Monthly Archives: April 2017

Can Parents Sue If Their Kid Is Born With the ‘Wrong’ DNA?

It’s a nightmare scenario straight out of a primetime drama: a child-seeking couple visits a fertility clinic to try their luck with in-vitro fertilization, only to wind up accidentally impregnated by the wrong sperm.In a fascinating legal case out of Singapore, the country’s Supreme Court ruled that this situation doesn’t just constitute medical malpractice. The fertility clinic, the court recently ruled, must pay the parents 30% of upkeep costs for the child for a loss of ‘genetic affinity.’ In other words, the clinic must pay the parents’ child support not only because they made a terrible medical mistake, but because the child didn’t wind up with the right genes.At a time when rapidly advancing science and technology puts things like genetically engineering embryos to prevent disease in the realm of reality, the case sets an intriguing precedent. First, it places a monetary value on the amount of DNA that a child shares with their parents. And it suggests that the base genetic makeup of a child can actually be ‘wrong.’

Source: Can Parents Sue If Their Kid Is Born With the ‘Wrong’ DNA?

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A Modest Proposal for Suicide as a Facilitator of Transhumanism

Perhaps the most potent argument against suicide in modern secular societies is that it constitutes wastage of the agent’s own life and commits at the very least indirect harm to the lives of others who in various ways have depended on the agent. However, the force of this argument could be mitigated if the suicide occurred in the context of experimentation, including self-experimentation, with very risky treatments that aim to extend the human condition. Suicides in these cases could be quite informative and hence significantly advance the prospects of the rest of humanity. The suicide agent’s life would most certainly not have been in vain.Much if not most of the cutting edge ‘enhancement’ research is currently conducted on non-humans and/or simulated on computers. Regardless of the promise of such research, it is generally agreed that the real epistemic step change will come from monitoring human usage of the relevant enhancement treatments. But as long as research ethics codes for human subjects continue to dwell in the shadow of the Nuremberg Trials, a very high bar will be set on what counts as ‘informed consent’. Nowadays, more than seventy years after the defeat of Nazi Germany, the only obvious reason for such a high bar is the insurance premiums that universities and other research institutes would need to bear if they liberalized the terms on which subjects could offer themselves in service of risky enhancement research.Of course, the actual outcomes of such experiments need not be death, just as the actual outcomes of suicide attempts are often not death. Nevertheless, the agent would be treating the prospect of suicide in the spirit of self-sacrifice, not so very different from citizens who volunteer to join military service, knowing full well that they may need to give up their life at some point. In this way, the moral stigma surrounding suicide would be removed. Indeed, in a truly progressive society, this route to suicide may come to be seen as a legitimate lifestyle choice – one that might even become popular if/when death comes to be medically reversible.

Source: A Modest Proposal for Suicide as a Facilitator of Transhumanism

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Meet Ooho, The Edible Water Bottle That Could Change Our World For The Better

According to sustainability campaign Ban The Bottle, the average American used 167 disposable water bottles last year, only recycling 38. Just manufacturing those bottles, the campaign writes on its website, requires more than 17 million barrels of oil — or enough to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year. It’s clear that using disposable bottles create waste and inefficiency on an enormous scale not limited to landfills, but, according to National Geographic, sales of water bottles are increasing, even as people become more and more environmentally aware. To address this problem, three design students from Spain have come up with a simple, sustainable solution: edible water bottles. Or, potentially more accurately, edible water blobs.

Source: Meet Ooho, The Edible Water Bottle That Could Change Our World For The Better

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Keeping America Compatible with Facebook 

In turbulent times there is something emotionally powerful about reliability in and of itself. Facebook, for all its faults, is reliable. I can bet on Facebook being up and available more often than the Internet connection I rely on to access it. Hell, it works more reliably than my toilet. Changes to the site trigger cascades of stories and opinions about user experience which, really, goes to show how infrequently Facebook makes major alterations to core functions. You don’t have to like Facebook as a company or as a product to acknowledge that it is stable and works as intended more often that most other things. This transcendent reliability—a steadfast infrastructure of emotive communication and identity construction—has become Facebook’s core service. You may not like what you see in your timeline, but the timeline will be there.Watching an organization embed itself into the lives of nearly a third of the global population is a strange thing. To be a common tread across all of those lives is to be as unthreatening or uncontroversial as possible. Conversely, it was only a matter of time before Facebook played host to something deeply disturbing like a murder, or even world-changing like a reactionary election. This tension between striving for unassuming background service and inevitable host to calamity goes a long way towards explaining why Mark Zuckerberg is traveling across the U.S and writing 6,000-word manifestos about community, despite the fact that most Facebook users aren’t Americans and Facebook is not a community. Shoring up good will in the most powerful nation on the planet is not only good business, it is tapping into a tradition of American progressivism that is so embedded in our daily lives we can’t recognize it when we see it enacted. It is the water we swim in and Mark Zuckerberg wants to tint it Facebook blue.

