Daily Archives: February 16, 2017

Japanese Phone Booth Connects The Living And The Dead

In 2011, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake tore through northeastern Japan and triggered a devastating tsunami. Together, the events destroyed the country, causing more than $300 billion in damages and resulting in the loss of more than 15,000 residents. Some survivors are still grieving over the loss of their loved ones, and one coastal town has come up with a unique way of coping.Positioned atop a grassy hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean, a phone booth in Otsuchi, Japan allows living people to call their dead relatives and loved ones. Called the “phone of the wind,” the disconnected rotary phone positioned inside a glass booth allows callers to send verbal messages to those they’ve lost, which the wind then carries away.

Source: Japanese Phone Booth Connects The Living And The Dead

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Vaping Goes Mainstream: Implementing Regulatory Testing in a Burgeoning Industry

Manufacturers in the relatively new and, up until now, unregulated electronic cigarette industry have had little need for analytical testing until recently. As vaping has become mainstream, the market for e-cigarettes has come under increased scrutiny. In May 2016, the EU implemented the updated Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), which governs the manufacturing and selling of tobacco products, to include e-cigarettes and e-liquids. In 2016 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also updated the Premarket Tobacco Application (PMTA) to include vaping products. These updated directives and regulations require manufacturers to register and rigorously test their products if they want to continue to market them. As regulations continue to evolve, the industry is looking to advanced instrumentation and analytical testing to comply with new quality standards.

Source: Vaping Goes Mainstream: Implementing Regulatory Testing in a Burgeoning Industry

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Hunting for evidence, Secret Service unlocks phone data with force or finesse 

On July 20, 2014, a missing Conway, N.H., teenager walked back into her home, ending a heinous nine-month-long kidnapping ordeal.About a week later, police arrested Nathaniel Kibby at his home and charged him with the abduction. During a warranted search, investigators confiscated several mobile devices that may have contained valuable information in the case.But there was one smartphone they couldn’t crack, a password-protected ZTE. That’s when New Hampshire State Police turned to the Secret Service, which has become a go-to federal agency to help police departments with warrants to extract data from password-protected smartphones and other devices for criminal investigations.The information on the ZTE contained “a huge piece of evidence,” says Sgt. Michael Cote, a New Hampshire State Police detective. In May, Mr. Kibby pleaded guilty to kidnapping and rape, among other charges. A judge sentenced him to consecutive prison terms totaling 45 to 90 years.

Source: Hunting for evidence, Secret Service unlocks phone data with force or finesse – CSMonitor.com

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New Silk Road: ‘Most Important Economic Project of First Half of 21st Century

Russia (Sputnik) – Russian President Vladimir Putin will take part in the Silk Road summit in Beijing, Russian Ambassador to China Andrei Denisov told journalists at a press conference on February 9. The forum will be held on May 14-15. Earlier, the Chinese foreign ministry said that leaders from over 20 countries have confirmed their participation in the summit.The prime ministers of the UK, Sri Lanka and the president of the Philippines are scheduled to take part in the summit as well.According to the Russian ambassador to China, Vladimir Putin accepted the invitation from President Xi Jinping and plans to combine participation in the discussions on the Silk Route together with a bilateral official visit and talks with the Chinese leader.The diplomat also said that the position of the two countries regarding issues of world politics is quite similar and often identical. This is due to the fact that there are similar interests between Russia and China in terms of international politics.The forum on International Cooperation in the framework of the Chinese strategy of the Silk Road was announced by the Chinese president during the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Source: New Silk Road: ‘Most Important Economic Project of First Half of 21st Century – The Fifth Column

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The Air Force’s secretive X-37B space plane may—or may not—be about to land

We don’t know much about the US Air Force’s X-37B uncrewed space plane. Although it resembles the space shuttle, it’s much smaller (at about 30 feet in length), and it has a cargo bay that could hold something about the size of a standard refrigerator. It seems to fly in a relatively low orbit below the International Space Station. Oh—and it can fly in space for a long, long time before it needs to return to Earth.Since 2010, two identical space planes have completed three missions of increasing lengths: 224 days, 468 days, and 674 days. One of the planes most recently launched on May 20, 2015, and there are signs that this space plane might finally be coming home soon, perhaps even on Tuesday. According to NASASpaceFlight.com, the X-37B may land in Florida on Tuesday after 636 days in space. Notably, it would land at Kennedy Space Center’s historic Shuttle Landing Facility for the first time.

