Monthly Archives: June 2018

Gay Pride parades used to mean protests. Now they’re an excuse for straight kids to party

SAN FRANCISCO – Paul Ellis has seen a lot of Gay Pride parades. He marched in Pittsburgh’s first one in 1973 with just 40 other people, flanked by angry residents holding glass bottles and rocks with only two unhappy police officers for protection.

Ellis, manager at Cliff’s Variety Store in the historic Castro district, is part of the generation of LGBTQ activists who fought for basic rights, to get jobs and to avoid arrest. When he most recently attended the San Francisco Pride Parade with his partner, he was shocked by what he saw.

“I stopped and said (to my partner), ‘Do you see any gay people around us?’ And it was like, ‘Oh my God, no,’ ” he said.

They had run into a cultural shift breathtaking in its speed and still something of a disconnect to many in the gay community. In many large cities, Gay Pride marches have become the new St. Patrick’s Day, only with rainbow tutus instead of shamrocks.

The parades in honor of Ireland’s patron saint began as religious celebrations and in the USA date back to the 1700s. They morphed into statements of Irish pride and solidarity, then became an excuse for many to wear green and drink Guinness stout.

When it comes to LGBTQ Pride marches, that same shift has happened in less than 50 years. The streets along parade routes are thronged with groups of people in their teens and 20s, dancing and partying while sporting rainbow-colored wigs, sunglasses and feather boas, along with the ever-present tutus.

Source: Gay Pride parades used to mean protests. Now they’re an excuse for straight kids to party

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Out of control iguanas infesting South Florida

South Florida’s not quite Jurassic Park, but it’s getting close.

Packs of green iguanas are swarming seawalls, roaming yards and parks, and leaving a path of destruction and filth in their wake. Like a shot of espresso, the hot summer sun has stoked activity in the cold-blooded creatures, which experts say may be at record numbers.

“This year is the most iguanas I’ve seen and I’ve been in business for nine years,” says Thomas Portuallo, owner of Fort Lauderdale-based Iguana Control. He says the invasive lizards are out of control with “many hundreds of thousands” creeping around Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

The prehistoric populations are multiplying like rabbits, and causing internet, phone and power outages (barbecued lizard, anyone?), damaging landscapes, levees, seawalls, roofs and patios, and contaminating pools with poop.

“There’s no real way to come up with a valid estimate of the number of green iguanas in Florida. But the number would be gigantic,” says Richard Engeman, a biologist for the National Wildlife Research Center. “You could put any number of zeros behind a number, and I would believe it.”

Source: Out of control iguanas infesting South Florida

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Court Calls Out Cops For Altering Interrogation Transcript To Hide Suspect’s Request For A Lawyer

The opening of this recent decision [PDF] by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals is eye catching. It quotes Breaking Bad prequel, Better Call Saul. More specifically, it quotes Jimmy McGill, who gradually morphs into the more-huckster-than-lawyer Saul Goodman over the course of the series. The case has to do with a murder suspect’s request for a lawyer, one that was ignored by law enforcement. The quote sets the stage, letting readers know anyone accused of anything by law enforcement is better off exercising their right to be represented. (h/t Keith Lee)

Craig Kettleman: I just think I’d look guilty if I hired a lawyer.

James McGill: No, actually it’s getting arrested that makes people look guilty, even the innocent ones, and innocent people get arrested everyday. And they find themselves in a little room with a detective who acts like he’s their best friend. “Talk to me,” he says, “Help me clear this thing up. You don’t need a lawyer, only guilty people need lawyers” and BOOM! Hey, that’s when it all goes south. That’s when you want someone in your corner. Someone who will fight tooth and nail.

Source: Court Calls Out Cops For Altering Interrogation Transcript To Hide Suspect’s Request For A Lawyer

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Cortana Hack Lets You Change Passwords on Locked PCs


Microsoft has patched a vulnerability in the Cortana smart assistant that could have allowed an attacker with access to a locked computer to use the smart assistant and access data on the device, execute malicious code, or even change the PC’s password to access the device in its entirety.

The issue was discovered by Cedric Cochin, Cyber Security Architect and Senior Principle Engineer at McAfee. Cochin privately reported the problems he discovered to Microsoft in April.

The vulnerability is CVE-2018-8140, which Microsoft classified as an elevation of privilege, and patched yesterday during the company’s monthly Patch Tuesday security updates.

Cochin says the issue was present because of different quirks in how Cortana allows users to interact with the underlying Windows 10 OS, while in a locked state.

The researchers discovered several features that could be combined into one larger attack:

≗  Users can start typing after they say “Hey Cortana” and issue a voice command. This brings up a special search popup with various features and capabilities.

≗  Users can type text in this popup, which searches the laptop’s application index and its filesystem. By typing certain words, like “pas” (as in password), this search can bring up files containing this string in their file paths or inside the file itself. Hovering the mouse over one of these search results can reveal the file’s location on disk, or the content of the file itself (big issue if the disclosed detail is a password).

Source: Cortana Hack Lets You Change Passwords on Locked PCs

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Scorpions Outdo Spiders as Scary Creatures

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — “I hate spiders.”

“How do you work with them?”

“I’d rather scoop maggots off a corpse than deal with a spider.”

Those are some of the typical responses Rick Vetter hears when he tells people about his work as an arachnologist at the University of California, Riverside.

“It doesn’t matter if I say they’re beneficial, many people just want them dead,” said Vetter, a retired research associate who spent 32 years in UCR’s entomology department. “Even some of the entomologists I’ve worked with are incredibly afraid of spiders.”

Spiders and snakes reign supreme in the world of animal phobias, but the evolutionary reason for spider fear isn’t well understood. Some psychologists believe it has an innate foundation, since humans may be genetically programmed to fear animals that can cause them harm.

But such visceral reactions to spiders have always intrigued Vetter, who said most of the long-legged arthropods are “easily squishable” and few are harmful to humans. Even those that bite often leave nothing more than a pinprick at first, with more severe symptoms developing hours or days later.

The danger of spiders pales in comparison to another member of the arachnid family: scorpions, whose venomous stings cause immediate searing pain, severe reactions, and sometimes death.

“In terms of innate fear, scorpions would be a much better candidate for aversive reaction than spiders. But as an arachnologist, I rarely hear about peoples’ fear of scorpions,” Vetter said. “Nor do scorpions enjoy the same monster-like status in popular culture.”

Source: Scorpions Outdo Spiders as Scary Creatures

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US court confirms danger posed by ‘sound cannons’

A New York appeals court on Wednesday upheld a lower court’s ruling that two police officers’ use of a “sound cannon” was an unconstitutional abuse of force.

The New York  used a sound cannon, officially known as a Long Range Acoustic Devise (LRAD), in December 2014 to disperse people protesting the decision not to indict a policeman over the death of a  during an attempted arrest.

Six protesters filed a complaint, saying they suffered from migraines, vertigo, sinus pain and  as a result of the incident.

“The problem posed by protesters in the street did not justify the use of force, much less force capable of causing serious injury, such as hearing loss,” the court said in its ruling.

It upheld a lower court’s ruling that the devices were likely to be a source of  violence if they were misused.

Developed in the 2000s primarily for military needs, the LRAD emits a high-pitched sound in a specific direction that is unpleasant enough to cause crowds to disperse.

The devices can also serve as powerful megaphones to instruct a crowd.

“The NYPD should overhaul its policies and practices regarding LRAD uses to reflect the reality that LRADs are potentially deadly tools, requiring meaningful training and supervision to use safely,” Gideon Oliver, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a statement.

According to its manufacturer’s website, the LRAD is in use in more than 250 cities, counties and US states, and “is not a weapon.”

Read more at:


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Japanese blogger stabbed to death after internet abuse seminar

One of Japan’s most prominent bloggers has been stabbed to death minutes after giving a seminar on how to resolve personal disputes on the internet.

Media reports said Kenichiro Okamoto, better known by his blogger name Hagex, died on Sunday evening after reportedly being attacked by a man he had argued with online.

The suspect, Hidemitsu Matsumoto, allegedly followed Okamoto into the toilets after he had ended his talk at a venue in the south-western city of Fukuoka.

Okamoto was stabbed several times before staggering out of the toilets after his assailant, who fled on a bicycle, according to the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper.

via Japanese blogger stabbed to death after internet abuse seminar | World news | The Guardian

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Dog performs CPR on ‘collapsed’ officer

this-police-dog-can-perform-cpr-yes-reallyPolice have released an adorable video of a dog performing CPR on an officer who pretended to collapse on the ground.

The footage even shows the pooch giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on the acting cop.

Madrid Municipal Police shared the video on social media and so far it has been viewed almost two million times.

In the clip, Poncho is called to attend to a police officer who has “fainted” in front of an audience.

Poncho rushes to the rescue and straight away starts pouncing on the officer’s chest.

The adorable clip shows Poncho bouncing on his handler’s chest (Image: @policiademadrid)
‘Abandoned pitbull’ that held up TWELVE Ibiza holiday flights after runway invasion is now seeking new home
The police dog continues to jump on him before checking his pulse.

At one point the commentator says: “Here we have our dog doing the resuscitation manoeuvre. And the mouth-to-mouth!”

The audience is heard chuckling and applauding the CPR canine.

Poncho then returns to the chest compressions, springing up and down on the man’s torso.

The commentator encourages the cute pooch: “That is it, resuscitate him again.”

via Dog performs CPR on ‘collapsed’ officer in adorable video shared by police in Madrid – Mirror Online

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California Considers Creating A Fake News Advisory Group

California is considering creating a “fake news” advisory group in order to monitor information posted and spread on social media.

