XIAM007

Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

New US Pentagon manual declares journalists can be enemy combatants -

New US Pentagon manual declares journalists can be enemy combatants - 



The Pentagon’s new thick book of instructions for waging war the legal way says that terrorists also can be journalists.

The description appears in a 1,176-page, richly footnoted “Department of Defense Law of War Manual” that tells commanders the right and wrong way to kill the enemy. It says it’s OK to shoot, explode, bomb, stab or cut the enemy. Surprise attacks and killing retreating troops also are permitted. But a U.S. warrior may not use poison or asphyxiating gases.

Going back decades, this is the Pentagon’s first comprehensive, all-in-one legal guide for the four military branches, who over the years had issued their own law of war pamphlets for air, sea and ground warfare.

The manual pushes aside the George W. Bush-era label of “unlawful enemy combatant” for al Qaeda and the like. The new term of choice: “unprivileged belligerent.”

An eye-catching section deals with a definition of journalists and how they are expected to stay out of the fight.

The manual defines them this way: “In general, journalists are civilians. However, journalists may be members of the armed forces, persons authorized to accompany the armed forces, or unprivileged belligerents.”

Lumping terrorist writers with bona fide scribes prompted one officer to call the paragraph “odd.” A civilian lawyer who opines on war crime cases called the wording “an odd and provocative thing for them to write.” 

Read more - 
http://governamerica.com/news/19659-new-pentagon-manual-declares-journalists-can-be-enemy-combatants

Leap second on June 30 will be 'mini-Y2K' - U.S. exchanges will pause around the leap second as a precaution -

Leap second on June 30 will be 'mini-Y2K' - U.S. exchanges will pause around the leap second as a precaution -  



Short on time? Don't worry. This month you'll get an extra second.

A "leap second" will be added on June 30 at midnight Coordinated Universal Time (or 8 p.m. EDT). Leap seconds are added occasionally to help keep the atomic clock synced up with the earth's rotation.

"The earth's spin isn't uniform, it's not constant," Nick Stamatakos, the chief of earth orientation parameters at the United States Naval Observatory, told USA TODAY Network.

Because of the earth's inconsistent speed, scientists in the 1950s created an atomic clock to keep precise track of time. However, as the earth's rotation sped up and slowed down, the atomic clock continued steadily ahead and the two time indicators grew farther apart.

To fix that inconsistency, scientists then created the UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) to help bridge the gap between the earth time and the atomic clock. However, the atomic clock continues to race ahead, so at least once every 10 years scientists add an extra second to the UTC to keep them closer together. It's particularly important for things like GPS navigation, Stamatakos said.

"The GPS will tell a user where his location is relative to the GPS spacecraft," he said. In order to do that, the GPS spacecraft has to know time very accurately and that time has to incorporate the earth speeding up and slowing.

"If you don't know the time accurately you can mistake where you are and your speed," according to Stamatakos.

"Having these leap seconds every so often is like having a mini Y2K every couple years," Stamatakos said. In advance, many people working with computer systems have tested them to see how they will deal with the extra second, he said.

The stock market is sometimes impacted because computers are so fast now that trading can happen in a second or less.

"Some U.S. exchanges will pause around the leap second as a precaution or will halt after-hours trading beforehand," according to MarketPlace's Mitchell Hartman.

"In every-day life, this extra second has practically no importance. However, in every field where exact time is needed (e.g. astronomy, navigation, spaceflight, but also computer networks for stock markets or energy supply, and much more) this second is of great importance," Wolfgang Dick, a spokesman for the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service, the organization that maintains global time, told USA TODAY Network in an email.

What will you do with your extra second?

Read more - 
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2015/06/09/leap-second-atomic-clock-earth-rotation/27786459/

Obama And Hillary Both Had No Problem Using Confederate Flag During Presidential Campaigns -

Obama And Hillary Both Had No Problem Using Confederate Flag During Presidential Campaigns - 




In the wake of the Charleston shooting, and subsequent pictures of the shooter posing with a Confederate flag, Barack Obama this week said that the flag belongs in a museum.
It seems he has changed his tune in the last three years somewhere, however, given that he was using the symbol during his 2012 re-election campaign.

Indeed, Obama had his own Confederate flag campaign badge, which states “Where the confederate flag still flies, we have built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.”
The quote was taken from Obama’s racially heated speech in 2008, during which he also praised his mentor former pastor the controversial Reverend Wright.
Obama was not alone in using the symbol of the Confederate flag, synonymous with the South, to solicit political support.
Hillary clinton had her own brand of Confederate merchandise in 2008.




She’s also staying quiet about her husband’s previous use of the ‘racist’ symbol.




Strange given that she has also stated that the flag has no place in the US today.




And the fact that it flew above her house for 12 years:




While online auction site eBay declared it would prohibit Confederate flag merchandise, these items still remain available.

Walmart and other retailers have jumped on the bandwagon to ban a flag, as if this will make any difference to racial tensions currently playing out across the nation.
As Deborah Simmons wrote in her column for The Washington Times yesterday, “I ask, what happens after the flag comes down? Are racism and bigotry supposed to go poof?”
“It’s undeniable that the history and the heritage of South Carolina, rebel U.S. state of the first order, are intertwined. Period.” Simmons added, urging that the flag represents heritage.
“You cannot give true due to South Carolina and its history and heritage without marking the roles that blacks have played, as well as their history and heritage.” Simmons added.

