Monthly Archives: April 2018

Genius! Woman Puts Fake Parking Ticket in Her Own Car Window So Police Wouldn’t Give Her a Real One

A resourceful driver in Suzhou, China, found the perfect way of avoiding a parking ticket. When leaving her car in a no-parking zone, she would simply leave a fake parking ticket in her window so that policemen would think one of their colleagues had already fined her.

It was the perfect crime! Most policemen would only check if the date was correct and move one, and if one of them actually paid enough attention to figure out that the parking ticket was fake, the woman would simply say that she had no idea, that she was the victim of a prank. Genius and safe, I tell you! Unless someone actually saw her putting the ticket in the window, there was no way to prove she was guilty.


There’s no way to know how long the woman had used this method to avoid parking tickets for, but she was finally caught in the act earlier this month. In what can only be described as sheer bad luck, the woman parked her car right next to that of an undercover police car, which, to make matters worse, also had the dash-cam turned on.

Source: Genius! Woman Puts Fake Parking Ticket in Her Own Car Window So Police Wouldn’t Give Her a Real One

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Gov’t To Court: Driving A Car In Iowa With A Valid Iowa Temporary Tag Is A Traffic Violation

We have a new item to add to the list of things law enforcement finds suspicious. And not just “hmm, that’s strange,” but rather, “hmm, let’s stop this vehicle and search everyone and everything in it.” To date, a long list has been compiled of activities law enforcement finds inherently suspicious, many of which are contradictory or encompass the routine daily activities of millions of non-criminal US citizens.

People have been declared “suspicious” for being too calm or too nervous. For making eye contact and not making eye contact. Talking too much is suspicious. The same goes for not talking enough. Driving roads that connect major cities is suspicious because all major cities contain both buyers and sellers of drugs. Cops have argued that activities they’ve witnessed daily without affecting an arrest is suddenly suspicious when a traffic stop/fishing expedition results in a drug bust.

An officer with the Waterloo, Iowa police department is adding something new to this impossibly long list of dubious traffic stop justifications: driving with valid Iowa dealer’s plates in Iowa. (via Brad Heath)

Source: Gov’t To Court: Driving A Car In Iowa With A Valid Iowa Temporary Tag Is A Traffic Violation

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Are two spaces better than one? The effect of spacing following period

The most recent edition of the American Psychological Association (APA) Manual states that two spaces should follow the punctuation at the end of a sentence. This is in contrast to the one-space requirement from previous editions. However, to date, there has been no empirical support for either convention. In the current study, participants performed (1) a typing task to assess spacing usage and (2) an eye-tracking experiment to assess the effect that punctuation spacing has on reading performance. Although comprehension was not affected by punctuation spacing, the eye movement record suggested that initial processing of the text was facilitated when periods were followed by two spaces, supporting the change made to the APA Manual. Individuals’ typing usage also influenced these effects such that those who use two spaces following a period showed the greatest overall facilitation from reading with two spaces.

Source: Are two spaces better than one? The effect of spacing following period

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Jeopardy! Contestant Says He’d Spend Winnings on a Lifetime Supply of Taco Bell

When the thought of winning $100,000 came across one Jeopardy contestant‘s mind, he knew exactly how he’d spend it: on a lifetime supply of Taco Bell.

Georgia Tech freshman Rishab Jain, who was a contestant during the show’s special college edition last week, told host Alex Trebek that he put some thought into the idea of winning the grand prize with a little help from his mom.

“She said, ‘Well, you eat Taco Bell pretty often’ and that’s really all she had to say,” the 18-year-old told Fox News.

Jain says as a vegetarian, the fast food chain often subs meat for beans in his order (he loves Mexican Pizzas and Crunchwrap Supremes) and the campus location, where he frequents, is very familiar with his specifications.

Source: Jeopardy! Contestant Says He’d Spend Winnings on a Lifetime Supply of Taco Bell

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Leaked Audio Reveals Democrats Cheating Progressives Again

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Don’t glare at your horse, scientists warn: it may hold a grudge

Horses can be tricky creatures, and even the most tolerant rider will occasionally yield to the temptation to give their mount a ticking off and a stern look.

But, according to groundbreaking new research, they really shouldn’t: the horse may bear a grudge.

Scientists at the Universities of Sussex and Portsmouth have established that horses can not only read emotions, but can then remember the emotional expression of humans.

Source: Don’t glare at your horse, scientists warn: it may hold a grudge

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Bid to toughen Louisiana anti-bestiality law draws pushback


BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – A Louisiana senator’s effort to strengthen anti-bestiality laws is facing unexpected opposition from lawmakers who see it as an underhanded move to strike the state’s unconstitutional ban on sodomy.

The proposal to create a new, wide-ranging law against bestiality would untangle the crime from the ban on sodomy in Louisiana’s “crime against nature ” statute. That’s causing some lawmakers to label the measure a sly chess move meant to get rid of the anti-sodomy law.

