Daily Archives: July 21, 2016

Fishing with Fire – A Mesmerizing Tradition of Taiwan

For hundreds of years, fishermen in Taiwan have been catching sardines with the help of fiery stick held over the edge of a boat. The fish are so attracted to the light that they jump out of the water and into the nets of the fishermen.

Fire fishing is as simple as it is mesmerizing. Fishing boats head out to sea during the night, and light up a bamboo stick covered with sulfuric soil at one end to create a bright flame. The sulfur dissolves in the water and the gas produced then flashes with fire. Drawn to the light spectacle, sardines jump out of the water by the hundreds at a time and end up in the fishermen’s nets. Sulfuric fire fishing was developed during the period of Japanese Rule and is now practiced only in the Jinshan sulfur harbor.


There were once over 300 boats practicing fire fishing in Taiwan, but according to the local fishermen’s association in Jinshan District, north of Taipei, that number has dwindled to just three. A six-hour fishing session under the night sky can yield between three and four tons of sardines per boat, and the Taiwanese government even subsidizes the practice. On a really good night, a team of fishermen can earn up to $4,500, so why is this fascinating tradition dying?

continue http://www.odditycentral.com/travel/fishing-with-fire-a-mesmerizing-tradition-of-taiwan.html

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Microaggressions: Political Correctness Run Amok

About to compliment a co-worker on her new haircut? Think again, that’s microaggressive behavior that implies all you see is her looks, devaluing her professional accomplishments.

In a discussion about candidates for a position at your workplace, you say, “I think the most qualified person should get the job.” Don’t say THAT! You are implying that there are people who are more qualified than others, which means you are labelling some candidates as less qualified.

You claim, patriotically, “America is a land of opportunity!” OOPS, you are implying that there’s a level “playing field” so that if someone hasn’t been able to “make it,” it’s his or her fault. Don’t get it? It’s obvious among the politically correct: Inequality is pervasive in the U.S. and certain people groups are doomed to failure from birth.

On a flight, you politely engage your obviously-Asian seatmate in conversation, asking where he is from. The Microaggression Theory interpretation? You are implying that the person is not a true American.

Microaggression Theory began at least as early as 1970 with creeping political correctness about racial issues. Should we say “Black Americans” or “African-Americans?” Shortly afterwards, women began being oversensitive about labels, attitudes, biases related to gender. Not so gradually, any marginalized group – whether the disabled, minority, or religious – became aggrieved by casual conversation deemed to be derogatory. Now, it’s risky to carry on conversation with anyone lest you run into someone’s sensitivity and unintentionally cause emotional trauma! Everyone is a victim and has been emotionally wounded . . . so beware.

No wonder Americans are, increasingly, more lonely and isolated. It’s dangerous to talk to anyone. We are now a society of pervasive witch-hunts living in a culture of victimhood. In short, Americans have become overly sensitive and even paranoid lest they offend someone and inadvertently provoke someone to anger.

While early microaggressions were primarily racial or gender-based, now anybody can take offense at anything. “Bullying” now rivals judgmentalism as the ultimate sin, and that includes using the wrong pronoun in referring to someone who is obviously male or female if they self-identify as the opposite gender or even “something” else. Words like “rude,” “insensitive,” or “demeaning” are passé; those are all encompassed with one word, “microaggression.” Tort law now calls cases based on such fragile complaints, “eggshell plaintiffs.”

continue http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/07/microaggressions_political_correctness_run_amok.html

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Terrifying glass skyscraper slide already facing lawsuit

Who would’ve thought a slide made of glass attached to the side of the tallest skyscraper on the West Coast could be dangerous? That’s the claim being made in a lawsuit filed by two New Yorkers who visited Los Angeles earlier this month, My News LA reports.

The 45-foot-long “Skyslide” opened last month on the side of the US Bank Tower, running between the 70th and 69th floors nearly 1,000 feet above the street, notes the AP. Gayle Yashar, 57, claims she broke her ankle while coming down the Skyslide July 3; she’s suing for negligence, while her co-plaintiff and husband, Morty Yashar, is suing for loss of consortium. Her lawyer says you can hear her ankle crack on video taken during her ride.

continue http://www.king5.com/news/nation-now/terrifying-glass-skyscraper-slide-already-facing-lawsuit/274954300

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Regulatory Loophole Allows GMO Products to be Marketed as Non-GMO

The government isn’t particularly interested in making sure Americans know what they’re eating. It seems like knowing what is in the food should be a basic right, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. In fact, last week Congress passed a federal requirement for labeling products containing genetically modified ingredients that signifies a big win for food companies.

