The Big Corona

Sep. 21st, 2017 04:32
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Most photographs don't adequately portray the magnificence of the Most photographs don't adequately portray the magnificence of the


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Posted by BeauHD

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Even after puffing on just one electronic cigarette with nicotine, healthy non-smokers were found to have a biological marker known to increase the risk of heart disease in tobacco users, according to a new study. The research, published in Journal of the American Heart Association, shows that nicotine is not harmless, as many people believe. It can affect a smoker's health in more than one way, and not just by triggering addiction. Another study, conducted by Middlekauff that was published earlier this year, showed that people who use e-cigs almost every day have biological markers known to increase the risk of heart disease in tobacco users. These included an increase in adrenaline levels in the heart, which can predispose smokers to bad heart rhythms, heart attacks, and sudden death, as well as increased oxidative stress, an imbalance in the body's ability to defend itself against the damaging action of free radicals. Oxidative stress can lead to changes in blood fats and lead to arteriosclerosis. That study, however, didn't show what exactly was causing those changes. E-cigarettes can have different flavoring and solvents, as well as nicotine. So to identify the culprit, Middlekauff brought 33 healthy non-smokers and non-vapers into the lab. On three different days, one month apart, the participants were asked to puff on three different kinds of e-cigarettes for 30 minutes: one with nicotine, one without nicotine, and a sham e-cig that was empty. The researchers did blood tests and measured the subjects' heart rhythms, and found that the participants had high levels of adrenaline in their hearts after they smoked the e-cig with nicotine, but not after they puffed on the e-cigarette without nicotine or the empty e-cig.

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Posted by BeauHD

Cristina Marcos reports via The Hill: Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday asked the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to establish new guidelines for online advertising platforms that would prevent foreign spending to influence U.S. elections. The move comes after Facebook provided information to Congress and special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the FBI's investigation into Russia's election interference, about Russian ad purchases during the 2016 campaign. "The recent revelations that foreign nationals with suspected ties to the Russian government sought to influence the 2016 election through social media advertisements are deeply concerning and demand a response," 20 House and Senate Democrats wrote in the letter. "We are fast approaching the 2018 election cycle. As such, it is imperative the Federal Election Commission begin this effort in earnest," they wrote. CNN, which first reported on the Democrats' letter, cited Facebook sources saying they expect Congress may try to require disclaimers on online political ads in the future, similar to political television ads. The Democratic lawmakers suggested that any FEC guidance address how foreign actors can use corporate or nonprofit designations to avoid disclosing political spending; what advertisement platforms can do to prevent foreign campaign activity; and possible changes to disclosure standards for political advertisements.

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Posted by BeauHD

New submitter kipperstem77 shares an excerpt from a report via The Next Platform: The National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) has, according to James Lin, vice director for the Center of High Performance Computing (HPC) at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, who divulged the plans last year, is building one of the three pre-exascale machines [that China is currently investing in], in this case a kicker to the Tianhe-1A CPU-GPU hybrid that was deployed in 2010 and that put China on the HPC map. This exascale system will be installed at the National Supercomputer Center in Tianjin, not the one in Guangzhou, according to Lin. This machine is expected to use ARM processors, and we think it will very likely use Matrix2000 DSP accelerators, too, but this has not been confirmed. The second pre-exascale machine will be an upgrade to the TaihuLight system using a future Shenwei processor, but it will be installed at the National Supercomputing Center in Jinan. And the third pre-exascale machine being funded by China is being architected in conjunction with AMD, with licensed server processor technology, and which everyone now thinks is going to be based on Epyc processors and possibly with Radeon Instinct GPU coprocessors. The Next Platform has a slide embedded in its report "showing the comparison between Tianhe-2, which was the fastest supercomputer in the world for two years, and Tianhe-2A, which will be vying for the top spot when the next list comes out." Every part of this system shows improvements.

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Posted by BeauHD

In addition to any of the hundreds of Whole Foods supermarkets across the country, certain Kohl's stores will now accept returns of "eligible items" as part of a retail partnership between the two companies that began earlier this summer. Mashable reports: Starting next month, more than 80 Kohl's locations in the Chicago and Los Angeles area will begin packing and shipping returns back to the online shopping giant's warehouses free of charge. The stores will even have specially designated parking spots for Amazon returns customers. In exchange, Kohl's is hoping that some of the people this program draws into its stores will be tempted to buy something there along the way. One recent UPS survey found that around 70 percent of consumers tend to make new purchases in the course of returning items in stores. The new array of return options will also help Amazon undercut its arch-rival Walmart, which has staked its big push to catch up with Amazon on the idea that its thousands of stores can serve as waypoints for pick-ups, returns, and more convenient delivery.

