Cal Smartphone Kill Switch Law Could Affect You

phonearena-A-smartphone-Kill-Switch-now-mandatory-for-South-Korea‘…With smartphone crime becoming epidemic everywhere, other states are likely watching California intently now, possibly to follow its cue. To get some perspective on what that means for the everyday consumer, let’s start with some fundamentals.
(5 Things To Know About California’s New Kill Switch Law)

‘Interpreting the law can be tough for any layperson. But in this case, it boils down to a handful of basics:…’

This Kid Made an App That Exposes Sellout Politicians
‘With US politics swimming in so much corporate money that it’s pretty much an oligarchy, it can be hard to keep track of which particular set of lobbyists is trying to milk more cash out of health care, fossil fuels, and other very important issues from one week to the next.

‘But thanks to 16-year-old Nick Rubin, keeping track of just how much politicians have sold out has become a lot easier. He created Greenhouse, a new browser plug-in that operates under the motto “Some are red. Some are blue. All are green.” The plugin aims “to shine light on a social and industrial disease of today: the undue influence of money in our Congress.” It sounds like a bit of a lofty aim for an app, but it’s actually pretty simple and effective—it provides a breakdown of a politician’s campaign contributions when that politician’s name comes up in an article. It is currently available for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari and is completely free. As you can imagine, reading about how your member of Congress voted in a recent health bill becomes all the more enlightening if you know how much money the health industry showered him in at the last election…’
the app

Would you rather take orders from a robot?
MIT Study Shows People Would Rather Take Orders From A Robot Than Their Boss
‘Research coming out of MIT confirms that in a two-human, one-robot team working toward a common goal, the humans would rather the robot be in charge.

‘Not only do human participants prefer taking robo-orders when it comes to tackling a manufacturing task, but the robot ended up leading the team in a more productive manner than the humans could…’
From MIT

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Can Books be Really Hazardous to Your Health?

en.wikipedia-50ShadesofGreyCoverArtStudy says reading Fifty Shades of Grey poses dangerous health risks
It wouldn’t be so surprising if the books are Health or Fitness books. An author of a jogging and running book died while he himself was jogging.

‘A recent study at Michigan State University found out that reading ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’ an erotic romantic novel by E.L. James, puts women at more risk of succumbing to eating disorders, binge drinking and abusive relationships.

‘The findings of the scientists claim that they are not endorsing the ban for the novel, but are merely stating the risks of reading the book.

‘There have been previous studies relating the effects of watching violent films to the behavior of the person who watches it, but this research is among the first to analyze the relationship between health risks and popular fiction depicting violence against women.

‘Fifty Shades of Grey is about the deepening relationship between a literature graduate, Anastasia Steele, and a young business tycoon, Christian Grey. The predicament of the story lies on the extreme fondness of Christian Grey to sadism and masochism, resulting to physical violence and emotional torture of Anastasia Steele…’

The Perils of Writing About True Crimes
There was a writer who wrote about a prisoner and ridiculed him. The writer was later ‘found shot mob execution style and stashed in a hollow tree in East Orange NJ.’. Now I don’t know if the writer knew whom he was writing about—which is easy to guess. Do you know of any other perils in writing about true crimes?

Actually, I like writing about dumb criminals and making fun of it. But to my knowledge, I haven’t written about organized crime goons yet. Maybe the case above will deter me now. Just maybe.

CNN iReport on CDC whistleblower spreads like wildfire, then censored
‘On August 22, a user named Bobby Dee posted a CNN iReport about the CDC whistleblower who states he cooked data to hide a vaccine-autism connection.

‘CNN iReports aren’t official CNN stories. They’re “user generated news…opinions belong to the submitter.”

‘Well, Bobby’s submission, as Celia Farber reports at, rocketed to 45,232 views in a matter of hours. 178 comments, 17 thousand shares.

‘Then it was axed, removed, deleted.

‘CNN printed the usual tired explanation. The iReport had been “flagged.” It was “in violation of iReport’s policy.”…’

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George Orwell on the “War On Terror” [Video]

English: George Orwell in Hampstead On the cor...

English: George Orwell in Hampstead On the corner of Pond Street and South End Road, opposite the Royal Free Hospital. The bookshop has long gone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This has got to be the best kept secret of the last 150 years
‘Police and intelligence agencies create the vast majority of terror, everything from bombings to beheadings to garden variety “trouble” at peaceful demonstrations. We’ll be demonstrating how this works in upcoming videos. In the meantime, make sure you watch this at least two times. Why?

‘It has to do with The Big Lie Theory which was a favorite of Hitler’s. His point was the average, normal, sane person will never believe what governments really do because it is beyond their experience to lie and commit such outrageous crimes…’
- See more

World’s ‘Greatest’ Mass Murderess Bathed in Blood
Countess Elizabeth Bathory of the Kingdom of Hungary reportedly tortured and killed up to 650 girls and bathed in their blood because she believed it kept her looking young. How more vain can you get?

