Daily Archives: March 20, 2016

Neighbours invoke Human Rights Act to have 4yr-old’s treehouse torn down

A film director has been told she must “scale down” or “demolish” a treehouse in her garden after neighbours invoked the Human Rights Act to have it removed.

Jasmine Dellal, 48, the aunt of Agent Provocateur model Alice Dellal, recently had the 14-foot structure built in the back garden of her £5 million Notting Hill home for her four-year-old son.

But she received a backlash from neighbours, who launched a campaign to have it removed, claiming the tree house would impact their “right to the quiet enjoyment of [their] property” – saying it was a breach of human rights.

In response to the complaints, the council gave Ms Dellal an enforcement notice ordering her to scale down the structure or demolish it.

continue  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/angry-neighbours-invoke-human-rights-act-over-tree-house-in-film-directors-back-garden-a6941396.html

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How to Avoid Being Bombarded with Annoying Spam

On Monday, experts speaking to The Wall Street Journal about the ongoing smartphone encryption debate estimated that roughly “10 percent of the world’s 1.4 billion Android phones were encrypted,” compared to 95 percent of all iPhones. For iPhones, that estimate is based on data provided by the company’s OS distribution chart—this isn’t a perfect source since it also includes iPods and iPads. In any case, the vast majority of iDevices are running iOS 8 or 9 and thus all data on them is encrypted in a way that makes it impossible for Apple or others to directly access data on them without their passcodes.

The figure for Android phones is likely an estimate based on other sources, since it’s impossible to get similar data from the Android distribution chart. Google has historically had trouble getting its hardware partners to encrypt their phones and even had to backtrack on promises that Android 5.0 phones would be encrypted by default because of performance concerns. Ultimately, the company was able to make encrypted storage a requirement for Android 6.0 phones that meet the required specs (Nexus devices have been encrypted by default since the Nexus 6 and 9 came out in 2014), but currently only 2.3 percent of all Android phones run Marshmallow. Even worse, only new phones that ship with Android 6.0 need to be encrypted, and it’s still optional for those that upgrade.

continue http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2016/03/why-are-so-few-android-phones-encrypted-and-should-you-encrypt-yours/


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60 U.S. Penis Transplants Set To Happen Soon

Penis Transplant

Sixty wounded veterans are in line for the first round of an experimental penis transplant procedure at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore. The operations haven’t yet been scheduled, but they are already stirring up both medical and ethical debates.

The number of people dying in war has been decreasing since World War II. Part of that is due to a drop in the number of international wars, as well as advances in medicine that allow people to survive injuries that would have been fatal in the past.

While people are surviving more grave injuries, however, they are still losing parts of their body that have been damaged in those once-fatal injuries — including the penis.

“When they wake up after getting hurt, they don’t care if they’re missing an arm or a leg,” Johns Hopkins spokeswoman Taylor Graham told Philly.com. “The first thing they do is to make sure, ‘Is my penis still intact?’ They worry about the arms and legs later.”

continue http://all-that-is-interesting.com/penis-transplant

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$115 mil verdict in Hulk Hogan lawsuit could wipe out Gawker


A Florida jury today ordered Gawker Media to pay $115 million for publishing a sex tape showing Terry Bollea, also known as Hulk Hogan, having sex with his friend’s wife.

The stunning sum, which may have punitive damages added to it, is a life-threatening event for the New York-based network of news and gossip sites. Gawker media was one of the first successful, large digital-only news companies. The final sum is even more than the $100 million Bollea was seeking. Bollea also sued Gawker founder Nick Denton and former editor Albert Daulerio, and the jury found those two men personally liable as well.

The sex tape was made about a decade ago, during a period in which the professional wrestler Hogan testified that he was going through a difficult phase with his then-wife. Todd Clem, a Florida radio personality who later legally changed his name to Bubba the Love Sponge, encouraged Hogan to sleep with his wife Heather.

In 2012, Bollea sued Clem, saying he didn’t know Clem had filmed him. Clem has made conflicting statements about whether Bollea knew about the taping. Clem settled the lawsuit, reportedly for $5,000. That left Gawker, Denton, and Daulerio as the targets of Bollea’s wrath. He sued them for $100 million in damages and the case when to trial in St. Petersburg, Florida on March 7.

continue http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/03/115-million-verdict-in-hulk-hogan-sex-tape-lawsuit-could-wipe-out-gawker/

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US Government Pushed Tech Firms To Hand Over Source Code

NEW YORK — The US government has made numerous attempts to obtain source code from tech companies in an effort to find security flaws that could be used for surveillance or investigations.

The government has demanded source code in civil cases filed under seal but also by seeking clandestine rulings authorized under the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a person with direct knowledge of these demands told ZDNet. We’re not naming the person as they relayed information that is likely classified.

With these hearings held in secret and away from the public gaze, the person said that the tech companies hit by these demands are losing “most of the time.”

