Daily Archives: January 1, 2017

Michael Brown’s family fights Ferguson push for his records

Michael Brown’s parents are objecting to a request from Ferguson for their son’s medical and academic records as the city defends itself against a lawsuit the parents filed over the 2014 police shooting death of the unarmed 18-year-old.

Michael Brown Sr. and Lezley McSpadden, in December court filings, asked U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber in St. Louis to at least limit if not scuttle altogether a push by the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, its former police chief and the officer who shot their son to turn over the documents. The parents say the documents are irrelevant and that the repeated demands for them are harassing and invasive.

Brown’s parents argue in their lawsuit that the death of their son during an August 2014 confrontation with Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson deprived them of financial support through his future potential wages. An attorney for Ferguson, Wilson and the former police chief have countered in court filings that Brown’s lifelong medical records are pertinent to determining his potential life expectancy and future income.

In her 2016 book, “Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil,” McSpadden acknowledged that her son had high blood pressure, headaches, impaired vision and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In court filings rebuffing the push for all of her son’s medical records, Brown’s parents said his afflictions “have no bearing on a person’s life expectancy.”

continue http://www.wlox.com/story/34158187/michael-browns-family-fights-ferguson-push-for-his-records

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Inventor of the famous Red Solo Cup dies at 84

The investor of arguably the most famous cup in the world has died.3bb1ab0800000578-0-the_red_colo_cup_above_a_staple_at_tailgates_and_keggers_was_inv-a-45_1482988860882

Robert Leo Hulseman, who invented the Red Solo Cup, such a popular party staple it even has its own hit song by Toby Keith, died December 21 age 84 surrounded by his large family in Northfield, Illinois.

Hulseman worked at Solo Cup Company for 60 years, according to his obituary.

Red Solo Cup investor Robert Leo Hulseman died at age 84

During that time, he invented the Red Solo Cup sometime in the 1970s.

Part of the popularity of the cup, despite its eye-catching crimson color, making it stand out on a crowded table full of brown and green bottles of beer and wine – is its inside rings Red Solo Cup investor Robert Leo Hulseman died at age 84with 1.5 ounces for liquor, 5 ounces for wine and 12 ounces for beer.

It’s not clear why the solo cup was made bright red, but Solo Cup brand manager Rebecca Bikoff told Vice in June, ‘It makes sense that consumers would gravitate to this color when you think about the kind of occasions it’s used at.’

continue http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4072480/Inventor-famous-Red-Solo-Cup-dies-84.html

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Evolution and Big Bang Theory Real, God Is Not a Magician: Pope 

The theory of evolution and the big bang are real, and God is not “a magician with a wand”, Pope Francis declared at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.He made comments which experts claim put an end to “pseudo theories” of creationism and intelligent design, some of which were encouraged by his predecessor, Benedict XVI, as reported by the Independent.The Pope explained that the scientific theories weren’t incompatible with the existence of a creator, rather, they “require it”.

Source: Evolution and Big Bang Theory Real, God Is Not a Magician: Pope – The Quint

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n the November 1999 issue of EPE (Everyday Practical Electronics), a small and intriguing circuit was published in the Ingenuity Unlimited section by Z. Kaparnik. It was a very small implementation of a typical transformer feedback single transistor invertor. The transformer was a standard ferrite bead with two windings wound on it and the circuit was using the high voltage pulse generated when the transistor turns off to light an LED from a single 1.5V battery.

This page has two variations on the original design to use the simple circuit in a useful manner.

I originally called this torch the vampire torch because it sucked the last remnants of life from a cell, but then decided to call it a Joule Thief instead because it was a catchy name and played on the fact the unit steals the last bit of energy from a cell. (Joule is a unit of energy) I guess the name has kinda stuck!

Here’s the Joule thief. It’s like an open PCB torch that will take either an AA or AAA battery in the holder and use whatever power is left in the battery to light a white LED.
The amazing thing about this circuit is that it will run right down to about 0.35V if left running continuously, and will often provide a week of continuous low level light from a battery that would normally be considered dead.
The level of light is initially quite high but gradually reduces as the battery voltage goes lower. However, it can still be used for reading in a dark room, even when the battery is almost completely drained.


