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Submission + - Obama used a pseudonym in emails with Clinton, FBI documents reveal (politico.com)

schwit1 writes: President Barack Obama used a pseudonym in email communications with Hillary Clinton and others, according to FBI records made public Friday. The disclosure came as the FBI released its second batch of documents from its investigation into Clinton’s private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.

The 189 pages the bureau released includes interviews with some of Clinton’s closest aides, such as Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills; senior State Department officials; and even Marcel Lazar, better known as the Romanian hacker “Guccifer.”

In an April 5, 2016 interview with the FBI, Abedin was shown an email exchange between Clinton and Obama, but the longtime Clinton aide did not recognize the name of the sender.

"Once informed that the sender's name is believed to be pseudonym used by the president, Abedin exclaimed: 'How is this not classified?'" the report says. "Abedin then expressed her amazement at the president's use of a pseudonym and asked if she could have a copy of the email."

Submission + - Sad reality: It's cheaper to get hacked than build strong IT defenses (theregister.co.uk)

schwit1 writes: A study by the RAND Corporation, published in the Journal of Cybersecurity, looked at the frequency and cost of IT security failures in US businesses and found that the cost of a break-in is much lower than thought – typically around $200,000 per case. With top-shelf security systems costing a lot more than that, not beefing up security looks in some ways like a smart business decision.

"I've spent my life in security and everyone expects firms to invest more and more," the report's author Sasha Romanosky told The Reg. "But maybe firms are making rational investments and we shouldn't begrudge firms for taking these actions. We all do the same thing, we minimize our costs."

Submission + - Big warming, or no warming, depending on dataset

An anonymous reader writes: Depending on the dataset, the most up-to-date climate data now shows either no warming since 1993, no warming since 1996, or significant warming continuously since then.

On several different data sets, there has been no statistically significant warming for between 0 and 23 years. Cl stands for the confidence limits at the 95% level.

The details for several sets are below.

  • For UAH6.0: Since August 1993: Cl from -0.006 to 1.810. This is 23 years and 1 month.
  • For RSS: Since December 1993: Cl from -0.008 to 1.746. This is 22 years and 9 months.
  • For Hadsst3: Since December 1996: Cl from -0.022 to 2.162 This is 19 years and 9 months.
  • For Hadcrut4.4: The warming is statistically significant for all periods above three years.
  • For GISS: The warming is statistically significant for all periods above three years.

The quote above lists all the major climate datasets that everyone in the climate field uses. The order is rearranged from the original to put similar datasets together and thus make it easier to digest the information.

The first two datasets are from satellite data. The Hadcrut datasets both use historical ground and sea surface temperature records and are both produced by the Climate Research Unit headed by Phil Jones, who when other scientists asked him for his raw original data in order to check it admitted that he had lost it. Jones was also one of the scientists whose climategate emails revealed a desire to destroy the careers of any skeptics, prevent their work from being published, and an effort to conceal or change data that contradicted the theory of global warming. GISS is the Goddard Institute for Space Sciences, run for decades by global warming advocate James Hansen and now the source of today’s claims that every month of every year is the hottest ever recorded. GISS is also the NASA institute that has been adjusting past datasets to cool the past and warm the present, thus creating a significantly steeper rise in global temperature than is shown by the original raw data.

Of these datasets, three show no significant warming in the past two decades, while two show significant warming. Which is it? Your guess is as good as mine. The two datasets that show statistically significant warming have both come under question in the past few years because of questionable science practices, which makes their conclusions suspect.

Regardless, even if we accept all of these datasets as completely sincere and honestly obtained, they still are in conflict with each other. Under any reasonably scientific analysis, this tells us that the science here is definitely not settled, and that a lot more work needs to be done before anyone can hazard a guess as to what’s going on with the climate.

Submission + - SPAM: McDonalds Hires Foreign H-1Bs, Fires 70 American Accounting Staff

schwit1 writes: The H-1B outsourcing in the nation’s heartland showcases the growing corporate use of foreign H-1B workers to replace American white-collar professionals, and it comes after companies have used waves of legal and illegal migrants to slash blue-collar jobs and wages in Ohio and around the country.

Also, the 70 Ohio jobs that McDonalds outsourced to lower wage foreign graduates are not Silicon Valley technology and software jobs — they’re white-collar accounting jobs performed by graduates from mainstream business schools. That outsourcing of mainstream business jobs spotlights the growing movement of foreign workers into all corners of the nation’s white-collar professional economy.

White-collar outsourcing “is not just a Silicon Valley thing anymore, it is happening all over” the country, said Steve Camarota, head of research at the Center for Immigration Studies.

