Freshly Exhumed writes: An undercover sting has revealed that two prominent climate science sceptics, William Happer and Frank Clemente, were available for hire by the hour to write reports casting doubt on the dangers posed by global warming. Posing as consultants to fossil fuel companies, Greenpeace approached professors at leading US universities to commission reports touting the benefits of rising carbon dioxide levels and the benefits of coal. Happer agreed to accept funding to produce pro-industry research while concealing the source of that funding. Citing an hourly rate of $275 an hour, Clemente sent over a paper he did for the International Energy Agency that he said cost them $50,000. An “8-10 page paper” would run $15,000. “My op/ed fee usually is $6,000 for 2-3 pages.” Clemente now claims that his emails were "pirated", whatever that means. Shades of the Dr. Willie Soon fiasco...
Freshly Exhumed writes: Pens and paper have no place in the modern classroom. And chalkboards? They should be banished from our schools too. That’s what Lia De Cicco Remu, director of Partners in Learning at Microsoft Canada, told the Georgia Straight ahead of the Microsoft Summit 2015 in Vancouver, which is set to be attended by around 200 teachers. “When was the last time you used a piece of chalk to express yourself?” De Cicco Remu, a former teacher, asked by phone from Toronto. “Kids don’t express themselves with chalk or in cursive. Kids text.” Given the Microsoft Study Finds Technology Hurting Attention Spans story posted to Slashdot in the last 2 days it would seem that Redmond's Marketing and R&D people are at cross-purposes.
Freshly Exhumed writes: Wellness advocate Belle Gibson, who translated her high profile as a cancer survivor into publishing success, has admitted her cancer diagnosis was not real. Ms Gibson, 23, who claimed to have healed terminal brain cancer by eating wholefoods, made the admission in an interview with the Australian Women's Weekly. The success of Gibson's book, The Whole Pantry, and her smartphone application, which advocates natural therapies, has been largely dependent on her high-profile as a cancer survivor. Sadly, we've seen this sort of behaviour before. It would seem that Belle Gibson has emulated Dr. Andrew Wakefield in knowingly decieving the public in ways that could possibly be dangerous to the health of believers.
Freshly Exhumed writes: In the lead-up to the FCC's pivotal net neutrality vote on Thursday, civil rights and media justice organizations across the United States are taking their demands for an open internet to the store-fronts of the telecommunications giants that continue to aggressively fight the protections. In partnership with the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-net), local organizations began rallying last week to bring the call "Don't Block My Internet" to AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and Time Warner. Notable actions have already taken place in numerous cities—including Berkeley, California; Urbana-Champaign, Illinois; and San Antonio, Texas—with more slated for the coming days.
Freshly Exhumed writes: Perhaps this is one for sociologists to explain, but as Pornhub Insights has previously tracked during other major sporting events, Internet traffic changes on both Pornhub and YouPorn surrounding major sporting events tend to be in a pattern resembling an upside down parabola. This year’s post-Super Bowl pr0n-centric activity occurred in much the same pattern.
Freshly Exhumed writes: Growing income inequality was one of the top four issues at the 2015 World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, ranking alongside European adoption of quantitative easing and geopolitical concerns. Felix Salmon, senior editor at Fusion, said there was a consensus that global inequality is getting worse, fueling overriding pessimism at the gathering. The result, he said, could be that the next big revolution will be in regulation rather than innovation. With growing inequality and the civil unrest from Ferguson and the Occupy protests fresh in people’s mind, the world’s super rich are already preparing for the consequences. At a packed session, former hedge fund director Robert Johnson revealed that worried hedge fund managers were already planning their escapes. “I know hedge fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway,” he said. Looking at studies like NASA's HANDY and by KPMG, the UK Government Office of Science, and others, Dr Nafeez Ahmed, executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development, warns that the convergence of food, water and energy crises could create a 'perfect storm' within about fifteen years.
Freshly Exhumed writes: Citizenship and Immigration Canada has granted an unprecedented exemption to Microsoft that will allow the company to bring in an unspecified number of temporary foreign workers as trainees without first looking for Canadians to fill the jobs. No other company in any other field has been granted such an exemption, and it does not fall within any of the other categories where exemptions are normally given, according to a source familiar with process, effectively creating a new category: the Microsoft Exemption. Microsoft Canada did not immediately respond to questions about the deal, but in an interview earlier this year with Bloomberg Businessweek, Karen Jones, Microsoft’s deputy general counsel, said the deal will allow Microsoft to bypass stricter U.S. rules on visas for foreign workers. The entire issue of temporary foreign workers has been as blisteringly hot a topic across Canada as it has been in the USA.
