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Google Looking To Define a Healthy Human

PolygamousRanchKid Re:The finding (125 comments)

. . . I'm thinking of a fake finger tip, some ketchup and a hilariously "pull my finger" joke . . . with a twist.

"Keep the tip."

4 days ago

Western US States Using Up Ground Water At an Alarming Rate

PolygamousRanchKid Re:getting worse (373 comments)

Yeah, but if you smoke the pot, you won't worry about the water any more . . . except for your bong.

5 days ago

Black Holes Not Black After All, Theorize Physicists

PolygamousRanchKid Re:If not black... (225 comments)

"brown holes"

. . . and their wave function would be the "brown note" . . . ?

5 days ago

Researchers Design Bot To Conduct National Security Clearance Interviews

PolygamousRanchKid "Reply Hazy . . . Try Again" (102 comments)

I don't see why they can't do this with the Magic 8-Ball.

about a week ago

Malaysian Passenger Plane Reportedly Shot Down Over Ukraine

PolygamousRanchKid Re:Wait for it... (752 comments)

"The Truth" . . . is the first casualty in war.

about two weeks ago

Apple and IBM Announce Partnership To Bring iOS + Cloud Services To Enterprises

PolygamousRanchKid Microsoft and OS/2 . . . ? (126 comments)

That didn't work out too well.

Hmmm . . . but then again . . . didn't Apple and IBM try to collaborate on something called Taligent and Kaleida . . . ?

Well, those two never managed to see the light of day. I believe Taligent is often used as an example of a "Death March" project. It ran for over seven years, but at any point in time during the project, it was only planned as a two year project.

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Future-Proof Jobs?

PolygamousRanchKid Re:Nothing, really. (509 comments)

Seriously, try to imagine describing a lot of the things people do professionally now to someone 30 years ago.

Prostitution . . . the world's oldest profession will be around . . . well, as long as humans are still around.

about two weeks ago

Obama Administration Says the World's Servers Are Ours

PolygamousRanchKid Re:Maybe, maybe not. (749 comments)

If any American receives a request under a Patriot act subpoena they not only will have to hand over the information but if they tell you they handed it over they could do lots of hard time.

So even if asked in a court, under oath, they would be forced to deny it? Wouldn't that be forcing them to commit perjury? Or does the Patriot Act maybe have a "get out of jail free" card for perjury? The Patriot Act sounds like a carte blanche for a Gestapo or Stasi.

So I understand that a Patriot act subpoena can force you to hand over information, even if that would force you to commit a crime by breaking data privacy and security laws in a foreign country where the data and you reside. Now, what else can these National Security Letters tell you to do, besides handing over data? In the case of an ISP, they were forced to allow NSA technicians to install bugging devices in their data center. So, apparently, the National Security Letter can force you to do more than just hand over data.

Where are the limits to the National Security Letters defined? If two folks turn up on your doorstep with FBI IDs, they could be Mulder and Scully, or they could be the Supernatural boys. I'm assuming that they actually give you a physical document, that you could give to a lawyer to check. But how can a lawyer know if the request is within any limits of any law? Up until know, it still seems that a National Security Letter can turn an ordinary American citizen into a spy or a criminal.

about two weeks ago

Obama Administration Says the World's Servers Are Ours

PolygamousRanchKid Re:Maybe, maybe not. (749 comments)

The Patriot act.

. . . but you said earlier:

We don't know the scope

This is starting to sound rather Kafkaesque . . . specifically, "Before the Law".

The limits are in the law

How do you know that? What proof do you have? Maybe limit number one states, "There are no limits!"

So trying to summarize where we are this far, if I am a customer in a foreign country, and I hire a company as a contractor that has any business at all in the US, the US government could at any time request that company to break the laws of my country, if a court makes a decision based on the Patriot Act Law, the contents and limits of this law being totally unknown to me.

Is that at least a correct summary?

about two weeks ago

Obama Administration Says the World's Servers Are Ours

PolygamousRanchKid Re:Maybe, maybe not. (749 comments)

The major rulings by the courts are that the legal justification for the drone strikes cannot be classified so high that the courts can't review the memos.

Which courts? An open one? Or a secret one? And is the judge independent? Or a stooge? Is there a functioning system of "checks and balances", like the one US kids used to learn about in school?