Senate Bill 1424 would require the California Attorney General to create the advisory committee by April 1, 2019. It would need to consist of at least one person from the Department of Justice, representatives from social media providers, civil liberties advocates, and First Amendment scholars.

ALSO: Measure To Repeal New California Gas Tax Qualifies For November Ballot

The advisory group would be required to study how false information is spread online and come up with a plan for social media platforms to fix the problem. The Attorney General would then need to present that plan to the Legislature by December 31, 2019. The group would also need to come up with criteria establishing what is “fake news” versus what is inflammatory or one-sided.

ALSO: Harley Davidson Moving Some Production Overseas Amid Tariff Fight

The Electronic Frontier Foundation opposes the bill, calling it “flawed” and “misguided.” The group argues the measure would make the government and advisory group responsible for deciding what is true or false. It also points out the First Amendment prevents content-based restrictions, even if the statements of “admittedly false.”

via California Considers Creating A Fake News Advisory Group « CBS Sacramento

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Study: Dog parks are manifestations of rape culture and oppression 

If you’re a dog owner, maybe, just maybe, a couple of things that come to mind when you take ‘ol Spot to the dog park are rape culture and non-heterosexual “performativity.”

What’s that? You don’t consider such things when you’re walking the pup? No worries, then. The Portland Ungendering Research Initiative’s Helen Wilson is here to clue you in.

Her paper, “Human reactions to rape culture and queer performativity at urban dog parks in Portland, Oregon,” discusses the “emerging themes in human and canine interactive behavioral patterns in urban dog parks” in order to gain a better understanding about people’s decisions and “emergent assumptions around gender, race, and sexuality.”

Source: Study: Dog parks are manifestations of rape culture and oppression – The College Fix

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Mechanical ‘Hand’ Helps Soldiers Handle Heavy Weapons

Engineers are working diligently to reduce the weight Marines and soldiers carry in action, but engineers at the U.S. Army Research lab took a different approach – adding limbs to improve soldier lethality. Called the ‘Third Arm’, the device helps to reduce the weapon’s weight off of the Soldiers’ arms and better distribute it through…

Source: Mechanical ‘Hand’ Helps Soldiers Handle Heavy Weapons

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How Tequila Soda Became the Drink of Choice for Finance Bros

Drinking among a finance crowd is about showing status. It’s about confidently ordering a drink every time you’re at the bar, if only to show that you know what you like and don’t hesitate when you order. It’s about being fully aware that the fifth drink could put you over the edge, but the fourth might land you a deal, and that the only thing that’ll take your mind off of a 60-plus-hour work week is a drink. Over the past year or so, that drink of choice for younger finance workers has been a Tequila Soda.

In the past, if you were a money mover in the world—whether that meant you worked in finance, stocks or just business in general—then you drank scotch. Sometimes it was a Scotch and Soda, sometimes neat, depending on the occasion. There were also, of course, the big, high-priced wines at dinner. But now when a bunch of suits hit a happy hour there’s likely going to be an agave spirit in their glasses.

“Last year it was coming more and more,” says Genese Perez, the creative director at Monarch Rooftop and Addison Hospitality Group in New York City. Perez notes the bar is a common spot for corporate happy hours and meetings, and she’s seen the trend evolve. “Now it’s come full swing and those high end (tequilas) are really taking over, and it’s all Tequila Sodas.”

Source: How Tequila Soda Became the Drink of Choice for Finance Bros

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Police Dogs Trained to Find Hidden Electronic Storage Devices

Harley darts into a decrepit room in Connecticut. She’s searching for evidence.

There are plenty of potential distractions in the room: Wires hang from the ceiling. Warped wood paneling buckles away from the walls. Faded yellow cabinets look like someone kicked a hole in them.

“Are you ready to go to work?” Brett Hochron, a detective with the Westchester County Police, in New York, asks his partner.

Harley immediately spots a lighter on a table and grabs it. She starts drooling. It’s a cold February afternoon, but Harley is focused. The basket of tennis balls next to the table doesn’t even get a glance.

That’s because Harley is a very good dog.

She’s also a graduate of an elite K-9 search class that trains dogs to sniff out electronics, including phones, hard drives and microSD cards smaller than your thumb.

Harley hunts for the impossibly faint smell given off by thumb drives and other storage devices.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Only one out of every 50 dogs tested qualifies to become an electronic storagedetection, or ESD, dog, says Kerry Halligan, a K-9 instructor with the Connecticut State Police. That’s because it’s a lot harder to detect the telltale chemical in electronics than it is to sniff out narcotics, bombs, fire accelerants or people, she says.

But Labrador retrievers like Harley, with their long snouts and big muzzles, can pick up even the faintest olfactory clues. These tech-seeking dogs are helping law enforcement find child pornography stashed in hidden hard drives, uncover concealed phones, nab white-collar evidence kept on hard drives and track calls stored on SIM cards.

Source: Move over McGruff. It’s the digital age.