Freshly Exhumed writes: Ford's in-car infotainment system known as Sync will soon evolve to add a capacitive touch screen, better integration with smartphone apps and, eventually, support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in version 3, thanks to a switch of OSes. After years of teaming with Microsoft, the automobile giant has switched to Blackberry's QNX, a real time operating system renowned for stability.
Freshly Exhumed writes: If you’re a TV reporter on a remote feed in a public space, try for some crowd control beforehand because there’s a good chance someone will invade your broadcast with an increasingly prominent, viral meme called FHRITP, which has repeatedlyappeared ever since January 4th 2014 when reporter John Cain did not realize that he was being broadcast live and made lewd comments about a missing 20-year-old girl. Cain was quickly fired for his on-air remarks, but they were immortalized just one month later when a hooded man with sunglasses named “Fred” jumped into the middle of a news report, grabbed the microphone and shouted the epithet before running off. Reporters are voicing their outrage, rightly or wrongly perceiving the pranks as overtly sexual harrassment of females. The meme has spread beyond the Internet and live TV, as in the case of this road warning sign.
Freshly Exhumed writes: A bizarre and oddly beautiful display of spider webs have been woven across a large field along a walking trail in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada. "Well it's acres and acres; it's a sea of web," said Allen McCormick. Prof. Rob Bennett, an expert on spiders who works at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, BC, Canada, said tiny, sheet-web weaver spiders known as Erigoninaelinyphiidae most likely left the webs. Bennett said the spiders cast a web net to catch the wind and float away in a process known as ballooning. The webs in the field are the spiders' drag lines, left behind as they climb to the top of long grass to be whisked away by the wind. Bennett said it's a mystery why these spiders take off en masse. Perhaps The Green Goblin or Doc Oc are in the vicinity?
Freshly Exhumed writes: The day Robert James Campbell quit his job, he went home and started plotting revenge against everyone he felt had wronged him in life. He says he didn’t leave his Ottawa apartment for seven months. The online campaign of harassment and hatred he’s accused of launching spanned more than a decade. He is accused of creating fake online profiles to destroy reputations in short order, presenting his targets to the world as child predators, members of a Nazi party, exotic dancers and prostitutes. Police roused Campbell on the morning of July 31 and arrested him on 181 charges of criminal harassment, identity theft and defamatory libel. Campbell publicly apologized to his alleged victims and says he has instructed his lawyer to file a guilty plea.
Freshly Exhumed writes: Vancouver's automated SkyTrain rapid transit system has crashed not once but twice in one week due to single points of failure in control systems. Authorities have controversially thrown an electrician under the train for accidentally tripping a single breaker, crippling the entire control system for over 5 hours at peak ridership time. In another case, the failure of a single computer card reduced large portions of the system to a standstill for several hours, with both crashes resulting in risky evacuations of SkyTrain cars high above ground level. To go with their abysmally bad PR, the SkyTrain authorities seem to be avoiding discussing the obvious absence of uptime/availability capability.
Freshly Exhumed writes: Driven by exceptionally warm ocean waters, Earth smashed a record for heat in May and is likely to keep on breaking high temperature marks, experts say. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Monday said May's average temperature on Earth of 15.54 C beat the old record set four years ago. In April, the globe tied the 2010 record for that month. Records go back to 1880. Experts say there's a good chance global heat records will keep falling, especially next year because an El Nino weather event is brewing on top of man-made global warming. An El Nino is a warming of the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean that alters climate worldwide and usually spikes global temperatures.
Freshly Exhumed writes: 'Canada is poised to buy 65 Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets, sources familiar with the process told Reuters. A detailed, 18-month review of Canada's fighter jet needs has concluded that the government should skip a new competition and proceed with the C$9 billion ($8.22 billion) purchase, three sources said.' When the F-35 purchase was first proposed, Canadians were alarmed by the colossal price tag, and also that no fly-off competition had been conducted or was planned. This latest news is sure to rekindle criticism that the RCAF's requirements seem to have been written after the fact to match the F-35's capabilities (or lack thereof).