When asked, a spokesperson for the Justice Dept. acknowledged that the department has demanded source code and private encryption keys before. In a recent filing against Apple, the government cited a 2013 case where it won a court order demanding that Lavabit, an encrypted email provider said to have been used by whistleblower Edward Snowden, must turn over its source code and private keys. The Justice Dept. used that same filing to imply it would, in a similar effort, demand Apple’s source code and private keys in its ongoing case in an effort to compel the company’s help by unlocking an iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooter.

continue www.zdnet.com/article/us-government-pushed-tech-firms-to-hand-over-source-code

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Satanist Students To Save Us From “Budding Conservatism” on Campuses


There are a few conservative student groups on campus at the University of Minnseota-Morris – the gun club, the College Republicans and a pro-life group and that’s’ about it.

All told, it’s about 20 students in a school with an enrollment of about 2.800.

But to the Satanists, that’s too much, so they’re looking to start their own club to thwart what they see as “the budding conservative” on the campus.

Some of the club names they’ve picked: the “Gay Devil Worshippers for a Better Future” or “Queer Satanists for Change.”

Kinda rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

Student Reed Larson, who clearly needs more homework, is behind the new club, CampusReform is reporting.

Of course there’s nothing “budding” about the conservative movement on the campus at all.

continue http://www.thefederalistpapers.org/us/satanist-students-to-save-us-from-budding-conservatism-on-college-campuses

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British City Introduces Ban on Swearing

(ANTIMEDIA) United Kingdom — A local council has become the subject of ridicule after introducing a ban on swearing in an upmarket docklands development. Those caught breaching the new rules and turning the air blue at Manchester’s The Quays will be issued an instant, on-the-spot fine of £90 under a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) — brought in by Salford City Council — after complaints of anti-social behaviour in the area. In another example of the gentrification of Britain run wild, the council has declared that it will be a criminal offence to use “foul or abusive language”in the trendy area.

Other prohibited acts covered by the PSPO include “the throwing of any object at anyone without their consent” and“urinating or defecating in any street or public space.” According to the Manchester Evening News, the council have hit back at critics, claiming that they are only attempting to help residents whose lives are being made a misery.

continue http://theantimedia.org/british-city-introduces-ban-on-swearing/

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German Company’s Synthetic Oil Production Technology – $12 a barrel oil coming soon!

An interesting series of JPEG images sent to me
which I reformatted into a single PDF document.

It outlines a German company’s technology to use
GMO Bacteria and metals to catalyze CO2-laced seawater
into large scale quantities of oil and gas at a rate they
say will be 20 MILLION BARRELS A DAY !!!!!!!!!!!

This will cause one HECK of a disruption in
Middle East Oil Production and will absolutely
KILL oil producing states such as Saudi Arabia,
Russia, Venezuala, Mexico, Iraq, Iran, Bahrain,
Canada and others !!!!

YEAH!!! Cheap Oil at $12 a barrel!

continue http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread1109685/pg1

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How South Park Saved Fair Use

“I hope that law students today are having to watch Butters sing ‘What, What (In the Butt)’ in their classrooms. I hope that’s the legacy in this case,” says Parker Higgins, director of copyright activism at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

For 19 seasons, South Park has provided cutting cultural commentary centered around the foul-mouthed adventures of elementary school students Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Cartman. But the raunchy cartoon has also helped establish an important legal entertainment precedent that expands free speech rights.

“When anybody creates anything, basically, that thing automatically gets copyrighted and for the most part it can’t be used in certain ways without permission,” explains Higgins. “But there are some really important exceptions to that rule, and there are some really important places where we say, ‘Actually, members of the public, no matter who they are, can use this thing for all sorts of reasons without getting permission.'”

In 2010, EFF became unlikely allies with the media giant Viacom—the owner of Comedy Central—which had been sued by Brownmark Films after a 2008 South Park episode called “Canada on Strike” parodied a popular viral video by the musician Samwell.

continue reason.com/archives/2016/03/20/how-south-park-saved-fair-use

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Ego depletion, an influential theory in psychology, may have just been debunked.


An influential psychological theory, borne out in hundreds of experiments, may have just been debunked. How can so many scientists have been so wrong?


Lisa Larson-Walker

Nearly 20 years ago, psychologists Roy Baumeister and Dianne Tice, a married couple at Case Western Reserve University, devised a foundational experiment on self-control. “Chocolate chip cookies were baked in the room in a small oven,” they wrote in a paper that has been cited more than 3,000 times. “As a result, the laboratory was filled with the delicious aroma of fresh chocolate and baking.”

In the history of psychology, there has never been a more important chocolate-y aroma.

Here’s how that experiment worked. Baumeister and Tice stacked their fresh-baked cookies on a plate, beside a bowl of red and white radishes, and brought in a parade of student volunteers. They told some of the students to hang out for a while unattended, eating only from the bowl of radishes, while another group ate only cookies. Afterward, each volunteer tried to solve a puzzle, one that was designed to be impossible to complete.