But Sen. J.P. Morrell is pushing back, arguing the state’s four-word bestiality law is inadequate and needs to include things like mental evaluations and penalties for trafficking animals for sex.

Advocates for Morrell’s proposal say that in the past three years six states have updated their laws against bestiality.

Source: Bid to toughen Louisiana anti-bestiality law draws pushback

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‘Enjoy Cocaine’ kids’ clothing pulled from Amazon

Children’s clothes emblazoned with the words “enjoy cocaine” were removed from Amazon following a customer backlash.

The offensive range of bibs, T-shirts and babygrows was being sold by an independent retailer, believed to be based in Estonia, reports the Daily Mail.

The design of the garments imitates the distinctive “Enjoy Coke” logo used by Coca-Cola, replicating the colour and font.

However the solid white curved line below the text has been replaced with a white “powder” version.

The range also featured babies' bibs printed with the phrase. Photo / Amazon
The range also featured babies’ bibs printed with the phrase. Photo / Amazon

She shared a screenshot of one baby bib design on the Amazon UK Facebook page with the caption: “Admittedly, yes I was looking for a Libertines T-shirt but what the actual hell is this? WTF.”

Source: ‘Enjoy Cocaine’ kids’ clothing pulled from Amazon

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Rooster Undergoes World’s First Cataract Surgery

A rooster in the northwestern Iranian city of Tabriz has undergone cataract surgery which is the first of its kind in the world.

The surgery was performed by Behnam Ghaffarzadeh, a surgeon and eye examiner, on a five-year-old cock.

“The operation was carried out on the animal’s left eye, and I also examined its other eye to see when the surgery on the next must be performed,” said Ghaffarzadeh in Farsi interview with Fars News Agency.

This specialist also mentioned he had already performed a similar surgery on a 9-year-old duckling in his office.

“Given the fact that pupils of birds are not like human, cats and dogs, this surgery is much more difficult and it is even possible that they lose their pupil. However, the operation was successfully completed without any problem.”

Source: Rooster Undergoes World’s First Cataract Surgery

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Art gallery discovers more than half of its paintings are fake

An art gallery in the south of France has discovered that more than half of its collection of paintings are forgeries. The state-owned museum dedicated to the Catalan artist Étienne Terrus in Elne spent an estimated 160,000 euros (£140,000) on the fakes over 20 years. Doubts about the collection of paintings, drawings and watercolours were first raised by art historian Eric Forcada several months ago. He noticed that some of them depicted buildings that were only constructed after Terrus’ death in 1922.

Source: Art gallery discovers more than half of its paintings are fake

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Testicle Festival canceled following deaths, attendance decline

After 35 years of drinking, nudity, debauchery and tens of thousands of Rocky Mountain oysters, the Testicle Festival is over.

The summer festival in Clinton known for all things rowdy has also been known for generating its fair share of fights, drunken driving and fatal crashes. Now Matt Powers, owner of the Rock Creek Lodge where the festival is held every summer, says enough is enough.

“At the end of the day I have to be able to hold my head up and be proud of how I make my living,” he said.

Two people were killed and seven others injured during last year’s Testicle Festival when a man who had been kicked out of the event and put on a shuttle back to Missoula allegedly grabbed the wheel, causing the Jeep to roll. Donny Barlow, 36, and 33-year-old Vannessa Anderson, who also was known by the last name Batt, were killed in the crash.

James Bayford has pleaded not guilty to two felonies for negligent vehicular homicide and another six for criminal endangerment in the case, and currently has a trial set for July.

Capt. Jim Kitchin of the Montana Highway Patrol was one of six troopers who responded to the fatal crash on the night of Aug. 5. He said from a traffic safety standpoint alone, he’s glad to hear that Testy Fest is going away.

“It saves my troopers a lot of heartache, not having to go out there and be pulling dead people off the road,” he said. “I will applaud his decision not to do that anymore.”

Anderson’s ex-husband and the father of their children has filed a lawsuit against Rock Creek Lodge, Bayford and the shuttle company that was contracted for transports during last year’s Testy Fest.

After he took over running the lodge, Powers offered bus shuttles between the festival and Missoula in an attempt to reduce drunken driving, and later contracted with another local shuttle company — the one involved in last summer’s fatal crash. But the worst of the rowdy festivalgoers found a way to cause havoc.

In 2012, the vehicle of a Seattle family driving through the area on the way to a vacation in Yellowstone National Park was hit by a pickup truck driving the wrong way on Interstate 90 by Daniel Martin, killing 8-year-old Jacob Gamble.

Martin, who was also killed in the crash, had been partying at the festival when he found a truck owned by Rock Creek Lodge, with its keys in the ignition, according to court records. He got in and took off, driving the wrong direction for nearly six miles before the truck hit the Gamble family’s vehicle, according to the records.

