writes "After shootings last week at a satirical newspaper and a kosher market in Paris, France finds itself grappling anew with a question the United States is still confronting: how to fight terrorism while protecting civil liberties. The answer is acute in a country that is sharply critical of American counterterrorism policies, which many see as a fearful overreaction to 9/11.
Valérie Pécresse, a minister under former President Nicolas Sarkozy, said France needed its own version of the USA Patriot Act, which gave the United States more authority to collect intelligence and pointed America’s surveillance apparatus at its citizens. Politicians and civil rights advocates on both sides of the Atlantic bristled at that suggestion, and at a string of arrests in which French officials used a new antiterrorism law to crack down on what previously would have been considered free speech.
Dominique de Villepin, the former French prime minister, warned against the urge for “exceptional” measures. “The spiral of suspicion created in the United States by the Patriot Act and the enduring legitimization of torture or illegal detention has today caused that country to lose its moral compass,” he wrote in Le Monde, the French newspaper."Link to Original Source
writes "Google is killing off its Glass Explorer program – but the web goliath insists this isn't the end for cofounder Sergey Brin's controversial sci-fi specs.
In a post to the official Glass Google+ account on Wednesday, the Chocolate Factory said it will quit selling the current version of its spy-goggles to individuals on January 19, although it reportedly will still be available to developers and companies if they ask nicely.
The move comes following months of rumors that Google was close to mothballing its Glass efforts, after the tech failed to inspire a thriving developer ecosystem.
When reporters polled 16 early Glass app makers in November, nine said they had given up on the platform, either due to lack of customers or because of the device's own limitations.
And if developer enthusiasm toward Glass has cooled, public perception of the gadgets has seldom wavered far from a mix of ridicule and revulsion. Wearers have been hassled in bars, in movie theaters, and in their own cars, which surely must have left them pondering the wisdom of the $1,500 they spent to become Glass Explorers."Link to Original Source
writes "Because 2-D art is so passé, the White House – along with the Smithsonian Institution – has captured and printed the first ever 3-D portrait of President Obama.
A video released by the White House late Tuesday shows what looks like a futuristic photo-booth. Actually, it’s a “mobile light stage,” which includes “50 custom-built LED lights, eight high-resolution sports photography cameras, and an additional six wider-angle cameras,” Paul Debevec of the USC Institute for Creative Technologies explains in the video.
But the project isn’t just about experimenting with 3-D printing technology. Tom Kalil of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy says “it’s also part of a broader trend, and that is the third industrial revolution,” which Kalil describes as “the combination of the digital world and the physical world.”"Link to Original Source
writes "Acting Secret Service director Joseph Clancy on Wednesday faced a number of tough questions from the House Judiciary Committee about the fence jumper who made it deep into the White House. But along with the tough questions, Clancy fielded a couple eyebrow raising suggestions on how to better protect the president’s home.
“Would a moat, water six feet around, be kind of attractive and effective?” Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., asked with trepidation.
What is likely to happen, though, is that the 7 foot 6-inch fence currently circling the White House gets heightened, Clancy said. Renderings of the new fence are expected in the next few months.
Until then, the Secret Service is relying on a low-tech solution.
“We have a bike rack there now, which we know is not going to prevent someone from jumping the fence, but it’s going to allow us to have a little more time to react,” Clancy said.
C'mon Slashdotters . . . surely we have wackier ideas than a moat . . . ?"Link to Original Source
writes "Hold on to your seats, Ladies and Gentlemen, a first for Slashdot . . . a tech story from . . . *gasp* . . . TMZ!
CNN just got busted in the biggest political cover-up, and it has nothing to do with Benghazi or the IRS — instead it's all about ... TABLETS!!! Last night CNN's Election coverage experts were given Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablets to use. It was reportedly part of a product placement deal ... and competing devices — like the iPad — were supposed to be no where in sight.
Not everyone got that memo ... because Jake Tapper and Ana Navarro were caught on camera using the Surface Pros as shields to cover up their iPads ... which they were clearly still using.
With 100% of precincts reporting, we are prepared to call this race ... for the iPad.