We don't know the scope but they have never indicated the scope would be anything like that broad.

They never indicated very much at all . . . until it was exposed by Snowden. Given the current track record of the US government right now, assuming the worst is quite justified as to the scope.

They've said much the opposite: terrorism related suspects who present a high level of threat in countries where the government can't or won't control the territory... That's far from anyone, anywhere.

Not at all. The US government can, will and does call anyone they want a terrorist. And if they tell France to arrest a terrorist suspect, and France refuses, the US can claim that the French "government can't or won't control their territory".

National Security letter's scope is defined by law.

Now we're getting close to the interesting part of this topic . . . which law? And what are the limits? A National Security letter can tell you that you have to let a bunch of spooks into your data center to install bugging devices. Can it tell you to set a trap for your best friend, because the government thinks he is a terrorist? Can it tell you that you must cooperate with the government agencies, as they plan to murder him?

about two weeks ago

Massive Job Cuts Are Reportedly Coming For Microsoft Employees

PolygamousRanchKid Re:Who couldn't see this coming? (300 comments)

IBM did this repeatedly, and is still doing it, as large corporations regularly have to sift their work force and reset priorities, UNLESS they are consistently evaluating their strategies, have truly strategic planning that looks beyond the horizon, and work from a position of true knowledge of their business and performance. Microsoft is regularly accused of failed strategy and poor performance. And they can certainly be accused of being too big to be well managed, especially in the eyes of the minions who live with the decisions.

In the early '90s, when IBM nearly burned down, fell over, and sank into the swamp, Lou Gerstner came in as a new CEO, and also oversaw massive layoffs, which helped it get back on track. However, a lot of people he let go were top executives, who were "yes men" to the old CEO, John Akers.

It would do Microsoft a world of good if it got rid of their Ballmer retinue who are still holding key positions in Microsoft. Just letting go a bunch of minions is not going to cut at the root of the problems at Microsoft.

about two weeks ago

Obama Administration Says the World's Servers Are Ours

PolygamousRanchKid Re:Maybe, maybe not. (749 comments)

Rephrase this in terms of the actual laws and actual courts

Ah, but the secret courts are actual courts. The US government has admitted that it uses them to rubber stamp those National Security Letters, which are court decisions forcing companies to give the government access to whatever data they want. As you have previously noted, any US company must comply with whatever instructions are stated in these court judgements, wherever they are in the world.

The US courts have already decided that it is legal for the government to order US citizens to be killed by drones. And the US government has also clearly stated that they will kill anyone, anywhere, in the world they want. However, not each and every person in the world that the US government wants to kill is easily targeted by a drone. So the US government may need the assistance of a US company with a presence in a foreign country to get at their target.

Let's say Obama wants to kill German Chancellor Angela Merkel. A drone strike would be messy, but maybe she will be having lunch with an executive of Hewlett-Packard. What must Hewlett-Packard do, when they are delivered one of these National Security Letter court decisions, and a small vial of Polonium, and the letter contains clear instructions on what their executive is supposed to do with the vial at the lunch?

It seems like this combination of National Security Letters and requiring US companies to follow US court decisions anywhere in the world . . . has turned a lot of ordinary folks into potential assassins.

about two weeks ago

Obama Administration Says the World's Servers Are Ours

PolygamousRanchKid Re:Maybe, maybe not. (749 comments)

They are ordering their corporations (people under USA law) to obey an order of a USA court and possibly disobey the orders of a foreign government . . . But ultimately yes: the USA government has the right to tell a USA corporation to violate the laws of another country.

So . . . ultimately . . . a secret USA government court could order Exxon to release a cloud of poison gas over its refinery in Rotterdam, because the secret court thinks that their are terrorists there, and has decided for a death penalty? And Exxon would need to comply, as long as the court said so?

So, if a US citizen is ordered by a secret court to kill someone, and they don't do it, then they will be held in contempt of court . . . ? (And held secretly, to boot!)

We used to think that the US government didn't just wander haphazardly around ordering people to be killed . . . but nowadays . . . it seems like anything goes.

And all those American tourists wandering around outside . . . they could all be potential killers! Getting killed is a very terrifying experience, to that would make them terrorists!

