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Federal extreme vetting plan castigated by tech experts

Leading researchers castigated a federal plan that would use artificial intelligence methods to scrutinize immigrants and visa applicants, saying it is unworkable as written and likely to be “inaccurate and biased” if deployed.

The experts, a group of more than 50 computer and data scientists, mathematicians and other specialists in automated decision-making, urged the Department of Homeland Security to abandon the project, dubbed the “Extreme Vetting Initiative.”

That plan has its roots in President Donald Trump’s repeated pledge during the 2016 campaign to subject immigrants seeking admission to the United States to more intense ideological scrutiny — or, as he put it, “extreme vetting .”

Over the summer, DHS published a “statement of objectives ” for a system that would use computer algorithms to scan social media and other material in order to automatically flag undesirable entrants — and to continuously scan the activities of those allowed into the U.S.

The goal, that document stated, was to let computers help determine whether an immigrant “intends to commit criminal or terrorist acts,” as well as their likelihood of becoming a “positively contributing member of society.”

continue https://apnews.com/08d469b81a31492e91682b24b6b8995a/Federal-%22extreme-vetting%22-plan-castigated-by-tech-experts

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[Play Video] Democrats Join Payday Lenders To Screw Poor People

via Democrats Join Payday Lenders To Screw Poor People — American Everyman

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The Guardian: It is un-American to Avoid Watching Al Gore’s New Climate Flop

essay by Eric Worrall

Climate Scientist Mechanical Engineer John Abraham, writing for The Guardian, seems to think it is un-American to disagree with his views on climate change.

An Inconvenient Sequel – the science, history, and politics of climate change

Al Gore’s new film is worth watching

John Abraham
Wednesday 15 November 2017 22.00 AEDT

Al Gore’s new movie ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’ is, in some ways, similar to his groundbreakingInconvenient Truth project, but different in other ways. Those key differences are why I recommend you watch it.

This movie successfully accomplishes a number of interweaving tasks. First, it gives some of the science of climate change. Gore gets his science right. I remember his first movie, which I thought was more steeped in science and data than this one, so based on my recollection this new picture is somewhat abbreviated. That’s a good thing because the science is settled on climate change. That is, the science is settled that humans are causing current climatic changes and the science is settled that we are observing these changes throughout the natural world.

Readers of this column who venture into the comments below will likely find people claiming, “science is never settled.” But the people making those comments are not scientists. They don’t work in this field every day, they don’t see the data, and they don’t know what they’re talking about.

The election in the US was a climate disaster and it is turning out to be worse than we could have feared. The US President and Congress are doing everything they can to ensure more rapid and devastating climate change. They are doing everything they can to ensure more California wildfires, more Marias, more Harveys, and more Irmas. They are doing everything they can to bring us more California droughts and wildfires and Texas floods. They are doing everything they can to cut funding from climate science so we won’t know how bad it is. They are doing everything they can to make the USA a pariah nation. In fact, on the day I write this, the US has become the only country to reject the Paris Climate Accord. That is a stunning fact. What kind of country does this?

What they are doing is so un-American; so un-conservative.

But what these forces cannot do is turn back the tide of the economics. People are investing in clean energy because it makes economic sense. And this is the inflection point that makes the clean energy revolution unstoppable. That’s why I am optimistic. That’s why Al Gore is optimistic. That’s the threaded message in his movie. And it’s why you should be optimistic too.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2017/nov/15/an-inconvenient-sequel-the-science-history-and-politics-of-climate-change

What I don’t get is, if the clean energy revolution is unstoppable, why the vitriol? Surely if economics is driving the shift to renewables, the greens have already won? Do educated people like Abrahams really believe that renewables offer sufficient economic advantage to sweep the field without further help, or are they just peddling empty propaganda to their followers?

Back in the real world, claims that renewables are competitive are as wobbly as a climate projection. German Government Broadcaster ZDF reports old wind farms are closing in Germany, because the owners can’t afford to refurbish in the face of falling government subsidies.

source https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/11/16/the-guardian-it-is-un-american-to-avoid-watching-al-gores-new-climate-flop/

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Foods for fighting the effects of rheumatoid arthritis

food-diet-rheumatoid-arthritis

A list of food items with proven beneficial effects on the progression and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are highlighted in a study in Frontiers in Nutrition. The authors suggest incorporating these foods into the diet to support the management of this debilitating disease.

“Regular consumption of specific dietary fibers, vegetables, fruits and spices, as well as the elimination of components that cause inflammation and damage, can help patients to manage the effects of rheumatoid arthritis,” says Dr. Bhawna Gupta, who completed this study together with Shweta Khanna and Kumar Sagar Jaiswal at the Disease Biology Lab, School of Biotechnology, KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India. “Incorporating probiotics into the diet can also reduce the progression and symptoms of this disease.”

She continues, “Patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis should switch from omnivorous diets, drinking alcohol and smoking to Mediterranean, vegan, elemental or elimination diets, as advised by their doctor or dietitian.”

Rheumatoid arthritis causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints, severely impacting quality of life. It is difficult to detect the early onset of the disease and if undetected or misdiagnosed has a rapid rate of progression in the first few years. The first line of treatment includes disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, but these can be expensive.

