – the International Church of Cannabis opened its doors with its own chapel, theology and video game arcade

.From the outside all appears normal: red-brick towers, blocky turrets, a classic city church in an otherwise leafy suburb of Denver. But there are giveaways. The three front doors and arched window facade have been spray-painted with silver galaxies and bright, happy-face planets. The work of legendary painter and graphic artist Kenny Scharf, who has exhibited in the Whitney and New York’s Museum of Modern Art, it looks more like the backdrop for an illegal 90s rave than your typical parish church. But it’s indicative of the coup that Elevation Ministries, the non-profit company that Steve and Lee co-founded to set up the Church of Cannabis, has managed to pull off.

Source: Holy smoke! The church of cannabis | Global | The Guardian

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The Liberal Crackup

Donald Trump’s surprise victory in last year’s presidential election has finally energized my fellow liberals, who are networking, marching and showing up at town-hall meetings across the country. There is excited talk about winning back the White House in 2020 and maybe even the House of Representatives in the interim.But we are way ahead of ourselves—dangerously so. For a start, the presidency just isn’t what it used to be, certainly not for Democrats. In the last generation, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama won the office with comfortable margins, but they were repeatedly stymied by assertive Republicans in Congress, a right-leaning Supreme Court and—what should be the most worrisome development for Democrats—a steadily growing majority of state governments in Republican hands.What’s more, nothing those presidents did while in office did much to reverse the rightward drift of American public opinion. Even when they vote for Democrats or support some of their policies, most Americans—including young people, women and minorities—reject the term “liberal.” And it isn’t hard to see why. They see us as aloof, elitist, out of touch.It is time to admit that American liberalism is in deep crisis: a crisis of imagination and ambition on our side, a crisis of attachment and trust on the side of the wider public. The question is, why? Why would those who claim to speak for and defend the great American demos be so indifferent to stirring its feelings and gaining its trust? Why, in the contest for the American imagination, have liberals simply abdicated?

Ronald Reagan almost single-handedly destroyed the New Deal vision of America that used to guide us. Franklin Roosevelt had pictured a place where citizens were joined in a collective enterprise to build a strong nation and protect each other. The watchwords of that effort were solidarity, opportunity and public duty. Reagan pictured a more individualistic America where everyone would flourish once freed from the shackles of the state, and so the watchwords became self-reliance and small government.To meet the Reagan challenge, we liberals needed to develop an ambitious new vision of America and its future that would again inspire people of every walk of life and in every region of the country to come together as citizens. Instead we got tangled up in the divisive, zero-sum world of identity politics, losing a sense of what binds us together as a nation. What went missing in the Reagan years was the great liberal-democratic We. Little wonder that so few now wish to join us.

There is a mystery at the core of every suicide, and the story of how a once-successful liberal politics of solidarity became a failed liberal politics of “difference” is not a simple one. Perhaps the best place to begin it is with a slogan: The personal is the political.

This phrase was coined by feminists in the 1960s and captured perfectly the mind-set of the New Left at the time. Originally, it was interpreted to mean that everything that seems strictly private—sexuality, the family, the workplace—is in fact political and that there are no spheres of life exempt from the struggle for power. That is what made it so radical, electrifying sympathizers and disturbing everyone else.

But the phrase could also be taken in a more romantic sense: that what we think of as political action is in fact nothing but personal activity, an expression of me and how I define myself. As we would put it today, my political life is a reflection of my identity.

Over time, the romantic view won out over the radical one, and the idea got rooted on the left that, to reverse the formula, the political is the personal. Liberals and progressives continued to fight for social justice out in the world. But now they also wanted there to be no space between what they felt inside and what they did in that world. They wanted their political engagements to mirror how they understood and defined themselves as individuals. And they wanted their self-definition to be recognized.

