Do you know how to remain safe in the age of mass surveillance and data mining? Have you ever wondered how the internet really works?Most internet users perceive the internet to be a vast and seemingly limitless space despite their lack of awareness of its actual structure and varied uses. Beyond the everyday space referred to as the World Wide Web, there is an expansive dark space not seen by the ordinary world and not indexed by search engines. This mysterious space is only seen by internet users who have the tools and knowledge to access it.This space, which is often misunderstood, goes by the names of Deep Web, Dark Web, and Darknet though these names have different meanings and are often misused. Imagine the internet as an iceberg, with the World Wide Web as the tip. Below that is the Deep Web– the expansive hidden space beneath the surface, meaningless to most internet users. Private networks not accessible to search engines are within the Deep Web where things like administrative code and banking data are found. Conversely, the Darknet is much smaller. It is an encrypted network requiring specific tools for access. The Tor network is found on the Darknet and thus was where the Silk Road was located.Not everything that happens on the Darknet is illegal. On the Tor network, users are able to browse the internet anonymously which is one of the most significant attractions. There are also hidden places, unique to the Darknet, that are only accessible via Tor. Contrary to the belief of those unfamiliar with the Darknet, not all of the content found there is illegal and not every Tor user has criminal intent. The Darknet is where many political dissidents, journalists and others who value their anonymity can be found.Only a minor portion of the activities taking place on the Darknet are actually nefarious. The Tor network was initially funded by the U.S. government and was created for the U.S. Navy. The intelligence community was in need of a dedicated space for encrypted communication. In order for that encrypted communication network to be practical, however, the network needed more users and additional traffic, leading it to being introduced to the public. Soon after, as users began to congregate and utilize the anonymous space, communities like the Silk Road began appearing.
Author Archives: binghamboatwright
Feminists Say They’re Being ‘Bullied and Blackmailed’ Over Opposition to Canada’s Transgender Rights Bill
Feminist activists in Canada say they’re being “bullied and blackmailed” by a powerful union group because they’ve raised concerns about how a proposed transgender rights bill could destroy exclusively “female-born” women’s spaces like rape crisis centers.The transgender rights bill, titled C-16, would add “gender identity” and “gender expression” to the protections outlined in the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code. The House of Commons, which voted in favor of the bill, sent the proposed law changes to the Senate last November.Hilla KernerBut “there is no social consensus on what these terms mean,” said Hilla Kerner, a spokeswoman for the collective of Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter.She recently testified to the Red Chamber committee studying the bill, saying this change could interfere with women’s ability to organize, fight for women’s rights, and raise consciousness about issues affecting women. Women’s groups must have “the right to decide who they will serve and who their members are,” she told us.Kerner’s organization also told the committee that her organization blocked a post-operation transgender woman from volunteering as a rape counselor because, according to her, she didn’t have sufficient “life experience” to relate to women who are escaping abusive relationships.Earlier this year British Columbia Federation of Labour, an umbrella organization representing many union groups, unanimously passed a resolution calling on all their affiliates to avoid donating to “trans* exclusionary organizations,” specifically mentioning the Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter.
Infamous law enforcement trainer Dave Grossman is bringing “Killology” to hospitals and high schools
Records from a “Bulletproof Mind” training in Salem, Illinois show Grossman’s interest in diversifying his audience with “Safe Schools and Healthy Students”Written by Curtis WaltmanEdited by JPat BrownOver the course of the last twenty years, retired Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman has risen to become the go-to expert for US law enforcement, traveling across the country giving seminars to police and sheriff’s deputies through his incredibly-named Killology Research Group (KRG).His presentations have been been met with a healthy amount of criticism – Grossman’s rhetoric includes ISIS attacking the country with a nuclear bomb via a secret crossing through the Mexican border, Black Lives Matter killing cops at rallies, and how video games are corrupting kids, leading the New Republic to dub him ‘Professor Carnage.’ Many of these lectures are booked in advance by specific agencies, and MuckRock has been filing with a number of them in the hopes of learning about this increasingly controversial figure.
Salk scientists move one step closer to developing ‘exercise-in-a-pill.’ Partial view of a mouse calf muscle stained for different types of muscle fibers: oxidative slow-twitch (blue), oxidative fast-twitch (green), glycolytic fast-twitch (red).Credit: Salk Institute/Waitt CenterEvery week, there seems to be another story about the health benefits of running. That’s great — but what if you can’t run? For the elderly, obese or otherwise mobility-limited, the rewards of aerobic exercise have long been out of reach.Salk Institute scientists, building on earlier work that identified a gene pathway triggered by running, have discovered how to fully activate that pathway in sedentary mice with a chemical compound, mimicking the beneficial effects of exercise, including increased fat burning and stamina.
