Author Archives: binghamboatwright

About binghamboatwright

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

Google Sneakily Monetizes Where you Go

Google is moving from a search to a data tracking company, you’ve probably heard of them right?

Google is becoming that AI company that monetizes the fuck out of all of your data, and it’s getting worse.

Google has this amazing feature that’s old that they were pretending is newtoday on Product Hunt. Here’s the thing, you probably don’t even know about this.

Google is Tracking All of your Locations — All the Time

To make Google Assistant smarter Google is letting all of your personal data help it do its job better.

The feature is called Google Maps Timelines and it’s the real-time AI of your whereabouts.

Not only do the algorithms behind social media know who your friends are, your consumer preferences, it and the web knows what you search, where you browse and where you go physically.

Check out your own most visited places.

Google is that Company that Remembers where you’ve been

So for all the data hoarding and mining of AI-native companies, this one bothers me on a gut level. It’s like how to monetize people as numbers, as entities that roam the Earth and presumably want to see your ads.

Google does not actually know how to build relationships with consumers, so it kind of forces itself upon you, in the most sneaky and underhanded ways.

Google does not appear to have Limits in its hunger for your Private Data

Your location history, what you say in front of Google Home family devices, it’s hard to tell the limits of Google’s eyes and ears on us. All of this data is churning algorithms on how to monetize us, our habits, preferences and behavior for profit.

Don’t get me wrong I think Google Maps, reviews and timelines could be a useful feature, especially if Google Assistant remembered everything, because it’s not like I’m going to go through this history manually. But it’s also strikingly disturbing from a privacy and anonymity perspective, how Google is pushing the limits of how to exploit people.

Google Maps Timeline should not be some obscure feature that’s buried in their monitoring of us. People should know what they are opting in to. We are getting to the point where everything we do, everywhere we go, everyone we see, is being monetized by the data and attention economies.

Google wants more and more invasive and revealing data, that can increase its profitability.

Statista, Google’s revenue 2008–2017 Q3.

Google Tracks you For Profit Like a Mouse in a Maze

If Amazon is a fulfillment-centric company, Google is that data-centric company whose greed is changing the world of data forever and taking ubiquitous advertising (tracking) to new heights piggy backing on the data boom and artificial intelligence as the new blood-money of the 4th Industrial revolution.

Oddly, Google Maps Timeline has been out for over 2 years, but the creepy lengths it goes to makes Google nervous about making it more public than it already is.

Just maybe there’s a reason why Google hasn’t had a terrific record with building social networks, or making consumer hardware, or selling consumers much of anything. I mean, thanks to Google, YouTube is a lot of fun, but Google’s failure in all of these things points to a disturbing truth; for all the convenience search ads to our life we’re still not comfortable with the ways in which it harvests our data and and predicts our behavior for profit.


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Keep Calm and ██████: the CIA’s declassified OpSec posters

In 1973, still coming down from the harshed mellow of Watergate, a Central Intelligence Agency officer came up with what they felt would be the perfect solution to lagging morale and lackluster operation security: a motivational poster contest.

The results, apparently produced in-house, were exceedingly a product of a their time and environment …

right down to the cringe-worthy casual racism.

For the most part, however, the submissions were pretty adorably dorky, and we’ve cleaned them up a bit in case you were in the market for a new desktop background.


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Tesla hit by class-action lawsuit claiming racial discrimination

U.S. automaker Tesla Inc on Monday was hit with a class-action lawsuit claiming its California production plant is a “hotbed for racist behavior.”

The lawsuit filed in California state court in Oakland is at least the third filed this year by black workers who say they were addressed using racial slurs and that the company ignored their complaints.

But Monday’s lawsuit, filed by former Tesla employee Marcus Vaughn, is the first to bring those claims on behalf of a large class of black workers at the automaker’s Fremont, California factory.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

The company is also facing lawsuits accusing it of discrimination against gay and older workers. It has denied those claims.

Vaughn in the lawsuit says he was routinely called the “n-word” by supervisors and coworkers after he began working at the factory in April. He says he complained in writing to human resources officials, but the company never investigated his claims.

Vaughn says he was fired in October for “not having a positive attitude.” He is seeking unspecified damages under a California anti-discrimination law.


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Are you reading this on a machine running a GNU/Linux distribution? A Windows machine? Or perhaps an Apple OS? It doesn’t really matter, because your computer is probably running MINIX anyway.

There once was a time when microprocessors were relatively straightforward devices, capable of being understood more or less in their entirety by a single engineer without especially God-like skills. They had buses upon which hung peripherals, and for code to run on them, one of those peripherals had better supply it.

A modern high-end processor is a complex multicore marvel of technological achievement, so labyrinthine in fact that unlike those simple devices of old it may need to contain a dedicated extra core whose only job is to manage the rest of the onboard functions. Intel processors have had one for years, it’s called the Management Engine, or ME, and it has its own firmware baked into the chip. It is this firmware, that according to a discovery by [Ronald Minnich], contains a copy of the MINIX operating system.

If you are not the oldest of readers, it’s possible that you may not have heard of MINIX. Or if you have, it might be in connection with the gestation of [Linus Torvalds]’ first Linux kernel. It’s a UNIX-like operating system created in the 1980s as a teaching aid, and for a time it held a significant attraction as the closest you could get to real UNIX on some of the affordable 16-bit desktop and home computers. Amiga owners paid for copies of it on floppy disks, it was even something of an object of desire. It’s still in active development, but it’s fair to say its attraction lies in its simplicity rather than its sophistication.


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Jerry Brown: We Need “Brainwashing” on Climate Change

I love it when they say what they actually mean. It makes my job so much easier. Then, I just have to point and laugh. Or actually point and cry because we’re losing to these people.

So California governor Jerry Brown is at the Vatican chatting up climate change. Yeah, seems about status quo.


On his way to the United Nations climate talks in Bonn, Germany, this week, Jerry Brown stopped over at the Vatican, where a doleful group of climate scientists, politicians and public health officials had convened to discuss calamities that might befall a warming world. The prospects were so dire—floods and fires, but also forced migration, famine and war—that some of the participants acknowledged difficulty staving off despair…

He was still talking about the need for a fundamental shift in lifestyle when he said at the Vatican that confronting climate change will require “a transformation of the relationship of human beings to all the mysterious network of things.”

“It’s not just a light rinse,” Brown said. “We need a total, I might say, brainwashing. We need to wash our brains out and see a very different kind of world.”


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‘Zero evidence’ for claims Russia hacked DNC – NSA whistleblower

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Factory-Like Schools Are the Child Labor Crisis of Today

Most American children and teenagers wake early, maybe gulp down a quick breakfast, and get transported quickly to the building where they will spend the majority of their day being told what to do, what to think, how to act. An increasing number of these young people will spend their entire day in this building, making a seamless transition from the school day to afterschool programming, emerging into the darkness of dinnertime. For others, there are structured afterschool activities, followed by hours of tedious homework. Maybe, if they’re lucky, they’ll get to play a video game before bed—a rare moment when they are in control.

There is mounting evidence that increasingly restrictive schooling, quickly consuming the majority of childhood, is damaging children. Rates of childhood anxiety, depression, behavioral problems, and other mental illness are surging. Teenage suicide rates have doubled for girls since 2007, and have increased 30 percent for teenage boys. Eleven percent of children are now diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and three-quarters of them are placed on potent psychotropic medications for what Boston College psychology professor Dr. Peter Gray describes as a “failure to adapt to the conditions of standard schooling.”