This was an innovation on the left. Socialism had no time for individual recognition. Rushing toward the revolution, it divided the world into exploiting capitalists and exploited workers of every background. New Deal liberals were just as indifferent to individual identity; they thought and spoke in terms of equal rights and equal social protections for all. Even the early movements of the 1950s and ’60s to secure the rights of African-Americans, women and gays appealed to our shared humanity and citizenship, not our differences. They drew people together rather than setting them against each other.

All that began to change when the New Left shattered in the 1970s, in no small part due to identity issues. Blacks complained that white movement leaders were racist, feminists complained that they were sexist, and lesbians complained that straight feminists were homophobic. The main enemies were no longer capitalism and the military-industrial complex; they were fellow movement members who were not, as we would say today, sufficiently “woke.”

It was then that less radical liberal and progressive activists also began redirecting their energies away from party politics and toward a wide range of single-issue social movements. The forces at work in healthy party politics are centripetal; they encourage factions and interests to come together to work out common goals and strategies. They oblige everyone to think, or at least to speak, about the common good.

In movement politics, the forces are all centrifugal, encouraging splits into smaller and smaller factions obsessed with single issues and practicing rituals of ideological one-upmanship. Symbols take on outsize significance, especially in identity-based movements.

The results of this shift are now plain to see. The classic Democratic goal of bringing people from different backgrounds together for a single common project has given way to a pseudo-politics of self-regard and increasingly narrow and exclusionary self-definition. And what keeps this approach to politics alive is that it is cultivated in the colleges and universities where liberal elites are formed. Here again, we must look to the history of the New Left to understand how this happened.

After Reagan’s election in 1980, conservative activists hit the road to spread the new individualist gospel of small government and free markets and poured their energies into winning out-of-the-way county, state and congressional elections. Also on the road, though taking a different exit on the interstate, were former New Left activists heading for college towns all over America.

Conservatives concentrated on attracting working people once attached to the Democratic Party—a populist, bottom-up strategy. The left concentrated on transforming the outlook of professional and party elites—a top-down strategy. Both groups were successful, and both left their mark on the country.

Up until the 1960s, those active in the Democratic Party were largely drawn from the working class or farm communities and were formed in local political clubs or on union-dominated shop floors. That world is gone. Today they are formed primarily in our colleges and universities, as are members of the overwhelmingly liberal-dominated professions of law, journalism and education.

Liberal political education, such as it is, now takes place on campuses that are far removed, socially and geographically, from the rest of the country—and particularly from the sorts of people who once were the foundation of the Democratic Party. And the political catechism that is taught is a historical artifact, reflecting more the idiosyncratic experience of the ’60s generation than the realities of power politics today.

The experience of that era taught the New Left two lessons. The first was that movement politics was the only mode of engagement that actually changes things; the second was that political activity must have some authentic meaning for the self, making compromise seem like a self-betrayal.

These lessons, though, have little bearing on liberalism’s present crisis, which is that of being defeated time and again by a well-organized Republican Party that keeps tightening its grip on our institutions. Where those lessons do resonate is with young people in our highly individualistic bourgeois society—a society that keeps them focused on themselves and teaches them that personal choice, individual rights and self-definition are all that is sacred.

It is little wonder that students of the Facebook age are drawn to courses focused on their identities and movements related to them. Nor is it surprising that many join campus groups that engage in identity movement work. But the costs need to be tallied.

For those students who will soon become liberal and progressive elites, the line between self-discovery and political action has become blurred. Their political commitments are genuine but are circumscribed by the confines of their self-definitions. Issues that penetrate those confines take on looming importance, and since politics for them is personal, their positions tend to be absolutist and nonnegotiable. Those issues that don’t touch on their identities or affect people like themselves are hardly perceived. And classic liberal ideas like citizenship, solidarity and the common good have little meaning for them.

As a teacher, I am increasingly struck by a difference between my conservative and progressive students. Contrary to the stereotype, the conservatives are far more likely to connect their engagements to a set of political ideas and principles. Young people on the left are much more inclined to say that they are engaged in politics as an X, concerned about other Xs and those issues touching on X-ness. And they are less and less comfortable with debate.

Over the past decade a new, and very revealing, locution has drifted from our universities into the media mainstream: Speaking as an X…This is not an anodyne phrase. It sets up a wall against any questions that come from a non-X perspective. Classroom conversations that once might have begun, I think A, and here is my argument, now take the form, Speaking as an X, I am offended that you claim B. What replaces argument, then, are taboos against unfamiliar ideas and contrary opinions.

Conservatives complain loudest about today’s campus follies, but it is really liberals who should be angry. The big story is not that leftist professors successfully turn millions of young people into dangerous political radicals every year. It is that they have gotten students so obsessed with their personal identities that, by the time they graduate, they have much less interest in, and even less engagement with, the wider political world outside their heads.

There is a great irony in this. The supposedly bland, conventional universities of the 1950s and early ’60s incubated the most radical generation of American citizens perhaps since our founding. Young people were incensed by the denial of voting rights out there, the Vietnam War out there, nuclear proliferation out there, capitalism out there, colonialism out there. Yet once that generation took power in the universities, it proceeded to depoliticize the liberal elite, rendering its members unprepared to think about the common good and what must be done practically to secure it—especially the hard and unglamorous task of persuading people very different from themselves to join a common effort.

Every advance of liberal identity consciousness has marked a retreat of liberal political consciousness. There can be no liberal politics without a sense of We—of what we are as citizens and what we owe each other. If liberals hope ever to recapture America’s imagination and become a dominant force across the country, it will not be enough to beat the Republicans at flattering the vanity of the mythical Joe Sixpack. They must offer a vision of our common destiny based on one thing that all Americans, of every background, share.

And that is citizenship. We must relearn how to speak to citizens as citizens and to frame our appeals for solidarity—including ones to benefit particular groups—in terms of principles that everyone can affirm.

Black Lives Matter is a textbook example of how not to build solidarity. By publicizing and protesting police mistreatment of African-Americans, the movement delivered a wake-up call to every American with a conscience. But its decision to use this mistreatment to build a general indictment of American society and demand a confession of white sins and public penitence only played into the hands of the Republican right.

I am not a black male motorist and will never know what it is like to be one. If I am going to be affected by his experience, I need some way to identify with him, and citizenship is the only thing I know that we share. The more the differences between us are emphasized, the less likely I will be to feel outrage at his mistreatment.

The politics of identity has done nothing but strengthen the grip of the American right on our institutions. It is the gift that keeps on taking. Now is the time for liberals to do an immediate about-face and return to articulating their core principles of solidarity and equal protection for all. Never has the country needed it more.

Dr. Lilla is professor of the humanities at Columbia University. This essay is adapted from his new book, “The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics,” which will be published on Aug. 15 by Harper (which, like The Wall Street Journal, is owned by News Corp).

Source: The Liberal Crackup – WSJ

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Back to school crisis: Lack of school bus drivers plagues the nation

School bus companies in the United States are spinning their wheels in an effort to get more drivers hired before the start of the school year.Every company that responded to a School Bus Fleet magazine survey of the top 50 school bus contractors said they had a shortage of some kind. Most (54%) faced a “moderate” shortage, while 22% said theirs was “severe.” Nineteen percent said they have a “mild” shortage and 5% said their company was “desperate.”The lack of drivers is leading to an increase in advertising dollars spent on billboards, fliers and social media, as well as implementing incentives such as signing and referral bonuses. Companies are also striving to improve corporate culture and creating a retention program, the survey found. Data from respondents showed the average starting pay for drivers rose 66 cents from last year.In order to become a school bus driver in Pennsylvania, for example, one must complete a minimum of 20 hours of school bus-specific instruction—14 hours in the classroom and six hours in-bus. The driver almost must pass a road test and pass criminal and child abuse history checks, among other paperwork and exams, USA Today reported.

