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Ad targeters are pulling data from your browser’s password manager

Posted on December 31st, 2017 at 13:15 by John Sinteur in category: News


Nearly every web browser now comes with a password manager tool, a lightweight version of the same service offered by plugins like LastPass and 1Password. But according to new research from Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy, those same managers are being exploited as a way to track users from site to site.

The researchers examined two different scripts — AdThink and OnAudience — both of are designed to get identifiable information out of browser-based password managers. The scripts work by injecting invisible login forms in the background of the webpage and scooping up whatever the browsers autofill into the available slots. That information can then be used as a persistent ID to track users from page to page, a potentially valuable tool in targeting advertising.

The plugins focus largely on the usernames, but according to the researchers, there’s no technical measure to stop scripts from collecting passwords the same way. The only robust fix would be to change how password managers work, requiring more explicit approval before submitting information. “It won’t be easy to fix, but it’s worth doing,” says Arvind Narayanan, a Princeton computer science professor who worked on the project.

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Pence neighbors in Aspen hang ‘Make America Gay Again’ banner

Posted on December 30th, 2017 at 18:53 by John Sinteur in category: News


It’s been said that good fences make good neighbors. But in Aspen, Colo., this week, Vice President Mike Pence has something different posted between his vacation lodging and that of the people next door.

Specifically, it’s a rainbow banner reading “Make America Gay Again.” It appeared on a stone pillar in front of the house where Pence and his wife are staying this week.

The daughters of the couple across the street and one of their girlfriends reportedly draped the rainbow banner on the pillar while a Pitkin County deputy and Secret Service members stood nearby, the Aspen Times reported. The stone pillar is situated at the end of the driveway between the two homes.

According to the Times, the Secret Service agents were unfazed when the women draped the banner over the pillar, telling them, “We’re not here to control your free speech rights.”


The women reportedly became less timid afterward, and later brought out chili and corn muffins for the county deputies and Secret Service agents who were stationed at the foot of the driveway.

Well, good cops get good muffins.


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McMafia author Misha Glenny: ‘I don’t want to be moral. I want to show people the way the world works’

Posted on December 30th, 2017 at 17:47 by John Sinteur in category: News


“If you want to do something about organised crime, the quickest way to do it is legalise drugs, or decriminalise, or at least start down that road. In Latin America, more than 100,000 people are murdered every year because of drug laws fashioned in Washington. It’s unconscionable. It’s the most immoral thing that I’ve come across. Anyone who has worked in Central and South America, if they don’t come out demanding drug law reform then in moral terms they’re criminals as far as I’m concerned. It’s appalling”.

It’s true, he concedes, that if drugs were removed from the black market, criminals would diversify into other forms of contraband. “But nothing – nothing – comes even close to an equivalently valuable income stream. The key thing is that you’d get sufficient tax revenues to deal with the associated health problems of drugs. You’re no longer having to deal with people who were getting that revenue and buying weapons with it, so you also reduce the violence. For example, in 2016 Colorado accrued in taxation from marijuana about $140m on sales of almost $1bn. That is more than twice the amount from alcohol sales and part of that money is hypothecated for the education and health systems. Has civilisation collapsed in Colorado? No, it hasn’t, because they’re smoking as much dope as they were before. It’s just that it’s no longer organised crime who are getting the benefit, it’s the state.” He shakes his head. “It’s just a no-brainer”.

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Yes, Trump Voters Will Stick With Him Forever

Posted on December 30th, 2017 at 13:31 by John Sinteur in category: News


Imagine you’re a 35-year-old white guy in 1999. The world is your oyster; the next 15 years, your income, life and opportunities are going to skyrocket. Then, boom: Columbine, the white suburbs are no longer safe; 2000, the electoral system is a mess; 2001, America is no longer safe from terror; 2002, the economy is rigged for big business like Enron; and 2005, America’s party city New Orleans gets flooded and the government botches the recovery.

After all that, the only way to fix the country is by handing it over to a handsome, smart black guy with a funny name. How emasculating! Eight years later, you’ve got black folks protesting, gays on every television network, and even black athletes, from college to the pros, are demanding to be heard. To quote the late Bill Paxton, “Game over, man; game over!” America is done.

