With Confederate flags gone, Civil War museum will close

A Henry County commissioner requested a few months ago that a local Civil War museum remove its Confederate flags.But without that symbol, the Nash Farm Battlefield and Museum announced that it can’t conduct its mission properly and will close June 1.In a Facebook post, the museum’s directors cited the request by District 2 Commissioner Dee Clemmons that all Confederate flags be removed from the museum, in addition to the gift shop, “in an effort not to offend anyone.”“To exclude any Confederate flag would mean the historical value has been taken from our exhibits, and a fair interpretation could not be presented to each guest,” the post read. “Confederate flags were on this hallowed ground, as were the Union flags. To remove either of them would be a dishonor.”

Source: With Confederate flags gone, Civil War museum will close

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Hallmark Now Makes Cards for Sex Changes, ‘Our LGBTQIA Family’

Changing your gender is now a Hallmark moment.In 2015, the card company has quietly introduced an encouragement card under the category “transgender/transitioning.” But Hallmark’s transgender-focused cards finally penetrated the public psyche this week, after a Tweet about them by a teen services librarian went viral.One of the cards includes a green and yellow butterfly on the front, along with the words “You’re becoming who you’ve always been.” Inside, it reads, “How wonderful is that?”

Source: Hallmark Now Makes Cards for Sex Changes, ‘Our LGBTQIA Family’

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Private Eye Allegedly Used Leaky Goverment Tool in Bid to Find Tax Data on Trump 

In March 2017, KrebsOnSecurity warned that thieves who perpetrate tax refund fraud with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service were leveraging a widely-used online student loan tool to find critical data on consumers that allows them to claim huge refunds with the IRS in someone else’s name. This week, it emerged that a Louisiana-based private investigator is being charged with using the same online tool to glean tax data on then-presidential candidate Donald J. Trump.A story today at Diverseeducation.com points to court filings in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, in which local private eye Jordan Hamlett is accused by federal prosecutors of abusing an automated tool at the U.S. Department of Education website that is designed to make it easier for families to complete the Education Department’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) — a lengthy form that serves as the starting point for students seeking federal financial assistance to pay for college or career school.

Source: Private Eye Allegedly Used Leaky Goverment Tool in Bid to Find Tax Data on Trump — Krebs on Security

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Yet Another Bad Idea: Dropping Facial Recognition Software Into Police Body Cameras

The FBI (and other US government agencies) are already moving forward with facial recognition technology, which will allow law enforcement to scan people like license plates, if everything goes to plan. So far, consultation with the meddling public has been kept to a minimum, as have any government efforts to address civil liberties concerns.Just because the public’s been kept out of the loop (except for, you know, their faces and other personal information), doesn’t mean members of the public aren’t working hard to ensure police officers can start running faces like plates, even when there’s no legitimate law enforcement reason for doing so.Digital Barriers, a somewhat ironically-named tech company, is pushing its latest law enforcement offering — one that supposedly provides real-time face scanning.The software can pick out and identify hundreds of individual faces at a time, instantly checking them against registered databases or registering unique individuals in seconds.Demonstrating the software at the Forensics Europe Expo 2017, vice president of Digital Barriers Manuel Magalhaes said the company was introducing the technology to UK forces.

Source: Yet Another Bad Idea: Dropping Facial Recognition Software Into Police Body Cameras | Techdirt

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The GNU GPL Is An Enforceable Contract At Last 

It would be difficult to imagine the technological enhancements to the world we live in today without open-source software. You will find it somewhere in most of your consumer electronics, in the unseen data centres of the cloud, in machines, gadgets, and tools, in fact almost anywhere a microcomputer is used in a product. The willingness of software developers to share their work freely under licences that guarantee its continued free propagation has been as large a contributor to the success of our tech economy as any hardware innovation.Though open-source licences have been with us for decades now, there have been relatively few moments in which they have been truly tested in a court. There have been frequent licence violations in which closed-source products have been found to contain open-source software, but they have more often resulted in out-of-court settlement than lengthy public legal fights. Sometimes the open-source community has gained previously closed-source projects, as their licence violations have involved software whose licence terms included a requirement for a whole project in which it is included to have the same licence. These terms are sometimes referred to as viral clauses by open-source detractors, and the most famous such licence is the GNU GPL, or General Public Licence. If you have ever installed OpenWRT on a router you will have been a beneficiary of this: the project has its roots in the closed-source firmware for a Linksys router that was found to contain GPL code.

Source: The GNU GPL Is An Enforceable Contract At Last | Hackaday

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Researcher Open Sources WannaKey Tool That Cracks WannaCry Ransomware Encryption

It’s more than a week since WannaCry ransomware started causing panic among the internet community. However, as time passes, more and more security researchers across the world are coming up with fixes for the WannaCry ransomware.Earlier, it was a researcher who accidentally created a kill switch for the ransomware. Now, another researcher named Adrien Guinet has found a cure to fix a computer encrypted by the ransomware. He didn’t land up on the method accidentally and his fix only works for machines running Windows XP, still, it’s a relief.Also Read: Is Russia Really Fighting WannaCry Ransomware By Spraying Holy Water On Computers?Guinet was able to crack the encryption in his lab by finding the prime numbers that constitute the RSA private key used by WannaCry ransomware.

Source: Researcher Open Sources WannaKey Tool That Cracks WannaCry Ransomware Encryption

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Thai Dessert Shop Makes Realistic Puppy Puddings, Divides Internet

Coconut cream puddings are very popular in Thailand, but while they usually come in flower shapes, one dessert shop in Pathun Thani, north of Bangkok, decided to shake things up a bit by using puppy-shaped molds instead. Photos of the realistic-looking edible puppies made quite an impact online, sparking a heated debate.Within six hours of posting photos of their new treats on Facebook, Thai dessert shop Wilaiwan had already gotten over 10,000 shares and hundreds of comments. But that was only the beginning, as the photos soon started making the rounds on blogs and news sites, and even attracted the attention of international news networks. Some people loved them and said that they would love to eat a slimy puppy, while others said they looked too much like their pets, and couldn’t even think about sticking a spoon in one.