Read more - 
http://www.prisonplanet.com/obama-and-hillary-both-had-no-problem-using-confederate-flag-during-presidential-campaigns.html

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

The Ultimate Moral Hazard: 70% of Greek Mortgages Are In Default - "if the nation doesn't pay its debt, why should we" -

The Ultimate Moral Hazard: 70% of Greek Mortgages Are In Default - "if the nation doesn't pay its debt, why should we" - 



Just as we warned earlier in the year, total uncertainty about the future of Greece has enabled a growing sense of moral hazard as "if the nation doesn't pay its debt, why should we" sweeps across the troubled nation. As Greeks' tax remittances to the government, which were almost non-existent to begin with, have ground to a halt, so The FT reports, so-called 'strategic defaults' have become a way of life among Greece's formerly affluent middle-class..."I still owe money on the car and motorboat I can’t afford to use. Even a holiday loan I’d forgotten about...I’m living with my mother looking for work and waiting for the bank to come up with another restructuring offer."

As we detailed earlier this year, it appears taxpayers everywhere are learning from the best: their insolvent governments. In this case, Greek (non) taxpayers have decided to slow down their mandatory remittances to the government even more because the government may just not exist in two short weeks:

Most taxpayers have chosen to delay their payments, given that the positions of the two main parties leading the election polls are diametrically opposite: Poll leader SYRIZA promises to cancel the ENFIA and even write off bad loans, while ruling New Democracy acknowledges the difficulties but is avoiding raising issues that would generate problems and fiscal consequences.

The dwindling state revenues will not only hamper the next government’s fiscal moves, but, given that the fiscal gap will expand, also negotiations with the country’s creditors. The Finance Ministry will have to make plans for new measures and make sure that salaries, pensions and operating expenses are covered, especially in case the creditors do not pay the bailout installments which are already overdue.

Speaking to Kathimerini, a top ministry official confirmed the major slowdown in the rate of applications for debt settlement, and referred to post-election consequences from the shortfall in state revenues. The tax collection mechanism appears to be largely out of action while expired debts are swelling due to taxpayers’ wait-and-see tactics and the reduction in inspections. The same official pointed out that it is normal for revenues to lag during election periods, adding that this time there is no scope for shortfalls.
And now, as The FT reports, the situation has got far worse...

Strategic defaults have become a way of life among Greece’s formerly affluent middle-class. Many borrowed heavily as local banks competed to offer consumer loans at accessible interest rates after Greece joined the euro in 2001.

When the crisis struck they resisted changes to their lifestyle, convinced that it was only a blip on a continuous upward path to income levels matching those of Italy and Spain.

But they have since been forced to make harsh adjustments. With their own savings depleted and the country’s immediate future so uncertain — will Greece default on its debts and leave the euro? — many have simply stopped making payments altogether, virtually freezing economic activity.

Tax revenues for May, for example, fell €1bn short of the budget target, with so many Greek citizens balking at filing returns.
The government, itself, has contributed to the chain of non-payment by freezing payments due to suppliers. That has had a knock-on effect, stifling the small businesses that dominate the economy and building up a mountain of arrears that will take months, if not years, to settle.

“Business-to-business payments have almost been paused,” one Athens businessman says. “They are just rolling over postdated cheques.”

For Greek banks, mortgage loans left unserviced by strategic defaulters have become a particular headache, especially since the Syriza-led government says it is committed to protecting low-income homeowners from foreclosures on their properties

“There’s a real issue of moral hazard . . . Around 70 per cent of restructured mortgage loans aren’t being serviced because people think foreclosures will only be applied to big villa owners,” one banker said.
After six years of living in straitened circumstances, middle-class Greeks have also grown accustomed to shedding valuables inherited from their grandparents.

“There’s a big underground market in family heirlooms . . . many people feel a sense of shame at having to part with them so it’s not much talked about,” said Angelos, an appraiser for a Geneva-based antiques dealer.

“For buyers there are opportunities that only come along when there’s a real economic upheaval . . . in Greece it hasn’t happened since the second world war,” he adds.
As one middle-class father concluded, he is no longer embarrassed by his inability to pay, he says, because so many other parents are in the same situation.

”In the good years we took all these things for granted,” she says. “But the way Greece is headed with these people in charge [the Syriza government] I wonder whether I’ll ever have them again.”

Read more - 
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-06-23/ultimate-moral-hazard-70-greek-mortgages-are-default

When "Likes" Trump "Everyday Low Prices": Facebook Is Now Bigger Than Walmart -

When "Likes" Trump "Everyday Low Prices": Facebook Is Now Bigger Than Walmart -



Spot The Difference...




Lamb Genetically Modified with Jellyfish Sold as Meat by Paris Butcher - Yummy -

Lamb Genetically Modified with Jellyfish Sold as Meat by Paris Butcher - Yummy - 



The following article takes the concept of Frankenfood to a whole other level.

French authorities are looking into how a lamb genetically modified with jellyfish protein was sold as meat to an unknown customer, a judicial source told AFP on Tuesday.

