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Leaked papers allege US pressuring EU over TTIP free trade deal

Posted on May 2nd, 2016 at 10:48 by John Sinteur in category: News


German media say 240 pages of text from secret transatlantic free trade talks obtained by Greenpeace show that the US is pressuring the EU.

Washington was blocking European car exports into the US to force the 508-million-population EU to buy more environmentally risky US farm produce, claimed the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” (SZ) newspaper and two German public television channels.

Greenpeace said it would publish the material later on Monday, contrary to strict secrecy maintained by US and EU negotiating teams during three years of talks on the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).


Greenpeace on Sunday said it was in possession of leaked documents showing that a planned huge free trade deal between the United States and the European Union poses “major risks for climate, environment and consumer safety”.

The campaign group said it would on Monday publish 248 pages of classified documents to “shine a light” on negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), an ambitious treaty both sides want completed by year-end but which is facing mounting opposition.

The leaked pages will be published online at 0900 GMT, Greenpeace said in a statement.

It says the cache—obtained by Greenpeace Netherlands—represents two-thirds of the TTIP draft text as of the latest round of talks in April, and covers a range of issues from telecoms to food and agriculture and trade barriers.

“These leaked documents confirm what we have been saying for a long time: TTIP would put corporations at the centre of policy-making, to the detriment of environment and public health,” said Greenpeace EU director Jorgo Riss.

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  1. I read a previous draft. In my judgement it is the beginning of a world regime, if not a government.

    Trouble is, it will be levelling down, not up.

  2. This is where we must draw the line. It keeps getting progressively worse with each new treaty. They can’t be fooling anyone by now. This is where Hillary can lose it, the one area where Trump is ahead of her.

End of Times has started in NYC.

Posted on May 2nd, 2016 at 10:26 by John Sinteur in category: News


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  1. I am disappointed. I thought the NYT was going out of business 🙁

Pastor who said he took ‘selfies’ during visit to Heaven now says his phone was stolen

Posted on May 1st, 2016 at 17:17 by John Sinteur in category: News


A South African pastor allegedly took several selfies while “visiting heaven” on Easter Sunday, but claims his phone was stolen after a public outcry for proof.

According to Patheos, Paseka Motsoeneng, or “Pastor Mboro,” said he “ascended to heaven “ for two weeks and took photos with his Samsung Galaxy S5. Upon returning to Earth, he promised to share the pictures, but for a price.

Mboro said to anyone who wanted to see the images, they must make a “pledge” of about $340 or 5,000 rand to his church. Following backlash from the public, he promoted the photos on Facebook and offered them up for free.

However on Tuesday, he said the phone was stolen at a local car wash.

Next up he will claim to be translating golden plates in a hat.

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Posted on May 1st, 2016 at 14:28 by John Sinteur in category: News



Wickenburg… is a total loss

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People watching people watching cats

Posted on May 1st, 2016 at 14:13 by John Sinteur in category: News


Most of you will have heard of Nyan Cat before. A similar number will know that there is a ten-hour version on YouTube. What you probably didn’t know is that there is a ten-hour video of someone watching that ten-hour version. What you almost definitely didn’t know is that there’s a ten-hour video of someone watching someone else watch ten hours of Nyan Cat.

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  1. Is it… catception?

Go negative

Posted on May 1st, 2016 at 12:02 by John Sinteur in category: News


Using modern technology, political scientists at UCLA and Vanderbilt University, are running an experiment to see how ads focusing on gender affect people. Every week they send 1,000 people ads to watch and rate in real time on their computers using tools from several tech companies. A few weeks ago they tested the now-famous “Quotes” ad, which simply consists of women quoting Donald Trump’s statements on women. The ad made 83% of the people who saw it angry and decreased Trump’s net favorability by a massive 22 points. Expect Hillary Clinton to be running variants of this ad until November.

The other side of the coin is positive ads by Clinton showing that she is a strong woman. It had much less impact and many people didn’t like the ads. It lowered her unfavorability by 10 points but raised her favorability by only one point.

Imagine you are Hillary Clinton’s media director and you have absorbed the message: negative ads against Trump are very effective; positive ads for your candidate have much less effect. What would you do? Trump doesn’t need a study by two professors to tell him to go negative. That’s all he knows. Be sure you have your mud goggles on before turning on the TV this fall. (V)

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  1. I am in the bunker. I can see fireworks on the horizon already!

