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+ - This Is How Uber Takes Over a City->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: To conquer America's quirkiest city, the company unleashed its biggest weapon.

Charlie Hales, the mayor of Portland, Ore., was running a zoning hearing last December when he missed a call on his cell from David Plouffe, the campaign mastermind behind Barack Obama's ascent. Although Hales had never met him, Plouffe left a voice mail that had an air of charming familiarity, reminiscing about the 2008 rally when 75,000 Obama supporters thronged Portland's waterfront. "Sure love your city," Plouffe gushed. "I'm now working for Uber and would love to talk."

Over the past year, Uber built one of the largest and most successful lobbying forces in the country, with a presence in almost every statehouse. It has 250 lobbyists and 29 lobbying firms registered in capitols around the nation, at least a third more than Wal-Mart Stores. That doesn't count municipal lobbyists. In Portland, the 28th-largest city in the U.S., 10 people would ultimately register to lobby on Uber's behalf.

Link to Original Source

+ - Audi joins race to the Moon

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: The carmaker Audi has joined one of the teams competing for the Google Lunar X-Prize.

Audi's part in the project will be to supply technical know how though its Audi Concept Design Studio, including the application of its quattro all-wheel drive technology and its experience in lightweight construction, electric mobility, and piloted driving. The company says it will also help in testing, trials, and quality assurance.

The rover, now named the "Audi lunar quattro," is scheduled to launch sometime in 2017 and is aimed at a landing zone north of the lunar equator somewhere near 1972 Apollo 17 mission landing site, through the law prevents the rover from actually visiting it because it's a protected area. "The concept of a privately financed mission to the moon is fascinating," says Luca de Meo, Audi Board Member for Sales and Marketing. "And innovative ideas need supporters that promote them. We want to send a signal with our involvement with the Part-Time Scientists and also motivate other partners to contribute their know-how."

The article may be wrong when it states "the law prevents the rover from actually visiting" the Apollo 17 site. This law was passed by the U.S. Congress, and this Google team and Audi are not based in the U.S. They are not under its jurisdiction.

+ - Black hole awakes after 26 years

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: For the first time since 1989, the black hole in V404 Cygni, a system comprising a black hole and a star, has reawakened, suddenly emitting high energy outbursts beginning on June 15.

First signs of renewed activity in V404 Cygni were spotted by the Burst Alert Telescope on NASA's Swift satellite, detecting a sudden burst of gamma rays, and then triggering observations with its X-ray telescope. Soon after, MAXI (Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image), part of the Japanese Experiment Module on the International Space Station, observed an X-ray flare from the same patch of the sky.

These first detections triggered a massive campaign of observations from ground-based telescopes and from space-based observatories, to monitor V404 Cygni at many different wavelengths across the electromagnetic spectrum.

The outbursts are probably occurring because the black hole is gobbling up material that has fallen into it.

While the 1989 outburst helped astronomers gain their first understand of the behavior of a black hole in a star system, this outburst will help them understand how such systems evolve and change over time.

Comment: House bill would force the Supreme Court to enroll (Score 1) 588 588

by schwit1 (#49990889) Attached to: Supreme Court Upholds Key Obamacare Subsidies
https://thehill.com/blogs/floo... Babin’s potential legislation would only let the federal government provide healthcare to the Supreme Court and its staff via ObamaCare exchanges.

“By eliminating their exemption from ObamaCare, they will see firsthand what the American people are forced to live with,” he added.

+ - Apple starts to cull apps that feature the Confederate flag from the App Store->

Submitted by Mark Wilson
Mark Wilson writes: Following the Charleston shootings in which nine people were killed, debate has raged about whether it is reasonable to display the Confederate flag. A symbol of the South for some, a racist throwback for far more, the flag has already been ditched by the likes of eBay and WalMart. Now Apple has started to clear the App Store of apps that feature the rebel flag.

Developers have been contacted by Apple with a warning that their apps are being dropped because "because it includes images of the confederate flag used in offensive and mean-spirited ways". While this is clearly the case in some instances, the new policy has also affected Civil War games that include the flag for historical reasons.

Link to Original Source

+ - IRS Deleted Hundreds of Back-up Tapes Containing Thousands of Lerner Emails

Submitted by RoccamOccam
RoccamOccam writes: According to new information from the House Oversight Committee, the IRS deleted hundreds of backup tapes containing thousands of emails belonging to former IRS official Lois Lerner, the woman at the center of the conservative-targeting scandal. The tapes were destroyed nine months after a congressional subpoena was issued to the agency demanding they be preserved and turned over.