“Supporting disease management through food and diet does not pose any harmful side effects and is relatively cheap and easy,” Dr. Gupta explains. “Doctors, physicians and dietitians can use our study to summarize current proven knowledge on the links between certain foods and rheumatoid arthritis. Knowing the nutritional and medicinal requirements of their patients they can then tailor this information for the betterment of their health.”

continue https://blog.frontiersin.org/2017/11/16/foods-diet-rheumatoid-arthritis-frontiers-in-nutrition/

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Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 in a GameBoy Original

continue https://hackaday.com/2017/11/17/raspberry-pi-compute-module-3-in-a-gameboy-original/

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A paleoclimatology tool is shown to give false positives

A popular tool to trace Earth’s oxygen history can give false positives From the GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY and the “settled science” department: For researchers pursuing the primordial history of oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere, a new study might sour some “Eureka!” moments. A contemporary tool used to trace oxygen by examining ancient rock strata can […]

via A paleoclimatology tool is shown to give false positives — Watts Up With That?

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Breach of ‘ US Dept Defence Data ‘ Exposed On Amazon Cloud Server

#AceNewsReport – Nov.17: Editor says after previously finding major leaks from Verizon and a Republican analytics firm the researcher now says the Pentagon exposed huge amounts of web-monitoring data in a security failure: Anyone with a free Amazon Web Services account could have looked at the hoard of information stored in the cloud by the U.S. Defence Department, according to Chris Vickery, a researcher at cybersecurity firm UpGuard who discovered the exposure begging the question on the data release, years and what was held in the cloud …#AceNewsDesk reports


CBS Reported
Pentagon Exposed Some Of Its Data On Amazon Server Amazon Web Services is a cloud platform that individuals, businesses and the government use for things like storing data and boosting computing power……..Amazon said on its website it is best practice to restrict access to information stored in the cloud to “people that absolutely need it”………The military databases hold at least 1.8 billion internet posts scraped from social media, news sites, forums and other publicly available websites, Vickery told CNN Tech………….The posts are in multiple languages and originate from countries across the world, including the United States…………The information, which Vickery said goes back as far back as 2009, is held by U.S. Central Command (Centcom) and U.S. Pacific Command (Pacom). There’s no indication that malicious attackers accessed the databases……….The Defence Department secured the data by October.01: after Vickery alerted officials of the problem in mid-September, he said……….The information that was exposed had been publicly available — it was not, for instance, sensitive user data. Still, the failure to fully secure the data raises concerns about government cybersecurity practices…………“[It’s] a pretty serious leak when you’re talking about intelligence information being stored in an Amazon cloud service and not properly safeguarded,” said Timothy Edgar, a former White House official in the Obama administration and former U.S. intelligence official…….Edgar said he frequently questioned the security and implementation of cloud technology while working in intelligence. “That’s exactly what we were worried about,” he said………….Cloud computing allows a large organisation like a government agency or business to readily access information stored on remote servers from far-flung locations……….It is increasingly how data is stored………..The Defence Department confirmed the exposure in an email to CNN Tech………“We determined that the data was accessed via unauthorised means by employing methods to circumvent security protocols,” said Maj. Josh Jacques, a spokesperson for U.S. Central Command. “Once alerted to the unauthorized access, Centcom implemented additional security measures to prevent unauthorised access.”

via (WASHINGTON) Researcher says breach of ‘ US Dept Defence Data ‘ Exposed On Amazon Cloud Server ‘ that contained data on: Topics including: President Trump, Hillary Clinton, Russia, Putin and the Pope: Allowing it to be leaked to the media and certain political figures #AceNewsDesk reports

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Almost Half Of Americans Have High Blood Pressure Under New Guidelines | TIME

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Tiny houses are trendy _ unless they go up next door

7b525810e30a44c489836acd39a68e69_original

 As he tows a 96-square-foot house around Des Moines, Joe Stevens is overwhelmed by the intense, sometimes tearful support he receives from churches, schools and service groups for his plan to use the trendy little structures to help homeless people.

But when Stevens actually tried to create a village of the homes in Iowa’s largest city, the response was far different.

“We got shot down,” said Stevens, who leads a group that proposed erecting 50 tiny homes on a 5-acre industrial site north of downtown Des Moines. “It was a sense of fear, uncertainty and doubt, a kneejerk situation.”

Tiny homes have been promoted as the solution to all kinds of housing needs — shelter for the homeless, an affordable option for expensive big cities and simplicity for people who want to declutter their lives. But the same popularity that inspired at least six national TV shows about the homes often fails to translate into acceptance when developers try to build them next door.

In at least a dozen cases across the nation, neighbors organized to stop tiny house projects, including in Charlotte, North Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; San Jose, California; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Tallahassee, Florida; and Bend, Oregon. Sometimes the efforts moved ahead despite objections, but in many cases, the communities were blocked.

The president of the American Tiny House Association said opposition arises even among people who feel an affinity for the homes.