Source: Thai Dessert Shop Makes Realistic Puppy Puddings, Divides Internet | Oddity Central – Collecting Oddities

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“World’s first operational Robocop” hits the streets as Dubai builds robot police force 

The “world’s first operational Robocop” has been unveiled in Dubai as part of the emirate’s planned robot police force.Robocop started work on Sunday and is already making a name for itself.At 5ft 5in tall and weighing 100kg, it can speak six languages and is designed to read facial expressions.It had an easy start to working life, being unveiled at the three-day long Gulf Information Security Expo and Conference.

Source: “World’s first operational Robocop” hits the streets as Dubai builds robot police force – Mirror Online

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Faking incontinence and other ways to scare off tech support scammers

ON-CALL If it’s Friday, it must be time for On-Call, our weekly column that recounts readers experiences of being asked to dodgy jobs at dodgy times for dodgy reasons.Last week we featured the tale of a tech support chap who took a call from a tech support scammer and managed to keep him on the phone long enough to get him logged in to a Linux box. Many of you liked that story and the On-Call inbox is groaning with your own stories of handling similar scams. So we’re going to give a few of them a run.“Pete” told us that when he gets scam calls he suddenly becomes 94 years old, which gets 60 per cent to hang up. Pretending to be deaf does for another 15 per cent. “I’ll have to go I’ve just crapped myself, I’m 94!” sees another 15 per cent hang up. For the other ten per cent he says he’s “just my self, an obnoxious old git!”“Ben” told us that when scammers call he used to tell the callers he only had Macs, but that didn’t deter many. “Now I tell them we don’t have a computer or a telephone,” he told us. “Most give up, but one the other day tried to argue that I must have a phone.”

Source: Faking incontinence and other ways to scare off tech support scammers • The Register

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Speed bumps for pedestrians installed to slow down tourists at Chinese beauty spot

Chinese tourists are being forced to slow down when they walk past a historic site as authorities were concerned that it wasn’t being appreciated enough.Speed bumps for pedestrians have been installed along a road at Taierzhuang, an ancient town and heritage site on the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal.There are more than 50 bumps – in an eye-catching stripey yellow and black – which are officially described as calming devices but are also fast earning themselves the nickname “washboard road”. Tourists have to negotiate more than 50 bumps CREDIT: REX/SHUTTERSTOCKPictures of the humps were shared on social media by People’s Daily China and showed dozens of people concentrating on their feet and stepping carefully now that they are prevented from walking freely.

Source: Speed bumps for pedestrians installed to slow down tourists at Chinese beauty spot

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9 Drunk Vs Sober Illustrations That Show How The World Changes When You’re Drunk

These drunk vs sober illustrations below will perfectly show the differences between how you see things while you’re drunk, compared to how they really are for everyone else, or even you when you’re sober. Now please don’t confuse this gallery with how things change when you’re sober vs drunk, it’s two different things.This gallery shows the differences of how things look to someone who is currently drunk and how the same things actually look to a sober person. Honestly, i had way worse illusions after i drink a few shots of vodka on my birthday and the world quickly changed.

Source: 9 Drunk Vs Sober Illustrations That Show How The World Changes When You’re Drunk

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Revealed: Facebook’s internal rulebook on sex, terrorism and violence

Facebook’s secret rules and guidelines for deciding what its 2 billion users can post on the site are revealed for the first time in a Guardian investigation that will fuel the global debate about the role and ethics of the social media giant.The Guardian has seen more than 100 internal training manuals, spreadsheets and flowcharts that give unprecedented insight into the blueprints Facebook has used to moderate issues such as violence, hate speech, terrorism, pornography, racism and self-harm.

Source: Revealed: Facebook’s internal rulebook on sex, terrorism and violence | News | The Guardian

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New EU Lawsuit Claims Google Failed To Forget ‘Sensitive’ Information, Such As Their ‘Political Affiliation’

For years, we’ve pointed out that the “Right to be Forgotten” (RTBF) in Europe is a dangerous tool that has been and will continue to be abused as a tool to censor freedom of expression, while hiding behind a claim that it is to protect “privacy.” While the concept has been around for a while, it really took off online with a EU Court of Justice (CJEU) ruling from three years ago, saying that Google’s search results index counted as a data repository on someone, and thus, an individual could force Google to “delink” certain results from searches on their names. But, the court left some leeway to Google to decide whether or not the requests were valid. Basically, if the information is no longer relevant for the public to know about the person, then Google should delink it. Now, obviously, that’s a horribly subjective standard, and Google has had to staff up on people to determine whether or not any requested delinking qualifies.Part of the problem with all of this is that it seems to produce tremendous liability. Fail to get a delinking request “right” and Google is right back in court, which is exactly where we are today. Google has rejected just under 60% of requests to delink info in Europe, and four individuals in France were so upset by this, that they complained that their rights were being violated. The French data protection regulator, CNIL, actually agreed with Google that the information shouldn’t be “forgotten.” However, the four have appealed their case, and it’s been kicked back to the European Court of Justice. The four individuals are claiming that the information is “sensitive data” and are suggesting that just being “sensitive data” alone is enough to require forgetting — no matter what the “public interest” may be in that info.

Source: New EU Lawsuit Claims Google Failed To Forget ‘Sensitive’ Information, Such As Their ‘Political Affiliation’ | Techdirt

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How Will the “Death of MP3” Affect You?

