ACLU study warns of 'unchecked rise' of surveillance cameras in St. Louis - (Oct. 10, 2014 - by Ken Leiser - St. Louis Post-Dispatch) - High-tech surveillance devices threaten to rob people of what little privacy they enjoy on some of St. Louis’ public streets and sidewalks, according to a new study by the ACLU of Missouri.
The organization rips what it describes as the “unchecked rise” of an Orwellian “web of surveillance” that stretches along the city’s central corridor from the Mississippi River to Forest Park.
“We are becoming a surveillance society,” Jeffrey Mittman, the group’s executive director, told reporters on Thursday.
The two-year study traced a “hodgepodge” of surveillance cameras it says are maintained by various groups with little coordination or guiding policies. More troubling, Mittman said, is that the surveillance web sprouted up with little public discussion or debate.
The use of such cameras has become so widespread that what was once considered impossible — tracking individual movements on a “mass scale” — can now be done, and the images can be saved for months or years, the report found.
St. Louis officials are in the process of “rapidly expanding” the city’s surveillance capacity. During the past two years, four networks have been linked, and a central monitoring center was established at the Soldiers Memorial in downtown St. Louis.
Despite the case that law enforcement agencies make to the contrary, the ACLU report cites studies suggesting surveillance cameras have “minimal impact on reducing crime.”
“Moreover,” the report continues, “increasingly sophisticated camera surveillance threatens to erode one of our most basic values, the right to be left alone.” - http://tinyurl.com/o9yuflm
Science Busts One of the Most Common Myths About Smoking Pot - (October 22, 2014 - by Paul Armentano - NORML) - A recent study proves what most real-life pot smokers already know.
Moderate cannabis consumption by young people is not positively associated with changes in intelligence quotient (IQ), according to data presented this week at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology annual congress in Berlin, Germany.
Investigators at the University College of London analyzed data from 2,612 subjects who had their IQ tested at the age of eight and again at age 15. They reported no relationship between cannabis use and lower IQ at age 15 when confounding factors such as subjects’ history of alcohol use and cigarette use were taken into account.
“In particular alcohol use was found to be strongly associated with IQ decline,” the authors wrote in a press release cited by The Washington Post. “No other factors were found to be predictive of IQ change.”
There is more truth about American journalism in the film “Kill the Messenger,” which chronicles the mainstream media’s discrediting of the work of the investigative journalist Gary Webb, than there is in the movie “All the President’s Men,” which celebrates the exploits of the reporters who uncovered the Watergate scandal.
The mass media blindly support the ideology of corporate capitalism. They laud and promote the myth of American democracy—even as we are stripped of civil liberties and money replaces the vote. They pay deference to the leaders on Wall Street and in Washington, no matter how perfidious their crimes. They slavishly venerate the military and law enforcement in the name of patriotism. They select the specialists and experts, almost always drawn from the centers of power, to interpret reality and explain policy. They usually rely on press releases, written by corporations, for their news. And they fill most of their news holes with celebrity gossip, lifestyle stories, sports and trivia. The role of the mass media is to entertain or to parrot official propaganda to the masses. The corporations, which own the press, hire journalists willing to be courtiers to the elites, and they promote them as celebrities. These journalistic courtiers, who can earn millions of dollars, are invited into the inner circles of power. They are, as John Ralston Saul writes, hedonists of power.
When Webb, writing in a 1996 series in the San Jose Mercury News, exposed the Central Intelligence Agency’s complicity in smuggling tons of cocaine for sale into the United States to fund the CIA-backed Contra rebels in Nicaragua, the press turned him into a journalistic leper. And over the generations there is a long list of journalistic lepers, from Ida B. Wells to I.F. Stone to Julian Assange. - http://tinyurl.com/plbgbhl
I’m terrified of my new TV: Why I’m scared to turn this thing on — and you’d be, too - (Oct. 30, 2014 - by Michael Price - Salon.com) - From facial recognition to personal data collection, this thing is downright scary -- and so are the implications - http://tinyurl.com/pdzvpjn
IPCC: Rapid Carbon Emission Cuts Vital To Stop Severe Impact Of Climate Change - (November 2, 2014 - by Damian Carrington - The Guardian) - Most important assessment of global warming yet warns carbon emissions must be cut sharply and soon, but UN’s IPCC says solutions are available and affordable
Climate change is set to inflict “severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts” on people and the natural world unless carbon emissions are cut sharply and rapidly, according to the most important assessment of global warming yet published.
The stark report states that climate change has already increased the risk of severe heatwaves and other extreme weather and warns of worse to come, including food shortages and violent conflicts. But it also found that ways to avoid dangerous global warming are both available and affordable.
“Science has spoken. There is no ambiguity in the message,” said the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, attending what he described as the “historic” report launch. “Leaders must act. Time is not on our side.” He said that quick, decisive action would build a better and sustainable future, while inaction would be costly.
Ban added a message to investors, such as pension fund managers: “Please reduce your investments in the coal- and fossil fuel-based economy and [move] to renewable energy.”
The report, released in Copenhagen on Sunday by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is the work of thousands of scientists and was agreed after negotiations by the world’s governments. It is the first IPCC report since 2007 to bring together all aspects of tackling climate change and for the first time states: that it is economically affordable; that carbon emissions will ultimately have to fall to zero; and that global poverty can only be reduced by halting global warming. The report also makes clear that carbon emissions, mainly from burning coal, oil and gas, are currently rising to record levels, not falling. - http://tinyurl.com/p7fskwr
Vote all you want. The secret government won’t change. - (Oct. 19, 2014 - by Jordan Michael Smith - The Boston Globe) - The people we elect aren’t the ones calling the shots, says Tufts University’s Michael Glennon - http://tinyurl.com/onwc87g
Buyer Beware: Online Shopping Prices Vary From User to User - (November 5, 2014 - by Christo Wilson - The Conversation) - Companies may be charging you more because of your geographic location or computer model. - http://tinyurl.com/kuqdlzq
U.S. Corporations Top List of Those Living in 'Magical Fairyland' of Tax-Dodging - (November 6, 2014 - by Jon Queally, staff writer - Common Dreams) - Leaked documents reveal Luxembourg's paradise for companies and financial firms stiffing the global populace with their unpaid tax billsMore than 300 global corporations and financial institutions—including well-known names like Pepsi Co., FedEx, JP Morgan Chase, and Amazon—have created complex tax avoidance schemes using the small European nation of Luxembourg to funnel billions of dollars of profits away from the countries where they actually do business, according to leaked documents obtained and analyzed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. - http://tinyurl.com/p8ft8pc
Surprising Truth About 'Driving While High' - (November 4, 2014 - by Angela Bacca - Cannabis
Now) - The
human body does not process cannabis the way it processes alcohol. - http://tinyurl.com/m4uyr7v
Snowden: "I Did What I Did Because I Believe It Is the Right Thing to Do" - (November 11, 2014 - by The Nation) - In an interview the NSA leaker covers the crises in our technology and surveillance, and politics.
Snowden: …. …the fact that the director of national intelligence gave a false statement to Congress under oath, which is a felony. If we allow our officials to knowingly break the law publicly and face no consequences, we’re instituting a culture of immunity…. …. …the rule of law doesn’t mean the police are in charge, but that we all answer to the same laws. You know, if Congress is going to investigate baseball players about whether or not they told the truth, how can we justify giving the most powerful intelligence official, Clapper, a pass? This is how J. Edgar Hoover ended up in charge of the FBI forever.
…. We have a media that goes along with the government by parroting phrases intended to provoke a certain emotional response—for example, “national security.” …. But it is not national security that they’re concerned with; it is state security. ….
What defines patriotism, for me, is the idea that one rises to act on behalf of one’s country. …that’s distinct from acting to benefit the government—a distinction that’s increasingly lost today. You’re not patriotic just because you back whoever’s in power today or their policies. You’re patriotic when you work to improve the lives of the people of your country, your community and your family. ….
As for my personal politics… …when it comes to social policies, I believe women have the right to make their own choices, and inequality is a really important issue. …automation inevitably is going to mean fewer and fewer jobs. And if we do not find a way to provide a basic income for people who have no work, or no meaningful work, we’re going to have social unrest that could get people killed. When we have increasing production—year after year after year—some of that needs to be reinvested in society. …. …these issues have to be addressed. - http://tinyurl.com/omaph5j
James Risen: The Post-9/11 Homeland Security Industrial Complex Profiteers and Endless War - (Nov. 16, 2014 - by In a revealing interview with Truthout about his new book Pay Any Price, journalist James Risen provides evidence of how the United States has become enmeshed in an endless war. He also discusses how the post-9/11, military-surveillance state has enriched - with little oversight or accountability - many opportunists. Risen tells Truthout: "Four trillion dollars is the best estimate for the total price tag of the war on terror, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and much of it has gone to shadowy contractors. It is one of the largest transfers of wealth in American history, and yet it has gone largely unnoticed." - http://truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/27425
Google’s Secret NSA
Alliance: The Terrifying Deals Between Silicon Valley And The Security State - (Nov. 16, 2014 - by Inside the high-level, complicated deals -- and
the rise of a virtually unchecked surveillance power - http://tinyurl.com/kfdg5ky
Do Wars Really Defend America’s Freedom? - (Nov. 16, 2014 - by U.S. politicians and pundits are fond of saying that America’s wars have defended America’s freedom. But the historical record doesn’t bear out this contention. In fact, over the past century, U.S. wars have triggered major encroachments upon civil liberties. - http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/157574
One of Largest Transfers of Public Wealth to Private Hands: Our Staggering War Economy - (November 24, 2014 - by Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch) - The cost of our massive military and endless wars is almost beyond comprehension, and non stop. - http://tinyurl.com/lvaho8n
The CIA’s Student-Activism Phase - (November 26, 2014 - by Tom Hayden - The Nation) - In the 1960s, the agency sought to fight Communism through the students’ rights movement. There’s little reason to think its tactics have changed.
Only once in a while does a book come along that sheds new light on the 1960s. Karen Paget’s forthcoming Patriotic Betrayal (Yale University Press) is just such a work, telling the inside story of how the Central Intelligence Agency corrupted the natural and democratic growth of students’ rights movement by infiltrating the National Student Association (NSA) and directing it to its Cold War ends.
The real-world consequences of these manipulations of student politics are still with us. Here are three examples from Paget’s history:
Supporting Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Saddam Hussein was a CIA operative whom the American spy agency deployed in 1959 to kill the ruler of Iraq, Abdul Karim Kassem. When that assassination attempt failed, Saddam entered a CIA protection program in Egypt until his Baath Party, also supported by the CIA, seized power in 1963. At least 5,000 Iraqis, most of them student activists, were executed immediately by the Baathist regime. And so our Iraq War began.
In those years, the NSA’s secret elite encouraged the NSA Congress to celebrate the Ba’athist coups in Iraq and Syria. The Cold War rationale for ousting Kassem was that he tolerated communists in his governing coalition. (The same rationale was given for the 1954 coups in Iran and Guatemala.) Kassem was executed by a firing squad. Many of the student victims of the new repression were members of the General Union of Iraqi Students. The NSA staff, according to Paget, “turned in hundreds of reports that contained assessments of foreign students” to the CIA, which were fed to the new regime’s security apparatus. It’s “a fact that today haunts many of them,” she says. In Iran, similar lists of human targets were prepared…. - http://tinyurl.com/p777ddu
OPERATION AURORAGOLD: How The NSA Hacks Cellphone Networks Worldwide - (Dec. 4, 2014 - by Ryan Gallagher - The Intercept) - According to documents contained in the archive of material provided to The Intercept by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the NSA has spied on hundreds of companies and organizations internationally, including in countries closely allied to the United States, in an effort to find security weaknesses in cellphone technology that it can exploit for surveillance.
The documents also reveal how the NSA plans to secretly introduce new flaws into communication systems so that they can be tapped into—a controversial tactic that security experts say could be exposing the general population to criminal hackers.
Karsten Nohl, a leading cellphone security expert and cryptographer who was consulted by The Intercept about details contained in the AURORAGOLD documents, said that the broad scope of information swept up in the operation appears aimed at ensuring virtually every cellphone network in the world is NSA accessible.
“Collecting an inventory [like this] on world networks has big ramifications,” Nohl said, because it allows the NSA to track and circumvent upgrades in encryption technology used by cellphone companies to shield calls and texts from eavesdropping. Evidence that the agency has deliberately plotted to weaken the security of communication infrastructure, he added, was particularly alarming.
“Even if you love the NSA and you say you have nothing to hide, you should be against a policy that introduces security vulnerabilities,” Nohl said, “because once NSA introduces a weakness, a vulnerability, it’s not only the NSA that can exploit it.” - http://tinyurl.com/ndsujd8
Endless Wars Have Cost Americans $1.6 Trillion, Report Finds - (December 23, 2014 - by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer - Common Dreams) - Post-9/11 military operations are second only to World War II in terms of financial cost—and 'the costs go on.' - http://tinyurl.com/nrd4lvf
Thousands of Websites May Have Left Passwords Exposed - (December 20, 2014 - by Jeff Fox - StateOfTheNet.net) - Large corporations, like AT&T, FedEx, The New York Times and Macy’s have laid bare user information. - http://tinyurl.com/l3jzntl
Inside The NSA's War On Internet Security - (Dec. 28, 2014 - by Jacob Appelbaum, Aaron Gibson, Christian Grothoff, Andy Müller-Maguhn, Laura Poitras, Michael Sontheimer and Christian Stöcker - Der Spiegel) - …the encryption featured in Skype, a program used by some 300 million users to conduct Internet video chat that is touted as secure. It isn't really. "Sustained Skype collection began in Feb 2011," reads a National Security Agency (NSA) training document from the archive of whistleblower Edward Snowden. Less than half a year later, in the fall, the code crackers declared their mission accomplished. Since then, data from Skype has been accessible to the NSA's snoops. …. The NSA had been monitoring Skype even before that, but since February 2011, the service has been under order from the secret US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), to not only supply information to the NSA but also to make itself accessible as a source of data for the agency.
The "sustained Skype collection" is a further step taken by the authority in the arms race between intelligence agencies seeking to deny users of their privacy and those wanting to ensure they are protected. ….
The fact that large amounts of the cryptographic systems that underpin the entire Internet have been intentionally weakened or broken by the NSA and its allies poses a grave threat to the security of everyone who relies on the Internet -- from individuals looking for privacy to institutions and companies relying on cloud computing. Many of these weaknesses can be exploited by anyone who knows about them -- not just the NSA.
Inside the intelligence community, this danger is widely known: - http://tinyurl.com/n6nsbvc
Robert W. McChesney: "Capitalism as We Know It Has Got to Go" - (December 30, 2014 - by A distinguished professor of communications at the University of Illinois at Champaign, Robert McChesney is a writer, educator and activist about the dangers of corporation consolidation controlling the media and stifling democracy. - http://truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/28273
Former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel To Run Marijuana Company - (Dec. 12, 2014 - by Matt Ferner - The Huffington Post) - Former U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) is the new CEO of a marijuana company that produces cannabis-infused products for both recreational and medical use, the company announced Tuesday.
The Alaskan Democrat and 2008 presidential contender will lead KUSH, a subsidiary owned by Cannabis Sativa, Inc. Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson serves as CEO of Cannabis Sativa, and Gravel is on that company's board of directors.
KUSH will develop and market new marijuana-infused products under Gravel's leadership, the company said in a press release.
Gravel served two terms in the Senate from 1969 to 1981, and was a candidate in the 2008 presidential race. He also has been an outspoken supporter of marijuana legalization and a staunch critic of the decades-long war on drugs.
"I feel very deeply about the failure that is marijuana prohibition," Gravel told The Huffington Post as one of the reasons why he took his new job. "Nixon is the one that put marijuana into a Schedule I. People forget that story, I lived through that. I thought it was horrible." - http://tinyurl.com/pusyuaa
Groundbreaking Study Confirms: We Must Leave Fossil Fuels "In the Ground" - (January 7, 2015 - by Sarah Lazare, staff writer - Common Dreams) - New research first of its kind to identify specific national reserves that must remain untapped
A groundbreaking new study is confirming what green campaigners have long argued: in order to stave off climate disaster, the majority of fossil fuel deposits around the world—including 92 percent of U.S. coal, all Arctic oil and gas, and a majority of Canadian tar sands—must stay "in the ground."
How Regressive Local Taxes Are Rewarding The Rich - (January 14, 2015 - by Andrea Germanos, staff writer - Common Dreams) - New report finds 'fundamentally unfair' tax system in nearly every state - http://tinyurl.com/pm4vrxp
The Man Who Spawned “#FoxNewsFacts” Also Advises the U.S. Government on Terror - (January 13, 2015 - By Zaid Jilani - AlterNet) - Steve Emerson's Investigative Project on Terrorism receives funding from casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.
“terror expert” Steve Emerson set off a sort of global
laugh track last week when he claimed that parts of the United Kingdom had
been completely taken over by Muslims, and that the city of Birmingham no
longer allowed non-Muslims to enter. Emerson's
fact-free rant spawned the Twitter hashtag #FoxNewsFacts,
prompting users to conjure up outlandishly satirical tales that mocked with the farcical quality of Fox News analysis. “When I
heard this, frankly, I choked on my porridge and I thought it must be April
Fool’s Day,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said of Emerson's remarks. “This guy’s clearly a complete idiot.”
Unfortunately, Emerson is anything but a joke to those he advises. As the founder of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, a non-profit, Emerson channels millions in funding to SAE Productions, a private company he controls that has no available data on its assets. He has been called as a witness before Congressional committees looking into terrorism-related issues including the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. His website boasts of endorsements from current and former government officials. Here's a few examples: - http://tinyurl.com/q34vbm5
Why Are Some Generic Drugs Getting So Expensive? - (January 21 2015 - by Geoffrey Joyce - The Conversation) - While price increases are good news for some generic manufacturers, almost everyone else is adversely affected. Consumers face higher prices, physicians have to prescribe alternative therapies or deal with angry patients. And the local pharmacist can actually lose money if drugs were purchased at new higher prices but is reimbursed at a predetermined lower rate.
The majority of cases come down to two broad factors: reduced competition due to consolidation in the industry, and market and regulatory forces that altered incentives for firms producing generic drugs.
In a nutshell, it’s the bad side of capitalism where intense competition and lower profit margins lead to cost-cutting measures. Lean inventories, outsourcing production and manufacturer consolidation can allow the remaining firms to regain some market power and raise prices, sometimes precipitously. We’ve seen this pattern happen before in the airline and cable industries where highly competitive, deregulated markets led to consolidation and higher prices over time. - http://tinyurl.com/ml5uq4q
The U.S.' Dark Empire Has Secret Operations in Over 100 Countries - (January 24, 2015 - By Nick Turse - Tom Dispatch) - The United States deployed special forces to 70 percent of the nations on earth. - http://tinyurl.com/nghcvbo
How The CIA Made Google: Inside the secret network behind mass surveillance, endless war, and Skynet - (Jan. 22, 2015 - By Nafeez Ahmed - Medium.com) - Dr. Nafeez Ahmed is an investigative journalist, bestselling author and international security scholar. A former Guardian writer, he writes the ‘System Shift’ column for VICE’s Motherboard, and is also a columnist for Middle East Eye. He is the winner of a 2015 Project Censored Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for his Guardian work. He has also written for The Independent, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Scotsman, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Quartz, Prospect, New Statesman, Le Monde diplomatique, New Internationalist, Counterpunch, Truthout, among others.
INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a new crowd-funded investigative journalism project, breaks the exclusive story of how the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world through control of information. Seed-funded by the NSA and CIA, Google was merely the first among a plethora of private sector start-ups co-opted by US intelligence to retain ‘information superiority.’
The origins of this ingenious strategy trace back to a secret Pentagon-sponsored group, that for the last two decades has functioned as a bridge between the US government and elites across the business, industry, finance, corporate, and media sectors. The group has allowed some of the most powerful special interests in corporate America to systematically circumvent democratic accountability and the rule of law to influence government policies, as well as public opinion in the US and around the world. The results have been catastrophic: NSA mass surveillance, a permanent state of global war, and a new initiative to transform the US military into Skynet.
As our governments push to increase their powers, INSURGE INTELLIGENCE can now reveal the vast extent to which the US intelligence community is implicated in nurturing the web platforms we know today, for the precise purpose of utilizing the technology as a mechanism to fight global ‘information war’ — a war to legitimize the power of the few over the rest of us. The lynchpin of this story is the corporation that in many ways defines the 21st century with its unobtrusive omnipresence: Google.
