Daily Archives: January 12, 2017

Rosie O’Donnell Calls for Martial Law to Delay Inauguration

After kicking off the New Year by warning that there were only three weeks remaining to stop President-elect Donald Trump from taking office, Rosie O’Donnell has proposed a tactic to do just that — by imposing martial law to delay Trump’s inauguration.

The 54-year-old comedian took to Twitter Wednesday night to call for the suspension of regular presidential succession rules until such time as Trump could be “cleared” of all the “charges” against him. O’Donnell didn’t specify to which charges she was referring.

Source: Rosie O’Donnell Calls for Martial Law to Delay Inauguration

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Florida is the worst for pedestrian fatalities; Miami area comes in at 11 

Walkers, it’s dangerous out there.With pedestrian fatalities at a 10-year high, Florida leads the way among the seven most dangerous metropolitan communities to walk around in the country. Though South Florida didn’t crack the top 10, Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach came in at a not-so-respectable 11th, according to the Dangerous by Design report released by Smart Growth America, a Washington D.C.-based organization that advocates for walkable cities.Cape Coral-Fort Myers claimed the top spot, followed by Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Jacksonville, Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, Lakeland-Winter Haven, and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton placed 10th. An interactive map on Smart Growth’s website shows the most dangerous spots in those metro areas.The report ranks the 104 largest metro areas in the country, as well as every state by a “Pedestrian Danger Index,” or PDI, which factors in the share of commuters who walk to work, along with the most recent data on pedestrian deaths. Rankings are based not on the total number of fatalities but on population size, the number of people who commute on foot and the number of fatalities.

Source: Florida is the worst for pedestrian fatalities; Miami area comes in at 11 | Miami Herald

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Obama  has expanded the power of the N S A

In its final days, the Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.

The new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations, which are largely unregulated by American wiretapping laws. These include collecting satellite transmissions, phone calls and emails that cross network switches abroad, and messages between people abroad that cross domestic network switches.

The change means that far more officials will be searching through raw data. Essentially, the government is reducing the risk that the N.S.A. will fail to recognize that a piece of information would be valuable to another agency, but increasing the risk that officials will see private information about innocent people.

continue https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/12/us/politics/nsa-gets-more-latitude-to-share-intercepted-communications.html

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US Army Asks for Biodegradable Ammo

The US Army gets through a lot of ammunition thanks to the amount of training it carries out. But that ammunition doesn’t come without waste which slowly degrades over hundreds of years polluting whatever ground (and nearby water sources) it happens to fall upon.

So the Department of Defense (DoD) decided to do something about it, and is requesting environmentally friendly ammunition for use during training exercises.

 The request was made via the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Specifically, the DoD wants “biodegradable training ammunition loaded with specialized seeds to grow environmentally beneficial plants that eliminate ammunition debris and contaminants.”

Source: US Army Asks for Biodegradable Ammo

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Forced to watch child porn for their job, Microsoft employees developed PTSD, they say

Child abuse. Pornography. Bestiality. Murder.As part of their job, moderators for social websites have to view some of the most disturbing videos and photos on the internet. Once the employees have determined that the images violate the company’s community standards and the law, they delete the accounts of the people who posted them and report the incidents to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, per federal law.Unsurprisingly, having to watch upsetting content like that every day takes a toll on moderators. But two Microsoft employees say their company, one of the largest in the world, failed to provide them with proper support as their mental health deteriorated and they began showing symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.In a lawsuit filed in King County, Washington, Henry Soto and Greg Blauert allege that they were part of Microsoft’s Online Safety Team, formed in 2007 in response to new federal legislation and complaints from customers about disturbing imagery being stored and distributed using the company’s products.Soto claims he was assigned to the team and didn’t have any choice in the matter. Both Soto and Blauert say Microsoft did not fully prepare them for what the Online Safety Team would be doing — going through users’ accounts and communications and viewing haunting images of children being abused, sexually exploited and even killed.

Source: Forced to watch child porn for their job, Microsoft employees developed PTSD, they say | McClatchy DC

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Shep Smith: No Journalist Should ‘Be Subjected to Belittling or Delegitimizing By the President

Fox News Channel’s “Shepard Smith Reporting,” host Shep Smith rallied to the defense of his CNN colleague Jim Acosta after President-elect Donald Trump called out Acosta’s organization personally for being fake news following a report about Trump’s involvement with Russia.“[C]NN’s exclusive reporting on the Russian matter was separate and distinctly different from the document dump executed by an online news property,” Smith said. “Though we at Fox News cannot confirm CNN’s report, it is our observation that its correspondents followed journalistic standards and that neither they nor any other journalists should be subjected to belittling or delegitimizing by the President-elect of the United States.”