If you grew up in the 1990s or 2000s, you might have a special connection with the audio format known as MP3. MP3s were the audio format of choice for the ordinary person, audiophiles notwithstanding.Whether you were ripping a CD onto your computer, downloading an album from iTunes, pirating a song online, or simply copying your friend’s meticulously crafted song collection, you probably chose MP3. Which is why the recent “MP3 is dead” headlines might have unsettled you.

The good news is that, contrary to headlines, the humble MP3 isn’t actually dead. This isn’t the apocalypse, your locally stored songs will still play perfectly well, you’ll still be able to rip CDs, and distribute podcasts as MP3s to boot.

What’s the truth behind the headlines? Let us fill you in.

Source: How Will the “Death of MP3” Affect You?

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Gay Porn Featuring Sex Scene Attacked for Cultural Appropriation 

A gay porn clip showing two men having sex using a didgeridoo has been attacked for appropriating Australian culture.“Didgeridoo Me”, a scene by US publisher Men.com, features two actors effectively using the Aboriginal instrument as an enormous dildo.Critics online lashed out at the scene, saying it is disrespectful to the didgeridoo, which plays a part in aboriginal spiritual life.The scene features two white actors – named as Aspen and Jack.One wakes his partner up by loudly playing the wind instrument while his opposite number is sleeping.He then flies into a rage, snaps the instrument in two, and takes “revenge” by using it as a sex toy. It features the line “I’m gonna didgeridoo you in the ass”.

Source: Gay Porn Featuring Sex Scene Attacked for Cultural Appropriation | Heat Street

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Global Center for Combating Extremism in Riyadh adopts unprecedented techniques 

World leaders, including Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and US President Donald Trump, inaugurated the Global Center for Combating Extremism headquartered in Riyadh as the US-Islamic Summit came to a close on Sunday.Riyadh hosted on Saturday and Sunday three anticipated summits during Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia with nearly 50 leaders, mainly from the Muslim world will be attending.“We want to convey a message to the West and the world that the Muslim world is not an enemy,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said.

Source: Global Center for Combating Extremism in Riyadh adopts unprecedented techniques – Al Arabiya English

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Barack Obama Speaks on Global Warming, Then Takes Private Flight and 13-Car Motorcade

Current President Donald Trump may be living it up in Saudi Arabia, but former President Barack Obama certainly isn’t slacking off on the sweet life.Obama and his wife Michelle are in Italy this week on vacation, after the former President spoke to the Institute for International Political Studies in Milan on the importance of addressing climate change, to preserve the world’s food supply and protect its underprivileged.Apparently, he’s decided to demonstrate humanity’s contribution to global warming by making his own carbon footprint as big as possible.On Friday, the Obama’s jetted into Tuscany on a private – not a commercial – plane, escorted into a small Florentine airport by six additional military jets, according to Italian state television. Footage of the landing has been broadcasting across Italy all weekend.

Source: Barack Obama Speaks on Global Warming, Then Takes Private Flight and 13-Car Motorcade

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Resistance to hydropower is evaporating as science takes centre stage

Big dams have a bad reputation. They’re often associated with social disruption and environmental damage. That perception is now shifting. The challenges of climate, urbanisation and economic growth in countries and communities already burdened by poverty and underdevelopment is leading to a radical change in attitudes. Dams and related water infrastructures are once again being recognised as key contributors to a prosperous and, as important, sustainable future.Developing countries need reliable water supplies for their predominantly poor populations. They also need to expand their energy production in ways that don’t aggravate climate change.This is why changes in the attitudes towards dams are most evident in the energy sector. Demands for energy to power cities are growing rapidly. So too are the energy needs in rural areas – to cultivate, process and transport crops as well as to drive the irrigation systems that underpin food security and light the lives of rural communities.

Source: Resistance to hydropower is evaporating as science takes centre stage

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Censorship and Gatekeepers: When “Left Progressives” Mingle with Neocons

The Left in the United States is fond of saying one thing in support of its programs, yet, generally does something entirely different. It also seems to have strange bedfellows. Here are a few examples:

The Left Forum brings together national and international politics, people, ideas, and activism for a just, equitable, free, sustainable world beyond capitalism. 

Originally founded in the 1960s, the Left Forum is holding its annual meeting June 2-4, 2017. Its situation is symptomatic of the American Left and its self-created problems. Embroiled this year in a vicious controversy over speakers and panels, the Forum is struggling with censorship, religion, and political correctness–but refuses to acknowledge its problems or explain its actions.

Image result for left forum

Given such statements and procedures, some people have questioned the Left’s attitude.

Gilad Atzmon, the Israeli Jew, musician, one-time soldier, and political writer, talks often about the Treacherous Left, the people more concerned with homosexual marriage than war, peace, or prosperity. In New York City’s East Village in early May 2017, Atzmon spoke on the

“tyranny of political correctness,” saying it was in fact “worse than tyranny, because it is self-censorship. It is you who silence yourself.”

Sarah Ferguson, author of an account in The Villager of his talk, asked

“What is the relationship between the Left and Free Speech? And is some speech so beyond the pale, that it’s wrong to even engage in debate?”

Given the hostility shown Atzmon at that event, this was not a rhetorical question. Too many set themselves up as arbiters of free speech. In the words of Swiss publicist, Frank A. Meyer, the media have become “moral executioners”. He noted that anyone making forbidden inquiries about government-promoted policies is punished. He said they are denounced as racist, right-wing populists, in extreme cases as fascists. (Meyer, Frank A. “Berlin-Anschlag Deutscher Winter 2016” (Berlin Attack German Winter 2016), Focus Online, December 25, 2016.)

And that is why the Left really is sinister, pun intended.