These are the components used in the circuit, and as you can see there are very few.
One metre from the spool of enamelled wire will be used to turn the ferrite bead into a transformer, the resistor will be used to limit the feedback current to the transistor, the transistor will switch on and off about 50,000 times a second and the white LED will light.
The ferrite bead is a plain type usually sold in packs of ten or fifty. The one shown was sourced from Maplin Electronics in the UK although just about everyone does them. Don’t use anything other than plain cheap vanilla ferrite, since any other type will reduce efficiency.

continue and learn how www.bigclive.com/joule.htm

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Sawney Bean Remains Scotland’s Most Famous Cannibal

One of the most terrifying figures in English folklore may be a product of anti-Scot propaganda.man-tartan-sawney-bean

Believed to have lived in a cave with about 50 immediate family members, the Beans were known for robbing, kidnapping, and eventually murdering strangers, whom they later dismembered and ate. The story of Sawney Bean, who may or may not have even existed, has gone on to reach legendary status in his native Scotland.

The Birth Of The Beans

The man known as Alexander Sawney Bean was born in the late 1300s near Edinburgh. Some accounts list him as a tanner, others as a hedger and a ditcher. Nevertheless, all agree that he left these early trades behind upon meeting the woman who would go on to become his wife.

Together, they retreated from society, confining themselves to a cave located in Ayrshire. Called Bennane Cave, this giant rock formation equipped with various tunnels spanned over a mile in depth, allowing ample space for the young couple to start and raise a family.

continue http://all-that-is-interesting.com/sawney-bean


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Device Can Detect 17 Diseases by Our Breath

What if detecting cancer was as easy as breathing in and out? According to a study published last week in American Chemical Society Nano, it pretty much is. Scientist Hossam Haick has been working on his “electronic nose” for years, the Outline reports, and this new study shows the impressive things it can do. According to Smithsonian Magazine, scientists used the device to sample the breaths of more than 1,400 people and found it could diagnose 17 different diseases—Parkinson’s, lung cancer, kidney failure, MS, Crohn’s disease, ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer, just to name a few—with 86% accuracy.

continue http://www.newser.com/story/236145/device-can-detect-17-diseases-by-our-breath.html

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Are Ads Following You?

We talked about how you’re still tracked in “private” browsing modes. But, what is all this tracking for?

Put simply, Google isn’t a search company, they’re an advertising company.

Princeton’s WebTAP privacy project recently found that Google’s trackers are installed on 75% of the top million internet websites. (The next closest is Facebook at 25%! See Figure 3 in Section 5.1 for details.)


Google sells ads not only on their search engine, but also on over 2.2 million other websites and over 1 million apps. Every time you visit one of these sites or apps, Google is storing that information and using it to target ads at you.

That’s why you may have seen ads tracking you across the net!

If you want to stop websites from re-marketing to you, you’ll need to install a free tool like Privacy Badger (Firefox or Chrome only), or Ghostery.

If you don’t already use Privacy Badger or Ghostery, make sure you install one of them now. Stop ad stalking today!

Proudly Private,

Dax the Duck,
Mascot – DuckDuckGo

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DOJ won’t prosecute RED LIGHT CAMERA company Redflex in exchange for restitution and cooperation

Red light camera...

Federal prosecutors in Ohio and Illinois have come to an agreement with the red light camera company Redflex. Earlier this year, the former chief executive of the embattled Australian company pleaded guilty to corruption charges in those states.

The “non-prosecution agreement” establishes a deal whereby the Department of Justice won’t prosecute Redflex in exchange for restitution and damages. Redflex will pay Chicago an amount to be determined and will also hand over $100,000 in restitution to the City of Columbus. The government praised Redflex, citing “extensive and thorough cooperation over recent years.”