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Woman sues NASA for ownership of vial of space dust


The contested vial of Moon dust

A woman has sued NASA, claiming to be the rightful owner of a small vial of moon dust supposedly given to her by Neil Armstrong.

The lawsuit was filed under the US District Court of Kansas last week by Laura Murray Cicco. She claims that when she was ten, her mother handed her a glass vial with a rubber stopper containing light grey dust along with one of her father’s business cards.

On the back of the card, there is a message that reads: “To Laura Ann Murray – Best of Luck – Neil Armstrong Apollo 11.” Cicco said her mother assured her that the vial was a sample taken from Armstrong – who was the first person to set foot on the Moon – when he ventured onto the satellite during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. An expert has, apparently, scrutinized the note and believes Armstrong’s signature is real.

Source: Woman sues NASA for ownership of vial of space dust

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Danish Anti-Piracy Lawyers Jailed For Real, Actual Stealing From Copyright Holders

There’s an old saying: once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, and three times is a trend. It seems now we are officially in the coincidence part of that mantra. You will recall that we recently discussed famed author Chuck Palahniuk’s apology for blaming piracy for his stagnant finances when the real story was that a business partner at his literary agency was simply stealing money from him. We noted at the time that this business partner was the one feeding Palahniuk the false story that piracy was responsible for his dwindling money and that such a story was made believable in part because of the efforts of the copyright industry and its lawyers demonizing the internet and copyright infringement at every turn.

Well, recent news reports detail the sentencing of three Danish lawyers to years in prison for defrauding their copyright holder clients, while supposedly working for them on anti-piracy efforts. The organization now known as Rights Alliance, previously Antipiratgruppen, had hired lawyers from the Johan Schluter law firm for representation in piracy cases. The firm worked on these efforts for Rights Alliance for years before an audit showed just how shady these beacons of justice for rightsholders actually were.

Following an investigation into the company’s accounts by auditing company Deloitte, financial irregularities amounting to millions of dollars were reported in the media during 2015. The Johan Schlüter law firm should have been distributing huge sums to movie and TV industry associations and their underlying rightsholders but its three partners – Johan Schlüter himself, Lars Halgreen and Susanne Fryland – had been lining their own pockets instead. Massive sums were siphoned away from their clients.

Yesterday, after more than 20 hearings during which the defendants maintained their innocence (with Schlüter and Halgreen painting themselves as victims of Fryland’s actions), all three were found guilty of fraud and false accounting to the tune of 100 million Danish kroner (US$15.83m).

Source: Danish Anti-Piracy Lawyers Jailed For Real, Actual Stealing From Copyright Holders

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Facebook confirms that it tracks how you move mouse on the computer screen

Image Courtesy: Reuters

Data security is a modern age myth. In the recent times, tech giants, particularly Facebook, have been accused of aggressively and extensively harnessing user data. And now Facebook has just admitted how efficient it is at the task.

The social media giant in a 225-page document responding to a set of 2,000 questions by the US Senate Committee on Judiciary admitted that it collects information from and about computers, phones, and connected devices, including mouse, that users use with its various services and that it combines this information to give users a personalised content.

Facebook said that it tracks mouse movements to help its algorithm distinguish between humans and bots. Tracking mouse movements also helps the social media giant, which has been under fire for its data privacy practices, to also determine if the window is foregrounded or backgrounded.

Source: Facebook confirms that it tracks how you move mouse on the computer screen

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Saudi Arabia’s model-less ‘ghost fashion show’ ridiculed online

Video clips of a fashion show in Saudi Arabia have caused a social media frenzy for replacing the much-loved fashion model with a different kind of clothes horse.

Gowns and accessories – from Dolce & Gabbana no less – glided down the runway not draped over the usual six-foot-tall twenty-something but hanging limply from a drone.

Lest we forget, fashion shows in the ultra-conservative kingdom follow a different set of rules. Despite hosting the inaugral Riyadh fashion week last month, audiences remained female-only, and male fashion designers were not allowed backstage even at their own shows.

The event organisers, who say the use of drones in such a way is a first for the kingdom, called the show Ramadan appropriate.

Source: Saudi Arabia’s model-less ‘ghost fashion show’ ridiculed online

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Supreme Court says warrant necessary for phone location data in win for privacy

The US Supreme Court has ruled in favor of digital privacy.

In a 5-4 decision on Friday, the justices said police need warrants to gather phone location data as evidence for trials. That reversed and remanded a decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Carpenter v. United States is the first case about phone location data that the Supreme Court has ruled on. That makes it a landmark decision regarding how law enforcement agencies can use technology as they build cases. The court heard arguments in the case on Nov. 29.

The dispute dates back to a 2011 robbery in Detroit, after which police gathered months of phone location data from Timothy Carpenter’s phone provider. They pulled together 12,898 different locations from Carpenter, over 127 days.