Source: Shep Smith: No Journalist Should ‘Be Subjected to Belittling or Delegitimizing By the President-elect’ – Breitbart

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Celebrating 9 Years of ROS, the Robot Operating System

This is a guest post. The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not represent positions of IEEE Spectrum or the IEEE.Last year we celebrated nine years old of ROS, the Robot Operating System! Through these years ROS has grown into a strong world-wide community. It’s a community with a large variety of interests: from academic researchers to robotic product developers as well as the many robot users. Academic use of ROS continues to grow. Citations of the first ROS paper, “ROS: An Open-Source Robot Operating System,” has grown to 2,871.To get a better sense of what’s happening in the ROS community, if you have not already done so, I highly recommend reviewing the ROSCon 2016 program. You can also find all the video recordings in this gallery. As the goal of ROSCon is to share information between the entire community we record the talks and make them available online. We’ve sold out our venues the last two years and are looking forward to another ROSCon next fall!

Source: Celebrating 9 Years of ROS, the Robot Operating System – IEEE Spectrum

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US Was Aware Of ISIS Threat and Sought Regime Change In Syria 

WikiLeaks brought renewed attention to an audio recording in which Secretary of State John Kerry admits not only that he supported war in Syria for the purpose of overthrowing the government, but that the United States knew about the strength of terrorist groups in the region and allowed them to grow yet more powerful.Originally leaked to The New York Times in late September and published in its entirety by CNN shortly after, the recording is of a meeting the secretary of state had with Syrian civilians at the Dutch Mission to the United Nations in September. CNN has since removed the audio, but left a description of its contents along with an editor’s note claiming the file had been removed “at the request of some of the participants out of concern for their safety.”However, it’s rare that any content is truly scrubbed from the internet. Clips of Kerry’s discussion can still be found on the Times website, and the complete audio file was published on Oct. 4 by YouTube user Angel North.WikiLeaks published a link to the recording posted on YouTube on the organization’s Facebook page on Tuesday, and that post had been reshared nearly 2,900 times by Thursday afternoon.The Times and CNN reported that Kerry was speaking to a group of Syrian civilians at the Dutch Mission during U.N. negotiations over a proposed ceasefire. Taking an apologetic tone, Kerry admits that he argued for military intervention in Syria as far back as 2013, when rumors swirled that the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad had used chemical weapons against civilians.

Source: WikiLeaks: US Was Aware Of ISIS Threat and Sought Regime Change In Syria | Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization

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Want a healthy brain? Have eggs for breakfast 

Having eggs for breakfast does not increase the risk of dementia, a new study has found.In fact, eating them may actually help to boost brain functions, scientists now claim.Full of dietary cholesterol, previous research has linked them to heart attacks, high blood pressure and weight gain.It is widely known that conditions which damage the heart, arteries or blood circulation all increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.But research has discovered that eating eggs only slightly affects blood cholesterol levels.

Source: Want a healthy brain? Have eggs for breakfast | Daily Mail Online

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The Wakaba Mark: Japanese Car Stickers Signal Levels of Driving Experience 

In Japan, a series of car stickers inspired by organic motifs serves both obvious and subtle civic purposes. Designed to make roads safer for drivers, the symbols also implicitly champion a maxim normally applied to internet interactions: remember the human. These car markings help reveal the person inside an otherwise-anonymous piece of machinery, acting as a humanizing avatar to the outside world.Student driver in Durham, North Carolina by Ildar Sagdejev (Specious) GFDLConsider first (and for contrast) the United States. Provisional student rides often sport a series of huge block-lettered stickers or even a rooftop banner indicating they are still learning. These are literal and blunt but also very limited — once the students take off their proverbial training wheels, these newly-licensed drivers suddenly go from being publicly singled out to blending completely into the crowd.

Source: The Wakaba Mark: Japanese Car Stickers Signal Levels of Driving Experience – 99% Invisible

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Slow Cooker Short Rib Ragu with Horseradish Gremolata 

Slow Cooker Short Rib Ragu with Horseradish Gremolata. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more delicious ragu than this recipe. Hearty, bold, and ultra-comforting, it will become a slow cooker staple for the chilly season!

Source: Slow Cooker Short Rib Ragu with Horseradish Gremolata – Host The Toast

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Browser Autofill Profiles Can Be Abused for Phishing Attacks

Browser autofill profiles are a reliable phishing vector that allow attackers to collect information from users via hidden fields, which the browser automatically fills with preset personal information and which the user unknowingly sends to the attacker when he submits a form.Autofill profiles are a recent addition to modern-day browsers. This feature works by allowing the user to create a profile that holds different details about himself that he usually enters inside web forms.When the user has to fill in a form in the future, he can simply select an autofill profile and his browser will enter the preset information in all form fields, sparing the user the time he would have needed to type in 10, 20 or more fields.Browser autofill profiles should not be confused with form field autofilling behavior, which allows a user to fill in one form field at a time with data he previously entered in those fields. Autofill profiles allow users to fill in entire forms with one click.