‘In the lovely Slovakian town of Trencin, my friend Martin and I are joined by two guides, Ivan Kralik and Peter Pastier, who work in the local tourism office.

‘They drive us to the town of Cachtice, 30 kilometers away, recounting the story of the Blood Countess.

‘The macabre name came from her apparent tendency to bathe in the blood of her victims.

‘She’s said to have believed the blood of virgin girls would maintain her youthful-looking skin…’

More Vanity
Comic Book Sold for $3.2M
‘A precious copy of a comic book Action Comic #1 with a near perfect condition raked in $3.2 million on eBay making it the most expensive comic book in the world today.

‘The first issue of the series comic book Action Comics introduced Superman to the world on April 18, 1938. It is believed there are about 50 to 100 original copies of the comics in existence today. Collectibles dealer and owner of Pristine Comics Darren Adams had one of them and it was in a remarkably nearly pristine condition…’

The Ways Space is Trying to Kill Us
‘…We’ve heard about the deaths of the three Apollo astronauts during a launching pad test exercise in 1967, the six who lost their lives when the space shuttle Challenger disintegrated 73 seconds after liftoff in 1986, and the seven who were killed when the Columbia shuttle broke up during re-entry in 2003

‘But while leaving Earth and returning to it are both risky business, the time that astronauts spend in the airless, cold and highly irradiated void of space is fraught with ever-present lethal peril, too. Space is so dangerous, in fact, that it’s amazing that only three humans—a trio of Soviet cosmonauts on a 1971 mission—have actually perished there. Here are 10 of the ways in which the cosmos is unforgiving of our inherent frailties…’
10 ways

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Hack Into a Computer by Simply Touching It

arstechnica-touch-640x225‘…This research is a side-channel attack. The metal parts of a laptop, such as the shielding around USB ports, and heatsink fins, are notionally all at a common ground level. However, this level undergoes tiny fluctuations due to the electric fields within the laptop. These variations can be measured, and this can be used to leak information about encryption keys.

‘The measurements can be done by directly attaching a digitizer to a metal part of the laptop, but they don’t have to be this obvious. The researchers showed that they could retrieve information with connections at the far end of shielded USB, VGA, and Ethernet connections. They also used human touch: a person in contact with metal parts of the laptop can in turn be connected to a digitizer, and the voltage fluctuations can be measured…’

Send Photo of your Assailant to Police During Attack
‘This Smart Pepper Spray Snaps a Photo of Your Assailant and Sends It to the Police

Curing the societal germs that beget assault will take a lot of time and effort. In the meantime, a burgeoning industry has emerged bent on producing smart devices to help women defend themselves from danger. Enter: The Defender, a smart pepper spray that connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth. In the event of an assault, spraying the assailant activates an alarm and snaps a photo of the target. The device is monitored by a 24-hour response team that will alert authorities and pass along the photo…’
Here’s the hype video from The Defender Indiegogo page

Detect Date Rape Drugs with Nail Polish
‘Checking to see if your drink has been tampered with is about to get a whole lot more discreet. Thanks to the work of four North Carolina State University undergrads, you’ll soon be able to find out without reaching for a testing tool. That’s because you’ll already have five of them on each hand.

‘The team — Ankesh Madan, Stephen Gray, Tasso Von Windheim, and Tyler Confrey-Maloney — has come up with a creative and unobtrusive way to package chemicals that react when exposed to Rohypnol and GHB. They put it in nail polish that they’re calling Undercover Colors…’

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Twitter and Press Intimidation in Ferguson

niemanlab-ferguson-protesters-ap‘…There are downsides to the way Twitter mediates events like Ferguson’s protests as well: Politico’s Alex Byers talked to several experts who said Twitter’s free-for-all nature fused with the chaos in Ferguson “to create an environment that spotlights startling developments over measured action or solutions.” Still, many users have remarked on how much better Twitter has been for following the situation in Ferguson than Facebook, which has been inundated with videos of people being dumped with buckets of ice water for most of the week.

‘…The American Journalism Review’s Lisa Rossi advised readers to spread their news consumption across platforms, and Mandy Brown of The Verge called for more transparent and sophisticated filters that can help us comprehend information at the same speed we’re sharing it…’

Are Print Books Better than eBooks for Education?
Research suggests that recall of plot after using an e-reader is poorer than with traditional books
‘A new study which found that readers using a Kindle were “significantly” worse than paperback readers at recalling when events occurred in a mystery story is part of major new Europe-wide research looking at the impact of digitisation on the reading experience.

‘…”In this study, we found that paper readers did report higher on measures having to do with empathy and transportation and immersion, and narrative coherence, than iPad readers,” said Mangen.

