Daily Archives: June 4, 2016

Sausage-Wielding Extremists Attack Vegan Cafe In Tbilisi

Kiwi Cafe is a counterculture-style gathering place that opened in Tbilisi about a year ago. It is popular with foreigners and employs foreign, English-speaking staff as well as Georgians.

Kiwi Cafe is a counterculture-style gathering place that opened in Tbilisi about a year ago. It is popular with foreigners and employs foreign, English-speaking staff as well as Georgians.

By Ron Synovitz

A vegan cafe in the historic center of Tbilisi was forced to cancel an English-language video screening over the weekend when a group described by witnesses as far-right extremists threw meat into patrons’ vegan dinners and started a brawl.

The staff at Tbilisi’s Kiwi Cafe called police on the evening of May 29 after more than a dozen men carrying meat attacked restaurant customers and staff.

The clash spilled onto the street outside and neighbors joined in the brawl — some reportedly fighting against the restaurant’s staff and customers, as well as the meat eaters. Minor injuries were reported.

The attackers fled before police arrived and no arrests were made. Police briefly detained some cafe staff members for interrogation.

Taken out of the context of recent events in Tbilisi, the incident could be dismissed by some as part of a backlash that has emerged on social media recently against anticarnivorous vegan rhetoric in Western counterculture. (That reaction is illustrated by a trending YouTube clip called If Meat Eaters Acted Like Vegans.)

But within the former Soviet republic of Georgia, and considering the angry nature of the violence at Kiwi Cafe, there are darker concerns.

A statement issued on May 30 through Kiwi Cafe’s Facebook page described the incident as “an antivegan provocative action” and called the attackers “neo-Nazis” who support “fascist ideas.”

The statement said the same group had come to the neighborhood a month earlier and asked a nearby shopkeeper whether foreigners or members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community frequented the cafe.

Kiwi Cafe is a counterculture-style gathering place that opened in Tbilisi about a year ago. It is popular with foreigners and employs foreign, English-speaking staff as well as Georgians.

On May 29, the cafe was screening English-language episodes of an American animated, sci-fi sitcom called Rick And Morty when the confrontation began.

Customers said the group of rowdy Georgian men entered the cafe as the screening was under way, wearing sausages around their necks and carrying slabs of meat on skewers.

According to the Kiwi Cafe statement, “they pulled out some grilled meat, sausages, and fish and started eating them and throwing them at us, and finally they started to smoke…. They were just trying to provoke our friends and disrespect us.”

continue http://www.rferl.org/content/georgia-nationalists-attack-vegan-cafe-with-sausages/27766236.html

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Uber Knows Too Much About You

Uber has your home address. It has the addresses of the places you want to get to. It knows when you’re going to church, to your boyfriend’s house, to the union hall, to the doctor’s office. And if you’re a driver for Uber, it’s tracking you for hours and hours each day.

We talk a lot about NSA surveillance, National Security Letters, warrant canaries, facial recognition technology, a police van disguised as a Google Maps vehicle, the war against encryption, and government-mandated backdoors. And yeah, sure, the expansive net of government surveillance is really troubling. That’s why organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation put out “Who’s Got Your Back” reports, grading the technology industry on how they treat user privacy.

But these reports look at how the tech industry responds to government surveillance. Ultimately, the EFF gave Uber five out of five stars—endorsing the company as one that “has your back.” Government surveillance is nothing to sneeze at, but reports like these implicitly turn a blind eye to the astounding privacy invasions that companies like Uber regularly engage in, all on their own—and not for purported national security reasons, but for their bottom line.

Uber tracks its drivers via GPS. In Hangzhou, China, the company used tracking to find drivers that were attending taxi protests, and threatened to terminate them as drivers. It also uses gyroscopes to see how fast their drivers are going, or whether they are fiddling with their phones while driving. Maybe the safety benefits to passengers outweigh the privacy interests of drivers—but it only goes to show that Uber has a lot of ways to collect information on people.

