Monthly Archives: August 2018

SF to get team dedicated to clearing used needles from city’s streets

Just days before he rolls out a citywide plan to clean up San Francisco’s fetid and filthy streets, Mayor Mark Farrell announced plans to hire a 10-person team of health professionals dedicated to cleaning up used needles. Farrell and Department of Public Health Director Barbara Garcia said on Monday that the city would allocate $750,000 to hire the new employees through a contract with the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. “People are, quite frankly, fed up with the conditions of our streets, and so am I,” Farrell said, speaking at a news conference assembled in an alley at the corner of Natoma and Russ streets.

The city and its partners, like the AIDS Foundation, collect around 275,000 used syringes each month, about 8,000 of which come from on-the-ground sweeps like the one the new AIDS Foundation team will be conducting, said Joe Hollendoner, the foundation’s CEO. Needles are also collected from syringe-disposal boxes located in areas where drug use is prevalent.

“No needles on the streets — that’s our goal,” Garcia said.

The new AIDS Foundation team will conduct targeted needle sweeps at areas identified as syringe hot spots by complaint data from the city’s 311 service portal. The city expects the team to be in place within the next month.

Farrell said he is aware of the frustration of many residents, who complain that it can take 24 hours or more to get the city to respond to 311 reports of needles on streets and sidewalks. Creating a dedicated team to solely address needle litter was intended to help fix that problem.

“We want to be responsive to our residents,” he said.

In the coming days, Farrell is expected to veto a street-cleaning budget supplemental that passed the Board of Supervisors last week. The measure was introduced by Supervisor Jane Kim.

Source: SF to get team dedicated to clearing used needles from city’s streets

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It’s no laughing matter – SF forming Poop Patrol to keep sidewalks clean

In a city where filthy sidewalks are many residents’ No. 1 complaint, City Hall has come up with a new way to deal with No. 2. It sounds like silly elementary school banter, but it’s real. San Francisco is about to launch the Poop Patrol. In about a month, a team of five Public Works staffers will begin patrolling the alleys around Polk Street and other hot spots in a vehicle equipped with a steam cleaner. They’ll begin their shifts in the afternoon, as the city starts losing its sheen from overnight cleaning. The Poop Patrol’s mission? To spot and clean piles of feces before anybody complains about them.

“We’re trying to be proactive,” explained Public Works director Mohammed Nuru. “We’re actually out there looking for it.”

Source: It’s no laughing matter – SF forming Poop Patrol to keep sidewalks clean

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Notre Dame holy water POISONING fears as ‘tingling’ churchgoers taken ill

Catholic tourists have complained of tingling in the face after signing themselves with the holy water, sparking fears the sacred water could be toxic.

Cops raced to the famous Parisian cathedral on Saturday morning as churchgoers complained of headaches.

One priest, draped in his white robes, confirmed the tourists’ horror.

“It smelled especially bad, this water,” he said.

Source: Notre Dame holy water POISONING fears as ‘tingling’ churchgoers taken ill

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Itty Bitty: This New Web Tool Lets You Create Your Own Microsite In Seconds

Ex-Google designer and present vice president of design at Dropbox Nicholas Jitkoff has created a new web tool using which you can create your own microsites which are “contained entirely within their own link.”

The tool named as Itty Bitty creates a compressed link of HTML and other data which can be shared with others. When the URL is opened, the data is loaded on the receiver’s side. The most amazing thing about the microsites created from Itty Bitty is that the site is not hosted on any server making it entirely private.

Source: Itty Bitty: This New Web Tool Lets You Create Your Own Microsite In Seconds

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Newseum apologizes for selling “fake news” t-shirt

Following substantial criticism over selling t-shirts adorned with the phrase: “You Are Very Fake News,” the Newseum has issued an apology for selling the product, adding it has removed the shirts from the gift shop and online store.

