Daily Archives: June 28, 2015

Park visitor unearths 8.52-carat diamond in Arkansas

(CNN)A glistening, white diamond half the size of a quarter was discovered at Arkansas’ Crater of Diamonds State Park on Wednesday, park officials said.

Shaped like an icicle, the 8.25-carat gem is the fifth-largest diamond found by a visitor to the state park since the site was established in 1972.

Park visitor Bobbie Oskarson of Longmont, Colorado, discovered the diamond while digging around the Pig Pen, a 37-acre search field inside the park named for its muddy terrain after rainfall.

continue http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/27/us/8-52-carat-diamond-arkansas/index.html

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FAA Approves Unmanned, Poison Spraying Helicopters

The federal government has granted its approval for a new unmanned pesticide drone that reports indicate will soon start dumping chemical herbicides and other crop-related substances from the sky.

The helicopters, designed by Yamaha Corp. U.S.A., have an empty weight of only 141 pounds, according to a Federal Aviation Administration document,[PDF] and they don’t require a human pilot. Multinational corporations like Monsanto can just load them up with Roundup and send them on their way.

“Yamaha unmanned helicopters are designed for a wide range of industrial and research applications,” reads an official brochure for the new technology,[PDF] which lists “precision agriculture,” “spraying” and “seeding” as potential uses.

“Your eye in the sky offers cost effective, accurate and efficient spraying with zero soil compaction,” it adds.

Here you can see the “RMAX” unmanned helicopter in action as it shoots chemicals down on crops:


Unmanned drones for use in chemical agriculture represent largest civilian drones ever approved by FAA

Federal regulators were initially hesitant to approve the, drone but they eventually caved, granting a Section 333 exemption to the civilian drone on May 1. Steve Markofski, a spokesman for Yamaha Corp. U.S.A., told the Associated Press this in response:

“I certainly understand their cautious approach. It’s a daunting task given our airspace is complicated.”

Prior to this approval, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had only issued exemptions for much smaller drones weighing less than 55 pounds. In this case, the RMAX will be allowed to operate with a maximum payload of 218 pounds.

continue http://worldtruth.tv/monsantos-airborne-pesticide-drones-coming-soon-faa-approves-unmanned-poison-spraying-helicopters/

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Ohio student runs Android OS on graphing calculator

Categories: technology, video | Tags: , ,

Baltimore Police Called Out For Making Up ‘Gang Violence’ Stories To Scare Public


Remember when the Baltimore Police Department was telling all of these stories about “Bloods” and “Crips” uniting to “destroy” the city and its “heroic” police force?

Now city leaders are coming forward and calling out the police for these claims. Last Thursday several leaders publicly questioned the Baltimore Police Department as to why they issued a public warning the morning of Freddie Gray’s funeral. That warning claimed that police officers were being targeted by a united Blood-Crip alliance that would not rest until every Baltimore officer was dead.

Instead of allowing the community to mourn the untimely death of Freddie Gray, the Baltimore City Police hijacked the attention and painted themselves as the victims.

Now, months later, it is coming out that the whole thing was invented. The police made it all up. They didn’t have a shred of credible evidence to support the claims they were making.

In fact, much the opposite was true. Bloods, Crips and other gangs were uniting to protect the community, to stop looting and violence and pledging to end fighting between their circles.

Instead of praising this cessation of violence between these gangs, the police announced on April 27 that a “credible threat” from the Bloods, Crips and Black Guerrilla Family had made it clear that these “criminal” forces had united to target officers.

According to documentation and supporting interviews obtained by The Baltimore Sun, the police made it all up.

continue http://countercurrentnews.com/2015/06/baltimore-police-called-out/

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Space station cabbage: To boldly grow where no veg has grown before


Video Weather permitting, SpaceX will fire off its seventh resupply mission to the International Space Station on Sunday, and NASA has detailed some of the science experiments the Dragon capsule will be carrying in its hold.

The rocket will loft nearly 4,000lbs (1,814kg) of supplies and science kit when it takes off on Sunday at 1021 ET (1521 UTC) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, including 35 new experiments for the ISS crew to run.

Dr Julie Robinson, chief scientist for the ISS, said that of special interest to the crew will be the Veggie, a piece of equipment that will allow them to grow their own food.

“We’re getting close to that first bite of space lettuce,” Robinson said at a NASA press conference on Friday. “The crew eat only preserved food at the moment, which is better than pills, but eating fresh leafy greens is really important as part of a balanced diet and helps with mental health.”

On a mission last year, astronauts used a Veggie to raise romaine lettuce but weren’t allowed to eat it because scientists wanted to see if it was safe. This time, Robinson said, the ISS crew will grow a form of Japanese cabbage and may even be allowed to eat it themselves.

Also included in the Commercial Resupply Services 7 (CRS-7) mission payload is NASA’s Meteor camera, which will be mounted in the Window Observational Research Facility (WORF) on the ISS.

