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Submission + - Police officer suspended for slapping citizen for refusing a warrantless search 6

schwit1 writes: This story demonstrates why it is becoming essential for every citizen to begin recording their interactions with the police every single time.

Yesterday police were contacted in regard to a video posted online which appeared to show an inappropriate interaction between an on-duty member of the Sheriff’s Office and a civilian, resulting from a suspicious vehicle complaint in the Town of Halfmoon.

The Sheriff’s Office has identified and interviewed all parties involved in the interaction and as a result, the police officer has been suspended without pay effective immediately, pending the outcome of the investigation and possible disciplinary action.

Make sure you watch the video. It is very clear that the officer did not know he was being recorded. It is also clear to me that his behavior in this situation was not unusual, that this police officer is quite used to using violence to get his way, regardless of the law. Had the recording not existed, however, he would not have been suspended, and would not be likely to lose his job.

The recording did exist, however, which has forced the Saratoga police force to take action.

Submission + - Anti-Fracking activist in Texas disassembles Gas company propaganda (blogspot.com)

Walkingshark writes: Adam Briggle, a key leader in the Texas anti-fracking movement, has been one of the pivotal figures in the historic total fracking ban proposed in the city of Denton. With the help of the rest of the leadership of Frack-Free Denton, a medium sized city in Texas stands to be one of the key battlegrounds in efforts to rebalance the property rights of mineral owners and home owners. Now that the petition is going to the voters in the fall, the Gas industry is opening up their pockets to flood the city with propaganda designed to misinform voters so that the referendum to ban fracking will fail. Briggle, on his Denton Drilling blog, has published an incredibly well reasoned and articulate takedown of their usual propaganda, a piece of writing that could end up serving as the template for how to completely demolish the poorly worded half truths often deployed by industry. Read it here and have a chuckle, Depantsing the Perryman Report about Denton’s Fracking Ban.

Submission + - MasterCard lobbying Congress against Bitcoin (thehill.com)

SonicSpike writes: MasterCard is paying lobbyists to focus on the growing digital currency bitcoin, according to federal lobbying disclosure records.

In a quarterly report filed this month, lobbying firm Peck Madigan Jones said that five of its lobbyists were concentrating on “Bitcoin and mobile payments,” among more than a dozen other issues, on behalf of MasterCard.

The payment giant is the first company to officially lobby on the virtual currency, according to federal disclosure records.
In a statement sent to The Hill, MasterCard said that it was “gathering information in connection with recent congressional hearings to better understand the policy issues around virtual and anonymous currencies.”

The bitcoin company Xapo is working with banks on a bitcoin debit card that uses MasterCard and Visa networks, but MasterCard said on Tuesday said that it had no relationship with the company.

Bitcoins have been controversial on Capitol Hill, where some lawmakers have viewed them skeptically and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) even called for an outright ban. Still, others have been quicker to embrace them.

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) bought $10 worth of bitcoins at a press event earlier this month, and committees in both chambers have held a slew of hearings on the potentials and perils of the currency.

Bitcoins only exist online and can be used relatively anonymously, which has invited drug dealers, money launders and other would-be criminals to see the money as a favorable way to hide their profits.

Defenders counter that the currency is no more risky than cash, but say it has the potential to revolutionize the way people pay for things. Backers say that bitcoins are safe and transactions are much cheaper for businesses than credit cards, which charge fees.

So far, Congress has been interested in learning about the money but has resisted passing legislation on its use or treatment. MasterCard’s lobbying could be a sign of new activity on Capitol Hill.

Other agencies, however, have begun to flex their oversight muscles on the issue.

The Federal Election Commission is currently eyeing whether to allow campaigns to accept bitcoin contributions, and the IRS recently declared that bitcoins should be treated like a property, not currency, when people pay their taxes.

Submission + - Microsoft fears Chromebooks .. (bgr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: We were surprised last year when Microsoft started launching an anti-Chromebook ad campaign because, quite frankly, we’d never see anyone really use a Chromebook in the wild before and Chromebooks were nowhere to be found on usage statistics published by NetMarketShare. A few weeks later, however, we started hearing stories about Chromebook usage surging in schools although we didn’t have any real data to back up such claims. Now, however, The Wall Street Journal directs our attention to new research from Futuresource Consulting showing that Chromebooks’ share of the K-12 market for tablets and laptops exploded from just 1% in 2012 to 19% in 2013. What’s more, Windows’s share of the same market declined from 47.5% to 28% over the same period.

Submission + - Global Warming Is Thawing Out the Frozen Corpses of a Forgotten WWI Battle (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: In what is quite possibly the most bizarre result of global warming yet, a melting glacier in the Northern-Italian Alps is slowly revealing the corpses of soldiers who died in the First World War. After nearly a century, the frozen bodies appear to be perfectly mummified from the ice. With the remains also comes the story of the highest battle in history—‘The White War’.

The year is May 1915. The newly unified Italy decides to join the Allied Forces in the First World War, which by then is 10 months underway. Italy, eager to expand its borders, decides to wage war against Austria in an effort to annex the mountain areas of Trentino and Southern Tirol. The conflict results in what is now known as ‘The White War’: a cold, four-year-long standoff between Italian mountain troops, named ‘the Alpini’, and their Austrian opponents, ‘the Kaiserschützen’. The battle was fought at high altitude, with special weapons and infrastructure like ice-trenches and cable transports. Often the sides would use mortar fire to try and incur avalanches—‘the white death’—on each other’s camps, claiming thousands of lives.