Comment: Opportunity Lost (Score 2, Informative) 588 588

by schwit1 (#49988037) Attached to: Supreme Court Upholds Key Obamacare Subsidies
This article, mostly about the impending Supreme Court decision on whether individuals in states with no state-run health exchanges can receive federal health insurance subsidies, contained this significant little bit of information about the overall failure of Obamacare:

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia established state-based exchanges. But more than half of these exchanges are already inoperable or are facing budget shortfalls. Even after spending $4 billion in federal grants, the track records of state-based exchanges have been nothing short of calamitous. In fact, at least three state-based exchange efforts — Maryland, Oregon and Massachusetts — are now the subjects of federal investigations.

This astonishing track record bears repeating: Only 16 out of 50 states chose to create state health exchanges, even though the law stated that by not doing the citizens of the remaining 34 states would not get federal subsidies (the whole point of the Supreme Court case). Yet, of those 16 that did create exchanges, more than half have failed to work or have gone over budget, after wasting more than $4 billion in federal funds. On top of that, three are now under investigation.

+ - You're Being Detained For Investigating The Federal Government-> 2 2

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: Video journalist James O'Keefe was told on Monday by custom agents that they intend to harass him every time he crosses the border because he made a video that made their border control work look like a joke.

The Customs agent clearly tells O'Keefe that they will delay him every time he goes through customs specifically because of his journalist work critical of them.

Why are they wasting their time with this petty stuff? They should simply arrest him and put him in jail already for daring to oppose the will of the government.

Link to Original Source

+ - NHS to give volunteers 'synthetic blood' made in a laboratory within two years ->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: The first attempt at giving human volunteers "synthetic blood" made in a laboratory for the first time will take place within the next two years, the NHS has announced.

A long-awaited clinical trial of artificial red blood cells will occur before 2017, NHS scientists said. The blood is made from stem cells extracted from either the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies or the blood of adult donors. The trial, thought to be a world first, will involve small transfusions of a few teaspoons of synthetic blood to test for any adverse reactions. It will allow scientists to study the time the manufactured red blood cells can survive within human recipients.

Eventually, it is hoped that the NHS will be able to make unlimited quantities of red blood cells for emergency transfusions.

Link to Original Source

+ - Tech company finds stolen government log-ins all over Web ->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: A CIA-backed technology company has found logins and passwords for 47 government agencies strewn across the Web — available for hackers, spies and thieves.

Recorded Future, a social media data mining firm backed by the CIA's venture capital arm, says in a report that login credentials for nearly every federal agency have been posted on open Internet sites for those who know where to look.

According to the company, at least 12 agencies don't require authentication beyond passwords to access their networks, so those agencies are vulnerable to espionage and cyberattacks.

Link to Original Source

+ - Google eavesdropping tool installed on computers without permission->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: Privacy campaigners and open source developers are up in arms over the secret installing of Google software which is capable of listening in on conversations held in front of a computer.

First spotted by open source developers, the Chromium browser — the open source basis for Google's Chrome — began remotely installing audio-snooping code that was capable of listening to users.

It was designed to support Chrome's new "OK, Google" hotword detection — which makes the computer respond when you talk to it — but was installed, and, some users have claimed, it is activated on computers without their permission.

Link to Original Source

+ - Google Accused of "Abusive" Conduct in Privacy App Case->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: An award-winning company founded by former Google engineers is taking legal action against the search engine giant over claims it has engaged in a "pattern of abusive behavior" and is violating privacy rights on a "massive scale."

Disconnect, a U.S. firm that designs privacy-enhancing technology, has filed a complaint with European antitrust regulators after its Android app was banned from the Google Play Store. The app was designed to protect smartphone users from invisible tracking and malware distributed through online advertisements.

The complaint was submitted earlier this month, but the full allegations were not made public at the time. The Intercept has obtained a copy of the 104-page complaint, which attacks Google over its claimed commitment to privacy and accuses the tech titan of trying to stop people from using the Disconnect app because it poses an "existential threat" to its revenue sources.

Google's business, the complaint claims, "consists almost entirely of gathering data about the preferences, locations, and behavior of ordinary people and monetizing that data through the sale of targeted advertisements on the Internet." Because of this, it alleges, Google is "using the full weight of its market power to deny users control over tracking, particularly mobile tracking."

Link to Original Source

+ - Keeping Government Bureaucrats Off the Backs Of The Citizenry: SCOTUS responds

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: In one swoop, on 22 June 2015, a divided U.S. Supreme Court handed down three consecutive rulings affirming the right of raisin farmers, hotel owners and prison inmates. However, this push back against government abuse, government snooping and government theft only came about because some determined citizens stood up and took a stand against tyranny. Whether these three rulings will amount to much in the long run remains to be seen. That said, if "we the people" don't keep pushing back, standing up, and holding government officials accountable to the rule of law, these victories will do little to keep government bureaucrats off the backs of the American citizenry.

The perversity of nature is nowhere better demonstrated by the fact that, when exposed to the same atmosphere, bread becomes hard while crackers become soft.

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