Look at the “progressives” who did not criticize Hillary Clinton‘s wild charges that Russian influence cost her the election. Look at the Leftists who refused to challenge Barack H. Obama‘s destruction of Libya and Syria. Where were the howls of rage? Where were the incandescent editorials in major newspapers? The journalist Bob Parry lost several jobs at mainstream publications because he would not color his reporting to fit management’s views (to protect their ties to government). No one from the Left protested. The “liberal” press, such as the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times savaged Gary Webb for publicizing CIA drug-dealing in support of Iran-Contra. Yet, no one from the sinister Gauche took to the streets, even after he “committed suicide” by shooting himself in the head–twice.

Image result for democracy nowAnd where is Democracy Now with its perceived credibility? A supposed “leftist”, the TV show’s host, Amy Goodman, is generously funded by globalist foundations. As a result, she is now a gatekeeper, promoting regime change in Syria. On May 3, 2017, Goodman interviewed Anand Gopal, former fellow at the New America Foundation. He claimed “Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad [is] the cause of all suffering in Syria.” (Haiphong, Danny. “‘Democracy Now’ Runs Interference for Imperialism in Syria”, Global Research, May, 15, 2017.) In yet another article, Democracy Now’s public face “is contributing to the very violence being committed by Western-backed mercenaries against the Syrian people.” (Tracy, James F.  “‘Progressive’ Journalism’s Legacy of Deceit”, Global Research, July 20, 2012.)

Mrs. Goodman will not touch a hot topic with a 10-foot pole or a 12-foot hungarian. This author sent her a copy of his book, Visas for Al Qaeda: CIA Handouts That Rocked The World, suggesting it  might be of interest to her program.  Dead silence. No one at Democracy Now responded to follow-up letters, emails, and telephone calls. (Copies of his upcoming publication, Goodbye, Europe? Hello Chaos? Merkel’s Migrant Bomb will go elsewhere.)

On December 18, 2016, the CBS “news” show 60 Minutes promoted the Syrian White Helmets (who work only in terrorist-controlled areas). According to the program, …

“[T]he trained force of 3,000 rescue workers offer Syrian civilians their only hope.”

Yet, “the Left” did not attack this fake news. (Cf. Global Research and 21st Century Wire for real news about the Helmets and their unsavory activities, connections, and background.)

The Left, as is clear from the foregoing, is controlled by gatekeepers. What are they? Who are they? What do they do? They control access.

Gatekeepers rarely challenge their own position as gatekeepers. They are simply right. They are more knowledgeable, more level-headed, more experienced, and more invested in the future of whatever movements they belong to. They know what is best and will enforce it for the greater good. They find themselves saying, “That is not appropriate,” or “That is counterproductive,” or “Why do you have to make this about you when it’s about us? (“Why It’s Important To Challenge The Power Of Gatekeepers”, TheEstablishment.com, July 7, 2016.)

Like the Left Forum, 60 Minutes, and Amy Goodman, Medea (given name Susan) Benjamin is another gatekeeper. She is well-heeled and well-connected.

…during the 2004 Presidential campaign, Benjamin’s message and tone began to shift dramatically into what came to be known as the “ABB” movement—Anybody But Bush. She and eighty fellow prominent leaders who once formed the one hundred-thirteen member “Nader 2000 Citizens Committee” put forth a petition urging anti-war Nader not to run, and instead threw their support behind pro-war Democratic Party candidate John Kerry… Benjamin cajoled [the] Greens into neither nominating Nader nor giving him the official endorsement he and running mate Peter Camejo had publicly sought from the party. (Shaw, Charles.  “The Gatekeepers of the So-Called Left”, Conspiracy Archive, May 16, 2005.)

Leftist gatekeepers appear to have connections with the Central Intelligence Agency. The “liberal” magazine Nation has ties to the Agency and its former director William Casey, founder of the Manhattan Institute, an alleged free market think tank.

But who funds the Gatekeepers? One organization is the Ford Foundation, “with a raft  of joint  Foundation-CIA projects”.

Investigative journalist Bob Feldman identifies several alternative media outlets receiving Ford Foundation funding (based on their tax returns).

As Feldman points out, these outlets has systematically marginalized independent researchers who have systematically studied…the JFK and other political assassinations. (Bramhall, Dr. Stuart Jeanne. “Does the CIA Fund Both the Right and the Left ?”, March 17, 2015, normanpilon.com).

Why does this happen? How does this happen? Is it because too many people are pig-stupid and badly educated? Is it because they put their trust in the wrong places? Here’s an explanation from a reader of the German translation of Visas for Al Qaeda (Die CIA und de Terror, Kopp Verlag.):

People here have too much faith in America…I told my sister about your book. She is a medical doctor and not stupid, but as in many cases she does not have enough time to figure out on her own the political picture. She saw what I told her from your book as a “conspiracy theory.” Al-Assad is an inhuman dictator, the US helps democracy in the Near East, etc. It is almost hopeless.

In the end, it’s the influence of special interest groups. Their members worm their way into power in Leftist media, organizations, and factions. Working together for particular interests, they block alternative viewpoints, limiting the public’s ability to know, to learn, to compare disparate ideas and viewpoints.

As the Washington Post now claims on its masthead,

“Democracy Dies In Darkness”.

Source: Censorship and Gatekeepers: When “Left Progressives” Mingle with Neocons | Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization

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The Killers ‘Mr Brightside’ Is 13-Years-Old And Still On The Charts

Everyone and their mom knows every word to The Killers “Mr. Brightside,” and how can you not? It’s a great freaking song, and is pretty easy to sing along to. But while the hit was on the band’s 2004 album “Hot Fuss,” it is still on the charts, even 13 years after it was released.When it was released, the song peaked at number ten on the Billboard’s Hot 100, which is good, but not great. So something tells us that the Vegas band wasn’t expecting to become the most played song of the 2000s, as it’s still on the freaking charts.Mark Savage, a BBC music reporter, shared the most played songs by decade, and of course, this tune was number one. Take a look at the tweet below.

