Daily Archives: August 13, 2017

Largest ever dinosaur may have been as long as 7 elephants

Fossilised bones from six dinosaurs may have belonged to the biggest animal ever to have walked the Earth.The fossils, which include vertebrae and rib bones, are from six young adult dinosaurs, and were all found in the same Patagonian quarry in Argentina. The species, named Patagotitan mayorum, is thought to have weighed around 62 tonnes and measured more than 35 metres from nose to tail.If you’re struggling to picture that, it’s about seven elephants, or more than two buses, or half the width of a football pitch, or somewhere between a standard swimming pool and an Olympic pool. That’s longer than Brachiosaurus was, and blue whales are today – both these species reach a maximum of about 30 metres.Patagotitan lived 100 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period, and was a sauropod – a huge plant-eater with a long tail and neck, that stood on four legs.The species has competition for the crown of largest ever land animal. A similar dinosaur called Argentinosaurus has been calculated to have weighed more than 80 tonnes, but Jose Carballido, from the Museo Paleontologico Egido Feruglio, Argentina, says vertebrae fossils suggest this species was in fact 10 per cent smaller than Patagotitan.

Source: Largest ever dinosaur may have been as long as 7 elephants | New Scientist

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Smart People Need to Check Their “Cognitive Privilege”

There’s a new kind of “privilege” in town, and if you suffer from it, you can’t help it any more than you can help your skin color or your gender. (Although, of late, gender seems to be completely open to debate and have nothing to do with biology.) If you are an smart person, you have “cognitive privilege” according to an op-ed in the Daily Iowan.Well, that’s just really not fair, is it?With all the “privileges” out there that need to be kept in check, may God help you if you are white, male, attractive, and smart. You are public enemy #1 to the social justice set, you privileged scumbag.

I’ll let the author, Dan Williams, explain cognitive privilege because I couldn’t possibly do it justice in a summary:We now know that intelligence is not something we have significant control over but is something we are born with. We are living in a society in which success is increasingly linked to one’s intelligence. This is not to say that intelligence is the only factor that is important. All that is implied is that below a certain threshold of intelligence, there are fewer and fewer opportunities. These opportunities are being shifted upward to jobs that require heavier cognitive lifting or else are being replaced by robots. Thus, the accident of having been born smart enough to be able to be successful is a great benefit that you did absolutely nothing to earn. Consequently, you have nothing to be proud of for being smart. (source)So, in other words, if you’re not that smart, your job may be taken by a robot, and that isn’t your fault. I assume that this will eventually lead to the assumption that if you cognitively “disabled,” the world probably owes you something. Because we’re all about “fairness” in the United States, right? RIGHT?Furthermore, if you are smart, in the wise (cough) words of former President Obama, “You didn’t build that.”  You just hit the genetic lottery and should be humbled (and perhaps a little embarrassed) as opposed to proud.Will this be the next thing that kiboshes people who deserve it from getting a job? “We wanted to hire her, but she is smart. We have already exceeded our quota of cognitively privileged individuals, so we’ll have to go hire that dumb guy or we’ll be breaking labor laws.”Sometimes there is so much ridiculous stuff out there that you all must just think, “She has to be making this up.” Oh, that I was so creative. Nope, this is the society in which we dwell, with one ridiculous outrage on top of another.Disregard the fact that you could do something about your lack of cognitive privilege.Of course, none of this takes into account the possibilities we all have to improve our lots in life. Between libraries and the internet, opportunities abound to learn more about basically any topic you want. Perhaps you won’t end up being a neurosurgeon, but what is stopping you from being an expert on some other topic that perhaps takes a brain with common sense as opposed to book sense?If we all devoted our time to improving ourselves, instead of watching reality television and walking around with our faces and thumbs firmly engaged with our cell phones, perhaps the “cognitive privilege” of those who do focus on learning would not provide so great a disparity amongst our opportunities.So much of this is a choice about how we spend the hours in our days. It’s about our drive and the habits we intentionally develop.Williams doesn’t want you to feel too guilty if you are intelligent. Just the right amount of guilt will do:The purpose of pointing out someone’s privilege is to remind them of the infinite number of experiences that are possible and the very large number of experiences that are actual [sic] that they know very little about. The purpose is to enlarge their moral consciousness, to make them more sympathetic to people who are less fortunate than they are.Feelings of guilt are natural when coming to consciousness of one’s place in the scheme of things — and noticing that one has been conferred benefits through sheer accident — but guilt is an impediment to social-justice action, not a motivator (guilt slides easily into resentment).(source)Okay, isn’t that possibly the worst kind of condescension that ever existed? You know how feminists always talk about men with whom they work “mansplaining” something to them and how it infuriates them? Wouldn’t “smartsplaining” and moral sympathy be every bit as infuriating to one without “cognitive privilege?”I don’t know about you, but if I had a “disability” the last thing in the world I would want is sympathy.  Particularly if my disability was that I was stupid, I wouldn’t want the intellectual elite fawning over me superciliously.Privilege is just the other side of the “ism” coin.A while back, I wrote an article called The Great American Butthurt and it was all about how much I loathe any word ending in “ism.”Words to express our affront are being made up left and right by the mere addition of “ism” to the ends of what were formerly per

Source: Smart People Need to Check Their “Cognitive Privilege” | The Real Agenda News

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Judge Won’t Let Ex-Fox News Star Keep Secret Her Feminism Book Ghostwritten by a Man 

A New York federal judge has decided to lift the veil from a case captioned as [Under Seal] v. [Under Seal]. It turns out that Michael Krechmer is suing former Fox News personality Andrea Tantaros for allegedly breaching an agreement pertaining to his ghostwriting services on her book Tied Up in Knots.Here’s how the book is described on Amazon:”Fifty years after Betty Friedan unveiled The Feminine Mystique, relations between men and women in America have never been more dysfunctional. If women are more liberated than ever before, why aren’t they happier? In this shocking, funny, and bluntly honest tour of today’s gender discontents, Andrea Tantaros, one of Fox News’ most popular and outspoken stars, exposes how the rightful feminist pursuit of equality went too far, and how the unintended pitfalls of that power trade have made women (and men!) miserable.”

Source: Judge Won’t Let Ex-Fox News Star Keep Secret Her Feminism Book Was Ghostwritten by a Man | Hollywood Reporter

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The Hacker Search Engine “Shodan” Is The World’s Scariest Search Engine

The world’s scariest search engine- Shodan “When people don’t see stuff on Google, they think no one can find it. That’s not true.”That’s according to John

Source: The Hacker Search Engine “Shodan” Is The World’s Scariest Search Engine » TechWorm

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Universal Basic Income Needed to Break ‘Addiction to Economic Growth Killing Us’

As some tech giants throw their weight behind the idea of a universal basic income, one anthropologist says it’s a key component of a strategy to break the “addiction to economic growth [that] is killing us” and the planet.Offering his views this week on BBC’s “Viewsnight,” Jason Hickel, an anthropologist at the London School of Economics and author of books including The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and its Solutions, says “we can’t have infinite growth on a finite planet.”That argument—which others have made as well—should be clear by evidence of the “climate change, deforestation, and rapid rates of extinction” taking hold, he says.The primary blame, according to Hickel, rests with “over-consumption in rich countries,” and addressing that entails “planned de-growth,” which will put the reins on “our plunder of the earth.”Hickel stresses that he’s not referring to austerity, as the goal of “de-growth” is to “increase human well-being and happiness while reducing our economic footprint.”A blueprint to achieve that goal, he says, includes “curbing advertising, taxing carbon, a basic income, and a shorter work week.””We need an economic model that promotes human flourishing in harmony with the planet on which we depend,” he says.

Source: Universal Basic Income Needed to Break ‘Addiction to Economic Growth Killing Us’ | Common Dreams

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This Girl Can(‘t)? Campaign simply reworks ‘sex sells’ approach

Sport England is to partner with VicHealth for a social marketing campaign to encourage women to participate in sport based on its This Girl Can campaign. However, beyond the campaign’s initial “feel-good” nature, this news may not be as totally positive as it seems.In its attempt to motivate and empower women, the campaign material may unintentionally work with entrenched norms of sexualising women to perpetuate their self-objectification. This is likely not only to be detrimental to their mental and physical health, but also to further their commodification in society.

Source: This Girl Can(‘t)? Campaign simply reworks ‘sex sells’ approach

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Tiny toads close road in Whistler, B.C.

The annual migration of tiny protected toads is underway in Whistler, B.C., prompting a road closure and other restrictions — though not everyone seems to be obeying the amphibian’s right-of-way.Western toads, which are designated as a species of special concern, breed in popular Lost Lake then emerge as dime-sized toadlets to migrate into the surrounding forest.At peak times, as many as 1,800 toadlets per hour may cross nearby trails, according to the Resort Municipality of Whistler.

Source: Tiny toads close road in Whistler, B.C. – British Columbia – CBC News

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Beware of Security by Press Release 

On Wednesday, the security industry once again witnessed an all-too-familiar cycle: I call it “security by press release.” It goes a bit like this: A security firm releases a report claiming to have unearthed a major flaw in a competitor’s product; members of the trade press uncritically republish the claims without adding much clarity or waiting for responses from the affected vendor; blindsided vendor responds in a blog post showing how the issue is considerably less dire than originally claimed.At issue are claims made by Denver-based security company DirectDefense, which published a report this week warning that Cb Response — a suite of security tools sold by competitor Carbon Black (formerly Bit9) — was leaking potentially sensitive and proprietary data from customers who use its product.DirectDefense warned about a problem with Cb Response’s use of “a cloud-based multiscanner” to scan suspicious files for malware. DirectDefense didn’t name the scanner in question, but it’s Google’s VirusTotal — a free tool that lets anyone submit a suspicious file and have it scanned against dozens of commercial anti-malware tools. There’s also a paid version of VirusTotal that allows customers to examine any file uploaded to the service.Specifically, DirectDefense claimed that Cb Response’s sharing of suspicious files with VirusTotal could expose sensitive data because VirusTotal allows paying customers to download any files submitted by other users. This is the full extent of the “vulnerability” that DirectDefense labeled “the world’s largest pay-for-play data exfiltration botnet.”

Source: Beware of Security by Press Release — Krebs on Security

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Florida man is world’s fastest flasher: Just 53 quintillionths of a sec

Physicists at the University of Central Florida have developed the world’s fastest X‑ray pulse, at 53 attoseconds.Blink and you’ll really, really miss it. At 53 quintillionths (53 x 10‑18) of a second, the flash is 15 orders of magnitude faster than the blink of an eye. The beam travels less than one-thousandth of the diameter of a human hair in that time.The group led by Zenghu Chang, a professor of physics, optics and photonics, also held the previous record in 2012 for the fastest light pulse at 67 attoseconds. The new record is not only faster, but the light is at a shorter wavelength too, allowing scientists to penetrate the “water window” – a region where carbon atoms absorb the light more strongly than water molecules.

Source: Florida man is world’s fastest flasher: Just 53 quintillionths of a sec • The Register

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Two butterflies thought to be different species are actually the same one

Hey, anyone can make a mistake… even butterfly experts. A beautiful blue butterfly in the Amazon was first described and named in 1911. Recently, a brown butterfly was discovered and also named. However, it now turns out that these two butterflies are actually the same species!The sunburst cerulean-satyr butterfly, Caeruleuptychia helios, was described when a researcher saw the bright blue butterflies. It was assumed that the females looked the same. When a rarer brown butterfly was described recently, it didn’t look like any other species and was named Magneuptychia keltoumae, in a completely different genus.The blue and brown butterfly are actually the same species! Image credits: Florida Museum of Natural History photo by Shinichi Nakahara.Recently, researchers wanting to have an idea of butterfly biodiversity in the neotropics took DNA barcodes of hundreds of butterfly species. DNA bar codes are parts of the genome that are informative and unique in identifying species. Each one should, therefore, be different from any other. The researchers’ goal was to have an idea of the biodiversity in the area. It is especially important to survey biodiversity now as it is being lost at an alarming rate.

Source: Two butterflies thought to be different species are actually the same one

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D.B. Cooper Case Finally Cracked Thanks To New Evidence?

A group of volunteer investigators claim to have discovered new evidence that will help solve the longstanding mystery of the fate of D.B. Cooper.Fox News reports that the group has revealed that the investigators have uncovered what “appears to be a decades-old parachute strap.” This parachute strap was recovered on the location where a “credible source” stated that D.B. Cooper landed after his daring heist.TThis heist has fascinated the public for the last 40 years. On November 24, 1971, a man calling himself “Dan Cooper” walked into the Portland International Airport and purchased a one-way ticket for a short flight to Seattle. Once he had boarded the Boeing 727 aircraft and was comfortably in the air, Cooper revealed that he had a bomb in his briefcase, and laid out his demands.Cooper requested that the police bring him $200,000, four parachutes, and a refueling truck for the plane when they touched down in Seattle. The police complied, and Cooper released all the passengers aboard the plane in Seattle. He then kept three crew members with him as the plane flew from Seattle to Reno, Nevada. It was somewhere along this route that Cooper jumped out of the airplane, along with his money, and disappeared forever.Police never captured Cooper, or discovered his real identity. Some 20 dollar bills that washed up on the banks of the Columbia River in Washington have been theorized to be from Cooper’s ransom money. Nevertheless, the location of D.B. Cooper’s landing remains one of the great mysteries in the history of crime.However, it may be a mystery no longer. This new evidence may help confirm the team’s longstanding theory that the real identity of Cooper is Robert Rackstraw, a Vietnam War veteran who was questioned in connection with the hijacking. Rackstraw denies the accusations and was never charged by the FBI.Now, the team is turning over all of their evidence to the FBI, which took this case of the active investigations list last year.

Source: D.B. Cooper Case Finally Cracked Thanks To New Evidence?

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Nevada’s Devils Hole – Portal to an Underworld – YouTube

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DNA Hacking: Malicious Code Written Into A DNA Strand Can Hack A Computer

A big revolution in genomic sciences is taking place currently as the researchers are looking to find new ways to store data using DNA and improve the existing techniques of DNA sequencing. As a result, the biological and electronic worlds are beginning to influence each other.A recent study has went one step further and tried to underline the security risks involved in these process. The researchers have shown that hackers can use DNA to write malicious code and affect the machine reading it.The research was carried out at the University of Washington. For the first time, it was shown that when a gene sequencer analyzes the malicious code encoded in the physical strands of DNA, the resulting data turns into a program that corrupts gene-sequencing software.In a paper, the researchers have outlined their technique. They started their security analyses from the first step of the DNA processing, i.e., DNA strands in a tube. They experimentally evaluated that after sequencing and post-processing, the generated file was used as an input into a vulnerable program. After that, the file yielded an open socket for remote control.

Source: DNA Hacking: Malicious Code Written Into A DNA Strand Can Hack A Computer

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Being Friends with Someone Who Has Dementia Benefits You Both

Each year, in the final few hours of the last day of December, many people all across North America gather with friends to raise a glass and sing Robert Burns’ famous ballad, “Auld Lang Syne.” Standing at the brink of a New Year, arms around each other, they ask: “Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?”The question is meant to be rhetorical, of course – the answer is “No.” The years may pass, but we should hold on to our friends.For many older adults, however, this question takes on a different meaning, as they confront the onset of dementia in a friend. Dementia, which afflicts an estimated 3.8 million people in the U.S. alone, affects cognitive abilities such as language and memory that are often understood as the necessary foundation for individual identity and human personhood.As such, dementia raises questions about what are the boundaries of the human, what is required to have meaningful social relationships and more generally what makes life worth living (or no longer worth living).

Source: Being Friends with Someone Who Has Dementia Benefits You Both – Scientific American

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‘Gene drives’ could wipe out whole populations of pests in one fell swoop

What if there was a humane, targeted way to wipe out alien pest species such as mice, rats and rabbits, by turning their own genes on themselves so they can no longer reproduce and their population collapses?Gene drives – a technique that involves deliberately spreading a faulty gene throughout a population – promises to do exactly that.Conservationists are understandably excited about the possibility of using gene drives to clear islands of invasive species and allow native species to flourish.

Source: ‘Gene drives’ could wipe out whole populations of pests in one fell swoop

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With genetic morph, a weird type of anthrax has emerged—and it’s on a rampage

After getting ahold of the genetic blueprints for molecular weapons, relatively harmless bacteria transformed into one that can cause anthrax—in places and animals where the original anthrax bacteria doesn’t. And it’s wreaking havoc.Using data collected over a 26-year period, researchers found that this strange version of anthrax is running rampant in tropical rainforest habitats of Sub-Saharan Africa, killing off broad swaths of mammals. In fact, researchers estimated this week in Nature that this “rainforest anthrax” could wipe out chimpanzee populations in the Côte d’Ivoire’s Taï National Park within the next 150 years. It’s currently associated with nearly 40 percent of all chimp deaths there. And researchers are just getting started on understanding risks to humans, which have so far been thought to be low.Among the livingFiguring out the scale and prevalence of this rainforest anthrax will be “critical for mitigating against the detrimental effects” to wildlife and “assessing human infection risk,” the researchers, led by infectious disease expert Fabien Leendertz of the Robert Koch Institute in Germany, conclude.Researchers have known about the existence of this alternative cause of anthrax for more than a decade. However, they’ve known little about its whereabouts and spread.Classic anthrax is caused by Bacillus anthracis, which tends to strike ungulates (hoofed mammals) in seasonal outbreaks in arid locales, such as the African savannahs. The bacteria can cause infection in skin, lungs, or intestines. In humans, B. anthracis causes ghastly skin lesions, and severe respiratory and intestinal infections—which have mortality rates as high as 85 and 60 percent, respectively

Source: With genetic morph, a weird type of anthrax has emerged—and it’s on a rampage | Ars Technica

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Google: Search Engine or Deep State Organ?

Today’s post should be read as Part 3 of my ongoing series about the now infamous Google memo, and what it tells us about where our society is headed if a minority of extremely wealthy and powerful technocratic billionaires are permitted to fully socially engineer our culture to fit their ideological vision using coercion, force and manipulation. For some context, read Part 1 and Part 2.

I struggled with the title of this piece, because ever since the 2016 election, usage of the term “deep state” has become overly associated with Trump cheerleaders. I’m not referring to people who voted for Trump, whom I can both understand and respect, I’m talking about the Trump cultists. Like most people who mindlessly and enthusiastically attach themselves to political figures, they tend to be either morons or opportunists.Nevertheless, just because the term has been somewhat tainted doesn’t mean I deny the existence of a “deep state” or “shadow government.”

The existence of networks of unelected powerful people who formulate and push policy behind the scenes and then get captured members of Congress to vote on it is pretty much undeniable. I don’t believe that the “deep state” is a monolithic entity by any means, but what seems to unite these various people and institutions is an almost religious belief in U.S. imperial dominance, as well as the idea that this empire should be largely governed by an unaccountable oligarchy of billionaires and assorted technocrats. We see the results of this worldview all around us with endless wars, an unconstitutional domestic surveillance state and the destruction of the middle class. These are the fruits of deep state ideology, and a clear reason why it should be dismantled and replaced by genuine governance by the people before they lead the U.S. to total disaster.

Source: Google: Search Engine or Deep State Organ? | Liberty Blitzkrieg

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Motorcycle Enthusiast Creates Harley-Davidson-Infused Gin, Puts Real Bike Parts in the Bottle

If you’re looking to taste the true spirit of Harley Davidson, but can’t really afford to buy a motorcycle, you could just settle for a $1,000 bottle of gin that contains authentic Harley-Davidson parts.Uwe Ehinger, a German motorcycle enthusiast who has been collecting vintage motorcycle parts from all around the world for the last 40 years, decided to put his collection to good use by creating the world’s first Harley-Davidson-infused gin. Every bottle of his exclusive Archaeologist Gin comes with a vintage motorcycle engine part submerged in high-quality gin. But it turns out that having a piece of steel swimming in alcohol is both unhealthy and dangerous, so to meet health and safety regulations, the parts are thoroughly cleaned and sealed with a tin alloy, before being soldered to a steel support in the bottle, so that they don’t move around and break it from the inside.Share PinEhinger is the founder of Ehinger Kraftrad, an internationally renowned manufacturer of custom-made motorbikes, and a passionate vintage motorcycle part collector. His decades-old habit of traveling to the most remote parts of the world in search of vintage bikes has earned him the nickname “The Archaeologist” which he now uses for his expensive gin.

Source: Motorcycle Enthusiast Creates Harley-Davidson-Infused Gin, Puts Real Bike Parts in the Bottle | Oddity Central – Collecting Oddities

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Burglar Leaves Feces In Toilet Of Robbed Home, Identified By DNA Test

Taking a dump in someone’s home without flushing after you’ve robbed them is not only classless — it’s stupid.Investigators in Southern California found some valuable DNA evidence in a toilet after responding to a burglary call last October. The criminal “did his business and didn’t flush it,” Ventura County Sheriffs Detective Tom Lohman told reporters.They collected a sample (something to think about the next time you complain about your job) and sent it in for testing.Ten months later, a match was discovered! The burglar was identified as Andrew David Jensen, who was arrested on July 28.Lohman said it’s the first case he knows of in which evidence collected from a toilet led to an arrest.

Source: Burglar Leaves Feces In Toilet Of Robbed Home, Identified By DNA Test

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Trio of women –  UK’s first all-female terror group 

THREE women accused of forming the UK’s first all-female terror squad to carry out a knife rampage appeared in court today.Mina Dich, 43, her daughter Rizlaine Boular, 21, and pal Khawla Barghouthi, 20, plotted “to murder a person or persons unknown” in Westminster in April this year, it is alleged.PA:PRESS ASSOCIATION3Court artist sketch of Mina Dich, Rizlaine Boular, and Khawla Barghouthi, 20, at a previous court hearing in May

Source: Trio of women – including a mum and daughter – accused of being UK’s first all-female terror group appear in court accused of plotting knife attack

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