The jellyfish-lamb, called “Rubis”, was sent to an abattoir from the National Institute for Agricultural Research in Paris late last year and somehow ended up on a butcher’s slab.

Yummy.

“A female lamb born to a sheep that was genetically modified as part of a medical research program was sold to a person in the Parisian region in October 2014,” said the National Institute for Agricultural Research in a statement, confirming a story first reported by Le Parisien newspaper.

The case has been taken up by a public health court in Paris, a judicial source told AFP. 

Rubis “found itself on a plate! Who ate it? No one knows,” exclaimed Le Parisien on Tuesday.

France remains one of the staunchest opponents of GM research, ever since environmental protesters pressured the government into banning GM crops in the 2000s.

The European Union authorised the import and sale of 19 GM crops in April, but is likely to pass legislation allowing individual countries to block their use – in part thanks to demands from France.

Don’t worry my fellow Americans, that is France, something like this could never happen here. After all, Congress is hard at work making sure future Americans will have as difficult a time as possible identifying the source of their meat.

For example, let’s revisit last month’s post, Congress Moves to Eliminate Labels Showing Consumers Where Meat Comes from Following WTO Ruling, where we learned that:

A House committee has voted to get rid of labels on packages of meat that say where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered.

The House Agriculture Committee voted 38-6 to repeal a “country-of-origin” labeling law for beef, pork and poultry Wednesday — just two days after the World Trade Organization ruled against parts of the law. The labels tell consumers what countries the meat is from: for example, “born in Canada, raised and slaughtered in the United States” or “born, raised and slaughtered in the United States.”

As usual, Congress is hard at work on behalf of their corporate sponsors.

Read more - 
http://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2015/06/23/lamb-genetically-modified-with-jellyfish-sold-as-meat-by-paris-butcher/

Uber says it might track your location even when you're not using app - and access address book and use names it finds -

Uber says it might track your location even when you're not using app - and access address book and use names it finds - 



The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is looking out for you, Uber riders. The civil liberties advocacy organization has filed an FTC complaint against Uber over the company's apparent plan to download users' contacts and track user locations even when they aren't using the company's app. Uber's plans were announced in the form of a new privacy policy set to take effect July 15. Now that EPIC has stepped in, maybe that policy won't take effect after all?

USA Today reports:

Under the upcoming policy, the Uber app could collect precise location data about a customer's smart phone, even when the app is running in the background or they have turned off their GPS location finder.

If the app isn't on, Uber can figure out the user's approximate location from their Internet address.

If the user permits it, the Uber app can access the user's address book and use the names and contact information it finds there.

Uber spokeswoman Jessica Santillo said there was no basis for the complaint.

"We care deeply about the privacy of our riders and driver-partners," she said. "These updated statements don't reflect a shift in our practices, they more clearly lay out the data we collect today and how it is used to provide or improve our services."

In an May 28 statement, Uber said that the changes "would allow Uber to launch new promotional features that use contacts — for example the ability to send special offers to riders' friends or family."

EPIC's complaint says "this collection of user's information far exceeds what customers expect from the transportation service. Users would not expect the company to collect location information when customers are not actively using the app."

Uber says users can opt-out of the data collection, but that's not enough for EPIC, which argues opting out of this kind of invasive surveillance is too much of a burden for most users. If you disagree, walk into a random coffee shop and ask people if they've ever looked at the privacy settings on their cell phones.

The news about EPIC's FTC complaint against Uber comes one week after the company got a lot of horrible press with headlines like this one: "Uber Cracks Down on Chinese Drivers' Right to Protest."

Read more - 
http://privacysos.org/node/1760

US military to develop Star Wars-style Hoverbikes with a British company -

US military to develop Star Wars-style Hoverbikes with a British company - 



Science fiction-obsessed children of the 1960s might have been disappointed to know that half a century later they would neither live in space nor get their meals from pills. One thing that would have impressed them about 2015, though, is the ability to order your own personal hoverbike.

And you can do just that, even if it is currently a “request” for an order, with the delivery date uncertain. The machine is being developed by Malloy Aeronautics, a British-based firm, who have already had understandable interest in their creation from the US military.

The hoverbike, remote-controlled versions of which are already flying, is heavily based around drone technology, powered by four bladed fans protected by casing. The design is intended to provide stability, speed and, the company hopes, the same range as a small helicopter.

The initial version, using two fans, was built in 2011 by Chris Malloy, a New Zealand native then based in Australia. Powered by a 1200cc BMW motorbike engine, it was flown using motorbike-style controls.



Malloy then set up his eponymous company in Berkshire, in part funded by money from the seed-funding website Kickstarter. The firm first developed a drone in the new four-fan design, now on sale for as little as £595 excluding VAT. They are also building the planned four-fan hoverbike, with some investment from the US Army Research Laboratory.

Grant Stapleton, co-director of the company with Malloy, said no one had as yet flown on the new-version hoverbike: “At the moment, that’s radio controlled, it’s flown as an unmanned vehicle. We haven’t put someone on it yet and won’t do for a little bit, while we’re working on its flight performance, things like that.”

Part of the testing involves a scaled-down prototype on which is perched Buster, a 3D-printed mannequin fitted with a video camera. Those impatient for a hoverbike can download and print their own Buster.

