Monthly Archives: September 2016

The World Trade Organization Sets its Eyes on the Internet

This week, EFF has been at the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s annual Public Forum. Best known to the general public as the locus of anti-globalization protests at its 1999 Ministerial Conference, it’s ironic that the WTO is today the most open and transparent of trade negotiation bodies—an honor it holds mainly because of how closed and opaque the trade negotiations conducted outside the WTO are, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), or on its margins, the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA).

This year’s Public Forum, although notionally focusing on inclusive trade, has featured unprecedented interest in digital trade, with dozens of sessions dealing with this topic. Just a few of them, including the workshop “Boundaries and Best Practices for Inclusive Digital Trade” organized by EFF, have been summarized by the Geneva Internet Platform (you can also read slides from some of our workshop’s presentations below).

This explosion of interest in digital trade represents widespread enthusiasm from WTO members (which are 164 countries of the world) for the organization to take up an expanded work program on e-commerce. Currently this work program at the WTO only contains one item: a moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmissions. But in a “non-paper” dated July 1 this year, the United States proposed an expanded work program that contains a raft of new measures, some copied and pasted straight out of TISA and the TPP—including a provision on encryption that would allow law enforcement backdoors, a ban on local hosting mandates, and a ban on mandates to disclose source code.


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Meet The Biohackers Who Are Illegally Upgrading Their Bodies

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Study finds reporting crimes to police reduces likelihood of future victimization

As law enforcement agencies, community organizations, and public health officials work to develop effective crime-prevention strategies, new research from the University of Iowa finds that individuals who report being victims of crime to police are less likely to become future victims of crime than those who do not report their initial experiences.

The UI study examined a nationwide cohort of more than 18,000 people who were victims of crimes such as interpersonal violence—including sexual assault, robbery, threatened rape and threatened assault—and property crimes like theft and burglary. Data were drawn from the National Crime Victimization Survey, a database of non-fatal crime reports, and covered a period from 2008 to 2012.

Overall, the study found that those who filed police reports about their initial experience were 22 percent less likely to experience repeat victimization. Future interpersonal violence victimizations were 20 percent lower, and future thefts were 27 percent lower. Future burglaries did not decline with police reporting.

The researchers suggest the lower overall rate of future victimization may be attributable to increased awareness of victims, police action, and other services that victims receive after reporting their experience to authorities.


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Got kidney stones? This doctor says roller coasters could be the cure


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Dutch could open child euthanasia clinic soon

A clinic for euthanasia for children could open in the Netherlands within the next 12 months, a leading paediatrician has predicted. Dr Eduard Verhagen told the newspaper AD that Dutch doctors are already investigating end-of-life decisions for children between the ages of 1 and 12.

Although Belgium passed a law last year which allowed people under the age of 18 to ask for euthanasia, involuntary euthanasia was already legal in the Netherlands for children under the age of one, and voluntary euthanasia for children over 12, as long as they had unbearable suffering.

It seems that 5 children between 12 and 18 were euthanized in the period 2002 to 2012. One was 12 years old and the other four were aged 16 and 17.

– See more at:


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First recording of computer-generated music – created by Alan Turing – restored


University of Canterbury composer Jason Long and Prof Jack Copeland
University of Canterbury composer Jason Long and Prof Jack Copeland, who restored the 65-year-old recording. Photograph: STR/AFP/Getty Images

Researchers in New Zealand say they have restored the first recording of computer-generated music, created in 1951 on a gigantic contraption built by the British computer scientist Alan Turing.

The aural artefact, which paved the way for everything from synthesisers to modern electronica, opens with a staunchly conservative tune – the British national anthem.

Researchers at the University of Canterbury (UC) in Christchurch said it showed Turing – best known as the father of computing who broke the Nazis’ second world war Enigma code – was also a musical innovator.


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Uber wants to build planes to beat city traffic

vtol-796x398Uber surprised the world last month when it announced its plans to begin testing self-driving cabs within a matter of days. The company clearly has its sights set on the future of mobility, as Jeff Holden’s latest comments prove.

Uber’s head of products spoke with Recode over the weekend at The Nantucket Project conference, noting that the company is researching small planes that can vertically take off and land (VTOL), so they can be used for short-haul flights in cities.

Holden said that the idea behind this program is to enable Uber to offer customers “as many options as possible to move around.” He believes that VTOL aircraft for commercial use could become a reality within a decade.


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Confirmed! Researchers Are Close To Creating A Hack-Proof Code

hack-proof-codeShort Bytes: More and more things are getting connected to the internet. Apart from its advantages, it also raises a concern regarding these things becoming prone to hackers. A DARPA-led project HACMS is aimed at developing the formal verification technology. The software is designed in accordance with the formal specifications that make them hack-proof.

The rise of the technology and the internet has been a doorway to sophisticate security breaches. For advanced hackers, jumping into complex systems is like a child’s play. A single bug gets caught in the software code and puff–You have been hacked!So, the matter of concern for the security researchers is the process used to write the software code. In general, programs are written in an informal way and testing is done to get assured that the code is working and producing the desired output.

Last year, an unmanned version of the military helicopter Little Bird was tested by a Red Team of hackers. The task was to take control of the helicopter. The team was granted access to part of Little Bird’s system and it was not a big deal for them to penetrate further into the system. But the real motive was not to test the existing software of the helicopter.


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U.S. Air Force Preps a Controversial No-Bid Purchase of Spy Planes

defense-large1Last year, the U.S. Air Force tried to retire most of its EC-130 Compass Call spy planes, worn from years of flying over Iraq and Afghanistan. Now service officials say replacements are needed urgently — so urgently that they must write a no-bid contract for 10 aircraft whose price tag could top $1.6 billion.

Not so fast, says Congress.

“[T]he Air Force’s proposal to recapitalize the EC-130H Compass Call aircraft using a sole source purchase of ten business class aircraft would not give us any confidence that the Air Force is achieving the maximum value for the American taxpayer,” reads a Senate Armed Services Committee report on the 2017 defense authorization bill.

Built in the 1980s, the 14 Compass Call aircraft are Lockheed Martin C-130 cargo planes packed with special computer equipment and a spiderweb-like antenna that allows the crew to eavesdrop on and attack enemy communications. The planes have been heavily used in the post-9/11 counterinsurgency campaigns.


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What Is A Douchebag, Exactly? An Investigation


It’s a derogatory term commonly used to mock a man, not unlike the word “bitch” can be used to unfairly mock a woman. But while somebody could easily define a bitch as “A woman with an attitude,” a douchebag is different. A douchebag isn’t a man with an attitude, because that’s reserved the just-as-popular “asshole.”

A douchebag is instead a sub-culture of the asshole, meaning he does live in the same family as the asshole, but he’s worse. At least that’s what Margaret, a 32-year-old woman I recently interviewed, believes.

Douchebags Are Men

You see, I surveyed a bunch of women calling for an official definition of the term, because personally, I don’t think anybody knows what a douchebag is, exactly. It’s more one of those cases where you know when you see one, but you can’t articulate a generalized definition.

Since that’s the case, let’s continue with my first response from Margaret, who loves the term:

“‘Douchebag’ is one of my favorite words. It’s one that is often widely applied to anyone who acts like a jerk. But generally, the term should be reserved for people of either gender who do or act SO asshole-y that “asshole” just doesn’t come close to capturing the revulsion. Plus, I can say it in front of my teen and tween. BIG benefit.”


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Fish Ice Cream Cones

Fish Ice Cream Cones

Japanese fish shaped ice cream waffle cones are taking over New York.

Fish ice cream cones are chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside.

You can try fish ice cream at Taiyaki NYC – 119 Baxter Street, New York.


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Chelsea Clinton Takes Private Jet to ‘Clean Energy’ Conference

Chelsea Clinton was campaigning for her elderly mother in North Carolina on Wednesday — and showing off her Clinton-esque taste for expensive, carbon-emitting travel options.

After attending campaign events in Greenville, the former first daughter took a private jet to Asheville, just a five-hour drive away, to attend a roundtable event on “clean energy.” Asheville is a paradise for hippies who love the environment.

Here is the video of Chelsea boarding the fuel-guzzling beast, courtesy of the NTK Network:


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Clown Community Distances Itself From Scary Clown Fringe

Illustration: Tara Jacoby

It’s been a few weeks of bad press for clowns, and the World Clown Association is fighting back.

In a video message to WCA members posted to the group’s Facebook page on Wednesday, WCA president Randy Christensen said real clowns would never do some of the things they are being accused of.

“Whoever is doing this crazy stuff is not a clown,” he said.

