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Sixty-two people have the same amount of wealth as half the world, says Oxfam

Posted on January 18th, 2016 at 10:59 by John Sinteur in category: News


Just 62 people own as much wealth as the poorer half of the global population, a new report reveals, as the widening of the gap between the rich and poor accelerates.

As the business elite converge on Davos for the World Economic Forum, an Oxfam report shows wealth is becoming further concentrated, with the number of people owning the same amount as the bottom half of humanity falling from 388 to 62 in five years.

It says a “broken” economic model underpinned by deregulation, privatisation and financial secrecy has seen the wealth of the richest 62 people jump by 44 per cent in five years to $1.76 trillion.

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  1. You know, I wouldn’t mind quite so much that these guys have such disgusting levels of wealth if they’d just be honest about it. Ask them and they’ll tell you stories of how they ‘earned’ it or ‘worked long and hard’ for it. Just admit you inherited a huge figure and, inevitably, it turned into what they have now or they wheeled and dealed in the financial markets, and turned a huge figure into a ginormous figure on the backs of the ordinary people who put money into the banks, or else that they did what the workers didn’t, take in the profits from the workers very high productivity without paying the workers what they were worth, and I for one would have less disgust for the super-rich.
    I mean, why be liars and thieves when they could just be thieves?

  2. @Kharkov: Because they hire people to tell them the truth about themselves. All those experts can’t be wrong, can they?

Frustrated Rick Santorum Still Waiting For Go-Ahead From God To Suspend Presidential Campaign

Posted on January 17th, 2016 at 11:59 by John Sinteur in category: News


Expressing frustration that he had yet to receive any divine counsel on the matter, former Senator Rick Santorum told reporters Friday that he was still waiting for the go-ahead from God to suspend his presidential campaign. “My relationship with God drives every decision in my life, so here I am, still going through the motions eight months into this presidential run, looking for any green light from Him that I can end this thing,” said Santorum, explaining that he truly believed with all his heart that the Lord Almighty would have provided His blessing to pack it in once his national polling numbers dipped below 1 percent. “Seriously, this has gone on long enough. I really should have received His word, or at least some divine sign by now. I’ll just give God until the South Carolina primary and then I’m going to have to do some serious reevaluating.”

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  1. Someone should write a song, “God Control to mister rick…

  2. “Puny man can do nothing at all to help or please God Almighty, and Luck is not the hand of God.” – The two chief teachings of the Church of God the Utterly Indifferent. /Kurt Vonnegut

One Ring to pwn them all: IoT doorbell can reveal your Wi-Fi key

Posted on January 15th, 2016 at 14:20 by John Sinteur in category: News


The device is secured outside a house using two commonly available Torx T4 screws, leaving it vulnerable to theft. Ring offer a free replacement if the kit is stolen, so homeowners are covered in that scenario (at least).

However that’s not the end of the problems with the device. An easy attack makes it all too simple to steal a homeowner’s Wi-Fi key. To do this, hackers would need to take the kit off the door mounting, flip it over and press the orange “set up” button.

“Pressing the setup button [puts] the doorbell’s wireless module (a Gainspan wireless unit) into a setup mode, in which it acts as a Wi-Fi access point,” Pen Test Partners consultant David Lodge explains in a blog post.

The doorbell bundles a similar module to the Fitbit Aria bathroom scales and is subject to much the same wireless module-related vulnerability.

“By connecting to a web server running on the Gainspan unit, the wireless configuration is returned including the configured SSID and PSK in cleartext,” Lodge explained.

Something similar happens with the bathroom scales. The massive difference between the Fitbit Aria bug and this particular bug is that the doorbell is outside of the house, making potential attacks far easier.

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  1. Remember, IoT doesn’t mean “Internet of Things” but “Internet of Targets”

Clickjacking Campaign Plays on European Cookie Law

Posted on January 15th, 2016 at 14:10 by John Sinteur in category: News


We’ve spotted an advertising campaign that tricks users into clicking on what looks like a notification alert that actually hides a legitimate advert, therefore abusing both the advertiser and the ad network hosting the ad (Google Ads Services).

