Monthly Archives: January 2018

Are the BSDs dying? Some security researchers think so

The open source Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) versions of UNIX suffer from a lack of eyeballs on their code, and that hurts their security, Ilja van Sprundel, director of penetration testing at IOActive, told an audience at 34c3 in Leipzig, Germany at the end of December.

van Sprundel says he easily found around 115 kernel bugs across the three BSDs, including 30 for FreeBSD, 25 for OpenBSD, and 60 for NetBSD. Many of these bugs he called “low-hanging fruit.” He promptly reported all the bugs, but six months later, at the time of his talk, many remained unpatched.

“By and large, most security flaws in the Linux kernel don’t have a long lifetime. They get found pretty fast,” van Sprundel says. “On the BSD side, that isn’t always true. I found a bunch of bugs that have been around a very long time.” Many of them have been present in code for a decade or more.

Source: Are the BSDs dying? Some security researchers think so

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BUSTED! Obama caught with 165 criminals illegally on payroll

Under President Donald Trump’s guidance, the government revoked 165 security clearances from criminal defense contractors in 2017 — who were all hired by former President Barack Obama.

In a report released on Wednesday by the Department of Defense, details showed Obama’s administration had given illegal security clearances to government contractors with criminals backgrounds.

Felons. Foreign agents. And, yes, at least one child rapist. All on Obama’s payroll.

“Of those 165 cases, 151 people had pre-existing issues that they did not disclose and were not discovered during initial checks; the issues were not identified until the investigation was completed,” the report reads.

NBC News released the data in response to an inquiry about their vetting processes.

The criminal backgrounds ranged from questionable financial dealings, to influences by foreign governments, and even pedophilia.

The report explained details of one disturbing criminal that Obama had on the government payroll that was previously charged with raping a child before applying for a clearance.

Source: BUSTED! Obama caught with 165 criminals illegally on payroll

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Ford’s New “Autonomous” Police Car Can Even Give You a Ticket

Automobile manufacturers are looking to the future by investing heavily in self-driving vehicles, which are already showing up on American roads and will become more commonplace in years to come.

This merger of automotive and artificial intelligence technology won’t be limited to consumer and commercial interests or have that WOW factor like the Budweiser self-driving beer truck that debuted in 2016, because the cops are going to want in on the action.

Law enforcement will be one of the top markets when autonomous vehicles are the norm, and Ford has wasted no time in applying for a patent for a self-driving police car that would not only be able to determine whether a driver is speeding, but also issue a ticket.

Via Roadshow, “Ford aims to patent an autonomous police car that can ticket you”:

Ford applied for a patent (which was only recently published) for an autonomous system with a police car that can either act on its own or alongside a traditional human officer. The robot cop — but not RoboCop — can determine when a violation has occurred on the road, and it can take various actions.

It can refer the case to a local speed camera or another connected sensor for corroborating evidence. It could also begin a pursuit of the vehicle in question, or if it’s something simple like a warning or a speeding ticket, it can just wirelessly communicate the violation directly to the offending vehicle, which can respond with an image of the driver’s license to ensure the ticket reaches the right person.

Continue Reading

Source: Ford’s New “Autonomous” Police Car Can Even Give You a Ticket

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Leonard Nimoy’s recipe for banana cheese potatoes

La Jolla potatoes are no longer on the menu at Chez Jay, looks like, but patrons used to chow down on this dish cooked up by owner Jay Fiondella and his quondam roommate, Leonard Nimoy. The L.A. Times:

“Star Trek’s” Leonard Nimoy, with whom Fiondella roomed in the 1950s, helped him create what became a signature dish: La Jolla potatoes, a melange of mashed potatoes, bananas and cheese.

What did Nimoy contribute to the recipe? The bananas? The cheese? The garlic? The mashing? The browning? The “textural contrast”? I put it to you that, as Americans, we have not only the freedom, but the duty to investigate these questions. For as Leonard himself reminds us in a penetrating study of the Bermuda Triangle: “To say, in essence, that science need not investigate is to destroy the rationale for any scientific quest.”
This recipe for La Jolla potatoes from L.A.‘s Legendary Restaurants serves six:

8 x 8-inch baking pan, buttered
2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 larges cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1½ cups half-and-half
2 tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 large, ripe bananas, peeled and sliced
4 oz. Jarlsberg or Gruyère cheese, grated

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
2. In a large pot of salted water, boil the potatoes until just tender (about 15 minutes). Drain into a colander and allow the potatoes to steam for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, wipe out the pot, add the garlic and butter and return to the heat. Allow the garlic to turn golden, then add the half-and-half, salt, pepper, bananas, and potatoes.
4. Using a hand masher, roughly mash the potato mixture. You want to have a textural contrast of smooth and rough pieces. Season to taste, then transfer the potatoes to the baking pan and top with the grated cheese. Place in the oven to heat through and brown the cheese, about 15 minutes.
5. Serve at once or set the oven at 200ºF and keep warm until ready to serve.

Source: Leonard Nimoy’s recipe for banana cheese potatoes

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ICE is about to start tracking license plates across the US

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has officially gained agency-wide access to a nationwide license plate recognition database, according to a contract finalized earlier this month. The system gives the agency access to billions of license plate records and new powers of real-time location tracking, raising significant concerns from civil libertarians.

