Daily Archives: September 27, 2015

LA Declares Homelessness a $100M ‘Emergency’

Los Angeles says it will declare a state of emergency to deal with … homelessness. Mayor Eric Garcetti and city council made the announcement yesterday, noting $100 million will be set aside to help the 26,000 living on the city’s streets, up 12% since 2013, reports the Los Angeles Times. It followed a decree a day earlier outlining $13 million to be used for short-term housing initiatives, reports the AP. “It’s time to get real, because this is literally a matter of life and death,” says a councilor, who describes a “collective failure of every level of government to deal with what has been a homeless crisis for generations and is exploding and exacerbating now.” Though the measure still needs to be voted on, some say the money could help ease restrictions on churches and nonprofits that shelter the homeless and cut red tape to allow faster building of affordable housing.

continue http://www.newser.com/story/213311/la-declares-homelessness-a-100m-emergency.html

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Supreme Court Ruled that Police DO NOT NEED A WARRANT to Search Your Vehicle


Trenton, NJ — In 2009, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that police could only violate your 4th Amendment rights by warrantlessly searching you, if they prove two key factors first. Those two key factors, or two-pronged test, required both probable cause and a reason to believe evidence might disappear, or the safety of the officer or public would be at risk if the search were delayed to obtain a warrant.

However, on Thursday, the court overturned its meager rights-protecting decision from 2009. In an ominous 5-2 decision, the state Supreme Court gave police even more power and opportunity to violate the rights of the citizens.

The court’s decision stemmed from a case in which a Salem County man was found with an ‘illegal’ handgun after he was pulled over for his headlights being too bright.

William L. Witt was pulled over on Route 48 in Carneys Point in December 2012 after he approached a police officer with his high beams on and “failed to dim” as he passed. After speaking with Witt, the officer concluded he was intoxicated, performed a field sobriety test and placed him under arrest, according to NJ.com.

After arresting Witt for an alleged DUI, police officers then illegally searched his car without a warrant and without Witt’s consent. During this unlawful search, police found an unregistered handgun.

Citing the 2009 decision, Witt fought to suppress the fact that he merely wanted to protect himself with a handgun by claiming that the police performed an unreasonable search in violation of the state and federal constitutions.

In May of 2014, New Jersey officials, still showing some semblance of protecting the rights of the people, ruled that the officer did not meet the “exigent circumstances” needed to violate the rights of Witt.

However, that constitutional decision would be short-lived. On Thursday, police were give the authority to search a vehicle without a warrant if they have probable cause to believe there is contraband or evidence of a crime as long as the circumstances that led to the probable cause are unforeseeable and spontaneous.

continue http://countercurrentnews.com/2015/09/supreme-court-just-ruled-that-police-do-not-need-a-warrant-to-search-your-vehicle/#

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Fake traffic is “rotting” the Internet

Traffic is for sale. You can buy “good” traffic and “bad” traffic. But much of it is, as they say, “nonhuman”—and amounts to the normalization of click fraud on an epic scale.

During the interview, [“Boris”] freely admits he buys many of the visitors to his websites. He spends about $50,000 per year buying high-quality traffic … Bloomberg Businessweek asked two traffic-fraud-detection firms to assess recent traffic to MyTopFace; they agreed on the condition that their names not be used. One found that 94 percent of 30,000 visitors were bots; the other put the bot traffic at 74 percent.

continue http://boingboing.net/2015/09/24/fake-traffic-is-rotting-th.html

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The Truth about Bee Tongue Length and Climate Change

The Truth about Bee Tongue Length and Climate Change
Queen bumble bee, Bombus balteatus, is foraging on Oxytropis sericea flowers on the alpine tundra of Pennsylvania Mountain. Photo Credit: Christine Carson

Science finds connection between Bee’s tongue length and climate change.

Climate changes in flower diversity have resulted in a decrease in the length of alpine bumble bees’ tongues. This surprising observation is preventing the bumble bees to feed from and pollinate the flowers with deep blossoms.

Recent studies suggest that long-tongued bumble bees are declining in number. Researcher Nicole Miller-Struthman et al. went on a mission to find out why this is the case.

She visited high-altitude sites in Colorado where two species of long-tongued alpine bumble bee have their habitat.

