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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Newseum apologizes for selling “fake news” t-shirt

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

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

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

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

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How To Identify Car History Online Using Vehicle Identification Number

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

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

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

VIN Code

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Feds Continue Classified Experiments on Humans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Feds Continue Classified Experiments on Humans

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DNC serves WikiLeaks with lawsuit via Twitter

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

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

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

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

Source: DNC serves WikiLeaks with lawsuit via Twitter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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STUDY: ‘Trigger Warnings’ Are Harmful To College Students

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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FBI Offers Huge Payout for Pennsylvania Man Threatening Trump

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

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

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

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

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

Source: FBI Offers Huge Payout for Pennsylvania Man Threatening Trump

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CCleaner Facing Backlash For User Data Collection And Active Monitoring

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

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

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Liberals Have Issues Being Friends With Trump Supporters

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

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

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

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

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

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

continue https://thedailyconspiracy.com/2018/07/26/liberals-have-issues-being-friends-with-trump-supporters/

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

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

earlier this year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

continue http://www.thelastamericanvagabond.com/revolution/danger-real-we-need-new-declaration-independence-modern-times/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Both forces are trialling the software.

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

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New insider attack steals passwords by reading thermal energy from keyboards

After entering a password, your regular computer keyboard might appear to look the same as always, but a new approach harvesting thermal energy can illuminate the recently pressed keys, revealing that keyboard-based password entry is even less secure than previously thought.


Thermal image of “passw0rd” 20 seconds after entry

Computer Science Ph.D. students Tyler Kaczmarek and Ercan Ozturk from UC Irvine’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS), working with Chancellor’s Professor of Computer Science Gene Tsudik, have exploited thermal residue from human fingertips to introduce a new insider attack — the Thermanator.

“It’s a new attack that allows someone with a mid-range thermal camera to capture keys pressed on a normal keyboard, up to one minute after the victim enters them,” describes Tsudik. “If you type your password and walk or step away, someone can learn a lot about it after-the-fact.”

Their paper, “Thermanator: Thermal Residue-Based Post Factum Attacks On Keyboard Password Entry,” outlines the rigorous two-stage user study they conducted, collecting thermal residues from 30 users entering 10 unique passwords (both weak and strong) on four popular commodity keyboards.

Source: New insider attack steals passwords by reading thermal energy from keyboards – Help Net Security

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Candidate AIDS vaccine passes key early test

The near 40-year quest for an AIDS vaccine received a hopeful boost Saturday when scientists announced that a trial drug triggered an immune response in humans and shielded monkeys from infection.

Shown to be safe in humans, the candidate vaccine has now advanced to the next phase of the pre-approval trial process, and will be tested in 2,600 women in southern Africa to see whether it prevents HIV infection.

While the results so far have been encouraging, the research team and outside experts warn there are no guarantees it will actually work in the next trial phase dubbed HVTN705 or “Imbokodo” — the isiZulu word for “rock”.

“Although these data are promising, we need to remain cautious,” study leader Dan Barouch, a Harvard Medical School professor, told AFP.

Just because it protected two-thirds of monkeys in a lab trial doesn’t mean the drug will protect humans, “and thus we need to await the results of the… study before we know whether or not this vaccine will protect humans against HIV infection,” he said.

Source: Candidate AIDS vaccine passes key early test

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Boffins want to stop Network Time Protocol’s time-travelling exploits

Among the many problems that exist in the venerable Network Time Protocol is its vulnerability to timing attacks: turning servers into time-travellers can play all kinds of havoc with important systems.

Complicating the problem is that timing attacks are enabled by the protocol itself, which makes it hard to change.

Now a group of researchers from Marvell Semiconductor and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have followed up on a February 2018 conference presentation with an Internet-Draft proposal they hope can block timing attacks.

Their argument, put in depth in this paper, (PDF) presented to the 2018 Network and Distributed Systems Security (NDSS) Symposium, is that timing attacks can affect “TLS certificates, DNS and DNSSEC, RPKI, Kerberos, BitCoin, and beyond”. The authors also note that time-shifting attacks are possible “even if all NTP communications are encrypted and authenticated” – so a fix is well overdue.

Source: Boffins want to stop Network Time Protocol’s time-travelling exploits

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The Savaging of Laura Ingalls Wilder

In another example of political correctness gone awry, the American Library Association decided to drop Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from a prestigious children’s literature award. According to the statement, the author, as represented by her “Little House” series, “reflect dated cultural attitudes towards indigenous people and people of color that contradict modern acceptance, celebration and understanding of diverse communities.”

Oh, please. If we are to go by that criteria, we might as well toss out an entire canon of classics including Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn — though I notice no one is renaming “The Mark Twain Prize for Humor” given annually to celebrities and rarely to actual writers.