The study, which appears in Cell Metabolism on May 2, 2017, not only deepens our understanding of aerobic endurance, but also offers people with heart conditions, pulmonary disease, type 2 diabetes or other health limitations the hope of achieving those benefits pharmacologically.”It’s well known that people can improve their aerobic endurance through training,” says senior author Ronald Evans, Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and holder of Salk’s March of Dimes Chair in Molecular and Developmental Biology. “The question for us was: how does endurance work? And if we really understand the science, can we replace training with a drug?”
Danger Ahead: The Government’s Plan for Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication Threatens Privacy, Security, and Common Sense
Imagine if your car could send messages about its speed and movements to other cars on the road around it. That’s the dream of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which thinks of Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communication technology as the leading solution for reducing accident rates in the United States. But there’s a huge problem: it’s extremely difficult to have cars “talk” to each other in a way that protects the privacy and security of the people inside them, and NHTSA’s proposal doesn’t come close to successfully addressing those issues. EFF filed public comments with both NHTSA and the FTC explaining why it needs to go back to the drawing board—and spend some serious time there—before moving forward with any V2V proposal.NHTSA’s PlanNHTSA’s V2V plan involves installing special devices in cars that will broadcast and receive Basic Safety Messages (BSMs) via short-range wireless communication channels. These messages will include information about a vehicle’s speed, brake status, etc. But one big problem is that by broadcasting unencrypted data about themselves at all times, cars with these devices will be incredibly easy to track. All you would need is a device that could intercept these messages. NHTSA is aware of this huge privacy problem and tried to develop a plan to make it harder to link V2V transmissions with particular vehicles, while still including enough information for the receiver to be able to trust a message’s content. But NHTSA’s plan—which involves giving each car 20 rotating cryptographic certificates per week to be distributed and managed by a complicated public key infrastructure (PKI)—didn’t achieve either objective.The ProblemsOne of the fundamental problems with NHTSA’s plan is that assigning each vehicle a mere 20 identities over the course of an entire week will do the opposite of protecting privacy; it will give anyone who wishes to track cars a straightforward way to do so. NHTSA proposes that a car’s certificate change every five minutes, rotating through the complete batch of 20 certificates once every 100 minutes. The car would get a new batch of 20 certificates the next week. As we explained in our comments, while a human being might find it confusing or burdensome to remember 20 different identities for the same vehicle, a computer could easily analyze data collected via a sensor network to identify a vehicle over the course of one day. It would then be able to identify and track the vehicle for the rest of the week via its known certificates. The sensor network would have to complete this same process every week, for every new batch of certificates, but given how simple the process would be, this wouldn’t present a true barrier to a person or organization seeking to track vehicles. And because human mobility patterns are “highly unique,” it would be easy—in the case of a vehicle used in its ordinary way—to recognize and track a vehicle from week to week, even as the vehicle’s list of 20 assigned certificates changed.
You can turn nearly any object into a speaker by using a piezo disc and a handful of additional components. While this may seem like magic, there is actually a rather simple technical explanation. By driving a piezo disc using an amplifier, the disc vibrates and then resonates the sound wave through whatever object the disc is attached to. When the object vibrates, it disturbs the air and makes sound. This is not only a fun trick, but also allows for a lot of interesting experimentation and creative projects.
NEWSER) – What’s it take for a cat to grow so long it’s in contention for a Guinness World Record? Good genes, a good home, and lots of raw kangaroo meat, apparently. “It’s the only meat we could find that he actually wants to eat,” Stephy Hirst tells the BBC. The Australian woman is the owner of a 3-foot-11-inch-long Maine Coon named Omar. The Melbourne resident created an Instagram account for Omar a few weeks ago, and one of his photos was shared 270,000 times on Cats of Instagram. Then Guinness came calling. Now, Hirst is waiting to hear if she’s officially the owner of the world’s longest cat, beating the record from another Maine Coon that measures 3 feet 10.5 inches. (According to the Independent, the myth about Maine Coons and their size is they are the result of semi-wild cats breeding with raccoons.)
We all have heard of various self-help books, motivational lectures, and gurus and they all share a common thought:Live in the present. If you are not, you are probably wasting your time and energy. While it sounds quite beneficial keeping in mind the life we life, neuroscience has a different take on it.Dean Buonomano, a behavioral neuroscience professor at UCLA and author of the recently-published Your Brain is a Time Machine, says that the human brain is an inherently temporal organ. “Not only does it tell the time, it also allows us to mentally project ourselves into the past and the future,” he says.To a certain extent, all animals have a basic ability to predict and prepare for the future. Even worms have circadian rhythms and so instinctively know when it’s daylight and when predatory birds are more likely to be around. But humans have a far more sophisticated ability to conceive of the future—to “sculpt and create futures that we imagine,” says Buonomano.“What’s fairly unique about humans is this aspect of mentally projecting ourselves into the past or the future—the degree to which humans can engage in what we call mental time travel,” he explains.