Source: Supreme Court says warrant necessary for phone location data in win for privacy

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FBI file contains evidence of a possible conspiracy behind the Moscone-Milk Assassinations

Despite ample evidence of premeditation, public knowledge of political and personal clashes, and a taped confessionDan White was charged with voluntary manslaughter after he assassinated San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk in 1978.

White was a disgruntled former city supervisor who had previously served as a police officer, then a firefighter. White was angry at the Moscone’s refusal to reappoint him after he left his position claiming the salary was not enough to support his family, and bore a grudge against Milk after he had reportedly lobbied against White’s reappointment.

The charge of voluntary manslaughter was seen by the LGBTQ community as a miscarriage of justice, sparking the White Night Riots.

When elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Milk became one of the first openly gay elected officials in the U.S. He quickly became an advocate for marginalized communities in San Francisco and beyond, fighting not only for LGBTQ rights, but for equality for women, and racial and ethnic minorities. White had a history of disagreeing politically with Moscone, Milk, and other progressive city officials, with White casting the only vote against San Francisco’s landmark gay rights ordinance. The ordinance was eventually passed by the Board and signed by Moscone in that same year.

Source: FBI file contains evidence of a possible conspiracy behind the Moscone-Milk Assassinations

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6-Year-Old Explains How Messed Up It Is That Her Entire Life Has Been Put On Facebook

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Police finally catch ‘serial toilet clogger’ who targeted dozens of bathrooms 

A repeat offender who deliberately clogged dozens of toilets has finally been caught and arrested. The 33-year-old man stuffed empty bottles of soft drinks into the pipes, leaving a blockage and no way for waste to escape. Police posted on Facebook that they arrested a man for a ‘string of vandalism that has been occurring at Deland Park over the past two years.’ They were tipped off by a citizen to find the man. (Picture: tmj4) (Picture: tmj4) Police said he had damaged a women’s bathroom at a Michigan community centre at least 30 times in the past two years. ‘It’s very inconsiderate,’ Chrystal Storck, who brings her son, Grayson, to Deland Park a lot, told ABC. ‘It’s really nice to come out here. We love it.’ The broadcaster said sometimes they can’t be removed and the whole toilet has to be replaced.

Read more:


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NH distillery has new bourbon flavored by beaver secretions

A New Hampshire distillery has a new bourbon, Eau De Musc, flavored partly by secretions from a beaver’s castor sacs.

Tamworth Distilling says the secretions, called castoreum, has a history of being used as a flavoring and is on a small list of FDA ingredients called “generally recognized as safe.”

The distillery says on its website castoreum “exhibits bright and fruit qualities (raspberry) and rich leathery notes along with creamy vanilla aroma,” common among barrel-aged spirits.

Other ingredients are raspberry, Canadian snakeroot, fir needles, birch bark (tar oil and regular oil), and maple syrup.

Source: NH distillery has new bourbon flavored by beaver secretions

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Chelsea Clinton fires back at critics who compare her to ‘Howdy Doody’

Chelsea Clinton is firing back at “all the people” who say she looks like the Howdy Doody puppet.

The former first daughter on Tuesday singled out a Twitter user named Richard, who on Tuesday shared a graphic with his 20 Twitter followers that showed Howdy Doody photoshopped over Clinton’s face.

“Thanks to Richard & all the people on @Twitter who’ve compared me to Howdy Doody, I now know a bit about him, including that he stood up to bullies & believed in being kind to animals,” Clinton said. “I’m always happy to be on the side of allyship & kindness. Thanks again!”

Source: Chelsea Clinton fires back at critics who compare her to ‘Howdy Doody’

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Venomous Caterpillar Sends Florida Teen To Emergency Room

LAND O’ LAKES (CBS News/CBS Local)- A teen in Land O’Lakes, Florida, experienced what his mom said was “the worst pain he ever felt” after coming in contact with a venomous caterpillar. Fifteen-year-old Logan Pergola was doing volunteer landscaping work with his family on Saturday.

His mom, Andrea Pergola, said Logan was picking up tree branches when his arm brushed up against the caterpillar. It wasn’t the kind of harmless little bug that kids find on playgrounds; it was a southern flannel moth caterpillar, and it was dangerous.

“He instantly felt a sharp, stinging pain and his arm went numb. Within 5 minutes he was dizzy, had lost color, was complaining of the worst pain he had ever felt & his eyes weren’t super focused,” Pergola wrote about her son on Facebook. “We tried to wash it off and I applied some garlic (it pulls venom out usually with bug stings).”

Source: Venomous Caterpillar Sends Florida Teen To Emergency Room

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Florida man had a ‘bad reaction’ to meth — so he took it to the cops to press charges

A Florida man contacted the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and said he purchased methamphetamine about a week ago and had a “bad reaction” after smoking the illegal narcotic.

Source: Florida man had a ‘bad reaction’ to meth — so he took it to the cops to press charges

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Bullies were shutting down America’s lemonade stands. These lawyers work for big lemonade.