Google styles itself as a friendly, funky, user-friendly tech firm that rose to prominence through a combination of skill, luck, and genuine innovation. This is true. But it is a mere fragment of the story. In reality, Google is a smokescreen behind which lurks the US military-industrial complex.
The inside story of Google’s rise, revealed here for the first time, opens a can of worms that goes far beyond Google, unexpectedly shining a light on the existence of a parasitical network driving the evolution of the US national security apparatus, and profiting obscenely from its operation. - http://tinyurl.com/msy98ld
Heavy drinking in middle-age may increase stroke risk more than traditional factors - (January 29, 2015 - American Heart Association) - Drinking more than two alcoholic beverages a day in middle-age raised stroke risks more than traditional factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Heavy drinking in mid-life was linked to having a stroke about five years earlier in life irrespective of genetic and early-life factors. - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150129170356.htm
No, America Has Never Been A Christian Country -- Why Does The Myth Persist? - (February 3, 2015 - by Laura Miller - Salon) - A historian challenges conservative claims that the U.S. has a single religious heritage. - http://tinyurl.com/mnzkam3
Intellectual Privacy Vital To Life In Digital Age - (February 3, 2015 - Washington University in St. Louis) - In our increasingly digital world, the balance between privacy and free speech is tenuous, at best. But we often overlook the important ways in which privacy is necessary to protect our cherished civil liberties of freedom of speech, thought and belief, says Neil M. Richards, JD, a privacy law expert at Washington University in St. Louis and author of the new book, "Intellectual Privacy: Rethinking Civil Liberties in the Digital Age," published Feb. 2 by Oxford University Press.
"I want people to realize that in building our digital world, we have choices," said Richards, professor of law at the School of Law, noting the importance of free speech to democratic societies.
While new technologies that allow us to learn and communicate in powerful ways continue to be developed, we aren't paying as much attention to the important human values we fought hard to build into our pre-digital technologies, Richards said.
"Intellectual privacy is the much-needed protection for learning, reading and communicating that helps us make up our minds about the world on our own terms," he said. "Without intellectual privacy, when people are watching us when we read and communicate, our thoughts and beliefs get driven to the boring, the bland and the mainstream.
"As a society, we say frequently that we care about individuality, diversity, eccentricity and the vibrant weirdness that freedom makes possible. If we don't have intellectual privacy, all of these important values that make life worth living are threatened." - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150203141927.htm
How Much Does Google Really Know About You? - (Infographic)
License Plate Scanners Also
Taking Photos of Drivers and Passengers - (February 5,
2015 - by Sonia Roubini - Blog of Rights / ACLU) - The Drug
Enforcement Agency is using its license plate reader program not only to track
drivers' locations, but also to photograph these drivers and their passengers,
according to newly disclosed records obtained by the ACLU via a Freedom of
Information Act request.
One internal 2009 DEA communication stated clearly that the license plate program can provide “the requester” with images that “may include vehicle license plate numbers (front and/or rear), photos of visible vehicle occupants [redacted] and a front and rear overall view of the vehicle.” Clearly showing that occupant photos are not an occasional, accidental byproduct of the technology, but one that is intentionally being cultivated, a 2011 email states that the DEA's system has the ability to store “up to 10 photos per vehicle transaction including 4 occupant photos.”
The DEA documents are just the latest indication that license plate scanners are not always focused just on license plates.
[Note: While this article refers to the widespread use of "license plate scanners" they are still not directly addressing the now-pervasive inverted-black-dome 24/7 surveillance network of cameras that have been installed at most major roadway intersections and every mile or two along most roadways. These cameras are operated by so-called Homeland Security and are tied into regional "Fusion Centers" nationwide, that tie-in directly to the FBI, NSA, CIA, DEA, etc.. As an example, this surveillance-camera network is so pervasive that literally now almost every mile of I-44 in Missouri is completely covered. The same holds true now for most State roadways, and many county and municipal roadways, too. It is very important to keep in mind that hese cameras are software-driven and hard-drive auto-archived with photo resolution so good -- via software magnification -- that they can tell from a distance of a mile or more whether or not someone has shaved that morning! --Bike Bob] - http://tinyurl.com/k2fg5tv
Study Shows Surprising Results on The Dangers of Driving and Consuming Marijuana - (February 10, 2015 - by Paul Armentano / NORML) - You're more likely to be in an accident if you test positive for low levels of alcohol. - http://tinyurl.com/m78p4g4
5 Things The Media and Government Are Not Telling You About Marijuana - (February 3, 2015 - by Paul Armentano / AlterNet) - News outlets continue to ignore research that belies government anti-pot propaganda. - http://tinyurl.com/o65n8jy
Government wonders: What’s in your old emails? - (February 11, 2015 - by Lindsay Wise - McClatchy Washington Bureau) - If you’ve been remiss in cleaning out your email in-box, here’s some incentive: The federal government can read any emails that are more than six months old without a warrant.
Little known to most Americans, ambiguous language in a communications law passed in 1986 extends Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure only to electronic communications sent or received fewer than 180 days ago.
The language, known as the “180-day rule,” allows government officials to treat any emails, text messages or documents stored on remote servers – popularly known as the cloud – as “abandoned” and therefore accessible using administrative subpoena power, a tactic that critics say circumvents due process.
As you rush to purge your Gmail and Dropbox accounts, however, be forewarned that even deleted files still could be fair game as long as copies exist on a third-party server somewhere. - http://tinyurl.com/mgdbqcz
Angry, Armed and
White: The Typical Profile Of America's Most Violent Extremists - (February 12, 2015
- by Steven Rosenfeld - AlterNet) - White men, usually right-wingers, are the dominant threat. - http://tinyurl.com/nngpl7
Why the GOP's Vision of North America's Energy Future Should Scare All of Us - (February 12, 2015 - by Michael Klare - TomDispatch) - It will be a nightmare of environmental degradation and global conflict. - http://tinyurl.com/kjg8gat
Bruce Schneier’s New Book: Data and Goliath - (Feb. 16, 2015 - Schneier on Security) - …copy from the inside front flap:
You are under surveillance right now.
Your cell phone provider tracks your location and knows who's with you. Your online and in-store purchasing patterns are recorded, and reveal if you're unemployed, sick, or pregnant. Your e-mails and texts expose your intimate and casual friends. Google knows what you're thinking because it saves your private searches. Facebook can determine your sexual orientation without you ever mentioning it.
The powers that surveil us do more than simply store this information. Corporations use surveillance to manipulate not only the news articles and advertisements we each see, but also the prices we're offered. Governments use surveillance to discriminate, censor, chill free speech, and put people in danger worldwide. And both sides share this information with each other or, even worse, lose it to cybercriminals in huge data breaches. - http://tinyurl.com/ms8j56u
Big Pharma Is America’s New Mafia - (Feb. 21, 2015 - by Daniela Drake - The Daily Beast) - Dr. Peter Gotzsche, the Director of the Nordic Cochrane Center in Copenhagen, has seen enough over the last two decades to sum up his findings in a book whose title says it all: Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma has Corrupted Healthcare.
“Much of what the drug industry does fulfills the criteria for organized crime in US law,” Dr. Gotzsche said in a recent interview. “And they behave in many ways like the mafia does, they corrupt everyone they can corrupt, they have bought every type of person, even including ministers of health in some countries…The drug industry buys the professors first, then chiefs of departments, then other chief physicians and so on, they don’t buy junior doctors.” - http://tinyurl.com/pwopahh
Prominent Climate Change Denier Funded By Koch Brothers, Energy Companies - (February 22, 2015 - by Nadia Prupis, staff writer - Common Dreams) - Willie Soon received $1.25 million over 14 years to write academic research stating climate change is not caused by human activity, newly released documents show
Wei-Hock "Willie" Soon, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, accumulated a total of $1.25 million from Exxon Mobile, the American Petroleum Institute, Southern Company, and a Koch brothers foundation, according to documents obtained by Greenpeace through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filings.
For years, Soon's work has been a go-to source for politicians angling to block climate change legislation, such as Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), who has called climate change a hoax. Soon has also testified before the U.S. Congress and appeared on numerous conservative news shows to claim that greenhouse gases are not harmful and that recent global warming trends are not caused by human activity, but by variations in the sun's energy. - http://tinyurl.com/l5szj4n
Your Privacy Online: Health Information At Serious Risk Of Abuse, Researchers Warn - (February 23, 2015 - University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication) - There is a significant risk to your privacy whenever you visit a health-related web page, some researchers warn. An analysis of over 80,000 such web pages shows that nine out of ten visits result in personal health information being leaked to third parties, including online advertisers and data brokers.
"Personal health information -- historically protected by the Hippocratic Oath -- has suddenly become the property of private corporations who may sell it to the highest bidder or accidentally misuse it to discriminate against the ill," Libert said. "As health information seeking has moved online, the privacy of a doctor's office has been traded in for the silent intrusion of behavioral tracking." - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150223122647.htm
A new report, by the journal Scientific Reports, finds that marijuana is far safer than other recreational drugs, including and especially alcohol.
Pot may be as much as 114 times safer than booze, say the researchers. The study also maintains that past research into alcohol has systematically underestimated the risks associated with its use.
The study sought to quantify the risk of death associated with the use of common recreational drugs. Alcohol, they found, was the deadliest substance, followed by heroin and cocaine. The safest drug was marijuana; it was also the only drug in the study that had a low mortality risk for users. - http://www.alternet.org/pot-114-times-safer-booze-says-study
Looking Up Symptoms Online?These Companies Are Tracking You!
The Terrifying "Smart" City Of The (Near) Future - (February 19, 2015 - by Allegra Kirkland - AlterNet) - So-called "smart cities" are being heralded as the way of the future, but they have scary social and political consequences. - http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/terrifying-smart-city-future
The Democratization of Cyberattack - (March 2, 2015 - by Bruce Schneier - Schneier on Security) - …here's the problem: technological capabilities cannot distinguish based on morality, nationality, or legality; if the US government is able to use a backdoor in a communications system to spy on its enemies, the Chinese government can use the same backdoor to spy on its dissidents.
Even worse, modern computer technology is inherently democratizing. Today's NSA secrets become tomorrow's PhD theses and the next day's hacker tools. As long as we're all using the same computers, phones, social networking platforms, and computer networks, a vulnerability that allows us to spy also allows us to be spied upon.
