Daily Archives: July 3, 2015

Largest vinyl record pressing plant in the US is expanding

America’s largest vinyl record pressing plant in Nashville, Tennessee, will be expanding its operations to include a second warehouse full of record-making machinery. United Record Pressing LLC told The Tennessean on Monday that it plans to add 16 presses to its present 30, and it will use the remaining space in the new warehouse as storage to meet a robustly growing demand for its product.

While we’ve been seeing an upward trend in the vinyl record industry for years now, those increases are becoming more noticeable, and this latest news from United Record Pressing reflects that in a tangible way. The company’s new location is a 142,000-square-foot warehouse in Nashville that it bought for $5.5 million.

United Record is attributing the good times to digital music sales. “Our belief is that it’s being driven by the rise in digital,” Jay Millar, the company’s Director of Marketing, told The Tennessean. “People who want something tangible and the best sound quality and experience are going to vinyl as opposed to CDs.”

continue http://arstechnica.com/business/2014/05/nations-largest-vinyl-record-pressing-plant-is-expanding/

Categories: music | Tags:

The 2015 Coney Island Mermaid Parade

The 33rd Annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade turned Surf Avenue into a ocean of nearly naked sea creatures yesterday, as huge crowds came out to march and dance and drink and play and party.

The rain held off for most of the actual parade, with just a brief sprinkle dampening some of the pre-gaming fun in the staging area, and then another minor downpour after most mermaids had completed the route.

The King and Queen this year were Mat Fraser, an actor best known for his role in American Horror Story: Freak Show, and burlesque star Julie Atlas Muz, and they reigned with honor and munificence.

continue and see more photo’s http://gothamist.com/2015/06/21/photos_of_2015_mermaid_parade.php#photo-1

Categories: weird | Tags:

Prince begins removing his music from streaming services

Prince giveth, and Prince taketh away. On the same day that the Purple Rain writer shared a new track, HARDROCKLOVER, on his Soundcloud page, he also began removing his back catalog from music streaming services. The Purple One’s music is no longer accessible on Spotify, and a note on his artist page reads: “Prince’s publisher has asked all streaming services to remove his catalog. We have cooperated with the request, and hope to bring his music back as soon as possible.” Billboard reports that his music was also removed from Rdio. continue http://www.theverge.com/2015/7/2/8882527/prince-streaming-music-spotify-tidal

The message on Prince’s Spotify page. (Spotify)

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Spanish Town That Runs on Twitter Shows Off the Power of Social Media

Twitter, along with countless other social media websites, is often viewed as a productivity killer. But a small town in Spain has actually been using the platform to improve communication between authorities and the people. In fact, Twitter is so important to the people of Jun that they actually built a monument of the iconic ‘blue bird’ in the town’s square.

Since September 2011, the 3,500-strong community has used Twitter to spread local news, developments, job opportunities, orbituaries, and even school dinner menus! Residents book doctor’s appointments, register consumer complaints, and report crimes through their tweets. Jun’s Mayor, José Antonio Rodriguez Salas, has his own account, with a massive following of over 340,000. Locals can contact the Mayor by tweeting him directly.

All the town’s public services, including the police force, have their own Twitter accounts. The force, consisting of only one officer, drives a squad car with ‘@PoliciaJun’ painted on the bonnet. In fact, the bird logo can be seen everywhere, including the Mayor’s office. Even the guy who sweeps the streets tweets amusing messages, with before and after shots of his handiwork.  The town’s elderly aren’t ignored either – there’s a special program in place to teach them how to use the internet and social media.


The town’s unique communication strategy has caught the attention of the world, so much so that researchers from MIT’s Media Lab are now conducting studies in Jun. According to The Independent, they’re trying to find out if social networking holds the key to improved public services in larger cities.

continue http://www.odditycentral.com/news/the-spanish-town-that-runs-on-twitter-shows-off-the-power-of-social-media.html

Categories: technology | Tags: , ,

Facebook Now Knows & Records Every Website You Visit

I’ve written before about Facebook and it’s invasion of privacy, and their ever-increasing careless attitude towards protecting our information.  You can read about that here.  Now, Facebook is taking it even further, by harvesting not only all of your private and personal data – but, also, it is logging and recording EVERY single website you visit.

According to a report from Natural News [1]:

You probably know that Facebook collects and stores your personal data and preferences to form a profile that it uses to generate advertising content targeted directly at you. But did you know that Facebook also looks at all the other websites you visit and stores that data, too? Facebook also collects your online search data along with some of the details you give to retailers when you purchase something.

Zuckerberg and his Facebook shareholders make huge amounts of money by partnering with what are known as “data brokers.”