Stapleton refused to be drawn on how fast the eventual bike could travel, or to what height: “We’re still designing it, so we don’t know its full speed or altitude. We’ve got estimates, but it’s not really appropriate to say, yet. When you build a prototype, it’s going to be slow and clunky at first, but we’ll find out things that will improve its performance by significant percentages.”

Bigger versions could come later, too, he said: “At the moment, we’re just looking at it being able to carry one person, but we’ll see where we go from there. It’s not unreasonable to expect it to carry more people, but we haven’t developed that as yet.”

The company is to set up a base in Maryland so it can develop the hoverbike closer to the US military, and is working on the design with a US firm, Survice.

Stapleton said the eventual design would have many possible roles: “We would certainly have a lot more interest in the civilian and humanitarian uses, that’s the part that excites me, personally. It’s a product that’s very versatile, small and inexpensive.

“It can get into places that a regular helicopter wouldn’t, and costs a lot less to use. And it’s considerably safer, with these ducted fans – if you bump into something, it’s not going to cause an accident or cause any damage.”

As yet, the creation, officially called the Hoverbike Helicopter, does not have a price, or a target date for the first deliveries. “Now taking requests for orders,” says the company’s website, tantalisingly.

Read more - 
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jun/23/hoverbike-us-military-star-wars

Monday, 22 June 2015

Study links erectile dysfunction drugs that include Viagra has been linked to a risk of the skin cancer melanoma -

Study links erectile dysfunction drugs that include Viagra has been linked to a risk of the skin cancer melanoma - 



While the research in the Journal of the American Medical Association stops short of proving that the drugs cause melanoma, researchers said their findings warrant a closer look at medications known as PDE5 (phosphodiesterase type 5) inhibitors.

They include sildenafil, vardenafil and tadalafil,which go by brand names such as Viagra, Levitra, Cialis and others.

Using Swedish medical records spanning 2006 to 2012, researchers found about 4,000 cases of melanoma. Of those patients, 11 percent had filled at least one prescription for a PDE5 inhibitor to treat erectile dysfunction.

When comparing these men to a control group of cancer-free men selected randomly from the same registry and matched by age, researchers found the risk of melanoma was 21 percent higher in men who took the erectile dysfunction drugs.

However, the most pronounced risk was seen in men who had filled a single prescription (32 percent higher).

The risk of melanoma in men who filled multiple prescriptions was 14 percent, which was not statistically significant, according to the study led by doctor Stacy Loeb of New York University.

Researchers were also puzzled by the finding that men taking ED drugs were more likely to be diagnosed with low-grade melanoma, not advanced or high risk cancers.

Study authors stressed that the risk of melanoma they found among erectile dysfunction drug takers was modest, and would translate to about seven additional cases of cancer per 100,000 men taking PDE5 inhibitors.

"The observed association may reflect confounding [other factors that can influence outcomes] by lifestyle factors associated with both PDE5 inhibitor use and low-stage melanoma," concluded the study.

According to Chris Chapple, Secretary General of the European Association of Urology, the findings are an "interesting observation" but more research is needed.

"This paper reports a previously unreported potential association," said Chapple, who was not involved in the study.

"It's an interesting observation, but it should not be a trigger for any change in current clinical practice relating to the use of drugs for the treatment of erectile dysfunction such as Viagra and related compounds."

Read more - 
http://www.timeslive.co.za/lifestyle/2015/06/22/Study-links-erectile-dysfunction-drug-with-skin-cancer

Churches are using Facial Recognition software to spy on members -

Churches are using Facial Recognition software to spy on members -  



Soon every churchgoer will be identified by facial recognition software! You read that right, churches will soon be using facial recognition software to identify you and your family.

The company website brags: "First of its kind, Churchix provides you with accurate data on members attendance in your events and services. The software also allows you to sort and manage your videos and photos."

“Churchix was originally developed by us for a chain of international churches, which wanted to follow up with membership attendance at its events. Today it’s being used at a number of other churches in the US and in Indonesia” Moshe Greenshpan, the company’s CEO said.

“I can tell you in general that churches also don’t like to be described as privacy invaders,” Greenshpan told me. “Most of them would like to keep this confidential. We try to encourage churches to make Churchix more visible, so it will become like a checkpoint for registration. Of course, so far we haven’t had great success in doing that.” 

What he's really saying is: He hopes churchgoers will accept surveillance cameras in churches, synagogues and mosques, while the government (DHS) monitors your every movement.

Churchix photo recognition video:



"Churchix is a face recognition event attendance desktop application. Churchix identifies event attending members in videos and photos. All you need to do is enrol high quality photos of your members into the software data base, then connect a live video USB camera or upload recorded videos or photos – and Churchix will identify your members."

"Churchix is designed for Church administrators and event managers who want to save the pain of manually tracking their members attendance to their events."

"Churchix is a division of Skakash LLC, a global face recognition vendor which develops and markets."

The company’s CEO Moshe Greenshpan told Churchm.ag that they never set out to sell the software to churches until requests started coming in.

“Within a short period of time we've been approached by 10 different churches from all over the world, all asking for the same thing – give us a face recognition software that can identify members attending our events,” he explained.