Patrol Capt. Rob Taylor of the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, which partners with the Highway Patrol and adds additional deputies for Testicle Festival, said it was one of the bigger events every year for the office, which usually dipped into its pool of state funding for additional enforcement to make sure enough officers were available.

“It was an event that had an alcohol consumption element, and driving distances, and unfortunately some people are going to try to risk that,” Taylor said.

In 2005, the year Powers purchased the Rock Creek Lodge, a man was stabbed at Testicle Festival following a dispute. In 2007 a woman was arrested for stabbing a man and a woman with a butterfly knife after an argument that ensued when she flashed her bare breasts at a second man, according to records. That same year, 13 DUI arrests over the weekend were considered related to the Testicle Festival, according to Missoulian coverage.

Source: Testicle Festival canceled following deaths, attendance decline

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Colorado man bitten by shark in Hawaii previously attacked by bear, rattlesnake



A Colorado man attacked by a shark in Hawaii earlier this week had earlier encounters with a bear and rattlesnake, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

Dylan McWilliams, 20 of Grand Junction, was bitten by a shark Thursday while swimming off the island of Kauai.

He suffered several cuts to his leg that can be seen in one of his recent Facebook posts.

McWilliams said he believes a tiger shark bit him.

“That was the scariest part. I didn’t know where the shark was, and I didn’t know if he would come after me again,” he told the Star-Advertiser.

This was not McWilliams’ first painful bite from a wild animal. In fact, it was his third.

In July, he was attacked by a bear in Colorado.

The bear bit his skull, grabbed his head and dragged him about 12 feet from where he was sleeping. The bear was later euthanized.

The Star-Advertiser reported McWilliams was also bitten by a rattlesnake while hiking in Utah about 3 1/2 years ago.

“My parents are grateful I’m still alive,” he told the newspaper.


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Woman horrified after mistaking pal’s wombat photos for first pics of new baby

A WELL wisher was left mortified after mistaking photos of a tiny wombat for a pal’s newborn baby.

The mix-up happened after a pregnant woman posted a picture on Facebook of a tiny animal she had rescued from the side of the road.

 The Facebook post which sparked the bizarre baby mix-up

The Facebook post which sparked the bizarre baby mix-up

What should have been a heartwarming story then took a very awkward twist when one of her friends mistook the hairless marsupial for her baby.

“OMG congratulations! He’s beautiful. I miss you so much,” the friend wrote on the social media site.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, it took the pal nearly eight hours to realise the shocking mistake.

“I didn’t look properly. I thought you’d had your baby. I’m so sorry. OMG.”

Source: Woman horrified after mistaking pal’s wombat photos for first pics of new baby

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NHL reportedly asked Brad Marchand to stop licking opposing players


Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman regals readers with many great nuggets in his regular “31 Thoughts” column, but this bit on how the NHL reportedly responded to Brad Marchand‘s obnoxious kissing/licking of Leo Komarov from Game 1 (see the video above) might just take/taste the cake:

22. After Game 1 of the Toronto/Boston series, the Bruins got a, “We’d prefer if you could tell Brad Marchand to stop licking people” phone call from the NHL.

Seems fair enough?

[NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub]

That said, you wonder if the NHL might have sent the Boston Bruins pest a better message by, say, handing him a fine for unsportsmanlike conduct? The league could have attached a helpful message, such as: “There are better ways to tell Leo Komarov that you like his cologne.”

Source: NHL reportedly asked Brad Marchand to stop licking opposing players

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Town holds .5K – not 5K – for underachievers

Instead of slogging through all 3.1 miles of a typical 5K, “fellow underachievers” will gather in Boerne May 5 to run what amounts to 0.31 miles, or 1,640.42 feet.

Source: Town holds .5K – not 5K – for underachievers

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Blood testing at dinner parties takes health awareness to new level

Agood dinner party once involved glugging back copious amounts of wine, eating too many hors d’oeuvres and struggling to squeeze in a few mouthfuls of pud. Not to mention the scintillating company and raucous laughter.

But the latest trend in the quest for peak personal fitness involves guests having their blood tested while being given a detailed nutritional breakdown of every morsel that passes their lips.

Rather than competing over their latest holiday adventures or children’s piano grades, the group of friends will compare notes on who has the highest cholesterol or not enough vitamin D.

Source: Blood testing at dinner parties takes health awareness to new level

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Town wants UFO memorial moved; witness objects

A memorial in a remote corner of Massachusetts that marks a 1969 UFO sighting has been ordered moved, but one man who experienced a close encounter is objecting.

The 5,000-pound (2,300-kilogram) memorial in Sheffield was installed in 2015, but was moved about 30 feet (9 meters) a few weeks later when it was discovered it was on town land.

Now, Town Administrator Rhonda LaBombard tells The Berkshire Eagle it has to be moved again because it’s on a town right-of-way easement.