Source: The Air Force’s secretive X-37B space plane may—or may not—be about to land | Ars Technica

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NASA picks three Martian wet patches for 2020 splashdown 

NASA has decided its Mars 2020 mission will land a rover in one of three places, all of which are thought to have once seen liquid water flowing.While the rest of us spent last week tut-tutting about IBM’s teleworking turnaround, NASA boffins gathered at the Doubletree Hotel in Monrovia, CA, where they conducted a workshop to consider the scientific merits of eight previously-shortlisted landing sites.Those deliberations tried to answer eight questions about candidate landing sites:Can the Mars 2020 rover achieve all of the mission’s scientific objectives – number one being to examine the likelihood that Mars hosted life – at this site?Does the area show signs in the rock record that it once had the right environmental conditions to support past microbial life?Does the area have a variety of rocks and soils (regolith), including those from an ancient time when Mars could have supported life?Did different geologic and environmental processes, including interactions with water, alter these rocks through time?

Source: NASA picks three Martian wet patches for 2020 splashdown • The Register

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Can drones replace bumblebees and stave off a food crisis?

To combat an environmental catastrophe waiting to happen, people have been trying to find pollinating replacement techniques for humans. Some solutions include manually pollinating flowers with a brush or using spray machines. None has proven effective until now but a solution proposed by a team from Japan looks mighty promising. They propose retrofitting tiny drones to turn them into pollinating robot insects.90% of flowering plants and one-third of food crops depend on pollinators for reproductionBee colonies all over the world are threatened by a disease that might wipe them out. If bees go, the world’s food supply will seriously become jeopardized.

One out of every three mouthfuls of food in the American diet is, in some way, a product of honeybee pollination—from fruit to nuts to coffee beans. In 2015 alone, 42 percent of bee colonies collapsed in the United States at the hand of a plight that’s due to a combination of factors like pesticides, climate change, loss of habitat, and pathogens carried by mites. And things aren’t getting better. Just last month, scientists proposed listing the rusty-patched bumblebee as endangered, the first wild bee in the United States to be classed as such.

Source: Can drones replace bumblebees and stave off a food crisis?

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Battle of the female sideshow freaks: ‘Spidora’ vs the ‘Headless Girl’

Circus banners for ‘Spidora’ and ‘Olga the Headless Girl.’  Originally conceived in the late 1800s by London-based vaudeville illusionist Henry Roltair and hugely popular at Coney Island in the late 1930s, “Spidora” was a disturbing illusion featuring the head of an actual woman with the body of a giant spider. When it comes to the equally disturbing “Headless Girl” sideshow attraction, we have a man from Hamburg, Germany purporting to be a physician called “Doctor Heineman” (aka Egon Heineman) to thank for “Olga the Headless Girl” which he debuted at the New York World’s Fair in 1939 to a crowd of stunned onlookers. But which macabre human/animal hybrid was the bigger faux freak? Before I let you the reader decide, let’s dive into a little history lesson on both bizarro illusions before we slug this one out.According to details in Joe Nickell’s 2005 book, Secrets of the Sideshow, he saw an early iteration of Spidora at Coney Island when he was a kid. The Spidora illusion was wickedly popular and Nickell recalls the words of the carnival barker prepping the crowd for what they were about to see:

Source: Battle of the female sideshow freaks: ‘Spidora’ vs the ‘Headless Girl’ | Dangerous Minds

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Judge Forcing Town to Return $3 Million to Residents Fined by Traffic Cameras

(ANTIMEDIA) New Miami, OH — A Butler County judge has ordered the village of New Miami to refund $3 million in fines to motorists ticketed for speeding by traffic light cameras. The ruling was issued Wednesday by Butler County Judge Michael Oster, who said the money amounted to unjust enrichment of the village.The cameras were ruled unconstitutional in 2014 by Butler County Common Pleas Judge Michael J. Sage, who approved class action status. That ruling allowed the drivers to seek refunds. Nearly 45,000 citations were issued in just 15 months, and though motorists were permitted to challenge the tickets, the judge saw the administrative system as unfairly favoring the village and police.