The “crazy stuff” to which Christensen is referring is a plague of social media posts and police reports about clowns terrorizing various towns across the country. It started in Greenville, South Carolina, when reports began surfacing of a clown standing at the edge of the woods, occasionally trying to lure children into the forest. The sightings (real or not) were reported to the police, and then they made the news. Presumably, this inspired others to report clown sightings of their own or to dress up as clowns themselves, sometimes making threats while doing so. Often, high schools have been the targets of the threats. On Wednesday, several high schools in Corpus Christi, Texas, were named as targets for a round of clown attacks, and area police stepped up their patrols.


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“Cat Man of Aleppo” Cares for Hundreds of Abandoned Felines in the War-Torn City

cat-man-of-aleppo2-600x389The Syrian city of Aleppo is probably the most dangerous place to be living in right now, but while many of its residents have left their homes to escape the war, one man has remained behind to care for the hundreds of abandoned and stray cats.

Known as “the cat man of Aleppo”, Mohammad Alaa Jaleel has been taking care to stray felines ever since people planning to leave the city started leaving their pets in his care, knowing he loved cats. As the fighting and bombing intensified, more and more frightened animals started approaching him for food and protection, and he was always more than happy to provide them with both.  Mohammed says he started taking care of about 20 to 30 cats, but the number of feline refugees at his walled sanctuary has now swollen to over one hundred.


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Organic Gatorade asks: How stupid are you?

Answer: very stupid. Or at least, flagrantly disinterested. Irrationally trusting? Efficiently dumb? Here’s the thing: It doesn’t really matter, and they don’t really care.Surely you already know? The corporate manufacturers of unhealthy, childish, insulting products like the new and rather nasty Organic Gatorade – or, for that matter, gluten-free water, or fat-free cookies or organic candy bars or low-tar cigarettes, et al – they are gleefully aware that huge swaths of Americans don’t have the time, the wherewithal or, best of all, the fundamental aptitude required to check into the spurious health claims or bulls–t sloganeering of every revolting neon-blue sugar-water they hurl at them.

Call it the Trump Strategy: It’s where you shamelessly bombard the culture (or the media, or a voting bloc, or religious zealots) with so much poison, and so quickly, no one can possibly parse it fast enough and call you out on your BS, before you’re already smashing them over the head with the next gutless offense.

So it is that “Organic Gatorade” now actually exists, and of course, much like Coca-Cola’s massive Vitamin Water scam, it is nothing short of laughable trash. PepsiCo claims it now contains organic sugarcane where the non-organic stuff used to be – which, let’s admit, does have significant environmental advantages, if not health – and it’s all coupled to the same tiny handful of salt and “natural” flavors and all the obesity-causing nonsense it had before. Are you duped? They’re counting on it.


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Dark web likely isn’t fuelling international drug sales

Since Silk Road (the first cryptomarket) was put under the spotlight in 2011, the role these online market places play in global illegal trade has become hotly debated. No scarcity exists of claims, predictions, hypotheses and speculations, with some arguing that this online industry will only become “darker — and bigger.” The UN recognized the dark web in its 2016 World Drug Report as an issue that “raises concerns in terms of the potential to attract new populations of users by facilitating access to drugs in both developed and developing countries.”

It seems clear that certain drug dealers have successfully created business models for the online trade of illicit substances. The German police, for example, seized 320 kilos of drugs when it arrested Shiny Flakes, a 20-year-old cryptomarket drug dealer whose profits were estimated at 1 million euros for the six months prior to his arrest. Cryptomarkets allow drug dealers to tap into additional revenue streams, reducing many of the risks associated with offline markets (e.g. violence) while also introducing new risks (e.g. postal interception, scams).


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Pharma company boosts the price of an old acne cream 3,900%

Getty | Barcroft

The greedy, price-hiking ways of Turing, Mylan, Valent, and countless others are breaking out like blemishes across the face of the pharmaceutical industry. So it may come as no surprise that a simple acne cream, called Aloquin, saw its price hit a whopping $9,561 (£7,400) last week.

The 60g tube of zit-zapping topical previously cost just $241.50—but that was months ago, before Chicago-based Novum Pharma bought the medication from Primus Pharmaceuticals in May of 2015 and made no changes to the product at all. Since then, Novum hiked the price three times, reaching an increase of 3,900 percent.