Source: The Killers ‘Mr Brightside’ Is 13-Years-Old And Still On The Charts

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‘Greatest Show on Earth’ Takes Its Final Bow

The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus that has wowed crowds for 146 years with its “Greatest Show on Earth” is taking its final bow on Sunday. The circus’ last show at the Nassau County Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, is sold out, and former circus performers will be in the audience. Ringling’s parent company, Feld Entertainment, announced in January it would close the show, citing declining attendance and high operating costs. Animal rights activists had targeted the circus, saying that forcing animals to perform and transporting them around the country amounted to abuse. And in May 2016, the company removed elephants from its shows, but ticket sales continued to decline, reports the AP.Once a mainstay of entertainment in small towns and big cities alike, Ringling had two touring circuses this season, one of which ended its run earlier this month in Providence, Rhode Island. That show was the more traditional, three-ring circus, while the one in Uniondale this weekend has a narrative storyline. Called “Out of This World,” it’s set in futuristic outer space, with Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson narrating in his signature baritone. There are mild explosions and flashing lights—a sensory overload, but one that captivates the little ones. In the end, though, Feld executives said they knew the circus couldn’t compete with iPhones, the internet, video games, and massively branded and carefully marketed characters. Their other productions—Frozen on Ice, Marvel Live, Monster Trucks, Disney on Ice—resonate better with younger generations.

Source: ‘Greatest Show on Earth’ Takes Its Final Bow

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America’s Cities Are Running Out of Room 

A shortage of homes for sale has bedeviled U.S. house hunters in recent years, so why don’t builders build more? One problem is that they’re running out of lots to build on—at least in the places that people want to live.Cities that were sprawling before the Great Recession have begun to sprawl again. Space-constrained cities, meanwhile, have run out of room to build. That reality has spurred developers to focus on center-city neighborhoods where high-density building is allowed—and new units command exceedingly high prices.   At some point, said Issi Romem, chief economist at BuildZoom, vacant lots in desirable urban neighborhoods will run out. “If you have three days of rations left, you’ll be fine on day one, two, three,” said Romem, author of new research demonstrating home construction patterns. “On day 4, you have a problem.”

Source: America’s Cities Are Running Out of Room – Bloomberg

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Data on transgender surgeries reveals surge in demand 

The first ever data on gender reassignment surgeries in the United States shows demand is skyrocketing.The American Society of Plastic Surgeons found a nearly 20 percent increase in vaginoplasties, phalloplasties, top surgery and contouring operations in just the first year of reporting.In 2016, more than 3,200 surgeries were performed to help transgender patients feel more like themselves.Surgeons in the field claim that figure is a conservative estimate – and would likely three times higher if all hospitals had a uniform way of documenting such surgeries.And they believe celebrity transitions have been a driving force in this shift.

Source: Data on transgender surgeries reveals surge in demand | Daily Mail Online

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Rocket Lab sets date for first Electron launch 

Rocket Lab, the U.S.-New Zealand company developing the Electron small launch vehicle, plans to carry out its first flight in a window that opens May 21.The company announced May 14 that a 10-day window for the first Electron launch, which the company has dubbed “It’s a Test,” will open at 5 p.m. Eastern May 21 (9 a.m. local time May 22) from the company’s launch site at Mahia Peninsula on New Zealand’s North Island.“We are all incredibly excited to get to this point,” Peter Beck, chief executive of Rocket Lab, said in a statement about the planned launch. “Our talented team has been preparing for years for this opportunity and we want to do our best to get it right.”The company is setting expectations for a test launch that may suffer delays and could end in failure. “During this first launch attempt it is possible we will scrub multiple attempts as we wait until we are ready and conditions are favorable,” Beck said in the statement.The launch, as the company’s name for it emphasizes, is a test flight, with no satellite payload on board. The launch is the first of three such test flights Rocket Lab plans before beginning commercial launches later this year.

Source: Rocket Lab sets date for first Electron launch – SpaceNews.com

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Comey Admitted That Obstruction To FBI Probe ‘Never Happened’ 

Do you remember the girl who cried “wolf”?You do? Okay, good. Now, imagine there are hundreds, thousands of those girls in Washington D.C… and around the country.These girls are constantly warning of danger that does not exist.You can often find these pigtails in the establishment media and Democratic politics (oh wait, I guess I’m being a bit redundant there. My apologies).Remember when so many were concerned with the “scandalous” firing of FBI Director James Comey?News reporters immediately screamed “scandal!” and told readers that Donald Trump fired Comey in an attempt “to squash an FBI probe into former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn.”According to The Daily Wire:Trump held Comey by the ankles — upside down — out the window of the White House’s Lincoln Bedroom as he quoted lines from Scarface, reports said.No, that didn’t happen. Here’s what Trump is said to have said to Comey, according to a memo Comey did not provide to anyone: “I hope you can let this go.” Smoke alarm! Run away! We’re all going to die!……The New York Times published the memo story on Tuesday, citing “two people who read the memo.”Two people read the memo that Comey never gave them.And, for as credible as those random memos that surface from thin air are, the Senate Judiciary Committee decided to go directly to the source and ask Comey if he’s ever “been pressured to close an investigation for political purposes.”Was Comey ever pressured to close an investigation?According to Comey, no.“Not in my experience. Because it would be a big deal to tell the FBI to stop doing something like that — without an appropriate purpose.”“I mean where oftentimes they give us opinions that ‘We don’t see a case there and so you ought to stop investing resources in it.’ But I’m talking about a situation where we were told to stop something for a political reason.”“That would be a very big deal. It’s not happened in my experience,” Comey told the senators.Yes, indeed. That would be a very big deal.And his testimony certainly suggests the bogus nature of the memo.

