Author Archives: binghamboatwright

About binghamboatwright

newshound, tech adventurist, with an interest in anything electricity goes into and out of.

Five Eyes Want to ‘Name and Shame’ by Exercising Absolute Power Over the Internet

It’s becoming all too clear where the global censorship effort is headed. With tech giants now a willing dongle to government, the infrastructure is in place to decide what is ‘foreign interference’ and who will be taken down next. Now, a legal framework to scale it out to the masses is being planned.

As seen earlier today in The Sydney Morning HeraldAustralia, Canada, New Zealand, Britain and the United States, also known as the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence partners, want more access and authority to target Internet users that “sow discord, manipulate public discourse, bias the development of policy, or disrupt markets.” The article continues:

“Foreign interference threatens a nation’s sovereignty, values and national interests — it can limit or shape the polity’s ability to make independent judgements, erode public confidence in our political and government institutions, and interfere with private-sector decision making,” a joint communiqué read.

“While senior digital industry representatives did not accept our invitation to participate in discussions on pressing issues regarding the illicit use of online spaces, we reiterated the need for digital industry to take more responsibility for content promulgated and communicated through their platforms and applications.”

Source: Five Eyes Want to ‘Name and Shame’ by Exercising Absolute Power Over the Internet

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You should not drink human blood. It will not keep you young.

A recent study inspired headlines and tweets the likes of “drinking young people’s blood could help you live longer and prevent age-related diseases.” We at Popular Science would rather you not do that. Here are several arguments against drinking human blood.

Drinking human blood can make you very sick

For starters, a lot of blood you’ll encounter on the street carries some kind of pathogen. Drinking infected blood is a great way to get your very own infection. And unlike animals who’ve evolved to live on blood, humans can actually wind up with iron overdoses if they overindulge.

There are people feel compelled to drink the blood of others, and even follow rules to make sure they’re doing it safely and consensually. Some of the people who do this feel they have a genuine medical condition that is improved through the drinking of blood, but it’s important that you discuss these symptoms and feelings with your physician. And you definitely shouldn’t just take a shot of the first blood you’re offered.

Source: You should not drink human blood. It will not keep you young.

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Hacking Police Body Cameras

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What Is “Five Eyes” Surveillance? VPN Users, Beware!

If you’ve ever used a VPN, or are concerned about online privacy, you’ve probably stumbled across references to “Five Eyes,” “Nine Eyes,” and “14 Eyes.”

But what exactly do these surveillance alliances do? And can they affect the security of your VPN service?

What Is Five Eyes?

Five Eyes is a nickname for the United Kingdom–United States of America Agreement(UKUSA).

Despite the official name, UKUSA agreement consists of five countries. They are the UK, US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The deal has its origins in a World War II intelligence-sharing agreement between Britain and America.

Five Eyes has given birth to many of the most notable privacy scandals in recent years, including PRISM, XKeyscore, and Tempora.

Today, its powers are scarily wide-ranging. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the five governments can force any “communications service provider” (including ISPs, social media platforms, email providers, cell phone networks, and more) to:

  • Insert malware on its users’ devices.
  • Ignore existing laws in pursuit of Five Eyes directives.
  • Interfere with people’s user experience.
  • Provide governments with new product designs in advance.
  • Provide user information as requested in secret warrants.

What Is Nine Eyes?

Nine Eyes is another intelligence sharing agreement. It’s grown out of the original Five Eyes alliance. It includes all the Five Eyes members, plus Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and Norway.

Its powers and dedication to information sharing is broadly the same as the Five Eyes agreement.

What Is 14 Eyes?

The 14 Eyes agreement adds a further five countries to the list: Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, and Sweden.

Interestingly, both France and Germany have been close to becoming full Five Eyes members in 2009 and 2013 respectively. The two agreements both fell through for various reasons.

Lastly, it’s important to mention Israel and Singapore. Israel reportedly enjoys observer status with the main Five Eyes group, while Singapore has partnered with the group but is not an official member.

What Does This Mean for VPNs?

Given the sweeping powers granted by the three agreements, what impact does it have on your VPN service?

It’s all a question of jurisdiction. When talking about a VPN provider’s jurisdiction, there are three things to consider:

  • Local laws: Some countries outright ban VPN usage.
  • Company location: The state in which the VPN provider is registered and has its physical offices.
  • Server location: VPN providers typically offer servers in many different countries.

