German Intelligence Helped NSA Spy on European Politicians and Defense Contractors

April 24th, 2015

Via: Ars Technica:

Germany’s intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), has been helping the NSA spy on European politicians and companies for years, according to the German news magazine Der Spiegel. The NSA has been sending lists of “selectors”—identifying telephone numbers, e-mail and IP addresses—to the BND, which then provides related information that it holds in its surveillance databases. According to the German newspaper Die Zeit, the NSA sent selector lists several times a day, and altogether 800,000 selectors have been requested.


“Not Science Fiction”: Miami Police Implements Pre-Crime System

April 23rd, 2015

Via: Miami Herald:

Armed with high-tech software and years of crime data, Miami police believe they will soon be able to stop crimes by predicting when and where they will occur.

It sounds a little like something out of a science fiction novel, but the department is in the process of adopting a system called HunchLab that produces maps showing small areas where specific crimes are likely to be committed during shifts. The probability program is a geographical version of “predictive policing” software, which more departments are using — even if, in the words of one supportive cop, it’s “kind of scary.”

Similar algorithm-based programs have been credited with lowering crime rates in cities around the country, and some South Florida departments recently have adopted their own systems. In Miami’s case, the department is funding the implementation of HunchLab and other software programs with a $600,000 federal grant doled out by the Bureau of Justice Assistance to encourage smart policing tactics.


Head Transplant Doctor: Creating Immortality Is the Goal

April 23rd, 2015

Via: Independent:

The Italian doctor who has claimed that he could transplant a man’s head onto a donor’s body has said that he could do much of the procedure in less than an hour.

The procedure — which Canavero has admitted is just a first step towards his ultimate aim of creating immortality — will see a man’s head removed and placed on a donor’s body.

That will see the man’s head get cooled down — as it is when doctors operate on some parts of the brain — and switched onto the different body. Doctors will then have a few minutes to attach the blood vessels and the whole thing will take less then an hour, Canavero said.

After that, the full joining process could take up to 24 hours. Canavero said that it would be carried out by a team of doctors to ensure that none of them got tired, and that doctors and surgeons from around the world had enquired about joining that team.

Canavero said that he will explain the procedure in depth at a neurosurgeons’ conference on June 12. “I’ll prove it is totally possible to all the sceptics there,” he told Mail Online.


Chinese Scientists Admitted to Tweaking Genes of Human Embryos for First Time

April 23rd, 2015

Via: Business Insider:

A recent biotech discovery — one that has been called the biggest biotech discovery of the century — showed how scientists might be able to modify a human genome when that genome was still just in an embryo.

This could change not only the genetic material of a person, but could also change the DNA they pass on, removing “bad” genetic codes (and potentially adding “good” ones) and taking an active hand in evolution.

Concerned scientists published an argument that no one should edit the human genome in this way until we better understood the consequences after a report uncovered rumors that Chinese scientists were already working on using this technology.

But this new paper, published April 18 in the journal Protein and Cell by a Chinese group led by gene-function researcher Junjiu Huang of Sun Yat-sen University, shows that work has already been done, and Nature News spoke to a Chinese source that said at least four different groups are “pursuing gene editing in human embryos.”


Tesla Batteries Already Deployed in 11 California Wal-Mart Stores

April 23rd, 2015

Via: Bloomberg:

As part of a pilot program with sister company SolarCity, Tesla has installed batteries at about 300 California homes equipped with solar panels. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which has a relationship with SolarCity, has Tesla batteries installed at 11 California stores; Cargill Inc. plans a one-megawatt system for its animal-processing plant in Fresno.


And Now… “How Tor Is Building a New Dark Net with Help from the U.S. Military”

April 22nd, 2015

You betcha.

Via: TheDailyDot:

To stay ahead in the security race, Tor is building the next-generation Dark Net in part with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the U.S. military agency charged with inventing the cutting edge of new technology.

The funding, which began in 2014, comes as part of DARPA’s Memex project, a “groundbreaking” search engine designed to best commercial titans like Google at searching the Deep Web and other oft-ignored terrain for the U.S. intelligence, law enforcement, and military. To build Memex, DARPA is partnered with universities like Carnegie Mellon, NASA, private research firms, and several Tor Project developers.

DARPA is funding multiple projects focused on improving Tor’s hidden services across “1-3 years,” Tor’s director of communications Kate Krauss told the Daily Dot via email. Tor declined to give more specifics on the grant, like its monetary value and terms, and DARPA didn’t respond to a request for comment.


Jeb Bush Praises Obama’s Expansion of NSA Surveillance

April 22nd, 2015

Via: FirstLook:

One of the most glaring myths propagated by Washington — especially the two parties’ media loyalists — is that bipartisanship is basically impossible, that the two parties agree on so little, that they are constantly at each other’s throats over everything. As is so often the case for Washington partisan propaganda, the reality is exactly the opposite: from trade deals to Wall Street bailouts to a massive National Security and Penal State, the two parties are in full agreement on the bulk of the most significant D.C. policies (which is why the leading candidates of the two parties (from America’s two ruling royal families) will have the same funding base). But because policies that command the agreement of the two parties’ establishments are largely ignored by the D.C. press in favor of the issues where they have some disagreements, the illusion is created that they agree on nothing.

To illustrate how true this all is, consider the comments today of leading GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush. He appeared on Michael Medved’s conservative talk radio program, and was asked by the host what his favorite part of the Obama administration has been. His answer? As McClatchy’s Lesley Clark noted on Twitter, Bush hailed “Obama’s enhancement of NSA.”


Brain-Damaged UK Victims of Swine Flu Vaccine to Get £60 Million Compensation

April 22nd, 2015

Via: IB Times:

Patients who suffered brain damage as a result of taking a swine flu vaccine are to receive multi-million-pound payouts from the UK government.

The government is expected to receive a bill of approximately £60 million, with each of the 60 victims expected to receive about £1 million each.

Peter Todd, a lawyer who represented many of the claimants, told the Sunday Times: “There has never been a case like this before. The victims of this vaccine have an incurable and lifelong condition and will require extensive medication.”

Following the swine flu outbreak of 2009, about 60 million people, most of them children, received the vaccine.

It was subsequently revealed that the vaccine, Pandemrix, can cause narcolepsy and cataplexy in about one in 16,000 people, and many more are expected to come forward with the symptoms.

Across Europe, more than 800 children are so far known to have been made ill by the vaccine.


FBI Admits Flaws in Hair Analysis Over Decades

April 20th, 2015

Via: Washington Post:

The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000.

Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far, according to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project, which are assisting the government with the country’s largest post-conviction review of questioned forensic evidence.

The cases include those of 32 defendants sentenced to death. Of those, 14 have been executed or died in prison, the groups said under an agreement with the government to release results after the review of the first 200 convictions.


Walmart Raises Suspicions After Closing 5 Stores In Same Day For “Plumbing” Problems

April 20th, 2015

Via: Consumerist:

There are thousands of Walmarts in the U.S., so the fact that five of them were temporarily shut down all on the same day, all for the same reason, and all for the same estimated amount of time, may be statistically insignificant. But some workers and city officials are raising questions about what’s actually behind these six-month shutterings.

The five stores — two in Texas, one in California, one in Oklahoma, and another in Florida — were all closed on Monday without advance notice to shoppers or the thousands of affected employees. At each of the stores, the reason given for the closures — which are estimated to last upwards of six months — was problems with plumbing.


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