And it’s not just through your smartphone. In 2015, Uber partnered with subprime lender Santander to offer automobile leases to prospective drivers. The Santander agreement included clauses that indicated that Santander may have been planning on leasing out vehicles that would include starter-interrupt devices—a combo GPS/killswitch that allows lenders to remotely turn off vehicles when the driver falls behind on payments, and then track down and repossess the car. Uber has since ended its partnership with Santander, but it’s not clear whether Uber will use the devices in new lending programs. (When asked, Uber did not respond with any information.)

continue http://motherboard.vice.com/read/uber-knows-too-much-about-you

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FDA Moves To Protect Vulnerable Food Supply From Bioterrorism

An employee checks a lemon at a store in Los Angeles on May 24. — REUTERS

Terrorist attacks on farms and food supplies doesn’t strike fear in our hearts quite like bombings and stabbings—but maybe they should. While conventional terrorist attacks are few and far between (and, by the way, almost never perpetrated by Muslims) the United States has taken great pains to prevent future 9/11-style terrorism. But our food supply remains woefully unprotected, and vulnerable to intentional acts of sabotage that could poison millions.

Now, the U.S. Food And Drug Administration has finally issued guidelines to protect our food supply. The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) won’t fully go into effect until the year 2021, but its final ruling sheds light on how food facilities will be expected to protect consumers from bioterrorism. The new guidelines are “aimed at preventing intentional adulteration from acts intended to cause wide-scale harm to public health, including acts of terrorism targeting the food supply,” according to an FDA statement. “Such acts, while not likely to occur, could cause illness, death, economic disruption of the food supply absent mitigation strategies.”

continue http://www.vocativ.com/323769/fda-bioterror-food/

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Eric Holder Says Snowden Performed ‘Public Service’

Chicago (CNN)Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says Edward Snowden performed a “public service” by triggering a debate over surveillance techniques, but still must pay a penalty for illegally leaking a trove of classified intelligence documents.

“We can certainly argue about the way in which Snowden did what he did, but I think that he actually performed a public service by raising the debate that we engaged in and by the changes that we made,” Holder told David Axelrod on “The Axe Files,” a podcast produced by CNN and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.

continue http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/30/politics/axe-files-axelrod-eric-holder/index.html

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Study shows government snooping is scaring people away from reading about terrorist groups

If you’re in doubt about whether the US government’s various programs to spy on its citizens has made people more paranoid, this should clear things up.

Jonathon Penney, a fellow at the University of Toronto’s interdisciplinary Citizen Lab, analyzed traffic on Wikipedia and found that visits to entries about terrorist groups fell by 30 percent after whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA was spying on citizens’ online activity.

In his paper, ‘Chilling Effects: Online Surveillance and Wikipedia Use‘, Penney looked at monthly views on Wikipedia pages for 48 topics that the US Department of Homeland Security said it tracks on social media, including ‘Al Qaeda’, ‘terror’, ‘weapons grade’, ‘Abu Sayyaf’, ‘Iran’, ‘extremism’, ‘Nigeria’ and jihad.

continue http://thenextweb.com/us/2016/04/28/government-snooping-scaring-people-away-reading-wikipedia-entries-terrorist-groups/

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The Rise of ‘Have I Been Pwned?’, an Invaluable Resource in the Hacking Age

Troy Hunt has a database of 292,434,781 stolen user accounts.

The staggering amount of hacked data includes information sourced from 91 different websites that were compromised by hackers, including Adobe (152,445,165 accounts), Snapchat (4,609,615 accounts), and YouPorn (1,327,567 accounts).

But, as you may already know, Hunt doesn’t distribute or sell this data. Instead, it’s the backbone of Have I Been Pwned (HIBP), a website dedicated to informing victims of data breaches. (“Pwned,” in case you’re not familiar, is a slang term for being hacked, or otherwise having your digital security compromised.)

The idea is simple enough: enter your email into HIPB, verify that you control it, and then the site will let search through its hundreds of millions of records, and return results of any breaches you’ve been swept up in. Potential victims will also be notified if their email address appears in any future dumps that Hunt obtains.

Although many of the original data breaches include even more sensitive information like credit card information and passwords, Hunt only saves the user names and email addresses, so that people can find out whether they’ve been affected in a data breach.