I also get excited every time I’m on the verge of getting in the Big Apple, but this is ridiculous.According to New York Magazine, a 48-year-old New Jersey man was arrested last Thursday after he allegedly parked his van in the middle of the Lincoln Tunnel and started punching his clown.Naturally, this didn’t help what was already a shitty traffic situation, and police were quickly on the scene to do their part to get it moving in a positive direction again. They unfortunately stumbled upon the cause of the backup this time around, and that of course was Ismael Esquilin jerking off in his minivan while it was parked but still running.
(Credit: Newark California Police Department/Facebook)NEWARK, CA (WCMH) — Police around the country are offering their services to help check anyone’s meth for traces of gluten.Not only that, they’re offering the service for free.The police department in Newark, California made this offer May 4 on its Facebook page:“Is your meth laced with deadly gluten? Not sure? Bring your meth down to the PD and we will test it for you for free!”
A Danish brewery is drawing on 50,000 litres of urine collected from the largest music festival in Northern Europe in producing a novelty beer aimed at the more adventurous drinker.The beer named “Pisner” — wordplay combining pilsner with local slang for urine — contains no human waste, but is produced from fields of malting barley fertilized with human urine rather than traditional animal manure or factory-made plant nutrients.Study finds average pool has up to 75 litres of urineBeer prices have sports fans’ heads spinning”When the news that we had started brewing the Pisner came out, a lot of people thought we were filtering the urine to put it directly in the beer, and we had a good laugh about that,” said Henrik Vang, chief executive of brewer Norrebro Bryghus.
EATING a big meal and getting behind the wheel of a car is as dangerous as drink-driving, Independent TD Danny Healy Rae has claimed.The Kerry politician hit out at the Road Safety Authority today, saying it is on a “crusade to isolate people further in rural Ireland”.Mr Healy Rae, who is a publican, is objecting to plans to introduce a mandatory three month driving ban for motorist caught with a blood alcohol level of 51-80mg of alcohol per 100ml. Currently such an offence is punished with a fine and penalty points.Speaking at the Oireachtas Committee on Transport Mr Healy Rae said: “Can I say to you, and many people will agree with me. If you eat too much and get in behind the wheel of a car, then you’re a danger on the road because you are likely to fall asleep after eating a big meal.
Hollywood, with all its glitz and glamour, seems like the last place you’ll find the mighty penguin’s influence. Well thankfully for all Linux fans, the truth is quite the opposite. The open source operating system has played a key role in turning many directorial dreams into silver screen successes. What attracts the billion-dollar industry to this ‘free as in free beer’ operating system is not its price. In fact, it is Linux’s unmatched performance is what makes it the preferred choice over some of the top-of-the-line operating systems like Windows and Mac OS X. Be it screenwriting, animation, editing, or post production, Linux can be used in pretty much every department involved in the making of a major motion picture. If you’re wondering where exactly the mighty penguin has impacted Los Angeles, sit tight as we list some of the most prominent examples of Linuxian influence in Hollywood movies.Scooby-Doo (The Movie)Scooby-Doo was a popular 2002 flick by Warner Brothers starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr. Adapted from the popular cartoon series, this was the first live action movie in the franchise. Since the success of the movie relied on portraying an animated dog, and not just any dog, but the mighty Scooby Doo himself, the pressures were high. And this, my friends, is the scene wherein Linux steps in to save the day. Animators of the post-production studio Rhythm & Hues used about a hundred Linux desktops to make the popular Hannah-Barbara look as realistic as possible. Using Film Gimp (now Cinepaint http://www.cinepaint.org/ ) and other proprietary Linux-based tools, the open-source desktop was a key contributor to the movie’s success. No wonder, Scooby-Doo was the 15th most successful film of 2012 with an official box-office gross of more than $275 millions.
Mexico (Sputnik) – A new global survey has named Mexico the second deadliest area in the world after Syria, due to the Central American nation’s violent ongoing drug war.Syria’s six-year war came in first for most dangerous conflict for the fifth consecutive year, as 2016 saw 50,000 casualties in the area, by some estimates.According to the The Armed Conflict Survey 2017, an annual report analyzing global conflicts and casualties, there were 23,000 deaths in Mexico in 2016 connected to the fight against drug cartels. Published Tuesday by the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), the survey found that “scant attention” has been paid to Central American drug wars, with 16,000 deaths combined coming from Honduras, Ecuador and El Salvador.IISS Director General and Chief Executive John Chipman said in the report, “The death toll in Mexico’s conflict surpasses those for Afghanistan and Somalia. This is all the more surprising, considering that the conflict deaths are nearly all attributable to small arms. Mexico is a conflict marked by the absence of artillery, tanks or combat aviation.”According to the report, 80 percent of casualties worldwide could be attributed to just 10 conflicts in Nigeria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Mexico, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, South Sudan, Turkey and Syria.The arrest of cartel leaders from brutal groups like Los Zetas helped contribute to a drop in Mexico’s homicide rate in the three years between 2011 and 2014. In 2015, the number crept back up, and men in Mexico saw three years shaved off their life expectancy.
Patrick Lin started it. In an article entitled ‘The Ethics of Autonomous Cars’ (published in The Atlantic in 2013), he considered the principles that self-driving cars should follow when they encountered tricky moral dilemmas on the road. We all encounter these situations from time to time. Something unexpected happens and you have to make a split second decision. A pedestrian steps onto the road and you don’t see him until the last minute: do you slam on the brakes or swerve to avoid? Lin made the obvious point that no matter how safe they were, self-driving cars would encounter situations like this, and so engineers would have to design ‘crash-optimisation’ algorithms that the cars would use to make those split second decisions.In a later article Lin explained the problem by using a variation on the famous ‘trolley problem’ thought experiment. The classic trolley problem asks you to imagine a trolley car hurtling out of control down a railroad track. If it continues on its present course, it will collide with and kill five people. You can, however, divert it onto a sidetrack. If you do so, it will kill only one person. What should you do? Ethicists have debated the appropriate choice for the last forty years. Lin’s variation on the trolley problem worked like this:Imagine in some distant future, your autonomous car encounters this terrible choice: it must either swerve left and strike an eight-year old girl, or swerve right and strike an 80-year old grandmother. Given the car’s velocity, either victim would surely be killed on impact. If you do not swerve, both victims will be struck and killed; so there is good reason to think that you ought to swerve one way or another. But what would be the ethically correct decision? If you were programming the self-driving car, how would you instruct it to behave if it ever encountered such a case, as rare as it may be? (Lin 2016, 69)There is certainly value to thinking about problems of this sort. But some people worry that, in focusing on individualised moral dilemmas such as this, the framing of the ethical challenges facing the designers of self-driving cars is misleading. There are important differences between the moral choice confronting the designer of the crash optimisation system (whether it be programmed from the top-down with clearly prescribed rules or the bottom-up using some machine-learning system) and the choices faced by drivers in particular dilemmas. Recently, some papers have been written drawing attention to these differences. One of them is Hin-Yan Liu’s ’Structural Discrimination and Autonomous Vehicles’. I just interviewed Hin-Yan for my podcast about this and other aspects of his research, but I want to take this opportunity to examine the argument in that paper in more detail.
In a scheme that sounds as though it might have been lifted from the plot of Minority Report, Chicago Police is using sensors, big data, machine learning and predictive analytics to help combat the gun crime plaguing the city by trying to predict it before it happens, according to a report from BBC Click.With murders in the US city of Chicago during 2016 at a 19-year high, 2017 began with everyone from the press to the president demanding change.Superintendent Eddie Johnson unveiled CPD’s solution at a press conference, a new system representing “an investment in technology and data-driven enforcement that will help us reduce violent crimes across the city of Chicago”.
The most senior academic at Oxford University has attacked the institution’s “safe space” culture.Professor Louise Richardson, the university’s Vice-Chancellor, said that “cossetted” students need to learn to face up to political views which might differ from their own.Richardson, an expert on terrorism, blamed indulgent parents and the echo chamber of social media for acclimatizing students to an atmosphere where they always get their way.Her comments emerged in a recent interview with the Irish Times, where she also spoke disapprovingly of the “no-platforming” movement to ban controversial speakers from campus.She said: “It may be that middle-class children have been too cosseted by their professional parents… and it may be in part accentuated in social media where we tend to operate within an echo chamber of like-minded people.”Her intervention comes as another high-profile university head took the opposite stance.
It’s trendy on college campuses to denounce traditional masculinity as “toxic”– but it turns out, women kinda like a manly man, a new Florida State University study suggests.The researchers tracked 70 newlywed couples over two weeks, querying women to rate their levels of satisfaction with their husband.Meanwhile, the men were asked to rate their “behavioral masculinity,” a category that included feelings of dominance, power and assertiveness—all traits that campus feminists have decried as “toxic” and dangerous.A University of Maryland staffer recently claimed in a blog post that “societal ideas about masculinity (like sexual prowess, dominance, financial stability, risk-taking and the “Man Card”) create an environment that encourages—or is at least passively complicit in—sexual violence against women, and isolates and invalidates male survivors of sexual assault.”San Francisco State University also linked these traits to rape in a recent post on men’s health: “Whether it’s being told to ‘man up’ or being told that men should be the ‘breadwinner,’ our society tells us men should exert power. While the vast majority of men will never commit sexual violence, studies show that those who do commit sexual violence strongly believe in these attitudes.”