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‘Two-Thirds Of Climate Warming’ Since 1750 Due To ‘Solar Causes’

– Dr. Alan D. Smith, Geoscientist

Though advocates of the dangerous anthropogenic global warming (AGW) narrative may not welcome the news, evidence that modern day global warming has largely been driven by natural factors – especially solar activity – continues to pile up.

Much of the debate about the Sun’s role in climate change is centered around reconstructions of solar activity that span the last 400 years, which now include satellite data from the late 1970s to present.

To buttress the claim that solar forcing has effectively played almost no role in surface temperature changes since the mid-20th century, the IPCC has shown preference for modeled reconstructions of solar activity (i.e., the PMOD) that show a stable or decreasing trend since the 1970s.  Why?  Because if the modeled results can depict steady or decreasing solar activity since the last few decades of the 20th century – just as surface temperatures were rising – then attributing the post-1970s warming trend to human activity becomes that much easier.

The trouble is, satellite observations using ACRIM  data (which have been affirmed to be accurate by other satellite data sets and are rooted in observation, not modeled expectations) indicate that solar activity did not decline after the 1970s, but actually rose quite substantially.  It wasn’t until the early 2000s that solar activity began to decline, corresponding with the denouement of the Modern Grand Maximum.

ACRIM Composite Is ‘Data Driven’, While The PMOD Composite Is ‘Model Driven’

Willson, 2014

• Comparison of the results from the ACRIM3, SORCE/TIM and SOHO/VIRGO satellite experiments demonstrate the near identical detection of TSI variability on all sub-annual temporal and amplitude scales during the TIM mission.   A solar magnetic activity area proxy [developed in 2013] for TSI has been used to demonstrate that the ACRIM TSI composite and its +0.037 %/decade TSI trend during solar cycles 21–23 [1980s-2000s] is the most likely correct representation of the extant satellite TSI database.
• The occurrence of this trend during the last decades of the 20th century supports a more robust contribution of TSI variation to detected global temperature increase during this period than predicted by current climate models.
• One of the most perplexing issues in the 35 year satellite TSI database is the disagreement among TSI composite time series in decadal trending. The ACRIM and PMOD TSI compostite time series use the ERB and ERBE results, respectively, to bridge the Gap. Decadal trending during solar cycles 21–23 is significant for the ACRIM composite but not for the PMOD.  A new [2013] TSI-specific TSI proxy database has been compiled that appears to resolve the issue in favor of the ACRIM composite and trend. The resolution of this issue is important for application of the TSI database in research of climate change and solar physics.
• The ACRIM TSI composite is data driven. It uses ACRIM1, ACRIM2, ACRIM3 and Nimbus7/ERB satellite results published by the experiments’ science teams and the highest cadence and quality ACRIM Gap database, the Nimbus7/ERB, to bridge the ACRIM Gap.
• The PMOD TSI composite, using results from the Nimbus7ERB, SMM/ACRIM1, UARS/ACRIM 2 and SOHO/ VIRGO experiments, is model driven. It conforms TSI results to a solar-proxy model by modifying published ERB and ACRIM results and choosing the sparse, less precise ERBS/ERBE results as the basis for bridging the ACRIM Gap (Frohlich and Lean 1998).
• The Earth’s climate regime is determined by the total solar irradiance (TSI) and its interactions with the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and landmasses. Evidence from 35 years of satellite TSI monitoring and solar activity data has established a paradigm of direct relationship between TSI and solar magnetic activity. (Willson et al. 1981; Willson and Hudson 1991; Willson 1997, 1984; Frohlich and Lean 1998; Scafetta and Willson 2009; Kopp and Lean 2011a, 2011b)  This paradigm, together with the satellite record of TSI and proxies of historical climate and solar variability, support the connection between variations of TSI and the Earth’s climate.   The upward trend during solar cycles 21–23 coincides with the sustained rise in the global mean temperature anomaly during the last two decades of the 20th century.

Assessment Of The Sun’s Climate Role Largely Depends On The TSI Model Adopted

Van Geel and Ziegler, 2013

• [T]he IPCC neglects strong paleo-climatologic evidence for the high sensitivity of the climate system to changes in solar activity. This high climate sensitivity is not alone due to variations in total solar irradiance-related direct solar forcing, but also due to additional, so-called indirect solar forcings. These include solar-related chemical-based UV irradiance-related variations in stratospheric temperatures and galactic cosmic ray-related changes in cloud cover and surface temperatures, as well as ocean oscillations, such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the North Atlantic Oscillation that significant affect the climate.
• [T]he cyclical temperature increase of the 20th century coincided with the buildup and culmination of the Grand Solar Maximum that commenced in 1924 and ended in 2008.
• Since TSI estimates based on proxies are relatively poorly constrained, they vary considerably between authors, such as Wang et al. (2005) and Hoyt and Schatten (1997). There is also considerable disagreement in the interpretation of satellite-derived TSI data between the ACRIM and PMOD groups (Willson and Mordvinov, 2003; Fröhlich, 2009). Assessment of the Sun’s role in climate change depends largely on which model is adopted for the evolution of TSI during the last 100 years (Scafetta and West, 2007; Scafetta, 2009; Scafetta, 2013).
• The ACRIM TSI satellite composite shows that during the last 30 years TSI averaged at 1361 Wm-2, varied during solar cycles 21 to 23 by about 0.9 Wm-2, had increased by 0.45 Wm-2 during cycle 21 to 22 [1980s to 2000s] to decline again during cycle 23 and the current cycle 24 (Scafetta and Willson, 2009).
• By contrast, the PMOD TSI satellite composite suggests for the last 30 years an average TSI of 1366, varying between 1365.2 and 1367.0 Wm-2 that declined steadily since 1980 by 0.3 Wm-2.

Total Solar Irradiance Increased By 3 W m-2 Between 1900 And 2000

Van Geel and Ziegler, 2013 (continued)

• On centennial and longer time scales, differences between TSI estimates become increasingly larger. Wang et al. (2005) and Kopp and Lean (2011) estimate that between 1900 and 1960 TSI increased by about 0.5 Wm-2 and thereafter remained essentially stable, whilst Hoyt and Schatten (1997) combined with the ACRIM data and suggest that TSI increased between 1900 and 2000 by about 3 Wm-2 and was subject to major fluctuations in 1950-1980 (Scafetta, 2013; Scafetta, 2007).
• Similarly, it is variably estimated that during the Maunder Solar Minimum (1645- 1715) of the Little Ice Age TSI may have been only 1.25 Wm-2 lower than at present Wang et al., 2005; Haig, 2003; Gray et al., 2010; Krivova et al., 2010) or by as much as 6 ± 3 Wm-2 lower than at present (Shapiro et al., 2010; Hoyt and Schatten, 1997), reflecting a TSI increase ranging between 0.09% and 0.5%, respectively.

Graph Source: Soon et al., 2015

After Removing Instrumental ‘Adjustments’, Urban Bias, Temperatures Follow Solar Activity

The combined Hadley Centre and Climatic Research Unit (HadCRUT) data set — which is featured in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports — underwent a revision from version 3 to version 4 in March of 2012.  This was about a year before the latest IPCC report was to be released (2013).  At the time (early 2012), it was quite inconvenient to the paradigm that HadCRUT3 was highlighting a slight global cooling trend between 1998 and 2012, as shown in the graph below (using HadCRUT3 and HadCRUT4 raw data from WoodForTrees).  So, by changing versions, and by adjusting the data, the slight cooling was changed to a slight warming trend.

Source: WoodForTrees

As recently as 1990, it was widely accepted that the global temperature trend, as reported by NASA (Hansen and Lebedeff, 1987), showed a “0.5°C rise between 1880 and 1950.”

Pirazzoli, 1990

This 0.5°C rise in global temperatures between 1880-1950 (and 0.6°C between 1880 and 1940) can clearly be seen in the NASA GISS graph from 1987:

Schneider, S. H. 1989. The greenhouse effect: Science and policy. Science 243: 771-81.

Today, it is no longer acceptable for the NASA global temperature data set to graphically depict a strong warming trend during the first half of the 20th century.  This is because anthropogenic CO2 emissions were flat and negligible relative to today during this abrupt warming period.

So as to eliminate the inconvenience of a non-anthropogenic warming trend in modern times, NASA has now removed all or nearly all the 0.5°C of warming between 1880 and 1950.



Soon et al., 2015   

 [B]etween 65-80% of the apparent warming trend over the 1961-2000 period for the Beijing and Wuhan station records was probably due to increasing urban heat islands.  [T]he temperature trends increase from +0.025°C/decade (fully rural) to … +0.119°C/decade (fully urban). … If we assume that the fully rural stations are unaffected by urbanization bias, while the other subsets are, then we can estimate the extent of urbanization bias in the “all stations” trends by subtracting the fully rural trends. This gives us an estimate of +0.094°C/decade urbanization bias over the 1951-1990 period [+0.38°C of additional non-climatic warmth]– similar to Wang & Ge (2012)’s +0.09°C/decade estimate.
We have constructed a new estimate of Northern Hemisphere surface air temperature trends derived from mostly rural stations – thereby minimizing the problems introduced to previous estimates by urbanization bias.  
• Similar to previous estimates, our composite implies warming trends during the periods 1880s-1940s and 1980s-2000s. However, this new estimate implies a more pronounced cooling trend during the 1950s-1970s. As a result, the relative warmth of the mid-20th century warm period [1930s-1950s] is comparable to the recent [1980s-2000s] warm period – a different conclusion to previous estimates. Although our new composite implies different trends from previous estimates, we note that it is compatible with Northern Hemisphere temperature trends derived from (a) sea surface temperatures; (b) glacier length records; (c) tree ring widths.
• However, the recent multi model means of the CMIP5 Global Climate Model hindcasts failed to adequately reproduce the temperature trends implied by our composite, even when they included both “anthropogenic and natural forcings”. One reason why the hindcasts might have failed to accurately reproduce the temperature trends is that the solar forcings they used all implied relatively little solar variability. However, in this paper, we carried out a detailed review of the debate over solar variability, and revealed that considerable uncertainty remains over exactly how the Total Solar Irradiance has varied since the 19th century.
• When we compared our new composite to one of the high solar variability reconstructions of Total Solar Irradiance which was not considered by the CMIP5 hindcasts (i.e., the Hoyt & Schatten reconstruction), we found a remarkably close fit. If the Hoyt & Schatten reconstruction and our new Northern Hemisphere temperature trend estimates are accurate, then it seems that most of the temperature trends since at least 1881 can be explained in terms of solar variability, with atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations providing at most a minor contribution.
• This contradicts the claim by the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that most of the temperature trends since the 1950s are due to changes in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations (Bindoff et al., 2013).

New Paper: Since 1750, About 0.8°C – 0.9°C Of CET Increase Is Due To Solar Forcing

Smith, 2017

Yearly mean temperatures in the CET [Central England Temperature] record show an increase in temperature of approximately 1.3°C degrees from the end of the 17th Century to the end of the 20th Century/beginning of 21st Century.  …  Subtle difference in timing between the warming/cooling phases between the Central England record and the other localities may reflect local climate variation, but the similarity in events between continents suggests the CET [Central England Temperature] record is recording global temperature patterns.
Records of sunspot numbers began in 1610 such that detailed estimates of solar variation for the years covered by the CET record can be made without resort to the use of proxy data. Reconstructions of TSI [e.g. 16-18] differ in magnitude (Table 1), but there is agreement in form with 4 peaks and 4 to 6 troughs occurring over the time-scale of the CET record (Fig. 4). These are: a minimum in TSI associated with the Maunder Sunspot Minimum in the latter half of the 17th Century; a peak, possibly bi-modal approaching modern TSI values during the 18th Century; a well-defined trough corresponding with the Dalton Sunspot Minimum between 1800- 1820; a poorly defined TSI peak in the mid 19th Century; a reduction in TSI during the late 19th Century; increasing TSI during the early 20th Century; a decrease in TSI from around 1950- 1975; and a second phase of TSI increase in the late 20th Century [1980s-2000s]There is good correspondence with TSI throughout the CET record, with warm events correlating with high TSI and cool phases correlating with plateaus or decreases in TSI .
However, for temperature increases from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution (Maunder Minimum and Dalton Minimum to end of 20th Century), high TSI models can account for only 63-67% of the temperature increase. This would suggest that one third of Global Warming/Climate Change can be attributed to AGW. … Approximately two-thirds [0.8°C to 0.9°C] of climate warming since the mid-late 18th Century [1.3°C] can be attributed to solar causessuggesting warming due to anthropogenic causes over the last two centuries is 0.4 to 0.5°C.


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A top secret desert assembly plant starts ramping up to build Northrop’s B-21 bomber

A once-empty parking lot at Northrop Grumman Corp.’s top secret aircraft plant in Palmdale is now jammed with cars that pour in during the predawn hours.

More than a thousand new employees are working for the time being in rows of temporary trailers, a dozen tan-colored tents and a vast assembly hangar at the desert site near the edge of urban Los Angeles County.


It is here that Northrop is building the Air Force’s new B-21 bomber, a stealthy bat-winged jet that is being designed to slip behind any adversary’s air defense system and deliver devastating airstrikes for decades to come. The Pentagon is aiming to buy 100 of the bombers by the mid-2030s for at least $80 billion, though the exact amount is classified.

Sources: Mapzen, OpenStreetMap

Northrop won the bomber contract in 2015, but the pace of activity is ramping up sharply under an Air Force budget that has reached $2 billion for this fiscal year.

Construction crews are getting ready to add 1 million square feet to the plant, a 50% increase over what is already a huge facility that is protected by razor wire-topped fences, electronic sensors and military air space surveillance, according to interviews and government documents.


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Linux Has a USB Driver Security Problem


USB drivers included in the Linux kernel are rife with security flaws that in some cases can be exploited to run untrusted code and take over users’ computers.

The vast majority of these vulnerabilities came to light on Monday, when Google security expert Andrey Konovalov informed the Linux community of 14 vulnerabilities he found in the Linux kernel USB subsystem.

“All of them can be triggered with a crafted malicious USB device in case an attacker has physical access to the machine,” Konovalov said.

Konovalov has found a total of 79 Linux USB-related bugs

The 14 flaws are actually part of a larger list of 79 flaws Konovalov found in Linux kernel USB drivers during the past months. Not all of these 79 vulnerabilities have been reported, let alone patched.

Most are simple DoS (Denial of Service) bugs that freeze or restart the OS, but some allow attackers to elevate privileges and execute malicious code.

All bugs Konovalov discovered were found using syzkaller, a tool developed by Google that finds security bugs via a technique known as fuzzing.


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The EPA has approved the release of weaponized mosquitoes in 20 US states


The US Environmental Protection Agency has given its approval for MosquitoMate, a Kentucky-based biotechnology company, to release its bacteria-infected male mosquitoes in several parts of the United States.

The EPA approval was first reported by Nature on Monday (Nov. 6), and confirmed by the company. The EPA said it registered MosquitoMate’s mosquito as a new biopesticide on Nov. 3, with a five-year license to sell in 20 different states. (Here are the EPA’s risk assessments and public comments.)

The company’s lab-grown mosquitoes, which it calls ZAP males, are infected with the Wolbachia bacteria, naturally occurring in many insects, but not in Aedes aegypti, a vector for viruses such as yellow fever, dengue and Zika. When bacteria-infected males mate with uninfected females, the females produce eggs that don’t hatch. In addition, infected mosquitoes are less likely to spread disease.


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14-Year-Old “Human Owl” Can Turn His Head 180 Degrees [VIDEO]


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GOP tax reform bill seeks repeal of Obamacare individual mandate

The proposed Republican tax reform bill will include repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate requiring most Americans to have some form of health insurance or pay a tax penalty, GOP leaders said Tuesday.

The decision means that Republicans, yet again in 2017, will attempt to gut a key element of the Affordable Care Act.

So far, such efforts have failed because not enough Republican senators have backed the idea of repealing the mandate, which would lead to an estimated 13 million more people lacking health insurance.

“We’re optimistic that inserting individual mandate repeal would be helpful,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. on Tuesday afternoon after a lunch meeting with the Republican conference.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said, “I’m pleased the Senate Finance Committee has accepted my proposal to repeal the Obamacare individual mandate in the tax legislation.”


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ISIS Terrorists Call Their Security “Unhackable” — Hacktivists Expose Mailing List Within Hours

The cybercriminals (and their terrorist friends) are, probably, taught to perform their actions in a very covert manner. This means that they don’t openly challenge their opposition. Probably, ISIS propaganda network wasn’t explained how to practice this art.

Amaq is one of the key outlets of ISIS, which issues claims for various terror attacks around the world and updates from different conflicts. This “news agency” has faced numerous cyber attacks from hacktivist and takedowns in the recent times.

Last week, ISIS issued a message and claimed that the security has been increased. “In response to recent events, we have imposed more stringent security measures on our systems,” said the email in Arabic, according to The Independent. “We can now handle email attacks or any type of hack.”

Following this, a Muslim hacking collective named Di5s3nSi0N hacked the email service within three hours. They sent an email to Amaq subscribers with their own logo and warning. The message said that the full secure list of Amaq has been hacked.


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It’s OK to be RACIST (so long as you’re anti-white)

Human rights champions like Martin Luther King devoted their life to ensuring that no one would be judged by their skin color.

However, there is a disturbing social acceptance of racist comments, so long as they are directed at white people.

The outrageous nature of the comments is clear if they are modified to apply to a different racial group.

An Australian journalist, Osman Faruqi, is one of the more prominent individuals promoting anti-white racism.

I’m headed to court this week, as part of the lawfare case against me for criticizing Faruqi. 

Today, a reminder of what’s at stake.


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Firefox 57 Brings Better Sandboxing on Linux


Firefox 57, set to be released tomorrow, will ship with improvements to the browser’s sandbox security feature for Linux users.

The Firefox sandboxing feature isolates the browser from the operating system in a way to prevent web attacks from using a vulnerability in the browser engine and its legitimate functions to attack the underlying operating system, place malware on the filesystem, or steal local files.

Chrome has always run inside a sandbox. Initially, Firefox ran only a few plugins inside a sandbox — such as Flash, DRM, and other multimedia encoding plugins.

In 2016, Firefox received support for running in multiple processes. Mozilla engineers split the browser UI process from the web page rendering operations.

The latter received a sandbox, which Mozilla improved with every release. Because Windows and Linux are different operating systems and most of the Firefox userbase is on Windows, Mozilla focused on improving the Firefox sandbox for Windows first.


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Black NYT Writer Tells Sons They Can’t Have White Friends

A black law professor in New York wondered publicly whether or not his children could be “friends with white people.”

It’s certainly an incredibly racist question, so one might applaud Ekow N. Yankah for his unabashed honesty.

But that applause should only be brief before the admiration turns into horror over what this Oxford-educated professor is suggesting.

Writing in the New York Times with the headline “Can my Children be Friends with White People?” , Yankahtells us that he will teach his children to have “profound doubts that friendship with white people is possible.” Essentially, he is passing down his racism to the next generation.

When they ask, I will teach my sons that their beautiful hue is a fault line. Spare me platitudes of how we are all the same on the inside. I first have to keep my boys safe, and so I will teach them before the world shows them this particular brand of rending, violent, often fatal betrayal.

Yankah tell us that it makes him really sad that he will have to teach his boys to be racist. He grew up in a Midwestern town, you see, in a town that was diverse and was a “happy-childhood” kind of place. A town, he tells us, that lacked any deep racial tension.


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Inside Bono’s boundless hypocrisy

In January 2012, Bono arrived in Timbuktu on a private jet accompanied by his wife, daughters, the designer Renzo Rossi and several others.

He had come to the historic city in Mali for a festival celebrating the music of the famous Tuareg tribe. On the night of the event, Bono and his entourage were placed on a small bleacher surrounded by, yet separated from, the thousands of local people via metal traffic barricades and a dozen heavily armed men. Toward the end of the evening, a woman announced that “BONE-no from Youtube” was in attendance. Later, the U2 frontman appeared on stage screaming, “We are brothers here!” and “Music is stronger than war!” before trying to sing in French in front of a nonplussed crowd. Then he exited the event, boarded his jet and flew back to the country’s capital, Bamako.

The next morning, the nomadic Tuaregs, who inhabit the north of Mali and the Sahara, told government ministers who’d arrived for the festival that they would once again be taking up arms to revolt against the regime. Three months later, Al Qaeda usurped the Tuareg rebellion and started raping women, chopping off limbs and burning libraries full of centuries-old books, but there was scant mention of Mali in the western press.

I wondered why Bono would keep quiet when one word from him would place this humanitarian disaster front and center in the media. If he said something maybe people would pay attention. A magazine I was working with said to make some calls.

Six months after his visit to Mali, I posited this to a rep for One, Bono’s charity, which builds awareness about African issues.

“Bono was on a private family vacation and One doesn’t get involved in politics,” a rep for the organization told me.

The editor I’d been writing the piece for soon called to kill it as Bono was up for an award by the publication (and they wanted him to show up and generate press for the corresponding event). But the incident has always irked me. Bono, the self-proclaimed protector of the great masses of Africa especially, was at the site of a revolt in a country run by a demonstrably corrupt government that had for years accepted millions in foreign aid yet done almost nothing to lift its people — especially women — out of poverty or educate them. And now a man with a much-used international megaphone declined to say anything.

In November, five months after I made that call, Bono spoke about Mali at an International Herald Tribune conference, stating: “We fell in love with the music and the festival. There’s a civil war literally two weeks later. Now in that same town it is against the law to make music. They beat you if you play the blues. They jail you if you make music. And we are just so angry and we’re so annoyed and we… are looking for a way to help the people who ran that music festival.”

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Bono of U2 performs on stage in San Diego, California in September 2017.Getty Images

Over the years, it has often been shown that what Bono says and what he does are two different things. In 2007, U2 moved part of its multi-million dollar song catalogue from Ireland to Amsterdam just as their homeland ended a tax exemption on music royalties, to take advantage of the Netherlands’ low to non-existent tax rates for musicians.