That’s not sitting well with Thom Reed. He was 9 when he, his mother, grandmother and brother saw what he described as a “self-contained glow” that flooded their car with an amber light. About 40 people in several surrounding towns reported the strange light.

Reed is threatening legal action.

Source: Town wants UFO memorial moved; witness objects

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The Southern Poverty Law Center Is Sitting on $477 Million – American Renaissance

The Trump era has been very good for the group’s fundraising efforts.

{snip} The SPLC’s already impressive endowment grew a staggering 35 percent in fiscal year 2017 to more than $432 million. Including operating funds, total assets topped $477 million as of October 31, 2017. Total revenues and gains in fiscal 2017 exceeded $180 million, more than triple the organization’s expenses for the year, of just under $60 million.

The SPLC has long been considered a fundraising powerhouse, but 2017’s take was mind boggling by any standard. Donations were up 164 percent over 2016: The group took in $132 million between November 2016 and October 2017, compared with $50 million in the preceding 12 months.

While direct contributions produced the lion’s share of the 2017 increase, a booming stock market led to astounding growth in the SPLC’s investment portfolio. In fiscal 2016, unrealized gains came to less than $1 million; a year later they totaled nearly $45 million.

Source: The Southern Poverty Law Center Is Sitting on $477 Million – American Renaissance

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Prof: Gender inclusive term ‘Latinx’ is ‘clapping back at whiteness’ – The College Fix

It’s time for another sojourn into the pseudo-intellectual miasma that is the field of “studies.”

The term “Latinx” is supposed to “escape the implicit gender binary […] and include all possible gender and sexual identities” since Spanish is a — gasp! — gender-based language … you know, masculine nouns typically end in the letter “o,” and feminine nouns in “a.”

According to Inside Higher Ed, the word’s spread has been mostly confined (mercifully) to the university, which should come as no surprise considering what academics like the University of Texas-Austin’s Nicole Guidotti-Hernández say the term signifies.

According to The Dickinsonian, during a discussion at Dickinson College, Guidotti-Hernández — an expert in Transnational Feminist Methodologies, Latinx Studies and Popular Culture and Immigration — said use of “Latinx” is being led by “queer millennials” as a “declaration of community,” and serves as a “critique [of] racism and heterosexism.”

Source: Prof: Gender inclusive term ‘Latinx’ is ‘clapping back at whiteness’ – The College Fix

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‘Anatomy of a Smear’ of Conservatives by Minnesota Public Radio

Shocking liberal bias on taxpayer-subsidized public broadcasting isn’t happening just on national networks like PBS and NPR. John Hinderaker at Power Line blogged “Anatomy of a Smear” by Minnesota Public Radio. The topic was “a thoroughly documented expose of leftist political indoctrination and bullying of nonconforming students, teachers and staff in the Edina, Minnesota public school system.”

The author was Katherine Kersten, a fellow of the Minnesota-based think tank Center for the American Experiment (and during the Obama years a rare conservative columnist at the Minneapolis Star Tribune). When Kersten’s work on Edina’s schools was published in The Weekly Standard and featured on the Drudge Report and other conservative media sites and Twitter accounts.

MPR reporter Solvejg Wastvedt called Hinderaker for an interview, but when he heard the story, he could hardly believe how Kersten was somehow smeared with a white-supremacist brush:

WASTVEDT: [A] critique that began with a post on the website of local conservative think tank Center of the American Experiment has garnered national media coverage and found a new audience this month in hearings at the Minnesota legislature.

During the fall of 2017 — as Edina voters weighed candidates for four school board seats and a school tax referendum — Fox News, Breitbart, a blog by Newt Gingrich and the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer all picked up the story. Katherine Kersten, the author of the Center’s two magazine articles, appeared on Fox & Friends in October 2017. Hinderaker presented the critiques at a meeting of the local Republican party.

The coverage sparked a thread on the white supremacist website Stormfront. A thread on the anonymous internet forum 8chan posted a street address and phone numbers for an Edina English teacher and said, “We need to literally crucify her and destroy her completely.”

Hinderaker complained:

It is obvious that the principal purpose of MPR’s story was to smear Katherine Kersten and Center of the American Experiment by associating us with the Daily Stormer (“neo-Nazi!”), Stormfront (“white supremacist!”) and 8chan. No mention of mainstream conservatives like Dennis Prager, Brit Hume, Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, Dana Perino, Power Line, InstaPundit, Independent Women’s Forum, Hot Air, the Drudge Report, Legal Insurrection, Frontpage, Intellectual Takeout, Education News, American Conservative, PJ Media, as well as neutral outlets like Real Clear Politics and the Kansas City Star. These mainstream sites have traffic that is, what? 100,000 times greater than the Daily Stormer and Storm Front? 1,000,000 times greater? Obviously, Ms. Wastvedt featured the obscure, extremist sites as a politically-motivated smear.