Windows 7 installation on my dual boot Apple iMac started complaining about low disk-space and I was in a fix whether to clean-format the Windows partition or go for selective uninstallation of applications and data I no longer need. I fired-up my favourite disk space analyzer tool – Folder Size and voila, I now know what I need to do to quickly recover GB’s of free disk-space without removing anything.Folder-Size scan showed that c:\windows\Installer folder occupied 9.48GB disk-space, this is a system folder and you cannot delete it so I decided to use the Windows Disk Cleanup tool to let it take care of it.With years of usage Microsoft Windows tend to accumulate Update files, installer cache and memory-dumps which can occupy GB’s of disk-space on your computer. Luckily, Microsoft provides a free utility with Windows allowing users to quickly and easily claim-back this disk-space.
Awesome Grandma Pretends to Wingsuit Fly Using Green Screen, Paper Clips and Bed Sheet «TwistedSifter
It’s all about the takeoff and landing
Security company G Data says that a new piece of Android malware is discovered every 10 seconds. At this rate, the company is predicting that there will be 3,500,000 new malicious Android files by the end of the year.The threat level for users with smartphones and tablets with an Android operating system remains high. In all, the G DATA security experts expect around 3.5 million ne
w Android malware apps for 2017.The company said that the risk was heightened by the fact that only a small minority of users are on the latest version of Android …Only 4.9 percent of smartphone and tablet users have Android 7, which has been available since August 2016. 20 percent still use version 4.4, 32 percent version 5 and 31.2 percent Android 6.0. The problem is that third party providers do not adapt the new operating system for older devices (“older” in this case meaning one year or more).
It was a perfect service: sorting your mail and not just removing all spam for you, but also unsubscribing you from all of that spam garbage going forward. It kept your inbox perfectly clean. But behind the curtains, it also sold your inbox to the highest bidder.Sometimes, you’re maliciously signed up to tens of thousands of mailing lists because somebody was annoyed with something you said, somewhere. The cost of doing so is low and it causes a ton of headache as you’re getting hundreds of spam per minute. Fortunately, most of those are double-opt-in confirmation mails — “click this link to confirm the subscription” — but maybe five percent are not, and those malicious signups will continue to clobber your inbox with noise.Enter Unroll, which was the solution for this scenario: you gave it access to your mailbox, and it would not only detect and remove such unwanted spam, but also unsubscribe you from those tens of thousands of malicious subscriptions. Except, as it turns out, they also kept every single one of your mails, including those with passwords and other sensitive information, and sold them to the highest bidder.
When the fashion trio threeASFOUR debuted its first collection of 3D-printed clothing, a parade of auburn-haired models marched down a runway at the Jewish Museum in New York City. Their gowns looked both ethereal and geometric—the garb of angelic robots. One dress, for example, was composed of white, angular bubbles that made their wearer look like she had emerged from a very foamy bath.But the woman who shepherded it down the runway couldn’t sit down, or the dress would shatter. “The model that was wearing it hated us,” says Bradley Rothenberg, an architect who collaborated on the project with threeASFOUR.
The Super Bowl is now a distant memory, and with training camp on the horizon, quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the aspiring Che Guevara of the NFL, is still unemployed and the leftwing media is crying foul.To refresh your memory, Colin Kaepernick was a once promising player who led his team to the Super Bowl with his electric play. Since then he has been awful, on and off the field. These days he is better known for leading a movement to kneel during the National Anthem before NFL games, wearing clothes that strongly imply that police officers are pigs, and offering effusive praise for the late communist dictator and cold blooded killer Fidel Castro.At the end of last season with free agency looming, Kaepernick could sense the jig was up if he wanted to stay employed. Subsequently, he announced he would no longer be kneeling during the anthem prior to games and was seen (no coincidence in some people’s minds) handing out coats to parolees in New York City. Look NFL coaches and owners, I’m not the total jerk you think I am!But still no team has yet to bite, and this is getting the media’s hackles up. Do an internet search of Colin Kaepernick blackballed, and you’ll have plenty of stories to choose from. Note the term blackballed, as if there was something immoral on the NFL’s part about Kaepernick not having a job offer yet. The left loves to use the term blackballed when it applies to one of their own, but you would be hard pressed to find stories from those same writers using the term about conservatives on the outs, such as Ann Coulter being blackballed from speaking in Berkeley or Bill O’Reilly being blackballed from network TV.