We’ve found the real Bastard Operator From Hell

Posted on April 30th, 2016 at 21:37 by John Sinteur in category: News



I get 20 sales calls a day at least, as our organization is relatively large. All of them are unsolicited, and they use shady tactics to make it past the receptionist.

So yesterday, in the middle of a team meeting, an emergency call came through the IT support hotline, interrupting our meeting. One of our help desk guys picks up and it’s a sales guy claiming that he had just been chatting with me, the IT Director, and wanted to be transferred through so he could “finish the conversation.”

This was obviously untrue, as I had just arrived in the office, and I don’t take sales calls. The help desk guy asked if I wanted him passed through to my voicemail, and I said: “I’d prefer that you transfer them straight to hell instead. In fact, we should have a special queue called Hell, playing the most obnoxious music over and over again.” The guys start joking: “It could be playing Barney.” “It could be playing ‘The Song that Never Ends’.” “It could be playing a detuned or desynchronized version of a Smash Mouth song.”

Our seasoned help desk vet says: “I have just the thing!” and plays the most god-awful song I’ve heard in my life. Everything in the department stops, and then everyone busts out laughing. We are actually a well-oiled IT team – we’ve worked together for years. My background is in film soundtracks and audio production, and my senior network admin’s is in broadcast radio audio engineering.

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I installed Windows 95 on my Apple Watch

Posted on April 30th, 2016 at 12:59 by John Sinteur in category: News


With a 520 MHz processor, 512 MB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage, the Apple Watch packs a lot of computing horsepower into a very small package. On paper, its processor alone is about twenty-five times faster than the average 386, and 512 MB was the size of a hard drive in the mid nineties, not memory. As a result, I was feeling confident that the Apple Watch had the ability to run one of the most revered desktop operating systems Redmond has ever produced.

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  1. He had me at “Hot glue a motor to the watch to stop it falling asleep” – hilarious!

  2. A glutton for punishment I see! Just because you CAN, doesn’t mean you SHOULD!

VW Presentation in ’06 Showed How to Foil Emissions Tests

Posted on April 30th, 2016 at 0:03 by John Sinteur in category: News


A PowerPoint presentation was prepared by a top technology executive at Volkswagen in 2006, laying out in detail how the automaker could cheat on emissions tests in the United States.

The presentation has been discovered as part of the continuing investigations into Volkswagen, according to two people who have seen the document and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the legal action against the company. It provides the most direct link yet to the genesis of the deception at Volkswagen, which admitted late last year that 11 million vehicles worldwide were equipped with software to cheat on tests that measured pollution in emissions.

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  1. Real software engineers only use their powers for good 🙂

  2. Anything for a paycheck, but wasn’t there at least one former employee that would rat them out?

DARPA Is Looking For The Perfect Encryption App, and It’s Willing to Pay

Posted on April 30th, 2016 at 0:01 by John Sinteur in category: News


The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, better known as DARPA, is looking for a “secure messaging and transaction platform” that would use the standard encryption and security features of current messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Signal, or Ricochet, but also use a decentralized Blockchain-like backbone structure that would be more resilient to surveillance and cyberattacks.

DARPA’s goal is to have “a secure messaging system that can provide repudiation or deniability, perfect forward and backward secrecy, time to live/self delete for messages, one time eyes only messages, a decentralized infrastructure to be resilient to cyber-attacks, and ease of use for individuals in less than ideal situations,”

DARPA and DoD and most other government agencies need strong encryption.  Law Enforcement does not.

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US govt quietly tweaks rules to let cops, Feds hack computers anywhere, anytime

Posted on April 29th, 2016 at 11:59 by John Sinteur in category: News


On Thursday, the US Supreme Court approved a change to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. It sounds innocuous, but the effects will be felt around the world.

Under today’s rules, US cops and FBI agents need to know where a computer is before they can get a warrant to directly hack the machine – because they have to ensure the judge and court they approach for the warrant has jurisdiction over the physical location of the computer. In other words, a district judge can’t issue a search warrant against someone or something outside her district.

Under the proposed rule change [PDF] this geographical information won’t be needed and a single search warrant can be used to authorize American crimefighters to infiltrate any PC, Mac or other device anywhere in the world.

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  1. This will end well, NOT! Can you spell “honeypot”? Ok. Feds hack a honeypot computer. They end up getting hacked instead. Oops… FBI Chief: What do you mean all of our secure crap is now available on the internet?! Pictures of my mistresses? My wife having affairs with other men? My kids dressing in cross-gender clothes? My deputy molesting kids?