‘Tastes like justice:’ Country Time will reimburse kids fined for their lemonade stands

“When life gives you arcane laws, make lemonade.”

And call Legal-Ade.

That’s the message Kraft Heinz’s lemonade brand Country Time is selling to young entrepreneurs and their summertime businesses.

That would be: children and their lemonade stands.

More specifically: children who get fined for running lemonade stands without a permit.

Take Autumn Thomasson, a 6-year-old California girl with long blonde hair and gold nail polish.

“My lemonade stand got shut down because I didn’t have a permit,” Thomasson said in a Legal-Ade video. “It was unfair.”

Now, Country Time wants to assure Thomasson and all lemon squeezers under 5 feet tall that this summer, things will be different.

“We heard a couple of these stories happening and frankly, didn’t believe that they were real,” said Adam Butler, Kraft Heinz’s general manager for beverages and nuts. “You look into it and, wow, this is actually real. We huddled up and decided we’ve got to do something about this.”

Source: Bullies were shutting down America’s lemonade stands. These lawyers work for big lemonade.

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Couple loses child custody after stuffed lion purportedly transmitting the word of God acted as its lawyer


A B.C. couple whose religious views are too extreme even for churches and pastors and put them at odds with family, doctors, social workers and anyone else trying to help them with their daughter, have lost their battle for custody of her.

The unusual child custody trial featured the couple speaking in tongues to a stuffed animal they said transmitted the word of God directly to them and refusing legal assistance because Jesus Christ — through the stuffed lion — was their lawyer, witness and judge.

In November, when the girl was one, the Provincial Court of British Columbia formally declared she was in need of protection and placed her in provincial custody, a decision the parents appealed to the B.C. Supreme Court. The parents claimed the judge violated their Charter rights, discriminated against them as Christians and made procedural errors.

Both parents were raised in Christian homes, she in Ontario and he in B.C., but strayed from their roots until reconnecting with their beliefs as adults. They met in 2014 and shared a mutual interest in their own emerging view of the Christian faith and were privately married a year later, court heard.


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Large-scale, sustainable 3D printing with cellulose

Cellulose is one of the most abundant and broadly distributed organic compound and industrial by-product on Earth. Yet, despite decades of extensive research, the bottom-up use of cellulose to fabricate 3D objects is still plagued with problems that restrict its practical applications: derivatives with vast polluting effects, used in combination with plastics, lack of scalability and high production cost. For more information see the IDTechEx report on 3D printing materials 2018-2028.   However, researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) have recently demonstrated the use of cellulose to sustainably manufacture/fabricate large 3D objects. Their approach diverges from the common association of cellulose with green plants and is inspired by the wall of the fungus-like oomycetes, which is reproduced introducing small amounts of chitin between cellulose fibers. The resulting fungal-like adhesive material(s) (FLAM) are strong, lightweight and inexpensive, and can be molded or processed using woodworking techniques.
Read more at:

Source: Large-scale, sustainable 3D printing with cellulose | 3D Printing Progress

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Char wins sexiest cow in Britain award 

(Picture: RAGT Seeds / Yes, there is an actual competition where people judge cows on their sexiness. And Char, a Jersey cow living on Gooseform Farm in the Culm Valley, Devon, is the winner, now holding the official title of the sexiest cow in Britain. It takes a lot to win the sexiest cow award – but Char had it in the bag with her swept back hair and the white accents above her eyes. The competition was set up by seed company RAGT Seeds, which aims to find the sexiest cow in the UK.


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AI Nationalism

For the past 9 months I have been presenting versions of this talk to AI researchers, investors, politicians and policy makers. I felt it was time to share these ideas with a wider audience. Thanks to the Ditchley conference on Machine Learning in 2017 for giving me a fantastic platform to get early feedback on my ideas. Thanks also to Nathan BenaichJack ClarkMatt CliffordJeff DingPaul GrahamMichael PageNick SrnicekYancey Strickler and Michelle You for helpful conversations and feedback on this piece.


The central prediction I want to make and defend in this post is that continued rapid progress in machine learning will drive the emergence of a new kind of geopolitics; I have been calling it AI Nationalism. Machine learning is an omni-use technology that will come to touch all sectors and parts of society. The transformation of both the economy and the military by machine learning will create instability at the national and international level forcing governments to act. AI policy will become the single most important area of government policy. An accelerated arms race will emerge between key countries and we will see increased protectionist state action to support national champions, block takeovers by foreign firms and attract talent. I use the example of Google, DeepMind and the UK as a specific example of this issue. This arms race will potentially speed up the pace of AI development and shorten the timescale for getting to AGI. Although there will be many common aspects to this techno-nationalist agenda, there will also be important state specific policies. There is a difference between predicting that something will happen and believing this is a good thing. Nationalism is a dangerous path, particular when the international order and international norms will be in flux as a result and in the concluding section I discuss how a period of AI Nationalism might transition to one of global cooperation where AI is treated as a global public good.