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Posted by BeauHD

According to a new survey, coders with a bachelor's degree in computer science only earn 3,000 British Pounds (BP) more a year than those who don't have one. The survey of 4,700 developers in the UK was conducted by Stack Overflow, a community site frequented by developers for answers to technical questions. The Register reports the findings: This is despite the average degree now costing 9,000 BP a year in tuition fees alone. Average student debt is now more than 50,000 BP, according the Institute of Fiscal Studies. The research found that the median salary of those who did not have higher education was 35,000 BP per year, while those who gained a bachelor's degree earned 38,000 BP and postgraduates took home 42,000 BP. It found that 48 per cent of developers with less than four years of professional experience currently hold a Computer Science-related undergraduate degree, while 49 per cent had completed an online course instead. The research also found that JavaScript developers were most in demand, with almost 27 per cent of jobs advertised on Stack Overflow now requiring this skill, followed by Java (22 per cent), Python (16 per cent), C# (15 per cent) and ReactJS (9 per cent).

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Posted by msmash

An anonymous reader shares a report: With Google's user-generated content loophole firmly in lawmaker's sights, global music trade body IFPI has published new research looking at demand for music streaming. The research confirms YouTube's pre-eminence as the world's de facto jukebox. 46 percent of on-demand music streaming is from Google's video website. 75 percent of internet users use video streaming to hear music. The paid-for picture is bullish: 50 percent of internet users have paid for licensed music in the last six months, in one form or another, of which 53 per are 13- to 15-year-olds. Audio streaming is split between 39 percent who stream for free and 29 percent who pay. [...] So what's the problem? European policy makers have become convinced by the "value gap" argument: compensation doesn't reflect usage. Google finds itself with a unique advantage here, thanks to YouTube's "user-generated content" exception, as we explained last year.

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Posted by Dan Evon

According to rumors, the actor told an interviewer that there is no difference between the two entrepreneurs because both are capitalists.
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Posted by BeauHD

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Quartz: At the Bloomberg Global Business Forum today, Carlyle Group co-founder and CEO David Rubenstein asked Microsoft founder Bill Gates to account for one of the most baffling questions of the digital era: Why does it take three fingers to lock or log in to a PC, and why did Gates ever think that was a good idea? Grimacing slightly, Gates deflected responsibility for the crtl-alt-delete key command, saying, "clearly, the people involved should have put another key on to make that work." Rubenstein pressed him: does he regret the decision? "You can't go back and change the small things in your life without putting the other things at risk," Gates said. But: "Sure. If I could make one small edit I would make that a single key operation." Gates has made the confession before. In 2013, he blamed IBM for the issue, saying, "The guy who did the IBM keyboard design didn't want to give us our single button."

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Posted by BeauHD

According to the Financial Times (Warning: source paywalled), Amazon is working on building a pair of smart glasses to house its Alexa voice assistant. The report also mentions a home security camera that is in the works, capable of linking up to Amazon's existing Echo connected devices. TechCrunch reports: According to the FT, the smart glasses are intended to be purely an earbuds-free housing for Amazon's Alexa AI -- with a bone-conduction audio system that would enable the wearer to hear Alexa without the need to be wired in. The FT reports the glasses would wirelessly tether to a user's smartphone for connectivity. They are also apparently being designed to look like a regular pair of spectacles, so they could be worn comfortably and unobtrusively. The paper notes that Amazon hired Babak Parviz, founder of Google Glass, in 2014, and says he's been closely involved in the project. It also points to several other Glass researchers, engineers and designers having moved to Amazon's labs -- per analysis of their LinkedIn profiles.

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Posted by BeauHD

New submitter fstack writes: Phoronix has carried out tests comparing AMD's high-end EPYC 7601 CPU to AMD Opteron CPUs from about ten years ago, looking at the EPYC/Opteron Linux performance and power efficiency. Both on the raw performance and performance-per-Watt, the numbers are quite staggering though the single-threaded performance hasn't evolved quite as much. The EPYC 7601 is a $4,200 USD processor with 32 cores / 64 threads. The first of many tests was with NAS Parallel Benchmarks: "For a heavily threaded test like this, going from a single Opteron 2300 series to the EPYC 7601 yielded around a 40x increase in performance," reports Phoronix. "Not bad when also considering it was only a 16x increase in the thread count (4 physical cores to 32 cores / 64 threads). The EPYC 7601 has a lower base clock frequency than the Opteron 2300 CPUs tested but has a turbo/boost frequency higher, among many architectural advantages over these K10 Opterons. With the NASA test's Lower-Upper Gauss-Seidel solver, going from the dual Opteron 2384 processors to a single EPYC 7601 yields around a 25x improvement in performance over the past decade of AMD server CPUs. Or in looking at the performance-per-Watt with the LU.C test, it's also around a 25x improvement over these older Opterons."

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Posted by Kim LaCapria

Blogs claimed "liberals" were offended over Hobby Lobby cotton decor products because a single Facebook user commented on the craft store's Facebook wall.
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Posted by Jason Weisberger

During his tenure as Donald Trump's campaign chairman, Paul Manafort offered private briefings on the status of the US Presidential election to Kremlin-connected Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, the Washington Post reports.

Via the Washington Post:

Less than two weeks before Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination, his campaign chairman offered to provide briefings on the race to a Russian billionaire closely aligned with the Kremlin, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Paul Manafort made the offer in an email to an overseas intermediary, asking that a message be sent to Oleg Deripaska, an aluminum magnate with whom Manafort had done business in the past, these people said.