"This is a clear example of completely over-the-top use of technology. Churches have managed to note who is in their congregation for hundreds of years without resorting to highly intrusive means," says Emma Carr, director of Big Brother Watch.

Moshe Greenshpan is the founder and CEO of Skakash,(Churchix) which is an Israeli company. Skakash suggests more secular locations where they could deploy its facial recognition system. Skakash wants to use its surveillance software at airports, border areas, and casinos.

Skakash suggests there are three classes of people churches, corporations and the government might want to track: Blacklisted Individuals, Employees and VIPs.

Face-Six promises to ID faces in photos with machine learning:


“Face-Six integrates well-known image processing algorithms with innovative algorithms from the world of artificial intelligence.”

“We’re talking about a machine learning algorithm, which is created by the computer and not by an engineer. The computer learns to develop the algorithm from a wide sample of pictures of faces and their known identification. That way, the computer learns the connections from every observation and produces a smart algorithm.”

Read more - 
http://www.blacklistednews.com/Churches_are_using_facial_recognition_software_to_spy_on_members/44695/0/38/38/Y/M.html

Friday, 19 June 2015

Belgian Doctors Are Euthanizing Patients Without Their Consent -

Belgian Doctors Are Euthanizing Patients Without Their Consent - 



A study published this month in the Journal of Medical Ethics examined the “deliberate” euthanasia of patients in Belgium without their explicit, voluntary consent as required by law.

The study’s author, Raphael Cohen-Almagor, a professor of philosophy and ethics at the United Kingdom's Hull University, found that life-ending drugs were used “with the intention to shorten life and without explicit request” in 1.7 percent of all deaths in Belgium in 2013.

In 52.7 percent of these cases, the patients were 80 years of age or older. The decision to euthanize was not discussed with the patient in 77.9 percent of the cases because he/she was comatose, had dementia, or “because discussion would have been harmful to the patient’s best interest,” according to the study.

Belgium passed the Euthanasia Act in 2002, which states that only voluntary euthanasia is legally permissible.

“At the heart of this legislation is the free will of the patient who asks for euthanasia,” Cohen-Almagor noted. “It is worrying that some physicians take upon themselves the responsibility to deliberately shorten patients’ lives without a clear indication from the patients that this is what they would want.”

According to the law, the patient must request euthanasia, and such a request must be “voluntary, well-considered, and repeated and...not the result of any external pressure.” The patient must also be “an adult or an emancipated minor, capable and conscious at the time of his/her request.”

Although annual euthanasia cases are steadily multiplying in Belgium, growing from 235 in 2003 to 1,807 in 2013, Cohen-Almagor noted that instances of euthanasia without explicit consent from the patient have actually decreased since 1996, when they accounted for 3.3 percent of all deaths.

He gives three possible explanations:

   1) Gained experience in practicing euthanasia might allow more physicians to involve the patient in the decision-making process;

   2) Physicians often use methods such as terminal sedation, which is not reported as euthanasia; and

   3) Physicians might not be “well acquainted with the labelling of all the medical practices at the end of life.”

In 2014, Belgium became the first nation in the world to eliminate age limits for euthanasia, allowing terminally-ill children to end their lives.

The Belgian Society of Intensive Care Medicine Council released a paper in 2014 discussing the use of sedatives “with the direct intention of shortening the dying process of terminal palliative care in patients with no prospect of a meaningful recovery.”

This document, which applies to both children and adults, holds that “suffering should be avoided at all times,” adding that the process of withdrawing treatment and increasing the doses of “sedative/opioids” to fatal levels in patients in intensive care “must not be interpreted as killing.”

“Shortening the dying process by administering sedatives beyond what is needed for patient comfort can be not only acceptable but in many cases desirable,” the council document stated.

Although end-of-life decisions should be discussed with the patient’s relatives, the statement noted that the final decision is “made by the care team and not by the relatives.”

A 2010 research study conducted in Flanders revealed that only one out of every two euthanasia cases was reported to Belgium’s Federal Control and Evaluation Committee because most non-reporting physicians did not view the active hastening of their patients’ deaths as euthanasia.

Unreported cases were also generally handled less carefully than reported cases and “the lethal drugs were often administered by a nurse alone, not by a physician,” the study noted.

“Whether deliberately or not, the physicians were disguising the end-of-life decision as a normal medical practice,” Cohen-Almagor pointed out.

Read more - 
http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/abigail-wilkinson/belgian-doctors-are-euthanizing-patients-without-their-consent

HEINZ apologizes for ketchup bottle QR code linked to XXX porn site... -

HEINZ apologizes for ketchup bottle QR code linked to XXX porn site... -



The man used the QR code on the back of a Heinz ketchup bottle to enter the company's online contest in Germany. But the Heinz website had expired -- and a XXX-rated site had taken its place.