Source: Comey Admitted That Obstruction To FBI Probe ‘Never Happened’ | The Federalist Papers

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CIA Malware for All Versions of Windows

Today, May 19th 2017, WikiLeaks publishes documents from the “Athena” project of the CIA. “Athena” – like the related “Hera” system – provides remote beacon and loader capabilities on target computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system (from Windows XP to Windows 10). Once installed, the malware provides a beaconing capability (including configuration and task handling), the memory loading/unloading of malicious payloads for specific tasks and the delivery and retrieval of files to/from a specified directory on the target system. It allows the operator to configure settings during runtime (while the implant is on target) to customize it to an operation.According to the documentation (see Athena Technology Overview), the malware was developed by the CIA in cooperation with Siege Technologies, a self-proclaimed cyber security company based in New Hampshire, US. On their website, Siege Technologies states that the company “… focuses on leveraging offensive cyberwar technologies and methodologies to develop predictive cyber security solutions for insurance, government and other targeted markets.”. On November 15th, 2016 Nehemiah Security announced the acquisition of Siege Technologies.In an email from HackingTeam (published by WikiLeaks here), Jason Syversen, founder of Siege Technologies with a background in cryptography and hacking, “… said he set out to create the equivalent of the military’s so-called probability of kill metric, a statistical analysis of whether an attack is likely to succeed. ‘I feel more comfortable working on electronic warfare,’ he said. ‘It’s a little different than bombs and nuclear weapons — that’s a morally complex field to be in. Now instead of bombing things and having collateral damage, you can really reduce civilian casualties, which is a win for everybody.'”

Source: WikiLeaks – Releases

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US government standards office says periodic password changes aren’t necessary 

New guidelines from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), expected to be released this summer, suggest that periodic password changes are no longer necessary. The report also recommends changes to several other password policies that have become antiquated in the modern computing environment:Allow at least 64 characters in length to support the use of passphrases.Encourage users to make memorized secrets as lengthy as they want, using any characters they like (including spaces), thus aiding memorization.Do not impose other composition rules (e.g. mixtures of different character types) on memorized secrets.These requirements will bring standards closer to what security experts currently recommend, and what this often-cited XKCD comic illustrates:

Source: US government standards office says periodic password changes aren’t necessary — Quartz

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PCI vs. USB WiFi Adapters: Which Is Right for You? – Make Tech Easier

WiFi has become a central part of connecting to the Internet. If you’re not fortunate enough to be able to connect via ethernet, WiFi is still a solid choice for a fast connection. However, when getting a computer online, you’ll be faced with two of the most popular options – a PCI adapter and a USB adapter. They both do the exact same job of getting you online, but it’s very unclear as to what the differences are!Ads by GoogleSo if you’re planning to get a computer onto a WiFi network, what are the choices you have and which one is best for you?PCI AdaptersPCI adapters have been the mainstay of WiFi connectability since the start. Plugging into a PCI slot onto your PC, they come with an antenna that sticks out of the back of your PC to maximise signal.What Makes Them Good?Due to PCI cards coming with antennae, this makes them naturally better at picking up a stronger signal than USB adapters. While you can find USB adapters that come with one or two antennae attached, you can just as easily find a PCi card with two or three of them installed! Even better, if you’re struggling to pick up a decent signal with a PCI card, you can easily detach the antenna and replace it with a much stronger one which may not be an option on some USB models.Using a PCI slot also helps free up your USB ports. Having the adapter on a USB port can be a real pain if your USB slots are full, and you need to plug in something else. Removing the dependency on USB and moving it to the PCI means that you can plug in as many keyboards, mice, tablets, phones, or other devices as you want without worrying about having to remove your Internet as a consequence.There have also been reports that USB adapters can be prone to overheating should you use them for network-intensive activities. While not every USB adapter will break when put under a huge strain, you can help negate this problem entirely by simply opting for a PCI card instead. That way you can do as much data transfer as you like without having to worry.

Source: PCI vs. USB WiFi Adapters: Which Is Right for You? – Make Tech Easier

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Feminist Emma Watson Accepts ‘Genderless Award’ from ‘Non-Binary’ Actress….NONSENSE! 

Well folks, it is now 2017, and we have not only put men in the women’s restrooms, but we also have people are claiming to be “non-binary” which basically means they are so confused with life that they do not even remember whether they are male or female. Thanks Obama.Actress, and proclaimed feminist, Emma Watson is front and center in this movement and all of the nonsense that ensues. She accepted the first ever “genderless” MTV award…whatever that means. The person who presented this award to her was Orange is the New Black’s actress Asia Kate Dillon.I find it interested that Dillon is still referred to as an “actress” since she claims to be “non-binary.” Just give it time though. I am sure they will come up with a term for the “genderless” actresses and actors. If you ask me, they need to see a doctor because they are obviously working through some serious psychological issues.

Source: Feminist Emma Watson Accepts ‘Genderless Award’ from ‘Non-Binary’ Actress….NONSENSE! – Godfather Politics

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Leaked NSA Hacking Tool On Global Ransomware Rampage 

Welp. What was that we were saying about the problems of the NSA creating hacking tools that leak, rather than helping patch security flaws? Oh, right. That it would make everyone less safe.

And here we are. With a global ransomware rampage, referred to as “WannaCry” putting tons of people at risk, thanks to leaked NSA malware:

Leaked alleged NSA hacking tools appear to be behind a massive cyberattack disrupting hospitals and companies across Europe, Asia and the U.S., with Russia among the hardest-hit countries.

