Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

The Virtue-less war of the ‘Nintendo bomber’

In Americas, Big Brother, World News on June 28, 2011 at 3:42 pm

By Muhammad Idrees Ahmad

In April, the British Ministry of Defence published a study which for the first time gave serious consideration to the moral, ethical and legal aspects of the drone wars. The study advises defense planners that ‘before unmanned systems become ubiquitous’ they must ‘ensure that, by removing some of the horror, or at least keeping it at a distance we do not risk losing our controlling humanity and make war more likely.’ The report is particularly concerned that the low risks of using drones were enabling policy makers to consider military action in places where they would otherwise be hesitant: ‘the use of force is totally a function of the existence of an unmanned capability’, it suggest.

The conclusions of the report are sobering. So is the fact that it was produced by a British military think tank rather than a US Congressional committee. In the US, the media and political establishment are still romancing the drone, with the kind of giddy attention that sometimes borders on the inappropriate. In a  May 10, 2009 segment on the Predator drone, Lara Logan of CBS’s 60 Minutes was positively breathless. Two years later, at a New America Foundation conference on drones, Professor Thomas Nachbar of the University of Virginia School of Law declared drones ‘fun’ and argued ‘against more transparency’ in their use.

Drones are attractive to US militarists and their courtiers because they are politically liberating. In their battle against public opinion and institutional inertia, politicians have often found technology an ally. The drones must therefore be understood in the context of a long-standing US desire to develop the technological means for achieving global Pax Americana. And for a century, airpower has been…

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Denmark police propose ban on anonymous Internet use

In Big Brother, Europe News, Tech on June 28, 2011 at 3:42 pm

By Amy Lee

Imagine if the police knew exactly what you do online: All the porn sites you scan secretly, the vitriolic comments you leave on blogs, the number of hours you spend playing Farmville.

In Denmark, police have recommended to Parliament that it create laws that make it impossible for citizens to surf anonymously. According to Danish-language blog Computerworld Denmark, the proposal is intended to help investigate terrorism.

In the proposal, locations providing open Internet, like cafes and libraries, would have to confirm a user’s identity, with some form of official ID, before letting them get online. Companies may also have to register and verify users’ identities before providing access, as well as retain records of user logs.

Danish law already requires that ISPs store user data for at least a year, as an anti-terrorism measure. The proposal suggests that with such information, police would be able to see who exactly is on the network, where they go, and who they talk to.

Such a move would have serious privacy implications. But another problematic facet of the proposal is in the nature of online identity itself. 4Chan founder Christopher Poole recently defended web anonymity against…

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Restaurant blogger jailed for criticising salty noodles

In World News on June 28, 2011 at 3:41 pm

By Malcom Moore

The Taiwanese woman, who has only been named as Mrs Liu, enraged the owner of the Sichuan Flavour Beef Noodle Restaurant in the central city of Taichung after posting a negative review on the internet.

Mrs Liu, who has a wide-ranging but relatively little-read blog covering food and interior design, visited the restaurant in 2008.

She complained that the food was “too salty”, that there were cockroaches, and that the owner was a “bully”, according to the Taipei Times.

Beef noodle soup is one of Taiwan’s most popular national dishes, and restaurants are judged mercilessly on the fragrance and quality of their offering.

After learning about the negative review from a customer, the restaurant sued Mrs Liu for defamation.

The high court in Taichung decided that Mrs Liu had been within her rights to comment on the cockroaches, since this was a “narration of the facts”.

However, the judge ruled that since she had only eaten one dish of fried noodles, she was unqualified to…

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Japan scientist synthesizes meat from human feces (Video)

In Tech, World News on June 20, 2011 at 6:19 pm

By Jeff Hughes

It’s being called the “poop burger”. Japanese scientists have found a way to create artificial meat from sewage containing human feces.

Somehow this feels like a Vonnegut plotline: population boom equals food shortage. Solution? Synthesize food from human waste matter. Absurd yes, but Japanese scientists have actually discovered a way to create edible steaks from human feces.

Mitsuyuki Ikeda, a researcher from the Okayama Laboratory, has developed steaks based on proteins from human excrement. Tokyo Sewage approached the scientist because of an overabundance of sewage mud. They asked him to explore the possible uses of the sewage and Ikeda found that the mud contained a great deal of protein because of all the bacteria.

The researchers then extracted those proteins, combined them with a reaction enhancer and put it in an exploder which created the artificial steak. The “meat” is 63% proteins, 25% carbohydrates, 3% lipids and 9% minerals. The researchers color the poop meat red with food coloring and enhance the flavor with soy protein. Initial tests have people saying it even tastes like beef.

Inhabitat notes that “the meatpacking industry causes 18 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions, mostly due to the release of methane from animals.” Livestock also consume huge amounts of…

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Scientist succesfully implant chip that controls the brain

In Big Brother, Tech on June 20, 2011 at 6:18 pm

By Alexander Higgins

Scientists working at the University of Southern California, home of the Department of Homeland Security’s National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events, have created an artificial memory system that allows thoughts, memories and learned behavior to be transferred from one brain to another.

In a scene right out of a George Orwell novel, a team of scientists working in the fields of “neural engineering” and “Biomimetic MicroElectronic Systems” have successfully created a chip that controls the brain and can be used as a storage device for long-term memories. In studies the scientists have been able to record, download and transfer memories into other hosts with the same chip implanted. The advancement in technology brings the world one step closer to a global police state and the reality of absolute mind control.

More terrifying is the potential for implementation of what was only a science fiction fantasy – the “Thought Police” – where the government reads people’s memories and thoughts and can then rehabilitate them through torture before they ever even commit a crime based on a statistical computer analysis showing people with certain types of thoughts are likely to commit a certain type of crime in the future.

We already pre-emptively invade nations and torture alleged terrorist suspects with absolutely no due process of law, so the idea of pre-emptively torturing a terrorist suspect beforehand to prevent them from committing an act of terrorism in the future really isn’t that far fetched of an idea.

Perhaps a less sensational example than those I just depicted from Orwell’s famous dystopian novels would be using the technology as it is depicted the modern day Matrix movies…

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12 Things that the mainstream media is being strangely quiet about right now

In World News on June 20, 2011 at 6:18 pm

By The American Dream

As the mainstream media continues to be obsessed with Anthony Weiner and his bizarre adventures on Twitter, much more serious events are happening around the world that are getting very little attention.  In America today, if the mainstream media does not cover something it is almost as if it never happened. Right now, the worst nuclear disaster in human history continues to unfold in Japan , U.S. nuclear facilities are being threatened by flood waters, the U.S. military is bombing Yemen, gigantic cracks in the earth are appearing all over the globe and the largest wildfire in Arizona history is causing immense devastation.  But Anthony Weiner, Bristol Palin and Miss USA are what the mainstream media want to tell us about and most Americans are buying it.

In times like these, it is more important than ever to think for ourselves.  The corporate-owned mainstream media is not interested in looking out for us.  Rather, they are going to tell us whatever fits with the agenda that their owners are pushing.

That is why more Americans than ever are turning to the alternative media.  Americans are hungry for the truth, and they know that the amount of truth that they get from the mainstream media continues to decline.

The following are 12 things that the mainstream media is being…

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Lawmakers sue president Obama over Libya

In Americas on June 15, 2011 at 6:43 pm

By Reid J. Epstein

A bipartisan group of House members announced on Wednesday that it is filing a lawsuit charging that President Obama made an illegal end-run around Congress when he approved U.S military action against Libya.

“With regard to the war in Libya, we believe that the law was violated. We have asked the courts to move to protect the American people from the results of these illegal policies,” said Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who led the 10-member anti-war coalition with Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.).

he White House is expected on Wednesday to deliver to Congress a much-anticipated report detailing military activity in Libya.

According to Kucinich, the suit will challenge the Obama administration’s “circumvention of Congress and its use of international organizations such as the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to authorize the use of military force abroad.”

It also will ask a judge to prohibit the White House from conducting a war without…

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Google aims to speed up the Web with ‘Instant Pages,’ spoken search

In Big Brother, Tech on June 15, 2011 at 6:38 pm

By Mike Swift

The Internet just got a lot faster — at least after a Google(GOOG) search. And offices across America probably will get just a bit louder.

Leveraging its prowess in computer science, Google announced an array of new mobile and desktop search features Tuesday, including the ability to speak a search query to a desktop computer and run a search query on any personal photo stored on a user’s computer. The features also include a new interface for mobile searches that makes it easier to find information about nearby restaurants, coffee shops and other businesses.

But the new service users will probably notice most is Instant Pages, a service in which the search engine predicts the link a user is likely to click. If a user chooses that link — typically the first link in search results — the page will essentially load instantaneously. Google says that will save users in those cases three to five seconds on average — a clearly noticeable difference.

“Taken all together, it was kind of a broadside by Google today that they are not going to slack off the pace of innovation,” said Hadley Reynolds, director of…

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Gold may advance on inflation concern, sovereign-debt crisis in Europe

In Europe News on June 15, 2011 at 6:34 pm

By Bloomberg

Gold may gain for the first time in three days in New York as concern about rising inflation and Europe’s debt crisis spur demand for the metal as a protection of wealth.

China ordered lenders to set aside more cash as reserves after inflation accelerated to the fastest pace in almost three years, while consumer price increases in India quickened. Standard & Poor’syesterday branded Greece with the world’s lowest credit rating, saying the nation is “increasingly likely” to face a debt restructuring.

“The inflation story is still in the back of people’s minds,” said Bernard Sin, the head of currency and metal trading at MKS Finance SA, a bullion refiner in Geneva. “Europe is definitely a problem, that’s why you’re seeing decent demand. Physical traders might be happy to get in at these levels.”

Gold for August delivery rose $3.40, or 0.2 percent…

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IMF hack opens door to global market fraud

In Tech on June 14, 2011 at 7:40 pm

By IB Times

The IMF security breach is bearing hallmarks of a sophisticated and targeted cyber-attack, putting sensitive global financial data at risk that may be used to manipulate markets.

The International Monetary Fund collects sensitive information about the financial systems of its 187 member nations.

If leaked, some data in IMF computer systems could be used to manipulate or profit from bonds and currencies around the world.

Tom Kellermann, a former cybersecurity specialist at the World Bank who has been tracking the incident, told the “Wall Street Journal” that the infiltration involved significant reconnaissance before the actual attack and code written specifically to penetrate the IMF.

“This isn’t malware you’ve seen before,” he said.

 It was much more difficult to detect and the concern was hackers intended to gather information…