Maybe we should think about putting American tourists on the no-fly list . . . ?

about two weeks ago

Economist: File Sharing's Impact On Movies Is Modest At Most

PolygamousRanchKid Re:Lies, damn lies. (214 comments)

Why do you think there has been a rapid decline in content creation? less movies and music every single year, year on year. Piracy is killing the industry.

Speaking of creation, "Home fucking is killing the prostitution industry!"

about two weeks ago

New Microsoft CEO Vows To Shake Up Corporate Culture

PolygamousRanchKid Re:Wha? (204 comments)

crease the fluidity of information

Other sources have it as 'increase'.

Hey, knock off that fact-checking - people are incensed here!

Hey, knock off that fact-checking - people are censed here!

Actually, I think he said, "grease the fluidity of information", and the speech to text system got it wrong.

. . . or maybe he said, "lease the fluidity of information", and was referring to charging for Cloud Big Data Service.

. . . to that end, "fleece the fluidity of information", would also make sense.

. . . or something concerning security, "police the fluidity of information" . . . ?

about two weeks ago

DARPA Successfully Demonstrates Self-Guiding Bullets

PolygamousRanchKid Re:No fair (188 comments)

JFK shot himself, so the bullet didn't have to travel very far.

about three weeks ago

After NSA Spying Flap, Germany Asks CIA Station Chief to Depart

PolygamousRanchKid Re:Not really a surprise.... (219 comments)

No, a surprise would be throwing US agents in jail.

They can't do that to "legal" agents. "Legal" agents are US Embassy employees recognized by the host government as diplomats with immunity. "Legal" agents usually have some silly, trivial sounding titles, like, "The Under-Secretary for Cultural Exchange". But their real job is gathering intelligence, and the host country knows that and tolerates it. These folks are quite easy to spot: Just look for someone who is obviously way to intelligent and clever for his job. Like someone with a Ph.D. in international affairs from Harvard and Yale who is doing clerical work at the embassy.

Lots of intelligence work is actually quite boring, and not the James Bond stuff that you expect. The agents collect and assess political sentiment and economic developments and trends in that country. The CIA gives the President of the US a short briefing every morning for breakfast, and informs him if something is amiss somewhere in the world that needs his immediate attention. During this meeting the President also instructs them which areas he thinks need their "special attention".

This is definitely regular international diplomacy stuff.

When countries who aren't quite on the most friendliest of terms get in a huff, like Russia and the US . . . they will take turns tossing out some of each others' small fry "legals" described above.

The occasional persona non grata happens.

The CIA Station Chief is not an occasional persona. That's usually taboo among allies. Russia knows who the CIA Station Chief is in Moscow. But they do not toss him out. The US knows who the SVR Resident is in Washington, as well . . . and leave him alone.

Tossing out the CIA Station Chief is a serious diplomatic escalation, which is why it is getting so much press coverage.

Oh, here's an interesting Pro-Tip: If a foreign diplomat wants to hand you a piece of paper with an explanation of why their country just did something very nasty . . . you don't touch it. You instruct him to read it out loud. If you put your hands on it, his country will report that you "accepted" the explanation. If you don't, you will only hear in the news that the diplomat "read out load" or "recited" the explanation. This is the next thing that you will hear about this, as the professional diplomats from Germany and the US try to paper over the cracks left by the spooks.

about three weeks ago

After NSA Spying Flap, Germany Asks CIA Station Chief to Depart

PolygamousRanchKid Why is Obama doing this . . . ? (219 comments)

When the Germans discovered that the NSA had bugged Angela Merkel's phone, Obama kinda sorta said, "sorry", and it looked like the whole matter would have been forgotten. I would have thought that Obama would have told his spooks to lay off for a while. But instead, it seems that he has racketed up the spying on Germany.

Can someone tell me what Obama is trying to achieve by this? I mean, there must be some purpose behind all this. I just can't figure it out.

about three weeks ago

Prof. Andy Tanenbaum Retires From Vrije University

PolygamousRanchKid Re:"Vrije University"? (136 comments)

Is it closer to "fryer"?

Awesome! Fryer University, as in bacon!

. . . do they fry up weed along with your bacon in Holland . . . ? That would be a formidable combination:

"Eggs, bacon, weed and Spam . . ."

about three weeks ago

Study: Whales Are Ecosystem "Engineers"

PolygamousRanchKid Re:If whales are engineers... (64 comments)

Beavers are the Koch Brothers. They directly cause global warming by cutting down trees that safely sequester greenhouse gases. When they eat and digest the trees, the greenhouse gases are released again as beaver flatulence.

Beavers build dams blocking our natural beautiful rivers, which make our own hydroelectric facilities less efficient. This makes us more dependent on Big Coal, and forces us to build a nuke In Your Backyard.

Beavers build low-cost sub prime mortgage McMansions, which will cause another Savings & Loan bailout crisis recession.

Beaver rhymes with Bieber, and The Bieber is ripped to his tits on cough sirup most of the time.

Save the whales, nuke The Bieber.

about three weeks ago



Congressman Mistakes U.S. Officials For Indian Ones

PolygamousRanchKid PolygamousRanchKid writes  |  4 days ago

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) writes "Rep. Curt Clawson, a freshman Republican congressman from Florida, mistook two senior U.S. officials for representatives of the Indian government during a House hearing on Friday.

“I am familiar with your country, I love your country,” Clawson said to Nisha Biswal and Arun Kumar, addressing fellow U.S. citizens who hold high-ranking positions in the State Department and Commerce Department, respectively.

After a lingering silence, Clawson smiles slowly. Kumar appears to grin, while Biswal echoes Clawson’s sentiment, informing him it should probably be directed to the Indian government. It’s unclear whether Clawson realized his error."

Link to Original Source

Test a Personal Drone Detection System for $500

PolygamousRanchKid PolygamousRanchKid writes  |  about a month ago

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) 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)."

Link to Original Source

To reduce the health risk of barbecuing meat, just add beer

PolygamousRanchKid PolygamousRanchKid writes  |  about 4 months ago

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) writes "Grilling meat gives it great flavour. This taste, though, comes at a price, since the process creates molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which damage DNA and thus increase the eater’s chances of developing colon cancer. But a group of researchers led by Isabel Ferreira of the University of Porto, in Portugal, think they have found a way around the problem. When barbecuing meat, they suggest, you should add beer.

The PAHs created by grilling form from molecules called free radicals which, in turn, form from fat and protein in the intense heat of this type of cooking. One way of stopping PAH-formation, then, might be to apply chemicals called antioxidants that mop up free radicals. And beer is rich in these, in the shape of melanoidins, which form when barley is roasted."

Link to Original Source

Obama to unveil new manufacturing institutes in Chicago, Detroit

PolygamousRanchKid PolygamousRanchKid writes  |  about 5 months ago

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) writes "President Obama plans to announce on Tuesday the opening of two new manufacturing institutes in the Chicago and Detroit areas as part of a larger plan to use public-private partnerships to advance his agenda despite opposition from Republicans in Congress. Several federal agencies will join forces with companies and universities to run the institutes, which will be devoted to bridging the gap between applied research and product development, according to an administration official familiar with the plans.

Each institute will function as a “teaching factory,” the official said, and will provide training for workers while also helping companies get the expertise and equipment they need to offer new products and manufacturing processes. The government will put up $140 million to match the more than $140 million promised by the private sector leaders involved with each project, said the official, who requested anonymity to discuss the plans before the official announcement next week. The federal government will devote $70 million to each of the two institutes.

The selection of Chicago to host a new institute drew praise from elected officials who have lobbying for it for months."

Link to Original Source

Fatwa forbids Muslims from traveling to Mars

PolygamousRanchKid PolygamousRanchKid writes  |  about 5 months ago

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) writes "The Khaleej Times of Dubai reports that a fatwa committee has forbidden Muslims from taking a one-way trip to the Red Planet. At the moment, there is no technology available that would allow for a return trip from Mars, so it is truly a one-way ticket for the colonists, who may also become reality TV stars in the process. The committee of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment in the United Arab Emirates that issued the fatwa against such a journey doesn't have anything against space exploration,Elon Musk's Mars visions, or anything like that. Rather, the religious leaders argue that making the trip would be tantamount to committing suicide, which all religions tend to frown upon.