Laura Ingalls Wilder started publishing her series of Little House books in 1932. Her first, Little House in the Big Woods, was followed with six more into the 1940s. The series told the saga of the family struggles as they pioneered the woodlands and prairies of America during the 1870s and 1880s, from Wisconsin to Minnesota to South Dakota to Iowa. The narration is from the perspective of a child named Laura, from the time she is five to seventeen.

Imagine their journey, the infernal deprivation and hard work, crops ruined by storms and grasshoppers. Or the long winter, with temperatures below zero, twisting hay into kindling before sitting to a scanty meal of potatoes and bread. Not all settlers could take it. Nor, I venture, could you or I. Instead, Pa played the fiddle, singing “Where There’s a Will There’s a Way.”

Source: The Savaging of Laura Ingalls Wilder

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Chinese firm claims its laser rifle burns clothes and skin up to 800m away

A Chinese firm wants to arm the country’s police forces with a whole new kind of weapon for the battlefield: an assault rifle that fires lasers and can burn your clothes and skin from up to 800m away. Oh, and those lasers are silent, invisible, and can pass through glass windows too.

The rifle (not pictured above, that’s just a concept illustration) has been developed by ZKZM Laser, which is part of the Xi’an Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The idea is to support police in hostage situations, allowing them to take kidnappers down a notch. It could also find use in covert military operations, reports the South China Morning Post.

“The pain will be beyond endurance,” said a researcher who worked on the ZKZM-500 rifle. At the same time, the weapon is said to be “non-lethal,” likely because it doesn’t kill on impact.

At three kilos (6.6lb), it’s roughly the same weight as an AK-47; the rifle is said to use a lithium battery to fire more than 1,000 “shots” that last for two seconds each.

ZKZM is believed to be in search of a manufacturing partner, so it can begin producing these weapons for $15,000 apiece.

Source: Chinese firm claims its laser rifle burns clothes and skin up to 800m away

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Sysadmin cracked military PC’s security by reading the manual

All it took was a three-fingered salute and some autoexec.bat action

On-Call Welcome once more to On-Call, The Register’s attempt to make Fridays tolerable by bringing you fellow readers’ tales of terrifying tech support jobs they somehow survived.

This week, meet “Guy”, who told On-Call he grew up in the golden age of the microcomputer, meaning that by the time he joined his local Army National Guard unit he was familiar with machines like the TRS-80, Ti-99/4A, C-64 and Apple II.

One day National Guard HQ delivered a new PC to Guy’s unit. His prior experience meant he was given the job of making it work.

His problems started immediately because Guy’s superior “explained that the guys from HQ had set everything up, but had forgotten to give them the password to get into the system.”

The PC in question was a Zenith Data Systems 286 that Guy powered up after “throwing the big toggle switch on the side, waiting a while for a lovely green screen with a menu would pop up.”

Source: Sysadmin cracked military PC’s security by reading the manual

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How To Send SMS From Your PC Using Android Messages?

Google has tried to get into the social networking and instant messaging space many, many times. But the company hasn’t been able to do more than trending on the internet for a few days. Their last attempt, Allo, couldn’t make a dent in the success of Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Messenger.

Still being optimistic, Google has updated the Android Messages app to give new life to our good-old SMS and also added support for RCS-based text messages. RCS stands for Rich Communication Services which facilitates multimedia content like images, videos, GIFs, etc.

Google recently rolled out a useful Android Messages feature that lets you send text messages from your PC through the web. In this article, we have detailed the method to use Android Messages web interface and use your computer to send SMS.

How to send SMS from your PC using Android Messages?

Android Messages Send text from Pc 1

Using Android Messages to send texts is quite simple. You need an Android smartphone and web browser running on a computer (Windows, MacOS, or Linux). Follow the steps mentioned below:

  1. Download and install the Android Messages app from Google Play.
    Usually, this is required for smartphones that don’t run stock Android. The default SMS app on such devices (like the ones from Samsung, Xiaomi, Sony, OnePlus) is often made by the manufacturer itself.
  2. On your PC, open any web browser and go to messages.android.com.
  3. Now, on your phone, open Android Messages.
  4. Tap the overflow menu button (three dots menu) and tap on Messages for web.
    Android Messages Send text from Pc 4
  5. On the Messages for web screen, tap on Scan QR Code button.
    Android Messages Send text from Pc 5
  6. Now, point your smartphone’s rear camera on the QR code displayed on the computer.

After this, wait for the code to be scanned and within a few moments, all of your messages will populate on the computer screen. The experience is quite similar to what we see in the case of WhatsApp Web and Messenger.com.