The rogue actors behind this fraudulent activity are cleverly leveraging a European law on the use of cookies to seemingly prompt visitors to answer a question.

“The Cookie Law is a piece of privacy legislation that requires websites to get consent from visitors to store or retrieve any information on a computer, smartphone or tablet. All websites owned in the EU or targeted towards EU citizens, are now expected to comply with the law.”

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Watch a Group of “Freedom Kids” Perform a Horrifying Song at a Donald Trump Rally

Posted on January 15th, 2016 at 13:14 by Paul Jay in category: News

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  1. Please configure an “unwatch” button. Thank you.

Fatally weak MD5 function torpedoes crypto protections in HTTPS and IPSEC

Posted on January 13th, 2016 at 21:39 by John Sinteur in category: News


If you thought MD5 was banished from HTTPS encryption, you’d be wrong. It turns out the fatally weak cryptographic hash function, along with its only slightly stronger SHA1 cousin, are still widely used in the transport layer security protocol that underpins HTTPS. Now, researchers have devised a series of attacks that exploit the weaknesses to break or degrade key protections provided not only by HTTPS but also other encryption protocols, including Internet Protocol Security and secure shell.

The attacks have been dubbed SLOTH—short for security losses from obsolete and truncated transcript hashes. The name is also a not-so-subtle rebuke of the collective laziness of the community that maintains crucial security regimens forming a cornerstone of Internet security. And if the criticism seems harsh, consider this: MD5-based signatures weren’t introduced in TLS until version 1.2, which was released in 2008. That was the same year researchers exploited cryptographic weaknesses in MD5 that allowed them to spoof valid HTTPS certificates for any domain they wanted. Although SHA1 is considerably more resistant to so-called cryptographic collision attacks, it too is considered to be at least theoretically broken. (MD5 signatures were subsequently banned in TLS certificates but not other key aspects of the protocol.)

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Virginia GOP bill would require schools to verify children’s genitals before using restroom

Posted on January 13th, 2016 at 13:37 by John Sinteur in category: News


“Local school boards shall develop and implement policies that require every school restroom, locker room, or shower room that is designated for use by a specific gender to solely be used by individuals whose anatomical sex matches such gender designation,” the measure states.

Under the bill, any student who violated the bathroom rules could be fined $50 by law enforcement. Schools would have the discretion of allowing students to use a “single stall restroom or shower” or to have “controlled” access to an otherwise unoccupied restroom.

Cole’s legislation would also allow law enforcement to fine anyone who knowingly used a public restroom that did not correspond to their “anatomical sex.”

Civil rights advocate Tim Peacock noted that “adults would be required to inspect children’s genitals before they use the bathroom” for the legislation to be enforceable.

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  1. I dunno. These guys spend way to much time thinking about the mote in their brothers’ eyes…

  2. What’s the big deal? The catholic church already does this for boys. Oh wait, they do not stop at inspection, they also check genital functioning….repeatedly.

  3. Sue, hope I’m not being redundant with this; a professor of psychology at the U. of Alberta has put his research on this personality type online, for free, in book form. Google “The Authoritarians”.

  4. What happens in the bathroom should stay in the bathroom.

EFF To Court: Cisco Must Be Held Accountable For Aiding China’s Human Rights Abuses

Posted on January 13th, 2016 at 9:51 by John Sinteur in category: News


In an amicus brief filed Monday with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, EFF and the groups ARTICLE 19 and Privacy International argue that the plaintiffs sufficiently alleged that Cisco understood that the “Golden Shield” system (also known as The Great Firewall) it custom-built for China was an essential component of the government’s program of persecution against the Falun Gong—persecution that included online spying and tracking, detention, and torture.

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Why Is Comcast Interrupting My Web-Browsing To Upsell Me On A New Modem?