Source: Keeping America Compatible with Facebook – Cyborgology

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The Growing Case for Geoengineering 

David Mitchell pulls into the parking lot of the Desert Research Institute, an environmental science outpost of the University of Nevada, perched in the dry red hills above Reno. The campus stares over the tops of the downtown casinos into the snow-buried Pine Nut Mountains. On this morning, wispy cirrus clouds draw long lines above the range.Mitchell, a lanky, soft-spoken atmospheric physicist, believes these frigid clouds in the upper troposphere may offer one of our best fallback plans for combating climate change. The tiny ice crystals in cirrus clouds cast thermal radiation back against the surface of the earth, trapping heat like a blanket—or, more to the point, like carbon dioxide. But Mitchell, an associate research professor at the institute, thinks there might be a way to counteract the effects of these clouds.It would work like this: Fleets of large drones would crisscross the upper latitudes of the globe during winter months, sprinkling the skies with tons of extremely fine dust-like materials every year. If Mitchell is right, this would produce larger ice crystals than normal, creating thinner cirrus clouds that dissipate faster. “That would allow more radiation into space, cooling the earth,” Mitchell says. Done on a large enough scale, this “cloud seeding” could ease global temperatures by as much as 1.4 °C, more than the planet has warmed since the Industrial Revolution, according to a separate Yale study.

Source: The Growing Case for Geoengineering – MIT Technology Review

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New Part Day: Very Cheap LIDAR 

Self-driving cars are, apparently, the next big thing. This thought is predicated on advancements in machine vision and cheaper, better sensors. For the machine vision part of the equation, Nvidia, Intel, and Google are putting out some interesting bits of hardware. The sensors, though? We’re going to need LIDAR, better distance sensors, more capable CAN bus dongles, and the equipment to tie it all together.This is the cheapest LIDAR we’ve ever seen. The RPLIDAR is a new product from Seeed Studios, and it’s an affordable LIDAR for everyone. $400 USD gets you one module, and bizarrely $358 USD gets you two modules. Don’t ask questions — this price point was unheard of a mere five years ago.

Source: New Part Day: Very Cheap LIDAR | Hackaday

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How To Export Bookmarks From Chrome? 

Chrome already allows its user to sync their bookmarks and other things across devices using their Google account.For some reason, if you don’t want to enable device sync in Google Chrome, you can still use Chrome’s inbuilt bookmark export feature. It will help you export bookmarks from Chrome in an HTML file and transfer them to Chrome on another device.Also Read: How To Connect Apps To Google Drive? How To Manage Google Drive Apps?How to export bookmarks from Chrome?Open Google Chrome on your computer.Open Bookmarks Manager by using the CTRL+SHIFT+O shortcut. Alternatively, you can go to More Options Menu (three vertical dots)>Bookmarks>Bookmarks Manager.In Bookmarks Manager page, click Organize drop-down menu.Click Export bookmarks to HTML file.Choose the desired name and location for the file and click save.Now, you can use this file to export bookmarks from Chrome to another device running Chrome browser. The file also retains the folders in which your bookmarks are divided. Also, you can simply open the HTML file in your browser and access the bookmarks from there.

Source: How To Export Bookmarks From Chrome? | Sync Bookmarks Offline

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Report: Google will add an ad blocker to all versions of Chrome web browser 

The Wall Street Journal just dropped a shocker of a report: Google, the biggest Web advertising company in the world, is planning to build an ad blocker into Google Chrome, the world’s most popular Web browser. The ad blocker will reportedly end up in the desktop and mobile versions of Chrome and would be switched on by default.If true, this report suggests a major conflict of interest for Google. Today Chrome covers over 50 percent of the browsing market, according to Net Market Share, and Google would kill its income if it started blocking Google ads. Of course, Google won’t block Google ads. Instead, according to the report, Chrome will target “unacceptable ads” as defined by the Coalition for Better Ads. The Coalition for Better Ads, which counts Google and Facebook among its members, has a page of “least preferred ad experiences” up on its website. This page calls out pop-ups, autoplaying video ads with sound, interstitial ads with countdowns, and large “sticky” ads as “below the threshold of consumer acceptability.”

Source: Report: Google will add an ad blocker to all versions of Chrome web browser | Ars Technica

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Never can say goodbye: face scans for departing US visitors fast-tracked

The US administration has stepped up its plans to check every visa-holder leaving the country by fast-tracking a scheme to carry out a facial scan on all departing passengers.We should stress that the initiative began under President Barack Obama and it is the fast-tracking rather than the principle itself that has changed. As Alvaro Hoyos, chief information security officer at OneLogin, points out: “Regardless of the results of the election, government agencies have been moving towards leveraging facial recognition for years now. Whether it was fast-tracked or not is a moot point, because it was only a matter of time.”