Source: How To Send SMS From Your PC Using Android Messages?

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Brick by Brick: How Lego Became the Largest Toy Company in a Digital Era

Behind every great idea is an even greater backstory. As an admirer of the craft of entrepreneurship, it has become a hobby of mine to learn as much as I can about the products and ideas that beat out the competition to secure their place in history. But it isn’t enough to simply learn the names and dates associated with these ideas; I want to know what it is that sets a select few companies apart from the rest.

Whether I am digging into the histories of companies like Halo Top Creamery or Airbnb, I have observed that each successful idea has three common elements woven throughout its story: specialization, innovation, and an emphasis on storytelling. It came as no surprise to me, then, that the Lego Group is no exception to this rule.

The fact that a product as simple as the Lego Brick has managed to stay relevant in an increasingly digital world is truly spectacular. But this success did not come without its fair share of struggles. In fact, at several points over the last two decades, Lego has found itself facing financial ruin. But in spite of its struggles, the Lego Group has managed to become the largest toy company in the entire world.

Source: Brick by Brick: How Lego Became the Largest Toy Company in a Digital Era

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Pride Of Lions Eats Group Of Poachers Alive In South African Game Reserve

Staff at the South African reserve found the bloodied head and limbs of poachers who broke in to hunt rhinos.

Lion In Sibuya Reserve Africa

Sibuya Game ReserveThe lions are the watchers and guardians of the Sibuya Game Reserve.

Over the last few years, the Sibuya Game Reserve in South Africa has faced several intrusion by poachers attracted to the reserve’s vast diversity of animals.

Now, in what some are calling an act of nature’s karma, a group of poachers who broke into the reserve to hunt rhinos has been devoured by a pack of hungry lions.

The park’s owner, Nick Fox, believes that the groups of poachers were eaten alive by the pride of lions sometime between the evening of July 1 and the early morning of July 2.

And so little of their remains were left, investigators weren’t even sure how many people were killed.

“The only body part we found was one skull and one bit of pelvis, everything else was completely gone,” said Fox.

However, they suspect that it was three men because they found three sets of shoes and gloves. Additionally, typical rhino poaching groups are usually made up of three people.

Source: Pride Of Lions Eats Group Of Poachers Alive In South African Game Reserve

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Students in Detroit Are Suing the State Because They Weren’t Taught to Read

A federal judge has concluded that the Constitution doesn’t require schools to promote students’ literacy.

What to do when a school is infested with vermin, when textbooks are outdated, when students can’t even read? Perhaps the answer is sue the government.

That’s what seven students in Detroit have done. Their class-action suit filed against the state of Michigan asserts that education is a basic right, and that they have been denied it.

Usually, such education-equity cases wend their way through state courts, as all 50 state constitutions mandate public-education systems, while the country’s guiding document doesn’t even include the word education. But this case, Gary B. v. Snyder, was filed in federal court, and thus seeks to invoke the Constitution. And as of this week, it’s headed to the federal appeals court in Cincinnati.

The lawyers filing the suit—from the pro bono Los Angeles firm Public Counsel—contend that the students (who attend five of Detroit’s lowest-performing schools) are receiving an education so inferior and underfunded that it’s as if they’re not attending school at all. The 100-page-plus complaint alleges that the state of Michigan (which has overseen Detroit’s public schools for nearly two decades) is depriving these children—97 percent of whom are students of color—of their constitutional rights to liberty and nondiscrimination by denying them access to basic literacy. Almost all the students at these schools perform well below grade level in reading and writing, and, the suit argues, those skills are necessary to function properly in society. It’s the first case to argue that the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to become literate (and thus to be educated) because other rights in the Constitution necessarily require the ability to read.

Source: Students in Detroit Are Suing the State Because They Weren’t Taught to Read

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Deaf Miami Costco Employee Wins $775,000 After Being Fired Because She Was “Too Loud”

When Christine D’Onofrio was fired in 2013, she had been working for Costco for 24 years, first at the Davie location, then in Pompano Beach. D’Onofrio, who is deaf, says she spent the previous year begging the company to better accommodate her disability.

Instead, she claims she repeatedly got in trouble for being “loud and aggressive” when managers tried to communicate with her. Finally, on October 23, 2013, she was told she was being fired from her job as a stocker. That time, Costco brought in an interpreter to let her know she was out of a job.

Last month, a jury found the company had failed to reasonably accommodate the 48-year-old woman. She was awarded $775,000 in damages, though her attorney says she was mostly relieved that Costco was found to have broken the law.

“She was fired and lost literally her entire purpose,” says D’Onofrio’s attorney, Chad Levy. “No spouse or kids. Costco was her life and how she would communicate with the outside world. This is not like a regular person losing a job and moving on. She had nowhere else to go.”