Miller-Struthman was comparing bumble bee specimens that have been collected from 1966 through 1980, and from 2012 through 2014

Comparing the length of the tongues revealed that today’s bumble bees have significant shorter ones.

continue http://www.i4u.com/2015/09/95324/truth-about-bee-tongue-length-and-climate-change

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DHS Wants Self Destructing Phones

The technology powering the devices potentially could identify the user’s walking style, for example. Officials would be alerted if the gait does not match the authorized user’s walk – a red flag the phone might have fallen into the wrong hands, officials said.

The “secret sauce” of the mobile device is a so-called neuromorphic computer chip that simulates human learning, Vincent Sritapan, the program manager for DHS’ mobile device security program, told Nextgov.

Gait recognition — driven by the phone’s accelerometer, GPS and the chip — is but one of many kinds of continuous ID verification intended to tighten access controls on mobile devices.

Boeing and HRL Laboratories, a software firm jointly owned by Boeing and General Motors, are partnering under a DHS project worth $2.2 million over 2.5 years.

The companies “pretty much are leveraging user behavior information” from data gathered by sensors found on any standard consumer smartphone, Sritapan said. Those feelers could include microphones, cameras and touchpads, he added. The artificial intelligence could help agencies determine, “Are you who you say you are, and do we give you access to enterprise resources like email?” he said.

Homeland Security chose the Boeing Black for experimentation, because the company was willing to embed the chip into its device, Sritapan said.

I would call this a high-risk, high-reward type of project,” he added. “If successful, this technology can go into any device the manufacturers are willing to integrate it with” and would meet military, DHS and other federal agency information security specifications.

Referring to the Black as “the test body,” he said the government purchased the brand for “specific uses,” such as secure voice calls.

Smartphone as Test Tube

It remains to be seen whether DHS itself will buy brain chip-embedded Blacks for operations in the field. If the chip is successful at the end of a 2-year research and development period, DHS and Boeing will share the cost of a 6-month pilot program, Sritapan said.

State Department staffers apparently plan to or are currently using the Black.

continue http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2015/09/dhs-wants-self-destructing-phones/122003/

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George Soros Demands EU Accept 1 Million Refugees (Costing €15 Billion) Per Year For Foreseeable Future

George Soros wants Europe to do a lot more for the refugees, asylum-seekers, and migrants mass-exodus-ing from The Middle East. As he writes in a Project Syndicate op-ed, The European Union needs to accept responsibility for the lack of a common asylum policy, which has transformed this year’s growing influx of refugees from a manageable problem into yet another political crisis.

Each member state has selfishly focused on its own interests, often acting against the interests of others. This precipitated panic among asylum seekers, the general public, and the authorities responsible for law and order. Asylum seekers have been the main victims.

The EU needs a comprehensive plan to respond to the crisis, one that reasserts effective governance over the flows of asylum-seekers so that they take place in a safe, orderly way, and at a pace that reflects Europe’s capacity to absorb them. To be comprehensive, the plan has to extend beyond the borders of Europe. It is less disruptive and much less expensive to maintain potential asylum-seekers in or close to their present location.

As the origin of the current crisis is Syria, the fate of the Syrian population has to be the first priority. But other asylum seekers and migrants must not be forgotten. Similarly, a European plan must be accompanied by a global response, under the authority of the United Nations and involving its member states. This would distribute the burden of the Syrian crisis over a larger number of states, while also establishing global standards for dealing with the problems of forced migration more generally.

Here are the six components of a comprehensive plan.

First, the EU has to accept at least a million asylum-seekers annually for the foreseeable future. And, to do that, it must share the burden fairly – a principle that a qualified majority finally established at last Wednesday’s summit.

Adequate financing is critical. The EU should provide €15,000 ($16,800) per asylum-seeker for each of the first two years to help cover housing, health care, and education costs – and to make accepting refugees more appealing to member states. It can raise these funds by issuing long-term bonds using its largely untapped AAA borrowing capacity, which will have the added benefit of providing a justified fiscal stimulus to the European economy.

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Iraq War General Ray Odierno Cashing In With New Job at JPMorgan Chase

Four-star General Ray Odierno retired from his position as U.S. Army chief of staff on Friday. Now, less than a week after mustering out, he’s cashing in. The former general has taken a job as a senior adviser to the investment firm JPMorgan Chase.

In a press release posted on JPMorgan’s website on Thursday, the firm announced that Odierno is joining the company in “a senior advisory capacity,” providing “strategic advice and global insights” to CEO Jamie Dimon as well as the company’s board of directors. The announcement also said Odierno “will represent JPMorgan Chase through engagement with clients, government officials and policy makers in the U.S. and internationally.”