From a surveillance perspective, the two things you need to worry about are the company location and the company servers.

A VPN provider with either a physical address, or servers in the countries listed, could be compelled to hand over any information it has, including connection logs and browser traffic. The country might even monitor a VPN server’s inbound and outbound traffic. Worse still, the governments can forbid the provider from even notifying the affected customers; you lose the chance to respond to the invasion of privacy.

And, of course, due to the very nature of the agreements, once your information has been acquired by one country, it’s in the system. Ultimately, it could be shared with the other countries if they request it.

If security is your main priority, you shouldn’t use a VPN that’s domiciled in one of the Five, Nine, or 14 Eyes countries. Nor should you connect to servers in one of those countries using a VPN provider from a non-14 Eyes member.

If you really need to use a VPN provider from one of the Five, Nine, or 14 Eyes member countries (for example, due to a unique feature), make sure you select one that explicitly does not keep logs. However, not even that can adequately protect you.

For example, you don’t need to look any further than the once-popular US-based email provider, Lavabit.

When the FBI found out Edward Snowden had used the service, it requested the company’s logs. The company did not keep logs, so the FBI instead issued a subpoena for the SSL keys. The keys would have given the FBI access to metadata and unencrypted content for all Lavabit users.

To its credit, rather than hand over the information, Lavabit opted to shut down. You cannot be so confident that your VPN provider would be equally willing to fall on its sword.

Source: What Is “Five Eyes” Surveillance? VPN Users, Beware!

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LibreOffice Getting Started Guide Available to Download


Want to learn to use free office software LibreOffice? A new downloadable guide is on hand to help. The LibreOffice documentation team has announced a new

Source: LibreOffice Getting Started Guide Available to Download – OMG! Ubuntu!

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Google secretly logs users into Chrome whenever they log into a Google site | ZDNet

Google has made an important change to the way the Chrome browser works, a move the company did not advertise to its users in any way, and which has serious privacy repercussions.

According to several reports [ 123], starting with Chrome 69, whenever a Chrome user would access a Google-owned site, the browser would take that user’s Google identity and log the user into the Chrome in-browser account system –also known as Sync.

This system, Sync, allows users to log in with their Google accounts inside Chrome and optionally upload and synchronize local browser data (history, passwords, bookmarks, and other) to Google’s servers.

Sync has been present in Chrome for years, but until now, the system worked independently from the logged-in state of Google accounts. This allowed users to surf the web while logged into a Google account but not upload any Chrome browsing data to Google’s servers, data that may be tied to their accounts.

Now, with the revelations of this new auto-login mechanism, a large number of users are angry that this sneaky modification would allow Google to link that person’s traffic to a specific browser and device with a higher degree of accuracy.

That criticism proved to be wrong, as Google engineers have clarified on Twitter that this auto-login operation does not start the process of synchronizing local data to Google’s servers, which will require a user click.

Furthermore, they also revealed that the reason why this mechanism was added was for privacy reasons in the first place. Chrome engineers said the auto-login mechanism was added in the browser because of shared computers/browsers.

When one or more users would be using the same Chrome browser, data from one or more users would accidentally be sent to another person’s Google account.

Source: Google secretly logs users into Chrome whenever they log into a Google site | ZDNet

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Social Mapper: This Open Source Tool Lets “Good” Hackers Track People On Social Media

There are tons of automated tools and services that any shady hacker can employ to grab the public data on Facebook, Twitter, Google, or Instagram, and use it for notorious purposes. But what about the ethical hackers and security researchers who are looking for a means to achieve the same?

To tackle this issue, security firm Trustwave has released an open source tool that can reduce the time being consumed for such intelligence collection process at a large scale. Called Social Mapper, the tool uses facial recognition to connect the dots on different social media and collect data.

This might sound fishy to some of you but that’s how things work in the cybersecurity world. The difference between ethical and unethical hackers is all about the choice of tools and the permission one gets during the pentesting process. Along the same lines, Social Mapper can be used to run authorized and simulated attacks to test the security of the accounts.