We can't choose a world where the US gets to spy but China doesn't, or even a world where governments get to spy and criminals don't. We need to choose, as a matter of policy, communications systems that are secure for all users, or ones that are vulnerable to all attackers. It's security or surveillance.As long as criminals are breaking into corporate networks and stealing our data, as long as totalitarian governments are spying on their citizens, as long as cyberterrorism and cyberwar remain a threat, and as long as the beneficial uses of computer technology outweighs the harmful uses, we have to choose security. Anything else is just too dangerous. - https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2015/03/the_democratiza_1.html
Surveillance Valley: Why Google Is Eager to Align Itself With America's Military Industrial Complex - (March 1, 2015 - by Yasha Levine - AlterNet) - Is it wise for us to hand over the contents of our private lives to private companies?
…the construction of a citywide surveillance center that would turn a firehouse in downtown Oakland into a high-tech intelligence hub straight out of Mission Impossible — a federally funded project that linking up real time audio and video feeds from thousands of sensors across the city into one high-tech control hub, where analysts could pipe the data through face recognition software and enrich its intelligence with data coming in from local, state and federal government and law enforcement agencies.
Residents’ anger at the fusion surveillance center was intensified by a set of internal documents showing that city officials were more interested in using the surveillance center monitor political protests rather than fighting crime: keeping tabs on activists, monitoring non-violent political protests and tracking union organizing…. ….
But buried deep in the thousands of pages of planning documents was another disturbing detail. Emails that showed Google — the largest and most powerful corporation in Silicon Valley — was among several other defense contractors vying for a piece of Oakland’s $11 million surveillance contract.
What was Google doing there? What could a company known for superior search and cute doodles offer a controversial surveillance center?
Turns out, a lot.
[….]…the free Google services and apps that we interact with on a daily basis aren’t the company’s main product. They are the harvesting machines that dig up and process the stuff that Google really sells: for-profit intelligence. - http://tinyurl.com/kr8k56w
Absolutely Terrifying: 'There Are Really Only Two Big Patches of Intact Forest Left on Earth' - (March 23, 2015 - by Lindsay Abrams - Salon) - A new study uncovers the ruinous consequences, to plant and animal species, of our increasingly fragmented forests. - http://tinyurl.com/n597ytc
BIOS Hacking - (March 23, 2015 - by Bruce Schneier - Schneier on Security) - We've learned a lot about the NSA's abilities to hack a computer's BIOS so that the hack survives reinstalling the OS. Now we have a research presentation about it.
The NSA has a term for vulnerabilities it think are exclusive to it: NOBUS, for "nobody but us." Turns out that NOBUS is a flawed concept. As I keep saying: "Today's top-secret programs become tomorrow's PhD theses and the next day's hacker tools." By continuing to exploit these vulnerabilities rather than fixing them, the NSA is keeping us all vulnerable. - https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2015/03/bios_hacking.html
Five years after Deepwater Horizon, wildlife still struggling: dolphins dying in high numbers; sea turtles failing to nest - (March 31, 2015 - National Wildlife Federation) - As the five-year anniversary of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig approaches, a new report looks at how twenty species of wildlife are faring in the aftermath of the disaster. - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150331082558.htm
Gov’t Experts: “Astounding” levels of radiation measured in U.S. from Fukushima — Around 500,000 times our normal levels… - (April 9, 2015 - ENENews) - “We never have ever seen anything even close to that, concentrations went up and up and up every day… Amazing to see this 7,000 km away” — “A matter of life & death” - http://tinyurl.com/od8nb9m
Being overweight 'reduces dementia risk' - (April 9, 2015 - The researchers admit they were surprised by the findings, which run contrary to current health advice.
“The GOP has scores of racists” - (Apr. 10, 2015 - by A former Bush official condemns modern Republican orthodoxy
Colin Powell's former chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, warns of the militarism & racism of Republican lawmakers - http://tinyurl.com/p8o3xqo
The FBI is taking extraordinary and potentially unconstitutional measures to keep local and state police forces from exposing the use of so-called “Stingray” surveillance technology across the United States, according to documents obtained separately by the Guardian and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Multiple non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) revealed in Florida, New York and Maryland this week show federal authorities effectively binding local law enforcement from disclosing any information – even to judges – about the cellphone dragnet technology, its collection capabilities or its existence.
In an arrangement that shocked privacy advocates and local defense attorneys, the secret pact also mandates that police notify the FBI to push for the dismissal of cases if technical specifications of the devices are in danger of being revealed in court.
The agreement also contains a clause forcing law enforcement to notify the FBI if freedom of information requests are filed by members of the public or the media for such information, “in order to allow sufficient time for the FBI to seek to prevent disclosure through appropriate channels”.
The strikingly similar NDAs, taken together with documents connecting police to the technology’s manufacturer and federal approval guidelines obtained by the Guardian, suggest a state-by-state chain of secrecy surrounding widespread use of the sophisticated cellphone spying devices known best by the brand of one such device: the Stingray. - http://tinyurl.com/mq5ut2s
Global Warming Is Already Clobbering The Amazon - (Apr. 14, 2015 - by University of Leeds ecologist Roel Brienen, who works on Rainfor, crunched the numbers, a startling result emerged. Last month the team reported that the Amazon isn’t pulling in as much carbon as it used to, contradicting the many models that predicted that the rainforest would thrive for another several decades thanks to increasing carbon dioxide levels. In many parts of the forest, the trees do appear to be growing faster and bigger, Phillips says. But they are also dying younger, riding the high of resource abundance until they suddenly flame out. Once a tree dies, its carbon travels back to the atmosphere—exactly where we don’t want it be.
For now, the Amazon is still sucking up more carbon than it’s releasing. But the Rainfor data suggests that a tipping point is coming. As skeptics have long asserted and scientists themselves suspected, models of the future of Earth’s climate did indeed get it wrong. But not in they way anyone would hope. As Phillips puts it: They were “too optimistic.” - http://tinyurl.com/py5lc4a
St. Louis Police Networking Cameras, Other Technology… - (Apr. 16, 2015 - It’s part of the Real Time Crime Center, opened Thursday to bring together an array of electronic resources — including a network of public and private surveillance cameras that could put eyes on a location within seconds.
…. They will have access to data from cameras, license plate readers, red light cameras, hot-spot crime mapping and the ShotSpotter microphone system that can track the source of gunfire.
John Chasnoff, longtime member of the activist organization Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression, called it “a spy hub for the whole city of St. Louis.” He was among about 20 protesters gathered outside headquarters as officials toured the center.
“This is a big step toward mass surveillance of the city’s population,” Chasnoff complained. “People going about their business who have given no indication they have committed an offense are still being watched by their government and police.”
Jeffrey Mittman, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, is skeptical of the way it was planned. “Maybe everyone will say the policies the city has drafted are great, but there should be a process for review and public comment first,” he said.
Mittman cautioned that once private cameras were used by the government, they must be treated as public cameras, operated in accordance with the Constitution.
“Now they can follow you, keep data, store it and go back and search through it, so we’re going from what might seem like a benign observance of a public square to a Big Brother 24/7 surveillance society,” Mittman suggested. - http://tinyurl.com/mghwwvo
Kids with ADHD must squirm to learn, study saysApril 17, 2015 - University of Central Florida) - For decades, frustrated parents and teachers have barked at fidgety children with ADHD to "Sit still and concentrate!"
But new research conducted at UCF shows that if you want ADHD kids to learn, you have to let them squirm. The foot-tapping, leg-swinging and chair-scooting movements of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder are actually vital to how they remember information and work out complex cognitive tasks, according to a study published in an early online release of the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.
The findings show the longtime prevailing methods for helping children with ADHD may be misguided.
"The typical interventions target reducing hyperactivity. It's exactly the opposite of what we should be doing for a majority of children with ADHD," said one of the study's authors, Mark Rapport, head of the Children's Learning Clinic at the University of Central Florida. "The message isn't 'Let them run around the room,' but you need to be able to facilitate their movement so they can maintain the level of alertness necessary for cognitive activities."The research has major implications for how parents and teachers should deal with ADHD kids, particularly with the increasing weight given to students' performance on standardized testing. The study suggests that a majority of students with ADHD could perform better on classroom work, tests and homework if they're sitting on activity balls or exercise bikes, for instance. - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150417190003.htm
The Good, The Bad and The Dirty: Climate, Congress and Carbon - (April 22, 2015 - by Reynard Loki - AlterNet) - Energy expert Greg Dotson, the vice president of energy policy at the Center for American Progress, says there are big differences between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to meaningful action on climate change.
Greg Dotson: The last time the Democrats controlled the House of Representatives, they passed legislation requiring an 80% reduction in carbon pollution. On the other hand, since the Republicans took control of the House four years ago, Congress has engaged in a counter-productive debate about the environment and climate change. I wish the parties were much more united in their desire to address climate change, but at this point, the record is pretty clear that there is a big difference between them.
In recent years, the debate has not been about how to better protect our air, land and water, nor about how to move our energy system away from the fossil fuels of the past to the cleaner technologies of the future. Instead, the [Republican] House—and now Senate—leadership agenda has focused on gutting the nation’s cornerstone environmental laws, defending tax breaks and subsidies for dirty energy sources, slashing funding for clean energy development, and passing bills to block any action on climate change. That’s a disturbing development and not a political dynamic that allows members of Congress who are concerned about climate change to move meaningful legislation. - http://tinyurl.com/kzcqhkt
Are You Ready for the Biggest Environmental Catastrophe of Our Lifetime? - (April 23, 2015 - by AJ Hartnett - Huffington Post) - The media may not report it. Climate deniers may deny it. But science doesn't lie: Antarctica is rapidly melting. - http://tinyurl.com/qfafwqz
Oil CEO Wanted University Quake Scientists Dismissed: Dean's E-Mail - (May 15, 2015 - by Benjamin Elgin - Bloomberg) - The billionaire CEO of Continental Resources told a dean at the University of Oklahoma that he wanted earthquake researchers dismissed - http://tinyurl.com/negnuu6
Thanks, OpenTable, But I Like Being An Anonymous Diner - (May 24, 2014 - by But on the OpenTable platform, everybody knows more than just your name.
A brief perusal of the Terms of Service make it clear that OpenTable knows plenty about its customers. Among information the company purports to collect: name and contact information, current and prior reservation details, order history, dining preferences, demographics and precise location data. The company pairs such user data with information from “Third Party Platforms.” The wording here is purposefully vague, but it is certainly plausible that the company could use outside research firms to cobble together a whole host of personal information like income, age and spending habits.
