Monthly Archives: March 2018

Boycotting digital monopolies like Facebook is harder than it seems

You may have heard of the #DeleteFacebook campaign, but you, like me, are probably among the vast majority of Facebook’s nearly 2 billion users who probably won’t actually follow through. CEO Mark Zuckerberg even has the data to prove it, telling The New York Times yesterday that he hasn’t seen a “meaningful number of people” deleting their accounts.Amid the ongoing data privacy scandal surrounding the Trump-connected firm Cambridge Analytica, tech critics and users alike are revisiting the concept of leaving Facebook and extracting ourselves from one of the world’s most pervasive advertising empires. The decision to delete Facebook boils down to two questions: 1. Has Facebook lost the necessary trust to be a steward of our personal information? And 2. Is the company’s grip on online and offline life too great to ever reasonably walk away from?

Source: Boycotting digital monopolies like Facebook is harder than it seems – The Verge

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Facebook scraped call, text message data for years from Android phones

This past week, a New Zealand man was looking through the data Facebook had collected from him in an archive he had pulled down from the social networking site. While scanning the information Facebook had stored about his contacts, Dylan McKay discovered something distressing: Facebook also had about two years’ worth of phone call metadata from his Android phone, including names, phone numbers, and the length of each call made or received.

Downloaded my facebook data as a ZIP file

Somehow it has my entire call history with my partner’s mum

This experience has been shared by a number of other Facebook users who spoke with Ars, as well as independently by us—my own Facebook data archive, I found, contained call-log data for a certain Android device I used in 2015 and 2016, along with SMS and MMS message metadata.

Source: Facebook scraped call, text message data for years from Android phones

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Fake news is fake data, ‘which makes it our problem’, info-slurpers told

Data-hungry organisations have been advised to get a better grip on the data they control and work on building trust.

In a week when analytic technologies have had more press than ever, many of the discussions at the Gartner Data and Analytics Summit, which ran in London from 19-22 March, focused on dealing with the data generated in recent slurp-happy years.

“Never has there been a moment [where] forces outside our world are so relevant to our industry… and vice versa,” said Gartner distinguished analyst Ted Friedman.

For instance, he argued that fake news is fake data, “which makes it our problem”. As such, gaining and retaining people’s trust should be “job number one for everybody in this room”.

Among ways to increase trust in data, he said, was making sure that data was better managed and recorded. This will be crucial if organisations are going to be able to offer explanations as to why a predictive model would treat one customer differently to another, he said.

Source: Fake news is fake data, ‘which makes it our problem’, info-slurpers told

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Police are unlocking iPhones with dead people’s fingerprints

Until now, there was only news of law enforcement agencies using fingerprints of a dead person to unlock iPhones for investigation purposes. However, according to a new report from Forbes, confirms this practice has been in use for a couple of years already by the police and law enforcement agencies.

FBI forensics specialist Bob Moledor told Forbes that the first known case of police using a deceased person’s fingerprints was in November 2016, when they tried unlocking the iPhone 5s model of Abdul Razak Ali Artan, who had mowed down a group of people in his car, and gone on a stabbing spree with a butcher’s knife. He was later shot dead by a police officer on the grounds of Ohio State University. However, the legal officials couldn’t unlock Artan’s device with his lifeless fingerprint, and iPhone was later sent to a forensic lab to retrieve information.

“Unfortunately for the FBI, Artan’s lifeless fingerprint didn’t unlock the device (an iPhone 5 model, though Moledor couldn’t recall which. Touch ID was introduced in the iPhone 5S).

“In the hours between his death and the attempt to unlock, when the feds had to go through legal processes regarding access to the smartphone, the iPhone had gone to sleep and when reopened required a passcode,” Moledor told Forbes.

Source: Police are unlocking iPhones with dead people’s fingerprints

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What’s on Your Mind? Bosses Are Using Artificial Intelligence to Find Out

Human-resource departments are becoming a bit less human as companies turn to artificial intelligence for help with hiring and firing—and to learn how employees really feel about their bosses.

Every year at SPS Companies Inc., most of the steel processor’s 600 employees, from warehouse staffers to top executives, fill out a 30-minute confidential survey that asks, among other things, whether they feel micromanaged  and whether they feel their managers support their professional growth. One question challenges survey-takers to gauge how respected and valued they feel within the organization.

This year, for the first time, the Manhattan, Kan.-based company tapped an artificial-intelligence tool called Xander to analyze responses. Xander can determine whether an employee feels optimistic, confused or angry, and provide insights to help manage teams, the tool’s developers at Ultimate Software Group Inc. ULTI -0.82% said.

From a block of text, the software analyzes answers to open-ended questions based on language and other data, assigning attitudes or opinions to employees.

Source: What’s on Your Mind? Bosses Are Using Artificial Intelligence to Find Out

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11 Times Barack Obama Compared Slaves To Immigrants

This week, liberals savagely mocked Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson for allegedly comparing slaves to immigrants. It looks like they’ve completely forgotten about all the times Barack Obama did the exact same thing.

While speaking to a group of employees at his department on Monday, Carson said: “There were other immigrants who came in the bottom of slave ships, who worked even longer, even harder, for less, but they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great grandsons, great granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.”

His comment quickly ignited a firestorm among critics.

Source: 11 Times Barack Obama Compared Slaves To Immigrants

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Bitcoin’s Terrible Impact on Energy Consumption and Ecology

Bitcoin’s growth since its launch in 2009 has been incredible. From costing under $1 in 2010 to $19,000 in 2017, bitcoin has broken records no one thought it would. But amid the high growth rate, there have been numerous discussions about the digital currency’s impact on the environment. Unlike real money which is printed by governments, bitcoins are released into circulation through an energy-consuming process known as mining.

What is Bitcoin Mining?

Bitcoin mining is the process through which new bitcoins are introduced into circulation. It involves verifying transactions on the bitcoin network and adding them to the decentralized, public ledger known as the blockchain. The blockchain is one of the most popular inventions in the cryptocurrency industry. It was popularized by Satoshi Nakamoto after he launched bitcoin in 2009. While Satoshi’s real identity has never been revealed, the blockchain and bitcoin have kept his name popular ever since.

How is Energy Consumed while mining bitcoins?

The mining process does not just involve verifying transactions on a normal personal computer. It’s a more complicated process that involves the use of state of the art hardware. The hardware machines used are known as Application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs). In addition to having the right ASIC machine, a miner must also have a software program to help solve specific math puzzles.

Source: Bitcoin’s Terrible Impact on Energy Consumption and Ecology » TechWorm

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How Brain Stimulation Can Boost Memory If Paired With Learning

Brain stimulation devices delivering low current to regions of the brain may help users from online video-gamers to professional athletes and people with depression. Yet cognitive neuroscientists are still working to understand just how much we can influence brain signals and improve cognition with these techniques.

Source: How Brain Stimulation Can Boost Memory If Paired With Learning

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Police Raid Multiple Catholic Church Properties In Sweeping Child Sex Abuse Scandal

On Thursday, the residents of Saginaw County looked on as dozens of police officers raided two Catholic Diocese of Saginaw properties and the home of Bishop Joseph Cistone. The raids were carried out as part of an ongoing investigation into apparently rife sexual abuse in the church—and their history of covering it up.

According to Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Gaertner, the police raids were necessary because the church was refusing to cooperate with the ongoing investigation into a torrent of sexual abuse allegations.

“Contrary to the statements of the diocese and the bishop that they would fully cooperate with law enforcement, they did not,” Gaertner said. “Therefore it was necessary for law enforcement to use other investigative tools, including search warrants.”

Source: Police Raid Multiple Catholic Church Properties In Sweeping Child Sex Abuse Scandal

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Drop Google and Facebook Groups and Use This Instead 

Trying to find the best tool to get a bunch of people organized and sharing knowledge can be a pain. Google Groups can feel exceedingly complicated. Facebook cares little about your privacy. And if you’re still using Yahoo Groups … why? Instead of the Big Three, consider a service like Groups.io, a sensible, free platform that’s incredibly easy to use.For a bit of background, Groups.io was founded by Mark Fletcher, who has a deep history of working with online collaboration services. He founded ONElist in 1998, which later became eGroups, which was then acquired by Yahoo and transformed into that which we now know as Yahoo Groups, first of its name and protector of the realm.Fletcher left Yahoo after the acquisition, but he never gave up on groups, as he described in a 2014 blog post announcing the beta launch of Groups.io:

Source: Drop Google and Facebook Groups and Use This Instead 

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GOP pushes for ‘phase two’ of tax cuts 

Republicans are increasingly talking about “phase two” of tax cuts — including a permanent extension of the new law’s individual tax cuts — in an effort to highlight their signature legislative accomplishment and force Democrats to take tough votes. While Republicans could struggle to pass another tax bill this year, conservatives said that an effort to cement the new individual rates would be both smart policy and smart politics. “I am 100 percent behind that and would support it and even help promote it,” said Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee. President Trump and some key lawmakers have made comments in recent weeks about pursuing additional tax cuts following the enactment of the GOP’s tax-overhaul bill last year.

Source: GOP pushes for ‘phase two’ of tax cuts | TheHill

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The Only Reason We’re Examining Facebook’s Sleazy Behavior Is Because Trump Won 

Trust me, there’s nobody more thrilled to see Facebook’s unethical and abusive practices finally getting the attention they deserve from mass media and members of the public who simply didn’t want to hear about it previously. I’ve written multiple articles over the years warning people about the platform (links at the end), but these mostly fell on deaf ears.That’s just the way things go. All sorts of horrible behaviors can continue for a very long time before the corporate media and general public come around to caring. You typically need some sort of external event to change mass psychology. In this case, that event was Trump winning the election.The more I read about the recent Facebook scandal, it’s clear this sort of thing’s been going on for a very long time. The major difference is this time the data mining was used by campaign consultants of the person who wasn’t supposed to win. Donald Trump.To get a sense of what I mean, let’s take a look at some excerpts from a deeply troubling article recently published at the Guardian, ‘Utterly Horrifying’: Ex-Facebook Insider Says Covert Data Harvesting Was Routine:

Source: The Only Reason We’re Examining Facebook’s Sleazy Behavior Is Because Trump Won | Liberty Blitzkrieg

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Understanding email fraud: Do you have visibility into email threats?

82% of boards are concerned with email fraud, and 59% consider it a top security risk – no longer just an IT issue. Yet 30% of respondents to a survey conducted by Censuswide cited a lack of executive support as a key challenge to email fraud protection deployment, according to Proofpoint.“Email fraud is highly pervasive and deceptively simple; hackers don’t need to include attachments or URLs, emails are distributed in fewer volumes, and typically impersonate people in authority for maximum impact,” said Robert Holmes, vice president of Email Security Products for Proofpoint. “These and other factors make email fraud, also known as business email compromise (BEC), extremely difficult to detect and stop with traditional security tools.”Censuswide asked 2,250 senior IT decision makers across the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, and Australia for their email fraud experiences from the last two years. The survey demonstrates that email fraud is pervasive, disruptive, and in many cases, catching businesses unprepared. Insights include:75 percent of organizations experienced at least one targeted email fraud attack, with 41 percent suffering multiple attempts in the last two years. However, some organizations are taking proactive measures to protect both their brand and their employees. More than half (57%) have implemented a user-awareness program on phishing, and 46 percent use email authentication.More than 77 percent of businesses expect they will fall victim to email fraud in the next 12 months, and yet only 40 percent have full visibility into email threats. There is a disconnect between the anxiety felt by IT decision makers in relation to protecting the organization from email fraud and the buy-in from the boardroom to implement preventative methods.Cyber criminals are reaching deeper into the organization beyond the C-suite. Respondents deemed the Finance and Accounts Payable departments most at risk of receiving spoofed emails, with the C-level executives almost on par with the general workforce.More than half (56%) of respondents who were aware of a breach in the last two years, suffered downtime and disruption, and a third (33%) experienced a loss of funds. Email fraud also puts employees directly at risk. Nearly one in four attacks (24%) resulted in employment termination.

Source: Understanding email fraud: Do you have visibility into email threats? – Help Net Security

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London Police Edit ‘Thought Crime’ Threat After Ridicule Online 

People can be “charged” with an “offence” if their actions are within the law but their “reasons for doing it” are perceived as illegal hate by others, London police have said, before withdrawing the claim.Social media users began drawing attention to the Metropolitan force’s new, and highly unusual, definition of a ‘hate crime’ on the 16th of this month. It remained like that until the 18th, according to Google cache, before the police edited it again on Monday.The definition did not match that given by the College of Policing or Crown Prosecution Service, and critics online claimed it could be read as a threat against “thought crimes”.

Breitbart London asked the Metropolitan Police for comment on their change of heart over hate crime, but no reply had been received at the time of publication.“London’s Metropolitan Police inform you that you can be arrested for doing something that isn’t illegal, if someone else thinks you had bad thoughts while doing it,” joked U.S. commentator Jeff Jacoby.“In 21st century Britain you could be charged with a hate crime, if ANYONE THINKS your actions could have been motivated by hate,” added another Twitter user.“The Met seems to imply that a person can face two charges, one for the assault, and another for ‘their reasons for doing it.’ That is not true,” added criminal barrister Matthew Scott in an extensive blog post.

Source: London Police Edit ‘Thought Crime’ Threat After Ridicule Online | Breitbart

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Play Android Games In Play Store Without Downloading Them, Here Is How

Google has redesigned Google Play Games app, and its latest addition is the Google Play Instant feature that allows users to play trial games without downloading them.The Google Play Instant is now available in the Play Store, but it only has a handful of Android games offering trials at the moment such as Clash Royale, Crosswords, Mighty Battles, etc.You can take trials of the game just by tapping at the “Play” button which lets you experience the game’s full, native experience quickly without any major delay given that you have a good internet connection.While you try out the games, the app prompts you to download the game if you liked it and with a single tap, the game would be installed on your Android device.There is a new “Arcade” tab where you can check out some cool video game trailers or YouTube videos to get an overview of the game.

Source: Play Android Games In Play Store Without Downloading Them, Here Is How

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Tooth-mounted sensors track what you eat

You may soon be able to monitor everything you eat in real-time, digitally through a tooth-mounted sensor.  New miniaturized sensors were developed by researchers at the Tufts University School of Engineering.

The small device, made of three layers, would track everything you consume, including glucose, salt and alcohol.  It would then transmit the data wirelessly to a mobile device.

A study set to be published in the journal Advanced Materials explores how the sensors could work in the future.  Researchers they the devices may eventually be able to detect a wider range of nutrients, chemicals and physiological states.

“In theory we can modify the bioresponsive layer in these sensors to target other chemicals – we are really limited only by our creativity,” said Tufts professor Fiorenzo Omenetto, Ph.D., one of the authors of the study.

Source: Tooth-mounted sensors track what you eat

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Facebook faces US privacy investigation

Tom Pahl, acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said it took the reports about user data going astray “very seriously”.

He said the FTC regularly took “enforcement action” against firms that caused substantial injury to consumers by breaking laws that govern how personal information should be kept safe.

Facebook is required by law to notify users and get their permission before data is shared beyond their preferred privacy settings in what is known as the “consent decree”.

David Vladeck, the former director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said that the penalty for each violation of the consent decree is $40,000.

If the data of 50 million people were indeed compromised, the social network’s financial exposure to fines could run into trillions of dollars, Mr Vladeck told the Washington Post.

Rob Sherman, deputy chief privacy officer for Facebook, told CNBC it would“appreciate the opportunity to answer questions the FTC may have”.

The data was grabbed via an app that let people take a personality quiz. Although only 270,000 people completed the quiz, the app was able to exploit the way Facebook held data to get at information about millions more.

Facebook says it has changed its rules on user consent to stop other third parties harvesting data in the same way.

Source: Facebook faces US privacy investigation

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UC Berkeley Activist Covers Herself In Animal Feces Outside Trader Joe’s

On March 22, 2018, Cassie King launched a solo protest outside a Trader Joe’s in the South of Market neighborhood of San Francisco. And her demonstration was attention-grabbing, to say the least.King, who is a student at UC Berkeley, a vegan, and an animal activist, laid down outside the Trader Joe’s, covered in animal feces.King was protesting the brutal living conditions of egg-laying chickens at a supplier farm in Michigan. King covered herself in animal feces because a recent investigation by the animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere found starving chickens living in cramped conditions amid heaps of their own waste.The facility is one of Trader Joe’s supplier farms.“The supposedly ‘humane’ eggs sold at Trader Joe’s come from birds who lived their entire lives in piles of waste,” King said, and added that deceiving labels “mislead consumers into paying for cruelty.”

Source: UC Berkeley Activist Covers Herself In Animal Feces Outside Trader Joe’s

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‘Army of Islam’ would be world’s biggest military

When Turkey’s semi-official newspaper Yeni Şafak called for urgent action in forming a 57-nation “Army of Islam” to besiege and attack Israel, a suggestion undoubtedly approved with at least a wink and nod by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, it would signal the possible intent to create the largest military force on the planet – one nearly as large as the total population of the Jewish state.The report came just ahead of the summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and was published under the headline “What if an Army of Islam was formed against Israel?” It was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute.But it wasn’t a rhetorical question. It was actually a suggestion to combine the military forces of all Islamic countries to overwhelm the Israeli army in manpower, budget and equipment – even boasting with statistics.What do YOU think? Will Muslims join to create an ‘Army of Islam’? Sound off in the WND PollOn Dec. 12, 2017, ahead of the summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, the Turkish daily Yeni Şafak, which is close to Erdoğan and his ruling AKP party, published an article titled “A Call for Urgent Action,” which also appeared on the paper’s website under the title “What If an Army of Islam Was Formed against Israel?”

Source: ‘Army of Islam’ would be world’s biggest military

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Victory! California City Rejects Sanctuary State Lawlessness

When all seemed lost, a little city made the move to help Make California Great Again. Los Alamitos, the second smallest city in Orange County, just passed a huge ordinance asserting the city’s compliance with the United States Constitution. Specifically, in an unprecedented yet necessary state, the council voted to opt out of the immoral, unconstitutional mandates of SB 54, aka the California “Values” Act or Sanctuary State law.For the last three years, California’s Democratic dominance has voted to disregard federal immigration laws. Now they are seeing their deep blue bubble burst. Whether they like it or not, California remains a part of the United States. The Founding Charter of our country, the United States Constitution, is still the Supreme Law of the Land.

Yet even with Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ latest series of lawsuits, plus ICE’s ramped-up operations, California citizens need relief from Sacramento’s legislative lawlessness. One of the smallest enclaves in Orange County, Los Alamitos displays its rich, diverse heritage in its coat of arms, and they took the first major step to undermine SB 54 outright. Small cities have quiet, small chambers, and Los Alamitos was no exception. I arrived nearly two hours early to get a seat. Within 30 minutes, riotous pro-illegal groups throughout Southern California swarmed the plaza, along with left-wing religious figures, college students and members of the ACLU. The Los Alamitos Police Department showed up in full force, probably the first time in the city’s history.

Source: Victory! California City Rejects Sanctuary State Lawlessness – Arthur Schaper

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Lottery Winner Pleads Guilty To Bank Robbery 

A man who once won a $19 million lottery jackpot pleaded guilty Thursday to four federal counts of bank robbery, authorities said.James Allen Hayes, 55, who was also known as James Killen and Ceaser Killen, was indicted last October in connection with bank heists in Newhall, Valencia and Santa Barbara counties. Authorities say he is believed to be the PT Cruiser Bandit and the Seasoned Bandit, so named by the FBI for his gray/white hair.In each heist, the robber slipped a note to the teller demanding cash and threatening to shoot if they did not comply, according to the indictment.As part of the plea deal, Hayes agreed to forfeit a light-colored Chrysler PT Cruiser, which was allegedly used in some of the robberies.

Source: Lottery Winner Pleads Guilty To Bank Robbery « CBS Los Angeles

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‘Rick and Morty’ and The Rise of The ‘I’m a Piece of Shit’ Defense

Rick and Morty is a cartoon for adults that airs as part of the Cartoon Network’s after-dark Adult Swim lineup. If you have an incredibly high IQ, maybe you’ve watched it. Otherwise, you may have first heard about the series when a tantrum-prone subset of its hardcore fans rioted at McDonald’s locations that ran out of a limited-edition dipping sauce resurrected by popular demand after one episode featured a reference to it.

This week, those same well-adjusted folks are losing their shit because Adult Swim has yet to order a fourth season of the show, though such delays are exceedingly common and in no way indicate cancellation. A few have gone as far as attacking Rick and Morty’s co-creator, Dan Harmon, for being a lazy alcoholic who won’t get back to work.

Source: ‘Rick and Morty’ and The Rise of The ‘I’m a Piece of Shit’ Defense

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Writing on dollar bill found in Wisconsin casts new light on 1999 disappearance of Arizona girl

Mysterious writing scrawled on a dollar bill used to buy Girl Scout cookies in Wisconsin has prompted investigators to take a new look at the 1999 disappearance of an 11-year-old Arizona girl, police told ABC News.Mikelle Biggs vanished from in front of her Mesa home on January 2, 1999, and in the 19 years she’s been missing, police have chased down numerous tips only to find dead ends.Neesha Police DepartmentThis dollar bill turned in to the Neesha Police Department in Wisconsin contains words around the edge referencing the 1999 disappearance of 11-year-old Mikelle Briggs in Mesa, Ariz. more +”We get leads from time to time, and we do follow up on these leads until there’s nothing to follow,” Mesa Detective Steve Berry told ABC News Tuesday.The latest tip in the missing girl case was uncovered more than 1,700 miles from Mesa, when a resident of Neenah, Wisconsin, handed over to police a dollar bill on March 14 with writing on the edges referencing the case of Biggs, Neenah Police Chief Kevin Wilkinson told ABC News.

Source: Writing on dollar bill found in Wisconsin casts new light on 1999 disappearance of Arizona girl – ABC News

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Spies in the Skies: Walmart Files Patent for Robot Bees

With honey bee populations still in peril from one or several of a litany of hotly debated causes — neonicotinoid insecticides, changing climate, and more — Walmart appears to have joined the race for a technological solution to a potential looming disaster, filing a patent for robotic, drone bees earlier this month.Technically called pollination drones, Business Insider points out, the tiny bee imposters’ capabilities would theoretically include crop pollination — managed remotely through sensors and cameras allowing precision maneuverability between crops and monitor, as well as to monitor that pollination was both sufficient and successful.CB Insights, credited with first publicizing the patent filed on March 8, surmised Walmart is seeking further control of its supply chain, as the pollinator drones are among six “patents targeting farm automation. The applications propose using drones to identify pests attacking crops, monitor crop damage, spray pesticides, and pollinate crops.”

Source: Spies in the Skies: Walmart Files Patent for Robot Bees

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South Park’s Matt Stone and Trey Parker to Crowd at Awards Show: “We’re Republicans”

South Park is one of the most overtly gross, intentionally offensive shows in existence today. It’s also one of the smartest, and most brilliant programs television has ever seen.

Underneath the fart jokes, cuss words, and inappropriate humor, South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker create a surreal world that through the art of satire and comedy rips back the veil society likes to wear and shows its face for what it really is.

The show’s favorite target is those who take themselves far too seriously. More often than not, their targets end up being left-leaning figures or causes. They’ve ripped everyone from Al Gore and Michael Moore, to atheists and social justice warriors.

While Stone and Parker have attacked right-leaning causes from time to time, the veracity with which South Park goes after leftists has generated some serious outrage, especially after they spent nearly their entire 19th season when they went after the politically correct left, sparking anger from social justice warriors the world over.

Stone and Parker rarely talk frankly about their political stances, but when they do, it’s never anything the left likes to hear. During the 2016 elections, the duo made it clear that they weren’t big fans of either Clinton or Trump, but that “we believe in liberty,” and would support Gary Johnson if there was a chance he’d get elected.

But now the South Park creators have opened up a bit more about their politics, and in classic Stone and Parker form, they did so in such a way that it made people uncomfortable.

According to Larry Elder, Stone and Parker were accepting a “freedom” award from Norman Lear’s organization. When they took to the stage to accept the award they dropped the bomb on everyone in the room.

“We’re Republicans,” said the duo the crowd who reportedly laughed nervously.

“No, seriously. We’re Republicans,” they reaffirmed.

Source: South Park’s Matt Stone and Trey Parker to Crowd at Awards Show: “We’re Republicans”

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Facebook thinks it knows whether you’re liberal or conservative

Facebook is facing a backlash on two continents from users, advertisers and lawmakers for having allowed Cambridge Analytica to allegedly amass information on 50 million of its users.

The company’s core business that powers around $4 billion in monthly revenue is monetizing everything you do on Facebook to serve its advertisers. However, users may not know that the powerful social network already has an opinion about your political leanings — and it’s fairly easy to find out what Mark Zuckerberg’s company thinks of your political preferences.

Hidden in plain sight under Ad Preferences is a section called Your Information. If you click on that tab, you’ll see an option for Your Categories, which contains a section called US Politics — in parentheses, Facebook will have you labeled as Very Liberal, Liberal, Moderate, Conservative or Very Conservative.

The social network says it fills up these categories “based on information you’ve provided on Facebook and other activity.”

Source: Facebook thinks it knows whether you’re liberal or conservative: Here’s how to find out

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Bananas may be the key to less melty ice cream

Ice cream melts at a slower rate when it contains less fat and more water, which is why lower-fat milk is often used to make it. Unfortunately, that can also mean the treat will be less creamy.But researchers may have found a natural way to make ice cream melt at a slower rate even if it’s made with low-fat milk. The solution? Bananas, or more specifically, the cellulose nanofibers (CNFs) extracted from banana waste, according to Phys.org.The process starts with banana rachis, or stems. When bananas are harvested, their stems often go to waste. Researchers extracted CNFs from ground-up banana rachis that would otherwise go to waste. These fibers are “thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair.”They added the CNFs to 100 grams of ice cream in different concentrations that ranged from zero to three-tenths of a gram. Using analytical tools, they looked at the affect of added CNFs in ice cream.

Source: Bananas may be the key to less melty ice cream | MNN – Mother Nature Network

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Gore travels to Dubai, warns: ‘Global warming’ triggering ‘flying rivers, rain bombs’

Former Vice President Al Gore is at it again. Gore is attempting to link extreme weather to man-made climate change, this time warning of “flying rivers” and “rain bombs.” But in a new book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change, Gore is accused of engaging in scientifically baseless “weather porn” for attempting to link every bad weather event to “global warming.Climate change triggering ‘flying rivers, rain bombs’, Gore warns – Gulf News – March 18, 2018March 18, 2018By Faisal Masudi Dubai: Bizarre weather such as “flying rivers” and “rain bombs” are just some of the recent effects of climate change, warned former US vice-president Al Gore at the Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF) in Dubai on Sunday. Gore, who is the founder and chairman of The Climate Reality Project, a non-profit establishment “devoted to solving the climate crisis”, told GESF delegates global weather is becoming “extreme” and “disruptive”, mainly because of global warming…He described flying or atmospheric rivers as long streams of rain-bearing clouds that carry huge amounts of water vapour over long distances, ending as heavy rain bombs over a small, concentrated area. Gore said a city in California was recently hit by such weather, with the ‘river’ in the air having flown thousands of kilometres from an area in the Pacific Ocean.Gore also said climate change could make large parts of the Middle East uninhabitable, which would create “climate refugees”, who would clash with settled populations in cities. [Note: In addition to debunking exterme weather/climate link, The new book: The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate CHange,” thourougly refutes Gore’s claim on both climate and war. See: ‘Global warming’ causes war claims — debunked – ‘Warm periods are more peaceful than cold ones’ – Bonus Chapter #2 for Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change]

Source: Gore travels to Dubai, warns: ‘Global warming’ triggering ‘flying rivers, rain bombs’ | Climate Depot

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Rapist caught after urinating in plant pot 30 years later

A rapist who evaded capture for more than 30 years until he urinated in a neighbour’s plant pot – leading to a DNA match – has been jailed.Eric McKenna, 59, raped two women in separate attacks in the North East in 1983 and 1988.Police had not linked the assaults until they were called to the neighbour dispute in 2016 and took swabs from McKenna which matched the cold cases.McKenna, of Clarewood Court, Newcastle, has been jailed for 23 years.Newcastle Crown Court was told analysis of the DNA showed it to be an exact match for samples recovered after both rapes.

Source: Rapist caught after urinating in plant pot 30 years later – BBC News

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What’s Behind the Rhetoric of ‘Climate Change’ and the Demonizing of Skeptics?

Emily Holden is a well-trained rhetorician. In her Politico article “Climate change skeptics run the Trump administration,” she writes of President Trump and his appointees’ “disbelief in the scientific evidence for climate change,” which of course is spin in multiple ways.Holden depends from the start on the fact that skepticism of “climate change” is now widely considered anti-scientific. Yet as the philosopher of science Robert K. Merton wrote 80 years ago, “Most institutions demand unqualified faith; but the institution of science makes skepticism a virtue.”She could have written of the skeptics’ “belief in the scientific evidence against dangerous manmade global warming,” but that would let the cat out of the bag—that there is scientific evidence supporting a view contrary to hers. No, no, too much danger in that.CARTOONS | JERRY HOLBERTVIEW CARTOONAnd of course specifying “dangerous manmade climate change” would concede that it’s possible to believe in climate change (as does every significant skeptic of dangerous manmade global warming) without believing in dangerous manmade global warming.

Source: What’s Behind the Rhetoric of ‘Climate Change’ and the Demonizing of Skeptics? – Calvin Beisner

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How Uber ghost rides are linked to online money laundering

Online service marketplaces are relatively new, and there are few ways for their operators to regularly monitor the entirety of services and transactions. Unfortunately, this creates an open environment for electronic money laundering, known as ‘transaction laundering,’ to occur.Last November, we all discovered that no one is immune to cyber crime, when The Daily Beast published an article showing that Airbnb had been exposed to online payment system exploitation. The scam is simple: fraudsters use stolen credit cards to launder dirty money through complicit Airbnb hosts they meet in underground, online Russian forums.Once the Airbnb booking transaction is processed, no one actually stays at the swanky (or not so swanky), advertised accommodation. Instead, the two parties split the payment and create fake end-of-stay reviews to close the transaction loop.

Source: How Uber ghost rides are linked to online money laundering

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The US Navy’s newest submarine comes with an Xbox controller 

On Saturday, the USS Colorado, the US Navy’s latest Virginia-class attack submarine, went into service from the Naval Submarine Base New London in Connecticut. It comes with an unconventional piece of equipment: an XBox controller, according to USA Today.The Navy said in September that the new submarines would come equipped with a pair of photonics masts, which replace the previously-used periscope.

The masts feature high-resolution cameras that can rotate 360 degrees and feeds their imagery to monitors in the ship’s control room. Initially, the masts were controlled with a “helicopter-style stick,” but those were described as heavy and clunky, and were swapped out with an Xbox 360 controller.According to the Colorado’s commanding officer, Commander Reed Koepp, using off-the-shelf technology saves the Navy money, while the controller is already intuitive for the submarine’s sailors.

Source: The US Navy’s newest submarine comes with an Xbox controller – The Verge

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Facebook Advertisers Start Pulling Out

Facebook advertisers have threatened to abandon the platform in the wake of a massive data harvesting scandal which began after it was revealed that an app created by two psychologists – one of whom Facebook employs – gathered data on over 50 million Americans and then sold it to political data firm Cambridge Analytics and several others, who used it without consent.Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of the social media giant gave several interviews Wednesday after spending three days in hiding, ostensibly with a crisis management team which advised him not give wholly unsatisfactory answers to one of the largest data breaches in history.The scandal is pushing some Facebook advertisers to consider dropping the platform, reports The Times.

Source: Facebook Advertisers Start Pulling Out

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Forced Anal Exams of Suspected Gay Men Are Banned in Kenya

Amid political turmoil, a Kenyan appeals court overturned a lower court ruling and delivered a major LGBT victory: Forced anal examinations of suspected gay men are now unlawful.

Amid an uncertain political period in KenyaLGBT activists scored a victory Thursday: an appeals court, overturning a lower court’s ruling, held that forced anal examinations of suspected gay men are unlawful.

As we reported in 2016, the shocking procedure of forced anal examinations—still practiced in at least eight countries—is useless as a diagnostic tool, but quite useful as a means to humiliate and entrap suspected gay people.

In theory, doctors examine a man’s anus to see if it has been stretched, strained or cracked, presumably a result of anal sex. In practice, the human anus just doesn’t work that way; it resumes its normal shape, either immediately or after a short period of time. You might as well test a rubber band to see if it’s ever been used.

In September 2017, The Kenya Medical Association released a statement to “condemn and discourage any form of forced examination of clients, even in the guise of discovering crimes.”

Source: Forced Anal Exams of Suspected Gay Men Are Banned in Kenya

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Thousands Lose Right to Vote Under ‘Incompetence’ Laws

Like many people with autism, Greg Demer is bright but has difficulty communicating. He has a passion for the history of military aircraft, but he can’t quite keep up a conversation with new people. When he meets someone, he’ll quote from movies or ask them about their favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

His mother, Linda Demer, worried that he wouldn’t be able to make complicated decisions about his finances and health care once he turned 18. So, in 2005, a judge in Los Angeles, where they live, granted her conservatorship over Greg.

“I wanted to protect him,” she said of her son, who is now 31.

But in the conservatorship process, the judge also stripped away Greg’s right to vote. He was not only unfit to make decisions about his health care and finances, the judge ruled, but he also was unfit to participate in the democratic process.

Source: Thousands Lose Right to Vote Under ‘Incompetence’ Laws

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Spanish rapper jailed for lyrics that glorified terrorism 

A rapper has been jailed for writing songs that prosecutors said glorified terrorism and insulted the Spanish crown.Josep Miquel Arenas, 24, from Mallorca, penned lyrics that called for political assassinations in the style of Basque separatist group ETA and said one regional politician ‘deserved an atom bomb’.The singer, known as Valtonyc, appealed against an earlier conviction on the grounds of freedom of expression and artistic freedoms. +2Josep Miguel Arenas wrote lyrics endorsing violent militias and political assassinationsHe protested the controversial words were ‘extreme, provocative, allegorical and symbolic’. But his three-and-a-half year prison sentence was upheld at the Supreme Court in Madrid on Tuesday.

Source: Spanish rapper jailed for lyrics that glorified terrorism | Daily Mail Online

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Configure an amateur radio gateway with a Raspberry Pi

The APRS (Automatic Packet Reporting System) is a worldwide digital communications network for amateur radio, providing a single national channel where people can monitor what is happening in the surrounding area.APRS uses packet radio (AX.25), which Tom Karpiniec described in his excellent Opensource.com article “Packet radio lives on through open source software,” as the transport layer.The basic idea of APRS is to communicate information in the context of the location of an amateur radio operator, such as other stations’ position information (whether mobile or fixed), repeater systems, weather information, or events. Amateur radio operators can, in addition, send direct messages to other amateurs via the network. As packets are sent, they include location information that can be displayed on a map. This provides an immediate view of activity in an area.

Source: Configure an amateur radio gateway with a Raspberry Pi | Opensource.com

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U.S. Government Is ‘Ignoring UFO Sightings’ Because ‘Nobody Wants To Be The Alien Guy,’ Former Pentagon official Says

The government is “ignoring UFO sightings” because “nobody wants to be ‘the alien guy’ in the national security bureaucracy,” a former Pentagon official said.Christopher Mellon, a former deputy assistant security of defense for the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, claims that the government needs to thoroughly investigate nationwide reports of flying unidentified objects, given the sheer quantity in recent years.In a Washington Post op-ed, Mellon, who now works at The Stars Academy of Arts and Science (TTSA), says some U.S. pilots have encountered a UFO and several have even caught footage of the occurrence, but not enough has been done about it. “We have no idea what’s behind these weird incidents because we’re not investigating,” he wrote.

Source: U.S. Government Is ‘Ignoring UFO Sightings’ Because ‘Nobody Wants To Be The Alien Guy,’ Former Pentagon official Says

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Police Uncover Antifa-linked Hoard of Chemicals, High-Explosives, Mobile Bomb Factory in Germany

The authorities have uncovered an Antifa-linked hoard of chemicals, high-explosives, and a mobile bomb factory in Thuringia, Germany, according to local media.There is some suggestion that the haul, which is suspected to be linked to alt-left extremism, has been played down for political reasons, Welt Am Sonntag reports.Bodo Ramelow, Thuringia’s Minister-President and a member of Die Linke (The Left Party), gave one of the two individuals accused of being linked to the materials a democracy award for their commitment to taking on ‘Neo-Nazis’, according to WAS.

“The findings available so far suggest that the spokesman of an alliance honoured by the Ramelow government prepared explosives attacks,” said Mike Mohring, who is chairman of Angela Merkel’s nominally conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party in Thuringia, as well as CDU leader in the region’s parliament.“The days-long, almost booming silence of the entire state government is more than strange.”

Source: Police Uncover Antifa-linked Hoard of Chemicals, High-Explosives, Mobile Bomb Factory in Germany

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Philippine leader urges nations to exit international court 

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte urged other governments on Sunday to abandon the International Criminal Court, saying the world tribunal — where he’s facing a possible complaint for the thousands of killings of drug suspects under his crackdown — is “rude.”Although the Philippine Senate has ratified the Rome Statute that established the ICC, Duterte said in a speech that the treaty was never enforced in the country because it was not published in the government journal as required by law.As a result, Duterte said the international court can never have jurisdiction over him, “not in a million years.”Last month, an ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, announced that she was opening a preliminary examination into a complaint by a Filipino lawyer of suspected extrajudicial killings under Duterte’s anti-drug campaign, which could amount to crimes against humanity.

Source: Philippine leader urges nations to exit international court – ABC News

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