Source: Social Mapper: This Open Source Tool Lets “Good” Hackers Track People On Social Media

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Former Union Boss Supporting Right-To-Work Laws; Democrats Are Livid

A public-sector union is calling for its former president to pull an ad advocating for right to work legislation in Missouri, The Washington Free Beacon reports.

Retired St. Louis Police sergeant Gary Wiegert has joined the National Right to Work Committee (NRWC) in campaigning for Missouri ballot initiative Prop A, which would prohibit unions from requiring from requiring dues from members and nonmembers in unionized workspaces.

The St. Louis Police Officers Association (SPLOA) is calling Wiegert, its former president, “anti-worker” for taking part in an ad by the NRWC. Wiegert has troubled the union for years by speaking out against union membership or paying union fees as a condition of employment.

“Sgt. Wiegert’s anti-worker positions are no secret to our organization, he has been vocal about them for years,” police union spokesman Jeff Roorda told the Free Beacon in an email.

The SPLOA has taken the step of calling for the NRWC and Wiegert to cease airing the ad starring the former union leader. In the ad, Wiegert is wearing a union polo with the union’s symbol showing, but Wiegert was expelled from the union in 2012 and forbade from ever representing the organization, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“It is patently obvious that you and the campaign [to vote yes on Prop A] are using our copyrighted logo without permission to intentionally mislead Missourians that the SLPOA or its members sanction your anti-worker rhetoric,” a cease and desist letter from the union to Wiegert says, according to the Free Beacon

Wiegert has since removed a link to the ad from his personal Facebook page, but the ad remains up on the NRWC’s page.

“This type of bullying is exactly why Missouri needs the protections Right to Work laws offer,” NRWC president Mark Mix said in a statement. “The fact that these are the lengths union officials are willing to go silence any dissent among rank-and-file workers demonstrates exactly why every worker should be able to refrain from supporting a union if they choose.”

The police union’s attempts to get the ad removed are intimidation tactics meant to suppress free speech, Wiegert says.

“To me it looks like they’re just trying to intimidate me and shut down my First Amendment rights, and the ad clearly states I’m a retired police officer and I was the president of that organization,” Wiegert told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Source: Former Union Boss Supporting Right-To-Work Laws; Democrats Are Livid

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 The Hidden Race to Dismantle Global Law Enforcement Privacy Protections

Last month, 360 cyber crime experts from 95 countries gathered in Strasbourg to attend the Octopus Conference. The event sounds like something from James Bond, and when you look at the attendee list—which includes senior figures from the United States Department of Justice, national police forces across the world, and senior figures from companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Cloudflare—it’s easy to imagine a covert machination or two.

As it happens, Octopus is one of the more open and transparent elements in the world of global law enforcement and cybersecurity. Civil society like EFF and EDRI were invited to speak, and this year it was our primary chance to comment on a new initiative by the event’s organizers, the Council of Europe—an additional protocol to their Cybercrime Convention (also known as the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime), which will dictate how Parties of the Convention from around the world can cooperate across borders to fight Internet crime.

Our conclusion: the Council of Europe (CoE) needs to stand more firmly against a global trend to undermine everyone’s privacy in the pursuit of faster and easier investigations. As conversations at Octopus showed, the many long arms of the world’s law-enforcers are coming for user data, and the CoE needs to stand firm that they obey international human rights, in particular article 15 of the Budapest Convention, when they reach across borders.

Source: Behind the Octopus: The Hidden Race to Dismantle Global Law Enforcement Privacy Protections

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Why you’re using Tor wrong

Tor (The onion router) provides a way to anonymize servers on the internet. If there’s content you want to publish while you remain anonymous, Tor is your main option. Over 100,000 Tor sessions are used daily.


Tor provides end-to-end security and self-certifying domain names. Servers are anonymous to clients, and clients are anonymous to servers.

Onion domain names are based on an RSA key pair, an SHA-1 hash of the public key, truncated, and encoded in a 16 character base32 string. If you know the domain, you know the public key. That’s handy, but the unwieldy domain name is hard to write and remember.


In the paper How Do Tor Users Interact With Onion Services? researchers from Princeton University looked at how people understand and use Tor. In addition to an online survey of 517 users, another 17 users completed semi-structured interviews.

Though 60 percent of the respondents had graduate degrees, many of them misunderstood key aspects of Tor. The domain format, for example, is not well understood, leaving users open to phishing attacks or common typos.

Users also have problems discovering onion domains. Finally, users want better performance and easier ways to track and verify onion domains.


If you’ve never used Tor, the domain name issue may seem like a noob problem. But you try to type in expyuzz4wqqyqhjn.onion without a mistake!


Based on the user problems they found in their interviews and survey, the researchers offer a damning assessment of today’s onion services:

Onion services resemble the 1990s web: Pages load slowly, user interfaces are clumsy, and search engines are inadequate.

They go on to suggest a variety of design improvements, from an onion search engine, to features as simple as the public internet’s padlock icon to indicate that onion service security is operational.


For all the shortcomings of commercial products – and they are legion – it is sobering to see Tor compared to the 90s web. Few non-commercial products, whose developers are almost always unpaid, have the resources of a commercial firm.

Source: Why you’re using Tor wrong | ZDNet

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Sony Finally Admits It Doesn’t Own Bach and It Only Took a Bunch of Public Pressure

Here’s the thing about different people playing the same piece of music: sometimes, they’re going to sound similar. And when music is by a composer who died 268 years ago, putting his music in the public domain, a bunch of people might record it and some of them might put it online. In this situation, a combination of copyright bots and corporate intransigence led to a Kafkaesque attack on music.

Musician James Rhodes put a video of himself playing Bach on Facebook. Sony Music Entertainment claimed that 47 seconds of that performance belonged to them. Facebook muted the video as a result.

So far, this is stupid but not unusually stupid in the world of takedowns. It’s what happened after Rhodes got Sony’s notice that earned it a place in the Hall of Shame.

One argument in favor of this process is that there are supposed to be checks and balances. Takedown notices are supposed to only be sent by someone who owns the copyright in the material and actually believes that copyright’s been infringed. And if a takedown notice is wrong, a counter-notice can be sent by someone explaining that they own the work or that it’s not infringement.

Counter-notices have a lot of problems, not the least of which is that the requirements are onerous for small-time creators, requiring a fair bit of personal information. There’s always the fear that, even for someone who knows they own the work, that the other side will sue them anyway, which they cannot afford.

Source: Sony Finally Admits It Doesn’t Own Bach and It Only Took a Bunch of Public Pressure

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Super-rich having brains FROZEN for £80,000 to get SECOND LIFE

They are paying a fortune to have them cryogenically preserved in liquid nitrogen in the hope of a new life. But it doesn’t come cheap – having your grey matter frozen for up to 200 years will set you back £80,000.

The service is being offered by the Alcor Life Extension Foundation based in Scottsdale, Arizona. The company is headed up by Bristol-born scientist Dr Max More, inset, and his team of eight people.

It has 1,100 paying members on its books. The terminally ill, the elderly and people in their 50s have all signed up in the hope that one day they can be thawed out and their medical problems or diseases cured.

Some are paying £200,000 for full body preservation, where they are hung upside down in steel cylinders. One businessman convinced that he will wake up in the future after his brain has been placed inside another body spoke exclusively to the Daily Star Sunday.

Source: Super-rich having brains FROZEN for £80,000 to get SECOND LIFE

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Firefox Browser Will Soon Block All Web Trackers By Default

There’s no denying the fact that data collection on the web is one of the fundamental ways how our Internet actually works. But then comes the practice of unchecked data collection, which brings along tons of negative impacts like performance impact and data breaches.

It seems that Mozilla is planning to block all kinds of web trackers by default in the upcoming releases. This might be a massive blow to the advertisers in the regions where Firefox enjoys a more significant market share.

In an official blog post, Mozilla has outlined the plans to roll out a series of privacy-focused features.

The first feature will be rolled out in Firefox Nightly builds to block trackers that increase the page loading time. It’ll be first shipped using a field study in September. Mozilla further plans to implement it by default in Firefox 63 — if the test results turn out to be encouraging.

Source: Firefox Browser Will Soon Block All Web Trackers By Default

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Censorship machines removed my article warning people about censorship machines

A few days ago, about a dozen articles and campaign sites criticizing EU plans for copyright censorship machines silently vanished from the world’s most popular search engine. Proving their point in the most blatant possible way, the sites were removed by exactly what they were warning of: Copyright censorship machines.