Source: Never can say goodbye: face scans for departing US visitors fast-tracked – Naked Security

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Insane Clown Posse Accused of Plagiarizing ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’

A young man smiles to his father.  He drew a picture and waited each day for him.  The young man also found some worms to go fishing with his old man.  Each day, the child would do something new to impress his dad.  One day, the young child, now a man, went off to war.  His father asked him to return safely.  But, he didn’t.In But You Didn’t, a son speaks to his father.  Written by Ohio poet Stanley Gerbhardt, the poem shows a boy who grew up into adulthood neglected by his father.  He dies after going off to war.  But You Didn’t appeared in A Second Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul.Now, Gerbhardt claims that Detroit hip-hop duo Insane Clown Posse stole the lyrics.According to the lawsuit, Insane Clown Posse member Violent J (Joseph Bruce) used the poem without permission.  In 2007, Violent J uploaded a video on YouTube reading the lyrics, pretending it was his.  One commenter caught the copyright and wrote,

Source: Insane Clown Posse Accused of Plagiarizing ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’

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The Search For Caligula’s Sunken Orgy Ship 

The legend was passed down from generation to generation. One can imagine it was the type of story that was relished by listeners and raconteurs alike, given the salacious tales of ancients behaving badly and the shimmering possibility of a rich discovery.But as with most folklore, surely audiences thought this tale suffered from more than a little exaggeration—a centuries-long game of telephone with the attendant grandiose distortion.The story being told was that of the three gigantic pleasure ships built by Roman Emperor Caligula in the middle of Lake Nemi just south of Rome early in the first century. Oh, the antics that were alleged to have occurred there: orgies, murder, and more entertainment for the Roman ruler and his crew. But then, the story told, those ships sunk to the bottom of the lake.

Source: The Search For Caligula’s Sunken Orgy Ship – The Daily Beast

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Disney Runs ‘Shutterbug’ Surveillance Psyops on Little Kids 

For several years, (((Disney))) Junior has been running mind-numbing psychological operations on children for the Crime Syndicate. A prime example is the creation of a hideous character called “Special Agent Oso.” Oso is a shutterbug who flies around as a small drone surveilling and spying on little kids. The intruder has a ladybug-shaped robotic camera that “keeps an eye out for children who need help.” The result is pure creepiness, as it depicts Shutterbug entering children’s rooms, taking pictures of them and sending back the data to a satellite in space. Nothing to see here, move along?This is all set to harmonized, cute singing and lyrics that could best be described as New Age children’s music.

Source: Disney Runs ‘Shutterbug’ Surveillance Psyops on Little Kids | The New Nationalist

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‘Bring Me the Head of Charlie Brown’: Future ‘Simpsons’ director turns ‘Peanuts’ into a bloodbath 

Source: ‘Bring Me the Head of Charlie Brown’: Future ‘Simpsons’ director turns ‘Peanuts’ into a bloodbath | Dangerous Minds

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Sperm tested as possible candidate for delivering cancer medications in female patients

A team of researchers with the Institute for Integrative Nanosciences in Germany has tested the possibility of using sperm cells to deliver drugs to cancerous tumors in female patients. In their paper uploaded to the preprint server arXiv, the group describes how such a technique might work, their initial test results and what they learned from their experiments.In recent years, medical researchers have been focusing on developing carrier systems for delivery of chemicals to targets inside the body to treat ailments such as cancer, but thus far, it has been slow going due to a variety of issues such as the body responding in unhelpful ways or targets such as tumors putting up a tough front. In this new effort, the researchers looked into the idea of using a natural carrier to deliver helpful drugs to specified targets—sperm cells delivering drugs guided to tumors and other problem sites in the female reproductive tract.

Source: Sperm tested as possible candidate for delivering cancer medications in female patients

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TV Station Owner Suing ‘Strongman’ Duo Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher After Prank on Wisconsin Morning Show


Source: TV Station Owner Suing ‘Strongman’ Duo Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher After Prank on Wisconsin Morning Show

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Former Army General & President of DynCorp Faces 6 Counts of Rape of a Minor