"Heinz in Germany has apologized for the way in which an out-of-date QR code and website link to design a ketchup label in 2014 has been reassigned to an adult content web site," said Michael Mullen, senior vice president of Corporate & Government Affairs at Heinz, in an email to CNNMoney.
"Clearly this was never our intention and we are taking steps to avoid this from re-occurring," added the spokesman for Heinz, which is partly owned by Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA).
The consumer, Daniel Korell, posted photos on Facebook (FB, Tech30) of the bottle with the QR code next to his smartphone depicting the porn site FunDorado, which specializes in live web cam girls. FunDorado public relations did not return a message, but it did have a Facebook message for Korell:
"Hello Daniel Korell, wow! Has Heinz perhaps confused FunDorado's Sexy Lila with its Lila Ketchup EZ Squirt? However, you won't of course be going away empty handed. We're giving you a year's free access to FunDorado.com."

Read more -
http://money.cnn.com/2015/06/19/news/companies/heinz-ketchup-porn/index.html

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Russia calls for an investigation into whether US Moon landings happened -

Russia calls for an investigation into whether US Moon landings happened - 



The increasingly tense relationship between the United States and Russia might be about to face a new challenge: a Russian investigation into American moon landings.

In an op-ed published by Russian newspaper Izvestia, Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the government's official Investigative Committee, argued that such an investigation could reveal new insights into the historical space journeys.

According to a translation by the Moscow Times, Markin would support an inquiry into the disappearance of original footage from the first moon landing in 1969 and the whereabouts of lunar rock, which was brought back to Earth during several missions.

“We are not contending that they did not fly [to the moon], and simply made a film about it. But all of these scientific — or perhaps cultural — artifacts are part of the legacy of humanity, and their disappearance without a trace is our common loss. An investigation will reveal what happened,” Markin wrote, according to the Moscow Times translation.

The op-ed is unlikely to raise worries among Nasa officials. In 2009, Nasa itself admitted that it had erased the original video recordings of the first moon landing among 200,000 other tapes in order to save money, according to Reuters. However, Nasa has since restored copies of the landing, using recordings from other sources such as CBS News. The organization says that due to restoration efforts, the recordings' quality is superior to the original one that has gone missing.

Nasa did also emphasize the uniqueness of lunar soil and rock in the past. “They differ from Earth rocks in many respects,” David McKay, chief scientist for planetary science and exploration at Nasa's Johnson Space Center, where most of the material is stored, was quoted as saying by Nasa's website in 2001.

So, why is Investigative Committee member Markin speculating about conspiracy theories surrounding US moon landings that happened decades ago? In his op-ed, the Russian official also emphasized that “US authorities had crossed a line by launching a large-scale corruption probe targeting nine Fifa officials,” according to the Moscow Times.

On June 2, Fifa President Sepp Blatter announced that he would eventually step down amid an ongoing investigation into widespread corruption at the organization. "US prosecutors have declared themselves the supreme arbiters of international football affairs," Markin complained in his op-ed. The official went on to argue that US investigators had confused political bargaining with corruption. He specifically referred to media speculation that former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder authorized military arms shipments to Saudi Arabia to help Germany win the 2006 World Cup bid.

Read more - 
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russia-calls-investigation-into-whether-us-moon-landings-happened-10327714.html

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Donald Trump Campaign Offered Actors $50 to Cheer for Him at Presidential Announcement -

Donald Trump Campaign Offered Actors $50 to Cheer for Him at Presidential Announcement - 



Donald Trump's big presidential announcement Tuesday was made a little bigger with help from paid actors — at $50 a pop.

New York-based Extra Mile Casting sent an email last Friday to its client list of background actors, seeking extras to beef up attendance at Trump's event.

"We are looking to cast people for the event to wear t-shirts and carry signs and help cheer him in support of his announcement," reads the June 12 email, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. "We understand this is not a traditional 'background job,' but we believe acting comes in all forms and this is inclusive of that school of thought." (Read the full email at the bottom of the post.)




The pay was listed as $50 for fewer than three hours of work. According to the email, Extra Mile was reaching out to potential extras in partnership with Gotham Government Relations and Communications, a New York-Based political consulting group that has worked with Trump in the past. Gotham GR had no comment.

Suspicions that the event had hired extras came to light Wednesday when anti-Trump activist Angelo Carusone came across an Instagram photo, showing a man he recognized as a background actor posing at the Trump event. Carusone screengrabbed the photo of the actor, Domenico Del Giacco, and published it in a blog post. Del Giacco has since deleted the account. The photo shows him with a woman, identified in the now-deleted Instagram post as actress Courtney Klotz.





When reached for comment about the Trump casting call, a person who answered the phone at Extra Mile said, "We don't know anything about that." When pressed about whether this response was a denial of the story, the person said she couldn't comment further and hung up. Additional calls to Extra Mile went unanswered.

Asked if Trump paid anyone to attend the event, campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said, "No," and that he had never heard of Extra Mile or Gotham GR.

"Mr. Trump draws record crowds at almost every venue at which he is a featured speaker," Lewandowski told The Hollywood Reporter. "The crowds are large, often record-setting and enthusiastic, often with standing ovations. Mr. Trumps message is 'make America great again.' "

READ MORE Jon Stewart Rejoices at Donald Trump Presidential Campaign: "There's a Crazy Person Running"
Del Giacco and Klotz did not respond to a request for comment. 

In politics, "astroturfing" is when people are hired to attend a rally or event in order to lend the appearance of grassroots support. They are typically contracted out to political consulting firms, much like Gotham GR. The practice is unsurprisingly considered bad form. 