Baumeister and Tice timed the students in the puzzle task, to see how long it took them to give up. They found that the ones who’d eaten chocolate chip cookies kept working on the puzzle for 19 minutes, on average—about as long as people in a control condition who hadn’t snacked at all. The group of kids who noshed on radishes flubbed the puzzle test. They lasted just eight minutes before they quit in frustration.

The authors called this effect “ego depletion” and said it revealed a fundamental fact about the human mind: We all have a limited supply of willpower, and it decreases with overuse. Eating a radish when you’re surrounded by fresh-baked cookies represents an epic feat of self-denial, and one that really wears you out. Willpower, argued Baumeister and Tice, draws down mental energy—it’s a muscle that can be exercised to exhaustion.

continue http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/cover_story/2016/03/ego_depletion_an_influential_theory_in_psychology_may_have_just_been_debunked.html

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How to start a fire with a lemon

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Biohacking: The Weird And Exciting World Of Biological Implants

We live in a world dominated by digital technology, with almost every aspect of our life controlled by computers and mobile devices. In the health sector, recent technological advancements have given us fitness products such as the Fitbit tracker, which uses wireless-enabled wearable technology to monitor a user’s fitness activity, bionic fingertips through which an amputee can feel texture  or 3-D hearts and liver tissues which could be used to replace or repair damaged organs.

The Future Is Full Of Implants

However, some people have moved beyond using traditional technology to actually implant their bodies with microchips and devices for enhanced convenience in their daily lives. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the fascinating world of biohacking, a biopunk movement inhabited by ‘Grinders’- individuals who staunchly believe in open-source transhumanism and techno-progressivism.

When you usually hear the word ‘hack’, the word evokes varied meanings- it can signify an act of technical ingenuity, or mala fide behavior that breaches legal boundaries. Biohacking- the process of fitting your body parts with miniscule electronic gadgetry, is an activity that has mostly been the staple of scifi cyberpunk movies such as Johnny Mnemonic or superhero flicks like Iron Man. Whether it falls in the realm of the genius or illegal, nothing can be said clearly yet, given the uncertain nature of the technology used.

Body implants mean enhanced convenience

Technology is obviously intended to make our lives more convenient. But what if you are willing to transcend biological boundaries to experience enhanced convenience in your day-to-day life? There is a burgeoning group of ‘Do-it-yourself’ biohacking enthusiasts (Grinders, as explained before) who have gone a step ahead by implanting technology inside their bodies. Take for example, Amanda Payton, a self-confessed technophile who has undergone the procedure to get a low frequency microchip inserted between her right index finger and her thumb.

How does this help her?

continue http://nerdsmagazine.com/biohacking-the-weird-and-exciting-world-of-biological-implants/

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Are Flat-Earthers Being Serious?

Members of the Flat Earth Society claim to believe the Earth is flat. Walking around on the planet’s surface, it looks andfeels flat, so they deem all evidence to the contrary, such as satellite photos of Earth as a sphere, to be fabrications of a “round Earth conspiracy” orchestrated by NASA and other government agencies.

The belief that the Earth is flat has been described as the ultimate conspiracy theory. According to the Flat Earth Society’s leadership, its ranks have grown by 200 people (mostly Americans and Britons) per year since 2009. Judging by the exhaustive effort flat-earthers have invested in fleshing out the theory on their website, as well as the staunch defenses of their views they offer in media interviews and on Twitter, it would seem that these people genuinely believe the Earth is flat.

But in the 21st century, can they be serious? And if so, how is this psychologically possible?

Through a flat-earther’s eyes

First, a brief tour of the worldview of a flat-earther: While writing off buckets of concrete evidence that Earth is spherical, they readily accept a laundry list of propositions that some would call ludicrous. The leadingflat-earther theory holds that Earth is a disc with the Arctic Circle in the center and Antarctica, a 150-foot-tall wall of ice, around the rim. NASA employees, they say, guard this ice wall to prevent people from climbing over and falling off the disc. Earth’s day and night cycle is explained by positing that the sun and moon are spheres measuring 32 miles (51 kilometers) that move in circles 3,000 miles (4,828 km) above the plane of the Earth. (Stars, they say, move in a plane 3,100 miles up.) Like spotlights, these celestial spheres illuminate different portions of the planet in a 24-hour cycle. Flat-earthers believe there must also be an invisible “antimoon” that obscures the moon during lunar eclipses.

Furthermore, Earth’s gravity is an illusion, they say. Objects do not accelerate downward; instead, the disc of Earth accelerates upward at 32 feet per second squared (9.8 meters per second squared), driven up by a mysterious force called dark energy. Currently, there is disagreement among flat-earthers about whether or not Einstein’s theory of relativity permits Earth to accelerate upward indefinitely without the planet eventually surpassing the speed of light. (Einstein’s laws apparently still hold in this alternate version of reality.)

CONTINUE http://www.livescience.com/24310-flat-earth-belief.html

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