“A free press is an essential part of our democracy and journalists are not the enemy of the people.”
— Newseum in a press release

The private museum went on to explain it will continue to sell other merchandise that has received criticism, like red “Make America Great Again” hats, as it has “historically made all types of political merchandise available for our guests to purchase.”

Source: Newseum apologizes for selling “fake news” t-shirt

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How To Identify Car History Online Using Vehicle Identification Number


When buying a used car, you have to be aware of the existence of a certain number that virtually every vehicle has. With the help of this number, a new owner can find out a lot about the vehicle, starting with its manufacture and ending in accidents the car was registered in. This 17-character code can help a potential buyer make the right decision when planning to buy a certain vehicle.

Vehicle identification number (VIN) is a unique code that identifies a specific automobile. It consists of 17 characters – digits and numbers – that serve a role of car’s identifier. By reading the code, we can find out about a manufacturer, specifications, and features of the automobile. So, what do we need to know about vehicle identification number before buying a car?

  • Where to Find The VIN Number?
  • The meaning of numbers and letters (VIN decode).
  • VIN decoding with the help of a free VIN decoder.
  • VIN coding as a means of tracking a car’s history.

VIN Code

VIN code is used by the majority of car manufacturers and is supported in almost all countries. It is especially useful for drivers who want to buy a used automobile. With the help of VIN, they can find out about accidents the vehicle has been, in or thefts. VIN coding aligns with the ISO 3779-1983 standard that has been used for more than 30 years. In 1982, this standard was approved by the following countries:

continue  https://www.fromdev.com/2018/07/how-to-identify-car-history-online.html

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MPAA: To Save Free Speech, We Must Broadly Censor Free Speech

Earlier this year, we wrote about a thought-provoking article by Zeynep Tufecki discussing how some people were deliberately trying to use the open “marketplace of ideas” to effectively attempt to poison the marketplace of ideas. Also mentioned in that article was an excellent Yale Journal Article called Real Talk About Fake News by Nabiha Syed, which raised similar issues, and wondered if we needed a new framework for thinking about free speech online. We later had Syed on our podcast to discuss this further. Both Tufecki and Syed were raising important, thought-provoking issues that were not at all like the usual attacks on free speech — because neither was an attack on free speech. Instead, they were attempting to protect free speech by pointing out that the way we often frame these discussions may not be the most effective way of thinking about these issues — and that might actually lead to the silencing of voices.

This has certainly spurred many more thoughtful discussions on these topics. But… it won’t surprise you that some are now looking to exploit this open discussion in their own way. The MPAA recently filed some comments with the NTIA, and what’s striking about them, is how they appear to be co-opting the language of Tufecki to attack free speech online, and push for legal changes that would lead to massive censorship. But, in doing so, they claim these changes are necessary to “protect” free speech. The MPAA’s VP Neil Fried also put out a somewhat snarky blog post about the filing, in which the MPAA insists that CDA 230 and DMCA 512 must be changed because “the status quo does not seem to be working.”

Is that so? CDA 230 became law in 1996. DMCA in 1998. Let’s take a look at how movie box office revenue has been over the years since (2018 numbers are projected based on tickets so far):

Source: MPAA: To Save Free Speech, We Must Broadly Censor Free Speech

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Feds Continue Classified Experiments on Humans

The U.S. government continues to perform highly secretive experiments on human subjects, according to partial information about these continuing experiments released under a Freedom of Information Act request.

At least 12 programs run by the Department of Energy are using human beings as part of the experiments, which operate under unusual names such as “Moose Drool,” “Little Workers,” and “Hidden Valley,” among others.

An unclassified list of these experiments was provided to the Federation of American Scientists under a FOIA request and included in the organization’s latest newsletter.

Little information about the nature of these experiments was provided by the government, which lists the total number of participants in the programs at around 300.

“Human subjects research refers broadly to the collection of scientific data from human subjects,” FAS noted in its review of the experiments. “This could involve physical procedures that are performed on the subjects, or simply interviews and other forms of interaction with them.”

