Daily Archives: June 23, 2016

Loretta Lynch Blames Orlando On Gun Shop Owner Who Refused To Sell Omar Mateen A Gun

loretta lynch

In a truly vile attempt to pass the buck, Attorney General Loretta Lynch blamed the gun shop owner who refused to sell the Orlando terrorist a gun.

In a bizarre interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Lynch told Dana Bash that the gun shop owner alerted the FBI to a suspicious person – after the attack, he realized he was Omar Mateen – and that his actions were “exactly what the gun shop owner should have done.”

Then, Lynch said that “because no purchase was made, there was nothing to identify who he was – like a name or an address.”

Now what exactly is Lynch suggesting? That the gun shop owner actually sell Mateen the gun so they would know who he was?
continue http://www.thefederalistpapers.org/us/loretta-lynch-blames-orlando-on-gun-shop-owner-who-refused-to-sell-omar-mateen-a-gun

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Cancer Is An Evolutionary Mechanism To ‘Autocorrect’ Our Gene Pool, Suggests Paper

Two scientists have come up with a depressing new hypothesis that attempts to explain why cancer is so hard to stop.

Maybe, they suggest, cancer’s not working against us. Maybe the disease is actually an evolutionary ‘final checkpoint’ that stops faulty DNA from being passed down to the next generation.

To be clear, this is just a hypothesis. It hasn’t been tested experimentally, and, more importantly, no one is suggesting that anyone should die of cancer. In fact, it’s quite the opposite – the researchers say that this line of thinking could help us to better understand the disease, and come up with more effective treatment strategies, like immunotherapy, even if a cure might not be possible.

So let’s step back a second here, because why are our bodies trying to kill us? The idea behind the paper is based on the fact that, in the healthy body, there are a whole range of inbuilt safeguards, or ‘checkpoints’, that stop DNA mutations from being passed onto new cells.

One of the most important of these checkpoints is apoptosis, or programmed cell death. Whenever DNA is damaged and can’t be fixed, cells are marked for apoptosis, and are quickly digested by the immune system – effectively ‘swallowing’ the problem. No mess, no fuss.

But the new hypothesis suggests that when apoptosis – and the other safeguards – don’t work like they’re supposed to, cancer just might be the final ‘checkpoint’ that steps in and gets rid of the rogue cells before their DNA can be passed on… by, uh, killing us, and removing our genetic material from the gene pool.

“Dividing cells have to be able to pass at least four crucially important checkpoints during different phases of the cell cycle,” the researchers write in the paper, published in Biotechnology & Biotechnological Equipment.

continue https://science.slashdot.org/story/16/06/17/2053248/cancer-is-an-evolutionary-mechanism-to-autocorrect-our-gene-pool-suggests-paper

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It’ll be very hard for terrorism victim’s family to win lawsuit against Twitter

OAKLAND, Calif.—Legal experts say that it will be an uphill battle for the plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit this week against Twitter, Facebook, and Google. That suit, filed here on behalf of the family of a terrorism victim, argues that the companies should not be a vehicle for terrorist propaganda and that the companies should be held liable for the consequences of publication of such material.

On Tuesday, the family of Nohemi Gonzalez, a woman killed in terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015, sued the three tech giants in federal court for unspecified damages. In a 39-page civil complaint, the family’s attorneys argue that the defendants provide “material support to ISIS”—as the companies make money off of ads that run against this propaganda and therefore are in violation of a civil provision of an anti-terrorism law.

However, according to several lawyers and law professors that Ars spoke with, the trio of companies in Gonzalez v. Twitter will likely argue that they are not liable under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. (The companies have not yet formally responded to the case in court.)

In fact, Twitter has recently made this argument in a related case, Fields v. Twitterwhere the widow of an American government contractor murdered in Jordan sued the company on similar grounds. On Thursday, a federal judge in San Francisco dismissed Fields, siding with Twitter, but will allow it to be re-filed.

continue http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/06/itll-be-very-hard-for-terrorism-victims-family-to-win-lawsuit-against-twitter/

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New ‘Hardened’ Tor Browser Protects Users From FBI Hacking

The FBI has had a fair amount of success de-anonymizing Tor users over the past few years. Despite the encryption software’s well-earned reputation as one of the best tools for online privacy, recent court cases have shown that government malware has compromised Tor users by exploiting bugs in the underlying Firefox browser—one of which was controversially provided to the FBI in 2015 by academic researchers at Carnegie Mellon University.

