Wyden is gearing up for a battle on Capitol Hill to reform the Patriot Act, particularly Section 215, which the NSA used to authorize and justify its phone records collection program. This and other portions of the law, passed in the wake of 9/11,expire in June and are up for re-authorization.
Wyden’s outrage over the searches is all the stronger because he notes that “The Bush administration, as incredible as it sounds, closed [this loophole] before they left in 2008, and the Obama administration came back and re-opened it.” He’s referring to the fact that under the Bush administration, searches of the data was restricted.
As for Executive Order 12333, Wyden says, “I’m not sure we’re at the bottom or close to it” when it comes to understanding how it’s being used.” Wyden is suspicious that the White House and intelligence community have agreed to halt the phone records collection program, in the wake of intense criticism, only because the spy agency has other tricks to get the same data, possibly EO 12333.
via Pro-Privacy Senator Wyden on Fighting the NSA From Inside the System | WIRED.
U.S. house prices rose in August, up 0.5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous month, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) monthly House Price Index (HPI). The previously reported 0.1 percent increase in July was revised to reflect a 0.2 percent increase.
The FHFA HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. From August 2013 to August 2014, house prices were up 4.8 percent. The U.S. index is 5.8 percent below its April 2007 peak and is roughly the same as the August 2005 index level. This is the ninth consecutive monthly house price increase.
Calculated Risk: FHFA: House Prices increased 0.5% in August, Up 4.8% Year-over-year.
Rotten eggs, horse pee, alcohol and bitter almonds: this is the bouquet of odours you would smell if a comet in deep space could be brought back to Earth, European scientists said on Thursday.
An instrument aboard the probe Rosetta has detected some intriguing chemical signatures from Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko since their rendezvous in deep space in August, they said.
Molecules include ammonia, methane, hydrogen sulphide, hydrogen cyanide and formaldehyde.
“If you could smell the comet, you probably wish that you hadn’t,” the team said wryly in a blog posted on the European Space Agency (ESA) website.
The device, called Rosina-DFMS, is a mass spectrometer — it has been analysing the signature of gas given off by the “coma,” the comet’s head, as the distance closes with the Sun.
via ‘Eau de comet’ is a bit of a stinker – Yahoo News UK.
Darek Fidyka was stabbed in the back in 2010 and paralyzed from the chest down. After a year of rehab and no apparent improvement, surgeons tried a radical procedure: they extracted olfactory cells — basically, cells from the back of his nose — and transplanted them into an eight-millimeter gap at level T9 in his severed spinal cord. Now the man walks, albeit still using a frame.
via Paralyzed man walks again after surgeons transplant cells from his nose to his spine | ExtremeTech.
Update: Kenny G Mewls His Soothing Apology
Best selling US jazz musician Kenny G has said he does not support pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong after photos of him attending the demonstration site at Admiralty went viral, prompting a stern response from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
Most governments aren’t too bothered by what jazz saxophonist Kenny G does between concerts, but when he turned up at pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong on Wednesday, the Chinese authorities were furious.
Music critics may be contemptuous of Kenny G – full name Kenneth Gorelick – as a populist purveyor of elevator muzak, but his best-selling records are adored in China, where he is a bona fide star, making his endorsement an unusual coup for protest leaders.
via China furious after Kenny G appears to back Hong Kong protesters | World news | The Guardian.
A Lebanese man who arrived from West Africa is suspected of having Ebola and was quarantined on Thursday in a Beirut hospital, the first such suspected case in the country, Lebanon’s health minister said.
The Lebanese national reported himself to hospital after fearing he was displaying symptoms of the disease, minister Wael Abu Faour told The Associated Press.
The man arrived from a West African country three days ago, Abu Faour added, without elaborating.
Not what any part of the world needs but this can make issues there even sadder.
via Lebanon reports first suspected case of Ebola.
The turmoil in Benghazi started when renegade Gen. Khalifa Hifter — a former Gadhafi army chief who joined the opposition decades before the uprising — launched a campaign against Islamist militias which were implicated in series of assassinations and attacks on journalists, activists, and security forces in the city.