The source of the data is not named in the contract, but an ICE representative said the data came from Vigilant Solutions, the leading network for license plate recognition data. “Like most other law enforcement agencies, ICE uses information obtained from license plate readers as one tool in support of its investigations,” spokesperson Dani Bennett said in a statement. “ICE is not seeking to build a license plate reader database, and will not collect nor contribute any data to a national public or private database through this contract.”

Reached by The Verge, Vigilant declined to confirm any contract with ICE. “As policy, Vigilant Solutions is not at liberty to share any contractual details,” the company said in a statement. “This is a standard agreement between our company, our partners, and our clients.”

continue https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/26/16932350/ice-immigration-customs-license-plate-recognition-contract-vigilant-solutions

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Whistling at women & asking for phone number could cost men €350 in France 

Men in France could be fined €350 (US$435) if they follow women in the street, whistle at them, make loud comments about their appearance or ask for their phone numbers, according to a draft proposal to combat “sexual contempt.”

The new report will be presented to the French government in the coming days, local media report. The plans come from a parliamentary working group set up by France’s secretary of state for equality, Marlene Schiappa. The politicians behind the proposal suggest that men who “violate women’s freedom of movement in public space” should face a minimum fine of €90 for those who can pay on the spot. If the fine is delayed, it could reach €350, the report says. The document will be presented to Schiappa, Minister of Justice Nicole Belloubet, and Minister of the Interior Gerard Collomb.

Source: Whistling at women & asking for phone number could cost men €350 in France — RT World News

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Election Shocker: Lib Poll Worker Tells Voter ‘No GOP Votes On My Machine!’

The elderly couple were going to vote in the special election in North Philadelphia for a new member of the state House of Representatives.

There was just one problem: They wanted to vote Republican.

That’s a no-no in this heavily Democratic 197th District, so the liberal poll worker did everything he could to keep them from voting at all. The Philadelphia Inquirer has the shocking details:

First they were told they had to go “get a stamp” outside the polling place — where Democrats handed out stamps for write-in candidates. Then, when an Election Board worker heard they wanted to vote Republican, a witness heard him bellow: “Not on my machine!” And though they both said they eventually cast ballots, in the end only one GOP vote was recorded at that polling place.

The shocking allegations came out during an investigation into Election workers who tried to interfere in the March 21 special election. Four Democrats are awaiting trial on felony charges of voter fraud, intimidating voters and tampering with public records at the polling site – at the Esperanza Health Center.

Source: Election Shocker: Lib Poll Worker Tells Voter ‘No GOP Votes On My Machine!’

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Garrison Keillor, Horn Dog

One of the many prominent men swept up in sex-related scandals in the past few months was Garrison Keillor, long a fixture on Minnesota Public Radio and a favorite of liberals nationwide. MPR fired Keillor, but until now the only account of what led to the termination came from Keillor himself, who said that the only relevant incident was when he accidentally touched a woman’s back. Not surprisingly, many Keillor fans protested his firing.

MPR has now told its side of the story:

Minnesota Public Radio provided additional details of allegations of sexual harassment against humorist Garrison Keillor on Tuesday, saying his alleged conduct went well beyond his account in November of accidentally touching a woman’s bare back.

MPR said in a statement that Keillor was accused by a woman who worked on his “A Prairie Home Companion” radio show of dozens of sexually inappropriate incidents over several years, including requests for sexual contact and explicit sexual communications and touching.
***
MPR said as it attempted to investigate the case, Keillor and his attorney refused to grant access to his computer, emails and text messages.

Legal issues are ongoing:

The station said it had avoided releasing more information about the allegations while it was in mediation with Keillor “and the other parties in this matter.”

“Unfortunately, the mediation sessions have not produced the final settlements we had hoped for,” the station said.

Some men may well have been falsely accused, and others have suffered inordinately for minor transgressions. But Keillor doesn’t appear to be in those categories.

Source: Garrison Keillor, Horn Dog

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Wearing a Pretend ‘God Helmet’ Fooled Spiritual People Into Proclaiming Mystical Experiences

The “God helmet” is an odd-looking psychology tool that can evoke mystical experiences in wearers akin to religious visions—despite being nothing more than an elaborate hat. The helmet is purely a placebo and new research shows that self-proclaimed spiritual people are even more susceptible to fall for its illusion than intoxicated people.

The study published online in Religion, Brain, & Behavior found new information to further back previous evidence that a purely aesthetic hat, referred to as a God helmet, can elicit mysterious experiences. This new study, published in December 2017, builds on past research in that it also tested if alcohol consumption played a role in users’ susceptibility to having visions while wearing the God helmet.

“We knew from previous studies that supernatural believers are more prone to placebo brain stimulation-induced mystical experiences than non-believers,” lead study researcher David Maij, a researcher at the University of Amsterdam who focuses on brain cognition and psychology told Newsweek. “We wanted to investigate whether intoxication with alcohol, through lowering cognitive control, would increase people’s proneness to have extraordinary experiences.”

Researchers from the University of Amsterdam had 193 volunteers wear the God helmet for 15 minutes while blindfolded and listening to white noise through earbuds. The volunteers were told that the helmet would electromagnetically stimulate their brains and cause them to have supernatural experiences. However, in reality the helmet did absolutely nothing.

Source: Wearing a Pretend ‘God Helmet’ Fooled Spiritual People Into Proclaiming Mystical Experiences

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Is the humble sandwich a climate change culprit?

Sandwiches have a surprisingly large carbon footprintScientists at the University of Manchester have found a surprising global warming culprit – sandwiches. In the first study of its kind, the researchers carried out an in-depth audit of various sandwiches throughout their life cycles and found the triangular meals could be responsible for the equivalent annual carbon emissions of 8.6 million cars in Britain alone.

In 1762, or so the story goes, the fourth Earl of Sandwich rocked the culinary world when he couldn’t be bothered to leave the gambling table to eat and ordered the servants to just stick some meat between two slices of bread for him. Since then, the modern sandwich has become one of the most popular of food formats.

Source: Is the humble sandwich a climate change culprit?

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The Dirty War Over Diversity Inside Google

FIRED GOOGLE ENGINEER James Damore says he was vilified and harassed for questioning what he calls the company’s liberal political orthodoxy, particularly around the merits of diversity.

Now, outspoken diversity advocates at Google say that they are being targeted by a small group of their coworkers, in an effort to silence discussions about racial and gender diversity.

In interviews with WIRED, 15 current Google employees accuse coworkers of inciting outsiders to harass rank-and-file employees who are minority advocates, including queer and transgender employees. Since August, screenshots from Google’s internal discussion forums, including personal information, have been displayed on sites including Breitbart and Vox Popoli, a blog run by alt-right author Theodore Beale, who goes by the name Vox Day. Other screenshots were included in a 161-page lawsuit that Damore filed in January, alleging that Google discriminates against whites, males, and conservatives.

Source: The Dirty War Over Diversity Inside Google

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White House Requests to Borrow Van Gogh Painting, Museum Offers Gold Toilet Instead 

A fully functioning solid gold toilet, made by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, is going into public use at the Guggenheim Museum in New York on September 15, 2016.
A guard will be stationed outside the bathroom to protect the work, entitled ‘America’, which recalls Marcel Duchamp’s famous work, ‘Fountain’. / AFP PHOTO / William EDWARDS

The White House asked to borrow a Van Gogh painting from a museum to put in the first family’s residence, only to get offered a gold toilet.

The chief curator of the Guggenheim Museum in New York City responded to the White House’s request for the 1888 Van Gogh painting Landscape With Snow, saying that the museum is unable to loan the painting but could offer a gold toilet made by a contemporary and controversial Italian artist.

Source: White House Requests to Borrow Van Gogh Painting, Museum Offers Gold Toilet Instead – Breitbart

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Sweden moves to ban smoking in public places

The The Swedish government wants to ban smoking at outdoor restaurants, train platforms, playgrounds and other public places.

Health Minister Annika Strandhäll announced the centre-left coalition government’s new legislative proposal to stub out smoking in certain public places at a press conference at Stockholm Central Station on Friday.

“We need to de-normalize the use of tobacco in the public space,” Strandhäll told reporters.

“I think it is reasonable that you should not have to be exposed to tobacco smoke in these kinds of places, such as platforms. Ninety percent of the population do not smoke,” she said.

The government is expected to put a formal proposal to parliament in February, reports news agency TT.

Strandhäll said it would include a proposal to introduce rules stating that Sweden’s moist powder tobacco ‘snus‘ may only be sold in packs of at least 20 portions to discourage non-users from buying the product.

Source: Sweden moves to ban smoking in public places

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University Under Fire For Off-The-Grid Herpes Vaccine Experiments

 Southern Illinois University’s medical school has halted all herpes research, one of its most high-profile projects, amid growing controversy over a researcher’s unauthorized methods offshore and in the U.S.

SIU’s ethics panel launched a “full” investigation Dec. 5 of the herpes vaccine experiments by university professor William Halford, according to a memo obtained by Kaiser Health News.

Halford, who died in June, had injected Americans with his experimental herpes vaccine in St. Kitts and Nevis in 2016 and in Illinois hotel rooms in 2013 without routine safety oversight from the Food and Drug Administration or an institutional review board, according to ongoing reporting by KHN. Some of the participants say they are experiencing side effects.

Source: University Under Fire For Off-The-Grid Herpes Vaccine Experiments

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Why Political Correctness Is Incorrect

The term “politically correct” is one of the most incendiary phrases of contemporary political jargon. Advocates for values deemed politically correct — anti-racism, anti-misogyny, anti-transphobia, and so on — suggest that being politically correct is simply that: correct. Why would anyone want to be anything else — unless, that is, they are motivated by bigotry, or something worse?

This position appears reasonable enough, and it might even be undisputable if it didn’t seek to obscure an underlying impulse — for political correction. Under regimes of political correctness, political correction is the typical response for those voicing “incorrect” opinions. Indeed, imposing “correct” ideas by the “necessary” means is precisely the crux of the problem.

A discussion of PC is well-served by tracking this political label to its earliest appearance. Official Soviet sources show that the term politicheskaya korrektnost (political correctness) was used as early as 1921 to positively describe “correct” thinking. As expected, its author was none other than the primary architect of the Bolshevik revolution, Vladimir Lenin. Lenin’s promotion and later enforcement of political correctness followed from his notion of partiĭnost, or party spirit, which also stood for “party truth,” or the correct interpretation of the world and everything in it. After the revolution, political correctness was enforced by the Soviet terror. During the Cultural Revolution, Mao’s Red Guard later adopted and adapted “autocritique,” a technique for the enforcement of political correctness, while adding “struggle sessions” for good measure.

Source: Why Political Correctness Is Incorrect

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Antifa Professor Punches Back At Student Groups Demanding Resignation 

A Stanford University professor with links to domestic terrorist group antifa is being asked to resign by several student organizations. Professor David Palumbo-Liu, who teaches comparative literature, founded the Campus Antifascist Network in August 2017, along with Purdue University professor Bill Mullen. The Stanford Review wrote a damning article on Palumbo-Liu, questioning:

Do we really want to bring this type of vigilante thuggery to Stanford by enabling a professor who promotes it? Palumbo-Liu’s Facebook page is filled with antifa propaganda. He has posted a number of photographs on his page from an August 27 incident at Berkeley, during which masked antifa brutally assaulted attendees of a peaceful pro-Trump rally.

Palumbo-Liu has a history of encouraging violent and militant leftist tactics, including by his own students. In 2015, Palumbo-Liu congratulated several of his students for taking part in an anti-Israel protest that caused car crashes and blocked traffic on the San Mateo Bridge for an hour, allegedly preventing a 3-year-old child in medical distress from reaching the hospital. Apparently, inconveniencing and injuring people on their commute is how Palumbo-Liu and his anarcho-leftist pupils intend to win hearts and minds.

Palumbo-Liu issued a rebuttal with the Stanford Daily, arguing the case for free speech and that:

“Universities believe that the free flow and debate of ideas are both essential to their goals of education, teaching and research. We cannot grow intellectually if we resign ourselves to simply rehearsing over and over again things we believe to be true.”

He also seemingly dismissed his critics as “alt-right”:

Source: Antifa Professor Punches Back At Student Groups Demanding Resignation – DANGEROUS

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China takes aim at hip-hop, saying ‘low-taste content’ must stop

China’s censors have a new target in a widespread clamp-down on popular culture: the country’s nascent hip-hop scene, which resonated with Chinese youth last year on hugely popular television show “Rap of China.”

Hip hop artists Wang Hao, known as “PG One” and Zhou Yan, known as “GAI” – the two winners of the show – have been sanctioned in recent weeks for bad behaviour or content at odds with Communist Party values. GAI was pulled from hit show “The Singer” last week.

The crackdown on hip-hop, still very much a new genre in China, reflects a broader squeeze on popular culture as the country’s stability-focused leadership looks to rein in potential platforms for youthful dissent.

Beijing is eager to use popular culture to shape public opinion, including co-opting rap artists ahead of its five-yearly congress last year. With state support comes the insistence that Party values must take centre stage in the artists’ work.

The latest cleanup started when PG One was forced to apologise for lewd lyrics, which critics said were insulting to women and encouraged the use of recreational drugs.

Source: China takes aim at hip-hop, saying ‘low-taste content’ must stop

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The “tampon tax”: Should states tax feminine hygiene products? – The Fifth Column

In late 2017 and early 2018, legislators in multiple states filed bills to eliminate taxes on feminine hygiene products. They are following the lead of several other states that have banished the so-called “tampon tax” in recent years. While state governments do not designate a special tax for feminine hygiene items such as tampons, sanitary pads and menstrual cups, most do charge sales tax on them, according to PolitiFact, a fact-checking journalism organization.

The cost of feminine hygiene products has been in the news a lot lately as lawmakers and others debate whether Americans should pay taxes on something half the population considers a basic need and the federal government considers a medical device. In some parts of the country, policymakers also are debating whether such items should be provided free of charge in certain locations – school restrooms and women’s prisons, for example. An Illinois law that took effect Jan. 1, 2018 requires public schools serving grades 6 through 12 to provide tampons and sanitary napkins in their bathrooms at no cost.

Source: The “tampon tax”: Should states tax feminine hygiene products? – The Fifth Column

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Why Apple’s Tim Cook doesn’t want his nephew to use social networks

Although he runs the biggest tech company on the planet, Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook is concerned by the risk that technology poses to kids.

Speaking at Harlow College in Essex, England, last week, Cook said there should be limits on the use of technology in schools, and said he doesn’t want his young nephew using social media.

“I don’t have a kid, but I have a nephew that I put some boundaries on. There are some things that I won’t allow; I don’t want them on a social network.”

Tim Cook

“I don’t believe in overuse [of technology]. I’m not a person that says we’ve achieved success if you’re using it all the time,” Cook said, according to a report by The Guardian. “I don’t subscribe to that at all.”

Cook was speaking at the school as it adopted Apple’s AAPL, -0.16%   Everyone Can Code program, in which every student got an iPad.

Source: Why Apple’s Tim Cook doesn’t want his nephew to use social networks

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Physicists are planning to build lasers so powerful they could rip apart empty space

Inside a cramped laboratory in Shanghai, China, physicist Ruxin Li and colleagues are breaking records with the most powerful pulses of light the world has ever seen. At the heart of their laser, called the Shanghai Superintense Ultrafast Laser Facility (SULF), is a single cylinder of titanium-doped sapphire about the width of a Frisbee. After kindling light in the crystal and shunting it through a system of lenses and mirrors, the SULF distills it into pulses of mind-boggling power. In 2016, it achieved an unprecedented 5.3 million billion watts, or petawatts (PW). The lights in Shanghai do not dim each time the laser fires, however. Although the pulses are extraordinarily powerful, they are also infinitesimally brief, lasting less than a trillionth of a second. The researchers are now upgrading their laser and hope to beat their own record by the end of this year with a 10-PW shot, which would pack more than 1000 times the power of all the world’s electrical grids combined.

The group’s ambitions don’t end there. This year, Li and colleagues intend to start building a 100-PW laser known as the Station of Extreme Light (SEL). By 2023, it could be flinging pulses into a chamber 20 meters underground, subjecting targets to extremes of temperature and pressure not normally found on Earth, a boon to astrophysicists and materials scientists alike. The laser could also power demonstrations of a new way to accelerate particles for use in medicine and high-energy physics. But most alluring, Li says, would be showing that light could tear electrons and their antimatter counterparts, positrons, from empty space—a phenomenon known as “breaking the vacuum.” It would be a striking illustration that matter and energy are interchangeable, as Albert Einstein’s famous E=mc2 equation states. Although nuclear weapons attest to the conversion of matter into immense amounts of heat and light, doing the reverse is not so easy. But Li says the SEL is up to the task. “That would be very exciting,” he says. “It would mean you could generate something from nothing.”

Source: Physicists are planning to build lasers so powerful they could rip apart empty space

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Andrew Sullivan: It’s Time to Resist the Excesses of #MeToo

A month or so ago, a friend and I mulled over when exactly the backlash to the then-peaking #MeToo moral panic would set in. Mid-January, we guessed, and sure enough here we are.

No, we were not being clairvoyant, just noting certain dynamics. The early exposure of Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, and Harvey Weinstein — achieved by meticulous, scrupulous journalists and smart, determined women — quickly extended to more ambiguous and trivial cases. Distinctions among many different types of offenses — from bad behavior at private parties to brutal assault and rape of employees and co-workers — were being instantly lost in the fervor. Punishment was almost always the same — social ostracism and career destruction — whether you were Mark Halperin, who allegedly sexually assaulted women in his workplace, or Al Franken, damned because of mild handsiness and pretending to grope a woman’s breasts as a joke. Any presumption of innocence was regarded as a misogynist dodge, and an anonymous online list of accusations against named men in the media was created and circulated with nary an attempt by its instigators to substantiate a single one. Within a few weeks, the righteous exposure of hideous abuse of power had morphed into a more generalized revolution against the patriarchy.

Source: Andrew Sullivan: It’s Time to Resist the Excesses of #MeToo

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Infected Android Games Spread Adware to More Than 4.5 Million Users

An Android app component meant to provide inter-user chatting capabilities has been opening websites and clicking on ads in phones’ background.

According to a report published last week, this malicious component is part of a software development kit (SDK) offered by a Chinese company named 呀呀云 (Ya Ya Yun).

Android app developers use the Ya Ya Yun SDK to add an instant messaging (chat) feature to games they develop. The Android game will use the SDK for the chat features and will free up developers to cater to other facets of the game.

SDK downloaded malicious components disguised as images

This software design practice of using an SDK to offload various app features to remote services is dangerous as it gives a remote company control over your app.

In the case of Android game developers who chose the Ya Ya Yun SDK, this trust was misplaced, according to Russian antivirus vendor Dr.Web.

Source: Infected Android Games Spread Adware to More Than 4.5 Million Users

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China’s decision to stop taking in so much recyclable plastic has left the world in a scramble

plastic recyclables

China has been taking most of the world’s recyclable plastics. However, as of January 1st, China has banned certain plastic imports, giving a mere 6-month warning. Now, countries, such as the US and EU members, are having trouble finding new places to put their plastics, while some Chinese recycling companies are going out of business. The growing amounts of plastics are being temporarily stored while longer-term solutions are being explored.

To have an idea of how much plastic was exported to China: the EU exports half of its collected and sorted plastics, of which 85% goes to China. The US also depends heavily on China for plastic recycling. In 2016, the US shipped more than 16 million tonnes of recyclable materials to China for more than $5.2 billion.

China’s new ban includes 24 categories of solid waste, including some plastics, paper, and textiles. The reason is understandable:

Source: China’s decision to stop taking in so much recyclable plastic has left the world in a scramble

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The Guy Who Played Barney the Dinosaur Now Runs a Tantric Sex Business

He started his current practice in 2004, and finds clients any number of ways, from word of mouth to converting women he’s met on Tinder into believers.

A full session with tantra massage specialist and spiritual healer David Joyner lasts three to four hours and costs $350. For that price, female clients—the only kind he accepts—can expect to receive a ritual bath, chakra balancing, and a massage. Also on the menu: cosmic, mind-blowing orgasms.

The latter can be achieved through massage alone. But the goal of a session is to fully release a woman’s blocked energy.

“When the lingam [penis] and the yoni [vagina] meet, there’s a certain energy that takes place that hands on the body alone cannot create,” says Joyner, 54, whose yogi-like presence is often accompanied by a warm smile when we meet for the first of several interviews. “Even through G-spot massage, it’s still not the same energy that flows.”

Source: The Guy Who Played Barney the Dinosaur Now Runs a Tantric Sex Business

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Here’s Elon Musk’s $500 Boring Company flamethrower

Update January 27th, 8:04 PM ET: The Boring Company is now accepting preorders for the flamethrower mentioned in this post. It only costs $500, not $600 as originally stated, so I guess you could say it’s a… fire sale. Here’s a video of it in action. It’s unclear how many the company will try to sell, but if you’re nervous, there’s also a $30 fire extinguisher for sale — branded, of course.

SpaceX, Tesla, and Boring Company CEO Elon Musk is known for making bold promises on deadlines he often can’t keep. That’s why this one from last December sounded more like an Onion headline than anything: “After [we sell] 50k [Boring Company] hats, we will start selling The Boring Company flamethrower.” On Christmas Eve, after selling said 50,000 hats, he tweeted that the flamethrowers were coming “soon!”

continue https://www.theverge.com/tldr/2018/1/25/16933812/elon-musk-boring-company-flamethrower-price

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Student Activists Renew Call To Allow Women Into Fraternities At Yale

Some students at Yale University say they want to see females allowed in fraternities, claiming it will impact relationships on campus, in the workplace, and later in life.

As CBS2’s Elise Finch reported, fraternities and their houses are often associated with privilege, exclusion, and bad behavior.

“There’s a lot of discrimination, harassment, and sexual assault,” student activist Will McGrew said. “Why is that?”

The members of the student group Engender believe it’s because women are routinely excluded from the frat houses. They say Yale is no exception, so they’re encouraging women to participate in the fraternities pre-pledging activities.

Source: Student Activists Renew Call To Allow Women Into Fraternities At Yale

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New Orleans pulls 46 tons of Mardi Gras beads from storm drains

The colorful beaded necklaces that are a signature of New Orleans’ annual Mardi Gras celebration have left the city known as “The Big Easy” with a big mess.

New Orleans city officials said on Thursday that more than 46 tons – or 93,000 pounds – of Carnival beads were among 7.2 million pounds of trash pulled from clogged catch basins along a five-block stretch of a downtown parade route, the Times-Picayune newspaper reported.

“Once you hear a number like that, there’s no going back,” Dani Galloway, interim director of the city’s Department of Public Works, said during a news conference on Thursday. “So we’ve got to do better.”

A representative from the city’s public works department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

The removal was part of a four-month project in response to heavy flooding in the city in August, the newspaper reported. The effectiveness of the city’s drainage systems came under fire after an Aug. 5 storm dumped up to 6 inches (15 cm) of rain, causing street flooding and underpasses to fill up.

The clean-up effort between late September and late January cleared about 15,000 of the city’s estimated 68,000 storm drains, the newspaper reported. The Mardi Gras beads were found along the St. Charles Avenue parade route.

Mardi Gras is celebrated on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of Lent, a period of reflection and abstinence on the Catholic calendar.

By tradition, Mardi Gras, which is French for “Fat Tuesday,” is a day that calls for excessive partying in preparation for the somber season of sacrifice to follow.

Mardi Gras falls on Feb. 13 this year.

Source: New Orleans pulls 46 tons of Mardi Gras beads from storm drains

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Villagers put frozen ‘meteor’ in fridge — turns out to be airplane poop

Indian villagers were so excited by a frozen “meteor” that crashed into a farmer’s field Saturday that a few gathered pieces of the rock and stashed them in their refrigerators.

Meteorites can be worth thousands of dollars, but this unidentified falling object was not from outer space.

According to the Indian Express and the International Business Times, the yellow-brown  “meteor,” weighing around 20 pounds, had a transparent surface and resembled ice. The impact created a 1-foot-deep hole in the field.

“I rushed to the spot and saw the object. It seemed to weigh at least 8 or 10 kilograms, judging by the dent it had made on the ground,” the Indian Express quoted Govind Singh as saying. “Initially, we thought it could be ice but it was not melting. So, we figured it must have some kind of chemical in it.”

Eventually a team of scientists from the India Meteorological Department was assembled and collected samples of the object at the site.

Source: Villagers put frozen ‘meteor’ in fridge — turns out to be airplane poop

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Brooklyn pizzeria creates edible Tide Pod-inspired pizza bites

A Brooklyn pizzeria has created its own spin on the Tide Pod challenge by offering its customers pod-shaped pizza bites.

Vinnie’s Pizzeria in Williamsburg has created the Pied Pods and says unlike Tide Pods, their pods are safe to eat.

Source: Brooklyn pizzeria creates edible Tide Pod-inspired pizza bites

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How to Recycle Your Old Tech

With 2018 still being relatively new, you may be in the mood to organize and declutter your home. But when it comes to tech and electronics, you can’t always just throw those items in the trash can. Nor can you simply chuck them in the recycling bin along with paper, cardboard and cans.

But here’s what you can do.

First, try recycling with the manufacturer. Apple, Dell and Samsung all offer recycling programs. Some manufacturers even offer gift cards or store credit in exchange for your recycled items.

It’s not just smartphones and tablets that can be recycled. Power cords and rechargeable batteries can go to recycling kiosks at stores like Best Buy and Staples. LED bulbs that contain mercury can be taken to Home Depot or Ikea.

If you have a gadget and you’re still stumped on how to best dispose of it, try Recycle Where. Enter in your zip code and the item in question, and the site will tell you where you can take it.

Source: How to Recycle Your Old Tech

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Schumer: I Agreed to Fund the Border Wall Because It Is ‘Next to Impossible’ to Build 

In an interview with The New York Times podcast “The Daily,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) said during his meeting with President Donald Trump last week to avoid the government shutdown he offered funding for a wall between the U.S.-Mexico border because he believed “the difficulty would be “very very large.”

Schumer said, “It is frankly my belief that it is going to be next to impossible for them to actually build the wall. And I told this to the president. I said, ‘Secretary Zinke, you know his Secretary of the Interior, said I don’t know where you build the wall along the Rio Grande because you cant build it on the Mexican side.’ They won’t build it. If you build it on the America side, it cuts us off from the river. You cant build it in the middle of the river. So my view was they would have a very difficult time actually getting it built.”

Source: Schumer: I Agreed to Fund the Border Wall Because It Is ‘Next to Impossible’ to Build – Breitbart

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Vince McMahon Takes on Roger Goodell With a Revived XFL

When Vince McMahon — that’s Mr. McMahon to you — speaks as the voice of reason, it is later than you think. It may be that time for the NFL, whose ratings dropped 10 percent in 2017 after dropping eight percent the previous season. The man who set Doink the Clown, Mantaur, and Papa Shango loose on the world announced on Thursday an XFL relaunch — and not a moment too soon. For the uninitiated, or just plain forgetful, the XFL, a joint project by the WWE and NBC, played its one and only season in 2001. Its use of forward motion harkened back to the days of pre-NFL football. Innovations included a black-and-red ball, “He Hate Me”-esque monikers on the backs of jerseys, the absence of a fair catch, and a steal-the-bacon-style human coin toss. Those did not catch on. A franchise in Las Vegas and reviving quarterback Tommy Maddux’s career remain two of the very few ways the upstart influenced the old-school league.

This go-around, McMahon looks ready to correct the NFL’s mistakes than to make his own.

“People don’t want social and political issues coming into play when they are trying to be entertained,” McMahon explained at his press conference. “We want someone who wants to take a knee to do their version of that on their personal time.”

This comes from a man who once formed a “Mr. McMahon Kiss My Ass Club,” which, in the center of the ring, featured groveling employees doing just what the title describes. Roger Goodell formed a similar club, only it involved him groveling before disgruntled employees. In response to player-protestors kneeling for the national anthem, he incentivized the behavior so tarnishing the NFL shield by pledging $90 million for social justice causes.

Source: Vince McMahon Takes on Roger Goodell With a Revived XFL

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FBI Accidentally Kills Victim of ‘Movie-Style’ Kidnapping

 A “movie-style” kidnapping came to a grim ending as an FBI agent accidentally shot and killed the bound victim in Texas. “We do this job to help people and it doesn’t always go our way,” Conroe Police Chief Philip Dupuis said Thursday, per the Houston Chronicle. A day earlier, Ulises Villadares was taken from his Conroe home by armed men. Villadares’ 12-year-old son was tied up by the men but eventually escaped and called police; the boy said he overheard the kidnappers says Villadares’ brother, who lives at the residence but wasn’t home, owed them $8,000, per KPRC. A phone call to that brother demanding a $20,000 ransom was then traced to a Best Western in Houston, where Jimmy Sanchez, 38, and Nicholas Cunningham, 42, were arrested. Cunningham, married to a relative of Villadares’ brother, admitted to having a girlfriend who was holding Villadares, court documents show.

It was at her home, with two children present, that a bound Villadares was accidentally shot around 3:45am Thursday, reports the Dallas Morning News. Sophia Perez Heath, 35, told authorities Cunningham had brought the man to her house Wednesday and asked her to watch him, per KPRC. Heath is charged with aggravated kidnapping, while Cunningham and Sanchez face that as well as aggravated robbery charges. “We’ve got the bad guys,” but “it’s still a tragedy,” Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon tells the Chronicle, noting felony murder charges might also be filed. The FBI agent who fired the fatal shot is now on administrative leave. Meanwhile, Villadares’ brother tells authorities he received a car from his female relative in exchange for money he gave her for house repairs, per KPRC. He says he didn’t owe anyone money.

Source: FBI Accidentally Kills Victim of ‘Movie-Style’ Kidnapping

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Inside The Secret Experiment That Purposely Left Orphaned Children With Pedophiles

Helmut Kentler, the man behind the project, was a noted psychologist whose work was often called an “open call for pedophilia.”

Berlin festival in 1973

The sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s is usually lauded as having broken down outdated codes of conduct and morals while paving the way for important advancements in women’s and gay rights.

But what happens when every social code is broken? There are two sides to every coin, and in West Germany, the sexual revolution had a dark underbelly that culminated in a pseudo-scientific experiment sponsored by the government that placed unknown numbers of children in danger.

The discussion of pedophilia in politics has had a strange history in Germany. The country’s Green Party is now mainly associated with environmentalist policies, but there is an ugly chapter in its history that has recently been brought back into the spotlight.

Source: Inside The Secret Experiment That Purposely Left Orphaned Children With Pedophiles

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Hackers Are Using ‘Fire & Fury’ to Install Malware

 

Michael Wolff’s book on the Trump presidency Fire and Fury has everything: from Bannon mouthing off against Trump’s son to claims that Trump was despondent when he won the election. But some dodgy, unofficial versions of the book contain an extra-special bonus: malware.

To be absolutely clear: Malware is not affecting the ordinary, retail copy of Fire and Fury, but files linked to a PDF version circulating online. The dangerous types are the pirated PDFs you’d find in Google searches and on torrent sites, but not ones on traditional ebook retailers like Apple Books or Amazon.

Still, the gambit shows some of the downright bizarre hooks criminals, hackers, or pranksters may use to spread malware—including juicy entries from the nonfiction rack.

Source: Hackers Are Using ‘Fire & Fury’ to Install Malware

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Creating clouds to stop global warming could wreak havoc

To counteract global warming, humans may someday consider spraying sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere to form clouds — and artificially cool the Earth.

The idea behind the process, known as geoengineering, is to keep global warming under control — with the ideal solution still being a reduction in the emissions of greenhouse gases.

However, suddenly stopping that spraying would have a “devastating” global impact on animals and plants, potentially even leading to extinction, according to the first study on the potential biological impacts of climate intervention.

“Rapid warming after stopping geoengineering would be a huge threat to the natural environment and biodiversity,” said study co-author Alan Robock of Rutgers University. “If geoengineering ever stopped abruptly, it would be devastating, so you would have to be sure that it could be stopped gradually, and it is easy to think of scenarios that would prevent that.”

Rapid warming forced animals to move. But even if they could move fast enough, they might not be able find places with enough food to survive, the study said.

Source: Creating clouds to stop global warming could wreak havoc

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Hospitals Across The US Are Starting Their Own Drug Company 

 

A group of U.S. hospitals have made a coalition that stands up against the ever-rising drug prices. They are going to start their own drug company to compete with the big pharma.

Last Friday, some of the largest hospitals in the U.S. announced that they’re going to put their resources together and thus create a not-for-profit company that will both make and sell drugs to hospitals at considerable lower prices than the big pharma. This way, there won’t be any situations in which the pharma companies invoke a shortage and thus, bringing the prices up for a specific drug.

This new organization does not have a name yet, but it will seek to be approved by the FDA as an official drug manufacturer and will produce the drugs itself or have a reputable third party do make them.

Source: Hospitals Across The US Are Starting Their Own Drug Company To Be Able To Lower Generic Drug Prices And Fight Big Pharma

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Instead of ‘Infrastructure Investment,’ How About Killing Davis-Bacon? 

– Larry Elder

Is there a difference between President Barack Obama’s “stimulus” and President Donald Trump’s “infrastructure investment”? Despite costing $800 billion, most economists do not believe Obama’s “stimulus” program did much stimulating. During the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt’s secretary of Treasury wrote in his diary that the New Deal spending, designed to rescue the economy, was not working. Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau wrote: “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. … I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises. … I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started and an enormous debt to boot!”

Trump, in announcing his upcoming plans for 2018, said: “Infrastructure is, by far, the easiest. People want it, Republicans and Democrats. We’re going to have tremendous Democrat support on infrastructure, as you know. I could’ve started with infrastructure. I actually wanted to save the easy one for the one down the road. We’ll be having that done pretty quickly.”

What if, instead of spending more on infrastructure, the government began paying nearly 20 percent less for projects? And how about pushing privatization, where possible, over the inevitably more costly government spending?

The Davis-Bacon Act, a Depression-era measure, was designed to thwart black workers from competing against white workers. It requires federal contractors to pay “prevailing union wages.” This act sought to shut out black workers from competing for construction jobs after white workers protested that Southern blacks were hired to build a Veterans Bureau hospital in Long Island, New York — the district of Rep. Robert Bacon, one of the bill’s sponsors. It is remarkable the Davis-Bacon still lives despite its racist intent and its discriminatory effect — to this day — on black workers. Passed in 1931, two Republicans teamed up to sponsor it.

 

Source: Instead of ‘Infrastructure Investment,’ How About Killing Davis-Bacon? – The Larry Elder Show

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Maple syrup might become a thing of the past because of climate change

Maple syrup — the real deal — is not at all easy to make. Genuine maple syrup is a treasure that can only be produced in the northern part of North America and only in certain weather conditions.

Generally, maple syrup producers make the syrup from the sap of only three maple species: the sugar maple (Acer saccharum), the black maple (Acer nigrum), and the red maple (Acer rubrum), because of the high sugar content (roughly two to five percent) in the sap of these species.

 The sap of a maple tree looks like water. Its taste is also watery too, with just a hint of mapley favor. Though maple trees produce sap during most of the year, the kind of sap suitable for making golden syrup only flows in the late winter and early spring. This is around the time of what Native Americans used to call the “sugar moon”. Once the trees start to bud and produce leaves, the sap quality drops dramatically and cannot be used anymore to produce syrup.

Source: Maple syrup might become a thing of the past because of climate change

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California Considers $1,000 Fine for Waiters Offering Unsolicited Plastic Straws

Ian Calderon wants restaurateurs to think long and hard before giving you a straw.

Calderon, the Democratic majority leader in California’s lower house, has introduced a bill to stop sit-down restaurants from offering customers straws with their beverages unless they specifically request one. Under Calderon’s law, a waiter who serves a drink with an unrequested straw in it would face up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

“We need to create awareness around the issue of one-time use plastic straws and its detrimental effects on our landfills, waterways, and oceans,” Calderon explained in a press release.

Source: California Considers $1,000 Fine for Waiters Offering Unsolicited Plastic Straws

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