“If he needs private briefings we can accommodate,” Manafort wrote in the July 7, 2016, email, portions of which were read to The Washington Post along with other Manafort correspondence from that time.

The emails are among tens of thousands of documents that have been turned over to congressional investigators and Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s team as they probe whether Trump associates coordinated with Russia as part of Moscow’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election.

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Posted by BeauHD

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: The second major earthquake to strike Mexico in less than two weeks has caused catastrophic damage in the country's capital. The magnitude 7.1 temblor started at around 1:15PM -- cracking highways, collapsing buildings, and, so far, killing more than 200 people. Less than two weeks ago on September 7th (local time), a magnitude 8.1 quake struck roughly 400 miles southeast from today's. It's not common to hear of such strong earthquakes happening back-to-back so close to one another, says John Bellini, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey. "Usually you don't have large ones in the same general region right away," Bellini says. "But in highly [seismically] active regions of the world, it can happen." Mexico qualifies as highly active. The country sits at the boundary of three pieces of the Earth's crust that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle -- called tectonic plates. Today's quake originated on a fault within the Cocos plate, which is on Mexico's western edge. "Whether or not faults rupture depends on the kind of stress that builds up," Bellini says. The Cocos plate scoots rapidly under the continental crust of the North American plate, which "builds up the stress and strain at a faster rate," Bellini says. "So you're liable to have more frequent earthquakes because of that." Mexico City is especially prone to severe damage because of the ground it sits on -- an ancient lakebed that quivers like jello, Bellini says. When earthquake waves pass through it, it jiggles, magnifying the vibrations. "So the reason that Mexico City seems susceptible to more damage is because of this amplification effect of the lake bed," Bellini says.

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Posted by msmash

Kate Lunau, writing for Motherboard: A new paper in Science Advances finds that a mass extinction period mirroring ones from our planet's ancient past could be triggered when humanity adds a certain amount of carbon to the oceans, which are home to the majority of all plants and animals on our planet. The paper pegs that amount at 310 gigatons. According to lead author Daniel Rothman of MIT, based on projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we're on course to hit that number by 2100. After that, we enter "unknown territory." [...] Previous mass extinctions have happened over the course of thousands or millions of years, but the period of change we're in right now has lasted centuries at best, making it hard to compare them. Although plenty of experts say Earth is already experiencing a sixth mass extinction, that remains "a scientific question," Rothman, who is professor of geophysics in the MIT Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, told me. Once our planet hits the threshold he identified in this paper, he explained, it will kickstart changes that will "amplify" everything that came before. These same changes, to reiterate, have been associated with all previous mass extinctions on Earth.

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Posted by msmash

An anonymous reader shares a Gizmodo report (condensed for space): For nearly two weeks, the company's official Twitter account has been directing users to a fake lookalike website. After announcing the breach, Equifax directed its customers to equifaxsecurity2017.com, a website where they can enroll in identity theft protection services and find updates about how Equifax is handing the "cybersecurity incident." But the decision to create "equifaxsecurity2017" in the first place was monumentally stupid. The URL is long and it doesn't look very official -- that means it's going to be very easy to emulate. To illustrate how idiotic Equifax's decision was, developer Nick Sweeting created a fake website of his own: securityequifax2017.com. (He simply switched the words "security" and "equifax" around.) As if to demonstrate Sweeting's point, Equifax appears to have been itself duped by the fake URL. The company has directed users to Sweeting's fake site sporadically over the past two weeks. Gizmodo found eight tweets containing the fake URL dating back to September 9th.

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Posted by msmash

An anonymous reader writes: Hurricane Maria's eye has left Puerto Rico, but the mammoth storm is still lashing the island with devastating winds. Maria weakened to a Category 3 hurricane Wednesday afternoon, hurling winds of 115 mph. But hurricane-force gusts topping 74 mph still extend over much of Puerto Rico, the National Hurricane Center said. Maria's brute force wiped out electricity to the entire island. "We are 100% without power," a spokesman for the Puerto Rico governor's office said Wednesday. The storm also ripped trees out of the ground and caused widespread flooding. "This is total devastation," said Carlos Mercader, a spokesman for Puerto Rico's governor. "Puerto Rico, in terms of the infrastructure, will not be the same. ... This is something of historic proportions." Maria is expected to dump a total of 12 to 18 inches of rain on Puerto Rico before barreling toward the Dominican Republic starting Wednesday night.

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Posted by msmash

New submitter Zorro writes: A ransomware attack sweeping the globe right now is launching about 8,000 different versions of the virus script at Barracuda's customers, Eugene Weiss, lead platform architect at Barracuda, told Axios, and it's hitting at a steady rate of about 2 million attacks per hour. What to watch out for: An incoming email spoofing the destination host, with a subject about "Herbalife" or a "copier" file delivery. Two of the latest variants Barracuda has detected include a paragraph about legalese to make it seem official, or a line about how a "payment is attached," which tricks you to click since, as Weiss puts it, "everyone wants a payment."