Posted on January 13th, 2016 at 0:25 by John Sinteur in category: News


We already know that Comcast can — and does — inject alerts into users’ web browsers to alert them to potential copyright infringement, but the nation’s largest Internet provider can also use this ability to interrupt your enjoyment of the web in order to remind you to upgrade your modem.

Consumerist reader and Comcast customer “BB” says that the cable company upgraded the network in his area in recent months, and has been writing and calling him regularly about upgrading his modem ever since.

“For months we received multiple letters in the mail, explaining how we were missing out on the great new capabilities of their network,” writes BB. “This eventually escalated to repeated phone calls from Comcast, stating that we should really upgrade our modem.”

Thing is, BB owns the modem he uses and he’s experienced no problems with service or speeds since the network upgrade. He’d rather not spend money on a new modem — or pay Comcast too much to rent one from the company — when what he has is working just fine.

And BB is not some minor Internet user with an ancient desktop computer that he only uses to check email once a week. In fact, he’s a software developer living — like many of us — in a home with multiple web-connected devices.

“We stream Netflix and YouTube and our Internet speed is great for everything we need,” he writes. “Why should I spend the money?”

BB knows that sometimes customers can indeed be left out in the cold by using old tech — just ask all those people who had to scramble for digital antennas and cable boxes when that changeover happened — so he called Comcast to ask exactly what he was missing out on with his old modem. He says the support rep would only tell him that he wasn’t enjoying the full benefits of the upgraded modem, but failed to provide any real technical info about what this meant.

“Now they’ve moved to more aggressive measures to try to get me to upgrade,” writes BB. “The other day as I was browsing the web on my phone, on my home WiFi, I got a pop-up notice while browsing on wired.com.”

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  1. They want to use your location as an xfinity public wifi access point – which is what their new modem does. I told them sure – but I’ll charge you $200/mo.

  2. Use HTTPS and change your DNS to a non Comcast DNS. Other than that F_ck the monoplist

As Mein Kampf returns to Germany, the world is again awash with hatred

Posted on January 12th, 2016 at 23:37 by John Sinteur in category: News


As the world’s attention was captured by Madaya, the Syrian town suffering mass starvation, supporters of the Assad regime began posting photographs of delicious food to insult those starving. When a Muslim woman stood in silence at Donald Trump rally, wearing a T-shirt saying”I come in peace”, she was ejected – Trump’s supporters baying insults into her face.

Meanwhile, groups of apparently foreign men in Cologne staged what look like premeditated sexual assaults on women, prompting a new outburst of the racism barely hidden behind German constitutional reality.

In Hungary the president, Victor Orban, called for Europe to abandon Greece to the next wave of refugees, erecting a fallback line of razor wire at the Macedonian and Bulgarian borders. Turkey, meanwhile, having pocketed £3bn of European taxpayers’ money, set about an armed assault on its own Kurdish ethnic minority. Oh, and Isis executed five people in cold blood.

That’s just some of the moral lowlights of Week One, 2016. In the same week, the Chinese stock market crashed by 7% twice, dragging most western share indices significantly down. The oil price slumped, signalling further falls in the prices of commodities – from wheat to nickel – which are vital to growth in the emerging economies.

Amid this confluence of rising barbarity and falling economic growth, it was probably a good moment for Germany to republish Mein Kampf now it has run out of copyright. The 2016 version of Hitler’s book, subtitled “a critical edition”, outsold its initial print run four times over last week. That pales against the 10m copies circulated inside Nazi Germany, but it’s a start.

Because the more we read Mein Kampf, the more we can understand how an ordinary racist loudmouth, with a grudge and a fantasy, turned an entire continent towards genocide.

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We Deserve Better Than Donald Trump

Posted on January 12th, 2016 at 23:36 by John Sinteur in category: News


If you regard honesty and humility as virtues, which I think most Iowans do, his ridiculous boasts demand derision. He’s the business genius who brags about screwing his investors and who has declared bankruptcy as often as some people overdraw their checking account. He sports the world’s silliest comb-over and makes fun of other people’s looks. He’s the tough guy who never served in the military, never risked his life or his interests for anyone other than himself, and disparaged the service of a decorated veteran.

He promises to make America great again and rejects the ideals and decency that made us great in the first place.

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Did Pope Benedict XVI’s Brother Run a Sadistic Sex Camp for Choirboys?

Posted on January 12th, 2016 at 9:33 by John Sinteur in category: News


ROME — The priests at the Regensburg, Bavaria, boarding school for boys liked to make the students take off their clothes and bend over for either a violent whipping or forcible anal sex. Sometimes the priests made them drink red wine. Sometimes the priests masturbated in front of the children.  Other times they made the children masturbate for them, perform oral sex or fondle each other. 

The complaint is not about just one or two isolated cases. At least 231 and more likely as many as 700 boys who attended the school between 1953 and 1992 were subjected to what has been described by the victims as “ritual abuse,” according to Ulrich Weber, a German lawyer commissioned by the choir who represents the alleged victims. “I have here 231 reports of physical abuse,” Weber told reporters at a press conference in Regensburg on Friday when he presented a report based on an eight-month investigation into the alleged abuse. “The abuse ranges from sexual assault and rape to food deprivation to the boys who were less cooperative.” 

The bulk of the abuse, which also included canings, forced gluttony and anal penetration with foreign objects, happened in the mid-1970s to boys being groomed for the world-famous Domspatzen boys choir of Regensberg’s St. Peter’s Cathedral when a certain Father Georg Ratzinger was the choir leader. Ratzinger, who will turn 92 next month, is the elder brother of Josef Ratzinger, better known as Pope Benedict XVI. He conducted the choir from 1964 to 1994. When asked if Ratzinger knew what was going on, Weber said, “After my research, I must assume so.” 

Whats next , human sacrifice and cannibalism?…..oh wait

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  1. I’m beginning to detect a pattern here. We seem to be in a very dark place on the planet Earth.

  2. I disagree, Will. Let’s assume that these things aren’t actually anything new, and instead that the issue has persisted for years, if not centuries. The only differences now are that (1) we know about it, and (2) we care and want to do something about it. Both of these differences are different kinds of light shining, not darkness.

KKK leader who murdered black girl with a crossbow wants out of prison after finding God

Posted on January 12th, 2016 at 9:27 by John Sinteur in category: News


The case of a former Ku Klux Klan leader convicted of killing a 16-year-old black girl with a crossbow is being reviewed by the North Carolina Parole Commission, according to the Charlotte Observer.

Russell Hinson, the “Exalted Cyclops” leader of the KKK in the late 1980s, was convicted of first-degree murder for shooting Felicia Houston in the chest with a crossbow as she walked down a sidewalk in 1992. Hinson was reportedly upset that he had been ripped off by a black drug dealer — and wanted to take revenge on the black community. “I’m going to shoot a n****r through the heart,” he told a friend.


Long said Hinson had found God in prison and now has African-American friends.

This leader of y’all Qaida should read his Bible. When the apostle Paul was in prison and God wanted him out, he sent an angel to unlock the doors and caused all the guards to fall asleep. If that’s not happening for you, then clearly God thinks you’re just fine where you are.



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Fuck cancer

Posted on January 11th, 2016 at 9:54 by John Sinteur in category: News

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Canadian pastor held in North Korea labor camp digs holes alone

Posted on January 11th, 2016 at 9:31 by John Sinteur in category: News


A Canadian pastor serving a life sentence in North Korea for subversion said in an interview with CNN he spends eight hours a day digging holes at a labor camp where he has not seen any other prisoners.

Hyeon Soo Lim, a South Korean-born Canadian who was the head pastor at one of Canada’s largest churches, has been held by the North since February. Lim, who was 60 at the time of his arrest, was sentenced to hard labor for life in December for attempting to overthrow the North’s regime.


Lim, who was interviewed at a Pyongyang hotel, his hair cropped short and wearing a gray padded prison uniform bearing the number “036” on his chest, works eight hours a day, six days a week digging holes in an orchard at a labor camp where he has seen no other prisoners, CNN said.

Next time your boss asks you to work overtime, remind him of this. North Korean prison camps give you evenings and weekends off. NORTH KOREAN PRISON CAMPS.


(and his commute his short, and he doesn’t have to ride the elevator with Jenkins, that half-wit…)

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You say advertising, I say block that malware

Posted on January 11th, 2016 at 9:07 by John Sinteur in category: News


The real reason online advertising is doomed and adblockers thrive? Its malware epidemic is unacknowledged, and out of control.

The Forbes 30 Under 30 list came out this week and it featured a prominent security researcher. Other researchers were pleased to see one of their own getting positive attention, and visited the site in droves to view the list.

On arrival, like a growing number of websites, Forbes asked readers to turn off ad blockers in order to view the article. After doing so, visitors were immediately served with pop-under malware, primed to infect their computers, and likely silently steal passwords, personal data and banking information. Or, as is popular worldwide with these malware “exploit kits,” lock up their hard drives in exchange for Bitcoin ransom.

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  1. Dog bless whoever created adblock plus!

Feel the Brrrrr

Posted on January 8th, 2016 at 9:10 by John Sinteur in category: News


Republican front-runner Donald Trump directed security to kick out Bernie Sanders supporters from his Vermont rally and to confiscate their coats.

“Throw them out into the cold,” Trump ordered security, as protesters shouted “Bernie! Bernie!” during his rally Thursday night in Burlington, Vt.

“Don’t give them their coats,” Trump added. “No coats! Confiscate their coats.”

The Sanders supporters had planned to infiltrate the Trump rally but many were thwarted as Trump security screened attendees and ejected those who didn’t declare allegiance to the billionaire.

But about half an hour into the speech some Sanders supporters began chanting.

Trump said it was “fun” to have the protesters attend his events and kick them out.

“It’s about 10 degrees below zero outside… You can keep his coat; tell him we’ll send it to him in a couple of weeks,” Trump told security.


When someone lobs those kinds of rhetorical bombs, it’s sort of a natural human tendency to say, “Oh, that’s just a figure of speech. They don’t really mean it. It’s just a way to whip up supporters.”


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  1. Once again, Trump has done/said an outrageous thing, most people have been repulsed by it and his poll numbers amoungst Republicans will trend upwards. Which goes to show the fine level of political discourse and willingness to campaign on their political positions the Repugs… haven’t got.

    Man, I can’t wait for Iowa and New Hampshire to be over so Trump can lose to Cruz and then we’ll have a regular sleazy Republican to deal with, as opposed to the super-sleazy Trump the USA is stuck with now…

  2. I feel your pain, Kharkov :-)

  3. You just can’t be surprised when these same people actually applauded when Ron Paul (unwittingly) suggested letting the poor just die when they’re sick.

Microsoft spying: Windows 10 user data appears in new blog post

Posted on January 6th, 2016 at 16:42 by John Sinteur in category: News


On Monday morning, Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate VP of the Windows and Devices Group, revealed that Windows 10 is now active on an astonishing 200 million devices. Its low price of “free” is clearly the primary factor contributing to its rapid growth, but it doesn’t hurt that the software is leaps and bounds more user-friendly than its predecessor.

But in order to illustrate just how popular Windows 10 has become, Microsoft felt the need to share some milestones:

  • People have spent over 11 billion hours on Windows 10 in December alone.
  • Over 44.5 billion minutes spent in Microsoft Edge across Windows 10 devices in just the last month.
  • Over 2.5 billion questions asked of Cortana since launch.
  • Around 30% more Bing search queries per Windows 10 device vs. prior versions of Windows.
  • Over 82 billion photos viewed within the Windows 10 Photo app.
  • Gaming continues to grow on Windows 10 – in 2015, gamers spent over 4 billion hours playing PC games on Windows 10.
  • Gamers have streamed more than 6.6 million hours of Xbox One games to Windows 10 PCs.

Admittedly, these are interesting statistics. That’s a lot of Xbox One gaming on Windows 10 PCs! But it’s easy to see why Martin Brinkmann of gHacks might find these data points troublesome.

“The statistics indicate that Microsoft may be collecting more data than initially thought,” writes Brinkmann. “While it is unclear what data is exactly collected, it is clear that the company is collecting information about the use of individual applications and programs on Windows at the very least.”

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In El Salvador, Pregnancy Followed by Prison

Posted on January 5th, 2016 at 17:25 by John Sinteur in category: News

[This is your country on Catholicism:]

“I couldn’t believe I was in ​prison,” Mirna Isabel Ramírez, a mother from the poor San Salvador neighborhood of Mariona, said of the ordeal that began almost 13 years ago. “That first night I slept on the floor. On the way ​there, the police told me, ‘They’ll kill you in there for what you’ve done.’” ​​​

Not long before then, Ramírez, 34 and pregnant at the time, felt ill one morning and rushed to the bathroom. ​​“I had no idea she was coming,” she said. “I didn’t understand. I gave birth to my baby in the toilet.” She said that she and her husband were in shock, so he called neighbors to go to their home. But when they arrived and saw the scene, they immediately alerted the police. “To this day, I don’t know why,” she said. “They called me a murderer and had no sympathy for me.”

Miraculously, her daughter, Briseyda, survived. Her grandmother took her to the hospital while Ramírez was interrogated by police, who believed she tried to kill her baby. She was arrested and never returned home before her trial. A few months later, at a hearing in which the public defender she first met only minutes before told her she wasn’t permitted to speak, she was found guilty of attempted aggravated homicide. Her sentence: 12 and a half years in prison​.



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Dutch government backs strong encryption, condemns backdoors

Posted on January 5th, 2016 at 10:36 by John Sinteur in category: News


The Netherlands government issued a strong statement on Monday against weakening encryption for the purposes of law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

The move comes as governments in the United Kingdom and China act to legally require companies to give them access to wide swaths of encrypted Internet traffic. U.S. lawmakers are also considering introducing similar legislation.

The Dutch executive cabinet endorsed “the importance of strong encryption for Internet security to support the protection of privacy for citizens, companies, the government, and the entire Dutch economy,” Ard van der Steur, the Dutch minister of security and justice, wrote in the statement. “Therefore, the government believes that it is currently not desirable to take legal measures against the development, availability and use of encryption within the Netherlands.”

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Dog with Slice of Ham on Face Gets 1.3 Million Facebook Prayers (and Counting)

Posted on January 3rd, 2016 at 13:31 by John Sinteur in category: News


A dog with a slice of ham on his face has raised an impressive 1.3 million prayers on Facebook, a generously distributed and worthless form of imaginary currency.


Roseman posted a Facebook update yesterday saying:

I’ve literally lost count on how many death threats I’ve accumulated because of Ham Dog, I’m not concerned, but rather amused, regardless, I’m armed everywhere I go anyways. I find it motivating. If interested for the laughs, Private message me. I got plenty of proof.

“You deserve to die because you tricked me into sharing a photo of a dog with ham on its face on Facebook.”



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  1. It must show something about how dogs are worshipped in that strange culture of FB.

    At least it wasn’t an image of the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him!)

  2. Nor (ham be upon him).

  3. I simply do not get get it. This what FB is about. I mean “look at me look at me!” [while FB hoovers as much info on you to sell to others]

  4. That’s not a dog, its a hamster.

India and Pakistan Wagah Border Closing Ceremony

Posted on January 2nd, 2016 at 11:04 by John Sinteur in category: News

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  1. These guys have been watching way too many Monty Python reruns!

Drug Costs, Real and Fake

Posted on January 2nd, 2016 at 9:18 by John Sinteur in category: News


Here’s an interesting look at the price of a single orphan medication: the rattlesnake antivenom CroFab, which has already been held up as an example of “everything that’s wrong with American health care”. Rattlesnake bites are not very common, so this is a very small orphan indication. The academic developers of the antivenom have gone back and taken a look at all the costs involved per dose of such a product:

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Why New Year’s Resolutions Are Bad for You

Posted on January 1st, 2016 at 12:57 by John Sinteur in category: News


The statistics are bleak: only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions stick to them, and those who don’t usually abandon them after just one week. Unrealistic resolutions are fated to fail. And it is unrealistic to think that you can immediately overcome a habit you have spent years establishing. But is this necessarily harmful? There’s a good chance that it is. If your New Year’s resolution is to eat less, but you have no plan in place — or even if you do have a plan and you fail — you will do damage to your sense of self-worth. If you already have a complicated relationship with food, your likely coping mechanism for failure is eating more food. Thus the New Year’s resolution to eat less can actually result in your eating more. Ditto drinking, drug use, smoking, finding a mate, exercising, etc.

I’ve made one New Years resolution: not to make any. So far I seem to have… oh wait.

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  1. I resolved not to click anymore…

  2. …I guess I won’t click any less, either…

    Have a great year, everybody!

  3. I smoke cigarettes, and have resolved to smoke at least 2 cigarettes every day this year.

    I hope that this resolution works out as well as all past resolutions.

    Great New Year!

Just as bad as dihydrogen-monoxide

Posted on January 1st, 2016 at 12:09 by John Sinteur in category: News


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M-Kopa Solar Is Making a Profit on Poor Africans

Posted on December 31st, 2015 at 22:14 by John Sinteur in category: News


M-Kopa estimates that 80 percent of its customers live on less than $2 a day. Three-quarters of them rely on small-scale farming as their primary or secondary source of income; the rest run small businesses. Energy accounts for a significant amount of their spending. The company’s power system costs $200: It includes a solar panel, two LED bulbs, an LED flashlight, a rechargeable radio, and adaptors for charging a phone. The kit comes with a two-year warranty, and its battery is designed to last at least four years.

The company’s core innovation has less to do with its physical product than the method it has developed to make it affordable. Kopa means “to borrow” in Swahili, and each system the company sells is in effect a loan of about $165. Clients pay $35 upfront and agree to make a daily payment of 45¢ for a year, after which the system is theirs. The kits come with a control box containing the battery and a SIM card that can communicate with M-Kopa headquarters in Nairobi. When a customer has made a payment via mobile phone, the SIM card sends a signal to activate the battery, which is powered by the panels. “If you boil it down, what we are is a finance company,” says Nick Hughes, M-Kopa’s strategy director and one of its founders. “What we’ve done is to give the customers some collateral and a line of credit.”

The Bloomberg headline makes it sound like a bad thing, but it’s meant to show that creative business models can generate profit from people that are often written off as irrelevant customers. Utilities haven’t been able to effectively serve those communities, and so there’s a perception that they’re not customers. M-Kopa’s point is that the right business model can generate profit from low income communities. It looks like some foreign investors found a decent way to make money while helping out and improving lives.

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Goodbye to 2015, a year of absurdity and overreach

Posted on December 31st, 2015 at 22:04 by John Sinteur in category: News


E.B. White reportedly said “the most beautiful sound in America” is “the tinkle of ice at twilight.” In 2015’s twilight, fortify yourself with something 90 proof as you remember this year in which:

We learned that a dismal threshold has been passed. The value of property that police departments seized through civil asset forfeiture — usually without accusing, let alone convicting, the property owners of a crime — exceeded the value of property stolen by nongovernment burglars. The attorney general of New York, which reaps billions from gambling — casinos, off-track betting, the state lottery — moved to extinguish (competition from) fantasy football because it is gambling. Florida police raided a mahjong game played by four women aged between 87 and 95 because they allegedly were playing the game for money. A Michigan woman was fingerprinted, had her mug shot taken and was jailed until released on bond because she was late in renewing the $10 license for her dog. New Jersey police arrested a 72-year-old retired teacher, chained his hands and feet to a bench and charged him with illegally carrying a firearm — a 300-year-old flintlock pistol (with no powder, flint or ball) he purchased from an antique dealer.

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Tasteless Dubai

Posted on December 31st, 2015 at 21:04 by John Sinteur in category: News


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New Theory On Adam’s Penis Causes Outrage

Posted on December 31st, 2015 at 14:26 by John Sinteur in category: News


A religious academic has kicked up a sacrilegious storm by saying the Biblical creation myth actually intends to say that God created Eve out of Adam’s penis bone.

The claim comes from a book called “What Really Happened In The Garden Of Eden” by Professor Ziony Zevit from the American Jewish University in Maryland. The book was published in 2013, although has recently reemerged and riled up Christians after a review in the September/October issue of the Biblical Archeology Review.

The theory came to Zevit after translating and studying the Hebrew text of Adam and Eve in the Genesis story of the Old Testament. Zevit believes the Hebrew word “tsela” does not translate as “rib,” but instead can be understood to mean “limbs sticking out sideways from an upright human body.”

As men and women do actually have the same amount of ribs (and any other sideways sticking limbs, for that matter), Zevit believes this is how the ancient Israelites attempted to explain the uniquely boneless human penis.

Human males are one of the few species of mammals who don’t have a baculum (a penis bone). Bears, bats, cats, walruses and even our closest living relative – the chimpanzee – all have the bone.

Much of modern Biblical study attempts to use language, poetics, linguistics and literary theory to understand how the stories were perceived in its original context. Despite this, many have taken Zevit’s claim with great offense.

“I write to express my disappointment with your magazine. I wish to cancel my subscription,” a reader of the Biblical Archeology Review said, reported The Daily Mail.

“That is plainly not a Bible teaching,” said another. “I do not need and will not read articles that damage my faith or attempts to cause me to doubt what I know is the truth from the Bible.”

I don’t know what’s funnier. Somebody trying this desperately to make the creation myth more consistent with reality or somebody else being offended because it doesn’t match their “truth”

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  1. It’s a little late to start correcting phallicies in the bible.

  2. Of course, the truth is much simpler and more mundane. Eve was Adam’s mother :-)

  3. Personally, I think God just cloned Adam to make Eve, and just left the weenie off… He also gave her some extra estrogen so she would have some nice curves that would make Adam want to procreate with her. Now, what I’d like to know, if they only had two sons, where did all the other girls come from? :-)

  4. To answer your question, Spaceman, see Sue’s comment above. It also shows (though I must have missed that part of the Bible) the antiquity of the term motherfucker.

  5. I’m not an expert, but wouldn’t interbreeding reinforce the mutation?

Password-less database ‘open-sources’ 191m US voter records on the web

Posted on December 29th, 2015 at 19:40 by John Sinteur in category: News


A database with personal information on 191,337,174 US voters has apparently been found unprotected online by a security researcher in Texas.

Austin-based Chris Vickery – who earlier this month found records on 3.3 million Hello Kitty users splashed online – says the wide-open system contains the full names, dates of birth, home addresses, and phone numbers of voters, as well as their likely political affiliation and which elections they have voted in since 2000.

Vickery told Databreaches.net he was able to poke around the public-internet-facing database because it is poorly configured: no authentication or password is required to query all 300-plus gigabytes stored within.

The researcher believes the database holds details for every registered voter in the US, and confirmed the records held on him in the system are accurate – as are those of serving and former police officers, which is one immediate concern.

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  1. Sigh…and they want us to trust them with all encrypted communications?

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