Professor Farooq Hamada, who presided over the committee, explained, "Protecting life against all possible dangers and keeping it safe is an issue agreed upon by all religions and is clearly stipulated in verse 4/29 of the Holy Quran: Do not kill yourselves or one another. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful." Hundreds of Saudis and other Arabs have applied to Mars One, and the committee suspects some may be interested in the trip "for escaping punishment or standing before Almighty Allah for judgment," according to the Khaleej Times.

The committee stood firm in its belief that this approach would be a waste of time and one very long trip: "This is an absolutely baseless and unacceptable belief because not even an atom falls outside the purview of Allah, the Creator of everything.""

Link to Original Source

US blames Russia for leak of undiplomatic language from top official

PolygamousRanchKid PolygamousRanchKid writes  |  about 6 months ago

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) writes "America's new top diplomat for Europe seems to have been caught being decidedly undiplomatic about her EU allies in a phone call apparently intercepted and leaked by Russia. "Fuck the EU," Victoria Nuland apparently says in a recent phone call with the US ambassador to Kiev, Geoff Pyatt, as they discuss the next moves to try to resolve the crisis in Ukraine amid weeks of pro-democracy protests which have rocked the country. The call appears to have been intercepted and released on YouTube, accompanied by Russian captions of the private and candid conversation.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that if the Russians were responsible for listening to, recording and posting a private diplomatic telephone conversation, it would be "a new low in Russian tradecraft."

So . . . Russians spooks are spying on US diplomats . . . which you would expect them to do. But American spooks are spying on Americans citizens . . . and the State Department has the gall to call the Russians "low" . . . ?"

Link to Original Source

It's icebreakers . . . all the way down . . .

PolygamousRanchKid PolygamousRanchKid writes  |  about 7 months ago

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) writes "A U.S. Coast Guard heavy icebreaker left Australia for Antarctica on Sunday to rescue more than 120 crew members aboard two icebreakers trapped in pack ice near the frozen continent's eastern edge, officials said. The 399-foot cutter, the Polar Star, is responding to a Jan. 3 request from Australia, Russia and China to assist the Russian and Chinese ships because "there is sufficient concern that the vessels may not be able to free themselves from the ice," the Coast Guard said in a statement.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority's Rescue Coordination Centre, which oversaw the rescue, said the Polar Star, the Coast Guard's only active heavy polar icebreaker, would take about seven days to reach Commonwealth Bay, depending on weather. Under international conventions observed by most countries, ships' crews are obliged to take part in such rescues and the owners carry the costs."

Link to Original Source

France's 'Culture Tax' Could Hit YouTube and Facebook

PolygamousRanchKid PolygamousRanchKid writes  |  about 7 months ago

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) writes "Should YouTube subsidize le cinéma français? France’s audiovisual regulator thinks so. In a report this week, the Superior Audiovisual Council (CSA) says that video-sharing websites should be subject to a tax that helps finance the production of French films and TV shows. Although the CSA report says that videos posted online by private individuals should not be subject to taxation, it contends that video-sharing sites increasingly have become “professional” content providers.

Separately, France is considering a tax on smartphones, tablets, and other devices as another source of revenue for cultural subsidies. The proposed tax would raise an estimated €86 million annually that would be used to finance the “cultural industries’ digital transition,” France’s Culture Ministry said at the time."

Link to Original Source

GM's CEO rejects repaying Feds for bailout losses

PolygamousRanchKid PolygamousRanchKid writes  |  about 7 months ago

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) writes "The General Motors bailout may have cost the government $10 billion, but GM CEO Dan Akerson rejects any suggestion that the company should compensate for the losses. He says Treasury officials took the same risk assumed by anyone who purchases stock.

Akerson said that GM repaid all the debt issued by the government beginning in December 2008 when George W. Bush was still president and extending into the first year of Barack Obama's presidency. He added that it was the Treasury's decision — though one he clearly supported — to take an ownership stake in the form of company shares.

Asked whether GM should pay the difference between the amount the government provided the company and the return from the sale of the shares, Akerson said the "die was cast" by Treasury when it decided to take shares. For GM to make up for any shortfall could result in lawsuits from other shareholders."

Link to Original Source

Thousands of Germans threatened with €250 fines for streaming porn

PolygamousRanchKid PolygamousRanchKid writes  |  about 8 months ago

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) writes "Thousands of German users that have used a porn website to stream shows have received threatening letters from a local law firm demanding €250 ($344) per certain watched clips, reports. Apparently, a Swiss-based firm that owns the content hosted by porn site Redtube has tasked a law firm with collecting fines for each of its shows that was streamed online in the region. The law firm has apparently received a go ahead from a local court, and as many as ten thousand warnings may have been set to users, for porn shows watched in August.

However, the court in Cologne may have issued a wrong verdict, German online publication Stern says, allowing the lawyers of U+C to go forward and ask ISPs to disclose names and addresses associated with the IPs which allegedly streamed the porn shows.

More importantly, it’s unclear how their IPs were actually shared with the law firm sending out the warnings in the first place, but their privacy has clearly been violated in some sort of way. suggests that these users may have been targeted with malware that harvested their IP addresses in order to be later used in such legal proceedings."

Link to Original Source

U.S. Accuses Germany of Causing Instability

PolygamousRanchKid PolygamousRanchKid writes  |  about 9 months ago

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) writes "As punishment for Germany's NSA spying complaints . . . ?

The United States Treasury singled out Germany for criticism in a report released on Wednesday that said Berlin’s reliance on exports was holding back its struggling partners in the European Union. The document, the Report to Congress on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies, outlines the practices of America’s top trading partners over the first half of 2013, concluding that none “met the standard of manipulating the rate of exchange between their currency and the United States dollar” in order to gain an unfair trade advantage.

Yet Germany was a focus of particular — and unusual — scolding from the Obama administration, which said that Berlin’s “anemic pace of domestic demand growth and dependence on exports have hampered rebalancing” and hurt its ailing European Union partners. For decades, Germany’s manufacturers have produced more than its residents demand, sending more of its relatively low-cost goods into the international market than what it imports.

Yeah, all those damn low-cost Porsches, BMWs and Mercedes!

Germany’s policies have also driven export surpluses in the European Union as a whole, to the detriment of the United States and other major exporters, Mr. Kirkegaard said. He said he doubted that German officials “will pay the least attention to this finger-pointing.”"

Link to Original Source

Elop Favored by Gamblers as Microsoft's Next Chief Executive

PolygamousRanchKid PolygamousRanchKid writes  |  about a year ago

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) writes "A gambling website’s favorite as Microsoft Corp.’s next chief executive officer is Stephen Elop, the Nokia CEO who has presided over a 62 percent decline in market value. Elop, a former Microsoft executive, has 5-to-1 odds to be hired as Steve Ballmer’s replacement, according to Ladbrokes, the U.K.-based gambling operator. He leads a pool including internal candidates Kevin Turner and Julie Larson-Green and outsiders like Apple CEO Tim Cook — a 100-to-1 dark horse.

The betting house says Turner, Microsoft’s chief operating officer, is the second-favorite contender for the CEO job at 6-to-1, followed by Andreessen Horowitz board partner Steve Sinofsky and Larson-Green, at 8-to-1. Tony Bates, Satya Nadella, Qi Lu and Terry Myerson are the leading internal choices to replace Ballmer, people with knowledge of the matter said. All four have odds between 10-to-1 and 14-to-1 on Ladbrokes. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings offers a 16-to-1 shot for gamblers betting on Microsoft’s expansion in entertainment.

Feeling a bit riskier? Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, T-Mobile USA Inc. CEO John Legere and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey are 40-to-1 long shots. Then there’s Bill Gates, Microsoft’s co-founder and the world’s richest person — and a 50-to-1 bet."

Link to Original Source

Un-un-pentium on your Periodic Table of the Elements?

PolygamousRanchKid PolygamousRanchKid writes  |  about a year ago

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) writes "Researchers at Sweden’s Lund University have announced that they’ve been able to confirm the existence of element 115 on the periodic table. This research team isn’t the first to create element 115, which is currently known as ununpentium. The first claim that ununpentium had been synthesized in a lab was by a joint group of Russian and American researchers, who believed that they created it in their lab in 2004.