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Noor Jehan’s 91st Birthday

Sep. 20th, 2017 20:02
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Noor Jehan’s 91st Birthday

Date: September 21, 2017

The sad longing in the plaintive strains of "Awaaz De, Kahaan Hai." The dreamy romance of the sweetly sung "Chandni Ratein." The playful affection in the lilting melody of "Ve Mundiyan Sialkotiyan." These are just a few of the thousands of songs sung by the legendary Noor Jehan, known as Malika-E-Taranum (Queen of Melody) in the world of Punjabi, Urdu, and Hindustani music.

Born Allah Rakhi Wasai to a family of local musicians in Kasur, Punjab, Jehan began her singing career when she was just five years old. Success at rural taka theater performances encouraged the family to move to Calcutta and the bigger stage of maidan theater. Theatrical recognition soon led Jehan to the silver screen.

After Partition, Noor Jehan moved to newly independent Pakistan, but her voice continued to endear her to millions across the entire subcontinent. Her renditions of patriotic songs gave courage to many Pakistanis, and her visit to India in 1982 was met with overwhelming love and enthusiasm.

Madam, as she was popularly addressed, was best known for her voice. But she was also an accomplished actress, and became Pakistan’s first female director when she codirected Chan Wey in 1951. For her contributions to the arts, the Government of Pakistan awarded her the Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Star of Excellence) and the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (Medal of Excellence).

Today’s Doodle captures Jehan's unique singing stance — her chin tilted up, her hand flung out, and a flower in her hair. Happy Birthday, Madam!

Location: Pakistan

Tags: Noor Jehan, performer, singer, actor, actress, Pakistan, music, film, voice

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Posted by Mark Frauenfelder

A couple of days ago I mentioned the the MoYu YJ Lingpo 2 x 2 x 2 Speed Cube. I still haven't solved it, but I wanted to make a quick video to show how smooth it is. The little cubes rotate around a plastic sphere, and are connected by springs. It's practically impossible to jam it, unlike every other Rubik's Cube I've used. I thought it would be a snap to solve, having only 8 cubes (compared to the 27 26 cubes of a regular Rubik's cube) but it turns out I'm even dumber than I thought. I'm not giving up!

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Posted by Peter Sheridan

Nostradamus “predicted hurricanes and North Korea missile crisis,” claims this week’s Globe magazine, which promises to reveal the 16th-century French seer’s predictions for “what’s next!”

It’s about as plausible and fact-based as anything else in this week’s dubious tabloids. “The false trumpet concealing madness will cause Byzantium to change its laws,” wrote the ancient prognosticator. “The false trumpet is an obvious reference to America’s president,” Nostradamus analyst Louis Lefrevre tells Globe. Wait a second – the Trump-loving Globe is calling the President a “false trumpet”? Sure, he makes a lot of noise and blows a lot of hot air, but then who is the true trumpet? Hillary? Bernie?

The ancient writings continue: “The trumpet shakes with great discord. An agreement broken . . .”

Lefrevre explains: “The broken agreement is Kim’s refusal to stop nuclear testing despite his former promises.” Well, that seems obvious once you explain it.

So, what comes next?

“The next war,” says Lefrevre, pointing to this Nostradamus verse: “Pestilences extinguished, the world becomes smaller, for a long time the lands will be inhabited peacefully.” What could be clearer than that? And should I be surprised that a Google search for what the Globe terms “University of Paris expert Louis Lefrevre” turns up zero matches?

How about the Globe story that Jennifer Aniston and husband Justin Theroux are having a “trial separation”? Except she’s actually filming in Georgia, and he’s at home in New York. That’s not a marital split, it’s a working couple. How about the Globe finding “proof” that the coroner had Natalie Wood’s “autopsy faked!” Its proof? You’ll have to turn to Nostradamus for that, because the Globe comes up with none, except for a writer’s unsubstantiated “sensational claim” that coroner Thomas Noguchi “fabricated" findings to cover up her murder. What was fabricated? That’s never explained.

How about fears that actor Bruce Willis is suffering dementia, because he starred on Broadway wearing an earpiece to feed him his lines. Except that performance was two years ago, and wearing an earpiece to receive lines in a show with a script being constantly reworked is hardly a sign of Alzheimer’s. Just ask Al Pacino, James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson, and the many other actors who have worn earpieces for line prompts on Broadway.

The tabloids’ Guess-Your-Weight expert, who so accurately pin-points each star’s fluctuating heft to the nearest pound, now has a name: Dr. Stuart Fischer, creator of the Park Avenue Diet. Dr. Fischer tells the Globe that Caitlyn Jenner weighs “at least” 220 pounds, and blames the hormones that the former Bruce Jenner takes to be “girly” for her added avoirdupois.

Dr. Fischer is there again, in this week’s National Enquirer, telling us that Angelina Jolie “looks like she weighs no more than 76 pounds,” and that she was recently “nearly 100 pounds after being as low as 79 pounds.” These are remarkably accurate assessments of stars’ precise weights, for a doctor who admits never having treated either Jenner or Jolie.

Angelina, it seems, “is literally dying of a broken heart” following her split from Brad Pitt, claims the Enquirer. As Dr Gabriel Mirkin, who also hasn’t treated Jolie, explains, with repeated weight loss “you lose so much heart muscle that you can go into heart failure.”