The ’80s aren’t coming back; the era of white male cultural hegemony is only at 97 percent instead of 100 percent, and there’s no way to change it. Trump voters know this. They know that manufacturing jobs that pay a living wage aren’t coming back. They know that a wall is impractical. They know that terrorism is impossible to stop. When you know the inevitable is coming, when you know that you have to face change or become irrelevant, you either change or you kick and scream and drag every tablecloth and curtain in a temper tantrum on your way out.

Donald Trump is that temper tantrum. This is why Trump voters are still angry. Why they’re still stabbing college students and hanging nooses and protesting at Confederate statues and can’t stop talking about Obama and Hillary. Those aren’t the actions of optimistic winners who believe America’s best days are ahead.

Trump supporters still believe that America is ruined, soiled, tainted and irredeemable. No matter what America says to Trump now, his voters know that she dated a black guy for eight years and she liked it, and she still thinks about him. Why do you think conservatives are always calling their enemies “cuckolds”? It’s projection.

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What went right in 2017

Posted on December 30th, 2017 at 11:32 by John Sinteur in category: News

We have a real president on twitter.


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Trump’s New York Times Interview Is a Portrait of a Man in Cognitive Decline

Posted on December 29th, 2017 at 20:41 by John Sinteur in category: News


In this interview, the president* is only intermittently coherent. He talks in semi-sentences and is always groping for something that sounds familiar, even if it makes no sense whatsoever and even if it blatantly contradicts something he said two minutes earlier. To my ears, anyway, this is more than the president*’s well-known allergy to the truth. This is a classic coping mechanism employed when language skills are coming apart.


In Ronald Reagan’s second term, we ducked a bullet. I’ve always suspected he was propped up by a lot of people who a) didn’t trust vice-president George H.W. Bush, b) found it convenient to have a forgetful president when the subpoenas began to fly, and c) found it helpful to have a “detached” president when they started running their own agendas – like, say, selling missiles to mullahs. You’re seeing much the same thing with the congressional Republicans. They’re operating an ongoing smash-and-grab on all the policy wishes they’ve fondly cultivated since 1981. Having a president* who may not be all there and, as such, is susceptible to flattery because it reassures him that he actually is makes the heist that much easier.


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Why we fell for clean eating

Posted on December 29th, 2017 at 11:24 by John Sinteur in category: News


Clean eating – whether it is called that or not – is perhaps best seen as a dysfunctional response to a still more dysfunctional food supply: a dream of purity in a toxic world. To walk into a modern western supermarket is to be assailed by aisle upon aisle of salty, oily snacks and sugary cereals, of “bread” that has been neither proved nor fermented, of cheap, sweetened drinks and meat from animals kept in inhumane conditions.

In the postwar decades, most countries in the world underwent what the professor of nutrition Barry Popkin calls a “nutrition transition” to a westernised diet high in sugar, meat, fat, salt, refined oils and ultra-processed concoctions, and low in vegetables. Affluence and multi-national food companies replaced the hunger of earlier generations with an unwholesome banquet of sweet drinks and convenience foods that teach us from a young age to crave more of the same. Wherever this pattern of eating travelled, it brought with it dramatic rises in ill health, from allergies to cancer.

In prosperous countries, large numbers of people – whether they wanted to lose weight or not – became understandably scared of the modern food supply and what it was doing to our bodies: type 2 diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease, not to mention a host of other complaints that are influenced by diet, ranging from Alzheimer’s to gout. When mainstream diets start to sicken people, it is unsurprising that many of us should seek other ways of eating to keep ourselves safe from harm. Our collective anxiety around diet was exacerbated by a general impression that mainstream scientific advice on diet – inflated by newspaper headlines – could not be trusted. First these so-called experts tell us to avoid fat, then sugar, and all the while people get less and less healthy. What will these “experts” say next, and why should we believe them?