‘But instead, the performance was largely similar, except when it came to the timing of events in the story. “The Kindle readers performed significantly worse on the plot reconstruction measure, ie, when they were asked to place 14 events in the correct order.”…’

David Foster Wallace on Writing
‘In a sentiment that Anne Lamott memorably made, urging that perfectionism is the great enemy of creativity, and Neil Gaiman subsequently echoed in his 8 rules of writing, where he asserted that “perfection is like chasing the horizon,” Wallace adds:

“Like any art, probably, the more experience you have with it, the more the horizon of what being really good is . . . the more it recedes. . . . Which you could say is an important part of my education as a writer. If I’m not aware of some deficits, I’m not going to be working hard to try to overcome them. . . .”

‘Like any kind of infinitely rich art, or any infinitely rich medium, like language, the possibilities for improvement are infinite and so are the possibilities for screwing up and ceasing to be good in the ways you want to be good.’…’

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Robots Cook in this Restaurant

psfk-Robots-restaurant-kunshan-700x468Do Robots Really Steal Our Jobs?

‘Robot usage in the global manufacturing industry has been climbing steadily since 2009, the MIT Technology Review reports.

‘Sourcing World Robotics, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the OECD, MIT found that robotic worker purchases increase every year. However, a closer look at the numbers indicates that robots aren’t taking jobs directly from human counterparts.

‘It’s hard to tell, but here’s a theory: when the economy is bad and sales are down, increased efficiency from robots keeps struggling auto industries afloat. When the economy is good and sales are up, robots and people both increase in number to meet demand. Robots require maintenance and oversight from humans, so if anything, more robots ought to mean more people when the economy demands it…’

Isn’t it ironic that while robots don’t steal our jobs, hi-tech inventions do?

‘A rapidly evolving Chinese workforce is being infiltrated with automated machines. While manual labor jobs were some of the first to be replaced with robots, the futuristic technology is making its way into the food industry.

‘A restaurant in Eastern Chinese city of Kunshan, is using more than a dozen robots as part of its everyday staff. The automated employees greet customers, carry food trays to tables, stir-fry vegetables, and cook fresh dumplings.

‘To carry out their duties, the robots have been equipped with limited artificial intelligence. Those in the kitchen are loaded with fresh ingredients and are left to whip up the hot meals…’

A Taxi with Karaoke Sing-along
Pinoy makes bigger name in the US for his Karaoke Cab
‘…Like most Filipinos, cab driver Joel Laguidao also loves to sing. The Red Top Cab Co. driver loves it so much that he installed his own portable karaoke machine in his cab, inviting passengers to sing along. He is also one to be remembered by his passengers as he has quite a remarkable singing voice as can be heard on the video below.

‘Laguidao’s entertaining karaoke cab earned him recognition and he was featured in the Washington Post and the US National Public Radio (NPR) website. He also made it to Today Show. Likewise, he made co-Filipinos proud. He became a celebrity in a different way…’

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The Extreme Reading Challenge [Video/Photos]

st-sampsons-winning-extreme-reading-photo-460x337Will you dare to join? ‘The ERC refers to people who push themselves out of their literary comfort by ploughing through numerous novels or any literary material available. ‘According to Metro, Phyllis Rose, an American author, literary critic, essayist, biographer, and educator, tasked herself with reading a random bookshelf of novels in the New York Society Library and then she went on to write about her experience. ‘Promoters of the ER Challenge, however, gives this message: “Obviously, we encourage you to keep safe ( We didn’t recommend reading in the jaws of a crocodile!), but we have really enjoyed seeing who in school has such a passion for reading that they had to do it anywhere and everywhere!)…’

The New Twitter Jargon Guide
Your Illustrated Guide To New Twitter Jargon
‘To help newbies sign up and start tweeting, the company has made a number of recent changes. Redesigned profiles, a giant World Cup marketing push, and rejiggering the Home timeline are just part of Twitter’s many attempts to make it friendlier for first-time users. ‘The problem: It’s not just Twitter’s design or interface that makes it an intimidating service for the average Internet user. It’s, well, Twitter users themselves. Habitual Twitter users like me have a habit of tossing out terms and references that are utterly opaque to newcomers:…’
the guide

Windows 9 to be Unveiled on the Next 2 Months
Why does it seem it’s always bad news everytime Windows releases a new version?
‘Microsoft is planning to unveil its Windows 8 successor next month at a special press event. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that the software maker is tentatively planning its press event for September 30th to detail upcoming changes to Windows as part of a release codenamed “Threshold.” This date may change, but the Threshold version of Windows is currently in development and Microsoft plans to release a preview version of what will likely be named Windows 9 to developers on September 30th or shortly afterwards. The date follows recent reports from ZDNet that suggested Microsoft is planning to release a preview version of Windows 9 in late September or early October…’

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