Nutritionist Lisa De Fazio also gets in on the act, informing the Enquirer that actress Tori Spelling “now weighs 150 pounds,” which qualifies her as a “plus-size pauper” because she was spotted shopping at Target – oh, the shame of it! – and browsing a yard sale. Oh, and “the chunky blonde stuffed herself during a recent family vacation at a pricey $10,000-a-night Mexico resort.” So that’s the sort of pauper we’re dealing with – one who can only afford $10,000 for a hotel room? How sad to be so impoverished.

Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at Us magazine to tell us that Selena Gomez wore it best (and who doesn’t look good in a pink unicorn sweater?), that Grey’s Anatomy star Jessica Capshaw is incredibly humble (“What I like most about myself is that I’m kind”), that actress Natacha Karam (Who she, Ed?) carries Chanel Coco Noir perfume, “poo bags for my dog,” boxing gloves, and “like, 600 elastics” hair scrunchies in her drawstring gym bag, and that the stars are just like us: they play slot machines, eat ice cream, and shop for Halloween. Riveting stuff.

Us devotes its cover to Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie and actor-husband Josh Duhamel as their “marriage explodes," blaming “baby battles, cheating and the pressures of fame.” Supposedly he wanted more children and she wanted to focus on her singing career, but the “cheating” line seems rather gratuitous, since it refers to unsubstantiated allegations by an Atlanta stripper claiming a one-night fling with Duhamel in 2010.

People magazine gives its cover to Prince William, promising to unveil his “life as a dad and future king.” The British Royal Family are always big sellers for the celebrity mags, but sadly it’s an uninspired romp through old interviews, explaining that he’s a great father because he takes the kids to school when wife Kate can’t, and that he listens to people he meets. “There’s a lot of support for each other, and a lot of love,” says a mental health activist who met them briefly at an event last year. Well, that’s as good as a source inside Kensington Palace, isn’t it?

Leave it to the National Examiner to predict that “by 2050 sex with robots will be more common than lovemaking for humans only,” and that the RealDoll company already “markets a line with customized genitalia and interchangeable faces.” Because robot sex should be like eating at Burger King: you can have it your way. Intriguingly, most “sexbots” are female, and the Examiner reports that “for whatever reason, women seem less interested in being intimate with androids!” Perhaps because most men in the sack perform like mechanized robots anyway?

Onwards and downwards . . .

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Posted by David Pescovitz

A gentleman in Ottawa, Canada -- eager to get sent to jail in order to sell weed he had packed inside of eight Kinder Surprise plastic egg "yolks" and stored in his rectum -- threw a rock at a police car in front of the courthouse. Wish granted. But once inside, his body got the best of him. From the Ottawa Citizen:

It’s not known if the guard noticed (Damian) O’Reilly was in some discomfort but whatever the reason, the guard had suspicions that O’Reilly might be smuggling drugs. The young inmate was escorted to dry cell No. 9. A dry cell has no plumbing and guards will either attempt to seize the contraband or wait for it to be expelled.

In this case, it was O’Reilly himself who, once alone in the dry cell, removed eight Kinder Surprise eggs from his rectum. A guard had to then collect the eggs and photograph them before securing them inside the Ottawa police drug safe at the jail.

In all, the eight eggs contained 59 grams of marijuana, a gram of MDMA, tobacco, rolling papers and matches.

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Posted by msmash

Alphabet's Waymo unit is seeking about $2.6 billion from Uber for the alleged theft of one of several trade secrets in a lawsuit over self-driving cars, a lawyer for Uber said on Wednesday. From a report: Uber attorney Bill Carmody disclosed the figure in a hearing in federal court in San Francisco, where both companies are discussing whether a trial in the case will begin next month. Waymo has asserted claims that Uber stole several of its trade secrets. The total amount of Waymo's damages request was not publicly disclosed at the hearing on Wednesday. Waymo claimed in a lawsuit earlier this year that former engineer Anthony Levandowski downloaded more than 14,000 confidential files before leaving to set up a self-driving truck company, which Uber acquired soon after.

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Posted by Cory Doctorow

Josh from Fight for the Future writes, "The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is threatening to rollback its net neutrality protections, which help make the Internet a place of equal opportunity and international innovation." (more…)

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Posted by Carla Sinclair

For the last 18 years, French chef Sébastien Bras' restaurant, Le Suquet, has received 3 Michelin stars. Now the chef wants to part ways with Michelin. He's tired of the pressure that the rating puts on him and is begging Michelin to release him from the stars.

While Michelin has called his food "spellbinding," the anxiety of having anonymous judges come into his restaurant at any given time is too much for the 46-year-old chef.

According to The Guardian:

He said his job had given him a lot of satisfaction but there was also huge pressure that was inevitably linked to the three Michelin stars first given to the restaurant in 1999. He asked to be allowed to continue his work with a free spirit and in serenity away from the world of rankings, without tension. He said he wanted to be dropped from the guide from next year.

Bras, who took over the family restaurant from his parents 10 years ago, later explained to AFP: “You’re inspected two or three times a year, you never know when. Every meal that goes out could be inspected. That means that, every day, one of the 500 meals that leaves the kitchen could be judged.

“Maybe I will be less famous but I accept that,” he said, adding that he would continue to cook excellent local produce “without wondering whether my creations will appeal to Michelin’s inspectors”.

Michelin says Bra's reason and method of asking to have his stars stripped is a first. Although they respect his plead, his stars won't automatically be stripped – they are in the process of considering his request.

Here is Bras on Facebook asking Michelin to keep him out of the guide, in French:

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Posted by Cory Doctorow

It's not just Warren Buffett and his Republican lieutenant Charlie Munger who favor single payer and view the US health insurance industry as a drag on national competitiveness and a needless expense on the bottom line: it's also companies like Walmart, Boeing, and GE, who have stopped paying insurers, buying services for their employees directly from hospitals and health-care providers. (more…)

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Posted by Cory Doctorow

Obama's cabinet secretaries flew commercial or took the train, with a few, rare exceptions that were approved at the highest level, but Trump's aptly named Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price sure loves to charter private jets and bill them to the US government. (more…)

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Posted by msmash

An anonymous reader shares a Motherboard report: Turning off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when you're not using them on your smartphone has long been standard, common sense, advice. Unfortunately, with the iPhone's new operating system iOS 11 - which was released to the general public yesterday - turning them off is not as easy as it used to be. Now, when you toggle Bluetooth and Wi-Fi off from the iPhone's Control Center -- the somewhat confusing menu that appears when you swipe up from the bottom of the phone -- it actually doesn't completely turn them off. While that might sound like a bug, that's actually what Apple intended in the new operating system. But security researchers warn that users might not realize this and, as a consequence, could leave Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on without noticing. Numerous Slashdot readers have complained about this "feature" this week.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Posted by msmash

BrianFagioli writes: The Librem 5 smartphone by Purism has a long and difficult road ahead of it. Competing against the likes of Apple and Google on the mobile market has proven to be a death sentence for many platforms -- including Microsoft with its failed Windows 10 Mobile. Luckily, Purism has found itself a new partner on this project -- one of the most important organizations in the Linux community -- The GNOME Foundation. The GNOME Foundation explains, 'The Librem 5 is a hardware platform the Foundation is interested in advancing as a GNOME/GTK phone device. The GNOME Foundation is committed to partnering with Purism to create hackfests, tools, emulators, and build awareness that surround moving GNOME/GTK onto the Librem 5 phone. As part of the collaboration, if the campaign is successful the GNOME Foundation plans to enhance GNOME shell and general performance of the system with Purism to enable features on the Librem 5.'

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Moon and Hummingbird

Sep. 20th, 2017 13:03
common_nature: common nature grass (Default)
[personal profile] yourlibrarian posting in [community profile] common_nature
This is the most recent case of what I dub a "low moon" -- meaning that it seems very low and large in the sky.

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[syndicated profile] thepassivevoice_feed

Posted by PG

From the New York Post:

Artist Richard Prince has done album covers for Sonic Youth and A Tribe Called Quest; ranks as a darling of influential collectors such as Marc Jacobs, Peter Brant and Charles Saatchi; and until recently was repped by Larry Gagosian’s namesake gallery. He even collaborated with Louis Vuitton on a line of watercolor-print handbags.

But depending on whom you ask, Prince, 68, is either one of the world’s greatest artists or a stone-cold thief.

Making bank through provocation, the New Yorker has worked to create that division — and has the legal issues to prove it. So much so that his pal, “Spring Breakers” filmmaker Harmony Korine, has said, “For Richard, the lawsuits are also the artwork.”

It’s a good thing, since Prince currently finds himself up to his neck in them.

As put by Christopher Davis, one of the lawyers litigating against him, Prince is “a notorious appropriation artist who has made tens of millions of dollars over the course of his career by reproducing, modifying and preparing derivative works of others, typically without permission . . . ”

The current spate of lawsuits — four of them — are all related to 2014’s “New Portraits” show, originally mounted at Gagosian. Works in the exhibition depicted pictures of regular folk and stars — including Kate Moss and Pamela Anderson — plucked via screenshot from Instagram accounts, printed by Prince on canvases and tweaked with written comments from Prince.

For decades, Prince has mostly been able to sidestep other artists who felt wronged by his usage — free-expression laws afford a wide berth for adapting the visual work of others — but that trend may be reversing. In July, United States District Judge Sidney H. Stein shut down a request for dismissal of a suit from professional photographer Donald Graham, whose work was appropriated by Prince in “New Portraits.”

Graham said that he pursued legal recourse for himself and hopes to set a standard that will aid others. “Copyright is a foundation for photographers to make a living,” he told The Post.

Prince’s lawyer, Joshua Schiller, insisted: “We’re saying that it’s fair use.”

. . . .

Lacking traditional art training — the artist once admitted to Artforum, “I had limited technical skills . . . Actually I had no skills” — Prince’s career began after he moved from his childhood hometown of Boston to Manhattan in 1973 and got a job in the library at Time Inc. There, he snipped and archived magazine pages, foreshadowing his later work.