Like many other drugs that have seen huge and sudden price hikes, Aloquin is old and cheap to make. It consists of two main ingredients: iodoquinol, a generic, longstanding antibiotic; and extracts from the aloe vera plant. As the Financial Times points out, a similar cream containing the iodoquinol costs less than $30, and aloe vera extracts are just a few dollars.


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Capcom’s Street Fighter V installs hidden rootkit on PCs

Chris Williams

A fresh update for Capcom’s Street Fighter V for PCs includes a knock-out move: a secret rootkit that gives any installed application kernel-level privileges.

This means any malicious software on the system can poke a dodgy driver installed by SFV to completely take over the Windows machine. Capcom claims it uses the driver to stop players from hacking the high-def beat ’em up to cheat. Unfortunately, the code is so badly designed, it opens up a full-blown local backdoor.

Let’s drill down to the technical details: the capcom.sys kernel-level driver provides an IOCTL service to applications that disables SMEP on the computer, executes code at a given pointer, and then reenables SMEP. In other words, it switches off a crucial security defense in the operating system, then runs whatever instructions are given to it by the application, and then switches the protection back on.

SMEP [PDF] is a feature in modern Intel and AMD x86 processors that, when enabled, prevents kernel-level software from executing code in user-owned memory pages. It’s there to stop hackers from tricking the operating system into running malicious software smuggled into an application’s virtual memory space – the OS should only be able to run its own trusted code, not anything provided by any old app.


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It’s cheaper to get hacked than build strong IT defenses

Whenever mega-hacks like the Yahoo! fiasco hit the news, inevitably the question gets asked as to why the IT security systems weren’t good enough. The answer could be that it’s not in a company’s financial interest to be secure.

A study by the RAND Corporation, published in the Journal of Cybersecurity, looked at the frequency and cost of IT security failures in US businesses and found that the cost of a break-in is much lower than thought – typically around $200,000 per case. With top-shelf security systems costing a lot more than that, not beefing up security looks in some ways like a smart business decision.

“I’ve spent my life in security and everyone expects firms to invest more and more,” the report’s author Sasha Romanosky told The Reg. “But maybe firms are making rational investments and we shouldn’t begrudge firms for taking these actions. We all do the same thing, we minimize our costs.”

Romanosky analyzed 12,000 incident reports and found that typically they only account for 0.4 per cent of a company’s annual revenues. That compares to billing fraud, which averages at 5 per cent, or retail shrinkage (ie, shoplifting and insider theft), which accounts for 1.3 per cent of revenues.

As for reputational damage, Romanosky found that it was almost impossible to quantify. He spoke to many executives and none of them could give a reliable metric for how to measure the PR cost of a public failure of IT security systems.


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BTs Wi-Fi Extender – Extending Your Password To Hackers


BT is urging folks to patch the firmware in its Wi-Fi Extender following the discovery of multiple security flaws.

Security researchers at Pen Test Partners discovered vulnerabilities with the consumer-grade kit, including cross-site scripting and the ability to change a password without knowing it.

Pen Test Partners found it was possible to combine these flaws and exploit them to snatch a victim’s WPA wireless network passphrase after tricking them into visiting a maliciously constructed webpage while connected to their home network.


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Eleven US cities to crack down on warrantless surveillance

A year ago, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) told US law enforcement that it had to get a warrant to use stingrays: those suitcase-sized cell site simulators used to mimic a cell tower and trick nearby phones (as in everybody’s phones, not just crooks’) into connecting and giving up their identifying information and location.

But the federal guidelines had a hole big enough to drive a police cruiser through. Namely, they didn’t apply to local law enforcement.

StingRay is the brand name of an International Mobile Subscriber Identity locator, also known as an IMSI catcher, that’s targeted and sold to law enforcement.

The term stingray has also come into use in the US as a generic term for these devices.

They cost around $400,000. The powerful, pricey gadgets are capable of tracking down serious criminals, but investigations have shown that they’re frequently used to track petty crime.

Like, say, chicken wing thievery.


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How does Google know where I am?


Google uses BSSID information from your WLAN Access Point to get an approximation of where you are located, even with GPS, and WiFi turned off. Taken from here:

Google and others like Apple and Skyhook build a Database which links WLAN BSSIDs to a geographic location. A BSSID is like the MAC address of a access point that gets broadcasted by that access point. It is therefore “public viewable” if the BSSID broadcast is enabled, which is the default for most access points. The BSSID operates on a lower layer as the IP stack, you don’t even have to be connected to an access point to receive these broadcasts.

