Monthly Archives: January 2016

Vulture Returned to Israel After Bird Is Cleared of Spying


A vulture stands on a tree branch after receiving treatment at a veterinary clinic in the Wildlife Hospital of Ramat Gan Zoo Safari near Tel Aviv, on January 29, 2016. A vulture captured in Lebanon on suspicion of spying for Israel has been returned home with the help of the United Nations, Israeli authorities said. The UN acted as a go-between in negotiations between the Lebanese and the Gamla Nature Reserve where the bird lived before it flew across the border, it added. / AFP / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Villagers who found the bird were suspicious of its tracking device

A large vulture that had been detained on suspicion of spying has been returned to Israel by Lebanon, officials said.

The bird had flown over the border and was caught on Tuesday by Lebanese villagers who were suspicious because of the tracking device on its tail, the BBC reported.


Categories: Uncategorized

The imminent death of the Cavendish banana and why it affects us all


Buy a banana and it will almost certainly be descended from one plant grown at an English stately home. But now we face losing one of the world’s most-loved fruits.

Sitting in picture-perfect Peak District grounds, Chatsworth House seems an unlikely birthplace for today’s global banana industry.

But practically every banana consumed in the western world is directly descended from a plant grown in the Derbyshire estate’s hothouse 180 years ago.

This is the story of how the Cavendish became the world’s most important fruit – and why it and bananas as we know them could soon cease to exist.

The birth of the Cavendish banana

Bananas have been grown at Chatsworth since 1830 when head gardener Joseph Paxton got his hands on a specimen imported from Mauritius.

He had apparently been inspired after seeing a banana plant depicted on Chinese wallpaper in one of the home’s 175 rooms, but today’s head gardener Steve Porter is sceptical about the story.

“Certainly the timings fit”, he said, “but I think it’s much more likely that Paxton was always on the lookout for new and exotic plants and was well connected enough to know when the banana plants arrived in England.”

Paxton filled a pit with “plenty of water, rich loam soil and well-rotted dung” with the temperature maintained between 18C and 30C (65F and 85F) to grow the fruit he called Musa Cavendishii after his employers (Cavendish being the family name of the Dukes and Duchesses of Devonshire).

“At that time for a family in England to be able to grow their own bananas to feed their guests was very exciting,” said Mr Porter, adding: “It still is for us today.”


Categories: Uncategorized

Can We Hack Our Vision To See Infrared With The Naked Eye?


Dan Bracaglia

With normal vision, you couldn’t see this foliage at night. With infrared vision, it comes at you in full color.

“Can you imagine a color you’ve never seen?” Jeffrey Tibbetts asks, looking directly into the Skype camera. We would like to think that we can, of course, that our imaginations are limitless. But the answer, no matter how much we skirt around it, is actually “no.” However, Tibbetts insists that he himself can see another color. He, along with several friends, is part of a homegrown experiment where he has attempted to alter his vision to see in the infrared, which humans can’t usually see. The three experimenters have just completed a 25-day nutritional regimen and, as their bodies return to normal, they will continue to document their vision for the next two weeks. Very early results appear promising, albeit incomplete. But several experts in ophthalmology have doubts about the purpose and safety of the project, not to mention the validity of the results themselves.

People who want to improve how humans function span the full range of invasiveness, from gym rats who chug protein shakes to biohobbyists slicing open their flesh in basements. Tibbetts and his co-experimenter, Gabriel Licina, are solidly in between. The team spent six months reviewing previous studies to craft a nutritional protocol designed to modify their vision, bearing the mark of their backgrounds in human anatomy and molecular biology. But their acceptance of the risks reflects their rogue scientist attitude; test subjects who don’t follow the protocol, either through wrong vitamin dosage or improper diet, could go blind.

“I’ve always been interested in the ways we can enhance human beings, and the most available is pretty much our sensory systems,” Licina said. So the two began to study the literature on how to see in the infrared. Before the ubiquity of infrared goggles, military research projects dating back to the 1930s tested infrared vision in rats. After six months of research, Tibbetts and Licina decided on a tactic: regular doses of a vitamin over a series of months with the aim of letting their eyes make sense of light in longer wavelengths.


Categories: Uncategorized

Sex with an animal isn’t illegal in Ohio — but it could be soon

A person has sex with an animal in Ohio. Not illegal.

But two state lawmakers are trying to change that with a bill that would outlaw any sex-related activities with an animal.

Ohio is one of eleven states without an anti-bestiality law, according to Sen. Jim Hughes and Sen. Jay Hottinger. Other states included in that list are Kentucky and West Virginia.

The bill would also prohibit a person from selling or purchasing an animal with the intent of engaging in sexual conduct. It also bans any promotion of the sexual conduct.

Ohio already has an existing law that prohibits animal cruelty, but the bill is needed to explicitly outlaw any sexual conduct between a human and an animal, said John Murphy, executive director for the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association.


Categories: Uncategorized

The Most Malware-Infected Cities in America

A theory proposes that an increase in time spent online automatically increases the chances of malware infecting a computer, as is evident in the case of Buffalo. The city experienced a cold start to the New Year, colder than the average monthly temperatures which would’ve meant more people stayed home and went online.

The most malware-ridden cities in America

  1. Little Rock: 1,412% above national average
  2. Tampa: 842% above national average
  3. St. Louis: 692% above national average
  4. Orlando: 685% above national average
  5. Denver: 612% above national average
  6. Atlanta: 576% above national average
  7. Newark: 449% above national average
  8. Salt Lake City: 421% above national average
  9. Madison: 370% above national average
  10. Cleveland: 349% above national average
  11. Cincinnati: 331% above national average
  12. Washington, D.C.: 329% above national average
  13. Miami: 228% above national average
  14. Irvine, CA: 211% above national average
  15. Raleigh: 207% above national average
  16. Minneapolis: 198% above national average
  17. Pittsburgh: 188% above national average
  18. Buffalo: 182% above national average
  19. Richmond, VA: 170% above national ave
  20. source
Categories: Uncategorized

Chicago Police Have Been Sabotaging Their Dash Cams

Protests Erupt In Chicago After Video Of Police Shooting Of Teen Is Released

This dash-cam footage had no audio. Photo: Chicago Police Department via Getty Images

After the notorious video of Laquan McDonald getting shot by Chicago police officers 16 times went viral last November, investigators have been making their way through the other videos of the scene. In doing so, they’ve discovered that three of the dash cams pointed at McDonald that day did not record video, and others had no audio. Now a Chicago Police Department audit reveals that many of the department’s dashboard cameras have been deliberately sabotaged.

Last month the CPD found that 80 percent of its 850 dash cams do not record audio, and 12 percent don’t record video either. The CPD has blamed the failures on “operator error or in some cases intentional destruction,” and a close reading of that review by DNAinfo Chicago reveals the extent of the latter. Officers frequently tampered with dash cams, stashing microphones in their glove boxes or pulling out batteries. Some dash cams were found with their antennae deliberately destroyed, and others had had their microphones removed altogether.


Categories: Uncategorized

Forget dog-earing and bookmarks that fall, make your own easy origami bookmark instead!

We’ll show you how to never again lose a page number to the dreaded “bookmark slip.”

Source: Forget dog-earing and bookmarks that fall, make your own easy origami bookmark instead!

Categories: Uncategorized

5 Amazing Technologies That Are Revolutionizing Biotech

A part-human, part-robot man, in image showing his face.

The Singularity

Credit: Lobke Peers | ShutterstockBiology and technology are progressing in rapid synergy with one another, bringing about startling advances in fields ranging from medicine to neuroscience to computing.

Scientists, futurists and transhumanists gathered at the Global Future 2045 International Congress in New York June 15-16, to discuss how these technologies are paving a path toward digital immortality.

Here are some of the incredible technologies that are bringing humanity closer to the technical singularity, the point at which technology will exceed human brainpower and “superintelligence” will emerge. [Super-Intelligent Machines: 7 Robotic Futures]


Categories: Uncategorized

Meet The Company Storing 2.2 Bil. License Plate Photos & Selling the Data

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 1.34.52 PM

Vigilant Solutions is a company that will be familiar to longtime Liberty Blitzkrieg readers. It was first highlighted in the early 2014 post, Department of Homeland Security Moves to Install National License Plate Tracking System, in which we learned the following:

The Department of Homeland Security wants a private company to provide a national license-plate tracking system that would give the agency access to vast amounts of information from commercial and law enforcement tag readers, according to a government proposal that does not specify what privacy safeguards would be put in place.

The national license-plate recognition database, which would draw data from readers that scan the tags of every vehicle crossing their paths, would help catch fugitive illegal immigrants, according to a DHS solicitation. But the database could easily contain more than 1 billion records and could be shared with other law enforcement agencies, raising concerns that the movements of ordinary citizens who are under no criminal suspicion could be scrutinized.

The agency said the length of time the data is retained would be up to the winning vendor. Vigilant Solutions, for instance, one of the leading providers of tag-reader data, keeps its records indefinitely.

Fast forward two years, and “could easily contain 1 billion records” sounds trite compared to the reality. According to a recent article in The Atlantic, Vigilant Solutions has already has taken 2.2 billion license plate photos, and is adding more at a clip of 80 million per month.


Categories: Uncategorized

Two-thirds of Android vulnerable to history sniff ransomware

Miscreants have put together an especially pernicious strain of Android ransomware that threatens to bare your browsing history.

The so-called Lockdroid ransomware brandishes overlaid popups in order to trick marks into allowing the malicious code to gain admin privileges on targeted devices.

The clickjacking ruse works on devices running versions of Android prior to 5.0 (Lollipop), leaving an estimated two in three Android smartphone users at risk.

Once installed, the malware encrypts files before demanding a ransom. It posts up a fake message supposedly from the US Department of Justice saying that the mobile device has been locked after visiting sites containing unsavoury content but it can be unlocked after paying a “fine”, which in reality is an extortionate bribe.


Categories: Uncategorized

Floppy Disks and Win XP: Nuclear Weapons Tech Is Hilariously Out of Date


There are nine countries that have nuclear weapons, which have been upgraded in devastation since they were first used in anger by the Americans in World War II. The tech that powers them, not so much.

The U.K.’s nuclear deterrent is made up of four Vanguard-class submarines, each equipped with 16 Trident missiles. Each missile on Britain’s nuclear submarines has the destructive power of eight Hiroshimas. And what operating system does one of the world’s deadliest vessels use? A variant of Windows XP, according to the Guardian.


Categories: Uncategorized

Police door knock ‘known activists’ ahead of TPP protests

Scout Barbour-Evans, a Dunedin transgender activist who goes by the gender-neutral pronoun "they", said an officer knocked on their door about 10 this morning. Photo / Otago Daily Times
Scout Barbour-Evans, a Dunedin transgender activist who goes by the gender-neutral pronoun “they”, said an officer knocked on their door about 10 this morning. Photo / Otago Daily Times

Police are checking in on “known activists” around the country ahead of TPP protests later this week.

Scout Barbour-Evans, a Dunedin transgender activist who goes by the gender-neutral pronoun “they”, said an officer knocked on their door about 10 this morning.

The officer wanted to know what the plans were for anti-Trans-Pacific Partnership action in Dunedin, Scout said.

Scout compared the situation to the Springbok tour, saying the increased surveillance feels akin to 1981, particularly following the presence of armed police at Prime Minister John Key’s State of the Nation speech in Auckland yesterday.

Prominent anti-TPP protestor Professor Jane Kelsey said such monitoring of critics to the controversial agreement was “entirely predictable” behaviour from the Government, and shows the “disrespect the Government has had throughout to people’s right to voice their dissent about this negotiation and this agreement”.


Categories: Uncategorized

“No Cost” License Plate Readers Are Turning Texas Police into Mobile Debt Collectors and Data Miners

Vigilant Solutions, one of the country’s largest brokers of vehicle surveillance technology, is offering a hell of a deal to law enforcement agencies in Texas: a whole suite of automated license plate reader (ALPR) equipment and access to the company’s massive databases and analytical tools—and it won’t cost the agency a dime.

Even though the technology is marketed as budget neutral, that doesn’t mean no one has to pay. Instead, Texas police fund it by gouging people who have outstanding court fines and handing Vigilant all of the data they gather on drivers for nearly unlimited commercial use.

ALPR refers to high-speed camera networks that capture license plate images, convert the plate numbers into machine-readable text, geotag and time-stamp the information, and store it all in database systems. EFF has long been concerned with this technology, because ALPRs typically capture sensitive location information on all drivers—not just criminal suspects—and, in aggregate, the information can reveal personal information, such as where you go to church, what doctors you visit, and where you sleep at night.

Vigilant is leveraging H.B. 121, a new Texas law passed in 2015 that allows officers to install credit and debit card readers in their patrol vehicles to take payment on the spot for unpaid court fines, also known as capias warrants. When the law passed, Texas legislators argued that not only would it help local government with their budgets, it would also benefit the public and police. As the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Allen Fletcher, wrote in his official statement of intent:

[T]he option of making such a payment at the time of arrest could avoid contributing to already crowded jails, save time for arresting officers, and relieve minor offenders suddenly informed of an uncollected payment when pulled over for a routine moving violation from the burden of dealing with an impounded vehicle and the potential inconvenience of finding someone to supervise a child because of an unexpected arrest.


Categories: Uncategorized

Daniel Holtzclaw and the Limits of “Community Policing”

AT THE SENTENCING last week of Daniel Holtzclaw — the 29-year-old former Oklahoma City police officer convicted on 18 counts of rape and sexual assault of African-American women in the neighborhood he was assigned to patrol — District Attorney David Prater told the media: “I think people need to realize that this is not a law enforcement officer that committed these crimes. This is a rapist who masqueraded as a law enforcement officer. If he was a true law enforcement officer, he would have upheld his duty to protect these citizens rather than victimize them.”

Holtzclaw was sentenced to 263 years in prison for his crimes. From December 2013 to June 2014, while working the night shift in a low-income neighborhood on Oklahoma City’s northeast side, Holtzclaw developed a modus operandi: By design, he targeted black women, and among them, women who had a history of drug abuse or an existing criminal record. By framing his unsolicited sexual advances as an exchange for reprieve from warrants or jail time, he used his badge to leverage the women’s backgrounds as blackmail.


Categories: Uncategorized

Meet the penis fashion photographer

Categories: Uncategorized

‘Homeless Jesus’ statue mistaken for real person

Hamilton Spectator

HAMILTON — A statue in Hamilton is getting a lot of attention from paramedics as a recent blast of wintry weather has resulted in 911 calls about a homeless person sleeping on a bench.

“We have had several 911 calls from well-intentioned passers-by who unfortunately did not first stop to determine if someone was truly in need,” said Michael Sanderson, chief of the Hamilton Paramedic Service.

It started when officials issued a plea for citizens to alert the authorities when they see people out in the cold. Hamilton Paramedic Service operations supervisor Edward Harris says paramedics are hearing from concerned citizens who have mistaken “Homeless Jesus,” a bronze sculpture of Jesus wrapped in a blanket and sleeping on a park bench, for a real person.

All emergency calls are taken seriously, Harris adds, and so crews have been sent to the location outside a church, which is located in an area of Hamilton with a high homeless population.


Categories: Uncategorized

See How The Dutch Are Generating 100% Sustainable Electricity From Plants

Categories: Uncategorized

Mind-to-mind thought talking possible by 2030, scientist says

Today we enjoy basic conversations with our smart phone, desktop PC, games console, TV and soon, our car; but voice recognition, many believe, should not be viewed as an endgame technology. Although directing electronics with voice and gestures may be considered state-of-the-art today, we will soon be controlling entertainment and communications equipment not by talking or waving; but just by thinking!

  Forget Siri, if future-thinking researchers have their way, your brain could soon be chatting away on the phone. A new implant developed by UC-Berkeley neuroscientist, Robert Knight, could create a game-changing relationship between you and your machines. You may soon be able to transmit thoughts via the Internet using a translator chip implanted in the brain that converts thoughts into words.

Enter University of Reading’s Dr. Kevin Warwick, whose cutting-edge neural implant research has enabled him to control machines and communicate with others using only thoughts and physical motions.

In 1998, Warwick implanted a transmitter in his arm enabling him to control doors and other devices. Then in 2002, this bold scientist, who had earned the nickname “Captain Cyborg” from his colleagues, implanted electrodes directly into his nervous system. This allowed a remote robot arm to mimic the actions of Warwick’s own arm and enabled him to control a wheelchair with just his thoughts.

  Next, Warwick implanted a chip in his wife Irena’s arm, linking their brains together through the Internet. “When she moved her hand three times,” he said, “I felt three pulses and my brain recognized that my wife was communicating.” This was the world’s first electronic brain-to-brain communication.

The goal of much of this research is to help patients rendered voiceless by strokes or other ailments speak their thoughts directly, much like Stephen Hawking, the famed physicist who speaks only with the aid of a computer synthesizer. Watch this TED Talk demonstration of a headset that reads brainwaves.

Most brain implants consist of a tiny chip with electrodes, combining math and neuroscience. At their heart is an algorithm that deciphers the neural code that one layer of the brain sends to another.

What might this revolutionary neuroscience lead too? Technologies from the movie Avatar, where people remotely piloted genetically-engineered aliens, could become reality in the decades ahead.

Wake Forest’s Sam Deadwyler and his team recently implanted microchips in monkeys to recapture lost decision-making processes, demonstrating that a neural prosthetic can recover cognitive function in the brain. The results suggest that neural implants could one day be used in humans to help decide whether to grab a cup of coffee, or remember where you left your keys. Read A Brain Implant that Thinks.


Categories: Uncategorized

Adblocker that donates money to a charity of your choice







Stands is a Fair AdBlock that blocks ads, popups, malware, and trackers. It’s fast, light, and easy to use. And if you let a few ads through, it can use the money advertisers pay to sponsor the websites you visit and a cause you care about.

Advertisers already pay to show you ads online. They pay for your attention, and for your data. But they don’t pay you. Stands changes that and lets you use that money to support a cause you care about.

The Stands app lets you turn every minute online into an opportunity to take a stand and support the causes of your choice.

The app protects against multiple types of malware, adware, and online tracking and prevents companies from profiling and selling your information.

Stands works behind the scenes to change the way ads get into your browser. You’ll see the same advertisers, but now every dollar they pay is shared with the websites – and the cause you support.

continue and get it

Categories: Uncategorized

How to build a router based on Linux

Turn your trusty Linux box into the world’s most flexible router

The latest, most expensive routers include so many facilities you’d be forgiven for thinking they’re more like PCs than tools for networking. This thought should lead you to wonder if you can use a regular PC to do the same thing. The answer, thanks to Linux, is that you can – and it’s very easy.

There are many different Linux distributions designed specifically to turn your machine into a router or a gateway, complete with any number of enhancements.

Our favourite is called ClearOS. It’s a fantastic choice of router for your network because it’s relatively painless to configure, but it’s also extendible, taking it far beyond even the most ambitious devices from manufacturers like Netgear.

You could use it to host your cloud documents, complete with editing, host and access your email, either through a web interface or server, as well as a powerful firewall and intrusion detection.

ClearOS is unlike most Linux distributions because it offers both a free edition and a commercial edition that you have to pay for. Because some people do pay for it, ClearOS has one of the better user interfaces, and most of its facilities can be installed and configured through a web app.

It’s also easy to install, and has a great support network. This is important, because all your network’s data is going to go through the distribution, and you need to be able to trust both the integrity of the packages and services its running, and the source of those packages and the distribution itself.

Fortunately, ClearOS’s heritage couldn’t be any better, since it’s based on the billion dollar Red Hat enterprise.


Categories: Uncategorized

Medical Marijuana Is Now Legal In All 50 States Thanks To Congress

The federal ban on medical marijuana is finally a thing of the past. Slipped inside a major budgetary spending bill that was purported to prevent the government from shutting down, is an interesting earmarked section that finally lifts the federal ban on medical marijuana.

The relevant excerpt of bill H.R. 83 text reads as follows:

“Sec. 538. None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana. Sec. 539. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of section 7606 (“Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research”) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-79) by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration.”

Cassandra Fairbanks, of the Bipartisan Report, notes that “The measure allows states to implement their own policies regarding medical marijuana, meaning the Department of Justice is now barred from interfering with state medical cannabis laws.”

“For a long time,” Fairbanks explains, “the federal government refused to respect the will of the voters in states with legalized medical marijuana, leading to raids and arrests of doctors, growers, and dispensaries.”


Categories: Uncategorized

Millions of Americans Drink Bad Water: Report

Source: Millions of Americans Drink Bad Water: Report

Categories: Uncategorized

one-in-a-million miracles happen 295 times a day in America

The Law of Large Numbers guarantees that one-in-a-million miracles happen 295 times a day in America

Because I am often introduced as a “professional skeptic,” people feel compelled to challenge me with stories about highly improbable events. The implication is that if I cannot offer a satisfactory natural explanation for that particular event, the general principle of supernaturalism is preserved. A common story is the one about having a dream or thought about the death of a friend or relative and then receiving a phone call five minutes later about the unexpected death of that very person.

I cannot always explain such specific incidents, but a principle of probability called the Law of Large Numbers shows that an event with a low probability of occurrence in a small number of trials has a high probability of occurrence in a large number of trials. Events with million-to-one odds happen 295 times a day in America.

In their delightful book Debunked! (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004), CERN physicist Georges Charpak and University of Nice physicist Henri Broch show how the application of probability theory to such events is enlightening. In the case of death premonitions, suppose that you know of 10 people a year who die and that you think about each of those people once a year.


Categories: Uncategorized

NYPD hopes more potent pepper spray will lead to fewer police shootings

“A more effective pepper spray can help reduce the amount of force needed to gain control of a suspect or emotionally disturbed person,” NYPD Deputy Chief Edward Mullen told the Daily News. Warga, Craig/New York Daily News

“A more effective pepper spray can help reduce the amount of force needed to gain control of a suspect or emotionally disturbed person,” NYPD Deputy Chief Edward Mullen told the Daily News.

The NYPD hopes a more potent pepper spray will lead to fewer police shootings — but some critics say the upgraded aerosol is a recipe for disaster.

More than 19,000 cops so far have been given canisters of Sabre 5.0, a spray with a .67% concentration of major capsaicinoids, the chemicals that make peppers hot.

That’s more than three times the .21% concentration in the spray the NYPD has used for years. Both sprays are manufactured by Sabre Security Equipment Corp.


NYPD officials could not say how many times the new spray has been used in the six weeks or so it has been in use.