In 1961, Dwight Eisenhower notoriously warned that the military-industrial complex, and its fusion between corporations and the armed forces was a true threat to democracy. Was pedophilia being covered up with corporate money and the military industrial “black budget” even then? If it wasn’t happening as far back as the 60s, it was likely happening at least 30 years ago or more, and the arrest of one retired Army General is proof. Fortunately, we may not have to sit and watch this horrendous practice happen much longer.A retired Army General, James Grazioplene, and ex-U.S. military industrial contractor who was the president of Dyncorp now faces six separate rape charges. Is he among the first wave of elite-level pedophiles who will be brought to justice?The army has charged Graziopelene with six alleged counts of rape of a minor which likely happened in the 1980s.The former General retired from his position as the director of force development for the Joint Warfighting Capabilities Assessment at the Pentagon, but he will be forced to come out of retirement to face his charges in court. These charges are not specific, so it is possible that the six counts he is being charged with are just the beginning of a larger set of investigations and allegations. The military is being very hush-hush about what happened, and why it is bringing the charges up now, 30 years after the incidences allegedly happened.Grazioplene faces life imprisonment if even one of the allegations can be proven to be true.For anyone who isn’t familiar with the story preceding this news, Dyncorp has also been linked with major pedophilia. This includes several of their employees purportedly exploiting adolescent boys and possible connections to Jeffrey Epstein’s child trafficking to Haiti.Portrait of U. S. Army Brig. Gen. James J. Grazioplene, (Uncovered), (U.S. Army photo by Mr. Scott Davis) (Released) (PC-192899)This news also comes on the heels of John McCain’s campaign manager, Jeffrey Claude Bartleson, being arrested on pedophilia charges after an investigation revealed he may be part of a much larger ring. Police who commented on Bartleson’s arrest say his actions follow a pattern that has been happening since at least 1982.This also comes just after the first U.S. senator was arrested for similar despicable behavior. Ralph Shortey (Republican, Oklahoma) faces multiple counts of pedophilia and child sex trafficking. Shortey was allegedly having sex with young boys at Super 8 Motel.If this retired Army General goes down, too, it could mean a whole lot of pedophile-elites go tumbling down with him like a final kick to the dominos.

Source: Former Army General & President of DynCorp Faces 6 Counts of Rape of a Minor

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China Wants to Set Up a Base on the Moon

China’s lunar ambitions keep growing: Beijing and the European Space Agency are discussing potential collaboration on a human outpost on the moon, reports the AP. The secretary general for China’s space agency, Tian Yulong, first disclosed the talks about the envisioned lunar base in Chinese state media, and they were confirmed Wednesday by an ESA spokesman. The director general of the 22-member ESA, Johann-Dietrich Woerner, has previously described its proposed “Moon Village” as a potential international launching pad for future missions to Mars and a chance to develop space tourism or even lunar mining.

Source: China Wants to Set Up a Base on the Moon

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DJI and Hasselblad Unveil Incredible 100 Megapixel Camera Drone 

DJI and Hasselblad have just announced details of an incredibly powerful new camera drone which they say is “the first 100-megapixel integrated drone imaging platform”. The serious looking setup consists of DJI’s M600 Pr Drone, a Ronin MX gimbal, and Hasselblad’s H6D-100c camera.

Announced at the the NAB Show in Las Vegas, DJI say this setup will “provide rich imagery for landscape and fine-art photography, robust data for surveying and mapmaking, and endless possibilities for future professional endeavors”.

Source: DJI and Hasselblad Unveil Incredible 100 Megapixel Camera Drone | HUH.

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Study claims a link between diet sodas and stroke and dementia 

Excessive intake of sugar has been linked to a huge variety of health problems, many of them a consequence of the obesity that’s also linked to excessive sugar. That’s led many people to switch to drinks with artificial sweeteners that aren’t metabolized by the body. A new study is now suggesting that these sweeteners are associated with their own health risks, namely stroke and dementia. But the study doesn’t get into causality, and there’s enough oddities in the data to suggest that it’s not time to purge your fridge just yet.The study, run by a collaboration of Boston-based researchers, relied on a cohort of individuals that had been recruited starting in 1971. On average, every four years since, the participants have completed follow-up surveys and had their health checked out. Over 5,000 people are in this cohort, and they provide a rich source of epidemiological data.The authors started out intending to look at whether sugar-rich drinks increased the risk of strokes and dementia. So they eliminated a lot of people from this cohort because they’d previously experienced these or related issues. That reduced the study population considerably: under 3,000 for stroke, and under 1,500 for dementia.

Source: Study claims a link between diet sodas and stroke and dementia | Ars Technica

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Facebook Envisions Using Brain Waves to Type Words – Bloomberg

Facebook Inc.’s research unit Building 8 is working to make it possible for people to type using signals from their brains, part of the lab’s broader effort to free people from their phones.Regina Dugan, hired from Alphabet Inc. last year to oversee the lab, said that within “a few years’ time” Facebook aims to develop a system that can type at 100 words per minute, just from monitoring the brain, without using any kind of implant. The company is working with outside academics on the issue.This would give “the ability to text a friend without taking out your phone or the ability to send a quick email without leaving the party,” Dugan said Wednesday at the social network operator’s F8 developer conference. The technology may not require thinking in actual letters, she said. The lab also is working on a way for people to hear through their skin.