But according to a new paper, security researchers are now working closely with the Tor Project to create a “hardened” version of the Tor Browser, implementing new anti-hacking techniques which could dramatically improve the anonymity of users and further frustrate the efforts of law enforcement.

Specifically, the researchers are currently testing “Selfrando,” a technique made to protect against browser exploits such as the one reportedly used by the FBI.

The new method is meant to counteract what’s known as “code reuse” exploits, where rather than attempting the much harder task of injecting new malicious code, an attacker will exploit a memory leak to reuse code libraries that already exist in the browser—essentially, building malware by rearranging things inside the application’s memory.

continue http://motherboard.vice.com/read/tor-is-teaming-up-with-researchers-to-protect-users-from-fbi-hacking

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The World’s Oldest Computer May Have Been Used to Predict the Future

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Discovered in an ancient shipwreck near Crete in 1901, the freakishly advanced Antikythera Mechanism has been called the world’s first computer. A decades-long investigation into the 2,000 year-old-device is shedding new light onto this mysterious device, including the revelation that it may have been used for more than just astronomy.

The Antikythera Mechanism is one of the most fascinating and important archaeological discoveries ever made, one that reveals the remarkable technological and engineering capacities of the ancient Greeks as well as their excellent grasp of astronomy. This clock-like assembly of bronze gears and displays was used to predict lunar and solar eclipses, along with the positions of the sun, moon, and planets. It wasn’t programmable in the modern sense, but it’s considered the world’s first analog computer. Dating to around 60 BC, nothing quite like it would appear for another millennium.

Since its discovery at the bottom of the Mediterranean, scientists have sought to understand its purpose. No user manual exists, but more than a dozen pieces of classical literature make mention of similar devices. Scientists are having to figure it out by looking at it, both inside and out.

Yesterday, in an event held at the Katerina Laskaridis Historical Foundation Library in Greece, an international team of researchers announced the results of a decades-long investigation into the technological relic. Their analysis reaffirms much of what we already knew about the Antikythera Mechanism, while also providing some tantalizing new details.

The machine’s physical parts are reasonably well understood, so in an effort to learn more about its intended function, the researchers took a deeper look into the tiny inscriptions meticulously etched onto the outer surfaces of its 82 surviving fragments. Some of these letters measure just 1.2 millimeters (1/20th of an inch) across, and are engraved on the inside covers and visible front and back sections of the device. To do it, the researchers used cutting-edge imaging techniques, including x-ray scanning.

“The original investigation was intended to see how the mechanism works, and that was very successful,” noted team member Mike Edmunds, a professor of astrophysics at Cardiff University. “What we hadn’t realized was that the modern techniques that were being used would allow us to read the texts much better both on the outside of the mechanism and on the inside than was done before.”

In total, researchers have now read about 3,500 characters of explanatory text within the device.

continue http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/Dvorsky20160617

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Shock Report: FBI’s Facial Recognition Database Contains 90% NON-CRIMINALS — That Means You

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In 2014, the FBI announced their plans to launch a massive database containing 52 million images of faces in order to keep tabs on Americans through a biometric facial recognition program known as Next Generation Identification (NGI). However, according to an exhaustive report by the federal Government Accountability Office (GAO), the program is far larger than they claimed and ominous.
According to the report, the system actually contains about 411 million photos, only 30 million of those are “civil and criminal mugshots.” The overwhelming majority of images in the FBI database are of innocent people.

According to the GAO Report, as reported by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, FBI’s Facial Analysis, Comparison, and Evaluation (FACE) Services unit not only has access to FBI’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) face recognition database of nearly 30 million civil and criminal mug shot photos, it also has access to the State Department’s Visa and Passport databases, the Defense Department’s biometric database, and the drivers license databases of at least 16 states. Totaling 411.9 million images, this is an unprecedented number of photographs, most of which are of Americans and foreigners who have committed no crimes.