Categories: Uncategorized

Millions of Americans Drink Bad Water: Report

In this photo taken, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, a jug of water labeled “Detroit Water” sits among other containers collected in Flint, Mich., in the Fluvial Processes, Pipeline Corrosion lab on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg Va. A Virginia Tech research team is responsible for scientific findings…  (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP)

(Newser) – Flint, Michigan, isn’t the only city in a water crisis—but residents of other US cities just don’t know they’re in a water crisis, the Guardian reports. According to watchdogs and government documents, water boards in several cities have designed questionable tests that violate EPA regulations and tend to give positive results about lead and copper in drinking water. “Every major US city east of the Mississippi” is at risk, says an anonymous expert in water regulations. “The logical conclusion is that millions of people’s drinking water is potentially unsafe.” Documents obtained by Yanna Lambrinidou, an academic at Virginia Tech, show how water authorities have apparently gamed the tests.


Categories: Uncategorized

How Big Oil Conquered the World

Categories: Uncategorized

NSA Chief: Arguing Against Encryption Is a Waste of Time

National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers said Thursday that “encryption is foundational to the future,” and arguing about it is a waste of time.

Speaking to the Atlantic Council, a Washington, D.C., think tank, Rogers stressed that the cybersecurity battles the U.S. is destined to fight call for more widespread use of encryption, not less. “What you saw at OPM, you’re going to see a whole lot more of,” he said, referring to the massive hack of the Office of Personnel Management involving the personal data about 20 million people who have gotten background checks.

“So spending time arguing about ‘hey, encryption is bad and we ought to do away with it’ … that’s a waste of time to me,” he said, shaking his head.

“So what we’ve got to ask ourselves is, with that foundation, what’s the best way for us to deal with it? And how do we meet those very legitimate concerns from multiple perspectives?”

Other government officials — most notably FBI Director James Comey — have been crusading for a way that law enforcement can get access to encrypted data.


Categories: Uncategorized

In 1979, A Computer Programmer Used Code to Threaten Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash dueting with a Navy lieutenant in 1987. (Photo: Gary Rice/Wikimedia Commons)

A version of this post originally appeared on Muckrock.

Somewhat surprisingly, for the Man in Black, the FBI files on outlaw icon Johnny Cash are surprisingly tame. Well, once you get past that part where he burned down a national forest. After that youthful indiscretion, the file consists mainly of investigations into various death threats the House of Cash received over the decades —including one that stands out due to the odd choice of medium, and the even odder investigation.

In May of 1979, just days before the release of his 62nd album, Cash’s manager received a letter addressed to Cash with no return address.

Enclosed was a message from someone claiming to be an ex of one of Cash’s six daughters (the letter doesn’t specify which). As Cash’s manager herself put it, the letter is “non-sensible,” vowing that Cash’s daughter “won’t ever forget Xmas 1978 or me” (despite being mailed in the summer of the following year).

It also contained some rather dubious history lessons.

All pretty creepy, sure, but nothing Cash hadn’t seen before. What was new, and what pushed this from the “anonymous crank” to “maybe give the Feds a call” territory was what came after the letter—a surprisingly intimidating computer printout of a simple BASIC program wishing the Cash family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year … over and over and over, The Shining-style.


Categories: Uncategorized

Facebook profile picture affects hiring chances: study

Do you have an impressive profile picture on Facebook? It might increase your chances of getting hired, a new study suggests.

Users’ profile picture affects their callback chances about as strongly as the picture on their resume, researchers at Ghent University in Belgium have found.

Employers have very limited information when they make their first selection of applicants for their vacancies. One potential source of information is the social networking website Facebook, researchers said.

Researchers examined on a scientific basis whether employers actually use Facebook during a first screening. They sent fictitious application letters in response to genuine vacancies.

A total of 2,112 job applications were sent out in response to vacancies in various sectors of the Flemish labour market. For each job opening, a pair of male graduates with degrees in commerce, business administration, or applied economics was constructed.


Categories: Uncategorized

Gov’t Officials Brag About How They Just Scammed WWII Vets

“… we always take it for less than it’s worth.”

Distrust of the government runs deep, especially when it comes to federal land grabs and schemes to take away land from private citizens the government is established to protect.

Taxation of private land is another noteworthy topic, causing citizens to ask the question, “Is my land really mine?”

If a private citizen stops paying taxes on their land, the government will foreclose on the land and sell it to the highest bidder at auction and the land owner will see no monies from its sale. This small fact alone fuels tea party movements all over the country.

Taxation, which Democrats want more of, is a touchy subject for land owners. A video depicting federal employees bragging about their exploits, may leave some incensed.

Using a hidden camera, someone recorded a U.S. Park Service employee bragging about how she swindled a couple of WWII veterans out of their land for pennies on the dollar, even bragging about how she ‘stole’ Washington D.C.’s money to do it.

Categories: Uncategorized

Analog Computing: The Future of Neural Information Processing?