A Microsoft spokesperson was "unable" to comment on the apparent CNN gaffe.
The photos from the live coverage are a hoot and a half . . ."Link to Original Source
writes "President Barack Obama said Wednesday his administration will respond to new Ebola cases "in a much more aggressive way," taking charge of the issue after a second Texas health care worker was diagnosed with the disease.
Aggressive? What's he going to do? Throw some gang signs at it, and yell, "You think you bad, mutha fuckah?"
Obama scrapped plans to attend Democratic fund-raisers in New Jersey and Connecticut on Wednesday afternoon so that he could huddle with Cabinet members and officials who are leading the administration's Ebola response. Afterward, the President sought to tamp down fears of of an outbreak of the disease within the United States — saying that he shook hands with, hugged and kissed nurses who'd treated an American doctor who contracted Ebola in Africa, and felt safe.
"Welcome to your new promotion, Mr. President Biden!"
Obama acknowledged that even foolproof plans don't work when local health care providers don't know how to carry them out — and said his administration will make sure "certain local hospitals that may not have that experience are walked through that process as carefully as possible."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will have "SWAT teams" ready to send to hospitals where future cases are discovered, he said.
I think we need "Whack-a-Mole" teams, at the rate this seems to be spreading . . . "Link to Original Source
writes "Rep. Curt Clawson, a freshman Republican congressman from Florida, mistook two senior U.S. officials for representatives of the Indian government during a House hearing on Friday.
“I am familiar with your country, I love your country,” Clawson said to Nisha Biswal and Arun Kumar, addressing fellow U.S. citizens who hold high-ranking positions in the State Department and Commerce Department, respectively.
After a lingering silence, Clawson smiles slowly. Kumar appears to grin, while Biswal echoes Clawson’s sentiment, informing him it should probably be directed to the Indian government. It’s unclear whether Clawson realized his error."Link to Original Source
writes "While there are non-lethal uses for drones, the high-flying devices have sparked some privacy concerns, especially as federal officials move to loosen restrictions on their use. As a result, a Portland, Oregon company has taken matters into its own hands with a new a Kickstarter campaign for a Personal Drone Detection System.
The team at Domestic Drone Countermeasures (DDC) has been working for more than a year to produce hardware that detects drones and, ultimately, deters them from recording you and your surroundings.The Basic Personal Drone Detection System is comprised of three boxes, which together create a mesh grid network that triangulates moving transmitters—like drones. If a rogue transmitter flies into range, the system sounds an alarm or sends a message to your mobile device.
Don't worry: The system won't fire any shots at the flying devices; it will simply announce their presence to you (at home or on the go)."Link to Original Source
writes "Grilling meat gives it great flavour. This taste, though, comes at a price, since the process creates molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which damage DNA and thus increase the eater’s chances of developing colon cancer. But a group of researchers led by Isabel Ferreira of the University of Porto, in Portugal, think they have found a way around the problem. When barbecuing meat, they suggest, you should add beer.
The PAHs created by grilling form from molecules called free radicals which, in turn, form from fat and protein in the intense heat of this type of cooking. One way of stopping PAH-formation, then, might be to apply chemicals called antioxidants that mop up free radicals. And beer is rich in these, in the shape of melanoidins, which form when barley is roasted."Link to Original Source
writes "President Obama plans to announce on Tuesday the opening of two new manufacturing institutes in the Chicago and Detroit areas as part of a larger plan to use public-private partnerships to advance his agenda despite opposition from Republicans in Congress. Several federal agencies will join forces with companies and universities to run the institutes, which will be devoted to bridging the gap between applied research and product development, according to an administration official familiar with the plans.
Each institute will function as a “teaching factory,” the official said, and will provide training for workers while also helping companies get the expertise and equipment they need to offer new products and manufacturing processes. The government will put up $140 million to match the more than $140 million promised by the private sector leaders involved with each project, said the official, who requested anonymity to discuss the plans before the official announcement next week. The federal government will devote $70 million to each of the two institutes.