Source: AI Nationalism

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Lawsuit: Woman ‘unable to enjoy life’ after falling on vomit at Bass Pro

A woman filed a lawsuit against Bass Pro Shops after she slipped and fell on vomit.

The incident happened at Bass Pro at the Pyramid on May 14.

The lawsuit states the woman walked into the store and slipped and fell. It states there were no warning signs, towels, mats, or any other warnings in the store.

According to the lawsuit store workers knew about the mess and neglected to clean it or issue any warnings for customers.

The customer said the fall caused her severe left foot pain, left thumb pain, left shoulder pain, back and neck pain, as well as great fright and shock, temporary and permanent disfigurement, great physical pain and suffering, great mental emotional anguish, medical expenses, and “inability to enjoy the normal pleasures of life.”

She is seeking $140,000 in damages as well as medical costs.

Bass Pro Shops said it could not issue a comment on the allegations in the lawsuit because the litigation is still pending.

Source: Lawsuit: Woman ‘unable to enjoy life’ after falling on vomit at Bass Pro

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Tyson Foods introduces snack brand made from food waste

SPRINGDALE, ARK. — The new Yappah protein crisp snack product from Tyson Foods, Inc. is made from such ingredients as chicken breast trim, rescued vegetable puree from juicing and spent grain from beer brewing. The new product is part of the Yappah brand, which is designed to be an umbrella under which future products will be launched that help address social and sustainability challenges related to food, according to the company.

The Yappah protein crisps come in four varieties, two made with vegetable puree and two made with spent grain. The vegetable puree varieties come in chicken carrot curry and chicken celery mojo flavors. The spent grain items are available in chicken I.P.A. white cheddar and chicken shandy beer flavors.

“With the protein crisps we are taking ‘forgotten’ ingredients and crafting them into a delicious protein snack,” said Rizal Hamdallah, head of Tyson Foods’ Innovation Lab. “For the Yappah brand, sustainability is not an add-on, it’s our D.N.A. Fighting food waste is just the beginning.”

The brand is not currently available in retail outlets. It is available on Indiegogo, a crowd-funding platform through the month of May. That launch will be followed by a 90-day pilot at one Chicago-based supermarket.


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Biologists Have Discovered an Underwater Octopus City And They’re Calling It Octlantis

At the end of last year, scientists discovered a small octopus city – dubbed Octlantis – a find that suggests members of the gloomy octopus species (Octopus tetricus) are perhaps not the isolated and solitary creatures we thought they were.

Octlantis features dens made out of piles of sand and shells, and is home to up to 15 of the cephalopods, according to marine biologists. They recorded 10 hours of video footage of the site, which lies 10 to 15 metres (33 to 49 feet) under the water and measures 18 by 4 metres (59 by 13 feet).

The international team of researchers saw the gloomy octopuses meeting up, living together, communicating with each other, chasing unwelcome octopuses away, and even evicting each other from dens – so it seems Octlantis can be quite a rough place to live.

“These behaviours are the product of natural selection, and may be remarkably similar to vertebrate complex social behaviour,” lead researcher David Scheel, from Alaska Pacific University, told Ephrat Livni at Quartz.

Source: Biologists Have Discovered an Underwater Octopus City And They’re Calling It Octlantis

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Treasury won’t commit to putting Harriet Tubman on $20 bill: senator

Treasury won't commit to putting Harriet Tubman on $20 bill: senator

The Trump administration hasn’t commited to an Obama-era pledge to put abolitionist and civil rights hero Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, according to a statement from a Senate Democrat.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) told The New York Times that the Treasury Department responded to her letter — which was questioning the status of the change originally announced by the Obama administration in April 2016 — by claiming that no designs for the $20 bill or plans to include Tubman’s image had been finalized.

“The redesign of the next currency series is still in the early stages, and neither the final designs nor all features have been finalized for the new notes,” Treasury Department assistant secretary Drew Maloney wrote to Shaheen.

“For this reason, the department is unable to provide additional information regarding the potential designs at this time.”

Source: Treasury won’t commit to putting Harriet Tubman on $20 bill: senator

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‘Baby daddy’ cards to be removed from Target stores amid accusations of racism

Both Target and American Greetings have apologized to customers and say cards depicting a black couple kissing with the words “baby daddy” in the foreground will be removed from stores following social media uproar.

When Takeisha Saunders found the card, meant for Father’s Day, at her local Target in May, she took to Facebook to express her disappointment.

“You CANNOT be serious Target!!!! Really!!!?!!!!? This was the only Father’s Day card that featured a black couple!!!!!!” she wrote.