Bruce Schneier, a data security expert, defines data brokers as entities which:

‘collect demographic information: names, addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, gender, age, marital status, presence and ages of children in household, education level, profession, income level, political affiliation, cars driven, and information about homes and other property. They collect lists of things you’ve purchased, when you’ve purchased them, and how you paid for them. They keep track of deaths, divorces, and diseases in your family. They collect everything about what you do on the Internet.’

continue http://yournewswire.com/facebook-now-knows-records-every-website-you-visit/

Categories: Uncategorized

Husband Plans Second Wedding For Wife After She Lost Memory In Car Crash

Justice and Jeremy Stamper are saving for a second wedding. The Tennessee couple met when they were 10 years old at Sunday school, started dating in high-school, and got married last year, aged 20 and 21 respectively. However, 19 days after their wedding, tragedy struck.

On August 20th, Justice was nearly killed in a terrible car accident. About a month later, she confessed to her husband, “I don’t want you to be mad….but I do not remember the wedding.” Jeremy’s reply was prompt. “I was heart broken and instantly said I would do it all again for her. She has memory loss from about 5 weeks before the wedding…She didn’t even know we were married.”

This August 1st, on the anniversary of their first wedding, the Stampers are getting married “again.” Jeremy is in school and working, and since Justice is still recovering from the accident, they have decided to ask the world for donations through a GoFundMe page.

More info: gofundme.com (h/t: abcnews, people)

Justice and Jeremy met in Sunday school when they were 10 years old

The couple married on August 1st, 2014

19 days after their wedding, Justice got in a terrible car accident

She lost 5 weeks worth of memories, including those of her wedding.

continue http://www.boredpanda.com/second-wedding-wife-lost-memory-jeremy-justice-stamper/

Categories: Uncategorized

Google Made A Chatbot That Debates The Meaning of Life

A human talks to a machine. And it goes like this:

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: what is the purpose of existence?
Machine: to find out what happens when we get to the planet earth.
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 being intelligent?
Machine: to find out what it is.
Human: what is the purpose of emotions?
Machine: i don’t know.

It reads like a scene from a classic sci-fi flick. But it’s not. It really is a human talking to a machine—a machine built by Google. And there may be good reason it sounds like a movie. Part of the trick is that this machine learned to converse by analyzing an enormous collection of old movie dialogue.

Google detailed its project earlier this month in a research paper published to Arxiv, a popular repository for academic research. Other “chatbots” can carry on (somewhat) reasonable conversations with humans. But this one is a little different. There wasn’t a team of software engineers who meticulously coded the bot to respond to certain questions in certain ways. Google researchers Oriol Vinyals and Quoc Le built a system that could analyze existing conversations—in this case, movie dialogue—and teach itself to respond.

“Instead of using rules to build a conversational engine, we use a machine learning approach,” Le tells WIRED. “We let the machine learn from data rather than hand-coding the rules.”

Brainy Conversation

The system uses what are called neural networks, vast networks of machines that approximate the web of neurons in the human brain. Neural nets are an old idea, but recently, after many years in exile from the AI community, they’ve risen to prominence—in enormous ways—now that companies like Google and Facebook and Microsoft have the computing power needed to run them.

At these internet giants, neural nets are already working to recognize faces and objects in photos posted to social networks, identify spoken words on Android phones, and translating online phone calls from one language to another. Google’s paper shows they can also drive chatbots, and perhaps move us closer to a world where machines can converse like humans.

“With papers like this, people always give the most impressive interactions,” says Chris Nicolson, founder of the neural networking startup Skymind. “But I was impressed. And this represents a significant front in the industry.”

continue http://www.wired.com/2015/06/google-made-chatbot-debates-meaning-life/

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Shamans Publish 500-Page Traditional Medicine Encyclopedia

Mayoruna.jpgIf you want to try the shamanic healing methods of Amazonian shamans, you generally have to go to the Amazon and find a shaman. That may change with the publication of a 500-page Traditional Medicine Encyclopedia, reports Acate Amazon:

Deep in the farthest reaches of the Amazon rainforest, the last remaining elder shamans of the Matsés tribe came together from distant villages in a quest to save their ancestral knowledge from the edge of extinction. This meeting concluded over two years work and culminated in the first encyclopedia of indigenous knowledge written by Amazonian tribal shamans ever produced.