For users who make payments via the mobile app, OpenTable reserves the right to share its customer dossier with the restaurant “for its own purposes.” Keeping notes on patrons is not a new phenomenon in the hospitality industry, but this formalizes the process of categorizing customers and treating them accordingly. While I love the notion that eateries will automatically be warned of my tree-nut allergies, I’m less enthused about them knowing my salary or how much cash I typically drop at dinner. Restaurants have always doled out preferential treatment to the “best” customers—but now, they’ll be able to brand them with a specific dollar sign the second they walk in the door.The policy could have bigger implications…. How will restaurants treat diners who they know rarely eat out or can only afford the cheapest dishes on the menu? Will they be relegated to tables by the kitchen? There’s a real possibility that customer insights could further stratify patrons into haves and have-nots. - http://tinyurl.com/kp2wkml
Bruce Schneier on Privacy and the Data Free-for-All - (May 26, 2015 - by Over the past two decades, few voices have shouted louder from the rooftops about global cybersecurity and digital privacy concerns than Bruce Schneier. He’s the CTO of Resilient Systems, a board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and has authored 14 books—his latest, Data and Goliath, was published in March.As Facebook and Google have infiltrated our every waking moment, Schneier warns that these data giants, if left unchecked, could compromise the very principles of a democratic society. Web companies collect metrics like age, gender and social interests (to serve up better advertisements), while cellular networks track everyone’s geolocation with homing devices we call smartphones. As we’ve seen, smartphones are also powerful proxy surveillance tools for nosy governments. - http://tinyurl.com/pgtjsho
Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever In The Age of Google - (May 23, 2015 - by Amien Essif - AlterNet) - A review of John Palfrey's new book 'BiblioTech,' and the culturally critical role libraries play.
What gets short shrift in BiblioTech, then, is the importance of retaining some kind of monastery of dusty knowledge, a church of books. Print has been around since human ancestors drew tracks in the dust and is still the only form of durable information that requires no mediation—that is, no device to interpret it. Reading a book is the most direct relationship a person can have with information apart from listening to someone speak and there must be some kind of common cultural institution filled with pews of comfy chairs and the musk of paper. Like the bicycle, the book is the best thing for what it does and will likely be around as long as humans are around because, as James Bennet wrote in the Atlantic, “technologies have a way of supplementing, rather than simply replacing, one another.”
Because Palfrey is transfixed by the rationale of austerity, he talks about financial shortfall as if it were plate tectonics. “Too many mayors, and town managers, forced to make hard budget choices,” he explains, “are slashing library budgets to save other essential services.” The key word in this sentence is “forced,” but Palfrey doesn’t make a big deal about who is doing the forcing.
Really, the scarcity is ideological. Palfrey hints at it, but it needs to be dealt with head on. Libraries are at risk for the same reason as food stamps—not because there’s no demand or taxpayers can’t afford it, but because Republicans and Democrats alike are divesting from the public good, favoring private enterprise and making conditions ripe for a Google-Apple-Amazon-Facebook oligopoly on information.
“It’s not too much of a stretch to say that the fate of well-informed, open, free republics could hinge on the future of libraries,” Palfrey writes in his conclusion. In fact, the fate of our republic hinges on the vitality of all public life…. - http://tinyurl.com/o4cfveq
Adaptable Robots 'on their way' to the home - (May 27, 2015 - by Researchers have developed robots that learn to live with damaged parts in less than a minute, instead of the many hours needed by traditional self-learning systems.
The system paves the way for robots to be used in a wide variety of settings, coping with damage that occurs in the real world.
Possible applications include robots looking after the elderly, rescuing earthquake victims or doing housework.
Learning’ Will Soon Give Us Super-Smart Robots - (May 27, 2015
- by Trevor Darrell, one of the researchers working on deep learning robots
says his team is also exploring the use of the technology in autonomous
automobiles. “From a researchers perspective, their are many commonalities in
what it takes to move an arm to insert a peg into a hole and what it takes to
navigate a car or a flying vehicle through an obstacle course,” he says.
Deep learning is particularly interesting, he says, because it has transformed so many different areas of research. In the past, he says, researchers used very separate techniques for speech recognition, image recognition, translation, and robotics. But now one this one set of techniques—though a rather broad set—can serve all these fields.
The result: all of these fields are suddenly evolving at a much faster rate. Face recognition has hit the mainstream. So has speech recognition. And the sort of autonomous machines his team is working on, Darrell says, could reach the commercial market within the next five years. AI is here. But it will soon arrive in a much bigger way. - http://tinyurl.com/obw4eub
Liberty vs. Security - (June 2, 2015 - Editorial / St. Louis Post-Dispatch) - Now is the time to overhaul spy agency excesses.
…. …the National Security Agency’s…rolling sweeps of telephone and Internet “metadata.” It had been going on for more than a decade before former NSA contract analyst Edward Snowden revealed the existence of the program in 2013.
Speaking of whom, it’s time to bring him in from the cold. If Americans have a right to know what their government is doing, he is far more hero than traitor.
…numerous loopholes that make it likely that regardless of the expiration of Section 215, the NSA is continuing undaunted. ….
Reports have found that the bulk data program hasn’t stopped a single terrorist attack. The FBI acknowledges that the program hasn’t been particularly useful.
…ignore panic-mongers… …. Bring the spies to heel. Bring Mr. Snowden home. Americans can be safe without giving up their liberties. - http://tinyurl.com/nvhgxof
Making Starships and Stargates - (June 2015 - by Jan C. Harzan, Executive Director, MUFON - MUFON UFO Journal) - [Excerpt]:
James F. Woodward, emeritus professor at California State University Fullerton (CSUF), and author of the book, Making Starships and Stargates: The Science of Interstellar Transport and Absurdly Benign Wormholes. James has spent the better part of 40 years as an experimental physicist searching for answers on how to create advanced propulsion systems based on Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity (GTR). It turns out that inertia, mass and gravity are all related through something known as Mach’s Principle. …. Hence, James is producing thrust that will propel us around the universe by using mass and gravity and Einstein’s GTR equations. This is a major breakthrough and one that he…has created with a working model of in his laboratory at CSUF.James has taken this from a set of equations on paper and produced a working prototype that number one, does not violate any known laws of physics, and number two, does not require any new ideas like “interdimensional physics” to produce thrust. As it turns out many scientists are working on the same problem; advanced propulsion physics, or exotic propulsion, which will one day propel us to the stars. More exciting than this is that Woodward sees a day probably within the next 100 years where we will have a wrist watch-like device and be able to dial in a time and place, push a button and create our own personal wormhole which we can then step through to the new time and place. They may even come in the 20-50 years he postulates. All using the same GTR equations that he is using to create thrust from mass and gravity.
Report Reveals $8.5 Trillion Missing From Pentagon Budget!
Your Radiation Exposure In The U.S. - (June 11, 2015 - Veterans Today) - [Note: See URL below for U.S. exposure levels recorded by radiation monitors. --Bike Bob]
Many of you have been looking at the EPA Recorded Radiation Highs This Week and no telling what you are thinking. One of the first things probably is “What is a normal Level?” Leave it to the British to spell it out for their customers in a no-nonsense manner – “Normal background is 5-20 CPM.”
Nope! No complicated math or evasions on this. If you can count to 5, maybe 20, you are good to go and ready to start making radioactive comparisons between specific places and cities.
To be conservative, subtract the higher value of the Normal Radiation range (20) from your radiation level. If it is still above 20 CPM, it is too high. Investigate to discover the source of the radiation and take protective measures. - http://tinyurl.com/o8ova2r
The Triumph of Occupy Wall Street - (June 10, 2015 - Michael Levitin - The Atlantic) - The movement that began in Zuccotti Park didn't disappear—it just splintered and regrouped around a variety of focused causes.
One of Occupy’s largely unrecognized victories is the momentum it built for a higher minimum wage. The Occupy protests motivated fast-food workers in New York City to walk off the job in November 2012, sparking a national worker-led movement to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. ….
Occupy also reshaped the U.S.-environmental movement, which had its rebirth in fall 2011 when 1,200 people were arrested in Washington, D.C., protesting the Keystone XL pipeline. As people gravitated to Occupy encampments, teach-ins, and demonstrations across the country, that energy easily transferred into the fight against climate change. This was especially true on college campuses, where a student-led divestment movement has rid more than $50 billion in fossil-fuel assets from universities and institutional investment funds worldwide.
Occupy prompted a grassroots anti-fracking movement that pushed cities, counties and states to enact bans on the controversial drilling process…. ….
When it comes to money in politics, Occupy also drew mainstream attention to the corrosive influence of wealth on the political process. That helped spur a nationwide movement…. ….Most significant, perhaps, is how the debate over inequality sparked by Occupy has radically remade the Democratic Party. - http://tinyurl.com/nohkdr2
6 Ways To Keep Your Communications Private
Earth 'Entering New Extinction Phase' - (June 20, 2015 - Science & Environment / BBC News) - The Earth has entered a new period of extinction, a study by three U.S. universities has concluded, and humans could be among the first casualties. - http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-33209548
Report: Nuclear Power A Costly Failure
U.S. and British Spies Targeted Antivirus Companies
Spy Agency's Secret Plans To Foster Online "Conformity" And "Obedience" Exposed - (June 22, 2015 - by Jon Queally, staff writer - Common Dreams) - Internal memo from secretive British spy unit exposes how GCHQ and NSA used human psychological research to create sophisticated online propaganda tools - http://tinyurl.com/qfhbweb
Google downloading audio listeners onto computers w/o consent!
Beware The Listening Machines - (June 17, 2015 - by Ethan Zuckerman - The Atlantic) - When dolls and friendly robots can listen and respond to what people say, where's the line between personal assistance and mass surveillance? - http://tinyurl.com/ol3ueld
Why We (Must) Encrypt!
Are We On the Verge Of A Nuclear Breakdown?
When The U.S. Launched Its Zero-Day Policy - (June 26, 2015 - by A newly released document from the FBI sheds a little more light on the government’s controversial policy around the use of zero-day exploits. Though there is still much we don’t know, the question of when the secretive policy was put into place is finally answered: February, 2010.
It wasn’t until last year that the government even admitted to using zero-day exploits for attack purposes. Following that disclosure, the White House then revealed that it had established an Equities process for determining when a zero-day software vulnerability it learns about should be disclosed to a vendor to be fixed or kept secret so that the NSA and other agencies can exploit it for intelligence or law enforcement purposes.
The question was when exactly the policy had been established.