    Yep, this will end well…

SNOWDEN – Official Trailer

Posted on April 28th, 2016 at 23:59 by John Sinteur in category: News

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Two Good Readings on the Encryption “Going Dark” Debate

Posted on April 28th, 2016 at 23:54 by John Sinteur in category: News


There are a number of other important questions that are not been asked and thus not being answered, which are rather more important than “Why can’t Johny Terrorist Encrypt”.

The first question that people should ask is,

1, Will any legislation stop people using codes and ciphers if they wish?

The answer to this is very obviously no. Anyone can use pencil and paper crypto based on dice throw generated OTP’s. The knowledge on how to do this is more than a century old and has been in the public domain for more than the average life time. Likewise it is well known that the BBC transmitted code messages to people in the occupied countries, like the One Time Pad these codes were unbreakable.

So the question arises as to what people hope to achive with this apparently nonsensical legislation?

That is any criminal with the intelligence to keep their money movments covert will find no dificulty in generating and using One Time ciphers and codes. Thus their communication will be pushed past any LEO efforts to recover them, especially in the much touted “Emergancy Access Scenarios”.

But the use of carefully selected codes unlike ciphers allows messages to be passed in plain sight, so the LEO’s would be unable to even see the secret communication, let alone prove it’s existance.

So on the assumption the reason for the law is general surveillance of the population who are not half sensible criminals a more important question arises which is “limitations”. So two other questions arise,

2, Will there be hard time limitations?

3, Will “Privileged Communications” be hard protected?

When you ask these questions after just a few seconds thought it becomes clear that the much touted “Emergency Access Scenarios” are designed to make the answer to these questions NO.

Thus the law is deliberatly designed to exceed the current limitations on state power outlined in the prohibition of general warrants or for that matter any warrants or recognisable legal oversight (Which NSL’s, FISCs, and other secret arangments/courts most definitely are not).

In general it can be said that society is about balancing risks and advantages. For instance there is clear scientific evidence that if all road vehicals in the US were hard limited to 20MPH the levels of road fatalities of people within them would drop close to zero, and likewise fatalities of pedestrians. However doing so would have significant economic costs which society sees as harms. Thus a balance is made between the economic harms of fatalities and the more general economic harms of speed limitations.

This is a standard trade off that is well established in society. One asspect of this is the harm of incarceration of the innocent against a number of alledged wrong doers walking free. That is it is accepted for the good of society that the law should not be overreaching as this has undesirable effects not the least of which is abuse by those in positions of influance.

But the speed of road vehicals is even more general, it accepts that harm should befall a small percentage (~0.01%) of society in terms of fatalities, in order that society reaps the advantages of faster movment of goods and people.

Thus it is fair to ask what percentage of the population should be allowed to come to harm for the “greater good” of society. With encryption you need to ask in two directions. Firstly we know that lack of strong protections is alowing crime to take place on the Internet, it is unclear what the dollar cost currently is but the bulk of it goes uninvestigated by the majority of LEO’s who “buck pass” it around and do nothing. It can only be,imagined how much worse this situation would be if the “LEO Backdoor” was inplace and exploited by criminals. Secondly is the collateral damage to one of the few industries that provide reliable employment in the US and earns export dollars. If the law was brought into place it would not take long for the US software industry to take a hit and tax recipts to drop likewise exports. So serious questions need to be asked that boil down to,

4, Will the US profit from this law?

For which the answer is almost certainly NO.

Obviously from the above this is a very bad law, but there is something else that needs to be asked,

5, Does this law increase personal privacy?

6, Does this law increase personal security?

7, Does this law increase personal freedom?

8, Does this law increase societal freedom?

I think most would agree the answer to all these questions is NO.

Thus you have to question the motives of those who want a law that is going to be significantly detrimental to society.

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The Vatican Just Put a Convicted Rapist Back in a Parish

Posted on April 25th, 2016 at 19:07 by John Sinteur in category: News


Father Joseph Jeyapaul is a priest from India who admitted to raping two adolescent girls in Minnesota when he served the Crookston diocese from 2004 to 2005. 

After being charged with the abuse, which included rape and forcing at least one of the girls to perform fellatio on him, he fled home to India, where he was eventually arrested on an Interpol warrant. He was then extradited back to Minnesota, where he admitted his heinous crimes and entered a plea bargain in which, in exchange for a lighter sentence, he copped to molestation of one of the girls. 