Hifter won support among large sectors of Libyans but the army units loosely allied with him were defeated and forced to leave the city by Islamist militias.
Then, the internationally-recognized government, led by Abdullah al-Thinni, joined ranks with Hifter and on Oct. 15, launched a wide offensive to retake the city.
via Libyan army troops advance into Benghazi.
What’s going on here, and has been going on since President Obama took office in January 2009, is a government with little or no fidelity to basic constitutional norms. There is no defense under the Constitution to any aspect of the government’s—federal, state, regional, local or hybrid; or any entity owned or controlled by any government; or any entity that exercises the government’s coercive powers or spends or receives its money—monitoring the expressive behavior of anyone in the U.S., not in a newsroom, on social media or anywhere else.
The NSF’s stated purpose of the Truthy squad is to look for errors in speech, particularly errors that fuel hatred or political extremes. This monitoring—this so-called search for error—is totalitarian and directly contradicts well-grounded Supreme Court jurisprudence, for several reasons.
Click forth and read all:
via The Government’s “Truthy” Squad Monitors Political Speech on Twitter. What Could Possibly Go Wrong? – Reason.com.
John Coleman, who co-founded the Weather Channel, shocked academics by insisting the theory of man-made climate change was no longer scientifically credible.
Instead, what ‘little evidence’ there is for rising global temperatures points to a ‘natural phenomenon’ within a developing eco-system.
In an open letter attacking the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, he wrote: “The ocean is not rising significantly.
“The polar ice is increasing, not melting away. Polar Bears are increasing in number.
“Heat waves have actually diminished, not increased. There is not an uptick in the number or strength of storms (in fact storms are diminishing).
“I have studied this topic seriously for years. It has become a political and environment agenda item, but the science is not valid.”
- A Scientist said it, so it Must Be True.
- Case Closed.
- No More Discussion.
- The Science Is Settled.
But what will the world do about This Real Threat?
via Climate change is a lie: Global warming ‘not real’ claims Weather Channel founder | Nature | News | Daily Express.
I am Shocked! SHOCKED!!
More than 3,000 students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill received credit for fake classes over an 18-year period as part of a program that allowed many of them to remain eligible to play sports, according to a report released on Wednesday.
via Probe: Athletes took fake classes at University of North Carolina | Reuters.
Update: PANTY RAID! Homeland Security agents confiscate unlicensed Kansas City Royals underwear
It may be fun to laugh at the panty raid, but take a step back and realize how messed up it is that government agents are out there enforcing private copyrights like it was a criminal matter. For most of our history, copyrights were enforced through the civil justice system, not by a unit of government agents dedicated to fighting “intellectual property crime.” A unit, it appears, that was created at the behest of entertainment companies, not because there was any sort of public outcry or criminal scourge imperiling the general peace and welfare. And, of course, a unit that is run out of the same offices where fights against terrorists and stuff are waged.
I feel safe now, citizen. Don’t you?
A lingerie shop owner in Kansas City says her store was raided by Homeland Security agents Monday morning over a few dozen pair of panties she made in honor of her hometown baseball team.
Peregrine Honig, owner of Honig’s Birdies Panties shop in Crossroads, said she designed the Lucky Royals boyshorts that were set to go on sale Tuesday.
That is until federal agents showed up at her door and demanded she surrender the illegal undergarments.
“They came in and there were two guys” Ms. Honig told the Kansas City Star. “I asked one of them what size he needed and he showed me a badge and took me outside. They told me they were from Homeland Security and we were violating copyright laws.”
nec salvari se manibus sordida panties
Via WT: http://is.gd/cS0ZwM
The world’s first ‘sparkling’ apple that fizzes in the mouth when eaten has been created.
Huge cells in the flesh of the brand new variety called Paradis Sparkling, release effervescent juices that is akin to having a mouthful of fizzy drink.
The sensation is only experienced when the apple is bitten into and its juices are not sparkling when pressed.
via Forget a good crunch – this apple has a built-in FIZZ: Experts create sparkling fruit that bubbles when it’s bitten into | Daily Mail Online.