Source: Facebook Envisions Using Brain Waves to Type Words – Bloomberg

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U.S. May Not Be Able to Shoot Down North Korean Missiles, Say Experts

Top generals have been insisting for years that if North Korea launched a missile at the United States, the U.S military would be able to shoot it down.But that is a highly questionable assertion, according to independent scientists and government investigators.In making it, the generals fail to acknowledge huge questions about the effectiveness of the $40 billion missile defense system they rely on to stop a potential nuclear-armed ballistic missile fired by North Korean or Iran, according to a series of outside reviews.”They are leading political leaders to believe that they have a military capability that they don’t, in fact, have,” says physicist David Wright, who has studied the program for years as co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists

Source: U.S. May Not Be Able to Shoot Down North Korean Missiles, Say Experts – NBC News

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Study: It’s Racist to Teach Students Financial Literacy 

Students who graduated last year had more than $37,000 in student-loan debt alone, not to mention credit card debt. A recent Citizens Bank survey showed that nearly six in 10 millennials regretted their borrowing, also showing that many lacked the knowledge to effectively address their debt or make informed financial decisions.Colleges are stepping in and offering financial-literacy courses, sometimes at the behest of politicians and or even the Department of Education. But these courses are actually racist, argue two professors in a newly published paper in the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review.The paper, written by Duke’s William A. Darity and the New School’s Darrick Hamilton, argues that financial-literacy courses presume that the problem is simply that students of color lack of financial responsibility or financial knowledge.

Source: Study: It’s Racist to Teach Students Financial Literacy | Heat Street

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Physicists observe ‘negative mass’ 

Physicists have created a fluid with “negative mass”, which accelerates towards you when pushed.In the everyday world, when an object is pushed, it accelerates in the same direction as the force applied to it; this relationship is described by Isaac Newton’s Second Law of Motion.But in theory, matter can have negative mass in the same sense that an electric charge can be positive or negative.The phenomenon is described in Physical Review Letters journal.Prof Peter Engels, from Washington State University (WSU), and colleagues cooled rubidium atoms to just above the temperature of absolute zero (close to -273C), creating what’s known as a Bose-Einstein condensate.

Source: Physicists observe ‘negative mass’ – BBC News

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Dum Dums Pays Tribute to 48-Year Employee

Al Braun started what was to be a 90-day temporary gig at a Bryan, Ohio, candy factory in 1969. It turned into something with a little more staying power. On Friday, Braun ended his 48-year career with the Spangler Candy Company, maker of Dum Dums and other popular candies. His start was making bubble gum cigarettes, but for the last 25 years he’s worked as a Dum Dums bagger operator, overseeing the machine that bags the pops. 13ABC reports the factory pumps out about 12 million pops per production day, for a total of 2.5 billion a year; Braun played a part in the production of more than 50 billion of them. WCMH reports he pulled up to a reserved spot on Friday, capping off a last week at work that was probably more memorable than most, thanks to an April 17 Facebook post from the company.

“Al has made 50+ billion Dum Dums in over 48 years at the factory, and is retiring Friday, but HE THINKS NO ONE CARES. If you have enjoyed a Dum Dum since 1969, like (and share!) this post or Hashtag #thanksAl.” As of Monday morning it’s been shared nearly 200,000 times and has almost 150,000 reactions. WTHR rounds up uses of the hashtag from people telling stories of bringing the suckers (and joy) to kids in places like Rwanda and Guatemala. It could be the first of many such social media posts: 13ABC reports 20% of the 500-person company has been on the job at least 25 years, and 17 have logged more than 40 years. The station asks Braun the crucial question: What’s your favorite flavor? “Lemon Lime, Blue Raspberry and the mystery flavor,” he says. (In other lollipop news, here’s how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.)

Source: Dum Dums Pays Tribute to 48-Year Employee

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Former Obama Official Makes Jaw Dropping Claim About Climate Data Fraud

The massive climate change hoax has, once again, been outed as the obvious fraud that it is as a former Obama administration official claimed that data had been fudged to fit the narrative.

The Obama administration’s scam. The Daily Caller reported: “Former Energy Department Undersecretary Steven Koonin told The Wall Street Journal Monday that bureaucrats within former President Barack Obama’s administration spun scientific data to manipulate public opinion.”

“What you saw coming out of the press releases about climate data, climate analysis, was, I’d say, misleading, sometimes just wrong,” Koonin explained.

The manipulation is a team effort, with press officers that work with scientists in agencies such as the National Oceanic Administration (NOAA) and NASA, who then put together misleading press releases about the climate data, Koonin noted.

Koonin gives an example. Koonin, who worked in the Obama administration between 2009 and 2011, went on to reference a National Climate Assessment from 2014 which claimed to show that hurricane activity increased since 1980 — an assessment that, according to Koonin, was misleading.