The selection of Chicago to host a new institute drew praise from elected officials who have lobbying for it for months."Link to Original Source
writes "The Khaleej Times of Dubai reports that a fatwa committee has forbidden Muslims from taking a one-way trip to the Red Planet. At the moment, there is no technology available that would allow for a return trip from Mars, so it is truly a one-way ticket for the colonists, who may also become reality TV stars in the process. The committee of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment in the United Arab Emirates that issued the fatwa against such a journey doesn't have anything against space exploration,Elon Musk's Mars visions, or anything like that. Rather, the religious leaders argue that making the trip would be tantamount to committing suicide, which all religions tend to frown upon.
Professor Farooq Hamada, who presided over the committee, explained, "Protecting life against all possible dangers and keeping it safe is an issue agreed upon by all religions and is clearly stipulated in verse 4/29 of the Holy Quran: Do not kill yourselves or one another. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful." Hundreds of Saudis and other Arabs have applied to Mars One, and the committee suspects some may be interested in the trip "for escaping punishment or standing before Almighty Allah for judgment," according to the Khaleej Times.
The committee stood firm in its belief that this approach would be a waste of time and one very long trip: "This is an absolutely baseless and unacceptable belief because not even an atom falls outside the purview of Allah, the Creator of everything.""Link to Original Source
writes "America's new top diplomat for Europe seems to have been caught being decidedly undiplomatic about her EU allies in a phone call apparently intercepted and leaked by Russia. "Fuck the EU," Victoria Nuland apparently says in a recent phone call with the US ambassador to Kiev, Geoff Pyatt, as they discuss the next moves to try to resolve the crisis in Ukraine amid weeks of pro-democracy protests which have rocked the country. The call appears to have been intercepted and released on YouTube, accompanied by Russian captions of the private and candid conversation.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that if the Russians were responsible for listening to, recording and posting a private diplomatic telephone conversation, it would be "a new low in Russian tradecraft."
So . . . Russians spooks are spying on US diplomats . . . which you would expect them to do. But American spooks are spying on Americans citizens . . . and the State Department has the gall to call the Russians "low" . . . ?"Link to Original Source
writes "A U.S. Coast Guard heavy icebreaker left Australia for Antarctica on Sunday to rescue more than 120 crew members aboard two icebreakers trapped in pack ice near the frozen continent's eastern edge, officials said.
The 399-foot cutter, the Polar Star, is responding to a Jan. 3 request from Australia, Russia and China to assist the Russian and Chinese ships because "there is sufficient concern that the vessels may not be able to free themselves from the ice," the Coast Guard said in a statement.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority's Rescue Coordination Centre, which oversaw the rescue, said the Polar Star, the Coast Guard's only active heavy polar icebreaker, would take about seven days to reach Commonwealth Bay, depending on weather. Under international conventions observed by most countries, ships' crews are obliged to take part in such rescues and the owners carry the costs."Link to Original Source
writes "Should YouTube subsidize le cinéma français? France’s audiovisual regulator thinks so. In a report this week, the Superior Audiovisual Council (CSA) says that video-sharing websites should be subject to a tax that helps finance the production of French films and TV shows. Although the CSA report says that videos posted online by private individuals should not be subject to taxation, it contends that video-sharing sites increasingly have become “professional” content providers.
Separately, France is considering a tax on smartphones, tablets, and other devices as another source of revenue for cultural subsidies. The proposed tax would raise an estimated €86 million annually that would be used to finance the “cultural industries’ digital transition,” France’s Culture Ministry said at the time."Link to Original Source
writes "The General Motors bailout may have cost the government $10 billion, but GM CEO Dan Akerson rejects any suggestion that the company should compensate for the losses. He says Treasury officials took the same risk assumed by anyone who purchases stock.
Akerson said that GM repaid all the debt issued by the government beginning in December 2008 when George W. Bush was still president and extending into the first year of Barack Obama's presidency. He added that it was the Treasury's decision — though one he clearly supported — to take an ownership stake in the form of company shares.
Asked whether GM should pay the difference between the amount the government provided the company and the return from the sale of the shares, Akerson said the "die was cast" by Treasury when it decided to take shares. For GM to make up for any shortfall could result in lawsuits from other shareholders."Link to Original Source