Fine — except in the ensuing years Bono (and his charity One) earned kudos for insisting countries, corporations and people pay taxes in pursuit of a fairer society. In 2011, Bono, 57, who, according to CNN has an estimated net worth of $590 million, further angered his countrymen when he espoused the values of Ireland’s 12.5 percent corporate tax breaks. He went on the record to claim that these breaks for multi-billion dollar companies had brought Ireland the “only prosperity we’ve ever known.” He had a point, but as the locals noted, Bono wasn’t even giving the country a meager 12.5 percent any longer.

In defending his tax position, Bono told Sky News that just because he had campaigned for a fairer society did not mean he had to be “stupid” in business.

Then, in 2015, Bono’s One Campaign repeatedly called for more transparency on the ownership of “shell companies” and offshore trusts, decrying the effect of lost tax revenues on developing economies. A spokesperson for One said, “Anonymous shell companies and trusts [are] often being used to siphon much-needed funds out of developed and developing countries alike,” and claimed these companies cost the Third World the staggering sum of “a trillion dollars each year.”

So, last week, when it was revealed in a trove of leaked documents that Bono himself was a partner in one of these shady companies, the hypocrisy stank.

The so-called “Paradise Papers,” which belonged to an offshore tax haven, showed that Bono had formed a company with two Irish businessmen based in the low-tax island of Malta and bought part of a shopping mall in Lithuania, thus eluding the international taxmen. (In a statement released to the press last week, Bono said he would be “extremely distressed if even as a passive minority investor … anything less than exemplary was done with my name anywhere near it.” He added: “I take this stuff very seriously. I have campaigned for the beneficial ownership of offshore companies to be made transparent. Indeed this is why my name is on documents rather than in a trust.”)

Meanwhile, Bono repeatedly falls back on the work of One and his messianic campaign to save Africa as his failsafe excuse for any perceived bad behavior.

And what exactly does his charity, founded in 2004, do with the millions it collects?

According to its website, One is “a campaigning and advocacy organization of more than eight million people around the world taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa.”

In other words, it is a marketing and lobbying group that creates studies and slogans like “Poverty is Sexist!” (which won Bono Glamour magazine’s 2016 (wo)Man of the Year Award) and tries to get governments to agree to earmark foreign aid for causes One promotes.

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A person who worked closely with One for years and has intimate knowledge of the organization told me that the charity is “strictly an advocacy group which tries to influence or shame African governments into behaving” and that not one dollar donated to One goes to real “boots on the ground” help.

For example, a major focus of Bono’s charity is educating women and girls. But unlike, say, Oprah, One doesn’t actually build any schools or provide funding for teachers, supplies or uniforms for students. This seems like a severely wasted opportunity, especially if you consider that the cost of building a single school in Africa is roughly $13,500 and the average cost of a year’s college tuition is $3,000. In 2015, One spent $768,000 in “direct expenses” on the star-studded Red Gala at Carnegie Hall attended by Miley Cyrus, Bill Clinton, Stephen Colbert and Joe Biden. That $768,000 could have paid for 57 primary schools — or sent 256 women to university for a year.

One raises millions to publicize the good works of others, such as the Gates Foundation (Bill Gates has said it was the best money he ever spent). A lot of this is done via taking VIPs and journalists on first-class, all-expenses-paid sightseeing trips to briefly experience African poverty by touring schools and hospitals before settling down to enjoy local music. (According to Ian Koski, Director of Communications, North America, for One, the organization “hosts listening and learning trips for policymakers and other influencers to help them see, first-hand, the impact of programs to fight AIDS, get kids in school, and reduce hunger. It is crucial to show the impact of programs for which you are lobbying, so that policymakers know funds are being well-spent.”)

According to One’s tax returns, the organization raised $50 million in 2015. That same year, it paid Vice Media more than $920,000 for “World Aids Day Production” and gave the nonprofit Project Everyone $1.173 million for “Event Production, Project Management.” Travel bills in 2015 exceeded $3 million. (Neither Bono nor One Chairman Tom Freston accept salaries from One. According One’s website, Bono contributed at least $25,000 to his charity in 2015.)

My insider at One, who asked not to be identified for professional reasons, told me that the organization’s direction needs to be reevaluated. “It’s time to take a close look at whether or not the One model works anymore,” she said, adding that, “(Bono) catapulted himself through charity to a different social level of importance — otherwise he’d just be another aging rockstar. He’s the frontman not just for U2 but for One and … he’s a complicated guy. He’s very earnest but he does like to hear himself talk.”

One’s Koski said the charity “is not a grant-making organization, as is clear from our website, nor do we fundraise from the public. We have achieved concrete change in the fight against AIDS and extreme poverty by building public and political support for tested, proven programs like PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, which together have helped provide AIDS medication to 20 million people who otherwise would not have it.”

But here’s the bottom line. Yes, Bono is a successful musician who has saved a lot of tax dollars — a smart business move. He’s raised awareness for issues in Africa by throwing galas and offering trips, while pressuring governments to do more — good for him. All the while, he is rewarded by a sycophantic media honoring his every utterance with a magazine cover or an accolade.

The rest of us, meanwhile, need to stop lionizing him for it.


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Eye-Driven Wheelchair Gives Quadriplegics More Independence


For quadriplegics, life can be extremely isolated. Those without the ability to control their arms, legs or head must rely entirely on a caregiver to move, or even turn around, their wheelchair.

One cause of quadriplegia is the neurodegenerative disease ALS, which afflicts an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 in the U.S., according to the CDC. 

Because the disease is progressive, those afflicted can go from having completely normal motor control to being fully quadriplegic without the ability to talk, in the span of just a few years. Previously having the ability to move independently can make the loss of movement even more difficult for those with ALS.

The Eyedrivomatic—an add-on system that turns any electric wheelchair into a gaze-controlled wheelchair—was created to give those with ALS, and other quadriplegics, a little bit of their independence back.

“For these people that have late-stage ALS it’s very difficult for them to do anything. Just the absolute simplest job of moving from one part of the room to another unassisted is impossible,” said Cody Barnes, the software developer for Eyedrivomatic based in California, in an interview with R&D Magazine. “The whole point is to give a tiny amount of control back to these people.”


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Counterfeiters are using AI and machine learning to make better fakes

It’s terrifyingly easy to just make stuff up online these days, such is life in the post-truth era. But recent advancements in machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) have compounded the issue exponentially. It’s not just the news that’s fake anymore but all sorts of media and consumer goods can now be knocked off thanks to AI. From audio tracks and video clips to financial transactions and counterfeit products — even your own handwriting can be mimicked with startling levels of accuracy. But what if we could leverage the same computer systems that created these fakes to reveal them just as easily?

People have been falling for trickery and hoaxes since forever. Human history is filled with false prophets, demagogues, snake-oil peddlers, grifters and con men. The problem is that these days, any two-bit huckster with a conspiracy theory and a supplement brand can hop on YouTube and instantly reach a global audience. And while the definition of “facts” now depends on who you’re talking to, one thing that most people agreed to prior to January 20th this year is the veracity of hard evidence. Video and audio recordings have long been considered reliable sources of evidence but that’s changing thanks to recent advances in AI.


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Swapping where crops are grown could feed an extra 825 million people.