The DOJ statement, which was published Tuesday by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, continues:

Further, Redflex agreed to cooperate fully with DOJ and any other law enforcement agency designated by DOJ, including the Australian Federal Police and other Australian law enforcement authorities. As part of that obligation, Redflex must, among other things, provide DOJ, the Australian Federal Police, and other Australian law enforcement authorities, upon request, all non-privileged information, documents, records, or other tangible evidence. Notwithstanding the two-year time period of the agreement, Redflex agreed to cooperate with DOJ, the Australian Federal Police, and other Australian law enforcement authorities until all of their investigations or prosecutions are concluded.

The former CEO of Redflex’s American subsidiary, Karen Finley, was sentenced in November 2016 to 30 months in prison stemming from the Illinois prosecution. She was previously sentenced in October 2016 to 14 months in prison for the Ohio case. Finley pleaded guilty to overseeing a vast scheme of corruption in both states as a way to finagle contracts with those cities. She is due to report to prison in February 2017, where she will serve both sentences concurrently in Victorville, California.

The DOJ statement goes on to say that, since US investigations began, “Redflex has initiated substantial additions and changes to its compliance program, policies, and procedures.” Prosecutors added that the company has “agreed to adopt new policies to ensure that it maintains a rigorous anti-bribery and anti-corruption compliance code, and to install procedures designed to detect and deter violations of such laws.”

If Redflex does not fully abide by the terms of this agreement, it could face new prosecution.

continue http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/12/doj-wont-prosecute-redflex-in-exchange-for-restitution-and-cooperation/

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Hollywood sign altered to read ‘Hollyweed’ in apparent New Year’s Eve prank

HOLLYWOOD (KABC) — Hollywood residents awoke Sunday morning to find the iconic Hollywood sign had been altered to read “HOLLYWeeD” in an apparent New Year’s Eve prank.A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department’s Hollywood Division said the agency was aware of the vandalism and a unit was dispatched to Mount Lee to investigate.The LAPD also notified the city’s Department of General Services, whose officers patrol Griffith Park and the area near the sign.Alvin Kim and two fellow hikers posed for a photo with the revised landmark in the background, which Kim described as “pretty cool.”

Source: Hollywood sign altered to read ‘Hollyweed’ in apparent New Year’s Eve prank | abc7.com

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Mariah Carey staffers ask what time the ball drops on New Year’s Eve

 Singing superstar Mariah Carey is set to perform on New Year’s Eve in Times Square on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest.

”Carey is the last act scheduled to perform leading up to the big ball drop, but the divine diva is known almost as much for her tardiness as for her powerful vocal range.Related Headlines Mariah Carey’s New Year’s Eve performance panned on social media>>

Her staffers were so unfamiliar with events on New Year’s Eve in Times Square, that when show producers called to lock in her arrival time, Carey’s team asked, “What time exactly does the ball drop?” according to news reports.Show producers reportedly wondered whether to tell her 11 p.m.

Source: Mariah Carey staffers ask what time the ball drops on New Year’s Eve | FOX25

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Child Jihadists Hunt Down, Execute Bound Prisoners in New ISIS Video

The Islamic State released a grisly new video today showing child jihadists hunting down bound “apostates” in a live-fire training exercise.

The half-hour-long production, from ISIS headquarters in Raqqa, shows child jihadists — boys about 9 to 12 years old — crawling through brush carrying rifles and snipping through a barbed-wire fence toward a training compound with one-story buildings and dummies as targets.

(ISIS video screenshot) (ISIS video screenshot)

Scenes in the video include the ISIS kids taking Quran classes, training with a variety of exercises, eating cafeteria-style lunches and watching ISIS films. A trainer wakes the kids from their dormitory-style bunks while it’s dark outside for more training.

In another part of the video, kids wielding rifles give individual pledges to fight for ISIS; one boy has a cast on his arm.

continue https://pjmedia.com/homeland-security/2016/12/29/child-jihadists-hunt-down-execute-bound-prisoners-in-new-isis-video/

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Universal Basic Income May Sound Attractive But, If It Occurred, Would Likelier Increase Poverty Than Reduce It

At first blush, universal basic income (UBI) seems a very attractive idea, especially to a progressive.  Yet it suffers from two serious problems.  First, the odds are very high that an effort to secure UBI would prove quixotic.  Second, and more disconcerting, any possibility of overcoming the formidable obstacles to UBI will almost certainly require a left-right coalition that has significant conservative support — and conservative support for UBI rests on an approach that would increase poverty, rather than reduce it.

The key issues related to UBI include what it would cost, how it would be paid for, and the risks it poses.  Let’s take these one at a time.

The Cost

There are over 300 million Americans today.  Suppose UBI provided everyone with $10,000 a year.  That would cost more than $3 trillion a year — and $30 trillion to $40 trillion over ten years.

This single-year figure equals more than three-fourths of the entire yearly federal budget — and double the entire budget outside Social Security, Medicare, defense, and interest payments.  It’s also equal to close to 100 percent of all tax revenue the federal government collects.

Or, consider UBI that gives everyone $5,000 a year.  That would provide income equal to about two-fifths of the poverty line for an individual (which is a projected $12,700 in 2016) and less than the poverty line for a family of four ($24,800).  But it would cost as much as the entire federal budget outside Social Security, Medicare, defense, and interest payments.

Paying For It

Where would the money to finance such a large expenditure come from?  That it would come mainly or entirely from new taxes isn’t plausible.  We’ll already need substantial new revenues in the coming decades to help keep Social Security and Medicare solvent and avoid large benefit cuts in them.  We’ll need further tax increases to help repair a crumbling infrastructure that will otherwise impede economic growth.  And if we want to create more opportunity and reduce racial and other barriers and inequities, we’ll also need to raise new revenues to invest more in areas like pre-school education, child care, college affordability, and revitalizing segregated inner-city communities.

A UBI that’s financed primarily by tax increases would require the American people to accept a level of taxation that vastly exceeds anything in U.S. history.  It’s hard to imagine that such a UBI would advance very far, especially given the tax increases we’ll already need for Social Security, Medicare, infrastructure, and other needs.

The Risk

UBI’s daunting financing challenges raise fundamental questions about its political feasibility, both now and in coming decades.  Proponents often speak of an emerging left-right coalition to support it.  But consider what UBI’s supporters on the right advocate.  They generally propose UBI as a replacement for the current “welfare state.”  That is, they would finance UBI by eliminating all or most programs for people with low or modest incomes.

Consider what that would mean.  If you take the dollars targeted on people in the bottom fifth or two-fifths of the population and convert them to universal payments to people all the way up the income scale, you’re redistributing income upward.  That would increase poverty and inequality rather than reduce them.

Yet that’s the platform on which the (limited) support for UBI on the right largely rests.  It entails abolishing programs from SNAP (food stamps), which largely eliminated the severe child malnutrition found in parts of the Southern “black belt” and Appalachia in the late 1960s, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Section 8 rental vouchers, Medicaid, Head Start, child care assistance, and many others.  These programs lift tens of millions of people, including millions of children, out of poverty each year and make tens of millions more less poor.

Some UBI proponents may argue that by ending current programs, we’d reap large administrative savings that we could convert into UBI payments.  But that’s mistaken.  For the major means-tested programs — SNAP, Medicaid, the EITC, housing vouchers, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and school meals — administrative costs consume only 1 to 9 percent of program resources, as a CBPP analysis explains.[1]  Their funding goes overwhelmingly to boost the incomes and purchasing power of low-income families.

Moreover, as the Roosevelt Institute’s Mike Konczal has noted, eliminating Medicaid, SNAP, the EITC, housing vouchers, and the like would still leave you far short of what’s needed to finance a meaningful UBI.[2]  Would we also end Pell Grants that help low-income students afford college?  Would we terminate support for children in foster care, for mental health, and for job training services?