“People say, ‘Tiny home are great and cool, and you can put that village anywhere but right across the street from my subdivision,'” said Chris Galusha, who is also a Fort Worth, Texas, area builder.

continue https://www.yahoo.com/news/tiny-houses-trendy-unless-next-162938159.html

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Linux Now Powers 100% of the World’s Top 500 Supercomputers

linux-supercomputers-fastest-750x394

That’s according to the latest stats out from supercomputer hawks TOP500, who post a biannual list of the world’s most powerful commercially available computer systems.

Linux has long dominated the TOP500 list, powering the majority of the machines that make it. At last count, back in June, 99.6% (or 498) of the top 500 fastest supercomputers ran Linux,

But as of November 2017 that figure stands at a full 100%: the 500 most powerful supercomputers in the world now use Linux.

The majority of these machines aren’t running your average off-the-torrent desktop distribution, but a bespoke, highly customised, and specialised version of Linux. But a minority do run something more familiar:

continue http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2017/11/linux-now-powers-100-worlds-top-500-supercomputers

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RASPBERRY PI LEARNS SLOW MORSE CODE

It wasn’t long ago that you needed to know Morse code to be a ham radio operator. That requirement has gone in most places, but code is still useful and many hams use it, especially hams that like to hack. Now, hams are using the Raspberry Pi to receive highly readable Morse code using very low power. The software is QrssPiG and it can process audio or use a cheap SDR dongle.

There are a few reasons code performs better than voice and many other modes. First, building transmitters for Morse is very simple. In addition, Morse code is highly readable, even under poor conditions. This is partly because it is extremely narrow bandwidth and partly because your brain is an amazing signal processor.

Like most communication methods, the slower you go the easier it is to get a signal through. In ham radio parlance, QRS means “send slower”, so QRSS has come to mean mean “send very slowly”. So hams are using very slow code, and listening for it using computerized methods. Because the data rate is so slow, the computer has time to do extreme methods to recover the signal — essentially, it can employ an extremely narrow filter. Having a QRSS signal detected around the world from a transmitter running much less than a watt is quite common. You can see a video introduction to the mode from [K6BFA] and [KI4WKZ], below.

continue https://hackaday.com/2017/11/13/raspberry-pi-learns-slow-morse-code/

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Franken forces Dems to finally confront their own sexual assault scandals

300px-Stuart_Smalley

Democrats called Al Franken’s behavior unacceptable, returned his campaign donations, and hinted that — absent a satisfying explanation in response to a sexual harassment allegation — they’d eventually demand he resign.

Anything less would risk catastrophe for a party that stakes its political reputation on fighting for women. Especially one that is just now, 20 years after the fact, grappling with its unyielding support of Bill Clinton.

“Sexual harassment is never acceptable and must not be tolerated,” said Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “I hope and expect that the Ethics Committee will fully investigate this troubling incident, as they should with any credible allegation of sexual harassment.”

Talk show host Leeann Tweeden on Thursday accused Franken of sexually assaulting her during an overseas USO tour in 2006, three years before he became a Democratic senator from Minnesota. She said Franken forcibly kissed her, and later posed for a photo in which he groped her chest while she slept.

The Minnesota Democrat issued a statement apologizing to Tweeden and said he’d welcome a congressional ethics investigation into the incident. But the allegations had by that time already sent shockwaves through the Democratic Party. Democrats, who rely heavily on women for votes, regularly criticize Republicans for being insufficiently supportive of women on issues like abortion rights and gender pay equity.

continue http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article185091388.html

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FBI files show L. Ron Hubbard offering to inform on his own organization

Hubbard, blaming a bad breakup on Communists, pledged his services to fight the Red Menace, including the names and fingerprints of every member of his Scientology precursor

Written by Emma Best
Edited by JPat Brown

 

Recently released Federal Bureau of Investigation files show that just over a year after L. Ron Hubbard created the the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation, a precursor to the Church of Scientology, he offered to become an informant for the Bureau, and provide the FBI with a list of its members and copies of their fingerprints.

While previously published books have mentioned part of this, significant details are disclosed in recently released FBI files as a result of a FOIA lawsuit jointly brought by the author along with Radar Online, represented pro bono by Dan Novack. While the books describe Hubbard’s willingness to throw certain members of his Dianetics Foundation under the bus, the FBI’s files show that his paranoia left him more than willing to provide the Bureau with information on every member of his foundation, including fingerprint cards. While this was ostensibly done in the name of fighting Communism and rooting out any supposed Communist subversives that had made their way into his group, the context leaves no doubt that it was in response to his wife leaving him and accusations that he had kidnapped and drugged her.

continue https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2017/nov/14/l-ron-hubbard-fbi-informant/

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The Horrifying “Cures” Of Dr. Henry Cotton — America’s Biggest Quack

jersey-trenton-psychiatric-hospital

During his 26-year reign at the Trenton Psychiatric Hospital, Dr. Henry Cotton performed over 645 twisted operations in which he tried to “save” the mentally ill.

American psychiatrist Henry Cotton had an interesting insanity theory. He was convinced that by removing the infected teeth of mental patients he could cure them of their insanity. The doctor, who was the protégé of the great psychiatrist Adolf Meyer of John Hopkins, was convinced that insanity resulted from untreated infections in the body.