Source: ‘Baby daddy’ cards to be removed from Target stores amid accusations of racism

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Counting Bees With A Raspberry Pi

Even if keeping bees sounds about as wise to you as keeping velociraptors (we all know how that movie went), we have to acknowledge that they are a worthwhile thing to have around. We don’t personally want them around us of course, but we respect those who are willing to keep a hive on their property for the good of the environment. But as it turns out, there are more challenges to keeping bees than not getting stung: you’ve got to keep track of the things too.

Keeping an accurate record of how many bees are coming and going, and when, is a rather tricky problem. Apparently bees don’t like electromagnetic fields, and will flee if they detect them. So putting electronic measuring devices inside of the hive can be an issue. [Mat Kelcey] decided to try counting his bees with computer vision, and so far the results are very promising.

Source: Counting Bees With A Raspberry Pi


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Academic Group Says FAA is Too Tough on Drones 

National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) said in a report yesterday the FAA is often “overly conservative” and should weigh the overall benefits of drones instead of focusing only on their risk to airplanes and helicopters. (The full report can be purchased for $45.)

Introducing drone operations into the nation’s airspace can provide substantial benefits to society, such as preventing derailments, inspecting cell phone towers, delivering medical devices to patients in cardiac distress, and assisting firefighters, said the NASEM report. The report said the FAA’s tendency to “overestimate the severity and likelihood of risks from many types of drone operations, can be a significant barrier to introduction and development of this emerging and rapidly changing technology.”

The NASEM report cited examples of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UASs) reducing risks and saving lives. Earlier this year, a drone reportedly saved two swimmers in New South Wales, Australia, who were caught in rough ocean surf.  A lifeguard supervisor spotted the swimmers in trouble and used a drone to drop an inflatable device.

Source: Academic Group Says FAA is Too Tough on Drones – Inside Towers

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Radio Reporter Who Lost Voice Returns To Air Using App Built From Archived Audio

As I sat in my doctor’s office last Friday morning outside of the nation’s capital, President Donald Trump was holding forth on the South Lawn of the White House. Russia should be back in the G-7. He might issue more pardons. He wasn’t backing off on his fight over trade barriers. It was yet another time over the last two years that while the President was making major news, I was visiting yet another medical professional in the pursuit of answers – what happened to my voice, and will it ever come back?

The answer is – I don’t know. And my many doctors don’t know, either.

My voice is in there. From time to time, words fall out of my mouth that sound normal. But for the most part, I can’t speak more than one or two words at a time before it goes haywire.

And that’s a problem for someone who has been doing news on the radio since 1983.

The medical diagnosis is tongue protrusion dystonia – which basically means my tongue isn’t working correctly, as it pops out of my mouth when I talk, causing problems for my speech.

Source: With my voice still gone, time for Jamie Dupree 2.0 | Jamie Dupree – AJC

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Why are Earth’s oldest baobab trees dying?

Baobab trees are ancient, iconic structures with stalky branches that jut out haphazardly from rugged, thick trunks. These odd-looking trees can grow to an enormous size and are found in low-lying areas in Africa and Australia.

Baobabs are sometimes known as upside-down trees because their spindly branches look like roots reaching up to the sky. The iconic trees are also called monkey bread trees because of their plentiful fruit.

Until recently, these trees seemed nearly indestructible. People have used their cavernous trunks for homes, shops, storage and even a cocktail bar.

But then they began to topple. In early 2016, the Sunland baobab in Modjadjiskloof, South Africa — which had grown to an impressive 62 feet tall and nearly 112 feet in girth — began to split. By late 2017, it had collapsed completely.

The Sunland baobab, also called the Platland tree, had been functioning as a cocktail bar. Some thought perhaps all those people visiting the tree’s innards may have been the reason for its demise. But it wasn’t the only baobab that crumbled.

Source: Why are Earth’s oldest baobab trees dying?

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Media Slow to Notice Awful New Bill Clinton Comments on Groping

Journalists have been unsurprisingly slow to notice the latest appalling comments from Bill Clinton in which he appears to insist that times have changed and you can no longer grope people. On Thursday’s PBS NewsHour,he talked to Judy Woodruff about Al Franken and the senator’s abrupt exit from the Senate in 2017.

Clinton responded with this jaw-dropping answer: “I think the norms have really changed in terms of, what you can do to somebody against their will, how much you can crowd their space, make them miserable at work.” (Franken resigned last year after eight women accused him of inappropriate touching and a 2006 picture surfaced of him groping a sleeping woman.)



Since then, the network newscasts on ABC, CBS and NBC have ignored the comments in which Clinton went on to defend Franken with this assertion of how he’s “old fashioned”:

I will be honest, the Franken case, for me, was a difficult case, a hard case. There may be things I don’t know, but I —  maybe I’m just an old-fashioned person, but it seemed to me that there were 29 women on Saturday Night Live that put out a statement for him, that the first and most fantastic story was called, I believe, into question.

Just for comparison, here is the picture of Franken groping TV personality Leeaan Tweeden in 2006:

Source: Media Slow to Notice Awful New Bill Clinton Comments on Groping

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