Karzai: Stoning will not be brought back

Afghanistan’s penal code dates back over three decades. The government is drawing up a new one to unify fragmented rules and cover crimes missed out when the last version was written, such as money laundering, and offences that did not even exist at the time, such as internet crimes.
The justice minister presiding over the reform is an outspoken conservative who last year denounced the country’s handful of shelters for battered women as brothels.

“15th century torture cannot be allowed in 16th century, modern, Afghanistan.”

via Stoning will not be brought back, says Afghan president | World news | theguardian.com.


FDA: The Results of Your Genetic Test are a ‘Medical Device’

So what are the FDA’s bureaucrats so worried about? Basically that purchasers of 23andMe’s personal genome services will do something dangerously stupid in reaction to the information that the tests provide. But will they? As an instance, the FDA letter puts forth a hypothetical in which 23andMe customers could be misled by the results of the company’s BRCA breast cancer gene tests. “If the BRCA-related risk assessment for breast or ovarian cancer reports a false positive, it could lead a patient to undergo prophylactic surgery, chemoprevention, intensive screening, or other morbidity-inducing actions, while a false negative could result in a failure to recognize an actual risk that may exist,” argues the agency.

via Let My Genes Go! And Leave 23andMe Alone. – Reason.com.

China claims, “We p0wned the Intertubes!”

“If we should describe the online environment in the past as good mingling with the bad, the sky of the cyberspace has cleared up now because we have cracked down on online rumors,” Ren Xianliang, vice minister of the State Internet Information Office, said during a rare meeting this week with foreign journalists.

Yea…..good luck with that.

via News from The Associated Press.

Smart glasses see veins through skin

Evena Medical’s new Eyes-On Glasses reportedly let nurses see patients’ veins in real time, right through their skin.
The glasses can be worn over existing eyewear, and incorporate “multi-spectral 3D imaging” (multiple spectra of projected light) to make veins show up when viewed via the glasses’ dual cameras. Users see the patient’s skin as it really is through the glasses’ clear lens, but with an image of the veins as processed by the cameras overlaid on top.

Smart glasses let nurses see veins through skin – Computerworld.

DoD ‘giving away’ “Free” Military MRAP Vehicles

For police and sheriff’s departments, which have scooped up 165 of the mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles, or MRAPS, since they became available this summer, the price and the ability to deliver shock and awe while serving warrants or dealing with hostage standoffs was, however, just too good to pass up.
“It’s armored. It’s heavy. It’s intimidating. And it’s free,” said Apple.

“…free,” ?  Not so much.  First: now you have to send one or two of the city mechanics to the MRAP maintenance school and a couple of personnel to the operators school.  There are plenty to choose from: 5 US corporations (BAE, GD, FPI, Navistar, Oshkosh) , in five separate states, (with 10 Senators and and least 5 different Representatives, and 5 Governors all love them some MRAP.  Yes sir.)

Lets see:

  • Maintenance (per year):  ~ $14,285.00
  • Spare parts (per year):    ~ $14,642.00
  • Consumables (per year): ~ $19,285.00
  • Gas and Oil (per year):    ~ $ 2,124.00
  • Training expense:            ~ $ 7,142.00

Total per year for “Free”:       ~ $57,478.00

Kiss my tired tax-paying ass….free.

via Defense Department gives local police equipment designed for a war zone | Fox News.

Brilliant: A Way to Protect Unwilling Child Brides from mohammedanism

“Put a spoon in your knickers,” a counselor at the British organization Karma Nirvana told a young girl being sent abroad to wed against her will.
The idea behind the plot was simple, but ingenious: the spoon would set off alarms at airport security, whereupon the unwilling bride-to-be could explain her situation to a law enforcement officer who could then intervene to protect her.
The ploy evidently worked, and has been adopted since by other young women in the UK, most of them British-born, who are sent to their parents’ original homes and villages in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and elsewhere to marry first cousins they have never met, conscribed to a life of servitude and worse.

via UK Child Brides Victims of ‘Cultural Sensitivity’.

FBI (DITU) taking US NSA Collection Work Product

The FBI wants as many as 13 individual fields of information, according to the industry representative. The data include the route a message took over a network, Internet protocol addresses, and port numbers, which are used to handle different kinds of incoming and outgoing communications. Those last two pieces of information can reveal where a computer is physically located — perhaps along with its user — as well as what types of applications and operating system it’s running. That information could be useful for government hackers who want to install spyware on a suspect’s computer — a secret task that the DITU also helps carry out.

The DITU devised the port reader after law enforcement officials complained that they weren’t getting enough information from emails and Internet traffic. The FBI has argued that under the Patriot Act, it has the authority to capture metadata and doesn’t need a warrant to get them. Some federal prosecutors have gone to court to compel port reader adoption, the industry representative said. If a company failed to comply with a court order, it could be held in contempt.

via Meet the Spies Doing the NSA’s Dirty Work – By Shane Harris | Foreign Policy.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich is Racist, Says Portland School Official

Apparently, it’s because people in some cultures don’t eat sandwich bread. Verenice Gutierrez, principal of Harvey Scott K-8 School in Portland explained in and interview with the Portland Tribune:

  • “Take the peanut butter sandwich, a seemingly innocent example a teacher used in a lesson last school year,” the Tribune said.
  • “What about Somali or Hispanic students, who might not eat sandwiches?” Gutierrez asked. “Another way would be to say: ‘Americans eat peanut butter and jelly, do you have anything like that?’ Let them tell you. Maybe they eat torta. Or pita.”

You. Got. To. Be. Shittin’. Me.

via Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich is Racist, Says Portland School Official.