Controversy has surrounded past efforts by the U.S. government to conduct human experiments, including radiation tests that sparked a government committee years ago.

“Research using human subjects provides important medical and scientific benefits to individuals and to society. The need for this research does not, however, outweigh the need to protect individual rights and interests,” FAS noted, quoting the DOE’s 2016 guidance on protection of human subjects in classified research.

Source: Feds Continue Classified Experiments on Humans

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DNC serves WikiLeaks with lawsuit via Twitter

The Democratic National Committee on Friday officially served its lawsuit to WikiLeaks via Twitter, employing a rare method to serve its suit to the elusive group that has thus far been unresponsive.

As CBS News first reported last month, the DNC filed a motion with a federal court in Manhattan requesting permission to serve its complaint to WikiLeaks on Twitter, a platform the DNC argued the website uses regularly. The DNC filed a lawsuit in Aprilagainst the Trump campaign, Russian government and WikiLeaks, alleging a massive conspiracy to tilt the 2016 election in Donald Trump’s favor.

All of the DNC’s attempts to serve the lawsuit via email failed, the DNC said in last month’s motion to the judge, which was ultimately approved.

The lawsuit was served through a tweet from a Twitter account established Friday by Cohen Milstein, the law firm representing the DNC in the suit, with the intent of serving the lawsuit.

Source: DNC serves WikiLeaks with lawsuit via Twitter

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‘Madness’: Nurses and midwives fight ‘white privilege’ code

AUSTRALIAN nurses are pushing back against a change that requires them to “acknowledge white privilege” before treating patients.

Nurses and midwives around the country must now adhere to a new code of conduct with a section specifically dedicated to “culture” and which details white Australians’ inherent privilege “in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders”.

The new code, which came into effect in March, has been labelled “eye-watering”, “cultural madness” and “unacceptable”. A peak body representing nurses in Queensland is even calling for the chairman of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia to be sacked over it.

“This is eye-watering stuff,” Graeme Haycroft from the Nurses Professional Association of Queensland told Sky News host Peta Credlin.

“We’re calling for the resignation of the chairman of the board (Associate Professor Lynette Cusack) because she’s put her name to it and it’s unacceptable.”

Credlin called it “almost too hard to believe”. “Before (a midwife) delivers a baby to an indigenous woman she’s supposed to put her hands up and say: ‘I need to talk to you about my white privilege’, not about my infection control, my qualifications or my training as a midwife?” she asked Mr Haycroft.

He said that was correct, but there’s no requirement to “announce” anything. The nurses must simply abide by the new code which state clearly that “cultural safety is as important to quality care as clinical safety”.

“Cultural safety … requires nurses and midwives to undertake an ongoing process of self-reflection and cultural self-awareness, and an acknowledgment of how a nurse’s/midwife’s personal culture impacts on care,” the code reads.

“In relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, cultural safety provides a decolonising model of practice based on dialogue, communication, power sharing and negotiation, and the acknowledgment of white privilege.

Source: ‘Madness’: Nurses and midwives fight ‘white privilege’ code

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Cory Booker Admits Dem Problem: ‘We Seem To Have Lost Our Way’

 

Democrats have lost their connection to everyday voters, according to Senator Cory Booker (D-NY).

Speaking at Netroots Nation 2018, a progressive political convention, Booker admitted Friday that the Democrat Party needs to refocus its message based on the needs of voters rather than its hatred of the president.

“I think a lot about the Democratic Party nationally and how it seems that that connection to people – where they are, what their experiences are, their struggles, their hurt, and their pain – how we seem to have lost our way,” Booker said.

“What we need to be doing is reconnecting ourselves to folks where they are.”

What Booker fails to realize is his party has alienated a large swath of voters through identity politics and the party’s sudden shift towards a far-left socialist platform.

