Search & Filter Tips: Typing an exact match of Tag/Keywords into the Search bar will automatically
add the filter. Also, when looking for an exact headline, try "wrapping it with double-quotes."
Removing double-quotes and all words with any special characters might help too.
Pirate Bay Censorship Backfires as New Proxies Bloom After legal threats from the music industry the UK Pirate Party saw no other option than to shut down their Pirate Bay proxy service. However, as is usually the case with censorship, the Internet has found a way to route around it. Responding to the UK situation Pirate parties in Argentina and Luxembourg have decided to start fresh Pirate Bay proxies.
pirate bayAs reported earlier, the UK Pirate Party has taken the difficult decision to shut down their Pirate Bay proxy service.
Music industry group BPI threatened legal action against six members of the party, who would each have to risk bankruptcy to fight for their ideals. Understandably, the party chose to fight another day. (Torrent Freak)
An ikaite record of late Holocene climate at the Antarctic Peninsula Zunli Lua, Rosalind E.M. Rickabyb, Hilary Kennedyc, Paul Kennedyc, Richard D. Pancostd, Samuel Shawe, Alistair Lennief, Julia Wellnerg, John B. Andersonh - Abstract:
Calcium carbonate can crystallize in a hydrated form as ikaite at low temperatures. The hydration water in ikaite grown in laboratory experiments records the δ18O of ambient water, a feature potentially useful for reconstructing δ18O of local seawater. We report the first downcore δ18O record of natural ikaite hydration waters and crystals collected from the Antarctic Peninsula (AP), a region sensitive to climate fluctuations. We are able to establish the zone of ikaite formation within shallow sediments, based on porewater chemical and isotopic data. Having constrained the depth of ikaite formation and δ18O of ikaite crystals and hydration waters, we are able to infer local changes in fjord δ18O versus time during the late Holocene. This ikaite record qualitatively supports that both the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age extended to the Antarctic Peninsula. (Earth and Planetary Science Letters)
Instagram Puts a Sunny Filter on Its Terms of Service Instagram won’t be selling your food photos to Denny’s after all.
The popular photo-sharing site made an abrupt about-face on Tuesday and said it will remove a portion of its updated terms of service that would have allowed Instagram to use your photographs, likeness, photo metadata (location information) and screen name to generate revenue from third-party businesses and “other entities” without your permission, or even telling you about it. (Wired)
Bill Would Study Impact of Violent Video Games on Children -- Rockefeller introduces proposal as a response to Sandy Hook tragedy The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary has triggered calls for more than just gun regulation, putting violent video games and programming again in the spotlight. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) introduced a bill today that calls for the National Academy of Sciences to study the impact of violent video games and violent video programming on children.
As chairman of the powerful Senate Commerce Committee, Rockefeller has some pull in getting his bill before it. This bill could see immediate action because he is "hot lining" it, meaning that if no one objects it goes up for a vote on the floor. (Ad Week)
FBI Documents Reveal Secret Nationwide Occupy Monitoring (See the released documents here) FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) pursuant to the PCJF’s Freedom of Information Act demands reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat even though the agency acknowledges in documents that organizers explicitly called for peaceful protest and did “not condone the use of violence” at occupy protests.
The PCJF has obtained heavily redacted documents showing that FBI offices and agents around the country were in high gear conducting surveillance against the movement even as early as August 2011, a month prior to the establishment of the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park and other Occupy actions around the country.
“This production, which we believe is just the tip of the iceberg, is a window into the nationwide scope of the FBI’s surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful protestors organizing with the Occupy movement,” stated Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF). “These documents show that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are treating protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as potential criminal and terrorist activity. These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.” (Partnership for Civil Justice Fund)
Pulled over for littering, women given body cavity searches Two Irving, Texas, women are suing two Texas State Troopers and the director of the Department of Public Safety after they say they were violated during roadside cavity searches in full view of the public and without probable cause.
On July 13, while driving along state Highway 161, Angel Dobbs and her niece Ashley Dobbs were stopped for littering by Trooper David Ferrell. In the dashcam video released by the women and their attorney, Ferrell can be heard telling the women they would both be cited for littering for throwing cigarette butts out of the car.