Source: Browser Autofill Profiles Can Be Abused for Phishing Attacks

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What Is Deep Learning? — An Introduction

A little history of Artificial Intelligence

When the field of Artificial Intelligence started, all the researchers were focussed on ‘solving’ a problem, as that was how they were trained. For example, automatically finding a solution to a maze. A paradigm shift in thinking had to happen before people started to approach problems in a different way.The new approach was not to solve a task but to ‘imitate’ its solution. Not all problems can be solved. This was known to mathematicians earlier. Well, one has to look what constitutes as a solution. For example,It had no solutions until the introduction of the concept of complex numbers. But, there are other problems which are truly unsolvable (in some sense). Real world problems are far too complex to find a solution. So, the concept of ‘imitating’ a solution was required for very complex real world tasks. The best example to compare these two paradigms would be the Deep Blue computer which beat Kasparov in 1996 and the AlphaGo computer which beat Lee Sedol in 2016. The former ‘searches’ for the best move in Chess, while the latter ‘imitates’ a strong player of Go.

Source: What Is Deep Learning? — An Introduction

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How to Add Extra Stops Along the Way in Google Maps

Google Maps is freaking amazing. Even when you’re already en route to a destination, it can easily insert extra stops along the way with just a tap.

Source: How to Add Extra Stops Along the Way in Google Maps

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The rise of the cashless city: ‘There is this real danger of exclusion’ 

Scrolling through my online bank statements at Christmas, I was surprised to find I had not removed cash from an ATM for well over four months. Thanks to the ubiquity of electronic payment systems, it has become increasingly easy to glide around London to a chorus of approving bleeps.As more shops and transport networks adapt to contactless card and touch-and-go mobile technology, many major cities around the world are in the process of relegating cash to second-class status. Some London shops and cafes are now, like the capital’s buses, simply refusing to handle notes or coins.Could we see a whole city go cash-free? From Seoul to Bergamo, cities big and small are at the forefront of a global drive to go digital. Many of us are happy to tap cards or phones to hop on a bus, buy a coffee or pay for groceries, but it raises the prospect of a time we no longer carry any cash at all.No spare change for the busker at the station, the person sleeping rough in need of a hot drink, the market trader, the donation box. Although even on-street charity fundraisers are now broaching the world of contactless payments, what might the rise of the cashless city mean for street vendors, small merchants and the poorest inhabitants?

Source: The rise of the cashless city: ‘There is this real danger of exclusion’ | Cities | The Guardian

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U.S. – U.N. relationship may be headed for rocky waters

Antonio Guterres was elected the ninth United Nations secretary general by consensus of 193 nations, and with unusual agreement by the United States and Russia.

He began work January 1, vowing a “surge for peace” and much-needed reform of the bloated bureaucracy at the U.N, a body that’s seen as doing much good, but that’s failed in recent years to resolve the world’s most intractable conflicts.O

n Tuesday, in his first formal appearance as the U.N.’s CEO, he told a packed Security Council chamber, “We must rebalance our approach to peace and security. For decades, this has been dominated by responding to conflict.”The former refugee chief and Portuguese prime minister said the reforms he’s setting in motion will be able to “prevent war and sustain peace.” And, he said, nations must “strengthen the credibility and authority of the United Nations.”

Source: U.S. – U.N. relationship may be headed for rocky waters – CBS News

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The Long-Fought Battle Between The Vatican And Cats

When you’re as old as the Catholic Church, you’re going to have picked a lot of fights — and some are more absurd than others.

There are two types of people in this world: cat people, and not cat people.

Pope Gregory IX, who held the papacy from 1227 to 1241, most definitely fell in the second camp — largely because he believed that the fluffy hairball-hackers embodied Lucifer himself.

Gregory based his theory on “evidence” from Conrad of Marburg, a papal inquisitor. Apparently torture produced some pretty convincing confessions from people who worshipped the devil and his black cat.

On June 13, 1233, Gregory issued the Vox in Rama, an official papal decree declaring that Satan was half-cat and sometimes took the form of a cat during Satanic masses.

Before the prospect of burning at the stake for having contact with the purring pets, Catholics around the the continent began slaughtering any feline that entered their property. We may still see the effects of the mass cat slaughter today: It’s been suggested that the small black cat population in Europe today is a direct result of that breed being deemed particularly devil-like.

Source: The Long-Fought Battle Between The Vatican And Cats

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Nets Repeat Bogus Claim of ‘Hacked Election’ 49x In One Month

If you weren’t paying attention in the past month, you might actually believe that Russian spies infiltrated our voting booths to help Donald Trump win the presidential election. Well, at least that’s the perception the big three news networks are trying to create by repeatedly insisting that Russia “hacked the election.”

From December 8 to January 8, MRC analysts found that journalists on ABC, CBS and NBC repeated this loaded phrase at least 49 times in their morning and evening broadcasts. After blaming the electoral college for Clinton’s loss didn’t work, the media moved on to blur the release of Democratic e-mails with the idea that Russia “hacked the election.”

In fact, the declassified version of the report, released January 6, flatly stated that “DHS assesses that the types of systems Russian actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying.” In other words, while embarrassing e-mails from Democratic political operatives were publicized, America’s election machinery was not hacked. Nevertheless, the media has been relentless in attempting to legitimize this “fake news” story.

Source: Nets Repeat Bogus Claim of ‘Hacked Election’ 49x In One Month

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