Around 10,000 people visit HIBP every day, and 350,000 people have subscribed to getting an email notification if their information appears in a new breach.

Hunt started the site back in late 2013. At the time, Hunt, an Australian web security expert, was analyzing trends in data breaches, such as the common reuse of passwords across different dumps. He got the idea after noticing how many massive data breaches affect large numbers of people—people who may have had no idea they’d been compromised.

continue https://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-rise-of-have-i-been-pwned-an-invaluable-resource-in-the-hacking-age-troy-hunt

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I created Godwin’s Law in 1990, but it wasn’t a prediction – it was a warning

Earlier this month, my email and social media alerts starting going off when friends let me know a pseudonymous number-cruncher had “proved” Godwin’s Law.

This struck me as odd, given that I designed Godwin’s Law a quarter-century ago in a way that (I hoped) would make it insusceptible to scientific proof or disproof—at least by anyone who interpreted Godwin’s Law as a prediction.

Although I’m proud of my career-spanning work on internet rights and freedoms, my biggest claim to internet notoriety is my little social experiment, Godwin’s Law, which I crafted back in the days before there was large-scale public access to the internet.

Based on my own early experience of online arguments, I had come up with this mock “law,” which was meant to have the sound and seeming inevitability of a law of physics or mathematics: “As an online discussion continues, the probability of a comparison to Hitler or to Nazis approaches 1.”

I admit to being a bit of a prankster about this — I knew as a writer that if I could say something memorable about internet culture it was entirely possible for the memorable thing to take on a life of its own, propagated by the internet itself. After a bit of judicious promoting by me in the early internet discussion forums (notably Usenet), Godwin’s Law took flight on its own in the early 1990s. Like a smartphone alarm I’ve forgotten to turn off, it pops up startlingly from time to time when I least expect it.

This happened on May 4 when it was announced that “CuriousGnu” – a blogger who shares with me an ongoing curiosity about numbers and statistical data –had blogged that “78% of Reddit Threads With 1000+ Comments Mention Nazis”.

This finding didn’t surprise me, exactly — when I came up with Godwin’s Law, I based it to a large degree on my experiences in the 1980s with computer bulletin-board systems. Reddit, which has hundreds of millions of users, is in many ways like those 1980s bulletin-board systems — only, of course, millions of times larger. So one might guess than anything I’d seen on systems with dozens of users would certainly occur on systems with tens or hundreds of millions.

continue http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/when-i-created-godwins-law-1990-it-wasnt-prediction-it-was-warning-1562126

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John Horgan is skeptical of Skepticism

Due to the support of many of my followers, I had the privilege of attending the NECSS 2016 conference in New York City this past weekend. The conference was fantastic! There were many speakers from many different subject areas ranging from “chronic” Lyme disease to linguistics (which was actually an entertaining presentation!). Some of the more memorable sessions for me were Steve Novella’s talk on Bayesian Statistics, Bill Nye’s talk about creationism/renewable energy/climate change, and the panel discussion on social justice and free speech. The conference lasted from Thursday through Sunday, concluding with a talk given by John Horgan. According to Horgan’s Wikipedia page, he is a science journalist who graduated from Columbia, currently a senior writer at Scientific American, and has won awards from American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Association of Science Writers Science-in-Society Award. The man has legitimate credentials and is not one to scoff at. So when I saw the title for Horgan’s talk, Skepticism: Hard versus Soft Targets, I was excited.

I was excited that perhaps he would discuss how those of Food Babe’s ilk are “soft targets,” as they’re easy to pick on and are considered entry-level woo due to how simple it is to debunk their claims. Perhaps he would address how to go after more elusive targets, like Joseph Mercola? Despite being a multi-millionaire, Mercola (and his long-time girlfriend “Erin at Health Nut News”) has not been focused upon as vehemently as people like Food Babe. My expectations were not met.