Source: Back to school crisis: Lack of school bus drivers plagues the nation | Fox Business

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Is Changing the Constitution the Only Way to Fix Washington?

This story was updated 8/7 to correct the designation of Common Cause. It is a good government group.Next month delegations of state lawmakers will travel to Phoenix, Arizona, to attend what organizers say will be the first formal convention of states since the Civil War. They’ll gather at the capitol, inside the turquoise-carpeted House chamber, and draw up rules for a hoped-for future meeting: a convention to draft an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.No “amendment convention” has taken place since the Constitution was written over 200 years ago. But the idea is gaining steam now, stoked by groups on the left and right that say amendments drafted and ratified by states are the last, best hope for fixing the nation’s broken political system and dysfunctional — some even say tyrannical — federal government.“We have a Congress in the United States made up of two bodies — House and Senate — that are incapable of restricting their own power,” said Texas state Sen. Brian Birdwell, a Republican. With the conventions, he said, states are stepping in to clean up the mess.

Source: Is Changing the Constitution the Only Way to Fix Washington?

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How I learned to stop worrying (mostly) and love my threat model

I have a healthy level of paranoia given the territory I inhabit. When you write things about hackers and government agencies and all that, you simply have a higher level of skepticism and caution about what lands in your e-mail inbox or pops up in your Twitter direct messages. But my paranoia is also based on a rational evaluation of what I might encounter in my day-to-day: it’s based on my threat model.In the most basic sense, threat models are a way of looking at risks in order to identify the most likely threats to your security. And the art of threat modeling today is widespread. Whether you’re a person, an organization, an application, or a network, you likely go through some kind of analytical process to evaluate risk.Threat modeling is a key part of the practice people in security often refer to as “Opsec.” A portmanteau of military lineage originally meaning “operation security,” Opsec originally referred to the idea of preventing an adversary from piecing together intelligence from bits of sensitive but unclassified information, as wartime posters warned with slogans like “Loose lips might sink ships.” In the Internet age, Opsec has become a much more broadly applicable practice—it’s a way of thinking about security and privacy that transcends any specific technology, tool, or service. By using threat modeling to identify your own particular pile of risks, you can then move to counter the ones that are most likely and most dangerous.

Source: How I learned to stop worrying (mostly) and love my threat model | Ars Technica

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Mexico considers importing avocados as staple priced out of consumers’ reach

The growing global appetite for avocados has been blamed for a litany of sorrows, from self-inflicted stab wounds to stopping young people from buying their own homes.But in Mexico, the world’s biggest producer, what used to be a dietary staple is now too expensive for many ordinary consumers. And, now the country where the avocado is believe to have originated is considering the unthinkable: importing avocados from abroad.

Source: Mexico considers importing avocados as staple priced out of consumers’ reach | Life and style | The Guardian

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How to Stop Websites from Asking for Your Location 

When browsing the Web with some of the modern web browsers like Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and Microsoft Edge, you might receive a prompt asking for your physical location. Websites request this information so they can provide you with content that is relevant to your area. However, some websites are very notorious and will ask for your location every time you visit a particular site, which can be annoying at times.Ads by GoogleIf you find it annoying and don’t intend to ever reveal your location details to a website, you can turn off location requests by disabling this option in the browser settings. In this tutorial we will show you how to turn off location requests in Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.

Source: How to Stop Websites from Asking for Your Location – Make Tech Easier

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Wrestling legend Ric Flair hospitalized with ‘tough medical…

Wrestling icon Ric “Nature Boy” Flair is currently hospitalized and is dealing with “tough medical issues.”Various reports say Flair, 68, is in intensive care due to a heart-related issue at an unidentified hospital.More Entertainment HeadlinesShonda Rhimes is leaving ABC for NetflixBruno Mars donates $1M from concert to Flint water crisisJury begins deliberating in Taylor Swift caseFlair’s management team originally tweeted over the weekend that there was no reason to panic, but the tone turned more ominous Monday morning when the group asked for “prayers and positive energy.”Flair himself tweeted Thursday ahead of this weekend’s PGA Championship being played in his home base of Charlotte.Melina Morris Zanoni of Legacy Talent and Entertainment would not divulge what is ailing Flair, but tweeted they are “tough medical issues.”