This is NASA’s second attempt at installing the Meteor, as the original camera was among the equipment that was destroyed when an Orbital Sciences Antares rocket blew up last year shortly after launch.

continue http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/06/26/spacex_supply_mission_taking_meteor_spotted_and_space_cabbage_into_orbit/

Categories: technology | Tags: ,

Pentagon paying monthly stipends to Syrian rebels (aka ISIS)

The U.S. is quietly–and under a virtual media blackout–conducting a coup d’etat in Syria at enormous taxpayer expense: Pentagon paying monthly stipends to Syrian rebels (aka ISIS) to eventually fight Assad and invoke regime change | 24 June 2015 | The U.S. Department of Defense announced Monday it is making monthly payments to ‘moderate Syrian rebels’ being trained to fight foment the Islamic State. The United States, Turkey, Jordan, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia agreed in February to participate in the training and fielding of a moderate Syrian opposition force…”The trainees are currently receiving a stipend of between $250 and $400 per month, per soldier, depending on skill set, performance and leadership position,” Navy Cmdr. Elissa Smith, a Pentagon spokeswoman, told reporters. The Pentagon hopes to have 3,000 fighters trained by the end of the year and 5,400 trained after 12 months. The fighters are primarily to be used ‘against’ IS forces and are envisioned to eventually stand as viable opposition to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, USA Today reports. [Yeah, let’s pay I-CIA-SIS to fight while we slash Medicare to fund the TPP – great idea!]

source http://www.legitgov.org

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Google’s artificial-intelligence bot says the purpose of living is ‘to live forever’

Google engineer, serversAP Photo/Connie Zhou

This week, Google released a research paper chronicling one of its latest forays into artificial intelligence.

Researchers at the company programmed an advanced type of “chatbot” that learns how to respond in conversations based on examples from a training set of dialogue.

And the bot doesn’t just answer by spitting out canned answers in response to certain words; it can form new answers from new questions.

This means Google’s researchers could get a little creative with it, and they certainly did — they asked the bot everything from boring IT questions to inquiries about the meaning of life.

The responses were alternately impressive, amusing, and unnerving.

Here are some of the most poetic interactions from the paper:

Human: What is the purpose of life?

Machine: To serve the greater good.

Human: What is the purpose of living?

Machine: To live forever.

Human: Where are you now?

Machine: I’m in the middle of nowhere.

Human: What is the purpose of dying?

Machine: To have a life.

Human: What is the purpose of emotions?

Machine: I don’t know.

Human: What is moral?

Machine: What empowered humanity, what intellectual the essence is.

Human: What is immoral?

Machine: The fact that you have a child.

Human: What is morality?

Machine: What is altruism?

Human: What is the definition of altruism?

Machine: If you don’t believe in god, then you don’t know.

Human: Ok … so what is the definition of morality?

Machine: Well, the truth is, you’re not a believer in god almighty.

Human: Tell me the definition of morality, I am quite upset now!

Machine: I’m not ashamed of being a philosopher!

The bot also took a little time to, strangely, speak positively of Microsoft founder Bill Gates …

Human: What do you think about Bill Gates?

Machine: He’s a good man.

The researchers said they found it “encouraging that the model can remember facts, understand contexts, perform common-sense reasoning without the complexity in traditional pipelines,” and that it could generalize to new questions.

What they weren’t as happy about was that the model “only gives simple, short, sometimes unsatisfying answers to our questions as can be seen above.”

You can read the whole paper, “A Neural Conversational Model.”

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Is Google Eavesdropping on Chromium Users?

Is Google Eavesdropping on Chromium Users?

Google has found itself in hot water after open source developers noticed that the Debian version of Chromium, the open-source version of Google Chrome, is downloading black-box code from Google, designed to listen to the user via any connected microphone and stream the audio back for analysis.

Obviously, this sounds pretty bad, but the situation is a little more complicated than this would suggest, so let’s take a step back and see what’s really going on.

What is Open Source?

For those unfamiliar, in open source software development, developers work together to create software with source code freely available for review and modification. This is an alternative to commercial software development, where software is developed in secret, and the compiled files (but not the source code) are sold to customers as a black box.

continue after video

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World’s First Commercial Jetpack Arrives Next Year

After 35 years in development, the world’s first commercially available jetpack will be available next year for $150,000.

The Martin Jetpack is made from carbon fibre and aluminium. It eschews the traditional rockets of science-fiction jetpacks, which are powerful but difficult to control, and instead uses fans.

A two-litre petrol engine drives two fans either side of the pilot to lift the jet pack and up to 120kgs of human into the air, along with a low-altitude parachute for use should things go wrong.

After initial test flights in 2011, an updated version was shown off recently at the Paris airshow. It could fly for up to 30 minutes at speeds as fast as 74 kilometres per hour. Pilots will be able to reach altitudes of 1,000m taking off and landing vertically, meaning rooftops, gardens and parking lots are all viable launchpads.

In fact, Martin believes that the jetpack’s ability to land in confined spaces will be its selling point, not aimed at millionaires as an expensive toy, but the emergency services.
continue http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jun/26/worlds-first-commercial-jetpack-next-year

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Guy Writes New James Bond Book… Only Available Where Bond Is In The Public Domain

Since I run Techdirt, book publishers frequently push random books on me. Sometimes they just send the books. More frequently they send me announcements about books to see if I might be interested. Most go directly in the recycle bin. But one that came in just recently caught my eye — and not because of the subject matter. Usually the books are about the tech industry or politics or something. But this was a James Bond story. I almost tossed it out immediately, assuming someone mail merged the wrong press list — but then I realized why we were on the list. James Bond recently went into the public domain in Canada, raising some interesting questions over what that meant — since 007 is still protected by copyright in the US and some other countries. So, now it appears that some guy named Curtis Cook has decided to write himself his own Bond book, and the press release touts the fact that it’s because Bond is in the public domain in Canada.

At the end of the letter, it notes that review copies are available worldwide, but that “commercial sales [will be] limited to Canada and other countries that are “life plus 50″ Berne rule signatories.” In other words, don’t expect to see the book in the US, unless you snag a review copy.

continue https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150617/16093031381/guy-writes-new-james-bond-book-only-available-where-bond-is-public-domain.shtml

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