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Systems That Suck Less

Posted on December 28th, 2017 at 18:48 by John Sinteur in category: News



In theory, socialism is a wonderful system in which the workers own the means of production, and people contribute what they can and receive what they need. In practice, as seen in actual socialist societies? It sucks. Get past the rhetoric, and what happens is that the workers’ ownership of the means of production becomes a convenient fiction; an inner circle of politicians controls the means of production, and uses it to advance its own interests rather than that of the workers. Centralized bureaucracy becomes the order of the day, fossilization follows, and you end up with the familiar sclerosis of the mature socialist economy, guided by hopelessly inefficient policies mandated by clueless central planners, and carried out grudgingly by workers who know that they have nothing to gain by doing more than the minimum. Eventually this leads to the collapse of the system and its replacement by some other system of political economy.

In theory, equally, capitalism is a wonderful system in which anyone willing to work hard can get ahead, and the invisible hand of the market inevitably generates the best possible state of affairs for everyone. In practice, as seen in actual capitalist societies? It sucks. Get past the rhetoric, and what happens is that social mobility becomes a convenient fiction; an inner circle of plutocrats controls the means of production, and uses economic power backed by political corruption to choke the free market and stomp potential competitors. Monopoly and oligopoly become the order of the day, wealth concentrates at the top of the pyramid, and you end up with the familiar sclerosis of the mature capitalist society, in which the workers who actually make the goods and provide the services can’t afford to buy them, resulting in catastrophic booms and busts, soaring unemployment, and the rise of a violent and impoverished underclass. Eventually this leads to the collapse of the system and its replacement by some other system of political economy.

Yes, this is as true of capitalism as it is of socialism. Unrestricted capitalism has already collapsed once—the aftermath of the Great Depression saw it replaced by social democracy, socialism, or fascism over all of the industrial world—and we didn’t begin to return to it again until the Reagan-Thatcher counterrevolution of the 1980s.


We know how socialism works out, just as we know how capitalism works out. As previously noted, both of them suck. The obvious solution—unthinkable these days, oh, granted, but obvious—is to look for other options.

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  1. As the population increases, capitalism has become the system of choice. I’m not sure anything else will work with our over populated planet.

  2. I’m very fond of the Archdruid’s work. He predicted Trump’s win very, very early. He’s not very optimistic about the survival of our present “democracies”.

The Chronic Capitalism of Christmas Movies

Posted on December 28th, 2017 at 15:52 by John Sinteur in category: News


The way Christmas movies tell it, the generosity of individual tycoons is sufficient to mitigate the harms of class inequality.

Well, even Dickens knew this. A Christmas Carol is the heartwarming tale of how rich people must be supernaturally terrorized into sharing. And not even that much sharing either, it makes Scrooge turn into the kind of paternalist who will at least not actively murder a child with poverty, and who buys a turkey for his friends once a year. Be happy with your crumbs, peasant.

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As a Doctor, I’m Sick of All The Health Care Freeloaders

Posted on December 28th, 2017 at 12:01 by John Sinteur in category: News


I used to believe that everyone deserved health care. Now, I work in a clinic where the vast majority of my patients are on government-funded health care. I have learned that the stereotypes about these people are true: Most of my patients have never worked a day in their lives.

They are extremely ungrateful for the care that hardworking taxpayers provide for them. Patients have punched me, bitten me, screamed at me, and even urinated on me. I often leave with vomit on my clothes.

Sometimes, I have to bribe my patients with bright-colored objects, juice or graham crackers just to examine them. Do my patients thank me? Do they contribute to the economy? No!

They just suck up low-cost health care, whining the whole time, and then go pick up their free government milk. Often, they are literally carried from place to place in the arms of a real taxpayer.


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  1. She sounds nice. “Letting more American children die preventable deaths will send a strong message to kids across the country.”

    Don’t they have the Hippocratic oath in Texas?

  2. You may want to look up the origins of A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift

  3. I’m a great admirer of Dean Swift. I too read it as Swiftian satire at first. Maybe she did it too well; it’s not much different from rants I’ve read by various right-wing loons, doctors included.

    Maybe we should be reading Trump’s every utterance as brilliant performance art, coruscating satire of the finest kind.

    Apologies to the good doctor but you need to be careful. We live in an age which is Beyond Satire.

  4. Crying diapered patients? Is she describing politicians or babies?

In Venezuela, we couldn’t stop Chávez. Don’t make the same mistakes we did

Posted on December 28th, 2017 at 11:53 by John Sinteur in category: News


The recipe for populism is universal. Find a wound common to many, find someone to blame for it, and make up a good story to tell. Mix it all together. Tell the wounded you know how they feel. That you found the bad guys. Label them: the minorities, the politicians, the businessmen. Caricature them. As vermin, evil masterminds, haters and losers, you name it. Then paint yourself as the savior. Capture the people’s imagination. Forget about policies and plans, just enrapture them with a tale. One that starts with anger and ends in vengeance. A vengeance they can participate in.

That’s how it becomes a movement. There’s something soothing in all that anger. Populism is built on the irresistible allure of simplicity. The narcotic of the simple answer to an intractable question. The problem is now made simple.

The problem is you.

How do I know? Because I grew up as the “you” Trump is about to turn you into. In Venezuela, the urban middle class I come from was cast as the enemy in the political struggle that followed Chavez’s arrival in 1998. For years, I watched in frustration as the opposition failed to do anything about the catastrophe overtaking our nation. Only later did I realize that this failure was self-inflicted. So now, to my American friends, here is some advice on how to avoid Venezuela’s mistakes.

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Fake news is a threat to humanity, but scientists may have a solution

Posted on December 27th, 2017 at 18:23 by John Sinteur in category: News


We now have influential partisan media outlets that help people believe what they want to believe, irrespective of factual accuracy. Inconvenient facts are labeled “fake news” and disregarded. In a nutshell, we no longer inhabit a shared reality, and as a result, major problems are going unaddressed because a segment of Americans rejects inconvenient truths.


However, in their follow-up paper addressing and summarizing the 9 responses to their original study, the authors note that technocognition faces one additional major obstacle:

This obstacle is the gorilla in the room: Policy making in the United States is largely independent of the public’s wishes but serves the interests of economic elites.

To illustrate this point, they plot data from a 2014 study by Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page. The study concluded:

When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it…we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.

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The US has reached the last stage before collapse

Posted on December 25th, 2017 at 20:12 by John Sinteur in category: News


We sneer at the idea of a “public” and hold our fellow citizens in contempt. We think anyone who doesn’t pursue self-interest is a fool.

We cannot blame everything on Donald Trump, much though we might want to. In the decadent stage of the Roman Empire, or of Louis XVI’s France, or the dying days of the Habsburg Empire so brilliantly captured in Robert Musil’s The Man Without Qualities, decadence seeped downward from the rulers to the ruled.

But in a democracy, the process operates reciprocally.

A decadent elite licenses degraded behavior, and a debased public chooses its worst leaders. Then our Nero panders to our worst attributes – and we reward him for doing so.

“Decadence”, in short, describes a cultural, moral, and spiritual disorder – the Donald Trump in us.

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  1. I think the big problem is the US is not a true Democracy. The electoral college and senate deter the will of the people.

  2. I think the USA needs to learn a lesson that Canadians have learned. When the environment itself regularly tries to kill you, then communities develop. You disover the best in people. It is humbling.

  3. @Sue, are you talking about bears or pollution? I don’t think global warming has fostered cooperation.

  4. @will: Pollution or bears are not big threats around here. Traffic accidents* and addiction are.
    The cold also. Every year. If we don’t help each other, people die.

    *including the inevitable Darwin award winners who drive their snowmobiles through the ice…

US nuclear tests killed far more civilians than we knew

Posted on December 25th, 2017 at 0:29 by John Sinteur in category: News


When the US entered the nuclear age, it did so recklessly. New research suggests that the hidden cost of developing nuclear weapons were far larger than previous estimates, with radioactive fallout responsible for 340,000 to 690,000 American deaths from 1951 to 1973.

The study, performed by University of Arizona economist Keith Meyers, uses a novel method (pdf) to trace the deadly effects of this radiation, which was often consumed by Americans drinking milk far from the site of atomic tests.

From 1951 to 1963, the US tested nuclear weapons above ground in Nevada. Weapons researchers, not understanding the risks—or simply ignoring them—exposed thousands of workers to radioactive fallout. The emissions from nuclear reactions are deadly to humans in high doses, and can cause cancer even in low doses. At one point, researchers had volunteers stand underneath an airburst nuclear weapon to prove how safe it was:


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  1. Do we know what happened to the volunteers and their children? They’re already finding genectic defects in the children of Japan.

  2. North Korean soldiers want to know how the US volunteers fared.

It’s Not About the Technology, It’s About the Money

Posted on December 24th, 2017 at 23:05 by John Sinteur in category: News


Many people get fooled upon first entering Bitcoin because they think diversification is important. The problem with diversification is that it is possible to create an infinite amount of bullshit at no cost, and if you diversify into that you lose everything. Diversification only makes sense among investments which are not bullshit. If we were looking at a bunch of stocks that all already paid dividends, then diversification would make sense. On the other hand, there are potentially an infinite number of scamcoins. During late 2013 and early 2014, new ones were being produced and hawked every day. They can be produced at this rate until everyone who thinks diversification is a good idea goes broke. Now that all the dumbest people have gone broke, the focus has shifted to using “blockchain tech” to exploit ignorant venture capitalists.

There is always some risk in accepting money in payment, even something very well-established like dollars. If everyone settles on the same money, then they have coordinated so as to reduce that risk as much as possible. If you expect people to use two currencies, you have to have some reason that both would offset risk in different ways. I have never seen an altcoiner or “blockchain tech” enthusiast come anywhere near to addressing this issue. Clearly, if two currencies are virtually identical, such as Bitcoin and Litecoin, then whichever currency is bigger has the advantage. Recently, Litecoin’s price has decoupled from Bitcoin’s somewhat, so maybe people have finally figured this out. Once Litecoin loses its shared hallucination, no amount of sloganeering will bring it back.

But what about something more elaborate? Let’s pretend for a moment that Ethereum actually worked and was actually something that competed with Bitcoin on some level. Do its smart contracts give it a serious advantage over Bitcoin? I don’t see how Ethereum’s smart contract system would tend to bring in opportunities to unload ethers which are superior to the opportunities provided by Bitcoin. No matter how cool smart contracts sound, they make Ethereum just another appcoin, and as with other appcoins, people will reduce the risk of holding them by not holding them, or holding them for as short a time as possible. This will drive the price down until they are useless in trade.


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  1. It’s hard to feel sorry for anyone buying virtual currency. I guess they expect to survive on virtual food and live in virtual houses.

  2. I feel that all moneys are virtual. They are all trust based. Even gold coin.

  3. “Trust based”. There’s the rub. Which country backs the bitcoins? Maybe, North Korea or South Korea?

  4. Some say bitcoin is easier to trust, will, because there is NO state based agency behind it who can print more or devalue it in some other way because it’s in the interest of the country…

    Greece has certainly shown us how valuable it can be for a country to be able to devalue a currency.

The strange story of “Extended Random”

Posted on December 24th, 2017 at 22:42 by John Sinteur in category: News



Those fossilized printers confirmed a theory we’d developed in 2014, but had been unable to prove: namely, the existence of a specific feature in RSA’s BSAFE TLS library called “Extended Random” — one that we believe to be evidence of a concerted effort by the NSA to backdoor U.S. cryptographic technology.

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Preparing x-mas dinner

Posted on December 24th, 2017 at 12:21 by John Sinteur in category: News

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  1. Is that one metric camel?

55 Ways Donald Trump Structurally Changed America in 2017

Posted on December 23rd, 2017 at 17:28 by John Sinteur in category: News


However, given that the congressional year has otherwise been marked by turmoil and inaction, and given the high staff turnover and the parade of scandals at the White House, it’s been easy to miss what this administration has already done. In the background, Donald Trump’s Cabinet members and their collaborators have been working hard to deliver on Steve Bannon’s vision of dismantling the “regulatory state”. With Trump’s blessing, they have made drastic, structural changes on education, immigration, environmental protections, broadcasting and internet laws, and rules of military engagement, among other issues. Most often the changes have taken direct aim at Obama’s legacy, but some apply to regulations and programs that date back decades.

What follows is a list of those changes. Excluded here is anything abstract: say, about how Trump has trampled on political norms, degraded national discourse, or permanently shattered the “dignity of the Oval Office”. Also excluded are the promises on which he has yet to deliver – for instance, moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem or building the border wall. Finally, it doesn’t include his selection of judges – he’s nominated 58 circuit- and district-court judges, 18 of whom have already been confirmed – since judicial appointments are an expected part of any president’s work.

Within those boundaries, we’ve aimed to be comprehensive.

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Washington state: Comcast was “even more deceptive” than we thought

Posted on December 23rd, 2017 at 17:10 by John Sinteur in category: News


Comcast, for its part, denied any wrongdoing

Just send a few top execs to jail over this, lets see how fast this kind of behavior stops…

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  1. Is that deceptive by cable TV standards or just deceptive by normal business standards? Forget it. Stupid question.

Kids in ‘Netflix Only’ Homes are Being Saved from 230 Hours of Commercials a Year

Posted on December 23rd, 2017 at 13:22 by John Sinteur in category: News



With more homes than ever becoming ‘Netflix Only’ homes, we wanted to see how many hours of commercials kids in these homes are being spared. We were able to determine that kids in ‘Netflix Only’ homes are saved from just over 230 hours of commercials a year when compared to traditional television viewership homes.

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Iced tea company rebrands as “Long Blockchain” and stock price triples

Posted on December 22nd, 2017 at 11:48 by John Sinteur in category: News


The Long Island Iced Tea Corporation is exactly what it sounds like: a company that sells people bottled iced tea and lemonade. But today the company announced a significant change of strategy that would start with changing its name to “Long Blockchain Corporation.”

The company was “shifting its primary corporate focus towards the exploration of and investment in opportunities that leverage the benefits of blockchain technology,” the company said in a Thursday morning press release. “Emerging blockchain technologies are creating a fundamental paradigm shift across the global marketplace,” the company said.

The stock market loved the announcement. Trading opened Thursday morning more than 200 percent higher than Wednesday night’s closing price.


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U.S. lifts moratorium on funding controversial, high-risk virus research

Posted on December 21st, 2017 at 18:03 by John Sinteur in category: News


The federal government announced on Tuesday that it is lifting a three-year moratorium on funding controversial research that involves genetically altering viruses in ways that could make them more contagious, more deadly, or both – and that critics say risks triggering a catastrophic pandemic.

Called gain-of-function experiments, the studies aim to understand genetic changes that can make viruses such as bird flu, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) more transmissible from person to person. But if they escaped from the lab, perhaps through human error, the modified viruses could in theory spread quickly or be extremely virulent, increasing the toll of an outbreak.

The moratorium was imposed a few months after two mishaps at government labs, one handling anthrax and one handling avian flu, which together suggested that biosafety and biosecurity at even the most respected labs fell well short of what is needed to protect the public.

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  1. interesting – can’t fund stem cell research, sure as H*LL aren’t going to fund research into gun violence/deaths, we let 60,000 people die from opioid overdoses & don’t want to research that, don’t want to fund research for cannabis applications but we WILL fund this shite??!!

  2. People forget that anthrax virus mailed by US reseachers contaminated postal facilities shortly after 9/11.

Happy festivities!

Posted on December 21st, 2017 at 17:02 by John Sinteur in category: News

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Historians Still Unable To Determine How Americans Were Able To Build Hoover Dam

Posted on December 20th, 2017 at 22:25 by John Sinteur in category: News

CAMBRIDGE, MA— Expressing continued bafflement at the practical knowledge and proficiency required to construct the massive structure, leading historians announced Friday that they remained unsure how Americans managed to build the Hoover Dam. “Decades into researching this tremendous feat of engineering, the question of how Americans ever mustered the ingenuity, determination, and resources to pull it off remains veiled in mystery,” said Harvard researcher Pritam Singh, noting that the enigmatic dam suggested Americans once possessed a level of competence, civic planning, and mastery of structural engineering far beyond what history would suggest. “We still can’t explain how United States citizens managed to handle tons of dynamite without blowing themselves up or causing the tunnels to cave in upon their own heads. This is the American people we’re talking about. There’s no evidence for how the people in this country worked and achieved such a challenging task without fucking it all up. Frankly, I’m beginning to think the answers may be lost to history.” Singh added that despite the questions surrounding the structure, he was intrigued by a recent theory suggesting the iconic dam was constructed by slaves.


