Trump Seeks U.S. Military Spending Boost, Domestic Cuts

February 27th, 2017

Mmm hmm.

Via: Reuters:

President Donald Trump is seeking what he called a “historic” increase in defense spending, but ran into immediate opposition from Republicans in Congress who must approve his plan and said it was not enough to meet the military’s needs.

The proposed rise in the Pentagon budget to $603 billion comes as the United States has wound down major wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and remains the world’s strongest military power.

The plan came under fire from Democratic lawmakers, who said cuts being proposed to pay for the additional military spending would cripple important domestic programs such as environmental protection and education.

A White House budget official, who outlined the plan on a conference call with reporters, said the administration would propose “increasing defense by $54 billion or 10 percent.” That represents the magnitude of the increase over budget caps Congress put in place in 2011.

But Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, said the plan would bring the Pentagon’s budget to $603 billion in total, just 3 percent more than the $584 billion the agency spent in the most recent fiscal year, which ended on Sept. 30, 2016.

The rise would be slightly higher than the country’s current 2.5 percent rate of inflation.


RCMP Commissioner Warns Continued IT Failures Will Have ‘Catastrophic’ Consequences

February 27th, 2017

Via: CBC:

Canada’s top cop is warning that ongoing computer network failures and slipshod service from Shared Services Canada could have “catastrophic” consequences for police and the public.

CBC News has obtained a blistering Jan. 20, 2017, memo to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale in which Commissioner Bob Paulson details how critical IT failures have increased by 129 per cent since the beleaguered department took over tech support for the entire government five years ago.

Not only that, the memo says, the duration of each outage has increased by 98 per cent.

“Its ‘one size fits all’ IT shared services model has negatively impacted police operations, public and officer safety and the integrity of the criminal justice system,” reads the memo.

The document appears to respond to a request for more information after a series of CBC News reports on the RCMP’s long-standing dissatisfaction with Shared Services Canada (SSC).

Despite the agency’s creation of special teams and committees to address shoddy service and repeated computer outages, Paulson said minimal progress has been made.


DHS Quietly Testing Mandatory Facial Recognition of Passengers *Exiting* U.S.

February 27th, 2017

Via: Professional Troublemaker:

We’re all used to having to identify ourselves as we enter a country. It is the only way we can hope to have any attempt at a secure border. But, so-called “exit controls,” where documents are checked as travelers are leaving the country, were popularized last century by Nazi Germany as a great way to ensure that they could control, round up, and exterminate the Jews and other “undesirables.” It can obviously serve no purpose of keeping terrorists out, because it only affects those who are already in. The U.S. has never had exit controls, although they remain popular in Europe, Russia, and China.

Last week, privacy advocate and blogger Jeffrey Tucker posted his experience before a flight from Atlanta to Mexico:

Halfway down the jetbridge, there was a new layer of security. Two US Marshals, heavily armed and dressed in dystopian-style black regalia, stood next to an upright machine with a glowing green eye. Every passenger, one by one, was told to step on a mat and look into the green scanner. It was scanning our eyes and matching that scan with the passport, which was also scanned (yet again).


Boston Dynamics: Handle

February 27th, 2017

Via: Boston Dynamics:

Handle is a research robot that stands 6.5 ft tall, travels at 9 mph and jumps 4? ?feet vertically. ?It uses electric power to operate both electric and hydraulic actuators, with a range of about 15 miles on one battery charge. ???Handle uses many of the same dynamics, balance and mobile manipulation principles? found in the quadruped and biped robots we build, but with only about 10 actuated joints, it is significantly less complex. Wheels are efficient on flat surfaces while legs can go almost anywhere: by combining wheels and legs Handle can have the best of both worlds.


SpaceX to Fly Passengers On Private Trip Around the Moon in 2018

February 27th, 2017

Via: space.com:

SpaceX will fly two private citizens on a trip around the moon in 2018, the company’s founder Elon Musk announced Monday (Feb. 27).

The private spaceflight company will use its Falcon Heavy rocket to send the two paying passengers into space aboard one of the company’s Dragon spacecraft. The two private citizens, who have not yet been named, approached SpaceX about taking a trip around the moon, and have “already paid a significant deposit” for the cost of the mission, according to a statement from the company. The names of the two individuals will be announced later, pending the result of initial health tests to ensure their fitness for the mission, the statement said.


Cameras, Microphones and Sensors on 3,200 Street Lights in San Diego

February 27th, 2017

Via: Reuters:

General Electric will put cameras, microphones and sensors on 3,200 street lights in San Diego this year, marking the first large-scale use of “smart city” tools GE says can help monitor traffic and pinpoint crime, but raising potential privacy concerns.

Based on technology from GE’s Current division, Intel Corp and AT&T Inc, the system will use sensing nodes on light poles to locate gunshots, estimate crowd sizes, check vehicle speeds and other tasks, GE and the city said on Wednesday. The city will provide the data to entrepreneurs and students to develop applications.

Companies expect a growing market for such systems as cities seek better data to plan and run their operations. San Diego is a test of “internet of things” technology that GE Current provides for commercial buildings and industrial sites.


Cobalt Hoarding Ahead of Assumed Electric Car Boom

February 25th, 2017

Via: Reuters:

Investors are buying up physical cobalt anticipating that shortages of the metal, a key component of lithium-ion batteries used in electrical cars, will spur prices to their highest levels since the 2008 financial crisis.

Prices for cobalt metal have climbed nearly 50 per cent since September to five-year peaks around US$19 ($NZ26.50) a pound (0.45 kilograms) as stricter emissions controls boost demand for electric vehicles, especially in China, struggling with ruinous pollution levels in some cities.

Some 98 per cent of cobalt is produced as a by-product of copper and nickel output, so for investors pure equity exposure to cobalt is tricky.

“Cobalt isn’t going to massively impact share prices. The funds looked at LME (London Metal Exchange) cobalt contracts, but they aren’t liquid enough for the millions they want to invest,” a Europe-based cobalt trader said.

“So they are buying cobalt with the intention of sitting on it until prices rise, looking for $25 (a lb) or more.”


How EV West Recovers Battery Modules from Wrecked Tesla Vehicles

February 25th, 2017

Ever wonder what the highest power density battery modules in the world look like?

Via: Jehu Garcia:


Fasting Diet ‘Regenerates Diabetic Pancreas’

February 24th, 2017

Via: BBC:

The pancreas can be triggered to regenerate itself through a type of fasting diet, say US researchers.

Restoring the function of the organ – which helps control blood sugar levels – reversed symptoms of diabetes in animal experiments.

The study, published in the journal Cell, says the diet reboots the body.

Experts said the findings were “potentially very exciting” as they could become a new treatment for the disease.

People are advised not to try this without medical advice.

In the experiments, mice were put on a modified form of the “fasting-mimicking diet”.

It is like the human form of the diet when people spend five days on a low calorie, low protein, low carbohydrate but high unsaturated-fat diet.

It resembles a vegan diet with nuts and soups, but with around 800 to 1,100 calories a day.

Then they have 25 days eating what they want – so overall it mimics periods of feast and famine.

Previous research has suggested it can slow the pace of ageing.


Illegal Fundraiser for the Clintons Made Secret Tape Because He Feared Being Assassinated

February 24th, 2017

Via: Daily Mail:

A Chinese-American businessman at the center of a Clinton campaign finance scandal secretly filmed a tell-all video as an ‘insurance policy’ – because he feared being murdered.

In footage provided exclusively to DailyMail.com, Johnny Chung spills details on how he illegally funneled money from Chinese officials to Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election bid.

The Chinese-American Clinton fundraiser recorded the ‘elaborate videotaped testimony’ while in hiding in 2000.

He smuggled it to trusted friends and family with instructions to release it to the media in the event of his untimely death because he believed he was at risk of being assassinated.

Chung is believed to still be alive and living in China.

The video was obtained by author and historian David Wead for his new book Game of Thorns, which traces Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful 2016 campaign and the Chinese government’s long-running operation to buy political influence in Washington.


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