Zero-day vulnerabilities are software security holes that are not known to the software vendor and are therefore unpatched and open to attack by hackers and others. A zero-day exploit is the malicious code crafted to attack such a hole to gain entry to a computer. When security researchers uncover zero-day vulnerabilities, they generally disclose them to the vendor so they can be patched. But when the government wants to exploit a hole, it withholds the information, leaving all computers that contain the flaw open to attack—including U.S. government computers, critical infrastructure systems and the computers of average users. - http://tinyurl.com/qfydg7g
Urine (Not Chlorine) Causes Red Eyes In Pools - (June 26, 2015 - by Erin Blakemore - Smithsonian.com) - …the CDC also reports that a pool’s telltale “chlorine” smell — and red, stinging eyes after swimming — are caused by “pee, poop, sweat, and dirt from swimmers’ bodies.”
In fact, chlorine is still a culprit. …when urine and chlorine mix, the combination turns chlorine into an ammonia derivative called chloramine, which has a distinctive smell, a reputation for causing respiratory problems, and a telltale effect on eyes.
But pee isn’t the worst thing that’s probably lurking in your pool. Actually, according to CDC healthy swimming spokesperson and epidemiologist Michele Hlavsa, it’s poop. She tells LiveScience’s Rachael Rettner that people with diarrhea can spread a filter and chorine-resistant Cryptosporidium, a parasite that is the leading cause of waterborne disease in the United States. - http://tinyurl.com/oqy53el
Inactivity Reduces People's Muscle Strength - (June 26, 2015 - University of Copenhagen The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences - ScienceDaily) - It only takes two weeks of not using their legs for young people to lose a third of their muscular strength, leaving them on par with a person who is 40-50 years their senior, new research shows. - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150626095520.htm
Crooks Use Hacked Routers To Aid Cyberheists
Marijuana Is Now Legal In Oregon - (June 30, 2015 - Phillip Smith - AlterNet) - As of today, you can possess up to eight ounces and grow up to four plants.
Four states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana, and 23 states allow some form of access to medical marijuana. At least a half-dozen more states are likely to try to legalize it at the ballot box next year, and it could even happen this year in Ohio, where an initiative campaign has just handed in twice the number of signatures needed to qualify for the ballot. - http://tinyurl.com/np27tud
TISA Exposed: 'Holy Grail' Of Leaks Reveals Detailed Plot For Corporate Takeover - (July 1, 2015 - by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer - Common Dreams) - Fifty-two-nation Trade in Services Agreement uses trade regulations 'as a smokescreen to limit citizen rights,' says labor leader - http://tinyurl.com/objwvby
Roswell's Unanswered UFO Questions
Skinwalker Ranch – The Strangest Place On Earth
America’s Endless Air Wars
Guns Don't Deter Crime, Study Finds
Youth Flocking To Sanders Because 'You're Right, Bernie, You're Right!' - (July 7, 2015 - by Jon Queally, staff writer - Common Dreams) - If you're wondering why the campaign continues to build momentum and attract big crowds, one person among the many thousands in Portland shouted his answer.
"In case you didn’t notice, this is a big turnout," Sanders told the excited crowd as he took the podium. A longtime political observer in the state told this writer that never in his long history of attending rallies in the state—from Barack Obama to Bill Clinton to Jimmy Carter—did he ever see such an enormous showing for a presidential candidate at this stage of the campaign season—or possibly ever.
On the topic of the energy his campaign is generating, Sanders continued his speech by saying that national media outlets are increasingly asking him: "Well, Bernie, Why are so many people coming to your events? Why have hundreds of thousands of people in every state in this country volunteered to play a role in the campaign? Why have 250,000 people made small donations to the campaign? Why are grassroots organizations popping up all over America?—"
And at that moment, a young man in the crowd shouted: "Because you're right, Bernie, you're right!"
To which Sanders smiled and continued, "The answer, I think, is pretty obvious. From Maine to California, the American people understand that establishment politics and establishment economics is not working for the middle class."
And the American people, he continued, "understand that the greed of Wall Street and the greed of corporate America is destroying this country and people from coast to coast are saying, 'You can’t keep getting away with that.'"
Though the issue of economic inequality dominated his message, Sanders also took time to deal with a number of specific issues, including: low wages and the labor rights, student debt and higher education, women's rights and reproductive freedom; "real" family values that would include paid maternity leave, vacation, and sick time; the ongoing need for a single-payer healthcare system; and the necessary fight against climate change.
Watch the full speech: - http://tinyurl.com/pd7pxbg
Amazon Is Analyzing the Personal Relationships of Its Reviewers - (July 8, 2015 - by Bruce Schneier / Schneier on Security) - This is an interesting story of a reviewer who had her reviewer deleted because Amazon believed she knew the author personally.
Leaving completely aside the ethics of friends reviewing friends' books, what is Amazon doing conducting this kind of investigative surveillance? Do reviewers know that Amazon is keeping tabs on who their friends are? - http://tinyurl.com/q5cfuqf
Alaska’s On Fire And It May Make Climate Change Even Worse - (July 8, 2015 - by …hundreds of wildfires burning in Alaska and Canada.
The problem isn’t just scorched landscape—though that’s bad enough, to the tune of 3 million acres and 600 fires in Alaska and over 4,000 wildfires in Canada. …. …. But the real problem is that the fires could accelerate the melting of permafrost, a layer of ground that’s never supposed to get above freezing. And permafrost is one of Earth’s great storehouses of carbon. Release it, and you speed up climate change.
What ties all that together is “duff,” the thick layer of moss, twigs, needles, and other living or once-living material that blankets the forest floor. Duff can be up to a foot thick, and it provides the insulation that keeps permafrost cold through even the sunny days of summer. But when fire comes along, duff becomes fuel. Burning duff releases carbon too, of course, but losing it is like ripping the insulation out of a refrigerator.
Losing permafrost wouldn’t just affect Alaskans and Canadians, though. All the permafrost in the world currently stores an estimated 1.4 trillion tons of carbon, twice the amount in the atmosphere. What happens if all that carbon gets released? - http://tinyurl.com/o8r9pnd
Spying On The Internet Is Orders Of Magnitude More Invasive
The Risks Of Mandating Backdoors In Encryption Products
Let Federal Employees Toke Up…It’s Good for Everyone - (July 7, 2015 - by Marijuana may be legal in your state, but if you partake, you can’t work for the government.
Katherine Archuleta, the Executive Director of the Office of Personal Management, recently sent notice to the heads of every federal agency announcing a policy under which any federal employee who uses marijuana, or even possesses it for a sick child off duty, is not suited to work for the federal government. This policy remains in place even if the employee resides in a state where such use is legal under state law.
I myself am a federal employee of almost 10 years. I’ve also been researching and advocating for reasonable marijuana policy since I was in law school. What I’ve learned in that time is that lots of wonderfully successful, productive, creative, responsible adults consume marijuana. Support nationwide for medical use of marijuana regularly polls above 80 percent. It turns out that the war on drugs, and its largest component, the prohibition of marijuana, is really terrible for American families, communities, and democracy.
Meanwhile, if you are wondering why OPM and Katherine Archuleta sounds familiar, maybe it is because while she was busy digging up an outdated executive order from the failed drug war, hackers were steeling the social security, addresses, names, and 127 page security background checks for every single federal employee right under Katherine Archuleta’s watch. In fact, the news reports keep getting worse. OPM was under the worst hack in history, it did not detect the breach and it affected every single federal employee and an additional 10 million people? Fail.
There is a connection here. Last May, FBI Director James Comey said that the OPM policy against hiring anyone who has smoked marijuana in the last five years has crippled our ability to prepare for cyber-attacks. He said all the best candidates are disqualified by this policy. ….
Is perpetuating marijuana prohibition worth sacrificing national security? Of course not. When will the government recover from reefer madness? Probably not while Archuleta is in charge. - http://tinyurl.com/p4ljlng
Sea Levels Could Rise At Least 20 Feet - (July 10, 2015 - by Brian Kahn - Climate Central) - Even if world manages to limit global warming to 2°C — the target number for current climate negotiations — sea levels may still rise at least 6 meters (20 feet) above their current heights, radically reshaping the world’s coastline and affecting millions in the process.
That finding comes from a new paper published on Thursday in Science that shows how high sea levels rose the last time carbon dioxide levels were this high.
The study examined past changes and laid out a framework for using them to refine our understanding of what the future holds for coastal communities. According to separate research by Climate Central, a 20-foot sea level rise would reshape the U.S. coast, causing Louisiana to lose its boot and transforming the Bay Area into the Bays Area by forming a second inland bay. It would also threaten the world's coastal nations and megacities.
The big outstanding question — and the one that’s most relevant to people living along the coasts — is just how long it could take sea levels to rise to such great heights. The process isn’t linear. It’s currently accelerating and that trend is expected to continue. [Andrea] Dutton [a geochemist at the University of Florida and one of the study’s co-authors] said her group is working on new techniques to better define the rates of rise, but other efforts have shown tipping points could cause sudden, rapid rises faster than previous estimates.
“There are some recent modeling efforts that now show you could get a section of the Antarctic ice sheet, several meters worth of sea level rise, to go in a decade. We used to think it was centuries,” she said. - http://tinyurl.com/nbpt8zf
Hacking Team's malware uses a UEFI rootkit to survive operating system reinstalls - (July 14, 2015 - by Lucian Constantin - PC World) - The feature allows the company's software to persist even if the hard disk drive if replaced
Surveillance software maker Hacking Team has provided its government customers with the ability to infect the low-level firmware found in laptops and other computers that they wanted to spy on.The company developed a tool that can be used to modify a computer’s UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) so that it silently reinstalls its surveillance tool even if the hard drive is wiped clean or replaced - http://www.pcworld.com/article/2948092
The Truth About Operation Majestic 12
(June 2015 - by retired nuclear physicist, Stanton T. Friedman - MUFON UFO Journal)
[Excerpt (emphasis added)]:
…nobody has provided a meaningful answer to the comment made by United States Air Force General Carroll Bolender way back on October 20, 1969. Readers will recall that Bolender, an engineer on the development of the Lunar Excursion Module which landed on the moon in July 1969, was asked what the USAF should do about Project Blue Book. ….
Readers will recall that the Bolender memo had been obtained as the result of a Freedom of Information Act request…. …. The memo resulted in the closure of Blue Book at the end of 1969. My point here is that Brigadier General Bolendar made two rather astonishing comments that have not received much attention from the media.