Henry Cotton became the medical doctor and superintendent of the Trenton Psychiatric Hospital in 1907. He wasted no time in proposing and carrying out his mad procedures that were to “save” many mental patients.

Immediately after taking over Trenton Psychiatric Hospital, Cotton began removing the infected teeth of his patients. But to his surprise, this did not always cure them of their madness, although it did stop them from speaking clearly and eating properly.

Undeterred, Cotton concluded that the reason his surgeries were not always successful was that the infection had spread too far. In this case, it was necessary to remove other infected body parts, including tonsils, stomachs, gallbladders, testicles, ovaries, and colons. Or so Cotton claimed.

continue http://all-that-is-interesting.com/henry-cotton

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How to Delete the Windows.old folder in Windows 7/8/10

If you have tried upgrading your Windows PC and it has failed a couple of times due to various annoying reasons, you’ve probably come to realize that there is a large chunk of disk space being eaten up by a folder called Windows.old.

Windows.old is automatically generated whenever you perform an installation of Windows with a previous version of the OS already installed. It creates this Windows.old folder in the root of the Windows partition and stores the previous operating system files and data.

In case you try to upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7 or Windows 7 to Windows 10 and it fails, you can always revert back to Windows Vista or 7 safely. The only issue with this is that every time the install fails, another copy of the previous OS is copied into Windows.old.

So, if your upgrade install failed 2 or 3 times, that Windows.old folder can become very large, very fast! On top of that, the folder is not automatically deleted once you are up and running with the newer version of Windows, so you have to get rid of it yourself.

Note: Removing the Windows.old folder will result in your inability to be able to revert back to the previous OS installed. You will have to stick with the new version of Windows. Also, the Windows.old folder gets created when you install those big bi-annual updates for Windows 10. 

Remove Windows.old Folder

So how do you get rid of the folder? Well, you have to use the Disk Cleanup utility! Here’s how to go about it. The first method will describe how to delete the Windows.old folder on Windows 7/8/10. If you are in Windows Vista still, follow the second set of instructions.

Windows 7/8/10 Instructions

If you are in Windows 7/8/10 and want to delete the Windows.old folder, the process is fairly straightforward. First, open Disk Cleanup via the Start Menu (click Start and type in disk cleanup) and when the dialog pops up, choose the drive that has the .old files on it and click OK. This is normally just the C drive. If that’s the only drive on your computer, it won’t even ask you to choose.

The system will perform a scan and another dialog will pop up with the selection. Now click on the button Cleanup system files button at the bottom.

remove window.old folder

Now choose the drive again that has the .old files on it. The system will perform a second scan of files that need to be cleaned up and will take a bit longer.

Finally, a dialog will pop up with another set of checkboxes. Scroll down until you find one labeled Older versions of Windows or Previous Windows installations and click OK.

As you can see, it’s normally quite a large amount of data that gets taken up by previous installations of Windows.

continue https://helpdeskgeek.com/how-to/remove-windows-dot-old-folder/

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Should we try to fix global warming with fake volcanic eruptions? TBD.

pinatubo

The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 sent planet-cooling aerosols into the atmosphere.

With heat-trapping carbon emissions on the rise again, researchers are looking for ways to turn down the thermostat while humanity gets itself under control. One potential solution? Try to copy volcanic eruptions. But in addition to adjusting the temperature, such practices could change the frequency of hurricanes, or the location of droughts.

When explosive volcanic eruptions occur—like the one at Mount Pinatubo in 1991—they send small particles of ash and gas high into the atmosphere. These so-called aerosols block and reflect sunlight, providing a temporary cold compress to the Earth’s rising temperatures.

continue https://www.popsci.com/geoengineering-volcanic-eruption-climate-change

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Chairman Steps Down As NPR Grapples With Harassment Crisis

As NPR’s Board of Directors meet in Washington, D.C., this week, the network finds itself confronted by a series of dispiriting developments: a CEO on medical leave; a chief news executive forced out over sexual harassment allegations; the sudden resignation of a board chairman; fresh complaints over inappropriate behavior by colleagues; and a network roiled by tensions over the treatment of its female workers.

On Wednesday, NPR Board Chairman Roger LaMay announced that he was stepping down at the end of his second one-year term. LaMay, who remains on the board, said he needed to devote more time to running the popular Philadelphia public radio music station WXPN, where he is general manager.

However, according to a knowledgeable source, LaMay is the subject of a complaint filed with NPR alleging past inappropriate behavior. Few additional details are currently known.

“I finished my second term and chose to not run again,” LaMay said in a statement. “I did not make this decision based on a third party story about my personal life over a decade ago. I welcome any Board Committee review.”

continue https://www.npr.org/2017/11/16/564629232/chairman-steps-down-as-npr-grapples-with-harassment-crisis

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GOP criticize Franken over rape joke in 1995 article

300px-Stuart_SmalleyThe Republican Party’s latest release from the archives of Democratic Senate candidate Al Franken’s past is a 13-year-old New York Magazine description of a Saturday Night Live writers’ meeting.

During the meeting, writers are brainstorming about how to develop a sketch in which one of the actors plays “60 Minutes” commentator Andy Rooney, who finds an empty pill bottle in his desk.

According to the article, Franken’s suggestion includes Rooney saying: “I give the pills to Leslie Stahl. Then when Leslie is passed out, I take her to the closet and rape her. Or ‘That’s why you never see Lesley until February. Or, ‘When she passes out. I put her in various positions and take pictures of her.’ ”

Republican women held a news conference today to say the skit suggestion reflects badly on Franken’s character. They said he should at least explain it and perhaps drop out of the running for this weekend’s DFL Senate endorsement. The Republican party recently gave the information to the women, including state Rep. Laura Brod and former auditor Pat Anderson, but have had it “for a while,” according to GOP spokesman Mark Drake.

continue http://www.twincities.com/2008/06/04/gop-criticize-franken-over-rape-joke-in-1995-article/

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BLACK DEATH plague strain can kill ‘in just 3 HOURS’ as lethal disease goes ‘airborne’

The disease has already killed more than 171 people in Madagascar alone, with thousands more confirmed cases across the east African country.

Malawi became the 10th neighbouring nation to be placed on high alert following the deadly outbreak of the disease which wiped out a third of the medieval population.

The epidemic accounted for more than 50 million deaths across Europe during the 15th century.

Madagascar’s health authorities have installed medical checkpoints across the parts of the capital city of Antananarivo in an attempt to curb the spread of the plague.

Pneumonic plague, or lung-based plague, is always fatal in infected individuals if left untreated.

The black death plague GETTY/GOOGLE

DEADLY DISEASE: Doctors fear a ‘new strain’ of the Black Death could kill in ‘three hours

continue https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/world-news/660127/new-black-death-outbreak-kill-three-hours-Madagascar-death-toll-video

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The Weedkiller Used by Monsanto Does Not Cause Cancer, Long-Term Study Reveals

A long-term study of Glyphosate from scientists at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has found no compelling evidence that the controversial weedkiller causes cancer.

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is the most commonly used herbicide worldwide and was first introduced by Monsanto in 1974. The weedkiller is often used with crops that have been genetically modified to resist the herbicide. This allows farmers to kill off weeds without also killing off the crops that they are trying to grow.

The chemical is shrouded in controversy, with many critics arguing that the weedkiller can cause a variety of medical conditions, including autism, gluten allergies, “leaky gut” syndrome and even cancer. Often, these critics point to the elevated cancer rates observed in farmers as evidence of the chemical’s dangerous nature.

But correlation and causation are two very different things.

continue http://www.scienceaf.com/weedkiller-used-by-monsanto-does-not-cause-cancer-new-study-reveals

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Harassment is breaking Twitter’s free speech experiment

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Gender parity and queer awareness needed in mathematics

Equity, diversity and inclusion — EDI — is a trending concept these days. Many institutions now have policies, initiatives and even vice-presidents devoted to EDI — including my own institution, Ryerson University. There is much discussion about how EDI affects productivity and innovation.

Recently, EDI in mathematics was brought to the public discourse. Last month I sat on a panel for EDI in Mathematics at the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences. Also, Ryerson Science and the Canadian Science Policy Centre recently released the report: Forging Paths to Enhanced Innovation which I highly recommend you read.

We, unfortunately, have an EDI crisis within mathematics. For example, the average Canadian mathematics department has on average fewer than one-fifth female professors. There are only a handful of gay, bisexual or lesbian mathematics professors in Canada that I know. My own department has only three women faculty out of 21 tenured or tenure-track professors: Our percentage of women math faculty members is only 14 per cent.

continue https://theconversation.com/gender-parity-and-queer-awareness-needed-in-mathematics-87234

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You may be sick of worrying about online privacy, but ‘surveillance apathy’ is also a problem

We all seem worried about privacy. Though it’s not only privacy itself we should be concerned about: it’s also our attitudes towards privacy that are important.

When we stop caring about our digital , we witness  apathy.

And it’s something that may be particularly significant for marginalised communities, who feel they hold no power to navigate or negotiate fair use of digital technologies.

In the wake of the NSA leaks in 2013 led by Edward Snowden, we are more aware of the machinations of online companies such as Facebook and Google. Yet research shows some of us are apathetic when it comes to online surveillance.

Privacy and surveillance

Attitudes to privacy and surveillance in Australia are complex.

According to a major 2017 privacy survey, around 70% of us are more concerned about privacy than we were five years ago.

And yet we still increasingly embrace online activities. A 2017 report on social media conducted by search marketing firm Sensis showed that almost 80% of internet users in Australia now have a social media profile, an increase of around ten points from 2016. The data also showed that Australians are on their accounts more frequently than ever before.

Also, most Australians appear not to be concerned about recently proposed implementation of . Only around one in three (32% of 1,486) respondents to a Roy Morgan study expressed worries about having their faces available on a mass database.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-11-sick-online-privacy-surveillance-apathy.html#jCp

continue https://phys.org/news/2017-11-sick-online-privacy-surveillance-apathy.html

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New Brain Technologies Could Lead to Terrifying Invasions of Privacy, Warn Scientists

Imagine for a minute that you survive a terrible accident, and lose function of your right arm. You receive a brain implant able to interpret your brain’s neural activity and reroute commands to a robotic arm. Then one day, someone hacks that chip, sending malicious commands to the robotic arm. It’s a biological invasion of privacy in which you are suddenly no longer in control.