Among the websites that were made impossible to find: A blog post of mine in which I inform Europeans about where their governments stand on online censorship in the name of copyright and a campaign site warning of copyright law that favors corporations over free speech.

Source: Censorship machines removed my article warning people about censorship machines

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DNC Passes Resolution That Reverses Ban on Fossil Fuel Donations

The Democratic National Committee’s executive committee passed a resolution introduced by DNC chair Tom Perez, which encourages donations from employee political action committees in the fossil fuel industry.

Perez introduced the resolution to show that the Democrats are committed to supporting workers and unions that “power the American economy.” But it directly undermines a resolution passed in June that banned contributions from political action committees, which represent fossil fuel companies.

“The DNC gratefully acknowledges and will continue to welcome the longstanding and generous contributions of workers, including those in energy and related industries, who organize and donate to Democratic candidates individually or through their unions’ or employers’ political action committees,” the resolution declares [PDF].

Christine Pelosi, the daughter of Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and member of the DNC’s executive committee, attempted to have the words “employers’ political action committees” removed. The resolution she introduced to do that was voted down 28-4.

The resolution to ban corporate PAC money that passed in June was introduced by Pelosi. After this vote, she tweeted, “DNC staff and officers NEVER consulted me on language to reverse my resolution banning corporate fossil fuel PAC money and now said they have to keep the resolution as is because of all the work *we* did.”

“We will live to fight another day, and end Citizens United,” Pelosi added.

R.L. Miller, the elected chair of the California Democratic Party’s environmental caucus, condemned the language in the resolution.

“I am furious that the DNC would effectively undo a resolution passed just two months ago just as the movement to ban fossil fuel corporate money is growing (and Democrats are winning),” Miller stated.

Source: DNC Passes Resolution That Reverses Ban on Fossil Fuel Donations

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Dalai Lama: ‘Europe belongs to the Europeans’

The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, told an audience in Malmö that refugees should return to their native countries to rebuild them.

Speaking at a conference in Sweden’s third-largest city of Malmö, home to a large immigrant population, the Dalai Lama – who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 – said Europe was “morally responsible” for helping “a refugee really facing danger against their life”.

“Receive them, help them, educate them… but ultimately they should develop their own country,” said the 83-year-old Tibetan who fled the capital Lhasa in fear of his life after China poured troops into the region to crush an uprising.

“I think Europe belongs to the Europeans,” he said, adding they should make clear to refugees that “they ultimately should rebuild their own country”.

Source: Dalai Lama: ‘Europe belongs to the Europeans’

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Tactical Urbanists Spray Paint Parking Spaces for Electric Scooters 

Across the United States, electric scooters have been springing up overnight on city streets and sidewalks, leading to a combination of praise and condemnation from urban dwellers and local municipalities.

Deployed by a growing array of companies, these e-scooters have been lauded by some as compact, low-energy, eco-friendly, on-demand transportation but also criticized for a variety of reasons, including the ways they can obstruct (and in some cases: outright block) sidewalks.

Cities are weighing responses, from taxation and regulation to outright bans. Even areas that want to give scooters a shot are struggling to adapt quickly to their introduction. Meanwhile, though, a tactical urban design group called YARD & Company has jumped in and taken action on the streets of Cincinnati with their ‘Bird Cages‘ project (a reference to Bird, one of the various companies in the e-scooter market).

Source: Bird Cages: Tactical Urbanists Spray Paint Parking Spaces for Electric Scooters – 99% Invisible

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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:


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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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Liberals Have Issues Being Friends With Trump Supporters

If you’re an outspoken Trump supporter, then this study shouldn’t surprise you.

Chances are you’ve already lost almost all of your liberal friends the moment they realized you weren’t one of them. The ones still hanging around are probably making your life miserable with their incessant tweets attempting to undermine your support of the president with phony media reports, innuendo’s, anonymous sources and rumors.

The Pew Study chronicled the aftermath of the historic 2016 Presidential Election and discovered that liberals were more likely to “unfriend” a friend on social media because of political differences.

The study also found that most liberals live in homogeneous places,  where interacting with diverse political points of view rarely occurs.

Data from the Pew Research Journalism Project shows that conservatives are more likely to have their political views challenged on social media, and liberals are more likely to block or unfriend someone online because they disagree with something they have posted.