Big Brother: License Plate Scanners = Great Revenue Collection

Of course, the primary goal here is to generate revenue. Michigan lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would enable police to put a boot on any car whose owner owes state or local government any amount of money. Arlington County, Virginia, passed a similar law in 2005, causing county treasurer Frank O’Leary to say, “I rub my hands together in great glee and anticipation. I think it’s beautiful, it gives us a whole new dimension to collection.”

H/T Instapundit

via Next Stop On The Road To Surveillance State: License Plate Scanners.

BS: Drivers Stopped at Roadblock Asked for Saliva, Blood

The federal government does not give a shit about our Constitutional rights

“It just doesn’t seem right that you can be forced off the road when you’re not doing anything wrong,” said Kim Cope, who said she was on her lunch break when she was forced to pull over at the roadblock on Beach Street in North Fort Worth.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is spending $7.9 million on the survey over three years, said participation was “100 percent voluntary” and anonymous.
But Cope said it didn’t feel voluntary to her — despite signs saying it was.
“I gestured to the guy in front that I just wanted to go straight, but he wouldn’t let me and forced me into a parking spot,” she said.
Once parked, she couldn’t believe what she was asked next.
“They were asking for cheek swabs,” she said. “They would give $10 for that. Also, if you let them take your blood, they would pay you $50 for that.”
At the very least, she said, they wanted to test her breath for alcohol.
She said she felt trapped.

via North Texas Drivers Stopped at Roadblock Asked for Saliva, Blood | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth.

Amazing Times: Bionic Eye Implant Available in U.S. in Coming Weeks

The Argus II implant includes 60 electrodes, but the planned Argus III will likely include 240. The more powerful implant won’t be approved and available to patients for several years, according to Mech.
Second Sight can continue to improve the sight of patients using the Argus II device by ramping up the visual processing unit and fine-tuning the software that feeds the implant, he said. Backers also hope the retinal implant will be okayed for use in patients with macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in those aged 60 and over.

via Bionic Eye Implant Will Become Available in U.S. in Coming Weeks | Singularity Hub.

Good. Let the Free Market Decide.

The hydrogen Hyundai Tucson is one of the highlights of the 2013 Los Angeles International Show, with press days Wednesday and Thursday. Hyundai sees a big future for hydrogen-powered vehicles because volume production might push down the cost of hydrogen fuel technology down faster than with the lithium-ion battery technology necessary for EVs and plug-in hybrids.

via Hyundai will sell a hydrogen fuel cell SUV in 2014, 300-mile range expected | ExtremeTech.

Stuxnet’s Secret Twin

That’s because Stuxnet is not really one weapon, but two. The vast majority of the attention has been paid to Stuxnet’s smaller and simpler attack routine — the one that changes the speeds of the rotors in a centrifuge, which is used to enrich uranium. But the second and “forgotten” routine is about an order of magnitude more complex and stealthy. It qualifies as a nightmare for those who understand industrial control system security. And strangely, this more sophisticated attack came first. The simpler, more familiar routine followed only years later — and was discovered in comparatively short order.

Fascinating.  Click forth and read all

via Stuxnet’s Secret Twin – By Ralph Langner | Foreign Policy.

A 3D printer for under US$200

Both print 1.75 mm PLA filament with a minimum layer height of 50 microns at a maximum speed of 100 mm/s. QU-BD includes a small amount of PLA filament with both printers, and is also offering a heated bed upgrade to add support for ABS as an optional extra. Both printers are identical, save for 75 mm longer smooth rods on the X and Y axis of the Two Up that give it a slightly larger build area.
Both the One Up and Two Up are available for pre-order on the QU-BD website for $199 and $279, respectively, with deliveries are due to begin in March next year. The printers are also the subject of a Kickstarter campaign that still has a few days to run but has far exceeded the initial $9,000 goal, providing some indication of the continuing growth in popularity of desktop 3D printers.

via QU-BD One Up: A 3D printer for under US$200.

Theranos blood tests from less than 1ml, no vein puncture

Here’s how it works: Blood is drawn with a finger stick, rather than a needle in the arm. (It can also run urine tests with just a drop of that.) There are no botched sticks — of course, there are no phlebotomists, only machines, in Therenos labs.

The bad news for workers may be good news for accuracy because human handling of samples accounts for the lion’s share of variation among results, founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes said last week at a technology conference in New York. Automation eliminates spills, tests done in error and other mishandling of the sample.

via Small, Fast and Cheap, Theranos Is the Poster Child of Med Tech — and It’s in Walgreen’s | Singularity Hub.

Unions Take Aim at Parent-Trigger Law

Better known as the “parent trigger” law, it allows parents of students attending schools that continually fall below state and federal testing standards to force district officials to make significant changes. If 51 percent of parents sign the requisite petitions, parents can insist on a new principal or turn the school into a charter.

The law has only been applied a handful of times. But such efforts have been opposed politically and in the courts by the state’s teachers’ unions, which still are furious about it three years later. Newspapers report that United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA), the city’s main teachers’ union, voted to recruit a legislator to carry a bill that would “reform” the law.

Come on UTLA, ‘It’s for the children.’

via Unions Take Aim at Parent-Trigger Law – Reason.com.

Device converts microwave signals into electricity

Duke University students Allen Hawkes and Alexander Katko, working with lead investigator and Duke professor of electrical and computer engineering Steven Cummer, built the device using five fiberglass and copper energy conductors wired up to a circuit board to form a five-cell metamaterial array. The team says the resulting electrical circuit is able to harvest microwaves and convert them into 7.3 V of electrical energy. They compare this to USB chargers for mobile devices that provide around 5 V of power.

via Power-harvesting device converts microwave signals into electricity.