Nationwide, the foreign population of white-collar temporary workers, dubbed “guest-workers,” now exceeds 800,000, including roughly 650,000 H-1B workers on multi-year visas.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Activity Trackers May Undermine Weight Loss Efforts (nytimes.com)

schwit1 writes: Wearable activity monitors can count your steps and track your movements, but they don’t, apparently, help you lose weight. In fact, you might lose more weight without them.

The fascinating finding comes from a study published today in JAMA that found dieting adults who wore activity monitors for 18 months lost significantly fewer pounds over that time than those who did not.

The results suggest that activity monitors may not change our behavior in the way we expected, and raise interesting questions about the tangled relationships between exercise, eating, our willpower and our waistlines.

Submission + - SPAM: Without language teachers, high schools are resorting to Rosetta Stone

schwit1 writes: With just a few weeks to go before the start of school, Madison Area Memorial High School Principal Jessica Ward faced a dilemma: Classes were about to start, and the school didn’t have a foreign language teacher.

She contacted nearby universities and the Department of Education and posted the job online, but no one applied, even as five other open teaching positions were filled.

“It was coming down to the wire and school was starting,” Ward said. “Students were already scheduled for foreign language, and we can’t just not offer it.”

The school district had earmarked money for the position, so the guidance counselor and superintendent started researching other options, ultimately putting the money toward the computer program Rosetta Stone to take the place of a full-time French and Spanish teacher.

The teachers' union better hope this doesn't work too well.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Putin to revive the KGB

An anonymous reader writes: One day after Putin’s party won an easy election victory it has announced that they plan on reviving the secret security force known previously as the KGB.

“The KGB was one of the strongest special services in the world – everyone recognised this,” Sergei Goncharov, who served in Russia’s now disbanded Alpha counter-terror unit in the 1990s, told state media. Mr Goncharov also said the creation of the MGB would provide Russia with a “strong fist” overseen by a unified leadership.

Kremlin critics were horrified by the possible rebirth of an organisation synonymous in Russia with political oppression. “It’s time to get out [of the country],” wrote Elshad Babaev, a Twitter user. “Anyone who can should take the opportunity.”

Unlike the 20th century, however, the west can no longer be called “the free world”, as it was then. Instead, we are lumbering toward the same evils, and thus do not necessarily provide a safe haven for real political refugees that we were then. Instead, our bankrupt intellectual leadership has been rushing to bring in fifth columnists from the Middle East while leaving the real refugees there to suffer persecution by Islamic radicals.

Submission + - Leaked Colin Powell Email Confirms Israel Has "200 Nukes All Targeted On Tehran" (zerohedge.com)

schwit1 writes: While the media has been mostly obsessing over the recently leaked Colin Powell emails that discuss either Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, or Donald Trump, a just as important, from a geopolitical perspective, email was revealed by the DCLeaks website, in which the former Secretary of State admits that Israel as 200 nuclear weapons "all targeted" at Iran, so Iran can't use one even if "they finally make one." Powell's assessment of Iran's nuclear capacity comes two weeks after it was revealed that the Obama administration had granted Iran "Secret" nuclear deal exemptions, despite claiming otherwise.

More importantly, however, the email to Jeffrey Leeds, Powell's business associate and major Democratic donor, finally provided the admission that Israel had nuclear weapons, something the biggest US ally in the Middle East has carefully avoided confirming or denying for years, in a policy dubbed "nuclear ambiguity."

Submission + - Thirty ton meteorite excavated in Argentina

An anonymous reader writes: In what is one of the largest asteroid chunks ever found on Earth, an excavation team from a local astronomy club this week excavated a thirty ton iron-nickel meteorite from the ground.

Dubbed Gancedo after a nearby town, it isn't a record-holder, but it sure is big. What I found interesting from the article, however, is this:

Gancedo's fall to Earth occurred between 4,000 and 6,000 years ago. Locals knew of the fall for centuries, even making iron tools from meteorites found in the strewnfield. In the 16th century, the Spanish became interested in stories of a piece of iron that fell from the sky, and in 1774 don Bartolomé Francsico de Maguna led an expedition that came across a mass of iron, referred to as MesÃn de Fierro ("Table of Iron" in Spanish). Another 1,400-pound fragment from Campo del Cielo named Otumpa now resides at the British Museum in London. With more than 100 tons of meteorite recovered, Campo del Cielo is the top producer in terms of pure meteorite mass worldwide.

The Campo del Cielo strewnfield extends over an ellipse 3 km wide by 19 km long over an area northwest of Buenos Aires, and meteorites found here have a polycrystalline coarse octahedrite composition characteristic of iron-nickel meteorites. They are also unusually pure even among iron-nickel meteorites, consisting of 93% iron. Most of the remaining 7% is nickel, and less than 1% are trace elements.