Farrell then returned to his cruiser and, in the video, can be heard calling female trooper Kelley Helleson to the scene to search both women whom he said were acting weird. (MSNBC)
'No Sun link' to climate change Scientists have produced further compelling evidence showing that modern-day climate change is not caused by changes in the Sun's activity.
The research contradicts a favoured theory of climate "sceptics", that changes in cosmic rays coming to Earth determine cloudiness and temperature.
The idea is that variations in solar activity affect cosmic ray intensity.
But UK scientists found there has been no significant link between cosmic rays and cloudiness in the last 20 years.
Presenting their findings in the Institute of Physics journal, Environmental Research Letters, the University of Lancaster team explain that they used three different ways to search for a correlation, and found virtually none. (BBC)
Grandfather grieves teenage grandson killed by U.S. drone Two years ago, Nasser al-Awlaki wrote a letter to President Obama. His request was simple: Please do not kill my son.
He never got a response. Last September, his son, Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born al Qaeda leader, was killed by a U.S. drone in a remote area of Northern Yemen. Two weeks later, his 16-year-old grandson, Anwar’s son, was also killed, in a separate U.S. strike hundreds of miles away.
“Anwar, it was expected, because he was … targeted,” Nasser al-Awlaki told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview on Wednesday. “But how in the world they will go and kill Abdulrahman, a small boy, a U.S. citizen, from Denver, Colorado?”
Nasser’s son, Anwar, was born in New Mexico in 1971 while he was studying for his master’s degree. The family moved back to Yemen, but Anwar returned to the U.S. for college, and became an imam in California. (American Civil Liberties Union)
FBI: Monitoring Occupy was within rules The FBI says its newly disclosed surveillance of the Occupy movement in Northern California stayed within federal rules and did not result in "unnecessary intrusions into the lives of law-abiding people."
The American Civil Liberties Union, which obtained FBI surveillance documents on the movement in a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act, wants to know why the agency is withholding nearly two-thirds of the records it says it has, and why it is citing national security as one reason for the nondisclosure. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Germany sets solar record, meets half of electricity demand Germany's investment in renewables has seen the country set the world record for photovoltaic energy generation at 22 gigawatts per hour -- or approximately 50 percent of German electricity demand.
A spate of good weather has helped the country break the record, along with the fact that the milestone was reached on 26 May: a Saturday, with factories and offices closed. However, on 25 May a third of electricity generated in the country still came from solar generators. (Wired)
Oil Slicks and Sleazy Dealings: The BP Settlement The Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010 was the single worst man-made ecological disaster at sea. Due to the epic scope of the accident, one would believe it would have a lasting impact on the company responsible, or at the very least increased environmental regulations. One would be mistaken.
Approximately $100 Million worth of advertising, spent by British Petroleum following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, essentially made the disaster a political and societal non-issue. The anger of gas consumers towards BP was short-lived, demonstrated by the company’s impressive third quarter gains of $5.4 billion.