The Lund research team created ununpentium by bombarding americium(!?!?!) , which has 95 protons, with calcium, which has 20 protons. The bombardment created elements with 115 protons. The atoms were so unstable, however, that they decayed almost instantly. So to demonstrate that they had created element 115, the scientists had to actually measure the photons released by the atoms decay and confirmed that it matched what physics predicts would be the decay pattern for ununpentium."

Link to Original Source

Will Obamacare destroy jobs?

PolygamousRanchKid PolygamousRanchKid writes  |  about a year ago

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) writes "More than one in ten firms surveyed by Mercer, a consultancy—and one in five retail and hospitality companies—say they will cut workers’ hours because of Obamacare. A hundred part-timers can flip as many burgers as 50 full-timers, and the former will soon be much cheaper. Opinions are furiously divided as to whether the unintended harm caused by health reform will outweigh its benefits. Republicans, who have always hated the whole package, howl that it will destroy jobs. Nonsense, say Democrats; it will promote growth and boost employment. Since the law has so many moving parts, it is hard to predict who is right. But there is a risk that a lot of workers will be hurt.

Obamacare includes a tax on generous health plans, starting in 2018, which is making some employers reconsider lush benefits. Unions, which fought for them, are livid. At the other extreme, some low-paid workers may want their employers to drop insurance, so they can receive subsidies on the exchanges.

More worrying, though, is the possibility that Obamacare may kill jobs. In 2010 the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that it would shrink employment by 0.5%. The law’s many provisions would pull in opposite directions. Some would raise employment, the CBO predicted. For example, by expanding Medicaid (health care for the poor) to those with higher incomes, Obamacare would remove a disincentive to work. People who might have turned down extra work for fear of losing their Medicaid would now take it, ran the argument.

Other provisions would reduce employment. Partly, this would be because employers will cut jobs and hours to avoid being subject to the law. But mostly, the CBO thinks it would be because people will choose to work less. Obamacare’s subsidies will boost the finances of poor workers; they may therefore work fewer hours.

When the final diagnosis is done, Obamacare may have nasty side-effects."

Link to Original Source

Obama seeks new system for rating colleges

PolygamousRanchKid PolygamousRanchKid writes  |  about a year ago

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) writes "Targeting the soaring cost of higher education, President Barack Obama on Thursday unveiled a broad new government rating system for colleges that would judge schools on their affordability and perhaps be used to allocate federal financial aid. But the proposed overhaul faced immediate skepticism from college leaders who worry the rankings could cost their institutions millions of dollars, as well as from congressional Republicans wary of deepening the government’s role in higher education.

For colleges and universities, millions of federal aid dollars could be on the line if schools are downgraded under the government rating system. There has been little consensus among policymakers on how to curb college costs. While Obama’s proposal could give colleges an incentive to slow increases, it could also add massive reporting requirements that could be a burden on schools already struggling to make ends meet.

The new rating system does not require congressional approval, and the White House is aiming to have it set up before the 2015 school year. But Obama does need support from Congress in order to use the ratings as a basis for parceling out federal financial aid. In addition to tuition, schools will also be rated on average student loan debt, graduation rates and the average earnings of graduates. Under Obama’s proposal, students attending highly rated schools could receive larger grants and more affordable loans.

The president is also seeking legislation to give colleges a ‘‘bonus’’ based on the number of students they graduate who received Pell Grants. The goal is to encourage colleges to enroll and graduate low- and moderate-income students.

I guess I'll apply to the college that the government tells me to . . ."

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Gang of Feral Cats Attacks Woman, Dog in France

PolygamousRanchKid PolygamousRanchKid writes  |  1 year,2 days

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) writes "A gang of feral cats in France attacked a woman and her poodle, forcing both victims to seek medical attention for their injuries. The cat-attack occurred Sunday (July 21) near the city of Belfort in eastern France. The 31-year-old woman was walking her dog near a wooded area when six felines set upon her, knocking her to the ground, The Independent reports.

Josette Galliot, the mother of the victim, said, "The cats jumped on my daughter and managed to knock her over. They bit her on the leg and on her arms. They even pierced an artery."