He started getting modest art-world attention in the late 1970s and early ’80s for pieces such as spot-on reproductions of cigarette ads. In 1983, Prince re-photographed a 1975 shot of a naked 10-year-old Brooke Shields and called it “Spiritual America” (the title was copped from an Alfred Stieglitz photo). It was first shown in the front window of a Lower East Side store rented by Prince for this single purpose.

Garry Gross, the shot’s original photographer, won a $2,000 settlement from Prince and an agreement that he would be credited every time the appropriated version was shown at the Whitney — a promise Prince reneged on in ’92. (After Gross pointed it out, Whitney employees credited him.)

In 2014, Prince’s copy of Gross’ photo sold at auction for $3,973,000.

Link to the rest at the New York Post

PG notes that if you enter fair use vs. derivative works or fair use vs. transformative use into your Google search box, you’ll find a great deal of commentary about the the line between the legal and the illegal under copyright law.

However, you will not find a bright line.

During his brief Google-dive into the topic, PG did find a piece written by someone at the University of Minnesota Libraries that PG thought described the issues clearly (and briefly) in terms a non-lawyer might appreciate.

PG also notes that the the University helpfully makes all content in the Copyright Information section of its website available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.

Here’s an excerpt:

Fair use is an important part of copyright law that provides some flexibility for users and new creators. At its core, fair use ensures that there are some kinds of uses that do not require permission or payment. But there are no easy rules for fair use – if you want to take advantage of its flexibility, you have to understand its complexities!

Although there are other exceptions to the far-reaching rights of copyright holders, most of those exceptions only apply in very limited circumstances. Fair use is much more flexible, but also much harder to understand and apply. To understand fair use, you need to be familiar with the four statutory factors, and the idea of “transformativeness”. To think through whether a particular use is a fair use, you have to look at these details and other associated issues as a whole. Even then, fair use is unpredictable enough that the best anyone can do is make a well-informed, reasonable guess.

Link to the rest at University of Minnesota Libraries – Copyright Information

The University also provides an interactive tool to assist in “Thinking Through Fair Use.” The Office for Information Technology Policy of the American Library Association also has an online interactive Fair Use Evaluator.

PG cautions that the use of these tools is not a substitute for consulting a competent attorney for close cases. He’ll also caution that fair use is not the only potential legal question. The proper/improper use of a trademark owned by someone else may come into play and the Right of Publicity may be another issue that comes into play.

PG will also note that executives of large entertainment conglomerates, many of which are located in the Los Angeles area, can be aggressive about enforcing their rights under a variety of theories. Think very, very hard before you include a picture of Mickey Mouse in your book or you will learn far more about copyright and trademark law than you know at present. (Here’s a link if you want a preview)

[syndicated profile] boingboing_feed

Posted by Robert Spallone

A dungeon master scrapped the pen and paper and created a touchscreen tabletop version of Dungeons and Dragons.

Tumblr user Caethial recently posted photos of the full build that he and two other players put together in 2016. A 40-inch Samsung smart TV paired with a Dell Precision 5720 27-inch 4K workstation runs about $2,800.

Don’t worry, an outdated wood table and basement location can still make you feel like a social outcast.

See all of Caethial's step-by-step photos here.

Image: Caethial/Tumblr

Bunker Hill

Sep. 20th, 2017 17:00
[syndicated profile] thepassivevoice_feed

Posted by PG

Bunker Hill is old town, lost town, shabby town, crook town. Once, very long ago, it was the choice residential district of the city, and there are still standing a few of the jigsaw Gothic mansions with wide porches and walls covered with round-end shingles and full corner bay windows with spindle turrets. They are all rooming houses now, their parquetry floors are scratched and worn through the once glossy finish and the wide sweeping staircases are dark with time and with cheap varnish laid on over generations of dirt. In the tall rooms haggard landladies bicker with shifty tenants. On the wide cool front porches, reaching their cracked shoes into the sun, and staring at nothing, sit the old men with faces like lost battles.

In and around the old houses there are flyblown restaurants and Italian fruit stands and cheap apartment houses and little candy stores where you can buy even nastier things than their candy. And there are ratty hotels where nobody except people named Smith and Jones sign the register and where the night clerk is half watchdog and half pander.

Out of the apartment houses come women who should be young but have faces like stale beer; men with pulled-down hats and quick eyes that look the street over behind the cupped hand that shields the match flame; worn intellectuals with cigarette coughs and no money in the bank; fly cops with granite faces and unwavering eyes; cokies and coke peddlers; people who look like nothing in particular and know it, and once in a while even men that actually go to work. But they come out early, when the wide cracked sidewalks are empty and still have dew on them.

Raymond Chandler

[syndicated profile] archaeology_in_eu_feed

Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

The Ring of Brodgar originally had 60 stones, but now has 27 
Colin Richards, Historic England

Orkney is home to a host of Neolithic stone houses, stone circles and elaborate burial monuments, but a new study into the area has allowed experts to add a new purpose to the prehistoric communities’ use of some of these sites – partying.