Submission + - Revolutionary Scuba Mask Creates Breathable Oxygen Underwater On Its Own (themindunleashed.org) 3

schwit1 writes: With the Triton Oxygen Respirator, it might be possible to breathe beneath the surface of the water as if you were a fish. Requiring no bulky tank to keep your lungs pumping properly, this invention of scuba diving equipment is much more ergonomic and organic in design.

The regulator comprises a plastic mouthpiece that requires you to simply bite down. There are two arms that branch out to the sides of the scuba mask that have been developed to function like the efficient gills of a marine creature. The scaly texture conceals small holes in the material where water is sucked into Jeabyun Yeon's Triton. Chambers inside separate the oxygen and release the liquid so that you can breath comfortably in the ocean.

Submission + - Why Birds Fly in a V Formation (sciencemag.org) 2

sciencehabit writes: Anyone watching the autumn sky knows that migrating birds fly in a V formation, but scientists have long debated why. A new study of ibises--where researchers took to microlight planes and recorded birds strapped with GPS in-flight--finds that these big-winged birds carefully position their wingtips and sync their flapping, presumably to catch the preceding bird’s updraft and save energy during flight.

Submission + - Patent troll sues US gov't for interfering with its business (theregister.co.uk) 1

inode_buddha writes: According to El Reg — MPHJ Technology, one of the most notorious patent trolls in America, has filed a lawsuit against the US Federal Trade Commission, claiming that the agency's attempts to interfere with its business are in violation of its constitutional rights.
The obscurely named MPHJ is a patent-assertion entity that demands royalties of about $1,000 per employee from companies that own networked scanners with a "scan to email" function.
By its own admission, MPHJ has so far sent letters to about 16,000 businesses, warning them that their use of such scanners is in violation of its patents.
Links to the case are in the article, for the armchair lawyers and ex-groklawers...

Submission + - NSA Can Bridge Air-Gapped Systems (nytimes.com) 2

jddeluxe writes: An article just published in the New York Times outlines how the NSA has compromised systems not connected to the Internet.
The practice, ongoing from 2008, " relies on a covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into the computers. In some cases, they are sent to a briefcase-size relay station that intelligence agencies can set up miles away from the target."
Break out the tin foil hats...

Submission + - Cheerios To Go No-GMO? Think Again! (nutritionprescription.biz)

HealthyAuthor writes: The best part about this marketing ploy is that little children will be able to read the letters
G-M-O on the cereal box and ask their parents what they mean. Perhaps General Mills has shot themselves in the foot after all.

Otherwise, it's meaningless.

Here's why:
According to the the General Mill's Cheerios website, Cheerios does not contain any genetically modified ingredients. The primary ingredient in original Cheerios is oats, which is not a genetically modified crop. In addition Cheerios contains small amounts of sugar and corn starch, both of which could be GMO, but in this case, says General Mills, are not. Good for them. So what has changed here, except for the fact that they are now advertising this information?
- They are not getting certified in any way by a third party verification system, such as the NON-GMO Project.
- They freely state that it is possible that the original Cheerios may contain trace amounts of GMOs.
- They are not changing the ingredients — full of GMOs — of any of the other eleven varieties of Cheerios, i.e. Honey Nut Cheerios, Apple Cinnamon Cheerios, Banana Nut Cheerios, etc.

Please also take note on the Cheerios website (link below) that they refer to their belief in the "safety of biotech crops." Does this statement make you have a deep trust for this corporation and their commitment to a world without genetically modified foods?

When General Mills makes a real change and not a savvy advertising pseudo-labeling ploy, I will be impressed. For now, I would love to see them slap the letters G-M-O on their box in any way, shape or form and let those children ask for an answer.
I'd be happy to explain*.

*Sure, it's a great idea to explain GMOs to your kids! Also explain to them that a cereal without GMO ingredients is fine to eat, but make sure to avoid the other eleven varieties of Cheerios. Then perhaps we'll see some real change!
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The Cheerios website link: http://cheerios.com/en/Articles/cheerios-and-gmos

Submission + - New class of "hypervelocity stars" discovered escaping the galaxy (vanderbilt.edu)

Science_afficionado writes: Astronomers have discovered a surprising new class of “hypervelocity stars” that are moving at more than a million miles per hour, fast enough to escape the gravitational grasp of the Milky Way galaxy. The 20 hyper stars are about the same size as the sun and, other than their extreme speed, have the same composition as the stars in the galactic disk. The big surprise is that they don't seem to come from the galaxy's center. The generally accepted mechanism for producing hypervelocity stars relies on the extreme gravitational field of the supermassive black hole that resides in the galaxy's core. So the discovery means that astrophysicists must come up with an entirely new method for speeding stars to hypervelocities.

Submission + - Link Between Crime & Chilly Weather Is Complex, Controversial (randomchannel.net)

imoveez writes: Heat gets a bad rap for fueling human hostility. But what’s the deal when the mercury drops? The cold effect has been somewhat less studied, although there are hints that being uncomfortably chilly can contribute to conflict in some situations and quell it in others.

Submission + - Google's New Social Networking Patent is Truly Comical

theodp writes: GeekWire reports on Google's just-granted patent on creating and sharing social network status updates in the form of comic strips, a la Bitstrips. Google also envisions an educational role for its new invention, which the search giant has dubbed the Self-Creation of Comic Strips in Social Networks and Other Communications. Google explains, "Aside from humor, such comic strips are also usable for education, for instance in summarizing a real-time conversation between two political leaders as it is happening. By posting such a comic strip on a social network facility such as a social network blog or tweet, others may more readily follow the flow of the conversation than if it had been summarized in plain text." Hey, as the wise Anchorman Ron Burgundy once said, "Instead of giving people the news they need, why not give them the news they want?"

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