“Moreover, reports which could affect national security are in accordance with JANAP 146 and Air Force Manual 55-11 and are not part of the Blue Book System.” He noted that if Blue Book was closed the public would no place to report UFO sightings. “However, as already stated, reports which could affect national security, would continue to be handled through the standard Air Force Procedures designed for this purpose.” I managed to locate General Bolendar and spoke with him by phone. I asked if he meant that there are two separate communications channels: one for civilians and one for military and he said YES. The example I had given him was a report of a saucer flying down the runway of a SAC base where nuclear weapons were stored…. …of course, the government would be very much more interested in sightings that could affect national security and Operation Majestic 12 would seem to fill the bill as handling those sighting could affect national security. A good example was told to me recently by a retired USAF Colonel who had, while flying a jet on a mission to intercept a UFO picked up on radar, found that it zipped suddenly from going 500 mph to 1,800 mph and then came back, and made a sharp turn going right past him in the opposite direction.
After landing he reported to his commander and a “suit” who asked all the questions.
To whom was the “suit” reporting? Anybody have a better suggestion than Majestic 12?
"Mastermind" Of Oregon Marijuana Legalization Turns Attention To Missouri - (July 7, 2015 - by Ever since July 2, a happy cloud of pot smoke has hovered over Oregon. On that date, the state's governor signed a marijuana legalization measure into law, making Oregon the fourth state in the U.S. to reject the failed tactics of pot prohibition.
It was a particularly heady moment for Travis Maurer. But not necessarily because of the legal weed.
A Missouri native, Maurer had been living in Columbia in 2009…. ….
…Maurer moved his family to Oregon, eventually working behind the scenes to organize opposition to the kind of drug laws he encountered in Missouri. His work paid off: In a lengthy profile published Monday, The Oregonian credited Maurer with "masterminding Oregon's marijuana initiative."
…. Maurer founded the organization Show-Me Cannabis in 2010 to advocate for legalization….
…Maurer is taking a more public role in bringing legal pot to his home state. New Approach Missouri, a political action committee, hopes to run a legalization campaign for Show-Me Cannabis. (Maurer's wife is on its board.)
First, however, the organization has to figure out what kind of legalization measure to back. According to Show-Me Cannabis executive director John Payne, the immediate challenge is obtaining polling and research data.
…. …Payne cautions that such a victory may be still further down the road: Instead of a full legalization bill, he says, it's possible that voters would prefer to pass a measure legalizing medicinal marijuana.
Payne tells us that Show-Me Cannabis and New Approach Missouri will make a decision on a ballot initiative "very shortly." He hopes to begin collecting signatures by September.
…. And while the Oregon bill isn't without its problems, he says those challenges are far preferable to the systemic flaws of marijuana prohibition.
"Not everyone is going to agree at the end of the day," he says. "At the end of the day, adults in Oregon won't be criminalized for owning cannabis. And the same thing needs to happen in Missouri." - http://tinyurl.com/qawnomo
Drought Is Just the Beginning Of Our Frightening Water Emergency
Marijuana Dispensaries Save Lives, New Study Shows - (July 17, 2015 - by The United States has a problem with painkillers. During the past 15 years, America has seen a tremendous growth in both the sales of prescription opiates and the number of people who die each year from abusing them. More than 16,000 people fatally overdosed on prescription painkillers in 2013, accounting for 60% of all overdose deaths, according to the Center for Disease Control. But a new study suggests that some states have already stumbled onto a means of curbing this fatal epidemic: Easily-accessible marijuana.
For the study, researchers from the RAND Corporation and the University of California-Irvine (UCI) examined whether, in the years following legalization, states that legalized marijuana had experienced reductions in fatal overdoses and addiction treatment center admissions relating to opioid abuse. The researchers found that these states experienced significant reductions in both measures of opioid misuse — but only if they had also legalized marijuana dispensaries.
In the six states where doctors are allowed to prescribe marijuana, but where retail dispensaries are prohibited, the study found “no evidence” of “reductions in substance abuse or mortality.” But in those 18 states where medical marijuana shops are allowed, they found a 16% reduction in “opioid-related mortality” and 28% reduction in opioid-abuse treatment admissions. - http://tinyurl.com/ofjf4um
Hackers figure out how to seize control of a car from anywhere!
Patch Your Chrysler NOW Against A Wireless Hacking Attack!
Retail Meat Is A Potential Pehicle For Disease-causing Klebsiella - (July 23, 2015 - George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health - Science Daily) - Increasing antibiotic resistance among Klebsiella poses serious public health threat
Chicken, turkey and pork sold in grocery stores harbors disease-causing bacteria known as Klebsiella pneumoniae, according to a new study. The research shows that contaminated meat may be an important source of human exposure to Klebsiella. - http://tinyurl.com/p2tardn
Why The Laura Poitras Case Is Bigger Than You Think
Social Security Has Enough Money To Expand Benefits Now - (July 22, 2015 - By Nancy Altman - Huffington Post) - Billions are available now and in the near-future.The Social Security Board of Trustees has just released its annual report to Congress. The most important takeaways are that Social Security has a large and growing surplus, and its future cost is fully affordable. - http://tinyurl.com/p4z8le7
10 Reasons Why Federal Medical Marijuana Prohibition Is About to Go Up in Smoke - (July 24, 2015 - by Steph Sherer - Huffington Post) - Previously impossible victories keep mounting. - http://tinyurl.com/nazmm7r
Doctors Protest Big
Pharma's Out of Control Greed Which is Bankrupting Ill Patients - (July 24, 2015 - by Steven Rosenfeld - AlterNet) - The Mayo Clinic leads a protest against drug company greed. - http://tinyurl.com/pyrlxk3
Tax Havens: Super-rich 'hiding' at least $21 Trillion
to Coastlines: New Study Warns of Disastrous Sea Level Rise Within
Decades - (July 28,
2015 - By James Hansen / Huffington Post) - A new study
finds that an increase of 2 degrees Celsius, rather than being a safe
"guardrail" against the worst climate change effects, is actually
My conclusion, based on the total information available, is that continued high emissions would result in multi-meter sea level rise this century and lock in continued ice sheet disintegration such that building cities or rebuilding cities on coast lines would become foolish.
A startling conclusion of our paper is that effects of freshwater release onto the Southern Ocean and North Atlantic are already underway....
Here, I expand on our conclusion that the science indicates 2°C is not a safe target. Indeed, 2°C is not only a wrong target, temperature is a flawed metric due to meltwater effect on temperature. Sea level, a critical metric for humanity, is at least on the same plane. Earth's energy imbalance is a critical metric, because energy balance must be restored to stabilize climate, which thus informs us about the required limit on greenhouse gases (GHGs). The Framework Convention on Climate Change, agreed upon at Rio in 1992, defines GHGs as the critical metric, saying that GHGs must be stabilized at a level that avoids "dangerous anthropogenic interference" with climate. Why have policymakers turned away from GHG amount to temperature as the metric with a value (2°C) seemingly pulled from a hat? Could it be because 2°C allows politicians to set emission targets to be achieved in the future when they will be out of office? If we stick to the Framework Convention's GHG metric, we find that the CO2 stabilization level is not 450 ppm or 400 ppm, it is 350 ppm and possibly lower with immediate implications for policy.
The bottom line message scientists should deliver to policymakers is that we have a global crisis, an emergency that calls for global cooperation to reduce emissions as rapidly as practical. We conclude elsewhere and reaffirm in our present paper that the crisis calls for an across-the-board rising carbon fee and international technical cooperation in carbon-free technologies. - http://tinyurl.com/qe2q6rs
30 Reasons Why Saying 'Don’t Want to Get Hurt by Cops? Don’t Break the Law' Is Totally Wrong - (July 27, 2015 - by Matt Agorist - The Free Thought Project) - This common meme is ridiculous for all kinds of reasons. - http://tinyurl.com/q699qj2
We Don’t Need More Optimists: Unchecked Positive Thinking Is More Dangerous than It Sounds - (July 27, 2015 - by Scott Timberg - Salon) - From The Secret to destructive management theories, unbridled optimism is just another way to ignore real issues. - http://tinyurl.com/nzmr82t
Stagefright Vulnerability in Android Phones - (July 27, 2015 - by Bruce Schneier - Schneier On Security) - The Stagefright vulnerability for Android phones is a bad one. It's exploitable via a text message (details depend on auto downloading of the particular phone), it runs at an elevated privilege (again, the severity depends on the particular phone -- on some phones it's full privilege), and it's trivial to weaponize. Imagine a worm that infects a phone and then immediately sends a copy of itself to everyone on that phone's contact list.
The worst part of this is that it's an Android exploit, so most phones won't be patched anytime soon -- if ever. (The people who discovered the bug alerted Google in April. Google has sent patches to its phone manufacturer partners, but most of them have not sent the patch to Android phone users.) - http://tinyurl.com/q93xxcf
Could Your Android Phone Be Hacked With A Text? - (July 27, 2015 - by Stephanie Mlot - PC Magazine) - A flaw in the mobile OS opens the door for anyone to take over a handset just by knowing your phone number.
About 95 percent of Android devices, or about 950 million smartphones, are vulnerable….
…found multiple ways to execute the bug, "the worst of which requires no user-interaction." All it takes is a 10-digit phone number and an MMS message; some hackers could even delete the message before a user sees it.
"These vulnerabilities are extremely dangerous because they do not require that the victim take any action to be exploited," the Zimperium team wrote in a blog post.
No need to open a file or click on a link; the attack could come while you're sleeping, blissfully unaware that private photos, contact details, bank information, and favorite websites are being accessed. If the timing is right, you'll wake up none the wiser, carrying on with a trojaned phone.
"If 'Heartbleed' from the PC era sends [a] chill down your spine, this is much worse," the security firm said.
Most smartphones running Android 2.2 and later are vulnerable, though those operating versions prior to Jelly Bean (which accounts for about 11 percent) are at the highest risk.
Some folks are, however, are protected: owners of SilentCircle's BlackPhone, as well as users of Mozilla's Firefox, which has included fixes since version 38. - http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2488499,00.asp
How To Stop Windows 10 Sharing Your Wi-Fi With Contacts
Windows 10: Privacy issues
Maliciously crafted MKV video files can crash Android phones
'Impossible' rocket drive works and could get to Moon in four hours - (July 28, 2015 - by By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor - The Telegraph/UK) - Interplanetary travel could be a step closer after scientists confirmed that an electromagnetic propulsion drive, which is fast enough to get to the Moon in four hours, actually works.