I wanted to ask Ms. Wastvedt some questions. To begin with, I wondered how she even knew that Stormfront and 8chan had references to Kathy’s stories. The sites I referred to can be identified in less than two minutes with a Google search, and Daily Stormer comes up on page 9. But Stormfront and 8chan don’t show up at all; Google has barred 8chan, which I had never heard of prior to the MPR story, from its search results. So someone had to do some digging to come up with material for MPR’s smear.

When Hinderaker asked for an interview with Wastvedt to discover how she found the neo-Nazi information, suddenly the public-radio folks refused to be available. After a few exchanges of corporate-speak, MPR explained “Solvejg is not available for an interview.I did connect with her and her goal was to make the point that the CAE story had been picked up by national media. Were there some that were missed?”

Source: ‘Anatomy of a Smear’ of Conservatives by Minnesota Public Radio

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Download 16,000+ Sound Effects From The BBC

Need some sound effects for a personal project? The BBC has got you covered with an archive of over 16,000 WAV files you can download for free.

The BBC Sound Effects archive grew out of the Reminiscence Archive, which is designed to help trigger memories in people with dementia using BBC Archive material as stimulation.

At the moment there are 16,016 Sound Effects in the archive, each one available to download in .WAV format. You can choose to display 10, 25, 50 or 100 results at a time and the sound effects cover an extensive range of sounds, from a parrot talking, waterfalls falling, to a “Land Rover, interior, engine started, idles, pulls away, continuous journey, stop & idle, engine off. (Land Rover, Long Wheel Base, 109″ Safari Diesel, Series 2A, 1967)”.

You can sort the sound effects by description, category, and duration (in seconds) or use the search box for a particular item. Many of the sound effects don’t have categories assigned to them, so that’s the least effective sorting option.

Source: Download 16,000+ Sound Effects From The BBC

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Implant will show when cancer is present by generating artificial mole on skin  

An implant which detects cancer in the body and causes a small artificial mole to appear on the skin as an early warning sign has been developed by scientists.

Source: Implant will show when cancer is present by generating artificial mole on skin  

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Employee from hell busted by VPN logs

We’ve said it before, but an employee from Hell apparently didn’t get the memo: VPN, as in Virtual Private Network, is not shorthand for secure internet connection.

What the “private” means is that your VPN connection can be made to behave as though you had a direct hook-up to your destination network. What it does not mean is that your hacking forays into your ex-employer’s network – using the company’s own VPN – are going to be hidden away when the FBI starts digging around.

Suzette Kugler, who last year left her job after a 29-year career at PenAir, was sentenced on 12 April for repeatedly hacking the airline’s reservation and ticket system. According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), Kugler pleaded guilty in January to one felony offense of fraud in connection with computers.

As part of the plea agreement, Kugler will pay $5,616 in restitution to PenAir, and the DOJ dropped a second count of the same offense. If it seems like a light sentence, bear in mind that this was her first ever crime.

Source: Employee from hell busted by VPN logs

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Student op-ed calls black conservative example of ‘tokenism’

The Texas State University student newspaper published yet another racially provocative piece Tuesday, accusing a prominent black conservative of being  a “token black woman” for conservative students.

“With the wave of social vocalism, specifically by or on behalf of minorities, the illusion of diversity is important for every organization to maintain a favorable public perception,” Temi Ikudayisi begins the op-ed, which was published in the print edition of The University Star. “Diversity statistics are often highlighted to prove faux inclusivity, otherwise known as tokenism.”

“While Temi gives a great definition of tokenism, this is the very reason I left the Democratic party.”   

Giving the example of a white person deflecting charges of racism by claiming that “my best friend is black,” Ikudayisi claims that the school’s Turning Point USA chapter similarly tokenized Second Amendment advocate Antonia Okafor by inviting her to speak about gun rights after a student government representative accused the group of “perpetuating this false sense of inclusivity to make itself appear up on their diversity quota while not addressing issues affecting minorities.”

Source: Student op-ed calls black conservative example of ‘tokenism’

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Army Develops Face Recognition Technology that Works in the Dark

Army researchers have developed an artificial intelligence and machine learning technique that produces a visible face image from a thermal image of a person’s face captured in low-light or nighttime conditions. This development could lead to enhanced real-time biometrics and post-mission forensic analysis for covert nighttime operations.

Thermal cameras like FLIR, or Forward Looking Infrared, sensors are actively deployed on aerial and ground vehicles, in watch towers and at check points for surveillance purposes. More recently, thermal cameras are becoming available for use as body-worn cameras. The ability to perform automatic face recognition at nighttime using such thermal cameras is beneficial for informing a Soldier that an individual is someone of interest, like someone who may be on a watch list.

The motivations for this technology — developed by Drs. Benjamin S. Riggan, Nathaniel J. Short and Shuowen “Sean” Hu, from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory — are to enhance both automatic and human-matching capabilities.