A future in which we can simply download karate skills a la The Matrix or use computers to restore functionality to damaged limbs seems like the stuff of a far-off future, but that future is inching closer to the present with each passing day. Early research has had success using brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) to move prosthetic limbs and treat mental illness. DARPA is exploring how to use the technology to make soldiers learn faster. Companies like Elon Musk’s Neuralink want to use it to read your mind. Already, researchers can interpret basic information about what a person is thinking simply by reading scans of their brain activity from an fMRI.

continue https://gizmodo.com/new-brain-technologies-could-lead-to-terrifying-invasio-1820295087

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White ‘Transracial’ Man Identifies as Filipino

Ja Du can be seen driving around Tampa, FL in his purple Tuk Tuk, a vehicle used for public transit in the Philippines.

Per 11 Alive, Ja Du, given the name Adam at birth, is a white man who chooses to identify as a Filipino.

Ja Du says he grew up enjoying Filipino food, events and the culture.

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“Whenever I’m around the music, around the food, I feel like I’m in my own skin,” he told 11 Alive. “I’d watch the history channel sometimes for hours you know whenever it came to that and you know nothing else intrigued me more but things about Filipino culture.”

Dr. Stacey Scheckner, a licensed psychologist with a B.A. from Washington University who also holds a M.A. and doctorate from Florida State, does not see anything wrong with Ja Du’s behavior, likening it to someone changing their gender.

“If someone feels that they feel at home with a certain religion, a certain race, a certain culture, I think that if that’s who they really feel inside life is about finding out who you are. The more knowledge you have of yourself, the happier you can be,” she said.

continue http://www.breitbart.com/video/2017/11/13/white-transracial-man-identifies-as-filipino/

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A cellphone-based microscope for treating river blindness

adult-loa-worm

A smartphone-based microscope technology developed at UC Berkeley has been used to help treat river blindness, a debilitating disease caused by parasitic worms. The technology, called LoaScope, uses video from a smartphone-connected microscope to automatically detect and quantify infection by parasitic worms in a drop of blood.

River blindness is a disease caused by a parasitic worm found primarily in Africa. The worm (Onchocerca volvulus) is transmitted to humans through bites of infected black flies. Left untreated, infections in the eye can lead to blindness. Complicating matters, the medication to treat the infection, ivermectin, can be fatal when a patient also has high blood levels of another parasitic worm, called Loa loa.

continue http://news.berkeley.edu/story_jump/a-cellphone-based-microscope-for-treating-river-blindness/

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Senators push to ditch Social Security numbers in light of Equifax hack

Close up of US Social Security Cards

Eyeing more secure alternatives to Social Security numbers, lawmakers in the U.S. are looking abroad. Today, the Senate Commerce Committee questioned former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Verizon chief privacy officer Karen Zacharia and both the current and former CEOs of Equifax on how to protect consumers against major data breaches. The consensus was that Social Security numbers have got to go.

Rounding out the panel, Entrust Datacard president and CEO Todd Wilkinson offered some context and insight about why the U.S. should indeed move away from Social Security numbers — a step that the witnesses unanimously agreed was necessary if not wholly sufficient to protect consumers moving forward, in light of the Equifax hack.

“Over 145 million Americans’ insecure identities are now forever at risk, and they have limited ability to protect themselves,” Wilkinson said. “A key question for this committee to consider is: What do we do now given these identities are forever compromised?”

Social Security numbers are a privacy nightmare. While a consumer who gets hacked can replace credit card numbers and other account details, a Social Security number is relatively permanent, linked to a real identity throughout a person’s lifespan. In the hearing, Wilkinson and many of the senators present argued that the U.S. needs to move to a dynamic system of personal identity, one designed with digital security in mind — a stark contrast with an inflexible legacy system that dates back to the 1930s.

continue https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/08/are-social-security-numbers-going-away/

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Chrome to start blocking unwanted redirects

“1 out of every 5 feedback reports from Chrome users on desktop mention encountering some type of unwanted content, and we take this feedback seriously when considering how to improve Chrome,” says Ryan Schoen, a product manager at Google working on Chrome performance.

As a result, by early 2018, Chrome will be blocking several types of unwanted and annoying redirects.

Chrome unwanted redirects

Welcome changes

The first step will see Chrome start preventing ads (that haven’t been clicked on) from unexpectedly redirecting visitors to another site.

“We’ve found that this redirect often comes from third-party content embedded in the page, and the page author didn’t intend the redirect to happen at all,” Schoen says.

In Chrome 64, these unexpected redirects triggered by third-party iframes will be blocked, users will be notified about it via an infobar, but will remain on the original page and be able to continue their browsing.

continue https://www.helpnetsecurity.com/2017/11/09/chrome-unwanted-redirects/

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Is Free Speech in the US Doomed?

Crowds of students gathered at the University of California-Berkeley in September armed with protest signs and chanting, “Speech is violence! We will not be silent!” Who were these students so passionately protesting against? Surely it would have to be someone as vile as neo-Nazi Richard Spencer or at least as controversial as alt-right darling Milo Yiannopoulos.