Odierno, who led the U.S. 4th infantry division during the initial stages of the occupation of Iraq, has been criticized for the allegedly heavy-handed and brutal behavior he permitted as a commander. While troops under his command were credited with the capture of Saddam Hussein, they were also criticized for their extremely harsh tactics in dealing with the local population. In Thomas Ricks’ 2006 book Fiasco, Odierno was characterized as helping enable indiscriminate mass detentions, prisoner abuse, and extrajudicial killings of Iraqi civilians in the area under his control.

In one particularly brutal 2003 incident documented in the book, Odierno overruled a recommendation that a soldier under his command be court-martialed for the killing of a Iraqi detainee who had turned himself in to U.S. forces, saying that the soldier accused of the murder was “a cook, he didn’t get proper training,” and that the detainee was “very aggressive, a bad guy.” The detainee, an Iraqi man named Obeed Radad, had turned himself in to U.S. forces after learning that they had been looking for him. He was shot and killed while being held in an isolation cell at a U.S. detention center in Tikrit, after allegedly trying to escape through a barbed wire fence.

continue https://theintercept.com/2015/08/20/iraq-war-surge-general-ray-odierno-gets-new-job-jp-morgan-chase/

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PRE CRIME? Police Program Aims to Pinpoint Those Most Likely to Commit Crimes

At the request of his probation officer, Tyrone C. Brown came to a community auditorium here in June and sat alongside about 30 other mostly young black men with criminal records — men who were being watched closely by the police, just as he was.

He expected to hear an admonition from law enforcement officials to help end violence in the community. But Mr. Brown, 29, got more than he had bargained for. A police captain presented a slide show featuring mug shots of people they were cracking down on. Up popped a picture of Mr. Brown linking him to a criminal group that had been implicated in a homicide.

“I was disturbed,” said Mr. Brown, who acknowledges having been involved in crime but denied that he had ever been involved in a killing.

That discomfort was just the reaction the authorities were after.

Mr. Brown, whose criminal record includes drug and assault charges, is at the center of an experiment taking place in dozens of police departments across the country, one in which the authorities have turned to complex computer algorithms to try to pinpoint the people most likely to be involved in future violent crimes — as either predator or prey. The goal is to do all they can to prevent the crime from happening.

CONTINUE http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/25/us/police-program-aims-to-pinpoint-those-most-likely-to-commit-crimes.html

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Self-Taught Ethiopian Aviation Enthusiast Builds His Own Airplane

In a bid to fulfil his childhood dream of flying a plane, an Ethiopian man has taught himself how to build one mainly by reading aviation books and watching YouTube tutorials!

Public Health Officer and Ethiopian Airlines Aviation Academy reject Asmelash Zerefu set about learning to build his own aircraft over a decade ago. It was a daunting challenge, but he has managed to achieve the unthinkable – he single-handedly constructed Ethiopia’s first ever home-built aircraft from scratch.

“I call it the K-570A,” he said. “K representing my mother’s initial of her name, Kiros, and 570 signifying the number of days it took me to complete my aircraft. And A is for Aircraft.”


Zerefu’s social media profile is proof enough of his obsession with aviation – it is full with pictures of his own attempts and failures, and praise for his heroes, the Wright Brothers. His only goal since childhood was to become a pilot, so despite his high GPA, he dropped out of university to join the Ethiopian Airlines Aviation Academy about 15 years ago. Sadly, he was turned down because he was one centimeter short of the minimum height requirement.

continue http://www.odditycentral.com/news/self-taught-ethiopian-aviation-enthusiast-builds-his-own-airplane.html

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This Bill Would Stop Congress From Getting Paid If Government Shuts Down

Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) introduced a bill Friday that would prevent members of Congress from getting paid in the event of a government shutdown.

“It’s time to put an end to government by crisis management,” Nolan said in a statement. “And it’s time for Congress to start living in the real world — where you either do your job — or you don’t get paid. If hundreds of thousands of other federal employees are to go without their salaries — twisting slowly in the wind in a government shutdown — then the Congress should not be paid either.”

Under Nolan’s bill, members of Congress would go unpaid for the duration of the shutdown. He introduced similar legislation during the 16-day government shutdown in 2013 that left 800,000 federal workers furloughed without pay. While his bill never got off the ground, Nolan donated the money he was paid over the shutdown to charities in his district.

continue http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/congress-pay-shutdown_55fc81c5e4b08820d918b9fc

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