As cars continued to line the company’s gas pumps, the focus of mainstream media shifted from the 9/11 of ecological devastation to something more sensationally substantial, like what those crazy Kardashians were up to. Without the continual news coverage, the public’s glaring disapproval was detoured in other directions. The unforgivable mistake British Petroleum had made was largely forgiven (or at least forgotten), even as tons of unrefined sludge were pumped into the Gulf of Mexico. (The Boston Occupier)
Magnetic Current (Illustrated) E. Leedskalnin, Rock Gate, Homestead, Florida USA 1945 - This writing is lined up so that when you read it you look East, and all the description you will read about magnetic current, it will be just as good as your electricity. Following is the result of my two years experiment with magnets at Rock Gate, 17 miles Southwest from Miami, Florida, between 25th and 26th Latitude and 80th and 81st Longitude West. First I will describe what a magnet is. You have seen straight bar magnets, U-shape magnets, sphere or ball magnets and Alnico magnets in many shapes, and usually a hole in the middle. In all magnets one end of the metal is North Pole and the other South Pole, and those which have no end one side is North Pole and the other South Pole. Now about the sphere magnet. If you have a strong magnet you can change the poles in the sphere in any side you want or take the poles out so the sphere will not be a magnet anymore. From this you can see that the metal is not the real magnet. The real magnet is the substance that is circulating in the metal. Each particle in the substance is an individual magnet by itself, and both North and South Pole individual magnets. They are so small that they can pass through everything. In fact they can pass through easier than through the air. They are in constant motion, they are running one kind of magnets against the other kind, and if guided in the right channels they possess perpetual power. The North and South Pole magnets they are cosmic force, they hold together this earth and everything on it. Each North and South Pole magnet is equal in strength, but the strength of each individual magnet doesn’t amount to anything. To be of practical use they will have to be in great numbers. In permanent magnets they are circulating in the metal in great numbers, and they circulate in the following way: Each kind of the magnets are coming out of their own end of the pole and are running around, and are running in the other end of the pole and back to its own end, and then over and over again. All the individual magnets do not run around. Some run away are never come back, but new ones take their place. The earth itself is a great big magnet. In general these North and South Pole individual magnets are circulating in the same way as in the permanent magnet metal. The North Pole individual magnets are coming out of the earth’s South Pole and are running around in the earth’s North Pole and back to its own pole, and South Pole individual magnets are coming out of the earth’s North Pole and are running around, and in earth South Pole and back to its own end, The both North and South Pole individual magnets start to run over and over again. In a permanent magnet bar between the poles there is a semi-neutral part where there is not much going in or out, but on the earth there is no place where the magnets are not going in or out, but the magnets are tuning in and out at pole ends more than at the Equator. Now you get the equipment and I will tell you so you can see for yourself that it is in the way I have told. Get a permanent magnet bar four inches long. A U-shape magnet that is strong enough to lift from 10 to 20 pounds. An Alnico magnet about 3 inches long, 2 and a half inches wide, one inch thick. Hole in the middle and poles in each end, several feet in length of hard steel fishing line. Line when it is not in coil it stays straight and a soft steel welding rod one-eighth of an inch thick and 3 feet long. From the fishing wire and the welding rod you will make magnets or compasses, and if you hang them up by fine threads by at the middle and keep them there they will be permanent magnets. (Ed Leedskalnin)
Edward Leedskalnin (Latvian: Edvards Liedskalniņš) (January 12, 1887, Stāmeriena parish, Livonia; December 7, 1951, Miami) was an eccentric Latvian emigrant to the United States and amateur sculptor who single-handedly built the monument known as Coral Castle in Florida. He was also known for his unusual theories on magnetism. (Wikipedia)
EU Leader Calls For Global Governance With Russia In a recent EU-Russia summit Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European council has been outspoken about the cooperation between Russia and the EU further facilitating the push towards global and economic governance.
"Gun" "Control" -- Please note that this is a post about technology, not politics. The tech industry cheerleads the displacement and reconfiguration of huge institutions like the music industry and telecoms. The arms industry shares many of the attributes of those industries, and is poised for fundamental change that is much like the changes they have experienced. If the product of the arms industry were not arms, the inevitable upheaval would be anticipated and prophesied with glee by the usual pundits (this website included).
It’s not, because the general availability of weapons is not something we as a community can agree on as an unmitigated good. For that matter, even free speech and assembly are by no means goals universally agreed upon. But advances in technology are providing all of these things, regardless of the preferences of any one group.
If we as a country, and indeed we as a global community, are going to seriously address the question of gun control, we need to address the issue of fabricated weapons and weapon plans, or else the discussion will be moot. This is because the proliferation of 3D printed weaponry changes both the definition of “gun” and of what it means to “control” it. (Tech Crunch)
Here We Go Again: Latest Draft Of White House Cybersecurity 'Executive Order' Is Leaked Back in September, we posted a leaked version of a draft for a cybersecurity executive order that the White House had been passing around, mainly to try to force Congress into passing a cybersecurity law. With the last ditch attempt by Senator Harry Reid to move that process forward failing, it took exactly a week for the White House to revise its draft exec order, and start passing it around on November 21st. And, today, that new draft leaked as well. You can see the full draft here or embedded below.