In reality, it was conservative commentator Ben Shapiro – a far cry from a literal neo-Nazi – who inspired protesters to gather on campus with a rallying cry that equates speech with violence. That sentiment is a dangerous one and it is quickly gaining popularity.

When You Call Speech Violence

The problem with conflating “hate” speech with violence is manifold. For one, hate speech is subjective. Who decides what speech constitutes violence? If the answer is the government, then civil liberties will be in immediate danger, as it stands to reason that the government will crackdown on any speech is deems violent or dangerous. Consider how the government responded to the civil rights movement in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

“If utterances of speech are truly violence, then government can ban them as criminal conduct, just as we prohibit other forms of private violence,” Josh Craddock, the editor-in-chief of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy argued in an August op-ed for the National Review.

Another problem with equating words with violence is that it inspires physical violence to counteract it. Force is often justified when the threat of physical harm is imminent, so it stands to reason that force can be used to prevent hateful speech in a world where violence and speech are one and the same.

continue https://fee.org/articles/is-free-speech-in-the-us-doomed/

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The Top 5 Issues Facing Black Americans

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Sean Parker unloads on Facebook “exploiting” human psychology

Sean Parker, the founding president of Facebook, gave me a candid insider’s look at how social networks purposely hook and potentially hurt our brains.

Be smart: Parker’s I-was-there account provides priceless perspective in the rising debate about the power and effects of the social networks, which now have scale and reach unknown in human history. He’s worried enough that he’s sounding the alarm.

Parker, 38, now founder and chair of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, spoke yesterday at an Axios event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, about accelerating cancer innovation. In the green room, Parker mentioned that he has become “something of a conscientious objector” on social media.

By the time he left the stage, he jokingly said Mark Zuckerberg will probably block his account after reading this:

  • “When Facebook was getting going, I had these people who would come up to me and they would say, ‘I’m not on social media.’ And I would say, ‘OK. You know, you will be.’ And then they would say, ‘No, no, no. I value my real-life interactions. I value the moment. I value presence. I value intimacy.’ And I would say, … ‘We’ll get you eventually.'”
  • “I don’t know if I really understood the consequences of what I was saying, because [of] the unintended consequences of a network when it grows to a billion or 2 billion people and … it literally changes your relationship with society, with each other … It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”
  • “The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them, … was all about: ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?'”
  • “And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever. And that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you … more likes and comments.”
  • “It’s a social-validation feedback loop … exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.”
  • “The inventors, creators — it’s me, it’s Mark [Zuckerberg], it’s Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it’s all of these people — understood this consciously. And we did it anyway.”

P.S. Parker, on life science allowing us to “live much longer, more productive lives”: “Because I’m a billionaire, I’m going to have access to better health care so … I’m going to be like 160 and I’m going to be part of this, like, class of immortal overlords. [Laughter] Because, you know the [Warren Buffett] expression about compound interest. … [G]ive us billionaires an extra hundred years and you’ll know what … wealth disparity looks like.”

continue https://www.axios.com/sean-parker-unloads-on-facebook-2508036343.html

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The Shameful Blackout of Thomas, Sowell and Williams

Clarence Thomas, one of nine members of the Supreme Court and the second black to ever join the Court, is not in the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Asked to explain Thomas’ absence, the chief spokeswoman for the Smithsonian said, “The museum’s exhibitions are based on themes, not individuals.”

Yet the museum plans to add a popular local D.C. television news broadcaster. The museum’s founding director, Lonnie Bunch, said the broadcaster “symbolized that it was really important that America was changing and his presence was a symbol of that change.” And Thomas, raised in poverty to become only the second black to sit on the Supreme Court, is not “a symbol of that change”?

Left-wing blacks — and that’s the overwhelming majority — feel that black conservatives like Thomas do not just have different or wrongheaded or illogical views. Thomas’ views, to them, damage the black community. Never mind that most Clarence Thomas-haters could not identify a single case Thomas decided with which they disagree.

One line of attack against Thomas goes as follows. Thomas “took advantage” of race-based preferences to get into college and law school, but then “turned his back on those behind” by arguing that such preferences violate the 14th Amendment.

What these critics assert is that but for race-based preferences, Clarence Thomas would likely be working the deep-fryer at McDonald’s. Assume, for the moment, that but for race-based preferences, Thomas would not have gotten into the particular schools he attended, College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, and Yale Law School. But in America thousands of colleges and universities, from community colleges to Harvard, accept students of varying abilities with financial assistance readily available. Surely the driven, hardworking, academically oriented Clarence Thomas could have and would have found admission into schools matching his skills and ability.

Here’s another problem with race-based preferences. Studies document a disproportionately high college-dropout rate for minority students admitted with lower test scores and grades than their peers selected without preferences. How is this mismatching of value to the “beneficiary” if it leads to a higher dropout rate, with the frustrated student giving up and leaving school in debt? The student often blames his failure to succeed at this high level on unfair, if not racist, professors.

