PolygamousRanchKid 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).
PolygamousRanchKid writes: On Sunday, July 14, the Satanic Temple, a New York-based organization that seeks to foster "benevolence and empathy among all people" through Satan, performed a ritual called a "pink mass" at the Mississippi gravesite of Catherine Idalette Johnston, mother of WBC founder Fred Phelps Jr. The aim? To "turn" the WBC founder's mom gay for all eternity.
"Upon completion of the pink mass ceremony, Catherine Johnston is now gay in the afterlife," notes the Satanic Temple website, which has the cheeky URL www.westboro-baptist.com. "Fred Phelps is obligated to believe that his mother is now gay... [and] if beliefs are inviolable rights, nobody has the right to challenge our right to believe that Fred Phelps believes that his mother is now gay." The latter assertion appears to be a play on the WBC's own stance that their beliefs are totally infallible.
Vice reports that the idea for the pink mass came about in April, after the WBC threatened to protest the funerals of the Boston Marathon bombing victims. The website compared the the pink mass to "the Mormon practice of baptizing the dead, only much gayer."
PolygamousRanchKid writes: Secretary of State John Kerry offered a defense of freedom of speech, religion and thought in the United States on Tuesday telling German students that in America "you have a right to be stupid if you want to be."
"People have sometimes wondered about why our Supreme Court allows one group or another to march in a parade even though it's the most provocative thing in the world and they carry signs that are an insult to one group or another," he added.
"The reason is, that's freedom, freedom of speech. In American you have a right to be stupid — if you want to be," he said, prompting laughter. "And you have a right to be disconnected to somebody else if you want to be.
"And we tolerate it. We somehow make it through that. Now, I think that's a virtue. I think that's something worth fighting for," he added. "The important thing is to have the tolerance to say, you know, you can have a different point of view."
PolygamousRanchKid writes: Although 69 percent of the nearly 1,200 adults surveyed in a recent Associated Press poll say they have no interest in buying Microsoft's Surface RT tablet, that might not matter as much as the one person who is now decidedly interested in purchasing the Microsoft device: Oprah.
And while it's unlikely that Oprah wrote the copy herself, here's what she allegedly has to say about Microsoft's brand-new device:
"The Surface, Microsoft's first tablet, feels like a Mercedes-Benz to me, people! The full-size keyboard built right into the cover makes work easy, the very smart kickstand makes watching a movie or Skyping a friend a delight, the less than a pound-and-a-half weight makes a great alternative to a laptop, and the many other features make it fun for work and play. Now, that's a wowser!"
Will the big endorsement help Microsoft push more of its initial tablets into consumers' hands? It's unclear. To the company's credit, however, there are very few other tech-themed items on Oprah's must-have list. In fact, Microsoft's tablet is the only true computer-themed object on the list – unless a Dyson bladeless Pedestal fan can run Linux.
Hollywood filmmaker and President Obama supporter Joss Whedon came out with an unusual endorsement of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney Sunday. If voters are looking to forward to a zombie apocalypse, then Whedon says Romeny is the man to lead the nation to sub-human domination.
"Like a lot of liberal Americans," Whedon tells the camera, "I was excited when Barack Obama took office four years ago. But it's a very different world now, and Mitt Romney is a very different candidate, one with the vision and determination to cut through business-as-usual politics and finally put this country back on the path to the zombie apocalypse."
PolygamousRanchKid writes: The man accused of trying to blow up the Fed yesterday struggled with the moral implications of the crime before allegedly deciding to go through with the attack. But, Nafis almost didn't carry out his attack, worrying that entering the U.S. on a student visa meant he couldn't carry out jihad here, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case.
Nafis used Facebook to ask an FBI informant as well as another person whether Islamic law would prohibit his plot, The Wall Street Journal's Law Blog reported Wednesday.
“The three discussed certain Islamic legal rulings that advise that it is unlawful for a person who enters a country with a visa to wage jihad there,” according to the complaint.
University of Washington law professor Clark Lombardi, an Islamic law expert, told Law Blog he didn't know of any laws prohibiting jihad if the person had a visa.
PolygamousRanchKid writes: Accounts of unusual sexual activities among penguins, observed a century ago by a member of Captain Scott's polar team, are finally being made public. However, scientists now understand the biological reasons behind the acts that Dr Levick considered "depraved".
He was shocked by what he described as the "depraved" sexual acts of "hooligan" males who were mating with dead females.
On his return to Britain, Dr Levick attempted to publish a paper entitled "the natural history of the adelie penguin", but according to Douglas Russell, curator of eggs and nests at the Natural History Museum, it was too much for the times.
"What is happening there is not in any way analogous to necrophilia in the human context," Mr Russell said. "It is the males seeing the positioning that is causing them to have a sexual reaction. "They are not distinguishing between live females who are awaiting congress in the colony, and dead penguins from the previous year which just happen to be in the same position."
Mr Russell believes they show a man who struggled to understand penguins as they really are. "He, to a certain extent, falls into the same trap as an awful lot of people in seeing penguins as bipedal birds and seeing them as little people. They're not. They are birds and should be interpreted as such."
PolygamousRanchKid writes: The Norwegian tourist board is unhappy about an attempt by its counterpart in Finland to market the country using a video of the northern lights. The Norwegians claim the Finns are trying to "steal" the celestial phenomenon from them.
"We can not stand by and watch the Finns try to grab a bigger share" of the northern lights market, said Per-Arne Tuftin of Innovation Norway, a state-owned company that promotes tourism in Norway. "We will not give up — the northern lights will be ours," he told the Tromsø-based newspaper Nordlys, whose name translates appropriately as Northern Lights.
Mervi Holmen of the Finnish Tourist Board insisted, however, that Finland would make greater use of the aurora in its marketing in the future. She seemed unperturbed by the resentment in Norway. "The reaction suggests alarm and emotion," Holmen told the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.
The resentment on the Norwegian side is also fueled by the fact that the Finns have already tried to claim Father Christmas for themselves, establishing a "Santa Claus Village" in the Arctic Circle city of Rovaniemi.
Hugh Pickens writes writes: "A special event at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts called "Wikipedia! The Musical!" will bring digital archivists and musical theater devotees together to utilize some important collections at the library to beef up coverage of musical-theater-related entries on Wikipedia in a partnership intended to benefit both Wikipedia and the library. Ben Vershbow, the manager of NYPL Labs, acknowledged “a relatively recent history of suspicion and antagonism” between libraries and open-source Internet databases, but he says he believes that relationship had healed. “We’re training our staff to learn best practices of Wikipedia, to add links and content, in appropriate ways, to articles which correspond with their areas of expertise." The event will give editors access to the library’s considerable Harold Prince and Audrey Hepburn holdings. “Audrey Hepburn is interesting in that we have materials related to her stage work, which is not as well known or documented as her film career,” says digital curator Doug Reside noting that Ms. Hepburn’s Wikipedia article describes Hepburn chiefly as “a film and fashion icon.” The library also expects to get a good amount of traffic from Wikipedia articles when someone adds an appropriate link to a primary resource. “Some people talk about search engine optimization — making sure that your Web content is well-formed and can be found easily," says Vershbow. "But Wikipedia is its own discovery mechanism.”"