It's basically more of the same. It insists that there's a problem without providing any real evidence of that. Much of the order focuses on increasing information sharing among and between different government agencies. As expected, it's designed to encourage private companies, who are "owners and operators of critical infrastructure" to "participate, on a voluntary basis, in the Enhanced Cybersecurity initiative." This is part of what had people so concerned about the various bill proposals: whether or not companies would get broadly defined as "owners and operators of critical infrastructure" and then be forced or pressured into sharing private information, all in the name of "cybersecurity!" (Tech Dirt)
Obama likely to issue executive order on cybersecurity as early as January An executive order from President Obama aimed at protecting the nation from cyberattacks is likely to be issued in early 2013, and perhaps as soon as January, observers say.
The long-awaited executive action is unlikely to be taken before the end of the year, given the delicate negotiations over the “fiscal cliff.” Republican lawmakers have made it known that they strongly oppose an executive order on cybersecurity.
“It’d be reasonable to say that releasing the executive order now would irritate Congress and might create an unnecessary burden for reaching a deal on the fiscal issues,” said James Lewis, director of the technology and public policy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. (The Hill)
Marijuana, Not Yet Legal for Californians, Might as Well Be -- Stigma Fading Marijuana Common in California Let Colorado and Washington be the marijuana trailblazers. Let them struggle with the messy details of what it means to actually legalize the drug. Marijuana is, as a practical matter, already legal in much of California.
No matter that its recreational use remains technically against the law. Marijuana has, in many parts of this state, become the equivalent of a beer in a paper bag on the streets of Greenwich Village. It is losing whatever stigma it ever had and still has in many parts of the country, including New York City, where the kind of open marijuana use that is common here would attract the attention of any passing law officer.
“It’s shocking, from my perspective, the number of people that we all know who are recreational marijuana users,” said Gavin Newsom, the lieutenant governor. “These are incredibly upstanding citizens: Leaders in our community, and exceptional people. Increasingly, people are willing to share how they use it and not be ashamed of it.” (New York Times)
Until 2009, the human clitoris was an absolute mystery Humans have been studying one another sexually for thousands upon thousands of years. Yet for all that time spent diligently exploring one another's anatomies, there remain many features of the human form that, until very recently, have gone uncharted — chief among them being the clitoris.
How recently are we talking? Try 2009. Yeah. Get ready, everybody — it's time you were brought up to speed on some important features of the female anatomy.
Picture a clitoris in your mind. Got it? Now, what if I told you that what you're imagining is just the tip of a much larger, internal clitoral iceberg — that the clitoris is actually much, much larger than what this sensitive bundle of nerve endings would lead you to believe? (io9)
'Wiki Weapon Project' Aims To Create A Gun Anyone Can 3D-Print At Home Cody Wilson has a simple dream: To design the world’s first firearm that can be downloaded from the Internet and built from scratch using only a 3D printer–and then to share it with the world.
Earlier this month, Wilson and a small group of friends who call themselves “Defense Distributed” launched an initiative they’ve dubbed the “ Wiki Weapon Project.” They’re seeking to raise $20,000 to design and release blueprints for a plastic gun anyone can create with an open-source 3D printer known as the RepRap that can be bought for less than $1,000. If all goes according to plan, the thousands of owners of those cheap 3D printers, which extrude thin threads of melted plastic into layers that add up to precisely-shaped three-dimensional objects, will be able to turn the project’s CAD designs into an operational gun capable of firing a standard .22 caliber bullet, all in the privacy of their own garage.
“We want to show this principle: That a handgun is printable,” says Wilson, a 24-year-old second-year law student at the University of Texas. “You don’t need to be able to put 200 rounds through it…It only has to fire once. But even if the design is a little unworkable, it doesn’t matter, as long as it has that guarantee of lethality.” (Forbes)
Mass Shooter Adam Lanza 'Spent Hours Playing Call Of Duty' The Connecticut school massacre gunman Adam Lanza spent hours playing violent video games such as Call Of Duty in a windowless bunker, according to an interview with a plumber who worked at the family home.
Lanza killed 20 children aged six and seven and six adults at Sandy Hook elementary school having previously shot dead his mother Nancy last Friday. He then shot himself dead. Police are still searching for a motive.