Jeyapaul was suspended from the priesthood and served a year and a day in prison in Minnesota, then was deported back to India after his release last July.


Apparently, Jeyapaul’s rap sheet is not enough to kick him out of the priesthood for good. In February, the Vatican approved lifting his suspension from the priesthood and agreed that he could be reassigned to a new parish in India. That parish even made him the diocesan head of its commission for education. 

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TTIP: UK Government found trade deal had ‘lots of risk and no benefit’ in its only assessment

Posted on April 25th, 2016 at 19:04 by John Sinteur in category: News


The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will have “few or no benefits to the UK”, according to the only official assessment of the deal commissioned by the UK Government.

The stark warning was disclosed in response to a Freedom of Information request by anti-TTIP campaigners Global Justice Now.

Campaigners filed a request to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills to ask what risk assessments had been made about the treaty.

BIS said  it had carried out only one such review in 2013, when the London School of Economics was commissioned to conduct a study.

The study found that TTIP would have limited political and economic benefits and may result on “meaningful economic costs in the UK”.

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  1. US company’s are suing foreign governments? Why don’t the countries just seize their assets and tell them to bug off? It ain’t like China won’t sell them the same thing.

David Tennant & Company – A Line Of Hamlets

Posted on April 24th, 2016 at 19:35 by John Sinteur in category: News

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  1. quite a company! Thanks for posting that, it was tailor-made for me!

    Also this seems like an excellent moment to push my project Shirtspeare:
    Buy the t-shirt here: https://shirtspeare.threadless.com/designs/to-be-or-not-to-be

Fracking Exec Reportedly Admits Targeting the Poor, Because They Don’t Have ‘The Money To Fight’

Posted on April 24th, 2016 at 9:09 by John Sinteur in category: News


On Monday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported accounts of unusually candid comments by an oil and natural gas industry executive, Terry Bossert, at a Pennsylvania Bar Institute gathering in Harrisburg this April.

“We heard Range Resources say it sites its shale gas wells away from large homes where wealthy people live and who might have the money to fight such drilling and fracking operations,” stated an attendee.

Terry Bossert is vice president for legislative and regulatory affairs at Range Resources, a natural gas exploration and production company. Range Resources was the first to tap into Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale, in 2004, kicking off the state’s current fracking boom. Some scientists and environmentalists warn that chemicals used in fracking may contaminate the groundwater in surrounding areas, potentially harming residents.

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Tiny Motor Powers a New Threat to Cycling Races

Posted on April 23rd, 2016 at 0:09 by John Sinteur in category: News


For its report, Stade 2 positioned a thermal imaging camera along the route of the Strade Bianche, an Italian professional men’s race in March held mostly on unpaved roads and featuring many steep climbs. The rear hub of one bicycle glowed with almost the same vivid orange-yellow thermal imprint of the riders’ legs. Engineers and antidoping experts interviewed by the TV program said the pattern could be explained only by heat generated by a motor. The rider was not named by the program and could not be identified from the thermal image.

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On inequity in job applications

Posted on April 22nd, 2016 at 21:36 by John Sinteur in category: News


If you are applying to a place that you think might use this kind of software, attach the original job posting to the end of your resume prefaced by “For your reference, this is the job posting that I am responding to:”

You’ll match all of the keywords, and a human will be forced to read your resumé.

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Off the grid

Posted on April 22nd, 2016 at 21:10 by John Sinteur in category: News


‘My parents do have the band that is broad of which you speak, miss. They offered me one of the machines that understands the language of the “e-mailings” that so excites you. But I want no part of such elec-trickery.’

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The web is Doom

Posted on April 22nd, 2016 at 20:20 by John Sinteur in category: News


Recall that Doom is a multi-level first person shooter that ships with an advanced 3D rendering engine and multiple levels, each comprised of maps, sprites and sound effects. By comparison, 2016’s web struggles to deliver a page of web content in the same size. If that doesn’t give you pause you’re missing something.

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From Uber to Eric Schmidt, tech is closer to the US government than you’d think

Posted on April 22nd, 2016 at 18:31 by John Sinteur in category: News


Google, Facebook, Uber and Apple collectively employ a couple of dozen former analysts for America’s spy agencies, who openly list their résumés on LinkedIn.