Growing demand for agricultural commodities for food, fuel and other uses is expected to be met through an intensification of production on lands that are currently under cultivation. Intensification typically entails investments in modern technology — such as irrigation or fertilizers — and increases in cropping frequency in regions suitable for multiple growing seasons. Here we combine a process-based crop water model with maps of spatially interpolated yields for 14 major food crops to identify potential differences in food production and water use between current and optimized crop distributions. We find that the current distribution of crops around the world neither attains maximum production nor minimum water use. We identify possible alternative configurations of the agricultural landscape that, by reshaping the global distribution of crops within current rainfed and irrigated croplands based on total water consumption, would feed an additional 825 million people while reducing the consumptive use of rainwater and irrigation water by 14% and 12%, respectively. Such an optimization process does not entail a loss of crop diversity, cropland expansion or impacts on nutrient and feed availability. It also does not necessarily invoke massive investments in modern technology that in many regions would require a switch from smallholder farming to large-scale commercial agriculture with important impacts on rural livelihoods.


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The National Anthem Protests — Do Facts Matter?


Where was the angry left when Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called the national anthem protests “dumb and disrespectful”?
Let’s focus on the “dumb” part.

NFL player Colin Kaepernick, who started the protests, did so over the supposed widespread instances of police brutality against blacks. Kaepernick said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. … There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” According to the Centers for Disease Control, since 1968 police killings of blacks have declined nearly 75 percent. According to The Washington Post, almost 500 whites were killed by cops in 2015, an average of more than one a day. Two hundred fifty-nine blacks were killed by the police. Most suspects killed by police had a weapon.
Now for some perspective.

Do you know anyone who has been struck by lightning? Neither do most people. Yet each year an average of about 300 Americans are killed or injured by lightning. That’s approximately 40 more than the number of blacks killed by the police in 2015. Is there an “epidemic” of Americans being struck and injured by lightning? We don’t know the number of black men injured by lightning every year, but let’s assume the number is 7 percent of the total people struck by lightning, mirroring the percentage of the black male population in America. That brings the average number of black men injured by lightning to about 21.

Out of the 965 people killed by the police in 2015 (as of Dec. 24), the Post reported (on Dec. 26) that “less than 4 percent” involved an unarmed black man and a white cop, the fact pattern most commonly referred to by anti-police activists like Black Lives Matter. Last year, The Washington Post put the number of unarmed black men killed by the police at 17, less than the number of blacks likely struck by lightning. Twenty-two unarmed whites were killed by the police. Any death that results from police misconduct is one death too many, but the point is that police killing of a suspect is rare, no matter the race of the suspect or the cop. And a police shooting of an unarmed black male is still more rare.

But blacks are routinely and disproportionately being stopped, pulled over and/or arrested due to police misconduct, right?

No, not according to numerous studies, many by the government. Take traffic stops. In 2013, the National Institute of Justice, the research and evaluation agency of the Department of Justice, published a study of whether the police, as a result of racial bias, stop blacks more than other drivers. The conclusion? Any racial disparity in traffic stops is due to “differences in offending” in addition to “differences in exposure to the police” and “differences in driving patterns.”


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Smashing Pumpkins’ Corgan reboots Nat’l Wrestling Alliance


Billy Corgan is set to reboot the National Wrestling Alliance, founded in 1948 and the once proud stomping grounds of Ric Flair and other wrestling legends, the APreports. Up first, the main event: NWA champion Tim Storm defends the belt against British star Nick Aldis on Sunday at a Championship Wrestling from Hollywood show. Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins frontman and longtime wrestling executive, said there’s a place for essentially a startup NWA to become a major player in the crowded alphabet soup world of pro wrestling. “We are going to target the general fan,” Corgan said. “Wrestling needs to get younger in terms of the audience it’s after. I think wrestling as a business a lot of times kind of shrugs its shoulders how they track the 15- to 25-year-olds. I would argue if you can’t do that, you’re not going to have much of a future anyway.”

The NWA has eschewed the traditional TV model for now and promoted its comeback with a “Ten Pounds of Gold ” digital show on YouTube. Storm and Corgan are among the featured subjects in the four-part series that goes behind the scenes on the NWA’s road back to relevancy. The wrestling universe is still led by WWE. But turn on basic cable and pro wrestling can still be found most nights from the Ring of Honor, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and Impact Wrestling promotions. Digitally, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and NOAH are putting on some of the best bouts in the industry. And the brightest all-around star, from promos to five-star matches, isn’t in WWE—it’s Canadian great Kenny Omega, who mostly wrestles in Japan. Read the full story here for more on Corgan and the NWA.

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Google will remove apps that misuse Android Accessibility Services from Google Play

Android app developers whose offerings implement Accessibility Services for reasons other that helping users with disabilities use their apps have less then 30 days to switch to other methods, or risk their apps being removed from Google Play and their developer account terminated.

Google has yet to say explicitly why they are making this move, but it’s believed that it’s a measure meant to stymie malware developers.

Announced change

The Google Play Review Team has begun mailing app developers, telling them about the change, and requesting they find a way to work around it or, if they can’t, to consider removing the app(s) from Google Play:

Email received by a developer

This change might be a big problem for developers whose apps rely on using android.permission.BIND_ACCESSIBILITY_SERVICE to provide easy functionality.

The LastPass Android app, for example, uses it to auto-fill logins in other Android apps. Popular automation/productivity app Tasker and battery-saving app Greenify are two more examples.


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How does your local law enforcement monitor your social media?

Written by Beryl Lipton
Edited by JPat Brown

As part of an ongoing project to understand social media’s growing place in our law enforcement’s surveillance and public service mission, MuckRock has been soliciting your input about the cities and states where we should be looking, either because there’s a particular concern about the way it’s currently handled or to just make available the policies that are in place.

So far, nearly 300 people have contributed their local law enforcement agency or school to our growing, ongoing collection.

  • Small Red – No Responsive Documents
  • Large Red – Rejected
  • Small Yellow – Awaiting Acknowledgement
  • Orange – Fix Required
  • Small Green – Partially Completed
  • Large Green – Completed

Add your town or college, too, and we’ll submit for its policies and contracts related to monitoring and participating in online activity.


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Runaway Chinese space station could smash into a major city next year

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An out of control Chinese space station could smash into a major world city at the beginning of 2018.

The European Space Agency said the 8.5-tonne Tiangong-1, or “Heavenly Palace”, satellite could hit “any spot” between two latitude lines in the northern and southern hemispheres.

ESA experts said the 12-metre long craft would crash into Earth’s atmosphere at some point between January and March 2018.

The UK should be safe, according to ESA’s calculations, but New York, Los Angeles, Beijing, Rome, Istanbul and Tokyo are among major cities that could be at risk – although the potential impact area is so large that residents shouldn’t be too worried about impending death from above.

Holger Krag, head of ESA’s Space Debris Office, said: ““Owing to the geometry of the station’s orbit, we can already exclude the possibility that any fragments will fall over any spot further north than 43ºN or further south than 43ºS.


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Blue lighting accelerates post-stress relaxation: Results of a preliminary study


Several authors have studied the influence of light on both human physiology and emotions. Blue light has been proved to reduce sleepiness by suppression of melatonin secretion and it is also present in many emotion-related studies. Most of these have a common lack of objective methodology since results and conclusions are based on subjective perception of emotions. The aim of this work was the objective assessment of the effect of blue lighting in post-stress relaxation, in comparison with white lighting, by means of bio-signals and standardized procedures. We conducted a study in which twelve healthy volunteers were stressed and then performed a relaxation session within a chromotherapy room with blue (test group) or white (control group) lighting. We conclude that the blue lighting accelerates the relaxation process after stress in comparison with conventional white lighting. The relaxation time decreased by approximately three-fold (1.1 vs. 3.5 minutes). We also observed a convergence time (3.5–5 minutes) after which the advantage of blue lighting disappeared. This supports the relationship between color of light and stress, and the observations reported in previous works. These findings could be useful in clinical and educational environments, as well as in daily-life context and emerging technologies such as neuromarketing. However, our study must be extended to draw reliable conclusions and solid scientific evidence.