These images, according to the report, were arbitrarily scooped up in a massive data collection and have nothing to do with national security or criminal behavior.

continue http://countercurrentnews.com/2016/06/shock-report-fbis-facial-recognition-database-contains-90-non-criminals-means/

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CIA Officer Abandoned By Hillary Clinton Facing 4 Years In Italy Jail (Video)

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The Case Against Peace

The Case Against Peace

A striking trend in contemporary world politics is the apparent erosion of political unity in so many different places. In the Middle East, we’ve seen the upheavals of the Arab Spring and the continuing bloodbaths in Syria, Libya, Yemen, and elsewhere. In Europe, support for the European Union continues to drop, Great Britain may vote to leave it, and Scotland might still decide to exit the United Kingdom. Here in the United States, we have a level of bitter partisanship not seen for many decades, the two main political parties are themselves deeply divided, and the presumptive GOP presidential candidate is a rank amateur (in several senses of that term). To say “the center cannot hold” seems like an understatement these days.

What’s going on here? Some people believe today’s fractious politics is a consequence of globalization, which has accelerated the pace of change, threatened traditional cultural norms, and left millions of people feeling marginalized. Other observers blame economic policies that have enriched the One Percent and insulated them from their own misdeeds, leaving the rest of us to forage for the crumbs from their table. Or perhaps the digital revolution and new media are the real culprits, with the combination of cable TV, Twitter, and other modern means of communication lowering barriers to entry, coarsening the national dialogue, spreading extremism, and making the nastiest forms of political innuendo seem legitimate.

continue http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/06/17/the-case-against-peace-syria-europe-brexit-donald-trump/

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Jobseeker canu-robotBecomes Robot to Increase Chances of Landing Tech Job

With the imminent rise of the machines and everyone anticipating that robots will be taking all our jobscanu-robot, a proactive human jobseeker has decided to become a robot in order to improve his odd sof landing a tech job. If you can’t beat’em, join’em, right?

Meet Canu, a man trying to stay ahead of the times. Inspired by grim predictions that robots will be taking over our jobs in the next 30 years, he has set up a tongue-in-cheek website where he advertises himself as a human-turned robot, with 4 years of experience in marketing under his belt, but also the ability to “program and download any other skills as needed”. Just one of the perks of being a machine, I guess. His human side presents some advantages as well, like being “already assembled” and not requiring batteries. So there you go, tech companies, the perfect employee.

 

Photo: Get Canu

continue http://www.odditycentral.com/news/jobseeker-becomes-robot-to-increase-chances-of-landing-tech-job.html

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If Robots Take Over All the Jobs, What Will be Left for Us To Do?

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CRISPR Gets Federal Approval For Human Testing

CRISPR

Sam Ward

CRISPR acts like a scissors for DNA.

CRISPR has received federal approval for its first human trials, though the editing will not be at the embryonic level.

A federal panel gave the go ahead to the study, which will remove, edit, and replace T-cells in humans today, though it still needs approval by both the hosting medical facilities and the FDA.

The initial study will seek to edit immune system genes to attack cancer cells and is not aimed at any embryonic functions. In other words: this isn’t approval for genetic editing of a yet-to-be-born person. If the study gets the final approvals, it will be funded by tech giant Sean Parker through his Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, which he started in April to combat cancer.

source http://www.popsci.com/crispr-gets-federal-approval-for-human-testing

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Speed Up Firefox Immediately With These 6 Simple Tweaks

At this point, almost all browsers have similar speed when actually browsing the web, so “speed” actually comes down to the performance and how you use the program. For Mozilla Firefox users, this means the right settings, the right extensions, and tab management.

Whether you’re already a Firefox user or switching from Chrome to Firefox, this guide will tell you how to speed it up. We’ll be sticking to the latest stable version of desktop Firefox for this one, although Firefox on Android has some cool features too.

continue http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/speed-up-firefox-immediately-with-these-6-simple-tweaks/

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Rare Blind Catfish Found in US for First Time

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Two Mexican blindcats were discovered in Texas last month, the first time they’ve ever been confirmed outside Mexico.   (Dant? Fenolio/University of Texas Austin)