So, essentially, when you ARE using WiFi and GPS, Google’s database of BSSID’s is updated with a geographic location associated with that BSSID, as you assumed. In your case, your AP is sending beacons advertising its BSSID, and because it is already in Google’s database, Google Maps knows where you are based on the location of that AP.

So it’s not that the ISP is giving Google the location of their routers, it’s that your phone is helping to build a database of the Access Points around you, and Google uses this data for geolocation.

Sadly, even if you get a new router and keep any and all Android devices away from it, they will still be able to approximate your location based on the cell towers you associate with (or maybe even your neighbors AP!), but it won’t be nearly as accurate.

I saw in the comments questions about whether or not Android phones will receive location data even with WiFi turned OFF. The answer is, yes, absolutely they can. I’m sorry I didn’t make that clearer. Better check your settings if you were unaware:


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Vagina steaming

“”I suppose this […] “vaginal” steam bath is just something that we nasty, allopathic […] doctors just don’t understand. To us, it’s just shooting a bunch of steam up a woman’s nether regions. To the woo-meisters, though, it’s not just steam that’s being forced to go places where usually only spouses, lovers, or gynecologists go. Oh, no. It’s super special, extra powerful herbal detox steam, which means that it has super duper magical powers.
David Gorski, MD[1]

Vagina steaming (also vaginal steaming, v-steaming, vaginal steam baths, yoni steaming,[note 1] steamed clams,[note 2] chai yok[note 3], and bajos[note 4]) is a hot new alternative medicine which involves sitting over steaming water, letting steam go onto/into one’s vagina, and thinking sadly about how much money you just spent.

Vagina steaming is claimed to “cleanse” the vagina, increase fertility, treat bad periods, and remove “toxins”. It doesn’t. It does make it all tingly down there, which likely explains why people like it so much.

Vagina steaming is approved by noted pseudoscience promoters, NaturalNews and Gwyneth Paltrow. On the other hand, there is no scientific evidence that vagina steaming has positive health impacts; as such, the practice is a vagina myth.

In fact, fully 14 (88%) of the 16 medical professionals who have commented on the practice say that vagina steaming is both ineffective and possibly harmful. Incidentally, each of the remaining two own alternative medicine practices, and argue that evidence-based medicine isn’t really all that important anyways.


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Bike manufacturer sees huge reduction in delivery damage by printing TV on the box

Dutch manufacturer Vanmoof discovers that printing a picture of a flatscreen TV on their bike boxes reduces delivery damages by 70-80 per cent

With bike sales trends moving more into the online marketplace, manufacturers are having to come up with better ideas of how to ensure their products arrive safely with their customers.

For some reason, bicycles in big cardboard boxes have a tendency to get dropped, bashed or crushed by delivery companies, which has spurred Dutch manufacturer Vanmoof into action to find a solution.

What did they do? Instead of putting a picture of a bike on the box they printed a picture of a large flatscreen TV instead and saw instances of delivery damage drastically reduce.

“No matter who was doing the shipping, too many of our bikes arrived looking like they’d been through a metal-munching combine harvester. It was getting expensive for us, and bloody annoying for our customers,” creative director Bex Rad wrote on the company’s blog.


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‘Draw and you’ll go to jail’: the fight to save comics from the censor

US cartoonist Mike Diana, right, and one of his drawings.
US cartoonist Mike Diana, right, and one of his drawings. Photograph: © Mike Diana

In 1994, Mike Diana found himself in jail near his home in Largo, Florida. Sitting alongside rapists, muggers and murderers, he spent four days waiting to be sentenced after his conviction at Pinellas County court. His crime? Making comics.

Diana was just 25 when he became the first person in the US to be convicted of “artistic obscenity”. The jury took 40 minutes to find him guilty on three counts: for publishing, distributing and advertising his comic series Boiled Angel.

Now based in New York, Diana remembers his time in jail clearly. “It was an empty cell with a metal bed, a bright light that stayed on all the time,” he says. “I got a baloney sandwich to eat and a cup of Kool-Aid … I had no idea what they were going to do to me.”