Source: Wrestling legend Ric Flair hospitalized with ‘tough medical…


It is unclear what led to the initial hospitalization over the weekend. Pro Wrestling Sheet reported that it was a heart-related issue and the wrestler’s condition worsened after his admittance. He was put in a medically-induced coma ahead of the surgery, according to the site.

Melinda Morris Zanoni of Flair’s management team confirmed that the WWE champ was hospitalized in a tweet on Friday for “routine monitoring,” but by Monday she had asked people on Twitter to send “prayers and positive energy” his way.

Ric Flair’s daughter Charlotte thanked fans for their well wishes and support.

“Are u a Fan/Friend of Ric Flair? If so, we need prayers & positive energy 4 our Living Legend as he is dealing w/some tough medical issues,” Zanoni tweeted.

Fellow wrestlers offered their prayers and support for the “Nature Boy,” including John Cena and Jerry Lawler.

Ric Flair’s career has spanned over 40 years between the WWE, WCW and TNA. He is a 16-time pro wrestling champion. A 30 for 30 documentary about Flair’s career titled “Nature Boy” will air on ESPN on Nov. 7.


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Who Needs Aliens When Prehistoric Anus-Faced Worms Already Existed 

A little over half a billion years ago, complex life on Earth rapidly diversified in an evolutionary event known as the Cambrian explosion. This period in history was not shy about producing otherworldly creatures that seem alien from an Anthropocene perspective.Now, a newly identified species of extinct “arrow worm” called Capinatator praetermissus is a valiant contender for the title of weirdest Cambrian creation.Measuring roughly as long as an index finger, this ancient ocean predator sported 50 spines around its head that it used to grasp and restrain its prey, so it could stuff its somewhat anus-like face. The animal represents both a new species and genus, and is described in research published Thursday in Current Biology.

Source: Who Needs Aliens When Prehistoric Anus-Faced Worms Already Existed – Motherboard

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Body builder Meegan Hefford s death blamed on protein shakes 

Meegan Hefford, a 25-year-old mother-of two, was found unconscious in her Mandurah apartment and was pronounced dead days later.Ms Hefford, who had been competing as a bodybuilder since 2014, was on a diet of protein shakes and eating protein-rich foods including lean meat and egg whites.She was a body builder studying paramedicine and a mother to a seven-year-old daughter and a five-year-old son.Ms Hefford had been competing in bodybuilding tournaments since 2014. Source: InstagramShe was preparing for another bodybuilding competition but her mother, Michelle White, said Ms Hefford was having “way too much protein”.Following her death, it was discovered Ms Hefford had a rare genetic disorder, which stopped her body from breaking down protein properly.

Source: Body builder Meegan Hefford s death blamed on protein shakes – Yahoo7

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Is too much English spoken in Berlin restaurants?

One of Angela Merkel’s closest allies has caused controversy by complaining about waiters in Berlin restaurants who only speak English. But the Berlin tourist board is more relaxed about the spread of the global language.Speaking to the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung on Friday, Jens Spahn, junior minister in the Finance Ministry, said that “it is increasingly getting on my nerves that in some Berlin restaurants the waiters only speak English.”“No one in Paris would have such a crazy idea,” he added.Spahn said that people could only live harmoniously together in Germany when everyone spoke the national language. “This is something we should expect from every immigrant,” he said.Political opponents of Spahn, who belongs to the right-wing of the Christian Democrats (CDU), pointed out that English is often spoken in Berlin restaurants because the people eating there are tourists.The Berlin tourist board also reacted coolly to Spahn’s outburst.