On May 16th, after more than two years of work, the leaders of Acaté and the Matsés met to finalize the Matsés Traditional Medicine Encyclopedia. This historic meeting was held over a period of five days in the Matsés village of Puerto Allegre on the Rio Yaquerana, one of the most remote villages and the last settlement before the river’s headwaters, a vast territory that contains at least one ‘uncontacted’ tribal group living in voluntary isolation…

The health of Amazonian peoples has always depended on the wisdom of their elders. Passed down through the centuries, the knowledge of medicinal plants and techniques of treatment that have been accumulated are a product of their deep spiritual and physical ties to the natural world. The Matsés live in one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world and have mastered knowledge of its healing properties…

continue http://acateamazon.org/field-updates/june-2015-field-update/

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FCC Nixes PayPal’s Forced Robocalls Plan

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has cautioned PayPal that provisions in its new user agreement for contacting customers with autodialed or prerecorded calls and text messages could violate federal laws.

In order to comply with the rules, PayPal would have to get “prior express written consent” from customers before making so-called robocalls and robotexts for telemarketing purposes, Travis LeBlanc, chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, wrote in a letter to PayPal on Thursday.

“For more than two decades, federal lawmakers have sought to protect consumers from harassing, intrusive, and unwanted calls and text messages,” he said.

FCC requirements ban requiring a customer to consent to receive autodialed or prerecorded telemarketing or advertising calls as a condition of a purchase, and the company must give consumers notice of their right to refuse to consent, according to the letter. PayPal’s proposed user agreement does not provide such a notice, which could lead to penalties of up to US$16,000 per call or text message on the company and its service providers.

continue http://www.itworld.com/article/2935255/business/fcc-says-paypal-robocall-policy-could-break-rules.html

Categories: Uncategorized

How to Write Protect USB Drive

This tutorial explains how to write protect USB drive.

Making your USB drive (flash drive or Pendrive) write protected has multiple benefits. Other people can’t modify or edit the file contents, delete files or folders, move your data, format your USB drive, viruses and malware won’t attack (if you connect your Pendrive to infected PC) and more. So when you have to share your flash drive with someone, it’s better to set write protection to prevent any data loss.

In this tutorial, I have covered 3 different ways to add write protection to your flash drive. First two methods don’t need any third-party tool and the third way to write protect USB drive is by using a free software. You can also disable write protection whenever needed.

how to set write protection to your USB drives
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In the screenshot above, you can see the message when someone or you will try to delete or modify data available in a write protected USB drive.

Why Should You Write Protect Your USB Drive?

Although I have already mentioned the benefits of setting up the write protection, but there is an incidence which I want to share with you guys. This morning, one of my colleagues was arguing with another colleague that you have deleted some important data and infected my flash drive. My second colleague was saying “I’m innocent”, but first colleague was blaming him again and again. So, I thought it would be great to help you guys and share an article on how to write protect USB drive. If you don’t want to get stuck in such kind of situation and have to protect your data before sharing your Pendrive, it’s really important to set write protection.

Now let’s start with the very first method to set write protection in USB drive.

continue http://www.ilovefreesoftware.com/30/windows/security/write-protect-usb-drive.html

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Dopamine boost restores libido in ageing male fruit flies

Wow, this dopamine is good stuff … (Image: Solvin Zankl/Visuals Unlimited/SPL)

There’s life in the old boys yet. The waning libido of old male fruit flies has been restored.

Men often lose their sex drive with age – and so, it seems do male Drosophila. Tsai-Feng Fu at the National Chi Nan University in Taiwan and his colleagues suspected that low levels of dopamine in the flies were to blame.

Almost 300 neurones in the fruit-fly brain use dopamine. Comparing those linked to sexual function in elderly 40-day-old male flies and sprightly 10-day-old flies, Fu found the older neurones carried 10 times less dopamine. Boosting levels lengthened the time the older flies spent trying to mate.

There are obviously big differences between a man’s brain and that of a male Drosophila, but Fu says that the new results could provide a useful starting point for in-depth studies that may have clinical implications. For instance, that research might eventually identify ways to fine-tune dopamine levels in humans, perhaps to reverse age-related declines in sexual drive, or even to suppress an overactive libido.

continue http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn27807-dopamine-boost-restores-libido-in-ageing-male-fruit-flies.html?cmpid=RSS|NSNS|2012-GLOBAL|online-news

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One Eye Color Is Linked to Alcoholism

Newswise — People with blue eyes might have a greater chance of becoming alcoholics, according to a unique new study by genetic researchers at the University of Vermont.

The work, led by Arvis Sulovari, a doctoral student in cellular, molecular and biological sciences, and Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Dawei Li, Ph.D., is the first to make a direct connection between a person’s eye color and alcohol dependence. The results of the research, published in the July issue of the American Journal of Medical Genetics: Neuropsychiatric Genetics (Part B), suggest the hope of finding the roots of not only alcoholism, but also many other psychiatric illnesses.

“This suggests an intriguing possibility – that eye color can be useful in the clinic for alcohol dependence diagnosis,” Sulovari says.

