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Showing posts from July 15, 2015

Launch of $200 device to access Wi-Fi anonymously mysteriously stopped in its tracks

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[Not so 'mysterious' I should think - Big Brother is watching! "Let the speculation begin as to why the Proxyham anonymous Wi-Fi device has been killed off." *RON*]
 By Charlie Osborne for Zero Day, ZDNet, 14 July 2015

At the beginning of this month, security researcher Benjamin Caudill from Rhino Security Labs unveiled Proxyham, a device small enough to be slotted into a book and squirrelled away in a separate location from the user in order to confuse Internet traffic tracking systems.

Proxyham is a $200 device made up of a Raspberry Pi PC and antennas. The product uses low-frequency radio channels to connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots up to 2.5 miles away, and if a user's signature is traced, the only IP address which appears is from the Proxyham box which can be planted far away from the user.

Caudill was quoted as saying, "You can have it all the way across town, and worst case scenario the police go barge into the lib…

Canada cuts rates as oil weighs on output

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[This is good news for my variable-rate mortgage, but it's hard to say if it's good for anything else. Last time the rates were cut the big banks just said, "Thanks very much!", pocketed it, and failed to pass it along. If they pass the cut along this time it may help stimulate business. On the other hand, when big businesses have taken loans, lately, they just buy back their stocks, raising their share values, ensuring big pay-cheques for their CEOs and nothing much else. Of course, in addition, this will tend to inflate the housing bubble and encourage even more consumer debt, both of which are counter-productive. It will also play some havoc with our trade balance, though exporters will be smiling: Loonie Plunges To 6-Year Low. On the bright side, this will make Harper v-e-r-y angry, because it confirms what his 'economic prowess' is good for - nothing. And, just to rub it in, see also YELLEN: We think the economy wi…

ExxonMobil gave millions to climate-denying lawmakers despite pledge

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[World's biggest liars lie again - put a surprised look on your face. "Under pressure from shareholders, company promised eight years ago to stop funding climate denial – but financial and tax records tell a different story." *RON*]

Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, 15 July 2015
ExxonMobil gave more than $2.3m to members of Congress and a corporate lobbying group that deny climate change and block efforts to fight climate change – eight years after pledging to stop its funding of climate denial, the Guardian has learned.

Climate denial – from Republicans in Congress and lobby groups operating at the state level – is seen as a major obstacle to US and global efforts to fight climate change, closing off the possibility of federal and state regulations cutting greenhouse gas emissions and the ability to plan for a future of sea-level rise and extreme weather.

Exxon channeled about $30m to researchers and activist groups promoting disin…

Artist 3D prints Donald Trump butt plug in protest at immigration rhetoric

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[*RON*]

Stuart Dredge, The Guardian, 15 July 2015

‘When I heard Donald Trump’s remarks about Mexicans and latinos from South America I was extremely angry’ explains Fernando Sosa.
Artist Fernando Sosa has found a novel way to protest at Donald Trump’s recent comments about Mexican immigrants: he’s turned the Republican presidential candidate into a butt plug.

Sosa used 3D printing technology to create the decidedly-unofficial merchandise, which he is selling from his store on the Shapeways website for £21.34. The plug is made from full-colour sandstone, promising “a coarse finish and a delicate feel”.

Hotel 'staffed' entirely by robots unveiled in Japan

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[Here come the robots! "Businessman insists hotel, with no human workers, is not a gimmick and will cut operating costs." See also Robotics revolution rocks Chinese textile workers. *RON*]

Al Jazeera, 15 Jul 2015

A businessman in Japan has unveiled a hotel run by robots, insisting the move is not a gimmick but a serious attempt at reducing costs.

Henn na Hotel, as it is called in Japanese, was shown to reporters on Wednesday, complete with robot demonstrations, ahead of its opening to the public on Friday.

Hideo Sawada, who runs the hotel as part of an amusement park, said the move to use robots was aimed at utilising technology and achieving efficiency.

The 'staff' include a dinosaur-shaped receptionist robot that speaks in English, and the one that speaks Japanese, shaped like a woman with blinking lashes.

The visitor still has to punch a button on the desk, and type in information on a touch panel screen.

Its glory faded, decaying modern Rome 'needs a miracle'

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["In a letter to Corriere della Sera newspaper, published on Monday, mayor Marino conceded that much of Rome's public administration was 'substantially rotten'." On corruption and inefficiency in Rome. *RON*]
By Crispian Balmer, Reuters, 15 July 2015

Dirty and disorganized, Rome is once more in decline.

City hall is paralyzed by allegations of Mafia infiltration, basic services are in tatters, the main airport is partially closed, and wild cat strikes have frayed an already ropey public transport network.

For generations, the Italian capital has rested on past glories rather than built on them. The years of neglect, corruption and bureaucratic bungling have taken a fierce toll, reflecting a wider malaise that afflicts Italy as a whole.

"Rome is on the verge of collapse," Giancarlo Cremonesi, the president of the Rome Chamber of Commerce, told Reuters. "It is unacceptable that a major city which calls itself deve…

Canadians Being Ripped Off On Prescription Drugs, Says Ambrose

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[Yet, on ideological grounds, she won't participate in creating a national pharmacare plan, which would reduce drug costs by a third. Is she motivated by attempting to mitigate the disastrous increase in drug prices the Conservatives anticipate if their beloved TPP is passed? *RON*] 
By Kristy Kirkup, Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 15 July 2015

OTTAWA - Health Minister Rona Ambrose has penned a sharply-worded letter calling for the provinces and territories to co-operate with the feds to help slash the cost of prescription drugs.

In a note sent to provincial and territorial health ministers and obtained by The Canadian Press, Ambrose says the federal government has "repeatedly expressed interest" in participating in the Pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance.

The minister's message is designed to apply pressure ahead of the Council of the Federation meeting of premiers set to begin today in St. John's.

"In the lead-up to t…

Ecologist says many rebuilt wetlands in oilsands region are contaminated and risky to wildlife

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[Unsurprisingly, the oil companies have done a totally inadequate job of remediating polluted wetlands in northern Alberta. Also, read the comments on the original story, then Google "ad hominem attack." *RON*]

Sheila Pratt, Edmonton Journal / Calgary Herald, 9 July 2015

Rebuilding wetlands in the oilsands region is failing, with many man-made sites contaminated and risky to wildlife, says a new book by Alberta ecologist Kevin Timoney.

“A damaged and contaminated landscape, a national sacrifice zone, is being created,” Timoney warns in his book, Impaired Wetlands in a Damaged Landscape, released last month.

The post-mining landscape will be dotted by these small, poor substitutes, some high in saline and contaminants from water used in processing bitumen that will take a toll on migratory birds and other wildlife, he writes.

Timoney’s controversial conclusion — to halt the building of industrial or man-made wetlands — comes from the first m…