The evidence here is that a very dense asteroid, weighing a minimum of 100 tons but probably several times that, smashed into the Earth about five thousand years ago. Yet, all life on Earth was not wiped out, as is repeatedly suggested might happen whenever a similarly sized asteroid zips close past the Earth. In fact, there is no evidence this impact had any significant global environmental effects.

Remember this the next time another asteroid of similar size zips past the Earth and the media doom-sayers begin to sing their siren song again.

Submission + - Charles Bolden poo-poos private space (arstechnica.com)

schwit1 writes: In remarks at a conference yesterday NASA administrator Charles Bolden expressed his distrust and lack of confidence in the ability of private companies to build large heavy lift rockets.

“If you talk about launch vehicles, we believe our responsibility to the nation is to take care of things that normal people cannot do, or don’t want to do, like large launch vehicles,” Bolden said. “I’m not a big fan of commercial investment in large launch vehicles just yet.”

Despite the demonstrable efforts by both SpaceX and Blue Origin, Bolden nonetheless said that “normal people” cannot, or do not want to, develop large launch vehicles. What the administrator appears to be asserting here is that NASA is more special, or better, than those in the private sector when it comes to building rockets.

The article at the link notes the strangeness of Bolden’s remarks, especially since NASA itself has failed, despite repeated efforts, to build its own new rocket since the 1970s. The author also notes the high cost of SLS, though the numbers he cites — $13 billion to develop and build SLS — is actually about half the real cost, which will be about $25 billion to build two SLS rockets.

Bolden here illustrates the old way of doing things. He will be gone soon, however, and a new way will replace him, private, competitive, innovative, and fast moving, everything that NASA has not been in the past four decades.

Submission + - 4 research papers in 2016: no evidence linking human activity to sea level rise

An anonymous reader writes: Despite the claims that human-caused global warming is causing the icecaps to melt and the sea to rise, four different research papers this year have found no “observable” evidence linking human activity to sea level rise.

“It is widely assumed that sea levels have been rising in recent decades largely in response to anthropogenic global warming,” Kenneth Richard writes at NoTricksZone. “However, due to the inherently large contribution of natural oscillatory influences on sea level fluctuations, this assumption lacks substantiation. Scientists who have recently attempted to detect an anthropogenic signal in regional sea level rise trends have had to admit that there is ‘no observable sea-level effect of anthropogenic global warming’,” Richard points out, listing four peer-reviewed studies published this year that have all come to the same conclusion.

Does this prove that the rise in sea levels is not influenced by human activity (or “an anthropogenic signal” to use the jargon of these scientists)? Absolutely not. What it does show is that the science of climate change remains completely uncertain, and that it is very possible that all of the sea level rise we see has nothing to do with human activity, something that many climate scientists have recognized for decades. We are still coming out of the last ice age, and these scientists recognize that much if not all of the sea level rise we see can be attributable to this fact.

Submission + - L.A. sheriff uses robot to snatch rifle from barricaded suspect, end standoff (latimes.com)

schwit1 writes: An hours-long standoff in the darkness of the high desert came to a novel end when Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies used a robot to stealthily snatch a rifle from an attempted murder suspect, authorities said Thursday.

Officials said the use of the robot to disarm a violent suspect was unprecedented for the Sheriff's Department, and comes as law enforcement agencies increasingly rely on military-grade technology to reduce the risk of injury during confrontations with civilians.

Submission + - Police are routinely building up private DNA databases (techinsider.io)

schwit1 writes: Over the last decade, collecting DNA from people who are not charged with — or even suspected of — any particular crime has become an increasingly routine practice for police in smaller cities not only in Florida, but in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and North Carolina as well.

While the largest cities typically operate public labs and feed DNA samples into the FBI’s national database, cities like Melbourne have assembled databases of their own, often in partnership with private labs that offer such fast, cheap testing that police can afford to amass DNA even to investigate minor crimes, from burglary to vandalism.

Submission + - Pot Breathalyzer Hits the Street (usnews.com)

schwit1 writes: American police have for the first time used a marijuana breathalyzer to evaluate impaired drivers, the company behind the pioneering device declared Tuesday, saying it separately confirmed its breath test can detect recent consumption of marijuana-infused food.

The two apparent firsts allow Hound Labs to move forward with plans to widely distribute its technology to law enforcement in the first half of next year, says CEO Mike Lynn.

Lynn, an emergency room doctor in Oakland, California, also is a reserve officer with the Alameda County Sheriff's Office and he helped pull over drivers in the initial field tests, none of whom were arrested after voluntarily breathing into the handheld contraption.

Two people admitted smoking marijuana within the past 30 minutes, Lynn says, and in a satisfying validation for his technology — created with University of California chemistry assistance — their readouts were much higher than the rest.

Other drivers, he says, admitted to smoking marijuana within the two-to-three-hour window that the device appears able to detect the high-inducing compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) on a smoker's breath, and the test confirmed it.

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