The EM Drive was developed by the British inventor Roger Shawyer nearly 15 years ago but was ridiculed at the time as being scientifically impossible.
It produces thrust by using solar power to generate multiple microwaves that move back and forth in an enclosed chamber. This means that until something fails or wears down, theoretically the engine could keep running forever without the need for rocket fuel. - http://tinyurl.com/puruqnw
Debunking One Of The Most Pernicious Pot Myths - (July 28, 2015 - by - AlterNet) - A cannabis overdose has never killed anyone -- much less a child. - http://tinyurl.com/noshohs
You'll Never Believe What Drug a Major Federal Health Official Called 'Safe' with 'No Addictive Effects' - (July 30, 2015 - by - NORML) - Shocking statement by the director of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The director of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse
(NIDA), Nora Volkow, believes that cannabidiol
(CBD) – a nonpsychotropic cannabinoid
– is “a safe drug with no addictive
effects.” Volkow made the comments in an op-ed
published by .
Volkow further acknowledged, “[P]reliminary data suggest that it may have therapeutic value for a number of medical conditions.” - http://tinyurl.com/o9supdw
The Marijuana Legalization Express: 10 States That Could Vote on It Next Year - (July 29, 2015 - by - AlterNet) - [Missouri-related excerpt]: A Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll from February showed only 45% in favor of marijuana legalization, but Missouri activists organized as Show-Me Cannabis have been waging a serious, hard-fought campaign to educate Missourians on the issue, and it could pay off next year.
Their initiative would legalize up to 12 ounces of buds, one ounce of concentrates, a pound of edibles and 20 ounces of cannabis liquids, as well as allow for home grows of up to six plants. It would also create a medical marijuana program and a legal, regulated marijuana commerce.
Since it is a constitutional amendment, the initiative will need at least 157,788 valid voter signatures to qualify for the ballot. Organizers will have until next May to get them. - http://tinyurl.com/qgduybw
Dangers Of Brazil Nuts
Beware of These Cancer Symptoms That Are Easily Overlooked
Did You Know?: Nearly 1 Million Plastic Bags Are Used Every Minute - (Summer 2015 - Missouri Resources Magazine / MO DNR) - Today, approximately ninety percent of grocery and shopping bags are made of plastic. We see them everywhere. We use them to carry our lunch to work, line our bathroom trash cans, and observe them fluttering from tree branches or blowing down the street with a gust of wind. According to 2012 EPA estimates, Americans generate approximately 3.8 million tons of plastic bag, sack and wrap waste annually, of which only 440,000 tons is collected for recycling. Many bags end up as litter and are destined to become among the most common form of ocean refuse, next to cigarette butts. Plastic bags that are not properly disposed of or recycled can find their way into streams and waterways and eventually end up in the ocean, where they can take up to 1,000 years to break down.
Many municipal recycling programs don’t accept plastic bags in their combined recycling bins. The bags are difficult to sort and can become tangled in machinery. To properly recycle plastic bags, save and return them to the specialized recycling bins found in many of the stores that provide bags for customers. Many avoid plastic bags entirely and, instead, bring their own reusable bags. You might be thinking, “What about paper bags?” While paper bags are easier to dispose of or recycle, they also use 40 percent more energy to make and produce more hazardous emissions and water waste during manufacturing.
In the end, it’s about consumption. Reducing our dependence on plastic and paper bags reduces their impact on our environment. - http://dnr.mo.gov/magazine/docs/mr-summer-15.pdf
'Ransomware' Haunts Individuals, Businesses - (Aug. 1, 2015 - by It’s a real life threat for individuals and some businesses. It’s one more reminder of why you need to back up files and should never click on links, open attachments or visit websites if you’re uncertain of their origin.
Basically, the scam artists hold your data — your photos, your music, your other computer files — hostage until you pay up.
The ransom dollars? Victims are being asked to cough up anywhere from $200 to $10,000. Often, victims are asked to use bitcoin to pay the money.
The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center issued a report in late June to warn that ransomware continues to spread typically through a threat called CrytoWall and its variants.
“Ransomware is incredibly common right now,” said Brian Krebs, who writes about cybercrime and is the author of “Spam Nation.” “This is the malware of choice for people who want to commit cybercrime right now.”
Krebs, who has a blog called KrebsOnSecurity….
For individuals, the troubles can start if you download free movies or click on attachments. Or hackers can use social engineering to pretend to be someone on your contact list or they can pretend to be from a legitimate company, such as the local utility.
So if you see a site that offers “free” games or movies or access to stolen “Game of Thrones” TV episodes or some super but suspicious bargains for shoppers, it’s a good idea to avoid clicking.
The malware goes through the files, finds what’s valuable and then the victim’s files become encrypted. Once that happens, the consumer or organization is notified and a ransom is demanded.
“It waits until it’s done all the damage,” Krebs said.
If there aren’t backup files, the only options for companies or consumers are to “pay the extortionist or kiss their files goodbye,” Krebs said.
Other tips: Update the software that you’ve installed. If you didn’t go looking for some antivirus software, do not install something that comes to you via email.
Experts say be sure to prevent popups from automatically coming on your screen so you don’t accidentally click on them.
Always back up the content on your computer.
“If you back up, verify, and maintain offline copies of your personal and application data, ransomware scams will have limited impact on you,” the FBI said. - http://tinyurl.com/okgnfs3
Meet The Hedge Funders And Billionaires Who Pillage Under The Shield Of Philanthropy - (July 29, 2015 - by Lynn Stuart Parramore - AlterNet) - For every dollar they give, they take 44 from the rest of us. - http://tinyurl.com/outbk87
Why The ISIS Threat Is Totally Overblown
The Company Getting Rich Off The ISIS War
Abrupt Sea Level Rise And The Collapse Of Civilization
Are Computer Hackers Helping Or Harming Us?
This Hacker’s Tiny Device Unlocks Cars And Opens Garages
Google’s Search Algorithm Could Steal The Presidency
Cannabis: The Most Important Vegetable On The Planet! - (August 2, 2015 - by Carolanne Wright - Wake Up World) - “If cannabis were discovered in the Amazon rainforest today, people would be clambering to make as much use as they could of all of the potential benefits of the plant. Unfortunately, it carries with it a long history of being a persecuted plant.” ~ Dr. Donald Abrams, Chief of Hematology Oncology at San Francisco General Hospital
“The ancient Chinese knew of marijuana’s pain-relieving and mind-altering effects, yet it was not widely employed for its psychoactive properties; instead it was cultivated as hemp for the manufacture of rope and fabric. Likewise, the ancient Greeks and Romans used hemp to make rope and sails. In some other places, however, marijuana’s intoxicating properties became important. In India, for example, the plant was incorporated into religious rituals. During the Middle Ages, its use was common in Arab lands; in 15th-century Iraq it was used to treat epilepsy; in Egypt it was primarily consumed as an inebriant. After Napoleon’s occupation of Egypt, Europeans began using the drug as an intoxicant. During the slave trade, it was transported from Africa to Mexico, the Caribbean and South America. Marijuana gained a following in the U.S. only relatively recently. During the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, cannabis was freely available without a prescription for a wide range of ailments, including migraine and ulcers,” ~ Roger A. Nicoll and Bradley N. Alger remind us in Scientific American
“It [cannabis] has captured these molecules that help our bodies regulatory system be more effective. The bottom line is it’s a dietary essential that helps all 210 cell types function more effectively. I don’t even refer to it as medicine anymore, strictly as a dietary essential.” ~ Dr. William L. Courtney - http://tinyurl.com/oczptab
Shakespeare Was A Pot Smoker? - (August 10, 2015 - by Sarah Berger - International Business Times) - Archaeologists Make a Surprising FindAn analysis of pipe fragments found in the playwright's garden suggests he was no stranger to cannabis. - http://tinyurl.com/qc9vs43
Bernie Sanders Rally Attracts Tens of Thousands In Portland, OR
How Dick Cheney Kicked off an Era of Cancer Clusters and Eco-Disasters from Fracking - (August 13, 2015 - by Wenonah Hauter - EcoWatch) - The Energy Policy Act of 2005, which holds the Halliburton Loophole, exempts oil and gas firms from environmental protection laws. - http://tinyurl.com/o5jacud
America Is Frying the Planet With Its Corn Fields
Did Technology Kill The Book Or Give It New Life?
Famous UFO Cases
NSA's 'Unique and Productive' Relationship With AT&T
Is Microsoft Snooping
On Your Computer? - (Sarah Griffiths - The Daily Mail / UK) - Analysts claim Windows 10 sends identifiable
information to tech giant EVEN when told not to - http://tinyurl.com/p7zwcvk
The Pentagon's Secret Database On Peaceful Protest
IRS: 330K Taxpayers Hit By ‘Get Transcript’ Scam
Reverse mortgages: The final blow killing middle class wealth
Pentagon Manual Calls Some Reporters Spies
Insecticide Found In Half Of Sampled U.S. Streams
Hawaii's Spike In Birth Defects Puts Focus On GM Crops
Meet The Far Right's Favorite Quack Historian - (August 23, 2015 - by Julie Ingersoll / Salon) - David Barton has shaped the curriculum of Christian schools and home schoolers. His 'history' is a dangerous joke. - http://tinyurl.com/o6ekkys
Evidence That Earth's First Mass Extinction Was Caused By Critters Not Catastrophe - (September 2, 2015 - Vanderbilt University / Science Daily) - A powerful analogy for what is happening today
The Earth's first mass extinction event 540 million years ago was caused not by a meteorite impact or volcanic super-eruption but by the rise of early animals that dramatically changed the prehistoric environment. - http://tinyurl.com/oucdf7c
Extravagant CEO Pay Packages Are Fostering Planet's Destruction - (September 2, 2015 - by Nadia Prupis, staff writer - Common Dreams) - Report outlines how sky-high payouts and pervasive "short-termism" are promoting reckless climate behavior from fossil fuel executives - http://tinyurl.com/onqrqyz
Tampa, Florida May Be Due For Extreme "Grey Swan" Hurricanes - (August 31, 2015 - by Katie Nodjimbadem - Smithsonian) - A new model combines historical data and physical modeling to find the risks of catastrophic storms in unexpected places
[….]...according to a new model, climate change may cause an increase in less predictable “grey swan” tropical storms around the world. If it bears out, the model suggests that Tampa, Florida; Cairns, Australia and the Persian Gulf are all at risk of highly damaging hurricanes sometime in the next century.