Veterinary specialist Valerie Dramard believes the cats were protecting their territory from the poodle, and the woman simply got in the way. "Cats are not new zombies of the apocalypse," Dramard said reassuringly. "They are just very territorial and unfriendly with unknown species."

Yeah, right . . . it has begun . . ."

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'Pink Mass' Has Made Westboro Baptist Church Founder's Mom Gay

PolygamousRanchKid PolygamousRanchKid writes  |  1 year,7 days

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) 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 "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.""

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Christian Right Fights Porn In The Dorm

PolygamousRanchKid PolygamousRanchKid writes  |  1 year,11 days

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) writes "Supporters of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian lobbyist group, gathered Wednesday to discuss the organization’s latest crusade: the elimination of pornography on college campuses. A 2001 study conducted by scholars at Texas A&M revealed that while 56% of men admit to using the Internet to access sexual explicit materials, 72% of college-aged men readily say the same. The prevalence of porn on campuses hasn’t defeated Dr. Patrick Fagan, Director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute and Wednesday’s speaker.

Fagan compared modern American society to “pagan Rome,” claiming that the proliferation of sexual deviancy in our country is a direct threat to the “people-forming institutions” of family, church, and school. He considers the matter of paramount importance to civilization as a whole. “Sexual intercourse, like atomic energy, is a powerful agent for good if channeled well, but for ill if not.

So, sexual intercourse, like atomic energy . . . not in my backyard . . . ?

Christian organizations have pointed fingers at everything from technology to politics when it comes to porn. In a 2013 fact sheet without footnotes or citations, a Christian vendor of Internet filtering software called Covenant Eyes claims that 24% of smartphone users store pornographic material on their mobile devices. The organization says that 79% of porn performers have used marijuana, and “politically liberal people” are 19% more likely to look at porn than others.

Linda Williams, a professor film studies and rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley, begs to differ. She and college educators around the country have used pornography as a teaching tool and a basis for classroom discussion. “I do believe pornography reveals a great deal about who we are as Americans,” Williams told TIME.

. . . maybe that doesn't apply to Hentai . . ."

DOJ trolling for email tips in Zimmerman probe

PolygamousRanchKid PolygamousRanchKid writes  |  1 year,12 days

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) writes "From the "Just the meta-data, Ma'am, just the meta-data" department:

More than a year after an FBI report indicated there was no evidence of racial bias in George Zimmerman's history, the Justice Department is trolling for email tips on the former neighborhood watch volunteer as it weighs a possible federal civil rights case against him. Amid pressure from the NAACP and several Democratic lawmakers to pursue Zimmerman, the department has circulated an email address asking for any tips or information regarding the case. The move appears to mark an expansion of the probe, after Attorney General Eric Holder said in an address Tuesday to the NAACP that his department would "consider all available information" before deciding whether to move forward.

A Justice official told Fox News that both the conference call and the email address asking for tips and information are fairly standard procedure when dealing with a high-profile investigation such as this one. The department has used such tip lines in the past, including in a probe last year of the Albuquerque, N.M., police department.

Anonymous email tips from the Internet . . . ? That's always a hoot-and-a-half"

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The Middle East beats the West in female tech founders

PolygamousRanchKid PolygamousRanchKid writes  |  1 year,15 days

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) writes "Only 10% of internet entrepreneurs across the world are women, according to Startup Compass, a firm that tracks such things. Except in Amman and other Middle Eastern cities, it seems. There, the share of women entrepreneurs is said to average 35%—an estimate seemingly confirmed by the mix of the sexes at “Mix‘n’Mentor”, a recent gathering in the Jordanian capital organised by Wamda, an online publication for start-ups.

Reasons abound, and they are not always positive, says Nina Curley, Wamda’s editor. Although more than half of university graduates in many Middle Eastern countries (51% in Jordan) are women, the workforce is dominated by men (women provide only 21% of it overall, and a paltry 16% in Jordan). The internet, however, is a new space that is more meritocratic and not as heavily male. The technology also lets entrepreneurs work from home, making it easier to raise children.

The number of women entrepreneurs in the Middle East is likely to grow, including in the least likely places. “Well-educated women in Saudi Arabia want to work, but their family often objects,” explained an entrepreneur at the Wamda shindig. “Running an internet start-up from home is the perfect compromise.”"

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