Grand Cayman’s CTMH Doctors Hospital and Cayman Pharmacy Group has started dispensing cannabis oil to patients with a valid medical documentation. To meet expected demand, CTMH purchased nearly 13 liters of cannabis oil from Canadian-based CanniMed® Oils. Doctors at the hospital can now prescribe it to selected patients who reside in the Cayman Islands.The hospital officials stated:These advancements in medicinal cannabis have been proven successful in multiple case studies around the world. These case studies reveal life changing results for patients suffering with many conditions such as chronic pain, neuropathic pain and seizures. As with all medications, care and caution must be exercised to minimise risks and maximise health benefits.Success stories about using cannabis oil to treat illness continue to surface, and the medical establishment is listening. People have reportedly used cannabis oil to treat, and in some cases heal, brain tumors, leukemia, skin cancer, Type 2 diabetes, thyroid disease, and epilepsy. As a result, the medicinal value of cannabis is finally being reconsidered globally.GROWING ACCEPTANCE OF CANNABIS OILIn addition to the Cayman Islands, doctors in other parts of the world are giving medicinal cannabis the attention it deserves. For the first time ever, the National Health Service in Northern Ireland has prescribed medicinal cannabis oil, reported BelfastsLive. The recipient is Billy Caldwell, an 11-year-old Irish boy.Billy started his cannabis oil treatment in the U.S., under the care of Dr. Douglas Nordli. Nordli is the director of pediatric neurology at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in California, where medical cannabis is legal. The goal was to reduce the frequency and severity of Billy’s seizures.
A recent discovery by Sandia National Laboratories researchers may unlock the potential of biofuel waste — and ultimately make biofuels competitive with petroleum.Fuel made from plants is much more expensive than petroleum, but one way to decrease the cost would be to sell products made from lignin, the plant waste left over from biofuel production.Lignin typically is either burned to produce electricity or left unused in piles because no one has yet determined how to convert it into useful products, such as renewable plastics, fabrics, nylon and adhesives. The electricity isn’t even available to the general public; it’s only used by companies that create large amounts of lignin, like pulp and paper manufacturers. Now Sandia scientists, working with researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the Joint BioEnergy Institute, have decoded the structure and behavior of LigM, an enzyme that breaks down molecules derived from lignin.The group’s work on LigM appears in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The enzyme has little in common with other, better understood proteins, which previously made it impossible for scientists to guess how it functions. This paper marks the first time anyone has solved the structure of LigM, opening a path toward new molecules and new, marketable products.
By Clare WilsonPeople undergoing heart surgery may be getting infected with a deadly strain of bacteria, spread by machines used to cool blood.The design of blood-cooling machines is flawed, Daniel Diekema at the University of Iowa told the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in Vienna, Austria, last week. “This was an infection risk that was hiding in plain sight for decades,” Diekema said.The risk arises during open-heart surgery when inserting a device, such as a valve or blood-vessel graft. This process requires a machine to cool and later warm up the blood. During the operation, machines contaminated by the bacteria can blow them out into the operating room, where they can land on the devices to be implanted.It was thought that the microbe, called Mycobacterium chimaera and common in soil and water, was present in only a certain brand of blood-cooling machine, due to factory contamination. But doctors are now reporting that other machines seem to be affected too, and there is no known way of decontaminating them.The problem is causing alarm among doctors worldwide, because M. chimaera infection is difficult to treat. There are 110 known cases of this happening in heart patients so far, and half of those infected have died.
If you’ve wondered how hate proliferates online, especially since the divisive 2016 election, ProPublica has some answers.Cloudflare, a San Francisco-based internet company, enables extremist web sites to stay in business by providing them with data delivery services, according to ProPublica.The company also turns over contact information of anyone who complains about a hate site to the site’s operators. That policy has exposed people complaining about online hate to personal harassment, ProPublica reported.ProPublica cited a 2013 blog post by CEO Matthew Price that said the company didn’t have an obligation to monitor the websites that use its services. Cloudflare lawyer Doug Kramer told Propublica the company turned over the names of complainants because it is “base constitutional law that people can face their accusers.”Kramer said in a statement Friday that Cloudflare is reviewing the instances of retaliation outlined by ProPublica.”Cloudflare processes thousands of abuse reports in a given week. Because we do not host content, and turning off Cloudflare’s services would not remove the content from the Internet, we work to connect people to the website hosts who do control the content. We were aware several years ago, that some website owners were using information from our reports to retaliate against complaining parties. This was an infrequent occurrence, but one that was very concerning to us. So, in early 2015 we implemented a change in our practices to pass along information only to the hosting provider, and not the website owner, when complaints raised issues that could be sensitive. We continue to review the instances outlined in the article to determine how to best handle them and see if there are any other steps we need to take to change the process. Since that time, we have not seen similar abuses of the system, though we continue to watch this area closely and consider additional changes to make sure the abuse process supports helpful outcomes but limits opportunities for retaliation.”