Additionally, the party’s increasingly unhinged rhetoric against President Trump, his administration and family, and his supporters has derailed the Democrat party’s messaging – its policy platform is now for anything Trump is against, and is against anything Trump is for.

Source: Cory Booker Admits Dem Problem: ‘We Seem To Have Lost Our Way’

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STUDY: ‘Trigger Warnings’ Are Harmful To College Students

College professors and administrators use “trigger warnings” to warn students about material that may upset them, such as depictions of rape and violence. The American public has had some version of these warnings for decades, most recognizably as movie or video game ratings.

But in recent years, students have been receiving trigger warnings on a new range of material, including classical literature such as Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” because of a passage about the Greek goddess Persephone’s rape.

new study from Harvard University psychologists, published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, found that such an overuse of trigger warnings can actually be harmful to those who are exposed to them.

Psychologists Benjamin Bellet, Payton Jones, and Richard McNally took 270 American research subjects and divided them into two groups. One group was given a “trigger warning” before reading each of 10 passages from classic literature, where five of those pieces contained explicit material such as descriptions of murder.

The “trigger warning” group proved far more likely to suggest passages containing distressful language would cause themselves and others emotional distress had they experienced trauma.

Social psychologist Craig Harper wrote at Medium that the results of this study could have far-reaching cultural effects.

Source: STUDY: ‘Trigger Warnings’ Are Harmful To College Students

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FBI boss: We went to the Moon, so why can’t we have crypto backdoors? – and more this week

Scott on the surface of the Moon during Apollo 15. Pic: NASA

Roundup There has been a bumper crop of security news this week, including another shipping giant getting taken down by ransomware, Russian hackers apparently completely pwning US power grids and a sane request from Senator Wyden (D-OR) for the US government to dump Flash. But there has been other news bubbling under.

Useless action please! While Wyden might know what he’s talking about his colleagues seem set on useless posturing.

On Tuesday Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) sent a letter [PDF] to US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asking him to implement financial sanctions against the 12 Russians accused of hacking the servers of the Democratic Party. Given the president’s confused attitude towards Russia they shouldn’t hold their breath.

The two are depressingly vague about what exactly they would like to see done, but we can’t imagine the accused are trembling in their Afoor boots. But it got the senators a bit of publicity, which is probably the point of the exercise.

Source: FBI boss: We went to the Moon, so why can’t we have crypto backdoors? – and more this week

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Blink and you won’t miss it: Face tattoos go mainstream

At Chicago Tattoo & Piercing Co., which has been in business in that city since 1973, the employees have a name for tattoos on the hands, neck and face. “We call them job stoppers,” said Joel Jose Molina, a tattoo artist at the shop. “Your possibilities are cut down. You’re going to be working at the Trader Joe’s putting groceries away or working that bar job.”

Or then again, you might be cutting platinum albums and performing at this year’s Lollapalooza Festival, like Post Malone. Or broadcasting your amazing pop star life to your 101 million Instagram followers, like Justin Bieber.

Both musicians have tattoos on their faces, a once taboo area to ink.

Post Malone has “Stay Away” in curly script on his forehead and the words “Always” and “Tired” below each eye, while Bieber has a tiny, under-eye cross. Other artists with inked faces include 21 Savage (a knife on his forehead), Lil Xan (the words “xanarchy” and “candy,” the number “1996”), and Tekashi 6ix9ine, who was reportedly kidnapped and beaten last month (the number “69,” a red flower, the face of Jigsaw from the “Saw” movies).

But marking one’s face isn’t limited to rappers, or men, or celebrities. Kat von D, the tattoo artist and model, has a wash of blue stars trailing down her forehead and cheek. Instagram, predictably, is filled with photos (#facetattoo) of people, most of them young, showing off their new face ink.

Source: Blink and you won’t miss it: Face tattoos go mainstream

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Godfather of GMOs Wants Consumers to Be Less Afraid of His Food

 Three decades ago, Robert T. Fraley helped invent the genetically modified seeds that have become a $17 billion global industry and ushered in a new era of agricultural productivity. So it’s little surprise that this longtime Monsanto Co. executive doesn’t want the crops dubbed Frankenfood, which is what critics like to call them.