Source: Is too much English spoken in Berlin restaurants? – The Local

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PETA compares dairy farming to rape 

Did you have some delicious and nutritious liquid rape on your cereal this morning? People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) thinks you did.According to PETA, milk is the “product of imprisonment, rape, reproductive control, kidnapping, and abuse” and the farmer in the deli is some sort of sex offender.In their recent article accusing cheese lovers of sexism, PETA wrote:

Source: PETA compares dairy farming to rape – The Rebel

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New Theory On The Origin of Dark Matter

Only a small part of the universe consists of visible matter. By far the largest part is invisible and consists of dark matter and dark energy. Very little is known about dark energy, but there are many theories and experiments on the existence of dark matter designed to find these as yet unknown particles. Scientists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in Germany have now come up with a new theory on how dark matter may have been formed shortly after the origin of the universe. This new model proposes an alternative to the WIMP paradigm that is the subject of various experiments in current research.Dark matter is present throughout the universe, forming galaxies and the largest known structures in the cosmos. It makes up around 23 percent of our universe, whereas the particles visible to us that make up the stars, planets, and even life on Earth represent only about four percent of it. The current assumption is that dark matter is a cosmological relic that has essentially remained stable since its creation. “We have called this assumption into question, showing that at the beginning of the universe dark matter may have been unstable,” explained Dr. Michael Baker from the Theoretical High Energy Physics (THEP) group at the JGU Institute of Physics. This instability also indicates the existence of a new mechanism that explains the observed quantity of dark matter in the cosmos.

Source: New Theory On The Origin of Dark Matter

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New Battery is Activated By Your Spit

Researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York have developed the next step in microbial fuel cells (MFCs): a battery activated by spit that can be used in extreme conditions where normal batteries don’t function.For the last five years, Binghamton University Electrical and Computer Science Assistant Professor Seokheun Choi has focused on developing micro-power sources for the use in resource-limited regions to power point-of-care (POC) diagnostic biosensors; he has created several paper-based bacteria-powered batteries.”On-demand micro-power generation is required especially for point-of-care diagnostic applications in developing countries,” said Choi. “Typically, those applications require only several tens of microwatt-level power for several minutes, but commercial batteries or other energy harvesting technologies are too expensive and over-qualified. Also, they pose environmental pollution issues.”

Source: New Battery is Activated By Your Spit

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Google Is the Engine of Censorship

Late last year, search engine giant Google announced its plans to protect users from the horrors of ‘fake news’ by changing the way it presents search results. According to corporate officials, they hope to shelter readers by limiting access to what the company deems as “low-quality” information – while promoting what it calls ‘established’ mainstream sources. Critics believe that the company, which now has a virtual monopoly on internet traffic, is now playing god over the info-sphere.

While its known that Eric Schmidt, the head of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc, is regular attendee at the annual secretive Bilderberg meeting which charters the globalist agenda, not much is known about new Google CEO Sundar Pichai and what his personal ideology is, or whether he personally believes that Google’s role is to control what the public think about any given issue by fixing the search results on the world’s number one search engine. Judging by the culture of conformity at Google, it’s not likely that Pichai would be allowed to express any dissenting views if he had them.

As 21WIRE pointed out last week regarding the controversy over the recent Google Memo and the firm dismissing employees who are seen to divert from the company’s prescribed group think, this same repressive political culture at Google is reflected in its broad new automated censorship program administered by algorithms on its Google search engine – a bold move which effectively disappears political views and articles it does not like, and wishes to bury.

Watch this segment from RT America, with guest Andre Damon, editor of the World Socialist Web Site, to explain why he believes his site and other alternative sources are being unfairly targeted in Google’s new reordering of visible information through its portal. Watch:
Source: Google Is the Engine of Censorship | Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization

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