Friday, May 31, 2013

Illinois Department of Agriculture Destroyed or Confiscated Bees

Source Northwest Illinois' Prairie Advocate

Terrence Ingram reported the theft of $5000 of his bees and bee hives after Illinois Department of Agriculture inspector Susan Kivikko examined his apiary and determined that “foulbrood [was] present” in 15 samples of his bee colonies. Ingram later received a “Disease Notice” and a copy of the “Bee Disease Diagnosis” submitted by Kivikko to the USDA Bee research Laboratory in Maryland. Ingram was later informed that his apiary was infected with foulbrood, and that treatment by burning was ordered in accordance with Sec. 60.50(b) of the Illinois Bees and Apiaries Act.

Monday, May 27, 2013

I Built This AK-47. It's Legal and Totally Untracable

Source: Mother Jones

Although US customs laws ban importing the weapons, parts kits—which include most original components of a Kalashnikov variant—are legal. So is reassembling them, as long as no more than 10 foreign-made components are used and they are mounted on a new receiver, the box-shaped central frame that holds the gun's key mechanics. There are no fussy irritations like, say, passing a background check to buy a kit. And because we're assembling the guns for our own "personal use," whatever that may entail, we're not required to stamp in serial numbers. These rifles are totally untraceable, and even under California's stringent assault weapons ban, that's perfectly within the law.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

World Bank Insider Blows Whistle on Corruption, Federal Reserve

Source: The New American

A former insider at the World Bank, ex-Senior Counsel Karen Hudes, says the global financial system is dominated by a small group of corrupt, power-hungry figures centered around the privately owned U.S. Federal Reserve. The network has seized control of the media to cover up its crimes, too, she explained.

“The group that we’re talking about from the Zurich study — that’s the Federal Reserve; it has some other pieces to it, but that’s the Federal Reserve,” Hudes explained. “So the Federal Reserve secretly dominated the world economy using secret, interlocking corporate directorates, and terrorizing anybody who managed to figure out that they were having any kind of role, and putting people in very important positions so that they could get a free pass.”

The shadowy but immensely powerful Bank for International Settlements serves as “the club of these private central bankers,” Hudes continued. “Now, are people going to want interest on their country’s debts to continue to be paid to that group when they find out the secret tricks that that group has been doing? Don’t forget how they’ve enriched themselves extraordinarily and how they’ve taken taxpayer money for the bailout.”

As far as intervening in the gold price, Hudes said it was an effort by the powerful network and its central banks to “hold onto its paper currency” — a suspicion shared by many analysts and even senior government officials. The World Bank whistleblower also said that contrary to official claims, she did not believe there was any gold being held in Fort Knox. Even congressmen and foreign governments have tried to find out if the precious metals were still there, but they met with little success. Hudes, however, believes the scam will eventually come undone.

“This is like crooks trying to figure out where they can go hide. It’s a mafia,” she said. “These culprits that have grabbed all this economic power have succeeded in infiltrating both sides of the issue, so you will find people who are supposedly trying to fight corruption who are just there to spread disinformation and as a placeholder to trip up anybody who manages to get their act together.… Those thugs think that if they can keep the world ignorant, they can bleed it longer."

Breeding the Nutrition Out of Our Food

Source: New York Times

Studies published within the past 15 years show that much of our produce is relatively low in phytonutrients, which are the compounds with the potential to reduce the risk of four of our modern scourges: cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia. The loss of these beneficial nutrients did not begin 50 or 100 years ago, as many assume. Unwittingly, we have been stripping phytonutrients from our diet since we stopped foraging for wild plants some 10,000 years ago and became farmers.

Hezbollah and the Syrian Pit

You don't see this covered in the mainstream media and it has only been mentioned on a few blogs as far as I can tell.

Source: The Peoples Voice

This week, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted overwhelmingly to arm elements of the Syrian opposition with a recommendation to “provide defense articles, defense services, and military training” directly to the opposition throughout Syria, who naturally, will “have been properly and fully vetted and share common values and interests with the United States”. History teaches that the vetting part would not happen if the scheme is implemented, despite only a few in Congress objecting.

Perhaps lacking some of his father Ron Paul’s insights into US hegemonic plans for this region, Senator Rand Paul did object to the measure and he fumed at his colleagues: ”This is an important moment. You will be funding, today, the allies of al Qaeda. It’s an irony you cannot overcome.”

According to the Hill Rag weekly, veteran war-hawks Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham, flashed a knowing smile but gave no rebuttal, perhaps realizing that Senator Paul is a bit untutored on the reality of current Obama Administration policy in Syria generally, and for al-Qusayr, in particular.

Contrary to the shock and anger expressed by Senator Paul, American policy in Syria is to de facto assist allies of al Qaeda including the US “Terrorist-listed” Al-Nusra Front as well as anti-Iran, anti-Shia and anti-Hezbollah groups gathering near al-Qusayr. These groups currently include, but not limited to, Ahl al-Athr Brigade, Ahrar al-Sham, Basha’ir al-Nasr Brigades, Commandos Brigades, Fajr al-Islam Brigades, Independent Farouq Brigades, Khalid bin al-Waleed Brigade, Liwa al-Haq, Liwa al-Sadiq, Al-Nour Brigade, Al-Qusayr Brigade, Suqur al-Fatah, Al-Wadi Brigades, Al-Waleed Brigades and the 77th Brigade among the scores of other Jihadist cells currently operating in, near, or rushing to, al-Qusayr.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Obama Just Made Himself a Prisoner of His Own Gitmo Policy

Source: Wired Danger Room

Obama's speech on the future of the war on terrorism yesterday contained a contradiction that threatens to tie his counter-terror policy in rather thick knots. First he said he prefers to capture detainees instead of killing them. Then he recommitted himself to closing the Guantanamo Bay facility that houses those detainees — without offering an alternate prison. Welcome to a paradox.
<p>
Obama turned more than a few heads by declaring his “strong preference” for “the detention and prosecution of terrorists” over sending an armed robot to end their lives. It’s hard to know what to make of that. The simplest interpretation is that it’s a lie. Whatever Obama’s preferences are, he has killed exponentially more people than he has detained and prosecuted.
<p>
Obama definitely prefers to prosecute terrorism suspects who are Americans inside the United States. But overseas, outside the declared battlefield of Afghanistan, the only major terrorist he detained and tried criminally is the Somali Ahmed Warsame.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Budget cuts endanger agency that saved countless lives in Oklahoma

Source: The Nation

Since taking control of the House in 2011, Republicans have targeted NOAA for severe cuts—they came out of the gate proposing a massive 28 percent cut in their first budget that year, which was moderated by the end of the process.

But the assaults on the NOAA budget continued, and the agency couldn’t escape the sequester, which will lop 8.2 percent from the NOAA budget. This lead the acting administrator to institute an across-the-board hiring freeze in March, and four days of mandatory furloughs are on the horizon. (There is already a 10 percent vacancy rate at the agency.)

Mass shootings are not increasing, experts say

S.E. Cup was on the panel this week on Real Time with Bill Maher and she claimed that mass shootings had decreased so I did some googling and found this article...

Source: Los Angeles Times

"What we’ve seen after Aurora and what we’ve seen after Newtown is kind of the typical response that we’ve seen over the last 50 years following high-profile mass public shootings," said Grant Duwe, a criminologist for the Minnesota Department of Corrections who's written a book on the history of mass murders since 1900.

“We had mass public shootings before 1966, but the frequency with which those cases occurred is less than what we’ve observed since the mid-1960s,"

The country saw an increase in mass public killings during the 1980s and '90s, but Duwe's tallies showed that mass shootings had decreased since then. The 26 public shooting massacres he tallied between 2000 and 2009 were significantly down from the 43 cases he counted in the 1990s. (Duwe counts shootings in public places that result in four or more dead, but he excludes robberies and gang violence.)

NASA is funding a 3D food printer, and it'll start with pizza

Source: The Verge

The pizza printer will first print a layer of dough, which will be cooked while being printed, before mixing tomato powder with water and oil to print a tomato sauce. The topping for the pizza will be a nondescript "protein layer."

Monday, May 20, 2013

Cell phone users 'have no legitimate expectation of privacy' - judge

Turn off your mobile phone and remove the battery whenever you wish the retain your fourth amendment rights.

Source: Russia Today

“Given the ubiquity and celebrity of geolocation technologies, an individual has no legitimate expectation of privacy in the prospective of a cellular telephone where that individual has failed to protect his privacy by taking the simple expedient of powering it off,” New York magistrate judge Gary Brown wrote. 

Sen. Warren demands to know why criminal bankers aren't being locked up

Source: The Raw Story

"I believe very strongly that if a regulator reveals itself to be unwilling to take large financial institutions all the way to trial — either because it is too timid or because it lacks resources — the regulator has a lot less leverage in settlement negotiations and will be forced to settle on terms that are much more favorable to the wrongdoer.

The consequence can be insufficient compensation to those who are harmed by illegal activity and inadequate deterrence of future violations. If large financial institutions can break the law and accumulate millions in profits and, if they get caught, settle by paying out of those profits, they do not have much incentive to follow the law."

--Sen Elizabeth Warren

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Let's All Stop Saying 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' Forever

Source: Wired Danger Room

... federal law has established the absurdity that a rocket-propelled grenade is a weapon of mass destruction.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hear Ye, Future Deep Throats: This Is How to Leak to the Press

Wired today offered some advice on how to safely leak information to the press using a "burner phone", computer or tablet.

Source: Wired

Get a dedicated computer or tablet: the cheapest Windows laptop will do. And pay cash... Leave your cellphone, your normal computer, and your metro card (like SmarTrip) at home: anything that speaks over a wireless link must stay behind. Then go to a coffee shop that has open Wi-Fi, and once there open a new Gmail account that you will only use to contact the press and only from the dedicated computer. When registering, use no personal information that can identify you or your new account: no phone numbers, no names.

...When you are done you must clear the browser’s cookies and turn off the Wi-Fi before turning off the computer and removing the battery. The dedicated computer should never be used on the network except when checking your press-contact account and only from open Wi-Fi connections away from home and work.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

One-Third of U.S. Honeybee Colonies Died Last Winter, Threatening Food Supply

Source: Wired Science

Nearly one in three commercial honeybee colonies in the United States died or disappeared last winter, an unsustainable decline that threatens the nation’s food supply.

Multiple factors — pesticides, fungicides, parasites, viruses and malnutrition — are believed to cause the losses, which were officially announced today by a consortium of academic researchers, beekeepers and Department of Agriculture scientists.

“We’re getting closer and closer to the point where we don’t have enough bees in this country to meet pollination demands,” said entomologist Dennis vanEngelstorp of the University of Maryland, who led the survey documenting the declines.

“If we want to grow fruits and nuts and berries, this is important,” said vanEngelstorp. “One in every three bites [of food consumed in the U.S.] is directly or indirectly pollinated by bees.”

Scientists have raced to explain the losses, which fall into different categories.

  • Colony collapse disorder.
  • Neonicotinoids make bees more vulnerable to disease.
  • Varroa destructor mites weaken bees by sucking their hemolyph, the insect analogue of blood, and also transmit .
  • Nosema ceranae parasite.
  • viruses and other parasites transmitted by the Varroa mites
The honeybee catastrophe could also signal problems in other pollinator species, such as bumblebees and butterflies, that are not often studied.

“Thinking of honeybees as our canary in the coal mine, a monitor for environmental conditions, is very appropriate,” Cox-Foster said. “With honeybee colonies, you have the ability to open them up and see what’s going on. There are many other species needed for pollination, but with most of those, we don’t have the ability to see what’s happening.”

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Adobe kills Creative Suite, moves software entirely to cloud

Adobe's future looks cloudy with a strong chance of monthly recurring revenue.

Source: San Jose Mercury News

Adobe Systems said Monday that it will not release new versions of its Creative Suite software package. Instead, the maker of Photoshop, Illustrator and Acrobat, is shifting focus to Creative Cloud, which makes its software available through a monthly subscription that starts at $50 for an individual if they sign up for at least a year.

"Customers have to come to terms with the end of perpetually licensed software," said IDC analyst Al Hilwa. "Adobe is ahead of the game."

Scott Morris, a senior marketing director at Adobe, said the shift will help the San Jose-based company respond to changes in the marketplace much faster. Adobe's engineers, he said, will be freed up to release updates and improvements much faster than the company's traditional 18 to 24-month upgrade cycle.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Crowded Orbit: Space junk nearly brings down NASA telescope

NASA had to adjust the orbit of The Fermi Telescope to avoid the Soviet Cosmos 1805 1.5-ton satellite piece of junk that would have otherwise collided.

Source Russia Today News

“These are objects of several tons each, as wide as a small airplane, traveling 20 times faster than a bullet. The Fermi mission would be over,” the statement on NASA’s official website quotes engineer Eric Stoneking, who controls Fermi’s orientation in the sky.

On March 29, 2012. Primary calculations showed that the two space objects would miss each other by just more than 200 meters. But later it became clear that their orbits would cross through the same point in space within 30 milliseconds of one another. 

Since the launch of the first satellite in 1957, space junk has been a growing threat to all spacecraft, as occasional collisions occur. NASA tracks 17,000 objects larger than 10cm across in orbit above the Earth daily. Only 10 per cent of those tracked objects are actually active satellites.

Austhorization for Use of Military Force: a blank check for war without end

Source: The Guardian

It is time to send the 2001 Athorization for Use of Military Force into the sunset, and to return the checks and balances that policy-makers put in place: the executive and legislative branches must deliberate before waging war. We are making enemies through a feckless, dangerous approach, and it is time to return some censure to our defense apparatus. Otherwise, the AUMF will continue to make us hemorrhage – both blood and, especially, treasure.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

This Is The World's First Entirely 3D-Printed Gun

Source: Forbes

Cody Wilson set out to create the world’s first entirely 3D-printable handgun.
Now he has. Early next week, Wilson, a 25-year-old University of Texas law student and founder of the non-profit group Defense Distributed, plans to release the 3D-printable CAD files for a gun he calls “the Liberator"

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Boston Bombings Gave Americans a Taste of the Terrorism the U.S. Inflicts Abroad Every Day

Source: Alternet

On April 23, Yemeni activist and journalist Farea Al-Muslimi, who had studied at an American high school, testified before a US Senate committee that right after the marathon bombings, a drone strike in his home village in Yemen killed its target.

The strike terrorized the villagers, turning them into enemies of the United States - something that years of jihadi propaganda had failed to accomplish.

His neighbors had admired the US, Al-Muslimi told the committee, but "Now, however, when they think of America, they think of the fear they feel at the drones over their heads. What radicals had previously failed to achieve in my village, one drone strike accomplished in an instant."

Rack up another triumph for President Obama's global assassination program, which creates hatred of the United States and threats to its citizens more rapidly than it kills people who are suspected of posing a possible danger to us someday.