Here's the full email from Extra Mile, with contact information redacted.

Hi there—

We are working helping one of are associates out at Gotham GR - http://gothamgr.com/ with a big event happening on TUESDAY 6/16/15. 

This is an event in support of Donald Trump and an upcoming exciting announcement he will be making at this event.   

This event is called “People for a Stronger America.” The entire group is a pro-small business group that is dedicated to encouraging Donald Trump and his latest ventures.  This event will be televised.   

We are looking to cast people for the event to wear t-shirts and carry signs and help cheer him in support of his announcement.  

We understand this is not a traditional “background job,” but we believe acting comes in all forms and this is inclusive of that school of thought. 

This event is happening LIVE and will be from 8:45AM-11:30AM. LESS THAN 3 HOURS 

This will take place inside / interior.  

The rate for this is: $50 CASH at the end of the event. 

We would love to book you if you are interested and still available. 

Please let us know and we will get back to you with confirmation. 

Read more -
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/donald-trump-campaign-offered-actors-803161

Monday, 15 June 2015

STUDY: Using Hand Sanitizer Can Increase Skin's Absorption of Dangerous Chemical... -

STUDY: Using Hand Sanitizer Can Increase Skin's Absorption of Dangerous Chemical... - 



Recent studies have suggested that hand sanitizer is bad for you. Triclosan, the active ingredient in hand sanitizer, can kill off the good bacteria on your hands and allow anti-biotic resistant bad bacteria to grow.
Now a study finds that using hand sanitizer can actually increase the skin’s absorbtion of a dangerous chemical.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is used to make clear plastic packaging for food and plastic bottles for drinks.
BPA disrupts the bodies hormones in a way that disrupts the endocrine system.
Studies have linked high amounts of BPA to hormone disorders, cancer, heart disease, infertility and even diabetes.
Most commonly used hand sanitizers contain chemicals that increases the ability of certain compounds to penetrate deep under the skin.
Researchers at the University of Missouri used thermal receipt papers, the kind used in many cash registers across the country. The thermal paper contains very high amounts of  BPA.
They found that using hand sanitizer before touching the receipt paper increased the absorption of BPA by up to a hundred-fold.
BPA also lingers on the skin, so if a person eats right after using sanitizer on their hands, he or she would be effectively getting a double dose of the chemical, once through the skin, and the second time by eating it.
The levels of BPA seen in the study are high enough to increase the risk of disease for adults and the risk of developmental abnormalities in children.
The researchers say until BPA is replaced with a safer alternative, people should simply avoid using hand sanitizers. And if someone needs to use it, he or she shouldn’t eat right away.

Read more - 
http://atlanta.cbslocal.com/2015/06/15/study-warns-hand-sanitizer/

Friday, 12 June 2015

Google technology counts the number of calories on your plate by analysing a photo -

Google technology counts the number of calories on your plate by analysing a photo - 



Unsure whether the food you are eating is laden with calories? Google is using artificial intelligence to tell from a simple photograph.

The rise in popularity of mobile phones has bred several photo trends: retro filters, selfies and food photography, notably in photo-sharing app Instagram.

Google is taking the food snap to the next level by developing software which can determine how many calories are in your meal simply by analysing a photograph of it.

The project, called Im2Calories, is being run by researchers within Google’s artificial intelligence (AI) division and was revealed at the Rework Deep Learning Summit by research scientist Kevin Murphy.

According to Popular Science, the software works using image-recognition technology that analyses the depth of each pixel, matching it with patterns it recognises and existing calorie information.

Food items aren’t always the same size, of course (for example, a burger varies in size and thickness), so the software analyses the size in relation to the plate and any condiments.

It’s not totally automatic, but if the software incorrectly recognises a piece of food, you can correct it using a drop-down menu.

Murphy admitted Im2Calories isn’t 100% accurate: “Ok fine, maybe we get the calories off by 20 percent. It doesn't matter. We're going to average over a week or a month or a year.”

As well as being a useful tool for dieters, Murphy believes the information could be useful on a bigger scale.

“We can start to potentially join information from multiple people and start to do population level statistics,” he said. “I have colleagues in epidemiology and public health, and they really want this stuff.”

The technology could also be used beyond food, analysing streets.

“We want to do things like localise cars, count the cars, get attributes of the cars, [and] which way are they facing. Then we can do things like traffic scene analysis, predict where the most likely parking spot is,” said Murphy. “And since this is all learned from data, the technology is the same, you just change the data.”

Google has filed a patent for Im2Calories, but there’s no news yet when it will be available to the public.

Read more - 
http://home.bt.com/tech-gadgets/tech-news/google-technology-counts-the-number-of-calories-on-your-plate-by-analysing-a-photo-11363984890150

As their currency dies, Zimbabweans will get $5 USD for every $175 Quadrillion local dollars -

As their currency dies, Zimbabweans will get $5 USD for every $175 Quadrillion local dollars - 



Zimbabweans will start exchanging 'quadrillions' of local dollars for a few U.S. dollars next week, as President Robert Mugabe's government discards its virtually worthless national currency, the central bank said on Thursday.