The unique malware causing the attacks — which been spotted in tens of thousands of incidents in 99 countries, according to the cyber firm Avast — have forced some hospitals to stop admitting new patients with serious medical conditions and driven other companies to shut down their networks, leaving valuable files unavailable.

Specifically, it appears that the ransomware is using an NSA tool called ETERNALBLUE, which was leaked in April by Shadow Brokers. This was among those that were quietly patched by Microsoft back in March, but not everyone installs security patches in a timely manner. Indeed, as some are reporting, some of the victims — including the National Health Service Hospitals in the UK — are running ancient Windows XP, an operating system that is not even remotely secure, and is no longer supported.

Thus, there’s some debate online about whether the “problem” here is organizations who don’t upgrade/patch or the NSA. Of course, these things are not mutually exclusive: you can reasonably blame both. Failing to update and patch your computers is a bad idea these days — especially for large organizations with IT staff who should know better.

Source: Leaked NSA Hacking Tool On Global Ransomware Rampage | Techdirt

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Arcade group promises ticket and claw games will no longer be “rigged” 

Anyone who’s played a crane game on the boardwalk or any number of timing-based ticket-spewing “redemption games” at an arcade has probably suspected at some point that these machines are rigged against them. Now, a major industry trade group is trying to win back player trust, promising its members will only provide games that can be won “by the application of skill.”The American Amusement Machine Association (AAMA) is a non-profit lobbying group that represents everyone from arcade game manufacturers like Bandai Namco and Sega to operators like Dave & Busters and Cinemark theaters, even the distributors and suppliers in between. Those members will now have to sign on to a “Fair Play Pledge” (FPP) that promises all their games will “meet a standard of performance that allows a player a fair chance of winning with every game played.” (thanks to Arcade Heroes for the heads up)More specifically, FPP-compliant games will have to meet the following criteria:

Source: Arcade group promises ticket and claw games will no longer be “rigged” | Ars Technica

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Controversial Theory Says Expansion of Universe Is Driven by Quantum Fluctuations

A team of researchers from the University of British Columbia, Canada, has proposed a radical new theory about the expansion of the universe. Scientists do not know exactly why the universe is expanding at an ever-accelerating pace, but the most popular theory is that this growth is being driven by dark energy, the theoretical force thought to make up 68 percent of the universe.However, the University of British Columbia researchers have another theory—that quantum fluctuations of vacuum energy are responsible.Scientists discovered the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate in 1998. Researchers analyzed the light from supernovae (exploding stars) and discovered the supernovae were moving away from each other at an ever increasing speed. They concluded the universe must be expanding at an accelerating rate.

Source: Controversial Theory Says Expansion of Universe Is Driven by Quantum Fluctuations—not Dark Energy

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The Gods of Times Square 

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Breast-obsessed artist creates fluffy pink ‘Boobroom’ 

Much of Weijue Wang’s art is fluffy and pink and displays a strong emphasis on the mammaries of the female human, but underneath her seemingly fun and bouncy subject matter is a very dark subtext. Very dark.Wang’s work was showcased at StARTup Art Fair in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago. Here is the statement of purpose Wang submitted for the event, which was rather striking: As an emerging Chinese female artist who lives in an age of consumerism in China, I am bombarded with the commodification of everything in every aspect of my daily life. I am interested especially in the commodification of the female bodies. Contemporary women are freer to think and act. With enhanced freedom, however, some threat their self-esteem by seeking painful cosmetic surgeries to modify their appearances. In the name of beauty, some women commoditize their bodies to fit into the sexualized beauty norms. These soft and fluffy female private part jewelries and sculptures are born in my needle’s sharp penetration through the felt. Underneath their harmless domesticity, I want to unveil the profound violence and irony in female commodification and mass-produced beauty. By showing my works in a hotel room setting, the sexual and domestic feeling of my works will be enhanced. Basically, I will create a room of fetish of female body parts. Some pieces will be lying on the bed (like the Airport Dream II ), while the sound that will be coming out of the piece will allow the audience to expand their imagination.

Source: Breast-obsessed artist creates fluffy pink ‘Boobroom’ | Dangerous Minds

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Robot rockers lead Lithuania’s street music day

An all-robot rock band makes music during the Street Music day in Vilnius on May 20, 2017 (AFP Photo/Petras Malukas)MoreVilnius (AFP) – From folk singers to an all-robot rock band, hundreds of Lithuanian music lovers flocked streets and squares Saturday to celebrate Street Music Day in dozens of cities and towns nationwide.The Baltic state of three million people has hosted the festival since 2007, also attracting followers in other European countries.On the hottest day of the year, the robot band played at a square in Vilnius, one of more than 100 spots hosting concerts by professional and amateur musicians, and proved particularly popular with children.”Robots are still quite rarely used in art,” said Povilas Zmejauskas, 24, explaining the idea behind the band, which played rock and pop music.

Source: Robot rockers lead Lithuania’s street music day

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This Gold Darth Vader Mask Is The Ultimate Fan Piece Worth $1.4 Million

Last week we marked the Star Wars anniversary and fans all over the world expressed their loyalty to the famous franchise by sharing posts most often titled “May the fourth be with you”. Some of the fans did some Star Wars fan art inspired by the day, but in this article is something different, something that is lifting up the craze on the whole new level.Japanese jeweler Ginza Tanaka made a replica of Darth Vader mask out of a pure gold and in real size! As you can see in the photos, the Gold Darth Vader mask is really worthy and this is a unique opportunity for collectors to include this one of the kind trophy into the collection. You must be already wondering about the price, right? Well the price is pretty high standing at $1.4 million.This year was the 40th anniversary of George Lucas’ original trilogy, and the number surely deserved something special, but this is really beyond of most of the fan-collectors possibilities. Who will include this piece into their Star Wars collection, what do you think? The store also offered 10-gram coins featuring Yoda and a lightsaber duel between Vader and Luke Skywalker for “only” $1,200 a piece.

