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Submission + - Life In The Electronic Concentration Camp:The Surveillance State Is Alive & (zerohedge.com)

schwit1 writes: For all intents and purposes, the National Security Agency has supposedly ceased its bulk collection of metadata from Americans’ phone calls, but read the fine print: nothing is going to change.

The USA Freedom Act, which claimed to put an end to the National Security Agency’s controversial collection of metadata from Americans’ phone calls, was just a placebo pill intended to make us feel better and let the politicians take credit for reforming mass surveillance.

In other words, it was a sham, a sleight-of-hand political gag pulled on a gullible public desperate to believe that we still live in a constitutional republic rather than a down-and-out, out-of-control, corporate-controlled, economically impoverished, corrupt, warring, militarized banana republic.

Submission + - Super-Strong Diamond Nanothread Has People Dreaming Of A Space Elevator (iflscience.com) 1

schwit1 writes: Looking for a material stronger than carbon nanotubes and graphene? A new microscopic structure, called diamond nanothread (DNT), shows the potential to revolutionize material science.

A team from the Queensland University of Technology in Australia modeled the properties of this DNT and found that the length of the thread doesn’t significantly affect its strength. The results are presented in a paper uploaded toArXiv.

Submission + - Sitting further away from your boss makes you a better worker (telegraph.co.uk)

schwit1 writes: The research, published in the Journal of Management, sought to find out “how spatial distance between higher and lower management” affects the spread of behaviour and fair procedures in the work place.

"Distance is a very useful tool that can be used to stop negative behaviours from spreading through an organization,... It creates the freedom to make up your own mind."

Submission + - Is it time for government to get out of the business of giving dietary advice? (wsj.com)

schwit1 writes: But that would mean giving up on so many opportunities for graft and self-importance and control over others.

With the release of the eighth edition of the U.S. government’s Dietary Guidelines expected by year’s end, it seems reasonable to consider—with the “obesity plague” upon us and Americans arguably less healthy than ever before—whether the guidelines are to be trusted and even whether they have done more harm than good.

Many Americans have lost trust in the science behind the guidelines since they seem to change dramatically every five years. In February, for example, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee declared that certain fats and eggs are no longer the enemy and that cholesterol is “not considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.” This, after decades of advising Americans to “watch their cholesterol.”

Such controversy is nothing new. U.S. Dietary Guidelines were first released by the Agriculture Department and the Department of Health and Human Services in 1980. One nutrition expert at the time, Edward “Pete” Ahrens, a groundbreaking researcher on fat and cholesterol metabolism, called the guidelines “a nutritional experiment with the American public as subjects . . . treating them like a homogeneous group of Sprague-Dawley rats.”

The original goals were to: 1) increase Americans’ carbohydrate consumption to 55%-60% of caloric intake; 2) reduce fat consumption to less than 30% from 40% of caloric intake; 3) reduce saturated fat to 10% of calories and increase poly- and monounsaturated fats each to 10% of calories; 4) reduce cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams a day; 5) reduce sugar intake by 40%; and 6) reduce salt consumption by 50%-80%.

These six goals, viewed in the context of what we know today, could hardly be more misdirected.

If only we could hold them liable the way we would if they were pharmaceutical companies that produced similarly defective and harmful products.

Submission + - Air Force hires civilian drone pilots for combat patrols - legality questioned (latimes.com)

schwit1 writes: For the first time, civilian pilots and crews now operate what the Air Force calls "combat air patrols," daily round-the-clock flights above areas of military operations to provide video and collect other sensitive intelligence.

Civilians are not allowed to pinpoint targets with lasers or fire missiles. They operate only Reapers that provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, known as ISR, said Air Force Gen. Herbert "Hawk" Carlisle, head of Air Combat Command.

Submission + - Did scientists pick up their first intelligent radio waves from aliens? (express.co.uk)

schwit1 writes: Astronomers have picked up five mysterious unidentified radio signals that could originate from outside the Milky Way.

The "fast radio bursts" included one "double signal" never heard before and have left astronomers buzzing with excitement over the possibility of it being a message with alien origins.

Only 11 of the unidentified transient radio pulses have been recorded before around the world.

And it is the curious new double blast — which was accompanied by four "singles" — which has baffled astronomers analyzing data from the Parkes radio telescope in New South Wales, Australia.

Submission + - France using emergency powers to prevent climate change protests (theguardian.com)

Bruce66423 writes: Following the Paris massacre, the French government declared a state of emergency. One of the regulations this introduced was control of large scale gatherings, and one of the events that is being caught up in this is planned protests to do with Climate Change conference in Paris next month. This has resulted in some activists being put under house arrest — yet other gathering, such as commercial street markets — are being allowed to go ahead. Funny that; anyone would think that the government is using the opportunity to suppress dissent.

Submission + - Japan launches its first commercial payload

schwit1 writes: Using its H-IIA rocket, upgraded to lower cost, Japan launched its first commercial payload today, putting Canada’s Telestar 12V into geosynchronous orbit.

It is not clear if Japan’s government-run space program can compete. The rocket is built by Mitsubishi, but it appears owned and operated by JAXA, the equivalent of Japan’s NASA. It has also been a very expensive rocket to launch, as for much of its existence it has been like SLS, more dedicated to producing pork jobs than actually competing with other rocket companies. Whether they can upgrade it sufficiently to compete in price with other rockets is highly questionable.

Nonetheless, that Japan is trying to compete is good news. The more competition, the better. The effort alone will produce new ideas, which in turn can only help lower the cost to get into space, thus making it possible for more people to afford it.

Submission + - Highschooler suspended over an "insensitive" tweet (myfoxboston.com) 1

mi writes: When a teacher complained about low voter-turnout in a Massachusetts town, one of the students suggested, it may be because too many of the residents aren't legally allowed to vote: "When only 10 percent of Revere votes for mayor cause the other 90 percent isn't legal". The school punished the student because "the district believes in freedom of speech, but cannot support insensitive language".

Submission + - NASA contracting development of new ion/nuclear engines

schwit1 writes: NASA has awarded three different companies contracts to develop advanced ion and nuclear propulsion systems for future interplanetary missions, both manned and unmanned.

These are development contacts, all below $10 million. However, they all appeared structured like NASA’s cargo and crew contracts for ISS, where the contractor does all of the development and design, with NASA only supplying some support and periodic payments when the contractor achieves agreed-upon milestones. Because of this, the contractors will own the engines their develop, and will be able to sell them to other customers after development, thereby increasing the competition and innovation in the field.

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN