Hundreds of mysterious engraved trails have been stumbled upon at the Racetrack Playa of Death Valley in California. There’s almost always a rock sitting at the end of the track, but no one has actually seen a rock — not a pebble nor a boulder — sliding on this nearly flat, dry mud surface. What gives? Several decades of speculation range from powerful winds and ice flotation to dust devils and slick films.
Now, for the first time ever, researchers have observed the sliding rocks in action. Finally! Under just the right conditions, thin sheets of ice blown by light winds push the rocks across the dry lake. The work, which turned out not to be “the most boring experiment ever,” was published in PLoS ONE this week.
Returning students at Hillsborough County Public Schools in Tampa, Fla. found 20 new armed officers in the elementary schools in the first year of a plan costing about $1 million.
The school board also approved security training for employees, the hiring of a safety consultant and more measures to control school access, such as fencing and buzzers.
Meanwhile, all 16 schools in the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, public school district have been enclosed in security fencing and each school limits visitors to a single entry point, officials said. This September, for the first time, two police officers will patrol elementary schools, at a cost of roughly $68,000 from the district’s state funding.
…officials continue to allow four anonymous employees to carry firearms on school property. Bulletproof glass and panic buttons have been installed, and officials held schoolwide assemblies for security training.
Because, clearly, the solution to “too many weapons in society” is “more weapons!”
Online sources confirmed Wednesday that every piece of 34-year-old Mark O’Connell’s personal data is currently protected by a reference to the third season of long-running NBC political drama The West Wing. Reports indicate that the reference, derived from the name of a guest character in an early-season episode of the Aaron Sorkin drama that went off the air in 2006, is, at present, all that stands in the way of strangers gaining total access to intimate details of the automotive insurance agent’s personal, professional, and financial life. In particular, sources noted that the security of everything from O’Connell’s banking and credit card accounts, to proprietary documents from his work, to his social media profiles, to all of his email correspondence, rests solely on the wry nod to a scene during the Emmy-nominated episode “On The Day Before,” in which the White House staff hosts a dinner for several Nobel laureates while President Bartlet works to veto an estate tax bill. Those close to the situation, however, noted that some of O’Connell’s most sensitive information is safeguarded by a secondary layer of protection in the form of a security question about his favorite character from Sports Night.
Archbishop Hart told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that Father Michael Glennon was first convicted and jailed in 1978 but it was not until 1998 that he was laicised.
He was convicted five times on multiple charges and died in jail in January this year.
Archbishop Hart, who was vicar general of the Melbourne diocese before being appointed archbishop in 2001, replacing George Pell, told the hearing it was very difficult before 2001 to get approval from the Vatican to defrock a priest.
“The difficulty would be a serious concentration on procedure,” he said.
“If every I wasn’t dotted and every T crossed in the way that they wanted, then there was a leaning in favour of a priest who might have been accused of something.”
It’s like you’re looking for John Coltrane and you get Kenny G in brown skin.
Why does an idiot like this have 9.44 million followers on Twitter?
British actor and film director Richard Attenborough has died at the age of 90.
He died at lunchtime on Sunday, his son told BBC News.
Earlier this week, the Chicago Cubs grounds crew experienced a disaster. As rain poured onto Wrigley Field, they were unable to cover the playing surface with a tarp in time. They were booed. The game was called. Because of the mismanagement, their opponents, the San Francisco Giants, protested the game after it had been called as a win for the Cubs. They succeeded. It was the first successful protest in Major League Baseball in 28 years, according to Deadspin.
But the whole bizarre episode was cast in a new light Thursday when the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the Cubs had slashed worker hours to keep them under 30 hours a week to avoid paying health benefits under Obamacare.
Citing “numerous sources with direct knowledge,” the Sun-Times reported that the Cubs had sent home 10 grounds crew workers early the night of the Tuesday game that ended in disaster. And at least part of the reason, per the newspaper’s sources, is that the team has been trying to keep seasonal workers under 30 hours per week as the Affordable Care Act takes effect.
This is a problem much bigger than Facebook. It reminded me of what can go wrong in society, and why we now often talk at each other instead of to each other. We set up our political and social filter bubbles and they reinforce themselves—the things we read and watch have become hyper-niche and cater to our specific interests. We go down rabbit holes of special interests until we’re lost in the queen’s garden, cursing everyone above ground.
But maybe worse than the fractious political tones my feed took on was how deeply stupid it became. I’m given the chance to like a Buzzfeed post of some guy dancing, and another that asks Which Titanic Character Are You? A third Buzzfeed post informs me that “Katy Perry’s Backup Dancer is the Mancandy You Deserve.” According to New York magazine, I am “officially old” because Malia Obama went to Lollapalooza (like!) and CNN tells me “Husband Explores His Man-ternal Instincts” alongside a photo of a shirtless man cupping his nipples. A cloud that looks like a penis. Stop what you’re doing and look at this baby that looks exactly like Jay-Z. My feed was showing almost only the worst kind of tripe that all of us in the media are complicit in churning out yet should also be deeply ashamed of. Sensational garbage. I liked it all.
And the opposite:
Give the Like a rest and see what happens. Choose to comment with words. Watch how your feed changes. I haven’t used the Like on Facebook since August 1st, and the changes in my feed have been so notably positive that I won’t be liking anything in the foreseeable future.
We show that the MEMS gyroscopes found on modern smart phones are sufficiently sensitive to measure acoustic signals in the vicinity of the phone. The resulting signals contain only very low-frequency information (<200Hz). Nevertheless we show, using signal processing and machine learning, that this information is sufficient to identify speaker information and even parse speech. Since iOS and Android require no special permissions to access the gyro, our results show that apps and active web content that cannot access the microphone can nevertheless eavesdrop on speech in the vicinity of the phone.
Researchers have pinpointed the environmental source of fungal infections that have been sickening HIV/AIDS patients in Southern California for decades. It literally grows on trees.
The discovery is based on the science project of a 13-year-old girl, who spent the summer gathering soil and tree samples from areas around Los Angeles hardest hit by infections of the fungus named Cryptococcus gattii (CRIP-to-cock-us GAT-ee-eye).
Cryptococcus, which encompasses a number of species including C. gattii, causes life-threatening infections of the lungs and brain and is responsible for one third of all AIDS-related deaths.
If a 13-year old can make basic discoveries like this…. we have plenty of things we still need to learn..
A police officer involved in the protests over Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri, has been relieved of his duty after video surfaced of him making racist and derogatory remarks.
Dan Page was recorded in April giving a speech in which he described President Barack Obama as an illegal immigrant, and railed against Muslims and gay people. “I’m into diversity – I kill everybody,” he said.
Comcast’s proposed $45.2-billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable has been criticized by angry customers, consumer advocacy groups, and even some members of Congress.
But Comcast has plenty of support, too, much of it from politicians and organizations that benefit from its political and charitable donations.
BOA Logo (2014)Bank of America will pay roughly $4 billion less to the government after-tax than the $16.65 billion it agreed to in a settlement over soured mortgage securities, because parts of the settlement will be tax deductible, the bank said Thursday.
The bank has already taken some of the savings from the settlement’s tax deductions in previous quarters, so the savings won’t all come in the current third quarter. But tallying the total tax savings to roughly $4 billion “would be fair,” a bank spokesman said.
Federal law allows companies to deduct large portions of the costs of settling with federal agencies on their tax returns. But that effectively shifts part of the settlement’s burden to taxpayers, and some lawmakers and consumer advocates have expressed concerns that the public can be misled when regulators tout giant settlement amounts that companies aren’t fully paying. …
Fines and penalties imposed as part of a settlement can’t be deducted, so that knocks out the $5.02 billion in fines Bank of America agreed to pay. But other amounts paid can be deducted as ordinary business expenses—including the $4.63 billion in compensatory payments that Bank of America agreed to pay, and the costs it incurs in providing $7 billion in mortgage modifications for struggling homeowners and other consumer relief.
So there you go – fines are just a business expense.
A report issued just last week by the nonprofit lawyer’s group ArchCity Defenders notes that in the court’s 36 three-hour sessions in 2013, it handled 12,108 cases and 24,532 warrants. That is an average of 1.5 cases and three warrants per Ferguson household. Fines and court fees for the year in this city of just 21,000 people totaled $2,635,400.
The sum made the municipal court the city’s second-biggest source of revenue. It also almost certainly was a major factor in the antagonism between the police and the citizenry preceding the tragedy that resulted when Wilson had another encounter with a subject six months after he got his commendation.
The struggles of the embattled Kurdish Peshmerga to repel Islamist insurgents have put the U.S. and Iran on the same side, with both rushing to reinforce a revered fighting force to defeat a common enemy.
U.S. airstrikes this week helped the Peshmerga retake two towns on the outskirts of Erbil that they had lost days earlier in a stunning defeat that put the radical Sunni group Islamic State 20 miles from the capital of the semiautonomous Kurdish region.
On Monday, as Peshmerga fighters basked in relief in one of those towns, Makhmour, a reporter witnessed senior Kurdish commanders meeting with Iranian advisers in the operations command center there.
On Aug. 21, Kurdish social media activists published pictures that appear to depict of elements of the Iranian 81st Armored Division entering southern Kurdistan via Khaneghein, north of Jalawla.
The 81st is a battle-hardened division that fought hard during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s. And before that, it had fought Kurdish insurgents in Iran’s restive southern provinces. Today the 81st Division is fighting alongside the Kurds.
After the Iran-Iraq War, the division reorganized and re-armed. As other units gained Russian T-72 tanks, the 81st gathered up all the leftover, American-made M-60s and M-48s. More recently, the 81st broke into three largely independent brigades—the 181st and 281st Armored Brigades and the 72nd Mechanized Brigade.
The units the activists spotted in Kurdistan most likely are elements of the 181st, as it’s responsible for defending the Sar-e-Pole Zahab border town near Khaneghein. Previously, there had been a build-up of armored units on the Iranian side of the border.
The violence that turns a small-town protest into a fiery national spectacle like the one that has played out this month in Missouri is often unwittingly provoked by police, according to researchers at UC Berkeley.
The research team, which studied clashes between police and activists during the Occupy movement three years ago, found that protests tend to turn violent when officers use aggressive tactics, such as approaching demonstrators in riot gear or lining up in military-like formations.
Recent events in Ferguson, Mo., are a good example, the study’s lead researcher said. For nearly two weeks, activists angered by a white police officer’s fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager have ratcheted up their protests when confronted by heavily armed police forces.
“Everything starts to turn bad when you see a police officer come out of an SUV and he’s carrying an AR-15,” said Nick Adams, a sociologist and fellow at UC Berkeley’s Institute for Data Science who leads the Deciding Force Project. “It just upsets the crowd.”
I think she misunderstood the phrase ‘rollin in dough’.
Bodies are not left in the streets of the leafy suburbs. The bodies of dogs and cats, or squirrels and raccoons, let alone the bodies of children, are not left in the streets of the leafy suburbs. No bodies are left in the streets of the financial districts. Freeze to death on a bench in the financial districts and you are whisked away before your inconvenient body can disturb the folks in line at the Starbucks across the street. But the body of a boy can be left in the street for four hours in a place like Ferguson, Missouri, and who knows whether it was because people wanted to make a point, or because nobody gave a damn whether he was there or not. Ferguson, Missouri was a place where they left a body in the street. For four hours. And the rage rose, and the backlash built, and the cameras arrived, and so did the cops, and the thing became something beyond what it was in the first place. And, in a very real way, in the streets of Ferguson, the body was still in the street.
The Vatican has refused to hand over the files of Australian priests accused of sex crimes to the child abuse royal commission.
The Vatican said the commission’s request for documents on each allegation involving an Australian cleric was “neither possible nor appropriate”.
Reasons included ongoing church investigations, and that internal working documents were the sovereign property of the Holy See.
Cardinal George Pell, now working in Rome, was asked if he sought an assurance from the Vatican that any document the royal commission needed would be provided.
“That is correct,” Cardinal Pell told the commission via video-link on Thursday.
“I suppose in retrospect there would be some discussion over what ‘any document’ meant.”
In 2002 E.I. du Pont de Nemours announced plans to turn some of its operations into a separate subsidiary. Most of the affected employees were under a union agreement that gave them the right to transfer within DuPont if they preferred, a decision which would have cost the company an enormous amount of money to retrain the transfers and hire their replacements.
The employees were worried that if DuPont sold the new subsidiary it would hurt both their pay and retirement funds. To convince them to work in the subsidiary instead of transferring within the company, DuPont assured its employees that it had absolutely no plans to sell the spin-off. Based on this promise almost everyone moved to the subsidiary, which a few weeks later DuPont sold to Koch Industries. Koch cut both salaries and retirement packages. DuPont had, as it turns out, been negotiating this deal the entire time.
The Texas Supreme Court sees no problem with any of this.
It’s a “very real possibility” that individuals with the extremist group ISIS may have crossed into the United States at the southern border, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Thursday, though he added he doesn’t have any evidence.
Because the border is insecure, Perry said that “individuals from ISIS or other terrorist states could be” taking advantage of the situation. “I think it’s a very real possibility that they may have already used that,” he told an audience at the Heritage Foundation in Washington.
“We have no clear evidence of that,” he continued.
There’s a very real possibility that Glenn Beck raped and murdered a young girl in 1990. We have no clear evidence that Glenn Beck raped and murdered a young girl in 1990, but its a very real possibility.
Apple’s documentation on the tel scheme is really short and easy to read. While reading the first paragraph something caught my attention:
When a user taps a telephone link in a webpage, iOS displays an alert asking if the user really wants to dial the phone number and initiates dialing if the user accepts. When a user opens a URL with the tel scheme in a native app, iOS does not display an alert and initiates dialing without further prompting the user.
So if I click the link in Safari I get the prompt asking me to confirm my action, if I click the link in a native app’s webView it doesn’t ask and performs the action right away (makes the call).
Do people read documentation?
No. And it’s bad.
I instantly assumed people do read documentation so there was no way a big player like Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, etc. would do such a silly mistake… but I was wrong.
Can you guess which books the wannabe jihadists Yusuf Sarwar and Mohammed Ahmed ordered online from Amazon before they set out from Birmingham to fight in Syria last May? A copy of Milestones by the Egyptian Islamist Sayyid Qutb? No. How about Messages to the World: the Statements of Osama Bin Laden? Guess again. Wait, The Anarchist Cookbook, right? Wrong.
Sarwar and Ahmed, both of whom pleaded guilty to terrorism offences last month, purchased Islam for Dummies and The Koran for Dummies. You could not ask for better evidence to bolster the argument that the 1,400-year-old Islamic faith has little to do with the modern jihadist movement. The swivel-eyed young men who take sadistic pleasure in bombings and beheadings may try to justify their violence with recourse to religious rhetoric – think the killers of Lee Rigby screaming “Allahu Akbar” at their trial; think of Islamic State beheading the photojournalist James Foley as part of its “holy war” – but religious fervour isn’t what motivates most of them.
In 2008, a classified briefing note on radicalisation, prepared by MI5’s behavioural science unit, was leaked to the Guardian. It revealed that, “far from being religious zealots, a large number of those involved in terrorism do not practise their faith regularly. Many lack religious literacy and could . . . be regarded as religious novices.” The analysts concluded that “a well-established religious identity actually protects against violent radicalisation”, the newspaper said.
Abu Mosa, spokesperson for the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS, has been killed by the Syrian Army, according to unconfirmed reports that are making the rounds on Twitter.
Mosa was featured in the recent Vice News documentary, in which he said, “I say to America the Islamic Caliphate has been established and we will not stop.”
Mosa also famously said, “Don’t be cowards and attack us with drones. Instead send your soldiers, the ones we humiliated in Iraq. We will humiliate them everywhere, God willing, and we will raise the flag of Allah in the White House.”
Mosa’s statement was released the same week that an ISIS supporter reportedly Tweeted a photo of the ISIS flag on his phone while standing in front of the White House.
One post from a pro-ISIS Twitter account said: “This brother Abu Moussa was martyred during missile clashes” by the Syrian Arab Army in Raqqa.