(Newser) – Two new Mexican immigrants have been discovered in Texas: a pair of super rare blind catfish. According to a press release, until last month the Mexican blindcat was only confirmed to exist in Mexico. Then two were found in a limestone cave at Texas’ Amistad National Recreation Area and identified by the University of Texas’ Dean Hendrickson. “I’ve seen more of these things than anybody, and these specimens look just like the ones from Mexico,” Hendrickson says. Mexican blindcats have no eyes and a pinkish-white color due to the blood that can be seen through their translucent skin, CBS DFW reports. The fish are less than 3 inches long and live in the complete darkness of water-filled caves.

continue http://www.newser.com/story/226844/rare-blind-catfish-found-in-us-for-first-time.html

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Bluetooth 5.0: Here’s Why The New Wireless Standard Matters

Bluetooth 5
Bluetooth 5.0 promises to transfer much more information faster and over a wider distance. Photo: David Becker/Getty Images

Bluetooth is one of those background technologies no one pays attention to, until a device doesn’t “pair” properly or it doesn’t work. Then it can be a real annoyance.

The organization that oversees the development of this wireless connectivity standard has just released the specifications for Bluetooth 5.0, which aims to dramatically improve its performance as well as removing one of the most frustrating aspects of using the technology today.

Who Controls Bluetooth?

The development of Bluetooth is controlled by an organization called the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), which has just announced its 30,000th member.

It is a not-for-profit group based in Kirkland, Washington, that promotes the use of Bluetooth and counts among its members a who’s who of the tech world, including Apple, Intel, IBM and Microsoft. It oversees the licensing of Bluetooth technologies and trademarks to manufacturers.

Does Bluetooth Still Matter?

Well, yes. Bluetooth is today used in 8.2 billion devices around the the world from smartphones and laptops to speakers, beacons and cars.

continue http://www.ibtimes.com/bluetooth-50-heres-why-new-wireless-standard-matters-2383305

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Study Finds Twitter Users Don’t Read the Articles They Share

““People are more willing to share an article than read it. This is typical of modern information consumption,” said the study’s co-author Arnaud Legout in a statement. “People form an opinion based on a summary, or a summary of summaries, without making the effort to go deeper.””

I didn’t need a study, I already noticed this happening a while back. We have reached this point as a society, where opinions are formed based almost entirely on headlines. We see a headline that appears to agree with something we believe, and we share it.

continue http://mikemcbrideonline.com/2016/06/linked-study-finds-twitter-users-dont-read-articles-share/

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Can Urbit Reboot Computing?

Steve A. Johnson/FlickSteve A. Johnson/FlickIt’s a common complaint that “computing” is broken. Whether the concern is government surveillance, invasive advertising and malware, censorship by private and public bodies, or the general gulf between user control and control of users, many worry that our amazing network of networks has been slowly atrophying for some time. But a project called Urbit aims to overcome this—by getting humans to start thinking more like Martians.

Why is a reboot necessary? The incentives and arrangements developed during the early days of the internet haven’t exactly scaled well. Much of our digital infrastructure forces us to rely faceless third parties—Internet Service Providers, software developers, cloud servers, platform administrators, domain-name registrars—in order to connect with others. No one person can presently provide all or most of these functions for themselves. Instead, we each must trust this conglomeration of faraway bureaucracies—in addition to the often-rascally governments that oversee the whole operation.

As a result, our computing experiences will only be as good as this federation of virtual landlords is virtuous. Alas: virtue is not exactly “in” online.

Some developers are seeking to transcend our internet feudalism by minimizing the number of third parties one must patronize to participate in digital society. Open-source operating systems like Linux allow people to take more control over their own computers. Bitcoin substitutes trust in a single payment processor for trust in a cryptographically secure, peer-to-peer network. BitTorrent, similarly, allows individuals to share files using a distributed network that cannot be immediately shut down by targeting any one entity. And several new projects aim to extend this logic to personal computing more generally. There’s OpenBazaar, a distributed marketplace platform that wants to be the “Bitcoin of Amazon“—a censorship-resistant e-commerce protocol that empowers buyers and sellers to transact peacefully without a middleman. There’s the InterPlanetary File System, or IPFS, which would operate as a kind of BitTorrent for the World Wide Web.

continue http://reason.com/archives/2016/06/21/can-urbit-transform-the-internet

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