Source: Army Develops Face Recognition Technology that Works in the Dark

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Ubuntu 18.04 LTS – Bionic Beaver Is Now Available For Download

Ubuntu, which is one of the most popular desktop Linux distributions, has finally released the latest Long Term Support (LTS) version of Ubuntu – version 18.04, after numerous alpha/beta releases over the past few months. It is now available for download for workstations, cloud, and IoT (Internet of Things).

Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical’s CEO and Ubuntu’s founder, said, “Most public cloud instances — Azure, AWS, Oracle, and so on — are Ubuntu. To better support Ubuntu, 18.04 features improvements in network and storage and improved boot time optimization so that Ubuntu instances can ramp up faster with demand. In addition, Canonical has been working with NVIDIA to improve its public cloud General Purpose GPU (GPGPU) support.”

He further added, “Multi-cloud operations are the new normal. Boot-time and performance-optimized images of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS on every major public cloud make it the fastest and most efficient OS for cloud computing, especially for storage and compute-intensive tasks like machine learning.”

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, also code-named “Bionic Beaver” features GNOME 3.28 as the default Ubuntu desktop environment instead of Unity and the GNOME apps have been updated to version 3.28. The kernel is based on Linux 4.15 and LibreOffice 6.0 is included by default. Further, on-premises and on-cloud AI (artificial intelligence) development within Ubuntu will be enhanced by the integration of Kubeflow and a range of CI/CD tools into Canonical Kubernetes. Kubeflow, the Google approach to TensorFlow on Kubernetes, is a machine learning (ML) library built on Kubernetes.

Source: Ubuntu 18.04 LTS – Bionic Beaver Is Now Available For Download

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Took an ancestry DNA test? You might be a ‘genetic informant’ unleashing secrets about your relatives

You just wanted to find out if you were Portuguese or Spanish, but instead you found out you were related to a mass murderer.

This is a reality in a world where the alleged Golden State Killer, now known as Joseph James DeAngelo, was arrested after DNA found at one of the killer’s crime scenes was checked against genetic profiles from genealogical websites that collect DNA samples.

Popular genetic testing companies 23andMe and are holding on to more than information about your family tree, which raises privacy conerns. Experts confirm DNA in these databases can be accessed by law enforcement and third party companies under certain circumstances, revealing intimate information about user’s medical history and biological relationships.

“People don’t realize that unlike most medical tests where you find out information, it isn’t just about you,” said Arthur Caplan, director of the Division of Medical Ethics at New York University’s School of Medicine.

Source: Took an ancestry DNA test? You might be a ‘genetic informant’ unleashing secrets about your relatives

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Mamma Mia! ABBA make new music after 35 years

Stockholm (AFP) – “Mamma Mia! Here we go again”: Sweden’s legendary disco group ABBA announced on Friday that they have reunited to record two new songs, 35 years after their last single, sparking joy and surprise among fans. The new songs “I Still Have Faith In You” and ”

Source: Mamma Mia! ABBA make new music after 35 years

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Over 3,300 Android Apps on Google Play Store Are Improperly Tracking Kids

recent study of Android apps conducted by researchers from the International Computer Science Institute shows that thousands of Android apps may be tracking the online activity of children as well as their personal information which is a violation of US privacy laws.

The researchers conducted an “automatic evaluation of the privacy behaviors” of 5,855 Android apps which showed that 28% of them had access to sensitive data protected by Android permissions whereas 73% of the apps transmit sensitive data over the internet.

The most troubling findings were that nearly 256 apps collected geolocation data without parental permission, 107 shared user’s email address and 10 of them shared phone numbers.

Source: Over 3,300 Android Apps on Google Play Store Are Improperly Tracking Kids

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Data Privacy Is a Human Right. Europe Is Moving Toward Recognizing That.

During Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before the House of Representatives, Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA) asked the Facebook CEO bluntly if he would be willing to change the company’s business model “in the interest of protecting individual privacy.”

Zuckerberg responded, “I’m not sure what that means.”

While “privacy” may sound like a fuzzy concept, it’s not at all a new idea in either human rights law or the rules that apply to Facebook in some of its largest markets. The company has also had to defend its practices before courts and regulatory bodies that have examined the issue — which makes Zuckerberg’s answer unsettling.

And since Facebook obtains data even about people who don’t use the social network, this is an issue for all of us.

The UN’s top human rights office concluded years ago that in order to respect the right to privacy, governments should regulate how private companies — not just police and spy agencies — treat personal data. Although the human rights treaties only strictly apply to governments, there is a long-established norm that >businesses should respect rights even if a government doesn’t force them to do so — and that’s as true for Facebook as for more usual suspects such as the diamondoil, and tobacco industries. The same UN body has specifically urged web-based companies to make sure their practices don’t facilitate inappropriate government surveillance or otherwise harm human rights.

Source: Data Privacy Is a Human Right. Europe Is Moving Toward Recognizing That. – The Fifth Column

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World’s oldest spider dies aged 43

The world’s oldest known spider has died at the age of 43, outliving its nearest rival by 15 years, Australian scientists have reported.