Fraley retired in June as Monsanto’s chief technology officer but says he will continue to be an evangelist for the scientific advancements that he says turbo-charged harvests and helped farmers stay a few steps ahead of Mother Nature. GMOs have become Fraley’s legacy, and he’s convinced the world will need more such innovations to keep pace with the demand for more food as populations and incomes grow.

“There are so many examples where science can be slowed down or thwarted because of inaccurate information,” such as the efficacy of vaccines or the impacts of climate change, Fraley, 65, said by telephone from Monsanto headquarters in St. Louis. “We’re living in a time where there’s spectacular advances, and the biggest challenge is making sure they can benefit consumers.”

In the past six years, Fraley has ramped up his public appearances and his presence on social media. The goal was to become the friendly face of GMO seeds and foods, and to help the public understand and accept scientific advances that are occurring “at a fantastic pace.” At stake, he says, is global food security and the reduction of agriculture’s environmental footprint.

It’s also a crucial growth opportunity for Monsanto, which was acquired this year by Bayer AG for $66 billion. The deal closed in June, making Monheim, Germany-based Bayer the largest maker of seeds and agricultural chemicals. Fraley, who earned $5.3 million last year, according to company documents, plans to remain a consultant for Bayer through the end of the year. After that, he’ll continue advocating for the technology.

Biotech products accounted for 34 percent of the global crop-protection market and 30 percent of the commercial seed market, according to Cropnosis. GMO crops and seeds could be worth $36.7 billion by 2022, Transparency Market Research estimates. Monsanto’s seed sales, most of which were genetically modified, were a record $11 billion in its 2017 fiscal year.

Source: Godfather of GMOs Wants Consumers to Be Less Afraid of His Food

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Parents of three transgender teens sue Warren County judge to allow name change

LEBANON, Ohio — A federal lawsuit claims a Warren County judge suggested a transgender teen was influenced by Caitlyn Jenner and wasn’t sincere about his gender identity when the teen’s parents requested to legally change their minor’s name.

The parents of that 15-year-old teen and two other transgender teens are suing Probate and Juvenile Court Judge Joseph W. Kirby to allow their children to change their legal names from female to male. The parents claim Kirby discriminates against transgender minors in refusing to allow them to select a name that reflects their gender identity.

The plaintiffs in the suit include the parents of one transgender teen Kirby has already ruled against, parents of another teen whose hearing is scheduled for Aug. 14, and a single parent who plans to file a petition for a name change for her transgender teen.

Source: Parents of three transgender teens sue Warren County judge to allow name change

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FBI Offers Huge Payout for Pennsylvania Man Threatening Trump

A Pennsylvania man who has threatened to kill President Donald Trump remains on the run despite a $10,000 reward posted by the FBI.

According to the Courier-Post, a vehicle police believe was used by Shawn Christy, 26, of McAdoo, Pennsylvania, was found near Nitro, West Virginia, on Tuesday.

Officials said the 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan was stolen Sunday in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, WITF reported.

Nitro Police Chief Bobby Eggleton said Christy, a New Jersey native, could have run out of gas. He said there have been no sightings of Christy.

“We take anything like this very seriously,” Eggleton said. “If the FBI calls us or any federal agency, especially and inform us, we take it seriously. We take every indication that this individual is still in our area, so we take the precautions necessary.”

Source: FBI Offers Huge Payout for Pennsylvania Man Threatening Trump

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CCleaner Facing Backlash For User Data Collection And Active Monitoring

The popular system cleaning tool CCleaner is facing a backlash from users for the latest ‘improvements’ introduced in the software. The new update prevents users from exiting the app and opting-out from usage data collection.

Source: CCleaner Facing Backlash For User Data Collection And Active Monitoring

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