“What they forgot to tell you, and you don’t know until you read all the way into the fine print is that it actually decreased in the decades before that,” Koonin said.

Koonin’s claim is also backed up by U.N.-published reports in 2014.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that there “is limited evidence of changes in extremes associated with other climate variables since the mid-20th century.” The panel went on to report that according to current data, there are “no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century.”

Others are working to expose the scam. The DC reported:

Koonin is not the only one claiming wrongdoing. House lawmakers with the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, for instance, recently jumpstarted an investigation into NOAA after a whistleblower said agency scientists rushed a landmark global warming study to influence policymakers.

Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, the committee’s chairman, will “move forward as soon as possible” in asking NOAA to hand over documents included in a 2015 subpoena on potential climate data tampering.

Koonin explained why this is important. He discussed his frustration over how political science has become and expressed that scientists should seek to “tell it like it is. You’re a scientist and it is your responsibility to put the facts on the table.”

What NASA and NOAA have done is a problem because “public opinion is formed by the data that is formed from those organizations and appears in newspapers.”

Source: Former Obama Official Makes Jaw Dropping Claim About Climate Data Fraud | The Federalist Papers

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Watch this all-electric ‘flying car’ take its first test flight in Germany 

Flying cars, that perennial dream for futurists that always seem to be at least five years away, may be a little closer to reality than we realize. A lot of prototypes have been showcased recently, and a lot of money is being tossed around. More people than ever seem to buy into the crazy notion that in the near future we’ll be buzzing between rooftops in private, autonomous drones. Today, Munich-based Lilium Aviation announced an important milestone: the first test flight of its all-electric, two-seater, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) prototype.In a video provided by the Munich-based startup, the aircraft can be seen taking off vertically like a helicopter, and then accelerating into forward flight using wing-borne lift.

Source: Watch this all-electric ‘flying car’ take its first test flight in Germany – The Verge

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Python with anorexia swallows £800 in vet bills – BBC News

A bearded dragon with an abscess, and a Burmese python with anorexia were among a record number of pets treated under insurance policies last year.The bearded dragon, a kind of lizard, had its sore jaw treated at a cost of £410.The food-resistant python proved even more expensive, costing £790 to treat.They were both among 932,000 pet insurance claims made in 2016, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).The total amount paid out to policy-holders was £706m, a 7% increase on 2015 and also a record high.Among other unusual treatments were:A cocker spaniel which swallowed a turkey baster on Christmas dayA white cockatoo with respiratory problemsAn English springer spaniel which swallowed a grass seed and needed surgery costing £3,400A lethargic cat which cost £366 to cureThe average cost of a claim is now £757, a 5% rise on 2015.

Source: Python with anorexia swallows £800 in vet bills – BBC News

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Once celebrated, special driver’s licenses stir anxiety among immigrants in California

Leticia Aceves remembers the fear of her first drive alone.She was pregnant and in the country illegally with no driver’s license, and little grasp of English or California’s traffic laws. She had a doctor’s appointment, so she drove on side streets and avoided Highway 49 — the town’s main road — hoping to lessen her chance of being pulled over by police.”I was shaking all the way from my house to the doctor’s appointment,” Aceves said.Two years ago, driving got less stressful for Aceves and 850,000 other Californians who received driver’s licenses under a state law meant to help immigrants living in the country illegally become more integrated into society.Over the past decade, California has taken several steps to bring immigrants without legal status into the mainstream, including health care for the young and financial aid for college students.But none of the other measures changed lives so profoundly and quickly as the driver’s licenses. Being able to drive without fear of arrest has given immigrants access to more jobs and made them more confident drivers, they say.Aceves now drives as many as 50 miles a day for her house-cleaning business.But President Donald Trump’s crackdown on immigration has made those license holders anxious. Many of them worry that the cards will be used to identify them as being here illegally and lead to deportation. That has prompted some to avoid getting the licenses, despite assurances from the Department of Motor Vehicles that it will not share information with immigration officials.

Source: Once celebrated, special driver’s licenses stir anxiety among immigrants in California |

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There’s a Hot Pockets sleeping bag and I don’t know why 

This is one of those things that exists in the world and I simply do not know why and cannot imagine who would want such an item. (And no, “irony” doesn’t cut it as an excuse because there is none.) Here it is: A Hot Pockets® sleeping bag. According to the description, its “Custom MicroWaav™ insulation system ensures your extremities stay toasty.”During your next camping trip or marathon gaming session, this Hot Pocket Sleeping Bag will keep you warm and cozy. After the initial 2 minute period to reach maximum internal temperature, the integrated crisping sleeve allows for maximum warmth retention. Our custom MicroWaav™ insulation system ensures your extremities are always toasty while your core stays nice and cool. It’s perfect for backpacking, camping, or couchsurfing.

Source: There’s a Hot Pockets sleeping bag and I don’t know why | Dangerous Minds

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Umbilical cord blood from babies could help bring back memory for dementia patients 

Dementia patients have been offered hope that their memory could be repaired after scientists showed that injecting blood from the umbilical cords of human babies restores brain function.Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine in the US discovered that cord blood contains an important protein which vanishes as humans get older.  It is believed the protein encourages neuroplasticity in the brain, allowing neurons to adapt and communicate more effectively.When human cord blood was injected into elderly mice they performed far better in learning and memory tests and even started nesting again, gathering up cotton wads to make beds, an instinctive behaviour that is largely forgotten in old age.Alzheimer’s Society head of research Dr James Pickett said: “Everyone experiences some decline in memory as they get older. The possibility that this process can be reversed by an infusion of young blood sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but this is what the study is beginning to show.”

Source: Umbilical cord blood from babies could help bring back memory for dementia patients 

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Pirate Bay Founder Launches Anonymous Domain Registration Service

Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde has a new privacy-oriented startup. Today he launches the domain registration service Njalla, which offers site owners full anonymity, shielding them from the prying eyes of outsiders. “Think of us as your friendly drunk (but responsibly so) straw person that takes the blame for your expressions.”In recent years, copyright holders have taken aim at the domain name industry, calling on players to take a more active approach against piracy.One of the often heard complaints is that website owners use Whois masking services to ensure their privacy.There are several companies dedicated to offering privacy to domain registrants and today, rightsholders will see a well-known adversary entering the market.

Source: Pirate Bay Founder Launches Anonymous Domain Registration Service – TorrentFreak

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With Secret Airship, Sergey Brin Also Wants to Fly

Larry Page has his flying cars. Sergey Brin shall have an airship.Brin, the Google co-founder, has secretly been building a massive airship inside of Hangar 2 at the NASA Ames Research Center, according to four people with knowledge of the project. It’s unclear whether the craft, which looks like a zeppelin, is a hobby or something Brin hopes to turn into a business. “Sorry, I don’t have anything to say about this topic right now,” Brin wrote in an email.The people familiar with the project said Brin has long been fascinated by airships. His interest in the crafts started when Brin would visit Ames, which is located next to Google parent Alphabet Inc.’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. In the 1930s, Ames was home to the USS Macon, a huge airship built by the U.S. Navy. About three years ago, Brin decided to build one of his own after ogling old photos of the Macon.

Source: With Secret Airship, Sergey Brin Also Wants to Fly – Bloomberg

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New computers could delete thoughts without your knowledge, experts warn

“Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind,” wrote the playwright John Milton in 1634.But, nearly 400 years later, technological advances in machines that can read our thoughts mean the privacy of our brain is under threat.Now two biomedical ethicists are calling for the creation of new human rights laws to ensure people are protected, including “the right to cognitive liberty” and “the right to mental integrity”.

Scientists have already developed devices capable of telling whether people are politically right-wing or left-wing. In one experiment, researchers were able to read people’s minds to tell with 70 per cent accuracy whether they planned to add or subtract two numbers.

Facebook also recently revealed it had been secretly working on technology to read people’s minds so they could type by just thinking.

Source: New computers could delete thoughts without your knowledge, experts warn | The Independent

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Bill Gates: Terrorists could wipe out 30 million people by weaponising a disease such as smallpox

A bioterrorist attack which could wipe out 30 million people is becoming increasingly likely because it is easier than ever to create and spread deadly pathogens, Bill Gates has warned.The Microsoft founder, who was speaking before a speech at the Royal United Services Institute in London (RUSI), warned that an outbreak of a lethal respiratory virus such as smallpox would be more dangerous than even a nuclear attack.Mr Gates, whose charitable foundation funds research into quickly spotting outbreaks, said it was more important than ever to help foreign countries monitor diseases to prevent a global tragedy.“Bioterrorism is a much larger risk than a pandemic,” he said.“All these advances in biology have made it far easier for a terrorist to recreate smallpox, which is a highly fatal pathogen, where there is essentially no immunity remaining at this point.

Source: Bill Gates: Terrorists could wipe out 30 million people by weaponising a disease such as smallpox

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Flying taxis will be cheaper than driving a car, says Uber

Uber has claimed that ordering a flying taxi will one day be cheaper than taking a journey in a car as it laid out an ambitious vision for tests of aerial vehicles.The ride-hailing company said it is planning to start trials of its “UberAIR” service in 2020 in Dubai and Dallas. It plans to let passengers order trips in flying cars in the same way that they can order rides from the four wheeled land-based versions today.”Urban aviation is a natural next step for Uber in this pursuit, which is why we are working to make ‘push a button, get a flight’ a reality,”  Uber’s chief product officer Jeff Holden said. He suggested that flying cars would be quicker, more environmentally-friendly and above all cheaper than ordering or driving a car in the future.