New research led by Professor Alex Bayliss at Historic England has challenged the previously understood narrative for prehistoric life on the islands and painted a clearer picture of how communities farmed, gathered together at festivals and buried their dead.

The islands are home to renowned sites such as the Skara Brae settlement, Maeshowe passage grave, the Ring of Brodgar – which originally had 60 stones and is 104 metres in diameter - and Stones of Stenness circles, which were granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1999.

Read the rest of this article...
[syndicated profile] archaeology_in_eu_feed

Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot


Cave drawings at Altamira.Museo de Altamira/D. Rodríguez

Researchers have discovered four new sets of cave paintings in Cantabria, northern Spain, the oldest of which was made nearly 30,000 years ago – making it one of the earliest known examples of prehistoric art in the world.

The team from the Museum of Prehistory of Cantabria, led by Spanish prehistorian Roberto Ontañón, used cutting-edge imaging techniques to identify the drawings.

Twenty years ago, a speleologist – a scientist who studies caves – had informed archaeologists of the possible existence of ancient paintings in various rock cavities in Cantabria. However, the techniques available at the time were not sufficient to confirm the existence of the art.

The paintings, like much prehistoric artwork, had degraded so much over time that they were difficult to identify with the naked eye. To overcome this, Ontañón and his team used a 3D laser scanning method, which reproduced the artwork on a computer.

Read the rest of this article...
[syndicated profile] archaeology_in_eu_feed

Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot


Carrowkeel neolithic passage tomb in Co. Sligo.

A new analysis of bones taken from a century-old excavation at Carrowkeel in County Sligo has revealed evidence of the burial practices and death rites of the ancient people of Ireland.
The findings, which have been published in the journal Bioarchaeology International, are part of a project applying modern techniques and research questions to the human remains. 
The team of researchers includes Sam Moore, lecturer in Prehistoric Archaeology at IT Sligo, and the group’s work focussed on the 5300 years-old Passage Tomb Complex at Carrowkeel. This site is one of the most impressive Neolithic ritual landscapes in Europe.
“The bones were analysed from an original excavation of Carrowkeel in 1911, led by Prof R.A.S. McAlister,” explains Sam. “They were subsequently presumed missing or lost until a group of boxes with the name ‘Carrowkeel’ on them was discovered in the archive in the University of Cambridge in 2001. The bones date from between 3500 and 2900 BC."
Read the rest of this article...
[syndicated profile] archaeology_in_eu_feed

Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

Dr Phil De Jersey, right, and Mike Deane alongside the skeleton of a medieval porpoise.
Photograph: Guernsey Press / SWNS.com
Archaeologists digging at an island religious retreat have unearthed the remains of a porpoise that, mystifyingly, appears to have been carefully buried in its own medieval grave.
The team believe the marine animal found on the island of Chapelle Dom Hue, off the west coast of Guernsey, was buried in the 14th century.
When they first spotted the carefully cut plot they were convinced it was a grave and would hold human remains, but they were taken aback when they dug further and unearthed the skull and other body parts of a porpoise.
Quite why the porpoise was buried so carefully on the island, which is thought to have been used by monks seeking solitude, is a mystery.
Read the rest of this article...
[syndicated profile] archaeology_in_eu_feed

Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

An "exceptionally rare" ancient crucifix has been unearthed by an amateur metal detectorist. The 2cm (0.78in) tall lead object, which depicts Christ on the cross, was found in the village of Skidbrooke, Lincolnshire, by Tom Redmayne. It is thought to date from between AD 950-1150.


The 2cm artefact depicts Christ on the cross [Credit: Adam Daubney]

Archaeologist Adam Daubney, from Lincolnshire County Council, said it is one of only three known examples in the country.

Mr Redmayne, who found the crucifix on Sunday, said he did not initially realise the significance of his discovery. He said he knew it was a crucifix, and was possibly old due to its crude design.

However, he said it was only when he researched the item online he realised it was something special. Despite the artefact having little monetary value, he said, it offers a unique insight into the lives of ordinary people at the time.

Read the rest of this article...
[syndicated profile] boingboing_feed

Posted by Robert Spallone

A recent study published in the scientific journal The Auk: Ornithological Advances claims a competitive social environment may cause certain species of ducks to grow even bigger penises.

Researchers studied two species of ducks placed in environments where there were fewer females and more males, along with ducks housed in male-female pair bonds, according to Phys.org.

Lesser Scaup ducks that were housed with several males were said to have grown longer penises. Ruddy Ducks, who are already well-endowed to begin with — placed in the same predicament — would grow their penises faster than pair-bonded ones, but also might “offset” their sexual development to not interfere with other males.

What the study really reveals is that there’s a sizeable job market for measuring duck wangs.

Via Phys.org:

"This is an excellent experimental study of penis morphology, looking at the effects of social environment on penis size in two duck species that have different mating systems," according to Queen's University's Bob Montgomerie, an expert on reproductive strategies who was not involved in the study.

"The question now is whether the observed increase in penis size in Lesser Scaup under the threat of sperm competition actually gives males a competitive advantage. Like all good studies, this one will undoubtedly stimulate more research, as it provides both methodologies and a clear focus on interesting questions."

Image: Dick Daniels

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