The bill will require labels to be retooled or updated to show whether any ingredients had their natural DNA altered, but it will be years before the new labels are phased in, and food companies won’t be required to list specific information on their products.

GMO labeling proponents had hoped the bill would be more like a state law in Vermont, which requires food companies and grocers selling prepared foods to explicitly label foods that contain GMO ingredients by January.

continue http://sgtreport.com/2016/07/regulatory-loophole-allows-gmo-products-to-be-marketed-as-non-gmo/

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Real life invisibility cloaks are closer than we think

It might not be the Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak just yet, but researchers from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have successfully created a practical cloaking device using nano-size particles to make curved surfaces appear flat to electromagnetic waves.

Image credit Luigi La Spada

In addition to its potential to someday lead to the creation of a real-life invisibility cloak, the team believes that the device could help broaden the potential ways that antennas can be tethered to platforms, allowing for the utilization of different sized and shaped antennas in awkward places.

“The design is based upon transformation optics, a concept behind the idea of the invisibility cloak,” said Yang Hao, a professor from QMUL’s School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science and co-author of the study. “Previous research has shown this technique working at one frequency. However, we can demonstrate that it works at a greater range of frequencies making it more useful for other engineering applications, such as nano-antennas and the aerospace industry.”

The team took a curved surface roughly the size of a tennis ball and coated it with nano-particles to form seven unique layers, creating a material called a graded index nanocomposite medium. This material features varying electric properties in each layer depending on their position.

continue http://www.zmescience.com/research/technology/invisibility-cloak/

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Nuclear weapons test

Wikimedia Commons/United States Department of Energy

Nuclear weapon test Romeo on Bikini Atoll, 1954.

“Do you really want that person to have the NUCLEAR CODES?”

While it’s a bowel-liquifying scary thought, that old bar debate rebuttal doesn’t quite hold up. Nor is it anywhere close to that simple.

Rather than “nuclear codes” that the President has memorized, there are several components in action when it comes time to destroy a country/continent/planet in one fell swoop: Codes and the Football. One set of codes are printed onto a card called “the biscuit” and given to the President as self-identification, like a password, Brookings reports. These are used in conjunction with the “Football,” a 45-pound briefcase containing everything one on-the-go Destroyer of Worlds needs to verify the president’s identity and command an attack, including communications equipment and nuclear strike options, according to Smithsonian Magazine. A different set of codes, generated by the NSA, stay in military custody at the Pentagon and various other locations around the country. These are the codes that actually hold the power, since the military can carry out an attack in the event that the President or a successor can’t authorize it themselves.

continue http://www.popsci.com/does-president-really-have-access-to-nuclear-codes

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CrypTech — Internet Engineers’ New Open Source Weapon Against ‘Creepy’ Governments

cryptech open source security moduleShort Bytes: The CrypTech project is an independent security hardware development effort that consists of an international team. CrypTech Alpha is an open source crypto-vault that stores the private/public keys and separates the digital certificates from the software using them. It has been developed as a hardware secure module (HSM) to make the implementation of strong cryptography easier.

Born on June 21, 1983, Edward Snowden worked as an American intelligence contractor. In 2013, he revealed the existence of massive surveillance programs being run by National Security Agency (NSA).Since then, the internet engineers have been keeping themselves busy by trying to make a system for defeating the preying eyes of different governments. One such system has just been launched in the city of Berlin during the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) conference.

At the conference, later this week, the CrypTech prototype will be showcased and the first batch of these security-first modules will be sold online for $800. CrypTech board is built over the top of an ARM Cortex-M4 CPU and a programmable chip. These units will be shipped in September.

continue http://fossbytes.com/cryptech-open-source-security-module/

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Farmers Demand Right To Fix Their Own Dang Tractors


This might be hard to believe for non-farmers, but owners of tractors aren’t actually allowed to fix them, thanks to a set of laws designed to protect software intellectual property.

In fact, the craziness of this goes even further: In a 2015 letter to the United States Copyright Office, John Deere, the world’s largest tractor maker, said that the folks who buy tractors don’t own them, not in the way the general public believes “ownership” works. Instead, John Deere said that those who buy tractors are actually purchasing an “implied license for the life of the vehicle to operate the vehicle.”

This weirdness all comes back to the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, which governs the way people use a whole variety of digital-ish items. The DMCA was designed to protect software makers from piracy, which it didn’t really do. John Deere jumped into the game thanks to the extensive software involved in its modern tractors; these aren’t just simple machines; they have a fair amount of programming designed to help the tractors perform their jobs more efficiently, ranging from guidance systems to diagnostic tools to communication software.

continue http://modernfarmer.com/2016/07/right-to-repair/

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