Ask pretty much any audiophile their preference between analog vinyl albums and digital compact disks and, odds are, the answer will almost unanimously be record albums produced from analog recordings. However, ask Author and Neuroscientist Dr. Bruce MacLennan about the key to understanding neural information processing and you might be surprised when he answers, “analog computing.”

According to MacLennan, that “back to the future” idea of using analog computing to understand the brain has returned to fashion after falling out of favor with early artificial intelligence researchers in the mid-1980s. That’s because modern researchers have recognized that, if we’re going to achieve artificial intelligence comparable to what humans or even other ma

mmals possess, we must first understand the human brain, which basically functions like an analog computer, he added.

“The analog processing of information is more efficient than digital processing of information. We’re so enchanted with the flexibility and speed of digital technology, but the tradeoffs are different,” MacLennan said. “Look at the brain, which uses components which are orders of magnitude slower than the transistors in our current technology, but yet it’s still able to do things we can’t do very well with our digital technology. Part of the reason is that it’s using low precision analog computing, but in a massively parallel scale.”

MacLennan cited Carver Mead, who was an innovator in VLSI (very large scale integration) digital circuitry, and his statement from the 1980s that the future of electronics is in analog VLSI. Mead based that conclusion on his studies, which indicated the brain is primarily an analog information processor, MacLennan said, and over the past 10 or 15 years, there has been increasing recognition of that and a subsequent rediscovery of the value of analog electronics. Much of that, he added, has been inspired by brain-oriented computing in general.


Categories: Uncategorized

The Science of Healing Thoughts

Science journalist Jo Marchant brings her critical eye to this fascinating new terrain, sharing the latest discoveries of the people who are being helped by cures aimed at both body and mind.
Credit: Garry Simpson

For centuries, the idea of “healing thoughts” has held sway over the faithful. In recent decades it’s fascinated the followers of all manner of self-help movements, including those whose main purpose seems to be separating the sick from their money. Now, though, a growing body of scientific research suggests that our mind can play an important role in healing our body — or in staying healthy in the first place. In the book Cure, the veteran science journalist Jo Marchant brings her critical eye to this fascinating new terrain, sharing the latest discoveries and telling the stories of the people —Iraq war veterans among them — who are being helped by cures aimed at both body and mind. Marchant answered questions from Mind Matters editor Gareth Cook.

You have taken on a topic where, historically, there has been a tremendous amount of quackery. What convinced you that there was a compelling scientific story to tell?
The misunderstandings and false claims were one of the elements that drew me to the topic of mind-body medicine in the first place. The mind influences physiology in many ways — from stress to sexual arousal — so it has always seemed reasonable to me that it might impact health. Yet the question has become so polarized: advocates of alternative medicine claim miracle cures, while many conventional scientists and doctors insist any suggestion of “healing thoughts” is deluded.

I was interested in those clashing philosophies: I wanted to look at why it is so difficult to have a reasoned debate about this issue. What drives so many people to believe in the pseudoscientific claims of alternative therapists, and why are skeptics so resistant to any suggestion that the mind might influence health?


Categories: Uncategorized

Oracle Says It Is Killing the Java Plugin

Oracle Says It Is Killing the Java Plugin

Many Internet users will soon be able to take a breath of relief. Oracle has finally announced that it is discontinuing its Java browser plugin. It will begin scaling down the plugin technology in Java Developer Kit 9 and remove it completely from Oracle JDK and Java Runtime Environment in a future Java SE release.

The company admitted this week that plugins have grown outdated and modern Web browsers don’t need them any more to function. To recall, Chrome started to disable Java in April last year, while Firefox also announced plans to kill Oracle’s technology in the same year. Oracle also urges developers that build technology around or are reliant on the Java browser plugin to find an alternative.

“With modern browser vendors working to restrict and reduce plugin support in their products, developers of applications that rely on the Java browser plugin need to consider alternative options such as migrating from Java Applets (which rely on a browser plugin) to the plugin-free Java Web Start technology,” Oracle said in a blog post to users.


Categories: Uncategorized

Oberlin president says ‘no’ to students’ list of demands, including black-only ‘safe spaces’

We at Twitchy have covered quite a few stories about student groups that have presented lists of demands to university administrators — apparently many students voluntarily filled out applications to these schools and wrote tuition checks without any idea they were hellish hotbeds of racism, sexual assault, and cafeterias that try to pass off ciabatta bread as a passable substitute for a crispy baguette in Vietnamese dishes.

So far, these showdowns between students and the schools they chose to attend have resulted in resignations and capitulation, so we feel like borrowing the siren from another website to announced that a university president — Oberlin’s president — has told disgruntled students they can take a hike, despite the dire warning of a “full and forceful response.”