The authors found that primarily European Americans with light-colored eyes – including green, grey and brown in the center – had a higher incidence of alcohol dependency than those with dark brown eyes, with the strongest tendency among blue-eyed individuals. The study outlines the genetic components that determine eye color and shows that they line up along the same chromosome as the genes related to excessive alcohol use.

But, Li says, “we still don’t know the reason” and more research is needed.

Li came to the University of Vermont in 2012 and has studied psychiatric genetics for a decade. During that time, he has worked with physicians and scientists throughout the Northeast who have collaborated to build a clinical and genetic database of more than 10,000 individuals, mostly African Americans and European Americans, diagnosed with at least one psychiatric illness. Many have multiple diagnoses of diseases, including depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, as well as addiction and alcohol or drug dependence.

“These are complex disorders,” he says. “There are many genes, and there are many environmental triggers.”

CONTINUE http://www.newswise.com/articles/study-suggests-link-between-eye-color-and-alcohol-dependence

Categories: Uncategorized

What Is the Big Secret About Stingray Surveillance?

Given the amount of mobile phone traffic that cell phone towers transmit, it is no wonder law enforcement agencies target these devices as a rich source of data to aid their investigations. Standard procedure involves getting a court order to obtain phone records from a wireless carrier. When authorities cannot or do not want to go that route, they can set up a simulated cell phone tower—often called a stingray—that surreptitiously gathers information from the suspects in question as well as any other mobile device in the area.

These simulated cell sites—which collect international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI), location and other data from mobile phones connecting to them—have become a source of controversy for a number of reasons. National and local law enforcement agencies closely guard details about the technology’s use, with much of what is known about stingrays revealed through court documents and other paperwork made public via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

One such document recently revealed that the Baltimore Police Department has used a cell site simulator 4,300 times since 2007 and signed a nondisclosure agreement with the FBI that instructed prosecutors to drop cases rather than reveal the department’s use of the stingray. Other records indicate law enforcement agencies have used the technology hundreds of times without a search warrant, instead relying on a much more generic court order known as a pen register and trap and trace order. Last year Harris Corp., the Melbourne, Fla., company that makes the majority of cell site simulators, went so far as to petition the Federal Communications Commission to block a FOIA request for user manuals for some of the company’s products.

The secretive nature of stingray use has begun to backfire on law enforcement, however, with states beginning to pass laws that require police to obtain a warrant before they can set up a fake cell phone tower for surveillance. Virginia, Minnesota, Utah and Washington State now have laws regulating stingray use, with California and Texas considering similar measures. Proposed federal legislation to prevent the government from tracking people’s cell phone or GPS location without a warrant could also include stingray technology.

Scientific American recently spoke with Brian Owsley, an assistant professor of law at the University of North Texas Dallas College of Law, about the legal issues and privacy implications surrounding the use of a stingray to indiscriminately collect mobile phone data. Given the invasive nature of the technology and scarcity of laws governing its use, Owsley, a former U.S. magistrate judge in Texas, says the lack of reliable information documenting the technology’s use is particularly troubling.

[An edited transcript of the interview follows.]

When and why did law enforcement agencies begin using international cell site simulators to intercept mobile phone traffic and track movement of mobile phone users?

Initially, intelligence agencies—CIA and the like—couldn’t get local or national telecommunications companies in other countries to cooperate with U.S. surveillance operations against nationals in those countries. To fill that void companies like the Harris Corp. started creating cell site simulators for these agencies to use. Once Harris saturated the intelligence and military markets [with] their products, they turned to federal agencies operating in the U.S. So the [Drug Enforcement Administration], Homeland Security, FBI and others started having their own simulated cell sites to use for surveillance. Eventually this trickled down further to yet another untapped market: state and local law enforcement. That’s where we are today in terms of the proliferation of this technology.

continue http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-is-the-big-secret-surrounding-stingray-surveillance/

Categories: government, technology | Tags: , ,

IRS officials handed government contracts to tax-dodging corporations

The scandal-plagued Internal Revenue Service has evidently been so busy abusing conservative groups and losing former employee Lois Lerner’s emails that it didn’t realize that it has awarded millions of dollars’ worth of government contracts to tax delinquent companies in recent years.

That’s according to a report out recently from the Treasury Inspector General, first publicized by Judicial Watch.

The IG report notes that, despite the 2012 Consolidated Appropriations Act prohibiting federal agencies from doing business with corporations with federal tax debt or felony convictions, the agency entered into nearly five dozen contracts with firms owing significant debts in fiscal 2012 and 2013.

From the report:

continue http://personalliberty.com/irs-officials-handed-government-contracts-to-tax-dodging-corporations/

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