Light has an essential role in our ecosystem. For example, plants use the energy of sunlight to live through the photosynthesis process. Light is also vital for many other living beings including humans. Chromotherapy, also named cromatherapy, colorology or therapy of colors, is an old alternative medicine method that uses the energy of electromagnetic radiations in the visible spectrum (i.e., colored light) to produce changes in the human body [1]. Although therapy of colors is not well-described and frequently considered pseudoscience, a number of studies have tried to explain the effects of colors on the human body. Some of them have focused on physiological and others on emotional changes. Next two paragraphs elaborate on these two aspects.

On the one hand, several studies have investigated the influence of color of light on human physiology throught biochemical markers such as cortisol [2,3] or melatonin [24] level, and bio-signals such as electrocardiographic (ECG) [3,4] or electroencephalographic (EEG) [3,511] signals. In this sense, only a few colors have been investigated and blue is in most of the studies. It has been proved that turquoise (a variant of blue) light is an effective way to treat jaundice in newborns [12]. Long exposures (several hours) to blue light provoke melatonin suppression and phase shifting in the circadian system with sleepiness reduction and alertness augmentation [4,5,13,14]. Light can modulate alertness-related subcortical activity, thus stimulating cortical activity not involved in visual cognitive processes [15]. A recent study suggested that early EEG responses (e.g., event-related potentials during the first milliseconds) depend on their adaptation to different colors of light [11]. Another recent and preliminary work showed that a short stay (20 minutes) inside a blue room caused cortisol level reduction in a woman [3].


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Nighttime wound takes longer to heal than daytime wound.

Time heals all wounds

Disrupting circadian rhythm, the 24-hour cycle corresponding to light and darkness, is associated with disease and aging. Here, Hoyle et al. discovered a role for circadian control in wound healing. Skin wounds in mice wounded during the circadian rest period healed less quickly than those wounded during the active period. The authors uncovered a circadian regulation of actin, a cytoskeletal protein involved in cell migration, in fibroblasts in the wound-healing response. Analysis of a database of human burn injuries showed that those incurred during the night (rest period) healed more slowly than wounds acquired during the day (active period). This work extends our understanding of cell-autonomous clock control.


Fibroblasts are primary cellular protagonists of wound healing. They also exhibit circadian timekeeping, which imparts an approximately 24-hour rhythm to their biological function. We interrogated the functional consequences of the cell-autonomous clockwork in fibroblasts using a proteome-wide screen for rhythmically expressed proteins. We observed temporal coordination of actin regulators that drives cell-intrinsic rhythms in actin dynamics. In consequence, the cellular clock modulates the efficiency of actin-dependent processes such as cell migration and adhesion, which ultimately affect the efficacy of wound healing. Accordingly, skin wounds incurred during a mouse’s active phase exhibited increased fibroblast invasion in vivo and ex vivo, as well as in cultured fibroblasts and keratinocytes. Our experimental results correlate with the observation that the time of injury significantly affects healing after burns in humans, with daytime wounds healing ~60% faster than nighttime wounds. We suggest that circadian regulation of the cytoskeleton influences wound-healing efficacy from the cellular to the organismal scale.


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Are Face Scans Resurrecting the False Science of Physiognomy?

On the first day of school, a child looks into a digital camera linked to the school’s computer. Upon a quick scan, the machine reports that the child’s facial contours indicate a likelihood toward aggression, and she is tagged for extra supervision. Not far away, another artificial-intelligence screening system scans a man’s face. It deduces from his brow shape that he is likely to be introverted, and he is rejected for a sales job. Plastic surgeons, meanwhile, find themselves overwhelmed with requests for a “perfect” face that doesn’t show any “bad” traits.

This dystopian nightmare might not be that far-fetched, some academics warn, given the rise of big data, advances in machine learning, and—most worryingly—the current rise in studies that bear a troubling resemblance to the long-abandoned pseudoscience of physiognomy, which held that the shape of the human head and face revealed character traits. Modern computers are much better at scanning minute details in human physiology, modern advocates of such research say, and thus the inferences they draw are more reliable. Critics, on the other hand, dismiss this as bunkum. There is little evidence linking outward physical characteristics and anything like predictable behavior, they note. And in any case, machines only learn what we teach them, and humans—rife with biases and prejudicial thinking, from the overt to the subtle and unacknowledged—are terrible teachers.


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Proactive Policing Practices Are Successful at Reducing Crime; Insufficient Evidence on Role of Racial Bias

A number of strategies used by the police to proactively prevent crimes have proved to be successful at crime reduction, at least in the short term, and most strategies do not harm communities’ attitudes toward police, finds a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.  However, the committee that conducted the study and wrote the report said there is insufficient evidence to draw strong conclusions on the potential role of racial bias in the use of proactive policing strategies.

“The committee felt that the lack of data on the role of racial bias in proactive policing was startling,” said David Weisburd, executive director of the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University and chair of the committee. “It’s critically important that we understand not simply the impacts of proactive policing on racial outcomes, but also how race may impact the adoption of specific types of proactive policing.”

Police organizations apply proactive policing practices to prevent and reduce crime, which differs from standard or traditional reactive approaches in policing that focus primarily on responding to crime once it has occurred and on answering citizen requests for police service.  In this report, the committee assessed the application and results of such proactive strategies, including their impact on crime, the reaction of communities, whether they are being used in a legal fashion, and if they are applied in a discriminatory manner.

Impact of Proactive Policing on Crime and Disorder

Overall, the committee found enough evidence to support the adoption of a number of proactive policing strategies, if the primary goal is to reduce crime. The available evidence focused on the localized impacts of crime prevention, such as specific places or individuals, and generally on short-term crime-prevention effects.  Relatively little is known about whether and to what extent the strategies will have benefits at the larger jurisdictional level, for example, across an entire precinct or city or across all offenders.  Furthermore, the evidence is rarely able to speak about long-term benefits.  Key findings include:

Available research suggests hot spots policing – a practice where police focus on locations where crime is concentrated – produces short-term crime reduction effects without simply displacing crime into surrounding areas.   Studies tend to find that these programs also have beneficial crime reduction effects in immediately adjacent areas.

A small group of rigorous studies show that problem-oriented policing programs lead to short-term reductions in crime.  Problem-oriented policing seeks to identify and analyze the underlying causes of crime problems and to respond using a wide variety of methods and tactics, from improving lighting and repairing fences to cleaning up parks and improving recreational opportunities for youth.

Evaluations of focused deterrence programs show consistent crime-control impacts in reducing gang violence, street crime driven by disorderly drug markets, and repeat individual offending. The available evaluation literature suggests both short-term and long-term area-wide impacts of focused deterrence programs on crime.  These strategies attempt to deter crime among repeat offenders by understanding underlying crime-producing dynamics and implementing a blended strategy of law enforcement, community mobilization, and social service actions in response.


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Psychologist: Listening To Christmas Music Too Early Can Harm Your Mental Health

Are you one of those people that can’t stand hearing Christmas songs months before the holiday actually arrives? Does hearing festive carols weeks before Thanksgiving only make you upset that you haven’t eaten your turkey yet? A psychologist in Great Britain says your reactions don’t make you a Grinch because too much Christmas music is actually bad for your mental health.