Affectionately known as “Number 16”, the female Giaus Villosus or trapdoor spider had been under observation in the wild since its birth in 1974.

The arachnid is believed to have survived for so long by sticking to one protected burrow its entire life and expending the minimum of energy.

Previously the oldest known spider was a tarantula in Mexico, which died at the age of 28.

Published the Pacific Conservation Biology Journal, the research is the life’s work of Barbara York Main, now 88, who first set eyes on Number 16 shortly after its birth.

“To our knowledge this is the oldest spider ever recorded and her significant life has allowed us to further investigate the trapdoor spider’s behaviour and popular dynamics,” said Leanda Mason, a student of Professor Main’s and the study’s lead author.

Source: Farewell, No. 16: scientists left ‘miserable’ after world’s oldest spider dies aged 43

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‘Forest bathing’ takes tree hugging to new extremes

The Chronicle has launched a new weekly Travel newsletter! Sign up here. Enter your email at the top and check the box marked “Travel.” There’s a revolutionary new way to walk through the forest. V-e-r-y slowly. Take a few steps. That’s far enough. Now sit down and talk it over with the person next to you, for a long time. It’s a New Age thing in Sonoma County. Walking very slowly through the forest – while thinking about walking very slowly through the forest – is a full-blown movement. It could be a paradigm.

Source: ‘Forest bathing’ takes tree hugging to new extremes

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Father of 9 Divorces Wife After Finding Out He Had Been Sterile for Most of His Life

A Moroccan man recently filed a lawsuit against his wife, accusing her of adultery. After undergoing a routine health checkup , the man allegedly learned that he had been sterile for most of his life, so he couldn’t possibly have fathered any of their nine children.

The man, a professor in the small Moroccan city of Sidi Slimane, reportedly had his whole world turned upside down by an urologist, following a routine checkup. He apparently had a small cyst on his right testicle, which he told the doctor had been there for as long as he could remember. The physician decided to run some tests, and while the results showed that the cyst was not life-threatening, they also showed that its presence rendered the unnamed man sterile. The only problem was that he had been happily married to his wife for 35 years, and was supposed to have fathered 9 children during that time.


Unrelated photo: Alexander Klepnev/Wikimedia Commons

Moroccan newspaper Al-Massae reports that the man didn’t rush to file for marriage termination immediately after hearing the news from his urologist, but instead underwent a series of tests that ultimately confirmed he could not have fathered any children in the last 50 years. Shocked by this revelation, the man contacted his lawyer and filed a lawsuit against his wife, accusing her of adultery and demanding both a divorce and the disownment of all of his nine children.

Source: Father of 9 Divorces Wife After Finding Out He Had Been Sterile for Most of His Life

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Clean up San Francisco’s streets, tourist industry pleads

As president of S.F. Travel, the city’s visitors bureau, Joe D’Alessandro’s job is to promote San Francisco. You’d think he’d be hyping the city’s gorgeous vistas, top-notch restaurants and glorious museums. Instead, he’s getting honest. Sure, San Francisco has great facets worthy of postcards and travel books, but it also has a worsening underbelly that D’Alessandro says he can no longer gloss over. People injecting themselves with drugs in broad daylight, their dirty needles and other garbage strewn on the sidewalks. Tent camps. Human feces. The threatening behavior of some people who appear either mentally ill or high. Petty theft. “The streets are filthy.

Source: Clean up San Francisco’s streets, tourist industry pleads

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Loki The Grumpy Sphynx is Here And You Should All Bow Before His Grumpiness

Animals have their personalities as well. They can be cute, they can be smiling even, they can be boring or menacing, looking like they are going to kill you sometime, but they can also be grumpy. Grumpy is a cute combination of “wanting to kill you”, bored, not giving a damn and constantly tired of your cuddles.

Ironically, when they are like this, they are cute as never and we can’t help but admire them in silence, or…almost silence. This is what we’re going to do in Loki’s case. Loki is not that super bad demigod from Marvel, Loki is a god from Brooklyn, NY. She’s the god of the grumpy cats!

“This cat has more personality and sass than any animal I have ever met. We are inseparable. We are best friends”, said Sara,

Loki’s human. Loki lives with Sara and her partner, Brent, since 2014’s Halloween, after months of searching. Brent is allergic to cats, so it was quite challenging finding the perfect pet for them.

Source: Loki The Grumpy Sphynx is Here And You Should All Bow Before His Grumpiness

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British Police Are Threatening to Arrest People for Something Stupider Than Hate Speech or Knife Possession

In the early morning hours of April 4, 78-year-old Richard Osborn-Brooks awoke to noises in the home he shared with his wife who suffers from dementia. He found two burglars going through his possessions and confronted them. One of the burglars was armed with a screwdriver. In the struggle that followed, Osborn-Brooks ended up with the screwdriver and stabbed one of the men. They fled the house, but the stabbed man bled out internally and dropped dead on the street.