These connections are neither new nor secret. But the fact they are so accepted illustrates how tech’s leaders – even amid current fights over encryption and surveillance – are still seen as mostly US firms that back up American values.

As Twitter seeks to sell more ads in China, Google ponders re-entering the market and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg makes visits to Beijing, that may change.

“If I’m at Twitter, it’s a smart, strategic move,” said Shawn Powers, author of The Real Cyber War: The Political Economy of Internet Freedom. “If I’m a policy maker for the US government, I would be concerned.”

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Hillary PAC Spends $1 Million to ‘Correct’ Commenters on Reddit and Facebook

Posted on April 22nd, 2016 at 10:45 by John Sinteur in category: News


Citing “lessons learned from online engagement with ‘Bernie Bros,’” a pro-Hillary Clinton Super PAC is pledging to spend $1 million to “push back against” users on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and Instagram.

Correct the Record’s “Barrier Breakers” project boasts in a press release that it has already “addressed more than 5,000 people that have personally attacked Hillary Clinton on Twitter.” The PAC released this on Thursday.

The PAC was created in May of last year when it was spun off from the American Bridge SuperPAC, which is run by longtime Hillary and Bill Clinton supporter David Brock. Brock also founded the left-wing media watchdog website Media Matters for America.

Some Bernie Sanders-supporting users on Reddit already started to notice the changes on Thursday afternoon.

“This explains why my inbox turned to cancer on Tuesday,” wrote user OKarizee. “Been a member of reddit for almost 4 years and never experienced anything like it. In fact, in all my years on the internet I’ve never experienced anything like it.”

She understands the internet well enough to grasp how afraid of it she should be.

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  1. It won’t change anyone’s mind, ffs. I think nastiness of this kind just ossifies opinions.

  2. Is this a predictor of the future with Hillary as President? Of course, they all do it!

Matthew 18:9

Posted on April 22nd, 2016 at 9:18 by John Sinteur in category: News


The sponsor of a recently passed Utah resolution declaring that “pornography is creating a public health crisis” appeared on the Family Research Council’s “Washington Watch” program yesterday to defend the measure, which the governor signed on Tuesday, and allege that the availability of pornography is violating his “First Amendment right to not view it.”

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  1. Eww…no. Both eyes, surely?

Vatican unexpectedly suspends independent financial audit

Posted on April 22nd, 2016 at 9:10 by John Sinteur in category: News


The Vatican has put a stop to the work of international auditors just months after they were hired to review the city-state’s bookkeeping — a move said to have surprised Pope Francis’ handpicked financial czar, Cardinal George Pell.

The suspension earlier this month of the audit, well underway by the global firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, was also viewed as threatening the pope’s broader efforts to clean up the Vatican’s murky finances.

Italian Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, a top official in the Secretariat of State, announced the move in an internal Vatican letter dated April 12. In the note, Becciu said that previous orders by Pell to cooperate with PwC had been revoked by “superior provision,” according to the Catholic news site Crux.

I wonder what they found…

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  1. I wouldn’t want to own stock in that church. Your salvation wouldn’t be worth much.


Posted on April 21st, 2016 at 19:13 by John Sinteur in category: News

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Waiting list already at 5,000

Posted on April 20th, 2016 at 19:04 by John Sinteur in category: News


Note to entrepreneurs: Make naked versions of things and people will go.

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  1. Don’t spill the soup!

Eddie Eagle

Posted on April 20th, 2016 at 16:31 by John Sinteur in category: News

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Classic Programmer Paintings

Posted on April 20th, 2016 at 16:27 by John Sinteur in category: News


“Programmer finds 1395 conflicts after ‘git merge develop master’, three days before deadline”

Gustav Courbet


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  1. Your pallid brow, staring eyes and pouting lips? You have to get out more, John!

Alabama’s unregulated religious day cares are a horror show.

Posted on April 20th, 2016 at 0:08 by John Sinteur in category: News


These days, the phrase “religious liberty” functions, more or less, as code for “anti-LGBTQ.” But current fights over bathroom access and public accommodations aren’t the first time religious freedom has been used to set up troubling legal frameworks. Take, for example, day care. Sixteen states allow day cares that claim some religious affiliation to bypass certain licensing regulations; six impose little or no regulation on religious day cares at all. All the proprietor needs is a registered religious ministry—no proof of support from a church or any actual religious teachings at the day care.

This legal loophole, as you might imagine, has wrought some horrifying results.

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