Ed Dolan, who favors UBI, has calculated that we could finance it by using the proceeds from eliminating all means-tested programs outside health care — including Pell Grants, job training, Head Start, free school lunches, and the like, as well as refundable tax credits, SNAP, SSI, low-income housing programs, etc.  The result, Dolan found, would be an annual UBI of $1,582 per person, well below the level of support most low-income families (especially working-poor families with children) now receive.  The increase in poverty and hardship would be very large.[3]

That’s why the risk is high that under any UBI that could conceivably gain traction politically, tens of millions of poor people would likely end up worse off.

Source: Commentary: Universal Basic Income May Sound Attractive But, If It Occurred, Would Likelier Increase Poverty Than Reduce It | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

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‘The Big Bang Theory’ Threatens to Dethrone Sunday Night Football as TV’s Most Watched Show – Breitbart

In every office, every corporate executive suite, and every law firm across this great land, the men who had got pantsed and received numerous swirlies at the hands of jocks in high school finally have their chance at redemption against their brawny tormentors.

According to a press release from CBS, “The Big Bang Theory,” the brainy sitcom which references pyramids and autotrophs in its theme song, beat out NBC’s Sunday Night Football as the top-rated, live, primetime same day show. For the past five years Sunday Night Football had owned that coveted, top spot.

Source: ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Threatens to Dethrone Sunday Night Football as TV’s Most Watched Show – Breitbart

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Teens are vaping more than ever, and not just nicotine

Vaping is more popular with teens than ever, with more than one-third of high school students reporting having tried e-cigarettes. And teens aren’t always using e-cigs for nicotine, according to a new US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that dug into teen vaping behavior.To evaluate e-cig use, the CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration poured through surveys filled out by 17,000 middle and high school students across the US in 2015. About 38 percent of high school students and 13 percent of middle school students reported that they’ve tried e-cigarettes. That could be an underestimate, too, since the students were reporting their own behavior, and surveys based on self-reports are known to be unreliable.”Nearly 38 percent of high school students have tried e-cigarettes”The CDC is interested in vaping is because we still don’t know exactly how using e-cigarettes could affect a teen’s development. A medical group in the UK lauded e-cigs as useful tools to help current smokers quit, but the CDC said in a statement there’s no evidence that they work.

Source: Teens are vaping more than ever, and not just nicotine – The Verge

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FBI and Homeland Security detail Russian hacking campaign in new report

Experts say report is too little too late and comes after several others from private sector detailing alleged exploits of groups Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear

fancy bear website
A screenshot of the Fancy Bear website, one of the hacking teams cited in the joint FBI/DHS report. Photograph: Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and FBI have released an analysis of the allegedly Russian government-sponsored hacking groups blamed for breaching several different parts of the Democratic party during the 2016 elections.

The 13-page document, released on Thursday and meant for information technology professionals, came as Barack Obama announced sanctions against Russia for interfering in the 2016 elections. The report was criticized by security experts, who said it lacked depth and came too late.

“The activity by [Russian intelligence services] is part of an ongoing campaign of cyber-enabled operations directed at the US government and its citizens,” wrote the authors of the government report. “This [joint analysis report] provides technical indicators related to many of these operations, recommended mitigations, suggested actions to take in response to the indicators provided, and information on how to report such incidents to the US government.”

continue https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/dec/29/fbi-dhs-russian-hacking-report

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Voyager Probes Are Still Making Amazing Discoveries

Alpha Centauri a and b, two of our nearest neighboring stars. Image: Wikimedia

In August 2012, Voyager 1 went where no human-made object has gone before: it crossed the “heliopause,” the outermost edge of the Sun’s heliosphere, and entered interstellar space.

Before Voyager 1 left the bubble of territory dominated by the Sun, it collected our very first data on the cold, dark borderlands marking the interstellar boundary. Now, Voyager 2 is making the same journey—passing through the outer layer of our heliosphere, toward all that lies beyond it. But five years later, that journey is shaping up to be remarkably different.

“The [boundary] where Voyager 2 is [leaving the heliosphere] is quite different than for Voyager 1,” Ed Stone, the former director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a presentation at the American Geophysical Union Conference last week. “Which makes comparisons and extrapolations rather uncertain.”

continue http://gizmodo.com/voyager-probes-are-still-making-amazing-discoveries-1790414033

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