News reports indicate that illegal immigration has dropped sharply since President Trump’s inauguration, even though no progress has been made in building the wall. Similarly, it appears that the flow of refugees has declined, even though the president’s travel orders, including his reduced ceiling on refugee admissions, has been tied up in the courts by partisan judges. The Star Tribune reports: “Minnesota’s refugee stream slows to a trickle.”The pace of refugees arriving in Minnesota slowed markedly in recent months, even though President Trump’s executive order pausing resettlement remains mired in the courts.Arrivals hit a low of 66 statewide in March, roughly one-fifth the level of a year ago, before rebounding slightly in April. Somalis, who last fall were a majority of refugees in the state, made up less than a quarter of last month’s arrivals, based on new data from the State Department.This chart shows the numbers:
A Russian YouTuber has been convicted of a religious hate crime for playing Pokémon Go in church.Ruslan Sokolovsky, 22, was convicted by a court in Ekaterinburg after posting a video of himself playing the game.He recorded himself wandering around the inside of the Church of All Saints while playing the game on his iPhone.Sokolovsky (pictured above) posted the video online in August 2016, at the height of the Pokémon Go craze:He was arrested a few days later.The video was posted as a deliberate rebuke to Russian officials who had warned there could be legal consequences to playing the game in sacred places.It shows him catch a Poliwag, then a Zubat, while worshipers and clergy mill around the background. It has now been viewed on YouTube almost two million times.In the footage, Sokolovsky rubbished the possibility that he could be punished for what he was doing.
P3, the de-facto music file format that helped Apple and Spotify become music giants is approaching its inevitable death. It’s not that people are ditching the use of MP3 and its popularity is decreasing, but its license is being terminated.Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, the German foundation which owns the patent for MP3 audio format and licenses it, has announced that it’ll be no longer be supporting the format. Wondering why? Because they believe that better ways to store music have appeared on the scene and MP3’s retirement should help those formats.Here’s what Fraunhofer Institute’s official statement has to say:On April 23, 2017, Technicolor’s mp3 licensing program for certain mp3 related patents and software of Technicolor and Fraunhofer IIS has been terminated.Fraunhofer Institute says that most of the well-known streaming, TV, or radio service providers are now using ISO-MPEG codecs like AAC family or MPEG-H.
Donald Trump pops up a lot in books from the 1980s and 1990s. At that time, he was a popular symbol for American success. Nowadays, of course, Trump is a far more polarizing figure. Apparently, Barack Obama once associated the current U.S. president with success as well.In 1991, Obama, a 29-year-old soon-to-be Harvard Law School grad, wrote a paper with a friend, Robert Fisher, called “Race and Rights Rhetoric.” Obama summed up the average American’s mindset with the following sentence: “I may not be Donald Trump now, but just you wait; if I don’t make it, my children will.”This quote came to light following the publishing of Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama, a new 1,460-page biography of the former U.S. president by David J. Garrow. That law paper was previously unpublished.Here’s the full excerpt:
This may be the year you get 3-D-printed shoes.By the end of 2017, the transformation of manufacturing will hit a milestone: mass-produced printed parts. Until now, that concept was an oxymoron, since 3-D printing has been used mainly for prototyping and customized parts.But the radical innovation of 3-D printing techniques means we are finally going to see some previously impossible designs creep into our consumer goods. In the long term, it also means new products that previously would have been impractical to produce, and a geographical shift of some manufacturing closer to customers.I have two very different examples of this milestone, one plastic, the other steel. There’s a running shoe from Adidas AG, with a 3-D-printed latticed sole that looks almost organic, like the exposed roots of a plant.
ouTube is providing a platform for criminals promoting and selling ransomware, the type of malicious software that wreaked havoc in the NHS.Hackers are posting step-by-step guides on YouTube on how to build ransomware. They also provide links to websites where ransomware can be bought for as little as £16, with technical support on how to infect people’s computers.Details of how ransomware is openly promoted and traded on the internet comes after a global cyber-attack hit more than 45,000 organisations in at least 99 countries. Forty-eight NHS organisations were hit, including about 30 hospital trusts.
A facial recognition system that’s been quietly used by an Oslo pizza shop has spilled its logs, revealing that a) the shop’s advertising app is keeping tabs on who looks at ads for how long and whether or not they’re smiling, and b) that there are very few women who eat pizza in Oslo.Redditor forsaken75 has claimed to be the one who took the original photo of the crashed app. In a thread whose Norwegian title translates to “This crispy screen on Peppes’Pizza shows a log of all their guests, with descriptions,” forsaken75 said that the photo in the Tweet above was taken in front of Peppes Pizza in South Oslo.That screen normally shows advertisements. When the advertising app crashed, it revealed what was running beneath, forsaken75 explained two weeks ago. When he approached the screen to take a photo, it began describing him, including details such as that he’s a young male, wearing glasses, where he was looking, whether he was smiling, and how much he was smiling.