Source: Judge Forcing Town to Return $3 Million to Residents Fined by Traffic Cameras

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German woman ‘decapitated lover with circular saw in bizarre sex game’

A woman has gone on trial in Munich on charges of murdering her lover with an electric circular saw.The 32-year-old woman, named only as Gabrielle P under German privacy laws, is accused of killing her boyfriend while he was tied to the bed and blindfolded during a sex game.After the killing, prosecutors allege she used the saw to cut off the head of her 28-year-old victim, who has been variously named as Alex H and Sebastian H in the German press.Gabrielle P admits the killing but her defence lawyers plan to argue it was an unpremeditated act of desperation.

Source: German woman ‘decapitated lover with circular saw in bizarre sex game’

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Burger King Offers ‘Adult Toys’ With Adults-Only Meal

“Kids have got their ‘Kid’s Meal.’ But what about grownups? Adults? Shouldn’t they have their own meal too?” Burger King asks.   (Burger King Israel)(NEWSER) – If you think Burger King isn’t a romantic enough destination for a Valentine’s Day date, they’re willing to sweeten the deal with a couple of beers and a sex toy. In a deal being offered only in Israel, and only after 6pm Tuesday, the chain is selling an “Adults Meal” that comes with two Whoppers and two packs of fries as well as the beers and the “Adult Toy,” AdWeek reports. Burger King Israel hasn’t specified the toys on offer, though an ad posted on Facebook shows a satin mask, a scalp massager, and a feather duster, the San Francisco Chronicle notes. (This country has banned Valentine’s Day this year.)

Source: Burger King Offers ‘Adult Toys’ With Adults-Only Meal

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Merkel Will Pay Migrants Millions To Leave Germany

Chancellor Angela Merkel is setting aside €90m (£76m) in taxpayers’ money to create a fund which will pay migrants to withdraw their asylum applications and leave Germany voluntarily.The handouts will form part of a 16-point plan to speed up the removal of rejected asylum seekers, after Tunisian migrant Anis Amri murdered a Polish lorry driver, hijacked his vehicle and drove it into a Christmas market in Berlin while awaiting deportation.U.S. president Donald Trump told The Times that Merkel made a “catastrophic mistake” when she opened the doors to an unlimited number of migrants in 2015.

Her vice-chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, later admitted that his superior had underestimated how difficult it would be to integrate migrants on such a grand scale, and that Germany had been plunged into a kulturkampf, or “cultural war”, as a result.Germany rejected 170,000 asylum claims in 2016 but, according to the Mail, just 26,000 were repatriated. 55,000 more decided to leave voluntarily – apparently leaving 81,000 bogus applicants unaccounted for.

Source: Merkel Will Pay Migrants Millions To Leave Germany

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Students wear white pins to remind them of white privilege – The College Fix

221Students at Elizabethtown College this month are wearing white pins in the shape of puzzle pieces to remind them of their white privilege.The campaign was launched over the weekend by the Elizabethtown College Democrats, who say it aims to make students at the small and private liberal arts college in Pennsylvania more introspective about issues of race, especially in their predominantly white region of Lancaster County.“Discussions about race are often perceived as being only open to people of color, but I think it is just as important for white people to partake in conversations about race,” Aileen Ida, president of the College Democrats, told The College Fix via email.Ida said white people are continually allowing for a societal system of oppression to occur unless they work against it. The white puzzle piece pin represents racial struggles of all sorts

Source: Students wear white pins to remind them of white privilege – The College Fix

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Playboy is Bringing Nudity Back Following Failed No-Nude Experiment | Heat Street

Playboy is known for two things: its articles and its nude women—and it turns out nobody really cares about the former unless it’s written by Hunter S. Thompson.Evidently, the management at Playboy took the joke about “reading Playboy for the articles” too seriously and did away with all the magazine’s nude content in October 2015 in an effort to rebrand the magazine as something less objectifying to women and more social justice-friendly. Last year, the magazine even featured a fully-clothed model in a hijab for the first time in its 50-year history.When it decided to “dress up”, Playboy Enterprises CEO Scott Flanders said that the political and sexual climate of 1953, when Hugh Hefner first founded the magazine, bore little resemblance to today. The magazine had lost much of its audience  — who typically bought it for the porn— to free and far more explicit porn on the Internet. It was, as Fortune noted, “buried by the very culture it created.”

Source: Playboy is Bringing Nudity Back Following Failed No-Nude Experiment | Heat Street

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Nokia Reportedly Set to Relaunch the 3310

Nokia really struggled to continue its mobile phone dominance of the early ‘00s after the emergence of smart phone giants like Apple and Samsung. But now the company is reportedly set to go back to what it knows best by relaunching the classic Nokia 3310 – the always reliable and seemingly indestructible phone originally released in 2000.