Inside Higher Ed reported Thursday that Oberlin president Marvin Krislov posted a response to the demands on the school’s website explaining that he would not negotiate based on the students’ “non-negotiable” list of demands, which included the creation of “special, segregated black-only ‘safe-spaces’ across campus,” along with an $8.20 an hour stipend to be paid to organizers of black student protests.


Categories: Uncategorized

Facebook hackers be warned: Bob Mould will write a song about you

I get it — Saturday afternoons can stretch on forever. You can only sit througn The Wedding Crashers on W so many times. And idle hands, as they say, are the devil’s playground. But you really should resist the temptation, seductive though it may be, to hack the Facebook pages of North America’s most beloved indie bands. Unless, that is, you want Bob Mould to write a song about you.

Over the weekend, you might have noticed some out-of-character content coming from the accounts of Death Cab For Cutie, Best Coast, The New Pornographers, The Postal Service, and Bob Mould. Stuff like: “The Sleeping Position of Women Reveals A Lot About Them” and “These 14 Facts About Boobs Will Blow Your Mind.” All the handiwork of a black hat.


Categories: Uncategorized

A Tiny Robot That Escorts Slow Sperm to an Egg

Categories: Uncategorized

Fake cop gets high off teens’ supply.


Categories: Uncategorized


Take a Peek Into Our “X-Files”

The CIA declassified hundreds of documents in 1978 detailing the Agency’s investigations into Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs). The documents date primarily from the late 1940s and 1950s.

To help navigate the vast amount of data contained in our FOIA UFO collection, we’ve decided to highlight a few documents both skeptics and believers will find interesting. Below you will find five documents we think X-Files character Agent Fox Mulder would love to use to try and persuade others of the existence of extraterrestrial activity. We also pulled five documents we think his skeptical partner, Agent Dana Scully, could use to prove there is a scientific explanation for UFO sightings.

The truth is out there; click on the links to find it.

Top 5 CIA Documents Mulder Would Love To Get His Hands On:

  1. Flying Saucers Reported Over East Germany, 1952 (PDF 325 KB)
  2. Minutes of Branch Chief’s Meeting on UFOs, 11 August 1952 (PDF 162 KB)
  3. Flying Saucers Reported Over Spain and North Africa, 1952 (PDF 266 KB)
  4. Survey of Flying Saucer Reports, 1 August 1952 (PDF 175 KB)
  5. Flying Saucers Reported Over Belgian Congo Uranium Mines, 1952 (PDF 262 KB)

Top 5 CIA Documents Scully Would Love To Get Her Hands On:

  1. Scientific Advisory Panel on Unidentified Flying Objects, 14-17 January 1953 (PDF 907 KB)
  2. Office Memorandum on Flying Saucers, 15 March 1949 (PDF 110 KB)
  3. Memorandum to the CIA Director on Flying Saucers, 2 October 1952 (PDF 443 KB)
  4. Meeting of the OSI Advisory Group on UFOs, 21 January 1953 (PDF 194 KB)
  5. Memorandum for the Record on Flying Saucers, 3 December 1952 (PDF 179 KB)

Do you want to believe? Then find out how to investigate a flying saucer.


Categories: Uncategorized

Edible Landscaping is the Future of Public Space

by ARIANA MARISOL22428754571_0fea1586e6_k

Edible landscaping is the practical integration of food plants into ornamental or decorative settings. The same design concept is used for ornamental landscaping, but instead of pretty plants with no uses, edible plants, bushes, and trees are grown. This creates a beautiful atmosphere that also has a purpose. The implementation of edible landscapes into communities and urban areas could mean free, delicious, fresh food for everyone! This concept could turn parks into beautiful, lush picnic areas where people could come together to pick their own food.

An edible landscape project in Quad-Cities’ Community Food Forest has entered its second year. The project was started in southwest Davenport, Iowa, on a 9 acre site after homes were removed because of its flood-prone location. The land is owned by the city and is known as Blackhawk Garden Park. In October, Chris Rice, who is spearheading the edible forest project, provided about 100 plants that he had grown from seeds or cutting in his backyard. This addition to the food forest included 60 gooseberry, 16 elderberry, 16 hazelnut, and 6 juneberry (serviceberry) plants, and 4 butternut and English walnut trees.


Categories: Uncategorized

There are some truly amazing things that have been found throughout the years on earth, objects that remain a huge mystery.

There are some truly amazing things that have been found throughout the years on earth, from ancient cities that redefine what we know about history, to objects that remain a huge mystery. Here are 12 of the most incredible things archaeologists have found.

1. The Mount Owen Moa

The Upland Moa was a flightless bird that became extinct about 500 years ago, so it came as quit of a shock to researchers when they found such a well preserved claw belonging to one in the caves of Mount Owen in New Zealand dating back 3,000 years.



Categories: Uncategorized

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: