Daily Archives: March 9, 2018

Ohio is investing in hyperloop studies. Why?

For American lawmakers, funding public transit often feels like small ball. Politicians prefer to dream bigger. Earlier this month, transportation agencies in the Cleveland region and in Illinois announced they would co-sponsor a $1.2 million study of a “hyperloop” connecting Cleveland to Chicago, cutting a 350-mile journey to just half an hour. It’s the fourth public study of the nonexistent transportation mode to be undertaken in the past three months.“Ohio is defined by its history of innovation and adventure,” said Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who once canceled a $400 million Obama-era grant for high-speed rail in the state. “A hyperloop in Ohio would build upon that heritage.” In January, a bipartisan group of Rust Belt representatives wrote to President Trump to ask for $20 million in federal funding for a Hyperloop Transportation Initiative, a Department of Transportation division that would regulate and fund a travel mode with no proof of concept.It’s hard to keep up: Last week, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission announced feasibility and environmental-impact studies for a different hyperloop route, connecting Pittsburgh and Chicago through Columbus, Ohio, to be run by a different company, Virgin Hyperloop One. The company—which fired a pod through a tube at 240 mph in December—is also studying routes in Missouri and Colorado.* Meanwhile, Elon Musk—who has obtained (contested) tunneling permission from Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan—pulled a permit from the District of Columbia for a future hyperloop station.

Source: Ohio is investing in hyperloop studies. Why?

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‘Klingon tourist center’ opens in Sweden

They’re a ruthless species of extraterrestrial warriors from the Omega Leonis Star System eager to build bridges with humans and attract them to their planet.So where on Earth would they choose to open their first tourist center?Stockholm, Sweden, of course — home of ABBA, open-faced sandwiches and stylish but sensible knitwear.A small theater in the Swedish capital has been transformed into the world’s first “Klingon tourist center” in a playful bid to boost tourism in Qo’noS (pronounced “Kronos”), the fictional home planet of the alien species from the “Star Trek” franchise.Titled “Visit Qo’noS,” the immersive fan fiction production begins the moment visitors set foot inside the Turteatern theater, located in southern Stockholm.The foyer is filled with information stalls promoting everything the imagined planet has to offer potential travelers as well as maps, brochures and visa application material.Once inside, guests are treated to live performances of Klingon Opera and martial arts battle re-enactments from Klingon ambassadors Ban’Shee, Mara, Morath and Klag.There’s even a 3D replica of the Klingon capital, First City.

Source: ‘Klingon tourist center’ opens in Sweden | CNN Travel

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Some Believe Surveillance Plane Will Deter Crime, Police Corruption 

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The recent shootings are among the crimes some community activists believe could be solved with more eyes watching the streets.The controversial private plane that once flew over Baltimore, taking pictures of the entire city, could be making a comeback.While privacy advocates are alarmed, some community activists say Baltimore needs the eyes in the sky to fight crimeIt’s gaining support as a way to keep an eye on police to stop police brutality and corruption. Advocates believe it could also stop crime with powerful cameras that beam images to an office near police headquarters.“The deterrent of knowing that you’re being watched,” Baltimore resident Joyous Jones said. “It will get some of the bad guys off the street.”The plane stopped flying after a test in 2016 amid complaints it was launched in secret. This time around, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh is open to it and a more transparent process.“We don’t want people to feel like is that we’re being invasive,” Mayor Pugh said. “Here’s the reality; we have cameras up all around the city.”The pitch that sold Archie Williams, a backer who was once skeptical.“There’s a distrust in the city. It could stop police corruption,” Williams said. “We want change, but we want to feel like we’re protected. We don’t feel like we’re protected with blue and red lights no more.”Persistence Surveillance Systems operates the plane and says private funding is lined up for the first year. They’ll provide the service at cost, about $1.6 million, after the first year. They’re hoping Baltimore could be a model for expanding across America.

Source: Some Believe Surveillance Plane Will Deter Crime, Police Corruption « CBS Baltimore

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Protesters shout down dissident feminist after student organizers refuse to disinvite her 

‘We will not subscribe to the belief that we must tamp down on speech due to discomfort’Radical left-wing student groups tried to get Christina Hoff Sommers, known for her “Factual Feminist” YouTube series, disinvited from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, whose metropolitan region is home to a vocal Antifa contingent.When their attempt at persuasion failed, they resorted to familiar territory: repeatedly disrupting the event so that organizers or law enforcement would shut it down.

The American Enterprise Institute scholar and critic of fainting-couch feminism addressed the school’s Federalist Society chapter this afternoon, after the student group refused to disinvite her.In a statement Sommers shared on Twitter this morning, the Federalist Society said Sommers was not a fascist by any conceivable definition, given her opposition to “the oppressive cloak of authoritarianism that extreme collectivists are known all too well to wear.”They said they hope that characterization of her is a “rash mistake” rather than a “deliberate attempt to justify shutting down the pursuit of free and rational discourse by any means possible”:

Source: Protesters shout down dissident feminist after student organizers refuse to disinvite her – The College Fix

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Australia considers banning ISPs from listing internet speeds they cannot provide

The Australian government is considering a bill that would make it illegal for ISPs to falsely advertise high internet speeds. Under the proposed legislation, lying about internet speeds would become a fineable offense that could cost ISPs that violate the law up to $1 million AUD.Andrew Wilkie, a member of Parliament who introduced the bill this week, told Motherboard, “People are getting worse than dial-up speed when they’ve been promised a whizz-bang, super-fast connection.” He described one person complaining to him that they were charged for a 25 Mbps download speed and a 5 Mbps upload speed, but they were getting less than one-tenth of that.The proposed law would order ISPs to become more transparent about internet speeds and list typical speeds experienced by the average user, periods when internet traffic tended to be higher, and any other factors that could affect service.

Source: Australia considers banning ISPs from listing internet speeds they cannot provide – The Verge

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Maxine Waters promises reparations in ‘stump speech for 2020’ 

If Democrats win back the House in 2018, Maxine Waters is promising financial reparations for black Americans.During an appearance in Selma, Alabama on Saturday, Waters appeared alongside CNN commentator Angela Rye.Waters took her time to — what else — attack President Trump, criticizing him for his alleged connections to Russia.“He’s a bully — he has a bully mentality,” Waters said of Trump.“We need someone in the presidency who not only has good sense but understands diplomacy and understands what we need to do to have peace in this world so we can all look forward to the possibility that we’re someday going to have a world that’s about peace and justice and respect for individual liberty,” Water said.

Source: Maxine Waters promises reparations in ‘stump speech for 2020’ – The American MirrorThe American Mirror

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Erdogan’s Next Target as He Restricts Turkey’s Democracy: The Internet

Having already brought Turkey’s mainstream media to heel, and made considerable headway in rolling back Turkish democracy, the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has set its sights on a seemingly innocuous target: a satellite television preacher named Adnan Oktar.For seven years, with an unholy blend of the racy and the religious, Mr. Oktar has presented his show daily via satellite, cable and the internet, where he expounds on Islamic creationism, peace and love, often to a studio audience of women in miniskirts and plunging necklines.Religious conservatives in the government now say they want to shut him down. But critics say that Mr. Oktar has become a convenient trigger for the government to pursue wide-reaching restrictions on internet content and broadcasters.

continue https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/04/world/europe/turkey-erdogan-internet-law-restrictions.html

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Hatchet-Wielding Man Allegedly Driven to Crime by Hatred of Teslas 

A man who apparently harbors a strong dislike for Tesla automobiles was arrested Wednesday afternoon in downtown Santa Barbara after he allegedly confronted the driver of one of the pricey electric cars, according to the Santa Barbara Police Department.Officers were dispatched at about 12:30 p.m. to the 100 block of Arrellaga Street on a report of a man with a hatchet who allegedly struck a Tesla that was driving by.“He took issue with a Tesla, and said, ‘I hate Teslas,’ and created some motion with his arm while holding a hatchet,” police Sgt. Andrew Hill told Noozhawk.Witnesses and the driver both saw and heard the man make contact with the vehicle, but a subsequent inspection revealed no damage, Hill said, “so technically there was no vandalism.”The suspect, whose name was not released, fled on foot, but was arrested near the intersection of Chapala and Micheltorena streets.“It turns out he’s either a little crazy or under the influence of meth, or both,” Hill said.The man was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs, “and the hatchet is now in our custody,” Hill said.

Source: Hatchet-Wielding Man Allegedly Driven to Crime by Hatred of Teslas | Local News – Noozhawk.com

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Microaggressions can be ‘lethal,’ profs tells Berkeley students

A UCLA professor told students at the University of California, Berkeley Wednesday night that “racial microaggressions” can be “lethal” because they lead to “racial battle fatigue.”Dr. Daniel Solorzano, a Sociology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, also declared that racial microaggressions are a tool to “keep those at the racial margins systemically in their place” during his lecture on “Free Speech and Racial Microaggressions.”

Solorzano rejected the conventional definition of microaggressions as often-unintentional behaviors that have no malicious intent, but are perceived as such. Instead, he argued that they should be perceived as “assaults directed at people of color” based on the “academic, psychological, and sociological toll on those targeted.”

[RELATED: ‘Diversity educators’ fear ‘burnout’ from ‘microaggressions’]

Solorzano further asserted during a follow-up interview with Campus Reform that, due to the ubiquity of racism in American society, “the ‘micro’ in microaggressions does not mean ‘less than’ [macroaggressions]. The micro in microaggressions means ‘in the everyday'” [emphasis his].

On several occasions throughout the event, the UCLA professor even went so far as to say that such constant exposure to microaggressions can actually be “lethal” to those on the receiving end of them.

Source: Microaggressions can be ‘lethal,’ profs tells Berkeley students

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Cryptocurrency Mining Malware That Uses an NSA Exploit Is On the Rise 

A computer security exploit developed by the US National Security Agency and leaked by hackers last year is now being used to mine cryptocurrency, and according to cybersecurity experts the number of infections is rising.Last April, a hacking group called the Shadow Brokers leaked EternalBlue, a Windows exploit that was developed by the NSA. Less than a month later, EternalBlue was used to unleash a devastating global ransomware attack called WannaCry that infected more than 230,000 computers in 150 countries. A month later, in June, the EternalBlue exploit was again used to cripple networks across the world in an even more sophisticated attack. Now, security researchers are seeing the EternalBlue exploit being used to hijack people’s computers to mine cryptocurrency.“EternalBlue, which was previously only used by nation state actors, is now becoming much more commonplace in malware leveraged by your average cybercriminal,” Bryan York, director of services at CrowdStrike, told me on the phone.This new attack—called WannaMine—may seem like less of a threat than WannaCry because it doesn’t lock users out of their computer. But CrowdStrike noted in a blog post laying out its findings on WannaMine that the company has observed the malware “rendering some companies unable to operate for days and weeks at a time.” WannaMine infections are also hard to detect because it doesn’t download any applications to an infected device.

Source: Cryptocurrency Mining Malware That Uses an NSA Exploit Is On the Rise – Motherboard

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Facebook Keeps Secret Files on Internet Users Habits – Here’s How to Find Yours | Breitbart

Facebook regularly collects data on its 1.4 billion daily active users worldwide — here is how to find the information they have collected on you.The Daily Mail reports that Facebook may be tracking your Internet habits even if you’ve never registered an account on the site. Facebook states that this information is used to target specific advertising towards users and for other security reasons —explaining why you may suddenly see ads on Facebook for a new lawnmower right after you searched the internet for “gardening supplies.” Although it is not really possible to stop Facebook tracking your internet habits, Facebook users can download the information that Facebook collects, so at least you have a firm grasp on what the Silicon Valley giant knows about you.

Facebook tracks user activities on more than 10,000 websites using invisible trackers called Pixels, these record information about users when they visit one of the sites and transmit it back to Facebook. Information collected by these Pixels include your IP Address, computer operating system, where you’re located, which sites you visit the most and what you do on these websites.Nick Wingham, a reporter for the New Zealand Herald, downloaded his personal file from Facebook and discovered a huge collection of data captured by the social media platform. The file included old videos he had taken on his phone, copies of tenancy agreements, bills for his internet service and screenshots of bank transfers. The file also contained basic chat logs and other site activity records.advertisementGetting a copy of your own personal data file is quite easy.

Simply log into Facebook and follow these steps:Click the drop-down arrow beside the question mark icon on the toolbar and select the “Settings” option/This will bring you to a “General Account Settings” page, at the bottom left of this page you should be able to see text reading “Download a copy of your Facebook data.” Click this to begin downloading the information that Facebook has collected on you.

Facebook has come under fire for their tracking of Internet users in the past. In February, a Belgian court ruled that Facebook must stop tracking users that don’t have an account registered on the website or face a fine of up to $305,000 a day. European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) spokesperson Johannes Kleis stated at the time, “This is a big win for internet users who don’t want tech companies to monitor every step they make online. What Facebook is doing is against Europe’s data protection laws and should be stopped throughout the EU.’

Source: Facebook Keeps Secret Files on Internet Users Habits – Here’s How to Find Yours | Breitbart

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The Volkswagen Beetle will soon be exterminated 

Volkswagen is exterminating the Beetle.The automaker’s head of research and development, Frank Welsch, has confirmed that the brand’s iconic compact car will not be replaced when the current model ends production.The executive broke the news to Autocar at the Geneva Motor Show, telling the publication that “two or three generations is enough now.”Welsch said that the Beetle was “made with history in mind but you can’t do it five times and have a new new new Beetle.”Instead, the VW lineup’s “heritage” slot will be filled by the upcoming electric Microbus, which blends retro styling with a high-tech battery-powered drivetrain that promises long, strange 300-mile trips between charges when it goes on sale in 2021.

Source: The Volkswagen Beetle will soon be exterminated | New York Post

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Sympathy, Empathy, and the Lack of Both In American Civil Society

The realization that the American political climate has of late become hostile, unproductive, and downright horrid is nothing new to anyone.  The partisanship and tribalism that exists in our public discourse seems to find strange new ways to isolate and anger every corner of civilized society.However, this animosity seems to be seeping into even the simplest of personal interactions, where criticism and abject hostility to those that are trying to simply be helpful and kind is now commonplace.An illustrative moment this week was with the recent illness of director and actor Kevin Smith.  This past weekend, Smith suffered a massive heart attack, one which the actor himself stated may have killed him if he had not quickly and promptly responded to his own symptoms.This is, of course, something that most of us can relate to.  Almost anyone alive today has lost someone to a heart attack.This would have been a passing entertainment section story, except for the fact that on Twitter, actor Chris Pratt (of Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World fame, among other things) tweeted out what is, to most of us, the most innocuous of well wishes for Kevin Smith’s quick recovery:

Source: Sympathy, Empathy, and the Lack of Both In American Civil Society | The American Spectator

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Uzbek Imam Warns Fantasizing About Strangers During Sex Leads To Gay Babies

A controversial Uzbek imam has suggested that homosexuality is a “disease that worries the world community” and offered advice on how couples can prevent having gay babies.Rahmatulloh Saifutdinov, the chief imam of Tashkent’s Mirzo Yusuf Mosque, told worshippers that fantasizing about someone other than your spouse during sex can lead to a woman giving birth to a homosexual child.Speaking during a sermon after Friday Prayers on March 2, Saifutdinov suggested that some Uzbek women think about “handsome” strangers while making love to their husbands:

Source: Uzbek Imam Warns Fantasizing About Strangers During Sex Leads To Gay Babies

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