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  1. You know, John, in the pre-Trump era, you’d occasionally put up stories from the Onion & 9 times out of 10, I’d look & say, “Ah, an Onion Story.” & be right.
    Nowadays? It’s lower, a lot lower…

  2. I’m pretty sure the writing team at the Onion would agree with you…

  3. Sometimes, forgetting history means we cannot duplicate it.

Google is creating data out of data.

Posted on December 20th, 2017 at 21:31 by John Sinteur in category: News

Back in the early 80’s, when I brought an Apple ][+ home, my dad asked me “so what can you do with those computers?”.


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  1. REALLY interesting & nice article. I don’t use Apple Maps (though it occasionally Pops up on my Apple devices). I don’t use Google Maps (because it collect too much of my personal info). I DO use “maps.me”.

    Not as granular as the other two, but suits me fine, because I can suggest inclusions / updates (which are Added or an explanation of why not). It has enough ‘buildings’ in major cities for my needs, I can store my ‘Faves’ Off-Line, and it is Free (I donate), Open Source AND it is useable without the Web).
    I can save EXACT locations for all of my usual or future destinations.

    It even works (approximately) WITHOUT GPS. Used it all over Spain a few years ago, to find our way back to our Air-B&B digs; on an ancient iPad (NO cellular & NO GPS, it can utilize Web Network Signals). It ALWAYS got us SO close, it was simple enough to find the actual address of our Digs and the Sites we wanted to visit.

    Worked all over Costa Rica last spring, with my new iPhone 7 (has GPS). Entered ALL of our trip destinations BEFORE departing & added others along the way. Very helpful for organizing my Pics & Notes afterwards.

    Really impressed with the level of detail that is now available on the New, Commercial mapping programs; BUT my primary concern is PEOPLE sharing information & Understanding each other.

    ‘Thanks’ to Justin O’Beirne for the Analysis, & to John for bringing it to my attention.


Posted on December 19th, 2017 at 20:14 by John Sinteur in category: News

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  1. Funny, I thought he had a blond wig.

Facebook confesses: Facebook is bad for you

Posted on December 18th, 2017 at 12:00 by John Sinteur in category: News

In particular, they note that studies show that the passive consumption of Facebook leaves students feeling worse at the end of the day than if they had posted or engaged with friends on Facebook. Another study noted that status updates gives negative social comparisons; by only seeing others’ (mostly) positive status updates we think our own lives are worse in comparison.

We’re not overblowing this. This is literally what Facebook admitted today:

Source: Facebook confesses: Facebook is bad for you

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  1. Facebook has detrimental effects. The cure, according to Facebook, is more Facebook.

    How is this different from heroin? With both of them it’s better not to start.

No hack needed: Anonymisation beaten with a dash of SQL

Posted on December 18th, 2017 at 11:56 by John Sinteur in category: News


She added that the government’s attempt to prohibit re-identification research (the legislation has not yet passed) was “a misguided effort” that “prohibited the public demonstration that there is a problem, but didn’t address the problem.

“That’s not good for improving the science of privacy, and it’s not good for public debate.”

If all research is outlawed, only outlaws will get the benefits from research…

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A journey through a land of extreme poverty: welcome to America

Posted on December 17th, 2017 at 18:15 by John Sinteur in category: News


That cruel streak – the violence of looking away – has been a feature of American life since the nation’s founding. The casting off the yoke of overweening government (the British monarchy) came to be equated in the minds of many Americans with states’ rights and the individualistic idea of making it on your own – a view that is fine for those fortunate enough to do so, less happy if you’re born on the wrong side of the tracks.

Countering that has been the conviction that society must protect its own against the vagaries of hunger or unemployment that informed Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and the Great Society of Lyndon Johnson. But in recent times the prevailing winds have blown strongly in the “you’re on your own, buddy” direction. Ronald Reagan set the trend with his 1980s tax cuts, followed by Bill Clinton, whose 1996 decision to scrap welfare payments for low-income families is still punishing millions of Americans.

The cumulative attack has left struggling families, including the 15 million children who are officially in poverty, with dramatically less support than in any other industrialized economy. Now they face perhaps the greatest threat of all.

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Every time Boston Dynamics has abused a robot

Posted on December 17th, 2017 at 17:10 by John Sinteur in category: News

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy defines … the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Boston Dynamics as “a bunch of mindless jerks who’ll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes,”

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