Horgan’s Rant Instead, Horgan decided to go on a rant about us “Skeptics.” He also referred to himself as a “skeptic,” (lower case “s”) but differentiated himself from “Skeptics” (capital “S”). He stood in front of us and read, nearly verbatim, what amounted to an angry blog post that he later posted on Scientific American criticizing “Skeptics” for attending the conference. Horgan’s complaints were many. By establishing camaraderie, we are subject to becoming tribal in our thinking. He criticized Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss. He criticized Skeptics for pursuing issues that he called “soft targets” – homeopathy, vaccines, and GMOs, to name a few. Horgan said that we go after those who ignore us, but instead should focus on “hard targets” such as healthcare reform and war. Horgan essentially claimed that Dawkins and Krauss were engaged in a circle jerk of compliments with each other and even criticized Neil deGrasse Tyson for floating the idea that we live in a multiverse. Horgan criticized the United States’ tendency to conduct unnecessary health screenings, stated that antidepressants aren’t effective, and that if mental health medications actually worked, mental illness should be in decline. He complained that Richard Friedman published an article in the New York Times regarding identification of genes being linked to different behaviors.

Read more at: http://ascienceenthusiast.com/horgan-necss/

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California mayors demand surveillance cams on crime-ridden highways

The 28 shootings along a 10-mile stretch of San Francisco-area highway over the past six months have led mayors of the adjacent cities to declare that these “murderous activities” have reached “crisis proportions.” Four people have been killed and dozens injured, including a pregnant mother of four children who was shot to death earlier this month.

These five mayors want California Gov. Jerry Brown to fund surveillance cameras along all the on and off ramps of Interstate 80 and Highway 4 along the cities of El Cerrito, Hercules, Richmond, San Pablo, and Pinole.

According to their letter (PDF) to the governor:

Shootings along Interstate 80 and Highway 4 in West and East Contra Costa County have reached crisis proportions. These crimes have resulted in deaths and injuries to not only the intended victims but other innocent highway users. This is of increasing concern to our elected officials and residents who feel as if our communities are under siege and where the use of our local freeways places all of us at unnecessary risk.

These State highways are under the jurisdiction of the California Highway Patrol who have been working with local law enforcement agencies in regard to these crimes. While certainly, we would like to prevent these crimes from occurring, solving these crimes and putting the perpetrators behind bars would also serve as a deterrent. Our freeways have become the place of choice to undertake these murderous activities due to perceived ease of escape and the fact that there are not any surveillance cameras with recording capability to assist in any criminal investigations…

continue http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/05/california-mayors-demand-surveillance-cams-on-crime-ridden-highways/

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Researchers find what’s giving you dandruff – and it’s probably not what you think

Dandruff is the most common scalp condition, yet we know surprisingly little about it.

Over 100 years ago,  French microbiologist named Louis-Charles Malassez noticed a fungus — which he dubbed Malassezia — on the scalps of people who had dandruff. He suggested a correlation – the fungus lies at the base of the hair, causing the itch and the white flakes we know so well. The correlation was mostly accepted and has stuck as popular knowledge, but that idea is starting to be challenged.

In a study of 363 adults with and without dandruff, Zhijue Xu from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China and his team have discovered that dandruff is more closely linked to the presence of Staphylococcus bacteria on the scalp than a fungus. In fact, they found no difference between dandruff and dandruff-less people when it comes to the fungus. But when it comes to the bacteria, it’s a completely different picture.

People with dandruff had higher amounts of Staphylococcus, and much smaller amounts of a different type of bacteria, Propionibacterium, than those without dandruff. So it may be the presence of the bacteria, but there may also be a combination of other bacteria lacking that causes dandruff. The study reads:

continue http://www.zmescience.com/medicine/dandruff-causes-fungus-29052016/

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Used & Betrayed – 100 Years of US Troops as Lab Rats

I haven’t seen this video yet, but will do soon. But the subject is a true ATS Conspiracy topic, so I’m wasting no time to post this video here for you guys to watch and see whether or not it’s accurate. (It does seem to be so). Apparently it’s an episode of a TV show called “The Empire files”, by Abby Martin. I’ve never heard of it, but a subject as huge as the U.S. government experimenting on U.S. troops, for which there has been documentation should be discussed here on the forum.

Here’s the video:

continue http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread1119859/pg1

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