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It’s time for a serious debate about head transplants

Many are reluctant to engage with the claims of head transplant pioneers, fearing that any comment will be seen as an endorsement. The time for silence is over

X-ray of a broken neck
Head transplants could bring hope for those with broken necks

Science Photo Library

What goes ha ha bonk? The sound of scientists laughing their heads off. That was one response to the quality of some of the science in a series of papers published this week claiming to have achieved a milestone in spinal cord surgery, something neurosurgeon Sergio Canavero believes paves the way for a human head transplant as early as next year.

It is one thing to find the science risibly weak, but on the bigger issue of head transplants – or more accurately, full-body transplants – nobody is laughing. The surgery seems macabre but is scientifically feasible and could offer real benefits to some people. But it is medically, not to say ethically, very challenging.

Technically, the most difficult part of the procedure is to get the spinal cords of the head and the donor body to fuse. That is where the research teams behind this week’s papers claim to have made progress.

Or have they? According to many of the external experts we consulted, there are huge question marks over the quality of the science, and some glaring holes that ought to have been filled before publication. The research teams involved defend themselves, but it is hard not to conclude that they rushed the papers into publication.

The pressure to publish is real. But extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The danger is that these less-than-extraordinary papers will bring the whole idea of head transplants into disrepute. The apparent eagerness of Canavero – who wasn’t directly involved in the research but collaborates with one of the teams – to perform an actual transplant only adds to the impression of a headlong rush where a cool head is required.

Admittedly, many once-taboo medical procedures have been driven forward by determined pioneers operating close to the fringes: heart and face transplants spring to mind. But these didn’t happen without the issue being discussed in both professional circles and wider society.


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World’s largest telescope array takes its deepest view yet

ALMA deep view of part of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field

Take a deeper look. New observations of a distant corner of the universe add a layer to our understanding of the early universe.

Teams of international astronomers used a powerful telescope called the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA) to exploreHubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) images from the Hubble telescope showing more than 10,000 galaxies in one tiny portion of the sky.

They show how the rate of star formation in young galaxies is closely related to their total mass in stars. They also trace the previously unknown abundance of star-forming gas at different points in time, providing new insights into the “Golden Age” of galaxy formation approximately 10 billion years ago.

The studies, which appear in the Astrophysical Journal and Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, are being hailed as the deepest ever millimetre observations of the early universe.


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Is Hillary a Hologram?

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‘Student preacher’ arrested, accused of trying to ride manatee

ISLAMORADA, Fla. – A man was arrested Friday after he tried to take a ride on a manatee in the Florida Keys.

James Massengale, 47, of Key Largo, was arrested by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in Islamorada.

Massengale was seen “reaching out for, touching and laying” on top of manatees in a creek, Officer Bobby Dube said in a news release.

Dube said a witness confronted Massengale about his actions and told him that manatees are endangered species, but Massengale replied, “I’m riding it.”

When a state wildlife officer approached Massengale, he became verbally combative and denied having any interaction with the witness. Massengale later changed his story, Dube said, and claimed he “wasn’t going to stop until someone with a badge told him to.”


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FEC asks Darth Vader and God to show proof of identity

WASHINGTON — It’s been an eventful presidential campaign so far with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, even without some of the other colorful characters who have apparently stated their intention to challenge the two: Darth Vader, God, Satan and Captain Crunch, among many, many others.

Federal Election Commission filings show that it has received over 1,800 “statement of candidacy” forms from spoof candidates, ranging from the Ghosts of Ronald Reagan to Satan to Deez Nuts. On Wednesday, the government agency, hoping to deter pranksters from filing fake paperwork, addressed separate letters to the suspicious candidates.

“Dear Candidate,” the letters read. “It has come to the attention of the Federal Election Commission that you may have failed to include an accurate name of the candidate and an accurate principal campaign committee … when you filed FEC Form 2.”


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Snapchat Introduces 1-Minute Voter Registration Via The App

Snapchat is ensuring that its customers who are largely millennials are registering to vote in time for the upcoming elections. Users can now register to vote in just a single minute.  ( Carl Court | Getty Images )

As major parties try to woo voters during the U.S. presidential election, Snapchat is ensuring that users of its app are being responsible citizens.

On mobile device, it is impossible to escape the lure of Snapchat. Recognizing that millennials are using Snapchat heavily, non-profits are appealing to them through the service and encouraging them to register to vote. This follows increasing use of Snapchat during the U.S. presidential election campaign by major contenders and shows that the service is very popular in spite of the Google Allo being branded as a possible Snapchat killer.

The current appeal to voters to register via Snapchat kicked off on Sept. 15 and will last until Oct. 7 and is run through video ads on the app. Mashable states that the ads are only being displayed to those who are 18 years of age and older and are popping up in the Stories section of the app. The outreach to younger voters via Snapchat is understandable as the service is used by 41 percent of all people aged 18 to 34 years old in the U.S. on a daily basis.


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Iceland (the country) considers suing Iceland (the supermarket) for using its name

Iceland’s ministry of foreign affairs confirmed that it is considering suing frozen foods giant, Iceland for using its name, 45 years after it was founded.

“I can confirm that this is being looked into, but no decision has been made,” a spokesman for Iceland’s ministry of foreign affairs told the Press Association.

“We are looking for a ‘live and let live’ outcome,” said Jon Asbergsson, managing director of Promote Iceland, an agency linked to the Icelandic foreign ministry.

The country is not seeking to make Iceland Foods surrender its brand, Asbergsson explained. But the nation wants to ensure its firms are able to register the name “Iceland” across the UK and EU.

“We didn’t make any objections in the beginning, as we were never going to be running any supermarkets,” Asbergsson said.

“But over the course of the years they have been registering the name in several other categories and companies that have Iceland in the name, they (the supermarket) have been objecting to them using the word Iceland in their names or logos.”


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I Tried an IV Treatment That Promised to Shoot Me Up With ‘Indigenous Wisdom’

Owner Stephanie Wang greets a dripper at the new Drip Alchemy Bar (Photo courtesy of The Alchemist's Kitchen/ Nutridrip)

“It’s the age of integration,” explained Ingrid, the in-house herbalist on duty at The Alchemist’s Kitchen.

I would have nodded agreeably if there wasn’t a large needle jammed into my arm, delivering a pinkish-orange liquid straight into my veins by way of a plastic tube. It’s safe to say that I was probably one of the first people to shoot up on the corner of First and First since Mars Bar was torn down there years ago. But I wasn’t mainlining China White– I was undergoing the Drip Alchemy Experience, a “nutrient-rich journey” currently on offer at The Alchemist’s Kitchen, which opened in February on the ground floor of the sleek condo building that replaced Mars Bar.

The shop offers “high quality botanical medicines, herbal remedies, and whole plant beauty products.” Items like “Infinite Love Mist” should tell you something about the level of hippie sophistication we’re dealing with here.


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The banning of books in prisons: ‘It’s like living in the dark ages’

Dan Slater’s book Wolf Boy is the latest of many to be banned to American prisoners for reasons that seem capricious, illogical and vindictive

Books including Friday Night Lights are banned in Texas prisons – yet Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf is allowed.
Books including Friday Night Lights are banned in Texas prisons – yet Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf is allowed. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Dan Slater’s new non-fiction book Wolf Boys recounts the story of two Mexican-American teens in Texas seduced by the violent cartels across the border and the Mexican-born Texas detective who hunts them. It is grim and violent, yet it is a detailed and thoughtful look at American society and the war on drugs. It has also been condemned by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Directors Review Committee, which declared Wolf Boys off limits to all Texas prisoners before it was even published this month.

TDCJ spokesman Jason Clark cites one page, which “contains information on how to conceal and smuggle illegal narcotics.” In other words, while the book shows the downfall of the two boys who cross over to the dark side – both are serving decades in the TDCJ system — it was banished for these two sentences on page 124:


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Pastor commits suicide after sending pictures of his penis to Church Whatsapp group

Pastor commits suicide after sending pictures of his penis to Church Whatsapp group Limpopo Pastor in South Africa committed suicide after he sent pictures of his pe_nis to his church Whatsapp Group.

Pastor Letsego of Christ Embassy who is married thought he was sending the picture to his lover, who happens to be a member of the same church.

To make matters worse he even went on to caption it “wife is away,its all yours tonight”.

He then realised his mistake after having hit the send button with congregants expressing shock and outrage over the mishap.

The Pastor immediately exited the group and stopped answering his calls.

He was found 24 hours later hanging in his rented church house.


