Monthly Archives: November 2017

Church Of Sweden Proclaims God Gender-Neutral

After an eight-day meeting that concluded on Thursday 23 November, the Church of Sweden has decided to refrain from using terms such as “he” and “Lord” to refer to the supreme deity. Instead, its clergy, as well as its members, are now encouraged and obliged to use less specific and gender-neutral terms, The Guardian reports.

The Church of Sweden, an Evangelical Lutheran national church, is the largest Christian denomination in Sweden and the third-largest Lutheran denomination in the world. With over 6 million baptized members, this is, by a large margin, the largest church in Sweden, a country with the population of 10 million. The Church of Sweden has a 251-member decision-making body, so the decision to proclaim the supreme being gender neutral was well-thought out, planned, and voted on.

Church’s archbishop, Antje Jackelén, told the Swedish TT news agency: “God is beyond our gender determinations, God is not human.” Antje Jackelén is the first woman to be appointed as bishop after a popular vote. She has published several works on the relationship between science and religious faith. Jackelén also endorses the theory of evolution and supports same-sex marriage in the church.


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After 30 Years, Alarmists Are Still Predicting A Global Warming ‘Apocalypse’

1. Apocalyptic warnings on repeat

A group of 1,700 scientists and experts signed a letter 25 years ago warning of massive ecological and societal collapse if nothing was done to curb overpopulation, pollution and, ultimately, the capitalist society in which we live today.

The Union of Concerned Scientists put out a second letter earlier this year, once again warning of the dire consequences of global warming and other alleged ecological ills. Now numbering 15,000, the group warns “soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out.”

“We must recognize, in our day-to-day lives and in our governing institutions, that Earth with all its life is our only home,” the scientists and experts warned.

It’s a terrifying warning — if you ignore the fact that none of their 1992 warning has come to fruition.

2. The planet will be “uninhabitable” by the end of the century

New York Magazine writer David Wallace-Wells published a 7,000-word article claiming global warming could make Earth “uninhabitable” by “the end of this century.”

Wallace-Wells’s article warned of terrors, like “Heat Death,” “Climate Plagues,” “Permanent Economic Collapse” and “Poisoned Oceans.”

“Indeed, absent a significant adjustment to how billions of humans conduct their lives, parts of the Earth will likely become close to uninhabitable, and other parts horrifically inhospitable, as soon as the end of this century,” Wallace-Wells wrote.

3. Prince Charles’s global warming deadline passed…and nothing happened

Prince Charles famously warned in July 2009 that humanity had only 96 months to save the world from “irretrievable climate and ecosystem collapse, and all that goes with it.” That deadline has passed, and the prince has not issued an update to when the world needs to be saved.

Though the recently-released “Paradise Papers” show Charles lobbied U.K. lawmakers to enact policies that benefited his estate’s investment in a Bermuda company that does sustainable forestry. So, there’s that.

4. ‘Ice Apocalypse’ Now

Liberal writer and climate scientist Eric Holthaus claimed manmade global warming would set off the “ice apocalypse” at a pace “too quickly for humanity to adapt.”

Holthaus warned the wholesale collapse of two Antarctic glaciers — Pine Island and Thwaites — could happen sooner than previously believed, resulting in “flooding coastal cities and creating hundreds of millions of climate refugees.” Sounds terrible, but his conclusions aren’t really backed up by the science.

“I think his article is too pessimistic: that it overstates the possibility of disaster. Too soon, too certain,” Tamsin Edwards, a scientist who’s studied Antarctica, wrote in The Guardian about Holthaus’s article.

5. 2015 is the ‘last effective opportunity’ to stop catastrophic warming

World leaders meeting at the Vatican  issued a statement saying that 2015 was the “last effective opportunity to negotiate arrangements that keep human-induced warming below 2-degrees [Celsius].”

Pope Francis wants to weigh in on global warming, and is expected to issue an encyclical saying basically the same thing. Francis reiterated that 2015 is the last chance to stop massive warming.

But what he should really say is that the U.N. conference is the “last” chance to cut a deal to stem global warming…since last year when the U.N. said basically the same thing about 2014’s climate summit.

6. France’s foreign minister said we only have “500 days” to stop “climate chaos”

When Laurent Fabius met with Secretary of State John Kerry on May 13, 2014 to talk about world issues he said “we have 500 days to avoid climate chaos.”

Ironically at the time of Fabius’ comments, the U.N. had scheduled a climate summit to meet in Paris in December 2015 — some 565 days after his remarks. Looks like the U.N. is 65 days too late to save the world.

7. Former President Barack Obama is the last chance to stop global warming

When Obama made the campaign promise to “slow the rise of the oceans,” some environmentalists may have taken him quite literally.

The United Nations Foundation President Tim Wirth told Climatewire in 2012 that Obama’s second term was “the last window of opportunity” to impose policies to restrict fossil fuel use. Wirth said it’s “the last chance we have to get anything approaching 2 degrees Centigrade,” adding that if “we don’t do it now, we are committing the world to a drastically different place.”

Even before that, then-National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Space Flight Center head James Hansen warned in 2009 that Obama only “has four years to save Earth.”

8. Remember when we had “hours” to stop global warming?

World leaders met in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2009 to potentially hash out another climate treaty. That same year, the head of Canada’s Green Party wrote that there was only “hours” left to stop global warming.

“We have hours to act to avert a slow-motion tsunami that could destroy civilization as we know it,” Elizabeth May, leader of the Greens in Canada, wrote in 2009. “Earth has a long time. Humanity does not. We need to act urgently. We no longer have decades; we have hours. We mark that in Earth Hour on Saturday.”

9. United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown said there was only 50 days left to save Earth

The year 2009 was a bad time for global warming predictions. That year Brown warned there was only “50 days to save the world from global warming,” the BBC reported. According to Brown there was “no plan B.”

Brown has been booted out of office since then.

10. The U.N.’s top climate scientist said in 2007 we only had four years to save the world

Rajendra Pachauri, the former head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in 2007 that if “there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late.”

“What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment,” he said.

Well, it’s 2017 and no new U.N. climate treaty has been presented. The only thing that’s changed since then is that Pachauri was forced to resign earlier this year amid accusations he sexually harassed multiple female coworkers.

11. Environmentalists warned in 2002 the world had a decade to go green

Environmentalist write George Monbiot wrote in the UK Guardian that within “as little as 10 years, the world will be faced with a choice: arable farming either continues to feed the world’s animals or it continues to feed the world’s people. It cannot do both.”

About 930 million people around the world were undernourished in 2002, according to U.N. data. By 2014, that number shrank to 805 million. Sorry, Monbiot.

12. Global warming apocalypse 1980s edition

The U.N. was already claiming in the late 1980s that the world had only a decade to solve global warming or face the consequences.

The San Jose Mercury News reported June 30, 1989 that a “senior environmental official at the United Nations, Noel Brown, says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the earth by rising sea levels if global warming is not reversed by the year 2000.”

That prediction didn’t come true 17 years ago, and the U.N. is sounding the same alarm today.

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‘True internet freedom’ – Kim Dotcom to launch MegaNet to ‘replace’ current internet


Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has weighed in on the controversy surrounding the US government’s decision to overturn net neutrality. Dotcom took to Twitter on 22 November to warn that breaking net neutrality would “only accelerate the adoption of a new network”.

Dotcom also used the opportunity to hint at a potential future launch of his own alternative version of the internet — MegaNet, which he claimed would offer users “true Internet Freedom”.


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Cinnamon may help attack fat, fight obesity, study finds


University of Michigan research finds an essential oil in cinnamon attacks fat cells and could be used as a treatment to fight obesity.

The research found the oil cinnamaldehyde boosts metabolic health by prodding fat cells to start burning energy — a process called thermogenesis.

“Cinnamon has been part of our diets for thousands of years, and people generally enjoy it,” said Jun Wu, a research assistant professor at UM’s Life Sciences Institute. “So if it can help protect against obesity, too, it may offer an approach to metabolic health that is easier for patients to adhere to.”

Cinnamaldehyde gives cinnamon its flavor.


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Artist donates faeces to gut-busting research


Faeces appears to be as unique as fingerprints, according to New Zealand research released Sunday which could impact on the growing push towards personalised medicine and tailored treatments.

In an intriguing collaboration between art and academia, scientists at Auckland University studied excrement from acclaimed artist Billy Apple.

They found that nearly half of the bacteria species present in his 1970 art work Excretory Wipings were still present in his body 46 years later.

The researchers said this meant their study — newly published in the Human Microbiome Journal — meant advances in personalised medicine may have to consider not only a person’s individual genes, but also their unique microbiome -– the population of microbes that live in and on them.


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Macklemore uses nude Justin Bieber painting as a sex aid

Macklemore keeps his nude Justin Bieber painting in his bedroom as he finds it a useful sex aid.

The Corner Store rapper first spoke about the unusual interior decoration in a Rolling Stone magazine feature in 2016, and it has since become a talking point in interviews. And in an appearance on U.S. chat show Watch What Happens Live on Thursday night (16Nov17), host Andy Cohen asked Macklemore about how he came about obtaining the fan art, to which the musician replied: “I bought it on Etsy as a white elephant Santa gift that at the end of the night just stayed at my house. No one took it.”

But since then, the painting has become an important part of Macklemore’s house, and lives in his bedroom. While the placement of the art might be considered strange to some, the 34-year-old, who is expecting his second child with wife Tricia Davis, admitted it has been useful on more than one occasion if he needs to calm himself down while making love to his spouse.


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Florida church warns at every door ‘we are heavily armed’

A Florida church has a stark warning to all who enter who may wish to do harm–“we are heavily armed.”

The River at Tampa Bay Church regularly broadcasts its services live on social media, and in the wake of the Texas church massacre where 26 people were killed, a leader of the congregation made a splash on social media when he posted a photo of the sign.

“Welcome to The River at Tampa Bay Church — right of admission reserved — this is private property,” it reads. “Please know this is not a gun free zone — we are heavily armed — any attempt will be dealt with deadly force — yes we are a church and will protect our people.” The message is signed “The Pastors.”


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Japanese Artist Creates Insane Wristwatch Replicas Out of Paper


Manabu Kosaka, an artist from Saitama, Japan, has a very special skill – he can recreate virtually any wristwatch model exclusively out of high-quality Kent paper. The results of his painstaking labor are so utterly incredible that the saying “seeing is believing” doesn’t really apply.

So how does one go about recreating a seemingly perfect replica of a Rolex or Casio wristwatch out of nothing but paper? You could probably use a special 3D printer or some other advanced device, but Manabu Kosaka does it all by hand, first drawing the design on a sheet of Kent paper, and then using rudimentary tools like glue, dremels, an Xacto knife to cut tiny characters as small as 1 mm in size, and tweezers to place them at just the right place. I still can’t understand how he can mould the paper dials and the wristbands of the watches in such great detail, but they are certainly impressive to look at.

Mr. Kosaka told Spotlight Media that he has been making these incredible Ken paper replicas for the last 15 years, but while the extensive experience definitely helps, he can still fail countless times while trying to get certain tiny details just right. What really makes him special is his will to keep trying until he succeeds.


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Tamagotchi is bringing virtual pets back with a mobile game for its 20th birthday next year

Remember those delightful Tamagotchi digital pets you could keep on a keychain and pretend it was real? It’s been resurrected for smartphones before, but now, toy maker Bandai Namco is reimagining the concept for its 20th anniversary with a whole new mobile experience.

Dubbed My Tamagotchi Forever, it features vibrant new characters that are plenty more fleshed out than their pixelated predecessors.


get the old version here

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A California flat-Earther’s plan to launch himself in a homemade rocket just hit a speed bump

Mad Rocket Scientist

A California man who planned to launch himself 1,800 feet high on Saturday in a homemade scrap-metal rocket – in an effort to “prove” that Earth is flat – said he is postponing the experiment after he couldn’t get permission from a federal agency to do so on public land.

Instead, Mike Hughes said the launch will take place sometime next week on private property, albeit still in Amboy, California, an unincorporated community in the Mojave Desert along historic Route 66.

“It’s still happening. We’re just moving it three miles down the road,” Hughes told The Washington Post on Friday. “This is what happens any time you have to deal with any kind of government agency.”

Hughes claimed the Bureau of Land Management said he couldn’t launch his rocket as planned on Saturday in Amboy. He also claimed the federal agency had given him verbal permission more than a year ago, pending approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.


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Finnish media fall for ‘Soviet battle moose’ hoax, probed by regulator

The Finnish broadcaster Yle fell for a Russian April Fool’s prank and aired a report about the Soviet moose cavalry. Now it is being probed by the media regulator for failing to correct its mistake after finding out the story was bogus.

The original hoax was printed in the April 2010 edition of the Russian version of Popular Mechanics. The story claimed that Soviet Union in the 1930s ran a clandestine program to train moose as cavalry mounts and even had some 1,500 infiltration riders ready for the 1939 war with Finland. The magazine supported its joke with doctored photos of weaponized animals and a manual titled: “The use of moose in cavalry units of the Red Army”.


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White House Weighs Personal Mobile Phone Ban for Staff

The White House may ban its employees from using personal mobile phones while at work, raising concerns among some staffers including that they’ll be cut off from family and friends, according to seven administration officials.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly complained about press leaks since taking office, but one official said the potential change isn’t connected to concerns about unauthorized disclosures to news organizations.

The proposed ban is instead driven by cybersecurity concerns, the officials said. One official said that there are too many devices connected to the campus wireless network and that personal phones aren’t as secure as those issued by the federal government. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly — whose personal phone was found to be compromised by hackers earlier this year — is leading the push for a ban, another official said.


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Dutch Man Has a Collection of 1,200 Messages in Bottles Washed Up on Beaches


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Malibu church ‘pressured to end meals for the homeless’ because it ‘lures the needy’

A church in upmarket Malibu has decided to stop providing free meals for those in need after claiming they were told by officials they were attracting too many homeless people.

The United Methodist Church, one of many churches that provides food and help, has been offering free meals twice a week. But it said it was going to stop after being told the meal service was luring too many homeless people.

Dawn Randall, a member of the church, said it recently received an email from city officials. “Very succinctly, they claimed we are increasing homelessness,” she told CBS.



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Paid To Protest: ‘Crowds On Demand’ Stages Phony Rallies For Political Groups And PR Stunts

As they say, all companies are in the people business, but some more literally than others.

For anyone in need of angry protesters, attentive paparazzi or adoring fans, there’s Crowds on Demand (COD), an 11-month-old California startup that says it can organize any small or large group within a week’s time. It’s an unusual concept, but one that could no doubt fill an undeniable niche at a time when motivating people outside of the digital world is becoming more and more of a challenge.

Adam Swart, COD’s founder and chief executive, said the idea first came to him on vacation in Eastern Europe, when he stepped off an airplane and saw someone being greeted by an enthusiastic crowd and a car service on the tarmac.

“I really thought they must be someone important, but I didn’t recognize them,” he said in a phone interview. “And I got to thinking: Wouldn’t people think I was important if I had those same surroundings? Why not make a company that lets everyone live the life of an A-lister?”

Founded in Sept. 2012, COD began as a service for wannabe celebrities looking for a little taste of star treatment. But it has since expanded into an all-purpose people provider, delivering enthusiastic crowds for corporate PR stunts, political protests, self-promotion or anyone who wants to experience an “It’s all about me” day.



Your home for Protests, Rallies, Audiences, PR Stunts, and Celebrity Events.

Are you looking to create a buzz anywhere in the United States? At Crowds on Demand, we provide our clients with protests, rallies, flash-mobs, paparazzi events and other inventive PR stunts. These services are available across the country in every major U.S city, every major U.S metro area and even most smaller cities as well. We provide everything including the people, the materials and even the ideas. You can come to us with a specific plan of action and we can make it happen. OR, you can approach us with a general  idea and we can help you plan the strategy then execute it.

We’ve made campaigns involving hundreds of people come to action in just days. We have a proven record of delivering major wins on even the toughest campaigns and delivering phenomenal experiences with even the most logistically challenging events.


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NSA Internet Surveillance Under Section 702 Violates the First Amendment

The First Amendment is too often overlooked in discussions of the National Security Agency’s vast surveillance authorities. But as Congress considers whether to reauthorize Section 702 of FISA this winter, we must remember that it’s not just our Fourth Amendment rights to privacy that are in the crosshairs, but also our First Amendment rights. These rights to anonymously speak, associate, access information, and engage in political activism are the bedrock of our democracy, and they’re endangered by the NSA’s pervasive surveillance.

The NSA uses Section 702 to justify ongoing programs to siphon off copies of vast amounts of our communications directly from the Internet backbone as well as require system-wide searches across the information collected by major Internet companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple.

So how does the First Amendment come to apply to mass surveillance? To understand this, we need to begin with a little history of the civil rights movement.

As part of the backlash to the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down segregation in schools, the Attorney General of Alabama, John Patterson, brought a lawsuit against a leading civil rights organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The lawsuit alleged that the NAACP violated a state law requiring “foreign corporations” to file certain paperwork and get approval before practicing business in Alabama. The NAACP is a nonprofit membership organization; it didn’t file the paperwork because it believed it was exempt. While the NAACP fought the suit, the state issued a subpoena demanding detailed records from the NAACP, including membership lists and bank records


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World’s biggest botnet sends 12.5 MILLION emails containing ransomware

Millions of computers are at risk of infection by a virulent spam attack that threatens to destroy your files, unless you pay a Bitcoin ransom.

The Scarab malware is being distributed by Necurs, the internet’s largest email spam botnet, which has been used in a number of previous online onslaughts.

Within the first six hours of the attack 12.5 million emails had been distributed, with more than two million messages being sent out per hour at its height.

Security experts from anti-virus software company Forcepoint, based in Austin, Texas, were among the first to raise the alarm.

They found infected files were hidden in fake scanned documents which, according to the subject line of affected emails, were supposedly created using printers from a number of reputable firms.


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How cult leaders like Charles Manson exploit a basic psychological need

Charles Manson, who died Nov. 19, famously attracted a coterie of men and women to do his bidding, which included committing a string of murders in the late-1960s.

Manson is undoubtedly a fascinating figure with a complicated life story. But as someone who studies human cognition, I’m more interested in the members of the Manson “family” like Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel, and how they become drawn to leaders of cult-like organizations in the first place.

The illusion of comfort

Emotional comfort is central to the allure of cults.

California Institute of Technology psychologist Jon-Patrik Pedersen, in attempting to explain why people are drawn to cults, has argued that the human longing for comfort leads us to seek out people or things that can soothe our fears and anxieties.

In and of itself, the urge to quiet internal demons is not a negative trait. I’d argue that, to the contrary, it’s an effective adaptation that allows us to cope with the stressors, big and small, that bombard us on a regular basis.


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Dogs face obesity epidemic ‘because humans are killing them with kindness’


Dogs face an ­obesity epidemic like humans and are at risk of being killed with kindness.

A worrying 90 per cent of owners don’t know how many calories their pets should have and give treats to pleading pooches .

Some 29 per cent fail to measure portions and 20 per cent can’t tell if their dog is fat, a survey by pet food manufacturer also found.

To make matters worse, 13 per cent of owners lie to their vets about their pets’ eating habits.

Vet Sean McCormack warns that dogs can get diabetes, arthritis and joint problems by eating too much.


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Dandelion fluff makes a surprisingly effective parachute


“They can achieve such incredible distances with no energy consumption,” says Cathal Cummins, an applied mathematician at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He’s investigating how dandelions manage the meandering flights. Eventually these insights could be used to design tiny drones that ride the wind.

When a dandelion seed takes flight, its downy fluff serves as a tiny parachute to carry it on the breeze. These parachutes are very different from the ones we use. In fact, they are 90 percent empty space. “Why would nature choose such a porous design for a parachute?” Cummins says. He and his colleagues have found that the dandelion’s bristles work together to create a vortex above the seed that keeps it aloft.

Staying airborne as long as possible gives dandelion seeds a better chance of being picked up by a gust of wind and carried to new territory. Like human parachuters, dandelion seeds rely on drag to slow their descent. “Ordinarily drag is a bad thing for flight, but when you jump from an airplane you want as much drag as possible to support your weight,” Cummins says.


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Angry people die sooner

Last week The Mail on Sunday revealed that MP Paul Farrelly was being investigated after launching a foul-mouthed outburst at a fellow politician after a heated Brexit debate.

And it’s not the first time the MP has been involved in a fracas. He made headlines in 2010 after leaving a newspaper seller bloodied and bruised during a fight in a House of Commons bar.

Unfortunately, keeping your cool is a problem for many people: almost a third of Britons polled say they have a close friend or family member who has trouble controlling their anger, while one in ten admit to having a problem with their temper. Here, we outline ten reasons why it’s good to get anger under control…


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The CIA studied the impact of space storms on psychic powers

First part of Agency’s 800+ page risk report contents that decrease in geomagnetic activity causes an increase in death-related telepathy

Written by Vanessa Nason
Edited by JPat Brown


In late 2016 then-President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order on geomagnetic storm preparedness. His plan, co-chaired by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, focused exclusively on guiding the country through damages to our power grid, which could cause an estimated $12 trillion in damages.

Apparently the Central Intelligence Agency took the issue with lack of concern over solar flare-induced psychic phenomena, however, dedicating part of its 824 page risk report on it.

The first part of the document, released to Michael Morisy, is entitled “Geomagnetic Factors in Subjective Telepathic, Precognitive and Postmortem Experiences.” It’s just as bizarre as one might expect.


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Stratolauncher, the Biggest Airplane Ever, Gets Ready for Takeoff


When you have the wealth of billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen what do you want for Christmas? After all, the guy has two yachts, one of them one of the world’s largest, a 414-foot vessel named Octopus (suggestions of a Bond villain) with two helicopters and a 10-person submarine, plus nine mansions on Mercer Island in Seattle and homes in London, France, New York, Beverly Hills, and Hawaii.

How about the world’s largest airplane?

During the last two months the desert around Mojave, California, has reverberated with the deep thunder of jet engines being tested. The Mojave airfield is home to a private collective of aerospace futurists, so the folks who live there are used to the sudden eruption of rocket motors flaring up on short runs. But this was different: recurrent and long runs of multiple jet engines.


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Pedestrian hit moments after receiving safety reflector from police


Moments after receiving a safety reflector designed to help increase pedestrian visibility, a Victoria-area man was struck by a car in downtown Sidney.

Sidney/North Saanich RCMP officers — who were standing on the edge of the sidewalk handing out the reflectors — immediately went to help the man, administering first aid and calling for an ambulance and other first responders.

Corporal Chris Manseau, the local RCMP detachment’s public affairs officer, said he’d just finished speaking to the man and giving him a reflector. The man then entered the crosswalk at Beacon Avenue and Third Street and was promptly struck by a car that had been waiting at the intersection.


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Mother Demands School Ban ‘Sleeping Beauty’ Because Princess Does Not Give Consent to Be Kissed

It’s hard to find something that the Left does not find “offensive” and “politically incorrect” these days. Now, a mother is demanding that her son’s school ban the fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty” because the princess in the story does not give consent to be kissed.

Sarah Hall, from Northumberland Park, North Shields, claimed the fairytale promotes an ‘inappropriate sexual’ message to young children.

She argued the story is irresponsible because it teaches children it is acceptable to kiss women while they are asleep.

The mother of two said: ‘I think it’s a specific issue in the Sleeping Beauty story about sexual behaviour and consent.

‘It’s about saying is this still relevant, is it appropriate?’

Ms Hall is worried about what message the tale, which features a Prince waking up a Princess by kissing her, sends to impressionable youngsters.


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Mom puts recorder in child’s backpack to catch bullying, now faces felony charge

The mother of a Norfolk student turned to television station WAVY after she was charged by police.

“I tried to be fair, but it’s not fair,” Sarah Sims said. “There is nothing fair about this.”

In late September, Sims said she had enough. She said her 9-year-old daughter was getting bullied at Ocean View Elementary. She said repeated calls and emails to the school went unreturned.

“The thing that bothers me the most is that I am yet to get a response from anyone in the administration,” Sims added.

Sims says she took actions into her own hands. She wanted to prove that nothing was being done to help her fourth-grade daughter. She put a digital recorder into her daughter’s backpack in hopes of catching audio from inside the classroom.


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The PC BIOS will be killed off by 2020 as Intel plans move to pure UEFI


Speaking at UEFI Plugfest, a hardware interoperability testing event held by the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) Forum earlier this month, Intel announced that by 2020 it was going to phase out the last remaining relics of the PC BIOS by 2020, marking the full transition to UEFI firmware.

The BIOS (“Basic Input/Output System”) is a small piece of code embedded into a PC’s motherboard that handles the basic initialization and booting of hardware. It’s the BIOS that first probes your hardware, counts how much RAM you have installed, performs cursory checking of the hardware’s health, and complains if your keyboard is unplugged; when it’s finished doing its thing, it kicks off the process to actually load and run the operating system. When the operating system is running, the BIOS offers some basic system services, such as receiving keyboard input and reading and writing to the screen and the disk.

The BIOS was an essential element of IBM’s first PC, the Personal Computer, in 1981. Companies wanting to build systems compatible with the PC had to build systems with a compatible BIOS, offering the same range of system services to software. If they could do this, software built for the PC would run seamlessly on their machines. Early PC clones companies each had to reverse engineered the BIOS themselves and didn’t always do a great job of compatibility. But within a few years firmware company Phoenix had a reliable, accurate reverse-engineered BIOS, and it licensed it to third parties; this allowed PC clone production to proliferate.


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Some ‘security people are f*cking morons’ says Linus Torvalds

Linux overlord Linus Torvalds has offered some very choice words about different approaches security, during a discussion about whitelisting features proposed for version 4.15 of the Linux kernel.

Torvalds’ ire was directed at open software aficionado and member of Google’s Pixel security team Kees Cook, who he has previously accused of idiocy.

Cook earned this round of shoutiness after he posted a request to “Please pull these hardened usercopy changes for v4.15-rc1.”

“This significantly narrows the areas of memory that can be copied to/from userspace in the face of usercopy bugs by adding explicit whitelisting for slab cache regions,” he explained. “This has lived in -next for quite some time without major problems, but there were some late-discovered missing whitelists, so a fallback mode was added just to make sure we don’t break anything. I expect to remove the fallback mode in a release or two.”

Torvalds’ response expressed his doubts that Kees’ contribution would be useful or had been well-tested. He therefore said “This merge window is not going to be one where I can take a leisurely look at something like this.”


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Korean Bible reading app turns your Android phone into a botnet


A mischievous band of hackers is using the spirit of Christ to infect unsuspecting users. Researchers have discovered new malware which poses as a legitimate Google Play app for reading the Bible in Korean, but ultimately turns infected Android phones into a botnet.

The malicious app was discovered independently by both McAfee and Palo Alto Networks. Curiously, both companies remark that, given the similarities in the code, the malware was likely developed by members of the Lazarus cybercrime group.

The McAfee team notes that the app “contains a backdoor file in the executable and linkable format (ELF)” – a technique commonly employed by the Lazarus Group.

The malware has been disguised as a legitimate Android app appearing on Google Play, but it remains unclear whether the infection ever made it to Google’s software distribution platform. McAfee says the app was never available on the Play Store, while Palo Alto Networks insists the opposite.


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YouTube outlines plan to protect kids from disturbing content

In recent months, we’ve noticed a growing trend around content on YouTube that attempts to pass as family-friendly, but is clearly not. While some of these videos may be suitable for adults, others are completely unacceptable, so we are working to remove them from YouTube. Here’s what we’re doing:

  1. Tougher application of our Community Guidelines and faster enforcement through technology: We have always had strict policies against child endangerment, and we partner closely with regional authorities and experts to help us enforce these policies and report to law enforcement through NCMEC. In the last couple of weeks we expanded our enforcement guidelines around removing content featuring minors that may be endangering a child, even if that was not the uploader’s intent. In the last week we terminated over 50 channels and have removed thousands of videos under these guidelines, and we will continue to work quickly to remove more every day. We also implemented policies to age-restrict (only available to people over 18 and logged in) content with family entertainment characters but containing mature themes or adult humor. To help surface potentially violative content, we are applying machine learning technology and automated tools to quickly find and escalate for human review.


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Budweiser sending barley to space in hopes of learning how to brew beer on Mars


Budweiser wasn’t kidding about its plans to brew “the first beer on Mars.”

After announcing its initiative at the South by Southwest conference in March, Budweiser is reportedly taking its next (small) steps toward accomplishing its out-of-this-world goal by sending beer-making grains — namely, barley — into space later this year.


According to a press release, in early December SpaceX will be delivering the shipment of barley to the International Space Station, where it will remain in orbit for a month. Once back on Earth, the barley will be analyzed in order to determine how the grain reacts to microgravity environments.

Budweiser’s “innovation team” will also experiment with germinating the exposed barley seeds.

“Budweiser is always pushing the boundaries of innovation and we are inspired by the collective American Dream to get to Mars,” said Budweiser Vice President Ricardo Marques in a statement. “We are excited to begin our research to brew beer for the red planet.”


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It can be ‘very difficult’ for Google’s search algorithm to understand truth

In the United States’ current polarized political environment, the constant publishing of articles with vehemently opposing arguments has made it almost impossible for Google to rank information properly.

So says billionaire Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, speaking at the Halifax International Security Forum on Saturday.

“Let’s say that this group believes Fact A and this group believes Fact B and you passionately disagree with each other and you are all publishing and writing about it and so forth and so on. It is very difficult for us to understand truth,” says Schmidt, referring to the search engine’s algorithmic capabilities.

“So when it gets to a contest of Group A versus Group B — you can imagine what I am talking about — it is difficult for us to sort out which rank, A or B, is higher,” Schmidt says.


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The CNN “Libya Slave Auction” Story is TOTAL BULLSHIT (and I shouldn’t have posted the AlterNet story yesterday… my bad)

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‘For gender equality’: Clitoris to join penis sculpture at French university

A French university will install a clitoris sculpture on campus to join the concrete penis erected decades ago. The feminist group behind the project says the statue means “gender equality” and will host a “clitoris party” after the installation.

The statue of the female organ will be installed on campus at the University of Poitiers on Friday, local Centre Press newspaper said. The project aims to raise awareness about violence against women, Vice President for Student Life Isabelle Lamothe has said.

According to Lamothe the project was developed by British artist Matthew Ellis, famous for photos of naked or semi-naked women.

The initiative was proposed by the Friends of Women and Liberation (LAFL) feminist organization. LAFL president Emma Crews “wondered how [the university] could have a giant penis on campus for so long, while the clitoris has only appeared in science textbooks this year,” Penelope Muffat, LAFL Deputy Secretary told FranceInfo.


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The Weird Science of Homophobes Who Turn Out to Be Gay

2017 has been a banner year for the armchair psychological theory that anti-gay public figures are secretly gay themselves.

Never mind the long-running jokes and memes about Mike Pence covering up some secret homosexual identity. There have been actual examples this year of outspoken anti-LGBT figures exhibiting behavior that seems to contradict their political ideology.

The same idea emerges every time: The hypothesis is that their bigotry doesn’t just make their sexual behavior hypocritical, it actually functions as a cover for it, consciously or otherwise.

Recently, there has been former Ohio state Rep. Wesley Goodman, who resigned late last week after it came out that he had had sex with a man in his office.

In March, former Oklahoma state Sen. Ralph Shortey resigned after being hit with child prostitution charges for allegedly soliciting sex from a 17-year-old boy. Shortey has reportedly decided this week to plead guilty to a child sex trafficking charge.

Both Goodman and Shortey are married men who were clear political opponents of the LGBT community while in office.

After Shortey was arrested, the Associated Press noted that he “routinely” voted for anti-LGBT bills, quoting the director of the LGBT advocacy organization Freedom Oklahoma who said, “He was never vitriolic about it, but he would make the bad votes.”


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Wu-Tang Clan sue dog-walking outfit Woof-Tang Clan for copyright breach


Wu-Tang Clan producer and rapper RZA has sued a Brooklyn dog-walking company for breach of copyright, after they named themselves Woof-Tang Clan.

Court papers stated that Wu-Tang Clan’s name and logo were “unmistakably associated” with the group since their formation in Staten Island in 1993, and that Woof-Tang Clan’s attempt to trademark their name violates the music group’s trademarks.

Woof-Tang Clan is owned by Marty Cuatchon, who told the New York Daily News he was aware of the challenge. As well as walking “the illest group of dogs in New York City”, he offers dog-sitting services, saying his staff are “courteous and responsible, as long as we’re in agreement that Nas’ Illmatic is the greatest album of all time”.


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Angry Avatars Help People Stop Hearing Voices by Shouting at Them

The most common hallucination experienced by people with schizophrenia is hearing voices. The voices often threaten and insult the sufferer, damaging the self-esteem of people already dealing with a difficult condition.

But a new study has shown that rude virtual avatars that hurl abuse at people with schizophrenia may actually help patients overcome their own voices by confronting the symptom head-on.

A study published Friday in The Lancet Psychiatry found that of 75 people who underwent “avatar therapy”—during which a therapist would use a virtual avatar to insult the patient, who then spoke back to and defied the avatar—seven people reported that they “completely stopped hearing their voices” after a three-month trial.


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Tiny license plates could help us steer clear of our space junk


Before owning a car became typical, roads and highways (the few that existed) were never crowded. It was only after everyone started purchasing and driving their own vehicles—to work, school, even the grocery store around the block—that streets grew congested, rush hour became an everyday occurrence, and car accidents became an inevitability.

Space, despite its vastness, could be on a similar trajectory. With so many new flying objects being sent into orbit and beyond, many scientists say, we could be in for some dangerous collisions. One group at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico is trying to fix that with something ubiquitous among cars, but currently nonexistent for space mobiles: A license plate.

It’s unlikely we’ll ever fill our cosmic neighborhood with enough flying objects to create anything like a space traffic jam, where satellites have to slow down at specified times or travel in their own intergalactic lanes. But space, in all its low-to-no-gravity glory, poses its own challenges.


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J. Edgar Hoover once called the Bill of Rights “literature favorable to Russia and in opposition to the U.S. foreign policy.”

FBI director railed against tax-exempt status of peace groups, called for investigation of judge associated with the NAACP

Written by Emma Best
Edited by JPat Brown


A recently released Federal Bureau of Investigation file shows that then-director J. Edgar Hoover personally wrote to the head of the Internal Revenue Service to complain about the tax exempt status of pro-peace groups, alleging they were led by ‘concealed Communists’ and that they sent out “literature favorable to Russia and in opposition to the U.S. foreign policy” – literature such as the Bill of Rights.The file also reveals that Hoover personally requested a former Governor of the United States Virgin Islands and then-U.S. federal judge be investigated by the Bureau for his association with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Other files show that the FBI’s tracking of NAACP members was hardly a one time affair, as the Bureau dedicated an entire index to NAACP members and leaders. Other groups that received this treatment included La Cosa Nostra (the mafia) and alleged Communists. While the FBI has only acknowledged a handful of people being assigned to their special NAACP index, the Bureau’s dedication to tracking the group underlines the severe racism of the time – a state of affairs which, it appears, has hardly abated.


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Google collects Android users’ locations even when location services are disabled

Many people realize that smartphones track their locations. But what if you actively turn off location services, haven’t used any apps, and haven’t even inserted a carrier SIM card?

Even if you take all of those precautions, phones running Android software gather data about your location and send it back to Google when they’re connected to the internet, a Quartz investigation has revealed.

Since the beginning of 2017, Android phones have been collecting the addresses of nearby cellular towers—even when location services are disabled—and sending that data back to Google. The result is that Google, the unit of Alphabet behind Android, has access to data about individuals’ locations and their movements that go far beyond a reasonable consumer expectation of privacy.


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