Evan Blass broke the news for VenutreBeat, reporting that Nokia will introduce a “modern version” of the 3310 at the Mobile World Congress on 26 February. It will likely be pitched as a second phone to people who want a no nonsense backup to their smart phone and will be sold for around £50 (59 euros).

Hopefully we’ll have more news on this bold move by Nokia following the MWC later this month.

Source: Nokia Reportedly Set to Relaunch the 3310

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US Special Forces Deployed To 70% Of The World In 2016

(ZHE) U.S. Special Operations Command launched a raid in Yemen’s Baida Province on Jan 29, targeting Qassim al-Rimi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The first high-profile special forces operation of Trump’s presidency, the raid resulted in the deaths of at least 14 Al Qaeda fighters, 20 civilians and Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens. Three other Americans were reportedly wounded and an Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft was destroyed by U.S. forces after it was heavily damaged in a forced landing. Over the past few days, it has emerged that al-Rimi survived the raid and he has subsequently released an audio message taunting President Trump.

As The Burning Platform’s Jim Quinn notes, special forces operations like the one in Yemen are nothing new. America’s elite troops have found themselves on the frontlines constantly since 9/11, conducting operations everywhere from the dusty back alleys of North Africa to the snow-capped mountains of Afghanistan. Even though they have made headlines for high-profile operations like the prison break near Hawija in Iraq or the raid on Bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound in Afghanistan, the vast majority of special forces missions across the world involve training friendly soldiers to fight, mainly so Americans don’t have to.

Source: US Special Forces Deployed To 70% Of The World In 2016

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Open source projects and tools for your pet 

Learn about some of the open source projects and tools out there that help us keep, love, and improve the lives of animals.

Source: Open source projects and tools for your pet | Opensource.com

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Is Anyone Looking At Your Files? A Canary Will Tell You. | Gizmo’s Freeware

Has anyone been looking at the files on your computer? Or on your cloud drive? Has anyone been browsing parts of your web site that they’re not supposed to, and which you thought you’d secured? Has anyone managed to find your contacts database online?Your answer to all of these questions is probably “I would hope not”. But you can’t be sure, of course. And that’s where the idea of a canary token comes in.If you’re not familiar with the idea of a canary as an early warning system, its origins lie in coal mining. Miners would carry a small bird (typically a canary) in a cage. If the mine filled with dangerous gases, and an explosion or suffocation was imminent, the canary would die quickly. This gave the miners time to get out of the area to safety.Nowadays, of course, electronic detectors are used in place of caged birds, but the name still sticks.A canary token is a web URL, email address, document file and so on which will trigger an action if it’s ever accessed. In the case of a web URL, the canary token is the address of a unique yet non-existent page on the web site of the company that issued the token. If someone were to ever attempt to access that page, the web server would notice (because it would attempt to serve that non-existent page to whoever requested it). The server will then notify the owner of the canary token that someone tried to access it.Canary tokens don’t have to be web URLs. They could be an email address, a Word document, a PDF file, and so on.

Source: Is Anyone Looking At Your Files? A Canary Will Tell You. | Gizmo’s Freeware

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The Pirate Bay, KickassTorrents, ExtraTorrent Links To Be Blocked By Google, Yahoo And Other Search Engines 

It will be harder to search for torrents of The Pirate Bay, ExtraTorrent, KickassTorrents etc. from 1st June as Google, Bing, and Yahoo agree on blocking them in searchIt seems that the cyber world is regressively moving towards a unitarian censorship. When the Internet was first talked about, it was a medium without bounds, censorship or limits. But slowly and steadily we are walking towards a closeted Internet. One such censorship is to be heralded on 1st June 2017 when Google, Bing, and Yahoo will block The Pirate Bay, Torrentz, ExtraTorrents, KickassTorrents and similar links from their search pages. According to an agreement. links to pirated content, like TV and films, will be banned, as Google, as well as a number of search engine companies, are working alongside entertainment industry to crack down on piracy.According to TorrentFreak, the UK’s Intellectual Property Office led discussions between the search engine companies and entertainment firms, but the companies are trying to reach a voluntary agreement.

Source: The Pirate Bay, KickassTorrents, ExtraTorrent Links To Be Blocked By Google, Yahoo And Other Search Engines » TechWorm

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