The African-American Museum’s discrimination against Thomas provides just one example of the black anti-conservative bigotry. Here’s another. Every year, the black monthly magazine Ebony lists its “Power 100,” defined as those “who lead, inspire and demonstrate through their individual talents, the very best in Black America.” Each year Thomas is conspicuously absent. Apparently, as a sitting black justice on the Supreme Court of the United States, Thomas does not “lead, inspire and demonstrate … the very best in Black America.”

Ebony not only excludes Clarence Thomas but also shuts out prominent conservatives Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams.

As for Sowell, he’s only an economist and writer whom playwright David Mamet once called “our greatest contemporary philosopher.” Sowell, who never knew his father, was raised by a great-aunt and her two grown daughters. They lived in Harlem, where he was the first in his family to make it past the sixth grade. He left home at 17, served as a Marine in the Korean War, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, earned a master’s degree at Columbia University the next year, followed by a Ph.D. in economics at the University of Chicago.

Sowell, at 87, authored some four dozen books (not counting revised editions) and wrote hundreds of scholarly articles and essays in periodicals and thousands of newspaper columns. In 2015, Forbes magazine said: “It’s a scandal that economist Thomas Sowell has not been awarded the Nobel Prize. No one alive has turned out so many insightful, richly researched books.” Yet, thanks in part to the Ebony shutout, many blacks have never heard of him.

How does Ebony justify excluding economist and writer Walter Williams, former chairman of the economics department of George Mason University, where he still teaches? Raised by a single mother, he lived in Philadelphia’s Richard Allen housing projects. He served as a private in the Army before earning a bachelor’s degree at a state university, followed by a master’s and a Ph.D. in economics at UCLA. Williams has written a dozen books on economics and race, including the inspirational “Up From the Projects: An Autobiography,” and was recently the subject of a documentary about his life.

The exclusion of people like Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams explains why there’s no serious discussion in the black community about government dependency; school choice; the damage done by high taxes, excessive regulation and laws like minimum wage; and why blacks should rethink their allegiance to the Democratic Party.

The failure to acknowledge conservative blacks is a failure to engage their ideas, to the detriment of the community. This is not merely an injustice to them: It is an injustice to all Americans.

source http://www.larryelder.com/column/shameful-blackout-thomas-sowell-williams/

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The Peg Trend – Asian Women Are Inserting Small Pegs in Their Nostrils to Make Their Noses Pointier

nose-lifter-750x750

A peculiar beauty trend has taken off in East Asia, and it is proving to be cause for concern. Women are inserting a small set of pegs, called “nose lifter”, into their nostrils in order to make their nose look more European. Western noses are apparently considered more attractive as they’re sharper and pointier.

The Nose Lifter set consists of two curved silicone pegs, measuring two to three centimeters long, and a hook for adjusting. The pegs are inserted into the nostril and then adjusted to a 45-degree angle. The result is an instant nose job without invasive and expensive surgery. The trend started two years ago in South Korea but has since spread across East Asia after being adopted by prominent YouTube beauty vloggers like Raiza Contawi.

“It can fix a variety of nasal shape problems including but not limited to: flat noses, wide and bulbous noses, hook noses, droopy noses, crooked noses, flaring nostrils, upturned noses, dorsal humps, side humps and many others,” the product description claims, and guarantees results within 30 seconds

However, despite the popularity of the device, health professionals are beginning to warn against its use, as repeated use can cause irreversible damage to the nose. Professor Richard Harvey, head of rhinology at UNSW and Macquarie University, said to news.com.au, “It’s putting pressure on the cartilage framework of the nose. It’s being manipulated. It’s stretching and distorting it and putting pressure on the lining of the nose. So even if you tolerate it at the time, repeated use could result in an ulcer.”

continue http://www.odditycentral.com/news/the-peg-trend-asian-women-are-inserting-small-pegs-in-their-nostrils-to-make-their-noses-pointier.html

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Google Sneakily Monetizes Where you Go

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

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

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

Google is Tracking All of your Locations — All the Time

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

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

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

Check out your own most visited places.

Google is that Company that Remembers where you’ve been

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Statista, Google’s revenue 2008–2017 Q3.

Google Tracks you For Profit Like a Mouse in a Maze

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

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

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

source https://medium.com/@Michael_Spencer/google-monetizes-where-you-go-google-maps-timeline-a3c78b655d7

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

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

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

right down to the cringe-worthy casual racism.

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

continue https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2017/nov/10/cia-opsec-posters/

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Tesla hit by class-action lawsuit claiming racial discrimination

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

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

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

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

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

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

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

continue https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tesla-lawsuit/tesla-hit-by-class-action-lawsuit-claiming-racial-discrimination-idUSKBN1DD2RS

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(NEARLY) ALL YOUR COMPUTERS RUN MINIX

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

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

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

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

continue https://hackaday.com/2017/11/11/nearly-all-your-computers-run-minix/

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Jerry Brown: We Need “Brainwashing” on Climate Change

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

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

Politico:

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

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

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

source http://www.creativeminorityreport.com/2017/11/jerry-brown-we-need-brainwashing-on.html

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

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Factory-Like Schools Are the Child Labor Crisis of Today

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

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

continue https://fee.org/articles/factory-like-schools-are-the-child-labor-crisis-of-today/

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