Source: This Gold Darth Vader Mask Is The Ultimate Fan Piece Worth $1.4 Million

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Dogs Are Being Forced To Pull Carts Full Of People – The Dodo

In a disturbing video, a tiny dog lies flat on the ground as a man hits him with a whip. The dog can’t get away — he’s tethered to a cart, which the man is trying to ride. But when the dog stops moving — probably out of sheer exhaustion — the man beats him harder.While the man in the video seemed to be using the small dog to pull a personal cart, people in China are now using dogs to pull rickshaws — two-wheeled hooded vehicles used to transport people, according to animal welfare advocates.“The latest gimmick is to use them as taxis or dog cars, as they’re called,” Michele Brown, founder of Fight Dog Meat, an organization that campaigns against the dog meat trade in Asia, told The Dodo. “When something becomes a fad in China, it can quickly sweep across the country. It’s the same as the rickshaws with the people riding bicycles — they just happen to use dogs now.”

Source: Dogs Are Being Forced To Pull Carts Full Of People – The Dodo

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Empire Files: Privacy, Control & the Darknet 

Do you know how to remain safe in the age of mass surveillance and data mining? Have you ever wondered how the internet really works?Most internet users perceive the internet to be a vast and seemingly limitless space despite their lack of awareness of its actual structure and varied uses. Beyond the everyday space referred to as the World Wide Web, there is an expansive dark space not seen by the ordinary world and not indexed by search engines. This mysterious space is only seen by internet users who have the tools and knowledge to access it.This space, which is often misunderstood, goes by the names of Deep Web, Dark Web, and Darknet though these names have different meanings and are often misused. Imagine the internet as an iceberg, with the World Wide Web as the tip. Below that is the Deep Web– the expansive hidden space beneath the surface, meaningless to most internet users. Private networks not accessible to search engines are within the Deep Web where things like administrative code and banking data are found. Conversely, the Darknet is much smaller. It is an encrypted network requiring specific tools for access. The Tor network is found on the Darknet and thus was where the Silk Road was located.Not everything that happens on the Darknet is illegal. On the Tor network, users are able to browse the internet anonymously which is one of the most significant attractions. There are also hidden places, unique to the Darknet, that are only accessible via Tor. Contrary to the belief of those unfamiliar with the Darknet, not all of the content found there is illegal and not every Tor user has criminal intent. The Darknet is where many political dissidents, journalists and others who value their anonymity can be found.Only a minor portion of the activities taking place on the Darknet are actually nefarious. The Tor network was initially funded by the U.S. government and was created for the U.S. Navy. The intelligence community was in need of a dedicated space for encrypted communication. In order for that encrypted communication network to be practical, however, the network needed more users and additional traffic, leading it to being introduced to the public. Soon after, as users began to congregate and utilize the anonymous space, communities like the Silk Road began appearing.

Source: Empire Files: Privacy, Control & the Darknet – The Fifth Column

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Feminists Say They’re Being ‘Bullied and Blackmailed’ Over Opposition to Canada’s Transgender Rights Bill

Feminist activists in Canada say they’re being “bullied and blackmailed” by a powerful union group because they’ve raised concerns about how a proposed  transgender rights bill could destroy exclusively “female-born” women’s spaces like rape crisis centers.The transgender rights bill, titled C-16, would add “gender identity” and “gender expression” to the protections outlined in the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code. The House of Commons, which voted in favor of the bill, sent the proposed law changes to the Senate last November.Hilla KernerBut “there is no social consensus on what these terms mean,” said Hilla Kerner, a spokeswoman for the collective of Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter.She recently testified to the Red Chamber committee studying the bill, saying this change could interfere with women’s ability to organize, fight for women’s rights, and raise consciousness about issues affecting women. Women’s groups must have “the right to decide who they will serve and who their members are,” she told us.Kerner’s organization also told the committee that her organization blocked a post-operation transgender woman from volunteering as a rape counselor because, according to her, she didn’t have sufficient “life experience” to relate to women who are escaping abusive relationships.Earlier this year British Columbia Federation of Labour, an umbrella organization representing many union groups, unanimously passed a resolution calling on all their affiliates to avoid donating to “trans* exclusionary organizations,” specifically mentioning the Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter.

Source: Feminists Say They’re Being ‘Bullied and Blackmailed’ Over Opposition to Canada’s Transgender Rights Bill

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Infamous law enforcement trainer Dave Grossman is bringing “Killology” to hospitals and high schools

Records from a “Bulletproof Mind” training in Salem, Illinois show Grossman’s interest in diversifying his audience with “Safe Schools and Healthy Students”Written by Curtis WaltmanEdited by JPat BrownOver the course of the last twenty years, retired Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman has risen to become the go-to expert for US law enforcement, traveling across the country giving seminars to police and sheriff’s deputies through his incredibly-named Killology Research Group (KRG).His presentations have been been met with a healthy amount of criticism – Grossman’s rhetoric includes ISIS attacking the country with a nuclear bomb via a secret crossing through the Mexican border, Black Lives Matter killing cops at rallies, and how video games are corrupting kids, leading the New Republic to dub him ‘Professor Carnage.’ Many of these lectures are booked in advance by specific agencies, and MuckRock has been filing with a number of them in the hopes of learning about this increasingly controversial figure.

Source: Infamous law enforcement trainer Dave Grossman is bringing “Killology” to hospitals and high schools

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