The southern African country started using foreign currencies like the U.S. dollar and South African rand in 2009 after the Zimbabwean dollar was ruined by hyper-inflation, which hit 500 billion percent in 2008.

At the height of Zimbabwe's economic crisis in 2008, Zimbabweans had to carry plastic bags bulging with bank notes to buy basic goods like bread and milk. Prices were rising at least twice a day.

From Monday, customers who held Zimbabwean dollar accounts before March 2009 can approach their banks to convert their Zimbabwean dollar balance into dollars, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor John Mangudya said in a statement.

The process will legally end the local currency. Zimbabweans have until September to turn in their old bank notes, which some people sell as souvenirs to tourists.

Bank accounts with balances of up to 175 quadrillion Zimbabwean dollars will be paid $5. Those with balances above 175 quadrillion dollars will be paid at an exchange rate of $1 to 35 quadrillion Zimbabwean dollars.

The highest - and last - bank note to be printed by the RBZ in 2008 was 100 trillion Zimbabwean dollars. It was not enough to ride a public bus to work for a week.

The RBZ said customers who still have stashes of old Zimbabwean dollar notes can walk into any bank and get $1 for every 250 trillion they hold.

That means a holder of a 100 trillion bank note will on Monday get 40 cents. The RBZ has set aside $20 million to pay Zimbabwean dollar currency holders.

Read more - 
http://news.yahoo.com/currency-dies-zimbabweans-5-175-quadrillion-local-dollars-153844646.html

STUDY: Dogs snub people who are mean to their owners... -

STUDY: Dogs snub people who are mean to their owners... - 



Dogs do not like people who are mean to their owners, Japanese researchers said Friday, and will refuse food offered by people who have snubbed their master.

The findings reveal that canines have the capacity to co-operate socially -- a characteristic found in a relatively small number of species, including humans and some other primates.

Researchers led by Kazuo Fujita, a professor of comparative cognition at Kyoto University, tested three groups of 18 dogs using role plays in which their owners needed to open a box.

In all three groups, the owner was accompanied by two people whom the dog did not know.

In the first group, the owner sought assistance from one of the other people, who actively refused to help.

In the second group, the owner asked for, and received, help from one person. In both groups, the third person was neutral and not involved in either helping or refusing to help.

View galleryCanines have the capacity to co-operate socially -- …
Canines have the capacity to co-operate socially -- a characteristic found in a relatively small num …
Neither person interacted with the dog's owner in the control -- third -- group.

After watching the box-opening scene, the dog was offered food by the two unfamiliar people in the room.

Dogs that saw their owner being rebuffed were far more likely to choose food from the neutral observer, and to ignore the offer from the person who had refused to help, Fujita said.

Dogs whose owners were helped and dogs whose owners did not interact with either person showed no marked preference for accepting snacks from the strangers.

"We discovered for the first time that dogs make social and emotional evaluations of people regardless of their direct interest," Fujita said.

If the dogs were acting solely out of self-interest, there would be no differences among the groups, and a roughly equal number of animals would have accepted food from each person.

"This ability is one of key factors in building a highly collaborative society, and this study shows that dogs share that ability with humans," he said.

The trait is present in children from the age of about three, the research papers said.

Interestingly, noted Fujita, not all primates demonstrate this behaviour.

"There is a similar study that showed tufted capuchins (a monkey native to South America) have this ability, but there is no evidence that chimpanzees demonstrate a preference unless there is a direct benefit to them," he told AFP.

The study will appear in the science journal "Animal Behaviour" to be published later this month by Amsterdam-based Elsevier, he said.

Read more - 
http://news.yahoo.com/dogs-snub-people-mean-owners-study-053213855.html

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Texas Man Trapped Inside His Dream Car Dies Alongside His Dog -

Texas Man Trapped Inside His Dream Car Dies Alongside His Dog - 



A 72-year-old Texas man died alongside his dog on Monday after he reportedly became trapped in his car.

James Rogers of Port Arthur was having a morning coffee at a local Waffle House he regularly frequented when he stepped outside to check on his Shih Tzu inside his 2007 Chevrolet Corvette. The Port Arthur Police Department told the Beaumont Enterprise that Rogers arrived at the Waffle House around 8 a.m. and checked on the dog around 11:55 a.m. He left his phone to charge inside the restaurant, the paper reported.

Police believe a battery cable came loose, disabling the car's electric locks and other systems and leaving Rogers unable to exit the vehicle, according to KBMT. Authorities believe Rogers struggled to escape and he and the dog eventually succumbed to heat exhaustion.

Waffle House employees reportedly called in another regular patron, who owns a local roadside assistance company, to try to free Rogers, but Rogers was already dead. Firefighters eventually broke a window to access the vehicle.

The owner of a used Corvette dealership in nearby Beaumont told the news station that the 2007 model does have a manual door release on the floorboard but not all owners are aware of it.

Rogers only recently acquired the Corvette, according to the Beaumont Enterprise, and his daughter Tricia Hernandez told KBMT it was his dream car.

A spokesman for General Motors told The Huffington Post that the company does not have any further details beyond what has been reported in the media. He confirmed that Corvettes do have an emergency release for the locks and said it is described in the owner's manual.

Read more - 
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/11/man-dies-trapped-in-car_n_7561456.html