This state-of-the-art device has a diode-like structure like LEDs but, curiously enough, the way in which it produces light is actually closer to the cathode ray tubes used in the TVs and computer monitors of the past century. Under the influence of a strong electric field, each carbon nanotube acts as a tiny cathode ray tube that releases a high-speed beam of electrons from its tip. These electrons then hit a phospor screen kept under vacuum and, in the process, release a small amount of energy that causes the phospor to glow.
Building the device was a fairly simple, low-cost process. The researchers started by mixing highly crystalline single-walled carbon nanotubes with an organic solvent and a surfactant compound. They then painted the mixture on the cathode and scratched the surface with sandpaper, which allows the electrons to more easily separate from the tip of the nanotubes.
Congress’ former top cop thinks there should be major changes to security at the 276-acre Capitol complex, saying its open and accessible campus is “much to my chagrin.”
I’m sure The Members have an idea for future security.
via Terry Gainer: Build Fences, Close Roads, Tighten Capitol Hill Security.
Available in 2015, Oculus XXX will transform your home to a virtual reality house of ill repute and will provide consumers with the ability to create the anatomical partner of one’s choice, from color of hair to breast size or to any other body part that warrants an adjustment.
Moreover, according to the Daily Beast, you can design the specific sexual act or positions that you desire, perhaps including sex you may be too embarrassed to ask for in real life.
Brian Shuster, founder and CEO of virtual reality network Utherverse, contends that Oculus Rift is better suited to bring in-your-face 3D porn to the consumer than the movie studios. “The studios doing major motion pictures weren’t exactly equipped to capture how the inner labia works,” he maintains.
I suppose if you add this to the equation, it might simulate.
I cannot remember the exact words, or who said it, but something like, ‘If you think internet addiction is bad now, just see what happens when VR sex with a Playmate becomes available.’
via Oculus XXX to Transform Home into a Virtual Reality Brothel in 2015.
Vann was convicted in 2009 of raping a woman in his Austin, Texas, apartment. He was released from prison last year and moved back to Indiana. Before that conviction, he served a year in prison in Indiana after he grabbed a Gary woman in a chokehold in 2004, doused her with gasoline and threatened to set her on fire.
In both cases, the charges against Vann were reduced in plea bargains, and Texas officials deemed him a low risk for violence.
Convicted of rape…. choked… douse with gasoline …. threaten to set on fire …..released from prison ….. deemed low risk for violence
1. Prosecutors clearing cases by offering and accepting plea deals. Ya’ want to have good numbers to move up the career ladder.
2. Prisons overcrowd with drug offenders.
via PilotOnline.com: national & world News for Hampton Roads, Va., from The Virginian-Pilot.
A Bit Better Stuffed Peppers
1 Lb ground meat (80/20)
1/2 Lb bacon
1 cup +/- Spanish Rice (see below)
4 large green peppers
1 can Rotel
1 6oz can Tomato Paste
6-8 tablespoons (KC Sweet style) BBQ sauce
4 whole leaves fresh basil
Preheat oven to 350
Cut/dice bacon, fry to done, drain
Cook ground meat to medium rare (still see pink meat), in same pan as bacon, and drain
In a bowl mix Rotel, Tomato Paste, BBQ sauce together .
In a large mix bacon, ground meat, and Spanish Rice. Add 3/4 of sauce mix and fold into meats and rice.
Cut the tops from peppers, remove seeds. Par blanch the peppers in a pan of boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Drain and set upright into a casserole dish.
Fill each pepper with mixed meat and rice. Cover top of each filled pepper with remaining 1/4 sauce. Place basil leaf on top for garnish. Bake uncovered @ 350 for 30 minutes.
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 of a medium onion*
1 1/2 cups rice
3 cloves finely chopped garlic *
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 can Rotel
4 heaping tablespoons of finely basil
In a medium sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add in the fresh onion. Saute for 1-2 minutes until softened. Add dry rice and cook with the onions for about 5 minutes or until rice becomes a golden brown color. Add in the garlic to the rice and saute for one more minute.
Add in broth, Rotel and basil. Stir it up and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, turn the heat to low and cover. Let it simmer for 20 minutes and fluff with a fork.