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SanDisk Unveils A Monstrous 1 Terabyte SD Memory Card

SanDisk’s Demonstrates Prototype Of The World’s First 1TB SDXC Card

Western Digital, SanDisk’s parent company, revealed a prototype of a one-terabyte SDXC card – the biggest SD card in the world – at the Photokina 2016 photography show today. With increasing demand for high resolution content, such as 4K and 8K, the 1TB SD will ensure that your camera never runs out of space for photos or videos. Just a couple of years ago, Western Digital had unveiled a 512 GB SDXC card at the same event.

“Showcasing the most advanced imaging technologies is truly exciting for us,” said Dinesh Bahal, vice president, product management, Content Solutions Business Unit, Western Digital. “Sixteen years ago we introduced the first SanDisk 64MB SD™ card and today we are enabling capacities of 1TB.


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The Army Is Finally Developing Left-Handed Grenades


Sep 21, 2016 at 10:03 AM ET

The humble hand grenade hasn’t been updated by the United States military in about 40 years, leaving our soldiers with a model that works just fine for right-handed people, who hold it with their right hand, pull the pin with their left to release the safety lever, and then throw the grenade. For lefties, however, it’s a little more complicated: they are advised to hold the grenade upside down, because that allows them to keep their thumbs over the safety lever.

Soon, the army might treat right and left-handed people equally, as far as hand grenades are concerned. Currently in development, according to the Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, is a grenade that can be thrown with either hand, no special adjustments necessary.


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DEA Leader Now Certain: Heroin More Dangerous Than Pot

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s new leader, Chuck Rosenberg, is now certain: Heroin is without a doubt more dangerous than marijuana.

Rosenberg nearly reached this conclusion during a conference call last week when he said marijuana is “probably not” as dangerous as heroin, before adding “I’m not an expert.”

The comments were praised as a step forward by some drug policy reformers. Rosenberg’s predecessor, Michele Leonhart, famously refused to give an answer. Others, however, ridiculed him.

DEA spokesman Rusty Payne tells U.S. News that Rosenberg voluntarily addressed the matter Wednesday to clear the air.


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Hottest Tortilla Chip In The World Is Sold One Chip Per Package

hottest tourtila in the world feat (1)

I’m from North Carolina and I’ve never had a Carolina Reaper pepper. I’ve never had the desire to try one. But now I’m intrigued by the Carolina Reaper Madness chip. It’s supposedly the hottest tortilla chip in the world.

This nearly deadly chip comes in a coffin-shaped package, which is hilariously fitting. If you don’t believe that this could possibly be the hottest chip in the world, only one chip comes in each package. The creators of this flaming snack food are obviously concerned for your safety, so you better believe it’s hot.


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Cops Are Raiding Homes of Innocent People Based Only On IP Addresses

Kashmir Hill has a fascinating story today on what can go wrong when you solely rely on IP address in a crime investigation — also highlighting how often police resort to IP addresses. In the story she follows a crime investigation that led police to raid a couple’s house at 6am in the morning, because their IP address had been associated with the publication of child porn on notorious 4chan porn. The problem was, Hill writes: the couple — David Robinson and Jan Bultmann — weren’t the ones who had uploaded the child porn. All they did was voluntarily use one of their old laptops as a Tor exit relay, a software used by activists, dissidents, privacy enthusiasts as well as criminals, so that people who want to stay anonymous when surfing the web could do so. Hill writes: Robinson and Bultmann had […] specifically operated the riskiest node in the chain: the exit relay which provides the IP address ultimately associated with a user’s activity. In this case, someone used Tor to make the porn post, and his or her traffic had been routed through the computer in Robinson and Bultmann’s house. The couple wasn’t pleased to have helped someone post child porn to the internet, but that’s the thing about privacy-protective tools: They’re going to be used for good and bad purposes, and to support one, you might have to support the other.Robinson added that he was a little let down because police didn’t bother to look at the public list which details the IP addresses associated with Tor exit relays. Hill adds: The police asked Robinson to unlock one MacBook Air, and then seemed satisfied these weren’t the criminals they were looking for and left. But months later, the case remains open with Robinson and Bultmann’s names on police documents linking them to child pornography. “I haven’t run an exit relay since. The police told me they’d be back if it happened again,” Robinson said; he’s still running a Tor node, just not the end point anymore. “I have to take the threat seriously because I don’t want my wife or I to wake up with guns in our faces.”Technologist Seth Schoen, and EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn in a white paper aimed at courts and cops. “For many reasons, connecting an individual to a crime linked to an IP address, without any additional investigation, is irresponsible and threatens the civil liberties of innocent people.”


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