During the three-year battle in the Fort Lauderdale federal courthouse, Costco claimed D’Onofrio was fired because she couldn’t control her temper. The company said it had accommodated her by installing two video phones and insisted D’Onofrio had simply refused to use them. Costco also argued that sensitivity training conducted in 2012 proved it had taken D’Onofrio’s complaints seriously.

Source: Deaf Miami Costco Employee Wins $775,000 After Being Fired Because She Was “Too Loud”

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Kayaker spotted in flooded Iowa cornfields

Central Iowa gets 5-10 inches of rain in 3 hours

Paula Tabor grew up in “small town Iowa” where this type of thing does not tend to happen.

Parts of central Iowa received 5-10 inches of rain in only about three hours over the weekend – enough for a man to paddle his kayak around cornfields.

Tabor snapped a remarkable photo of the spectacle Sunday afternoon just outside the city limits of Alleman.

“Where I live currently, with no body of water close by, I was caught by surprise,” Tabor told KWQC.

“I don’t know who the person is, just a random guy in a kayak.”

Source: Kayaker spotted in flooded Iowa cornfields

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Facebook Flags Declaration of Independence As Hate Speech

To celebrate this week’s holiday, The Vindicator, a small newspaper in Texas, posted sections of the Declaration of Independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident.” “The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.” Yadda, yadda. You get the idea. But a section of the text containing the phrase “Indian Savages” set off Facebook’s hate-speech flags. The post was then temporarily taken down by Facebook, Business Insider reports.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

After The Vindicator ran a story on the censorship, Facebook corrected the mistake. “The post was removed by mistake and restored as soon as we looked into it. We process millions of reports each week, and sometimes we get things wrong,” a Facebook spokesperson said. And honestly, as far as Facebook getting things wrong, this is an ideal “mistake.” I’d far prefer a world where some racist on Facebook isn’t able to post slurs. Even if that means the Declaration of Independence gets caught in the crosshairs. (It was written by a bunch of old white dudes, after all.)

Source: Facebook Flags Declaration of Independence As Hate Speech

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Bananas: Yellow fruit faces EXTINCTION if more not done

bananas-714514Experts say a special breed found in Madagascar could hold the key to keeping them alive.

But there are only five known trees in existence.

Scientists are racing to develop new banana varieties strong enough to survive Panama disease, which is a major threat to banana crops around the world.

Because bananas are clones, the disease is able to spread very quickly from one to another.

RISKY: The disease is able to spread very quickly from one to another
It is currently wreaking havoc with crops in Asia – but could wipe out the world’s supply if it spreads to America.

Richard Allen, senior conservation assessor at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, told the BBC: “It doesn’t have Panama disease in it, so perhaps it has genetic traits against the disease.

“We don’t know until we actually do research on the banana itself, but we can’t do the research until it’s saved.”

via Bananas: Yellow fruit faces EXTINCTION if more not done | Daily Star

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Man takes a naked stroll through the city

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A man has decided to take a stroll in the buff through a Vermont downtown on a simmering day.

The Burlington Free Press reports the man wearing nothing but a hat, sneakers and a lime green tote bag walked around Burlington on Thursday afternoon.

When asked why he decided to go outdoors underdressed, the man said, “It’s very hot.” He declined to identify himself.

Vermont was under a heat advisory that day, with the National Weather Service predicting a heat index of 102 degrees.

The man says he’s doing nothing but enjoying himself.

Source: Man takes a naked stroll through the city

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Japanese blogger stabbed to death after internet abuse seminar

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

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

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

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

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

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Creepy Patents Show Facebook’s Relentless Drive to Track Every Detail of Users’ Lives

One of the best ways to gather intelligence on what a company is up to is to look at the patents they’ve applied for and have received. While some companies apply for patents for ideas they never use, or to block a competitor from using the idea, the patents provide a good indication of what’s important to a company, because patents can cost many tens of thousands of dollars apiece for worldwide coverage.

Sahil Chinoy of the New York Times looked at some of the patents Facebook has applied for and the results he discovered are very creepy.

One of the patents describes the use of the forward-facing camera in your cell phone to figure out how you feel from your expressions while you’re reading your Facebook feed. Apparently, clicking a “like” or “dislike” button is not good enough for them.

Another patent proposes listening to you and your surroundings using the microphone in your phone. The patent describes using the mic to listen to the TV show you’re watching in the background, listen to what you’re talking about, and track your sleeping patterns.

Source: Creepy Patents Show Facebook’s Relentless Drive to Track Every Detail of Users’ Lives

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