Henry Vincent, a father-of-four, had reportedly targeted a number of pensioners during his long criminal career.

The 37-year-old was said to be well known for carrying a screwdriver as a weapon.

He was revealed to have been once on a “most wanted” list and had previously been jailed for a total of 10 years.

Vincent had been part of a gang known to escort victims to banks to withdraw the cash to pay for the work.

In 2009, Vincent was jailed for six years after charging an OAP [old age pensioner] £72,000 to replace a single  tile on his roof.

Source: British Police Are Threatening to Arrest People for Something Stupider Than Hate Speech or Knife Possession

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Google seeks to limit ‘right to be forgotten’ by claiming it’s journalistic

IN THE FIRST “RIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN” case to reach England’s High Court, two men are fighting to keep their past crimes out of Google’s search results, and the tech giant is fighting back by claiming it’s “journalistic.”

The case, which is actually two nearly identical cases, involves two businessmen who were both convicted of white-collar crimes in the ’90s, and requested that Google delist several URLs referencing their convictions, including news articles. When Google denied their requests, they sued under a 2014 European Union ruling which established the right of individuals to have information delisted from search indexes under certain conditions.

In its defense, Google has argued that it should be protected under an exception for journalism because it provides access to journalistic content. Even as a legal sleight of hand, the argument is quite a departure from Google’s customary efforts to present itself as a disinterested arbiter of information, a position that has become more untenable with time.

Source: Google seeks to limit ‘right to be forgotten’ by claiming it’s journalistic

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PSA: Your Android Smartphone Maker Is Lying About Missed Security Updates

Even though Google has managed to establish Android as the top smartphone operating system in the world, it has failed on a major front that ensures the security of your smartphone. Here, I’m talking about regular updates and security patches. The latest Android version is currently running on about 1% of total devices, which is another downside.

As it turns out, the Android update problem runs much deeper than expected. As per a research from Security Research Labs, multiple major Android smartphone makers are lying to the users about the status of security patches, reports Wired.

This revelation is a startling one as it seems like a step to misguide users and fool them. In a practical scenario, when you find that your device’s firmware is fully updated, you get a false sense of security.

The researchers Karsten Nohl and Jakob Lell have been working for the past two years to reverse engineer that code running on Android devices and looking if there was some “patch gap.” On many occasions, it was found that the OEMs were hiding as many as a dozen missed patches.

Source: PSA: Your Android Smartphone Maker Is Lying About Missed Security Updates

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The Music Industry Now Wants To Creep Past Site-Blocking Into App-Blocking

With site-blocking now fully en vogue in much of the world as the preferred draconian solution to copyright infringement, one point we’ve made over and over again is that even this extreme measure has no hope of fully satisfying the entertainment industries. Once thought something of a nuclear option, the full censorship of websites will now serve as a mere stepping stone to the censorship of all kinds of other platforms that might sometimes be used for piracy. It was always going to be this way, from the very moment that world governments creaked open this door.

And it appears it isn’t taking long for the entertainment industries to want to take that next step, either. As the debate about Kodi addons rages, and as governments begin to clamp down on the platform at the request of the entertainment industry, several industry players at an IP forum event in Russia have started announcing plans to push for app-blocking as the next step.

Over in Russia, a country that will happily block hundreds or millions of IP addresses if it suits them, the topic of infringing apps was raised this week. It happened during the International Strategic Forum on Intellectual Property, a gathering of 500 experts from more than 30 countries. There were strong calls for yet more tools and measures to deal with films and music being made available via ‘pirate’ apps.

The forum heard that in response to widespread website blocking, people behind pirate sites have begun creating applications for mobile devices to achieve the same ends – the provision of illegal content. This, key players in the music industry say, means that the law needs to be further tightened to tackle the rising threat.

Source: The Music Industry Now Wants To Creep Past Site-Blocking Into App-Blocking

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Watch artificial intelligence create a 3D model of a person

Transporting yourself into a video game, body and all, just got easier. Artificial intelligence has been used to create 3D models of people’s bodies for virtual reality avatars, surveillance, visualizing fashion, or movies. But it typically requires special camera equipment to detect depth or to view someone from multiple angles. A new algorithm creates 3D models using standard video footage from one angle.

The system has three stages. First, it analyzes a video a few seconds long of someone moving—preferably turning 360° to show all sides—and for each frame creates a silhouette separating the person from the background. Based on machine learning techniques—in which computers learn a task from many examples—it roughly estimates the 3D body shape and location of joints. In the second stage, it “unposes” the virtual human created from each frame, making them all stand with arms out in a T shape, and combines information about the T-posed people into one, more accurate model. Finally, in the third stage, it applies color and texture to the model based on recorded hair, clothing, and skin.

Source: Watch artificial intelligence create a 3D model of a person—from just a few seconds of video

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