Clinical psychologist Linda Blair claims the constant barrage of Christmas tunes too early in the season forces people to remember all the things they have to do before the holiday. Blair says the songs are a reminder to buy presents, cater parties, organize travel, and all the more stressful chores during Christmas. “You’re simply spending all of your energy trying not to hear what you’re hearing,” Blair tells Sky News.

The psychologist added that store workers are most at risk for being worn down by the catchy beats. She states that hearing the same songs over and over each day make workers struggle to “tune it out” and they become “unable to focus on anything else.” “Christmas music is likely to irritate people if it’s played too loudly and too early,” Blair explained to reporters.


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Army lifts ban on waivers for recruits with history of some mental health issues

WASHINGTON – People with a history of “self-mutilation,” bipolar disorder, depression and drug and alcohol abuse can now seek waivers to join the Army under an unannounced policy enacted in August, according to documents obtained by USA TODAY.

The decision to open Army recruiting to those with mental health conditions comes as the service faces the challenging goal of recruiting 80,000 new soldiers through September 2018. To meet last year’s goal of 69,000, the Army accepted more recruits who fared poorly on aptitude tests, increased the number of waivers granted for marijuana use and offered hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses.


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Updated | The rare frilled shark is considered a “living fossil,” because evidence of its existence dates back to at least 80 million years ago. This summer, researchers found one alive and thriving off the coast of Portugal, adding yet more clues about the resilience of this ancient sea creature.

The shark was discovered off the Algarve coast by researchers who were working on a European Union project in the area, the BBC reported. The aim of the project was to “minimize unwanted catches in commercial fishing,” the researchers told SIC Noticisas TV, as the BBC noted. but the team unknowingly unearthed one of the rarest and most ancient animals on the planet.


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Argentinian Man Marries His 91-Year-Old Great-Aunt to Collect a Widower’s Pension After Her Passing


When it comes to getting money, some people will do just about anything, even marry their relatives. Take 25-year-old Mauricio Ossola, from Argentina, who last year married his 91-year-old great-aunt, so he could collect a widower’s pension after she died.

Mauricio moved in with his great aunt Yolanda, in the city of Salta, north-west Argentina, eight years ago, after his parents split up. He, his mother, her brother and his grandmother shared a home with the elderly woman in the neighborhood of Tres Cerritos, and apparently got along very well. So well, in fact, that two years ago Yolanda agreed to marry Mauricio so that he could collect a widower’s pension after she was gone. The then 23-year-old had told the woman that he planned to quit his law studies due to financial constraints , and she assured him that she would do everything she can to make sure he graduates. The young man recently admitted to reporters that he was the one who proposed they get married, and that she accepted. They tied the knot in February of 2015, in what he describes as a “discreet civil ceremony”.


“I said to Yolanda after the separation of my parents: ‘Look Ulita, I’m going to have to abandon my studies’. Those were the circumstances that led to us getting married,” Mauricio said. “Yolanda insisted I had to finish my studies.  She would say to me, ‘I’m going to help you because you always take care of me, you go with me to the doctor’s and you’re always helping me with my problems’. After some time had gone by, I asked her what she would think if I asked her to marry me.”


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Wisconsin Legislators Approve Bill That Would Make it Legal for Toddlers to Hunt With Guns

Residents of any age, even toddlers, could legally hunt in Wisconsin under a bill the Assembly passed that eliminates the state’s minimum hunting age.

Currently, a resident must be at least 12 years old to purchase a hunting license or hunt with a gun unless they’re participating in a mentored hunt. Children as young as 10 can hunt under that program.

The Republican-authored bill would allow people of any age to participate in a mentored hunt, effectively letting anyone hunt. The measure also would eliminate the requirement that a hunter and mentor have only one weapon between them.

The GOP-controlled Assembly passed the bill 57-32 Thursday, despite complaints from Democrats that the measure would put guns in the hands of young children and put everyone in the woods in danger.


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Hacker Hijacks North Korean Radio Station, Plays ‘The Final Countdown’


An unknown hacker has allegedly hijacked North Korean short-wave radio station, 6400kHz, and is broadcasting the 1986 hit song from ’80s Swedish rock band Europe, “The Final Countdown.”

News of the incident was posted on Twitter by vigilante hacker, “The Jester,” who has in the past gained fame by hacking jihadist websites, and who in October 2016 defaced the website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the message, “Stop attacking Americans.”


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Gluten-free diets are unhealthy for most people

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Suicide attempt predicted by academic performance and childhood



Academic performance in youth, measured by grade point average (GPA), predicts suicide attempt, but the mechanisms are not known. It has been suggested that general intelligence might underlie the association.


We followed 26 315 Swedish girls and boys in population-representative cohorts, up to maximum 46 years of age, for the first suicide attempt in hospital records. Associations between GPA at age 16, IQ measured in school at age 13 and suicide attempt were investigated in Cox regressions and mediation analyses.


There was a clear graded association between lower GPA and subsequent suicide attempt. With control for potential confounders, those in the lowest GPA quartile had a near five-fold risk (HR 4.9, 95% CI 3.7–6.7) compared to those in the highest quartile. In a mediation analysis, the association between GPA and suicide attempt was robust, while the association between IQ and suicide attempt was fully mediated by GPA.


Poor academic performance in compulsory school, at age 16, was a robust predictor of suicide attempt past young adulthood and seemed to account for the association between lower childhood IQ and suicide attempt.


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DOJ: Strong encryption that we don’t have access to is “unreasonable”

Just two days after the FBI said it could not get into the Sutherland Springs shooter’s seized iPhone, Politico Pro published a lengthy interview with a top Department of Justice official who has become the “government’s unexpected encryption warrior.”

According to the interview, which was summarized and published in transcript form on Thursday for subscribers of the website, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein indicated that the showdown between the DOJ and Silicon Valley is quietly intensifying.

“We have an ongoing dialogue with a lot of tech companies in a variety of different areas,” he told Politico Pro. “There’s some areas where they are cooperative with us. But on this particular issue of encryption, the tech companies are moving in the opposite direction. They’re moving in favor of more and more warrant-proof encryption.”

While the battle against encryption has been going on within federal law enforcement circlessince at least the early 1990s, Rosenstein has been the most outspoken DOJ official on this issue in recent months.


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Using the Spaghetti-Twist to Align DNA  Reference


A new paper from a collaboration of Canadian physicists has demonstrated how simply twirling a wire through a solution of DNA molecules can align the molecules around the wire, similar to the way that twirling a fork can align noodles around it. The paper was published in Physical Review X (PRX), an open-access journal that covers all areas of physics. To understand what motivated a group of physicists to work on twirling DNA molecules, it is useful to consider that genomics and bioanalysis technologies rely on imaging fluorescent probes attached to DNA molecules. To visualize the genetic information stored in DNA, it is useful for different sections of the molecule to be arranged in space the same way that they are arranged along the genome, with one gene appearing in an image next to the gene that follows it in the genetic sequence. The laws of thermodynamics, unfortunately, work against this goal, as molecules tend to form a spatially disorganized “random coil”: there are many ways to arrange a long molecule randomly, but only one way when it is stretched, so entropy increases as the molecule contracts.  If you look at an image of a DNA molecule in solution or in the cell, two genes that are very far apart along the molecule could appear very close in the image, and not much can be learned from looking at how the molecule is organized.


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