Throw them into the bay, or throw them into jail? Those were two possible replies to a poll set up by a user on Twitter. He wanted to know how to deal with “treacherous journalists” – the journalists in question were reporters working for the Panamanian daily newspaper La Prensa. The paper’s newsroom lies just 7.2 miles away from the offices of Mossack Fonseca, the law firm which plays the central role in the largest data-leak in history. The small state in Central America became eponymous for the scandals disclosed in the international research project Panama Papers – and many blamed La Prensa’s investigative journalists for this bad publicity. The majority of the participants in the twitter-poll demanded: Throw them into jail.Bodyguards were still protecting the papers editors months after the stories had been published.“This story was extremely personal for us. It involved many of our close friends, some of whom are no longer close friends”, said subdirector Rita Vásquez, “That is the price we knew we had to pay going into the project.”A year has passed since the first stories on the Panama Papers appeared. Since then SZ, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and their media associates have published about 5000 articles, radio and television pieces. 400 journalists from 80 countries collaborated on the leak. Though they won many coveted Journalism Awards, they also had to suffer because of their work. The situation in Germany was comfortable in comparison; the team consisting of journalists from the public broadcasters WDR and NDR as well as members of SZ had to face increased security measures following the publication of Panama Papers. But for colleagues from other countries, things got a lot more risky. A Ukrainian reporter left his home country and didn’t come back until after the publication. Others were denounced in public or received threatening phone calls. In Tunisia the website of a media partner was hacked, a reporter in Venezuela was sacked. And some journalists were hounded by their own government. A brief overview:
A few weeks back, when we featured Brian Lunduke’s interview with Richard Stallman, we lamented the fact that most users who come to GNU/Linux these days seem to have little knowledge of the history of free software, Linux and open source. This is not good, for without a community of supporters, free tech cannot survive.This is much different than it was 10 or 15 years ago, when the main reason for adopting Linux was because of its connection with the free software movement, which began in the 1980s under Richard Stallman, and spurred on by the GNU Project which he founded.If you had gone online around the turn of the century looking for information on Linux, your search would have led you to hundreds of blogs published by “citizen journalists,” people enthused about the ideas behind free software and the GPL, and expounding on them. Linux wasn’t so much about being an operating system as it was about putting power in people’s hands. This isn’t so true anymore. Most of the few websites that remain are commercial endeavors that often confuse “software freedom” with the mere availability of source code and a free price tag.The movement that Stallman and others inspired was to the home computer revolution of the 1990s through the first decade of this century, what the consciousness movment had been to the 1960s. And just as supporters of the status quo have reduced the history of 60s hippiedom to “sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll,” — a slogan that was meant to be a slap in the face of straight establishment types, which is now used to define and defame an entire generation — the ideas behind the free software movement are now in danger of being reduced to merely a business model for managing software in the corporate world.
It turns out we no longer need cows to produce cow milk, we can just brew it with yeast, just like beer. Well, it’s actually a bit more complicated than that, but that’s how a company called Perfect Day explains the basics of their innovative new product – a “synthetic milk” that looks and tastes a lot like cow milk.Perfect Day was co-founded by Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandh, two young scientists with a background in biomedical engineering. Three years ago, one was working on next-generation vaccines in Boston, and the other on tissue engineering, in New York. They didn’t know each other but they had a mutual acquaintance who knew that they both had this crazy idea about making milk without cows, and he put them in touch. They hit it off and started working on a way of making their dream a reality.Share PinVegans and people who are lactose intolerant have a few plant-based alternatives, like soy milk and almond milk, but if you’ve ever tried either of those, you already know that they taste nothing like real milk. And that’s exactly what Ryan and Perumal were trying to create – a synthetic milk that didn’t come from cows but tasted just like it and had all its nutrients. It sounds impossible, but the two say that their innovative product relies on technology that has been around for a while.
In 1884, Luther Emmett Holt wrote of the importance of “airing” out babies in his book, The Care and Feeding of Children. This claim resulted in what is perhaps one of the strangest inventions to come out of the 20th century: baby cages.Holt intended for his text to be used as a manual for nursery aides and mothers in need of helpful pointers when it came to, well, caring for and feeding their children. Much like the chapters covering basic baby care topics such as bathing, nursing, and weaning, Holt devoted a section labeled “Airing” to the importance of allowing one’s child fresh air on a regular basis.“Fresh air is required to renew and purify the blood, and this is just as necessary for health and growth as proper food,” Holt wrote. “The appetite is improved, the digestion is better, the cheeks become red, and all signs of health are seen.”
Sporting a leather jacket, dyed red hair, and tattoos, Alisa Aarniomaki looks like she’s on her way to band rehearsal. But instead of a guitar, the 20-year-old Finn gently holds on to something else: a puffy stuffed horse head on a wooden stick complete with glued-on eyes, mane, and reins. She’s been riding real horses from the age of 10 but became instantly smitten by hobby-horsing—a sport with gymnastic elements that has spawned a social media subculture among Finnish teen girls—when she first heard about it several years ago, reports the AP. “Hobby-horsing has a strong therapeutic side to it,” says Aarniomaki, adding that it has helped her deal with her parents’ divorce and bullying. “It has helped me a great deal that I can occasionally just go galloping into the woods with my friends. It somehow balances my mind.”