It has emerged that Lanza spent his time in the basement of the family’s four-bedroom home in Newtown playing video games, such as Call of Duty and obsessing over guns and military equipment, according to an interview in The Sun with plumber Peter Wlasuk. (Business Insider)
Conn. Police: We have to be sensitive -- Statement from Connecticut State Police spokesman, Lt. J. Paul Vance. "One thing that is becoming somewhat of a concern, and that is misinformation is being posted on social media sites. There has been misinformation coming from people posing as the shooter in this case, using other IDs, mimicing this crime and crime scene and criminal activity that took place in this community. There's been some things in somewhat of a threatening manner. It is important to know that we have discussed with federal authorities that these issues are crimes, they will be investigated statewide and federally, and prosecution will take place when people perpetrating this information are identified. Again, all information relative to this case is coming from these microphones, and any information coming from other sources cannot be confirmed and in many cases it's been found, it's inaccurate." (CNN)
Connecticut Shooting: 27 Dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School: More than two dozen people, mostly children, were killed in Newtown tragedy. It's believed at this hour and it's been confirmed to ABC news by state police there in Connecticut that two shooters were initially believed involved in the mass shooting one of those shooters. Now dead what's not been confirmed as whether or not that gunman took his own line for whether or not there was something that ensued after authorities began. Arriving at the scene and now the big question will be.
Is there in fact that second shooter and where is that second shooter there have been searches that have unfolded throughout the afternoon. Clark -- -- We've authorities there are armed as you can see they're heavily armed many of them carrying their. They're automatic weapons. (ABC)
Connecticut Shooter Adam Lanza: 'Obviously Not Well' Adam Lanza of Newtown, Connecticut was a child of the suburbs and a child of divorce who at age 20 still lived with his mother.
This morning he appears to have started his day by shooting his mother Nancy in the face, and then driving to nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School armed with at least two handguns and at least one semi-automatic rifle. - Peter Lanza, who drove to northern New Jersey to talk to police and the FBI, is a vice president at GE Capital and had been a partner at global accounting giant Ernst & Young.
Adam's older brother Ryan Lanza, 24, has worked at Ernst & Young for four years, apparently following in his father's footsteps and carving out a solid niche in the tax practice. He too was interviewed by the FBI. Neither he nor his father is under any suspicion. (ABC)
China detains 500-plus people for doomsday rumors Chinese police have detained more than 500 people from a fringe Christian group for spreading rumors about the world's impending end, state media reported Tuesday.
In western China's Qinghai province alone, police arrested more than 400 members from the religious cult group, state-run China Central Television said Tuesday.
Police seized leaflets, video discs, books and other apocalyptic materials in the recent arrests of more than 500 people across eight provinces and regions, from the prosperous east coast to less developed western China, state media reports said.
The detentions come ahead of Friday, Dec. 21 — a date some say the Mayans prophesized would be the end of the world and which was the subject of the apocalyptic movie "2012." (Associated Press)
Experts Argue to Keep Thimerosal in Some Vaccines The mercury component was removed from most childhood vaccines, but doctors say an international ban would put more youngsters at risk of infectious diseases.
The U.N. Environment Program is discussing ways to lower environmental exposure to mercury, a chemical linked to developmental problems. Part of the proposal involves removing thimerosal, a mercury-based compound used as a preservative to maintain vaccine quality, from immunizations given to children around the world.
The proposed ban could potentially create a situation in which thimerosal-containing immunizations, with their potential but still unknown health risks, are concentrated in lower-resource countries while developed nations rely on thimerosal-free shots, owing primarily to more robust health systems that allow better storage and preservation of the immunizations. (Time)
Outrageous HSBC Settlement Proves the Drug War is a Joke If you've ever been arrested on a drug charge, if you've ever spent even a day in jail for having a stem of marijuana in your pocket or "drug paraphernalia" in your gym bag, Assistant Attorney General and longtime Bill Clinton pal Lanny Breuer has a message for you: Bite me.
Breuer this week signed off on a settlement deal with the British banking giant HSBC that is the ultimate insult to every ordinary person who's ever had his life altered by a narcotics charge. Despite the fact that HSBC admitted to laundering billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels (among others) and violating a host of important banking laws (from the Bank Secrecy Act to the Trading With the Enemy Act), Breuer and his Justice Department elected not to pursue criminal prosecutions of the bank, opting instead for a "record" financial settlement of $1.9 billion, which as one analyst noted is about five weeks of income for the bank.
The banks' laundering transactions were so brazen that the NSA probably could have spotted them from space. Breuer admitted that drug dealers would sometimes come to HSBC's Mexican branches and "deposit hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, in a single day, into a single account, using boxes designed to fit the precise dimensions of the teller windows."
This bears repeating: in order to more efficiently move as much illegal money as possible into the "legitimate" banking institution HSBC, drug dealers specifically designed boxes to fit through the bank's teller windows. Tony Montana's henchmen marching dufflebags of cash into the fictional "American City Bank" in Miami was actually more subtle than what the cartels were doing when they washed their cash through one of Britain's most storied financial institutions. (Rolling Stone)
Air Force Instruction 14-104 -- Oversight of Intelligence Activities -- OPR: AF/A2RP This publication implements Air Force Policy Directive (AFPD) 14-1, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Planning, Resources, and Operations and is consistent with Executive Order (EO) 12333 (part 2), United States Intelligence Activities; Department of Defense (DoD) Regulation 5240.1-R, Procedures Governing the Activities of DoD Intelligence Components That Affect United States Persons; DoD Directive, and (DoDD) 5240.1, DoD Intelligence Activites. This publication states the requirements for United States Air Force intelligence oversight activities. In this publication, the term intelligence refers to intelligence and counterintelligence units, activities,, etc. It describes mandatory intelligence oversight-associated training requirements for Air Force components that conduct intelligence activities. (US Air Force)
27 Science Fictions That Became Science Facts In 2012 We may never have our flying cars, but the future is here. From creating fully functioning artificial leaves to hacking the human brain, science made a lot of breakthroughs this year. - 1. Quadriplegic Uses Her Mind to Control Her Robotic Arm
Quadriplegic Uses Her Mind to Control Her Robotic Arm
At the University of Pittsburgh, the neurobiology department worked with 52-year-old Jan Scheuermann over the course of 13 weeks to create a robotic arm controlled only by the power of Scheuermann's mind.
The team implanted her with two 96-channel intracortical microelectrodes. Placed in the motor cortex, which controls all limb movement, the integration process was faster than anyone expected. On the second day, Jan could use her new arm with a 3-D workspace. By the end of the 13 weeks, she was capable of performing complex tasks with seven-dimensional movement, just like a biological arm.
To date, there have been no negative side effects. (Buzz Feed)
Memo to Media: Manhood, Not Guns or Mental Illness, Should Be Central in Newtown Shooting Many of us whose work touches on the subject of masculinity and violence have long been frustrated by the failure of mainstream media -- and much of progressive media and the blogosphere as well -- to confront the gender issues at the heart of so many violent rampages like the one on December 14 in Connecticut.
My colleagues and I who do this type of work experience an unsettling dichotomy. In one part of our lives, we routinely have intense, in-depth discussions about men's emotional and relational struggles, and how the bravado about "rugged individualism" in American culture masks the deep yearning for connection that so many men feel, and how the absence or loss of that can quickly turn to pain, despair, and anger. In these discussions, we talk about violence as a gendered phenomenon: how, for example, men who batter their wives or girlfriends typically do so not because they have trigger tempers, but rather as a means to gain or maintain power and control over her, in a (misguided) attempt to get their needs met.
We talk amongst ourselves about how so many boys and men in our society are conditioned to see violence as a solution to their problems, a resolution of their anxieties, or a means of exacting revenge against those they perceive as taking something from them. We share with each other news stories, websites and YouTube videos that demonstrate the connection between deeply ingrained cultural ideas about manhood and individual acts of violence that operationalize those ideas. (The Huffington Post)
How to Cut Prison Costs Thanks in part to the federal Second Chance Act of 2008, states are finding creative ways to cut prison costs — now more than $52 billion a year nationwide — by making sure that people who are released from prison actually stay out.
The act, aimed at helping states and localities reduce recidivism, encourages changes like those that have already taken place in Kansas, Texas and Oregon. The states have expanded community-based drug treatment programs, improved postprison supervision and retooled parole systems that once shunted people back to jail not for actual crimes but for technical violations that are more cheaply and effectively dealt with through community-based sanctions like house arrest or mandatory drug treatment. (New York Times)
In Colombia, David Cameron's stance on drugs looks cynical -- The prime minister's belief that the war on drugs is working ignores Britain's complicity in the trade Twenty-six years ago, on 17 December 1986, my uncle, Guillermo Cano Isaza, editor of the Colombian daily newspaper, El Espectador, was killed by gunmen paid by Pablo Escobar and his drug trafficking cartel. He had led a journalistic crusade to denounce the corruptive and violent power of drug trafficking. He paid with his life. The newspaper he edited was bombed and became a target as we lived through the bloody years of the so-called "war on drugs".
Back then, and every year since, I've asked myself the same question: was it inevitable? Was there another way to fight the perverse effects of the illegal trade in drugs?
With few positive results to show from the "war", another way now seems possible. Throughout the world, a serious debate is gaining momentum on the inefficacy of prohibition. Prosecuting growers, distributors and consumers leaves a trail of violence and does nothing to curb the sky-high profits of the cartels from corrupting the body politic and police. We need to look at different ways of managing the terrible social effects of drug abuse, while also eliminating the enormous profits of the illegal drug traffic. (London Guardian)
Newly Released Drone Records Reveal Extensive Military Flights in US Today EFF posted several thousand pages of new drone license records and a new map that tracks the location of drone flights across the United States.
These records, received as a result of EFF’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), come from state and local law enforcement agencies, universities and—for the first time—three branches of the U.S. military: the Air Force, Marine Corps, and DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).
Military Drone Flights in the United States
A160 Hummingbird DroneWhile the U.S. military doesn’t need an FAA license to fly drones over its own military bases (these are considered “restricted airspace”), it does need a license to fly in the national airspace (which is almost everywhere else in the US). And, as we’ve learned from these records, the Air Force and Marine Corps regularly fly both large and small drones in the national airspace all around the country. This is problematic, given a recent New York Times report that the Air Force’s drone operators sometimes practice surveillance missions by tracking civilian cars along the highway adjacent to the base. (Electronic Frontier Foundation)
The Real Conversation About Mental Health I have been ruminating -- some might say obsessing -- over the tragedies in Connecticut for days now.
I am a mother of a young child who cannot fathom going through anything close to what this community and all of its families are going through.
I am someone who has had more experiences with guns in my 31 years of living than I've ever wanted.
I am also an advocate. And I am torn. Since Friday's unspeakable tragedies, I have seen countless stories and comments about how finally this may be the impetus we need to start talking about mental health and mental illness as a society. I agree, but believe it's for the wrong reasons. (The Huffington Post)
Twelve facts about guns and mass shootings in the United States When we first collected much of this data, it was after the Aurora, Colo. shootings, and the air was thick with calls to avoid “politicizing” the tragedy. That is code, essentially, for “don’t talk about reforming our gun control laws.”
Let’s be clear: That is a form of politicization. When political actors construct a political argument that threatens political consequences if other political actors pursue a certain political outcome, that is, almost by definition, a politicization of the issue. It’s just a form of politicization favoring those who prefer the status quo to stricter gun control laws.
Since then, there have been more horrible, high-profile shootings. Jovan Belcher, a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, took his girlfriend’s life and then his own. In Oregon, Jacob Tyler Roberts entered a mall holding a semi-automatic rifle and yelling “I am the shooter.” And, in Connecticut, at least 27 are dead — including 18 children — after a man opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School. (Washington Post)
Instagram's New Terms Of Service: 5 Things You Need To Know If you've used Instagram today, you may have seen a little bubble appear at the top of your News Feed.
It reads thus:
It links to lengthy explanations of the new changes, which it says are "part of our new collaboration" with Facebook (which acquired Instagram earlier this year) and geared toward building "better experiences for our users."
Chances are you haven't read all of the text and probably won't. So here's what you need to know about the new Terms of Service, which takes effect on January 16, 2013.
1. Your data will be used for ads. Ads are coming to Instagram. This isn't a surprise. (The Huffington Post)
Why should I be allowed to marry? I chose to be gay Our writer says that there's something to good-old English bigotry after all: being gay is a way of choosing strife instead of choosing life - and he should know - I remember the exact moment I chose to be gay. I was sitting at home contemplating my predictable life of automatic acceptance and uncomplicated social assimilation and procreation and I thought, ‘How dull.’ I whipped out my Manchester United biro from my Pamela Anderson pencil case and started brainstorming ways to inject some adversity into my future.
I thought about tattooing my face with satanic imagery or becoming a single mother on a forgotten council estate but I just didn’t have the qualifications. Clearly, I had the wrong approach! So I started sketching out a list of my tastes, traits and talents. Maybe that might point me in the right direction? I enjoyed the arts. I liked dressing up. I got erections when I thought about naked men. By cross-referencing these details with a number of different lifestyle choices, I came up with two options. I could either be a gay man or a Catholic priest. It was a tricky decision but in the end, I settled for option 1. (The Independent)
How Corruption Is Strangling U.S. Innovation If there's been one topic that has entirely dominated the post-election landscape, it's the fiscal cliff. Will taxes be raised? Which programs will be cut? Who will blink first in negotiations? For all the talk of the fiscal cliff, however, I believe the US is facing a much more serious problem, one that has simply not been talked about at all: corruption. But this isn't the overt, "bartering of government favors in return for private kickbacks" corruption. Instead, this type of corruption has actually been legalized. And it is strangling both US competitiveness, and the ability for US firms to innovate.
The corruption to which I am referring is the phenomenon of money in politics.
Lawrence Lessig's Republic, Lost, details many of the distortions that occur as a result of all the money sloshing around in the political system: how elected representatives are being forced to spend an ever-increasing amount of their time chasing donors for funds, for example, as opposed to chasing citizens for votes. Former congressman and CIA director Leon Panetta described it as "legalized bribery"; something which has just "become part of the culture of how this place operates." (Harvard Business Review)
How A Former Big Bank Lawyer Taught His Old Bosses A $25 Billion Lesson Tom Cox is a lawyer who used to represent major banks. Now he's working to help Maine residents facing foreclosure keep their homes, and recently uncovered a massive fraud by five major mortgage lenders that led to a $25 billion dollar settlement to assist people driven into debt by shady business practices. Guess which job he found more satisfying?
12/12/12 and the Myriad of Number Patterns in Dates Today as you are slogging through the tasks marked on your calendar, you might notice the date: 12/12/12. This will be the last date with the same number for day, month and last two digits of the year until New Year’s Day, 2101 (01/01/01)–89 years from now.
Many are celebrating the date with weddings (the truly hard core are start their ceremonies at 12:00 pm, presumably so that they’d be mid-vow at at 12:12), concerts–such as this benefit for victims of Superstorm Sandy–even mass meditations. The Astronomical Society of the Pacific, based in San Francisco, has actually declared 12/12/12 “Anti-Doomsday Day,” the antidote to purported Mayan prognostications that the world will end on 12/21/12. Belgian monks have released the holy grail of beers–Westvleteren 12–for public sale today. (Smithsonian)
168 children killed in drone strikes in Pakistan since start of campaign As many as 168 children have been killed in drone strikes in Pakistan during the past seven years as the CIA has intensified its secret programme against militants along the Afghan border. - In an extensive analysis of open-source documents, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism found that 2,292 people had been killed by US missiles, including as many as 775 civilians.
The strikes, which began under President George W Bush but have since accelerated during the presidency of Barack Obama, are hated in Pakistan, where families live in fear of the bright specks that appear to hover in the sky overhead.
In just a single attack on a madrassah in 2006 up to 69 children lost their lives.
Chris Woods, who led the research, said the detailed database of deaths would send shockwaves through Pakistan, where political and military leaders repeatedly denounce the strikes in public, while privately allowing the US to continue. (London Telegraph)
FAIR USE NOTICE:
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically
authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance
understanding of criminal justice, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and
social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material
as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107,
the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in
receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own
that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
A bibliography for the alternative media. This site is a completely free research tool used to collect and organize as much important documentation as possible,
largely mainstream sources referenced by alternative media and interesting films.
Please collaborate by suggesting related document links here...