However perhaps the most interesting data gathered from the research found that 47% of Liberal Democrats say having a friend who supports President Trump would actually affect their friendship negatively, while only 13% of Conservative Republicans say a friend’s support of Hillary Clinton would affect their friendship negatively.


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World’s Smallest Computer Dwarfed By A Grain Of Rice: Just 0.3mm To A Side

The researchers at the University of Michigan have created the world’s smallest computer that’s nothing even when compared to a grain of rice. And with this development, they’ve reclaimed the title of world smallest computer which was taken by IBM

earlier this year.

Seeing tiny computing devices like these is fascinating, but the researchers have raised an important question about devices like theirs and IBM’s. Whether it should be called a computer?

When talking about a traditional computer like a desktop or laptop, the data remains on the device even when it’s powered off. When you turn it back on, you get back all your software and other stuff.

That’s not the case with the microdevice. It has components like processor, RAM, wireless transmitters, and receivers. But the moment the power goes off, all the data is gone. In fact, it works by contacting a base station through light for power and data.

The computer measures 0.33mm on each side while that of IBM’s is 1mm on each side. It can be used for many applications including oil reservoir monitoring, biochemical process monitoring, audio and video surveillance.

But this one is a precision temperature sensor to report temperatures in minuscule regions such as a cluster of cells within a tumor with an error rate of 0.1-degree Celsius.

Source: World’s Smallest Computer Dwarfed By A Grain Of Rice: Just 0.3mm To A Side

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The Danger Is Real: We Need A New Declaration Of Independence For Modern Times

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”—Thomas Paine, December 1776

Imagine living in a country where armed soldiers crash through doors to arrest and imprison citizens merely for criticizing government officials.

Imagine that in this very same country, you’re watched all the time, and if you look even a little bit suspicious, the police stop and frisk you or pull you over to search you on the off chance you’re doing something illegal.

Keep in mind that if you have a firearm of any kind while in this country, it may get you arrested and, in some circumstances, shot by police.

If you’re thinking this sounds like America today, you wouldn’t be far wrong.

However, the scenario described above took place more than 200 years ago, when American colonists suffered under Great Britain’s version of an early police state. It was only when the colonists finally got fed up with being silenced, censored, searched, frisked, threatened, and arrested that they finally revolted against the tyrant’s fetters.

No document better states their grievances than the Declaration of Independence.


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ND mother can’t remember where she left baby as search conti…

Stutsman County and other law enforcement agencies searched a large area here until dusk on Friday for a missing 4-month-old boy whose mother says she can’t remember the last four days or where she left him.

Stutsman County Sheriff Chad Kaiser said they are searching sloughs and agricultural areas between Buchanan and Woodworth along 65th Avenue Southeast. The area is where a farmer reportedly found the baby’s mother, Justice Lange, age 25 or 26, who said this was the last area she remembered having the baby with her.

“We have a lot of terrain to get through,” Kaiser said.Agencies assisting in the search include the North Dakota Highway Patrol with its airplane, the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation and North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

Source: ND mother can’t remember where she left baby as search conti…

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Metropolitan Police’s facial recognition technology wrong in 98 per cent of cases

Facial recognition software used by the UK’s biggest police force has returned false positives in more than 98 per cent of alerts generated, The Independent can reveal, with the country’s biometrics regulator calling it “not yet fit for use”.

Facial recognition software used by the UK’s biggest police force has returned false positives in more than 98 per cent of alerts generated, The Independent can reveal, with the country’s biometrics regulator calling it “not yet fit for use”.

The Metropolitan Police’s system has produced 104 alerts of which only two were later confirmed to be positive matches, a freedom of information request showed. In its response the force said it did not consider the inaccurate matches “false positives” because alerts were checked a second time after they occurred.

Facial recognition technology scans people in a video feed and compares their images to pictures stored in a reference library or watch list. It has been used at large events like the Notting Hill Carnival and a Six Nations Rugby match.

The system used by another force, South Wales Police, has returned more than 2,400 false positives in 15 deployments since June 2017. The vast majority of those came during that month’s Uefa Champion’s League final in Cardiff, and overall only 234 alerts – fewer than 10 per cent – were correct matches.

Both forces are trialling the software.

Source: Metropolitan Police’s facial recognition technology wrong in 98 per cent of cases

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