Source: Flying taxis will be cheaper than driving a car, says Uber

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Saturated fat: Doctors claim warnings it clogs arteries are false 

They said scare stories that diary products like butter and full-fat milk pose health risks were misleading as was an obsession with counting cholesterol.Instead, the best way to protect against stress and stave off killer coronary heart disease was simply to eat “real food” and take a brisk daily walk.Respected cardiologists Dr Aseem Malhotra, Professor Rita Redberg, of UCSF School of Medicine, San Francisco and Pascal Meier of University Hospital Geneva and University College, London, said evidence suggests no association between saturated fat and heightened risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes or death.

They also claimed clinical trials showed inserting a stent to widen narrowed arteries had failed to reduce the risk of heart attack or death.

Their controversial views have sparked a huge row and put them on a collision course with the British Heart Foundation.

In an editorial published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine they claimed: “Decades of emphasis on the primacy of lowering cholesterol, as if this was an end in itself and driving a market of ‘proven to lower cholesterol’ and ‘low fat’ foods and medications, has been misguided.”

Source: Saturated fat: Doctors claim warnings it clogs arteries are false | Health | Life & Style |

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Drugged driving eclipses drunken driving in tests of motorists killed in crashes 

For the first time, statistics show that drivers killed in crashes are more likely to be on drugs than drunk.Forty-three percent of drivers tested in fatal crashes in 2015 had used a legal or illegal drug, eclipsing the 37 percent who tested above the legal limit for alcohol, according to a report released Wednesday by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility.Of the drivers who tested positive for drugs, more than a third had used marijuana and more than 9 percent had taken amphetamines.“As drunken driving has declined, drugged driving has increased dramatically, and many of today’s impaired drivers are combining two or more substances,” said Ralph S. Blackman, president of the foundation, a nonprofit founded and funded by a group of distillers.

Source: Drugged driving eclipses drunken driving in tests of motorists killed in crashes – The Washington Post

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NSA Blimp Spied in the United States

TO RESIDENTS OF MARYLAND, catching an occasional glimpse of a huge white blimp floating in the sky is not unusual. For more than a decade, the military has used the state as a proving ground for new airships destined for Afghanistan or Iraq. But less known is that the test flights have sometimes served a more secretive purpose involving National Security Agency surveillance.Back in 2004, a division of the NSA called the National Tactical Integration Office fitted a 62-foot diameter airship called the Hover Hammer with an eavesdropping device, according to a classified document published Monday by The Intercept. The agency launched the three-engine airship at an airfield near Solomons Island, Maryland. And from there, the blimp was able to vacuum up “international shipping data emanating from the Long Island, New York area,” the document says. The spy equipment on the airship was called Digital Receiver Technology — a proprietary system manufactured by a Maryland-based company of the same name — which can intercept wireless communications, including cellphone calls.With the exception of a few military websites that refer to the Hover Hammer as an “antenna mounting platform,” there is little information in the public domain about it. The classified NSA document describes the airship as a “helium-filled sphere inside another sphere, constructed of Spectra, the same material used to make bullet-proof vests. … It ‘hovers’ above small arms fire, has a negligible [infrared] signature, and radar can’t detect it.”

Source: NSA Blimp Spied in the United States

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Fansubs for TV shows and movies are illegal, court rules 

Fansubbing—the unofficial creation of fan-made subtitles for TV shows and movies—is illegal, a Dutch court ruled this week.The Free Subtitles Foundation, after coming under fire from the Netherlands’ anti-piracy association BREIN, decided to raise some money and take BREIN to court. The Foundation’s lawyer told TorrentFreak that the lawsuit sought to clarify whether the creators of a TV show or movie can reserve the right to create and distribute subtitles.

Source: Fansubs for TV shows and movies are illegal, court rules | Ars Technica

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Bernie Sanders Defends Ann Coulter, Slams ‘Intellectually Weak’ Student Activists

In a surprising turn of events, every millennial’s favorite old man, Sen. Bernie Sanders, has come out in defense of Ann Coulter, denouncing threats that forced the University of California, Berkeley, to try to postpone her appearance at the college.“I don’t like this. I don’t like it,” Sanders told The Huffington Post in response to the security threats that forced the university to put off the conservative firebrand’s event.“Obviously Ann Coulter’s outrageous―to my mind, off the wall. But you know, people have a right to give their two cents-worth, give a speech, without fear of violence and intimidation,” he added.The senator from Vermont also slammed protesters who said Coulter shouldn’t be given a platform to speak at the university, calling them “a sign of intellectual weakness.”

Source: Bernie Sanders Defends Ann Coulter, Slams ‘Intellectually Weak’ Student Activists | Heat Street

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