Cyberwarriors are at it again, this time with a malicious program called Regin that has infected computers in Russia, Saudi Arabia and other countries and is so complex that security experts say it probably came from the United States, Britain or another Western government. read more
Drones can now be purchased for about $500, well within the budget of many. Consequently, the global civilian drone market has skyrocketed by 45% since last year. Part of those sales are going to those who are using the craft for pranks and even criminal acts. Drones have flown flags over soccer games and have been used to case buildings for burglars. read more
Residents of Irving, Texas, near Dallas, have been rocked by several earthquakes in the past week. The first, and so far the biggest, was a 3.3 magnitude temblor last Saturday. There was a 2.5 on Sunday, followed by a 2.2 and a 2.3 on Monday and a 2.7 on Tuesday. Some have blamed the quakes on the fracking wells situated around the area. read more
A report by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed that 1 in 8 Americans give up essentials such as food or burn through savings because they’re trapped in High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs). Twenty-three percent of those with HDHPs skipped a medical test or treatment recommended by their doctor, and 29% didn’t see a doctor when they became ill or injured. read more
The Clean Air Act was signed by President Richard Nixon in 1970 and gave the newly created Environmental Protection Agency and states the power they needed to clean up the atmosphere. George H.W. Bush followed in 1990 by strengthening the Act to allow more regulations to be issued. Now, since Congress has been unable to pass a bill to combat global warming, President Barack Obama is using the Clean Air Act’s provisions to attempt to mitigate climate change, read more
It perhaps shouldn’t come as a surprise that Officer Darren Wilson will not stand trial for killing Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Of 6,700 on-duty incidents of police being charged with a crime, only 41 officers were indicted over seven years for murder. The FBI reported 2,718 justified homicides by police from 2004 to 2011. The lack of police prosecutions is “one factor that enters into the perception of African Americans that the police are not on their side,” said Prof. Samuel Walker. read more
Inside the controversial texts are “factual inaccuracies and exaggerations of Moses’ impact on the founding of the U.S.” Before some revisions were made, the books were even worse. They contained a cartoon mocking affirmative action recipients, de-emphasis of slavery’s role in the Civil War, negative stereotypes of Muslims, and denials of climate change. Board member Marisa Perez said she was not proud of the board’s decision, which relied on a “screwy” process involving textbook publishers. read more
“We should be allowing these wounded warriors access to the medicine that will help them survive and thrive, including medical marijuana, not treating them like criminals,” said Rep. Blumenauer. As it is now, VA staff aren’t even allowed to fill out paperwork to allow a vet to enroll in a legal state marijuana program. If the bill becomes law, it could help many vets who suffer from PTSD, which includes 20% of the 2.8 million soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The lawsuit, directed at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), says the coal leasing program’s impact on climate change hasn’t been updated or assessed since 1979. The plaintiffs want the Department of the Interior, BLM’s parent agency, to conduct a comprehensive environmental review of the coal program. Such a review is critical, they say, because coal mined on federal lands produces 14% of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions annually and 11% of its yearly greenhouse gas emissions. read more
Researchers in Europe have concluded that passionate kisses can involve a lot more than just emotion. They can also include upwards of 80 million bacteria being exchanged between two people. The findings originated in the Netherlands, where researchers asked 21 couples to have their mouths swabbed. “To our surprise, we found that those people that are intimately related ... share much more of that bacteria on their tongue than unrelated individuals,” said microbiologist Remco Kort. read more
Starting late next year, restaurant chains and movie theaters will have to list calorie counts on their menus. FDA officials are hoping the publishing of calorie totals will help Americans make smarter decisions about what they eat when going out and perhaps shrink some waistlines along the way. Nutrition professor Marion Nestle was surprised to learn that the rules went beyond what she and others expected, applying them to alcoholic beverages listed on restaurant menus. read more
Green advocates have been working with investors to develop a new generation of biofuels that instead rely on sources such as corn husks, and forest brush. Those efforts, however, could come to a halt without the EPA’s mandate in place. And the end of the program could mean the end of the line for smaller companies engaged in ethanol production from sources other than corn. The decision by EPA officials came after intense lobbying by oil companies, car manufacturers and driving enthusiasts. read more
Federal officials are now advising local law enforcement agencies to be careful about confiscating cars, cash and other valuables from motorists. But the new code of conduct is strictly voluntary. Cities and counties have seized more than $2.5 billion since 2001 from local police stopping citizens and seizing their possessions, even if they haven’t been proven to having done anything wrong. The agency making the seizure gets to keep 80% of the loot. read more
Their attorneys say the failure to include the men’s testimony in the report raises questions about the thoroughness of the Senate probe. “If you’re conducting a genuine inquiry of a program that tortured people, don’t you begin by talking to the people who were tortured? It seems here, as far as my client is concerned, no effort was made to do that,” said David Nevin, who represents Mohammed. Three of the four men were waterboarded, the CIA has admitted. read more
FSA member Assam Murad said: “There’s no way we would fight ISIS after the U.S. military campaign against them.” An alliance is reportedly being formed between ISIS and four groups that were at war earlier this year. About a thousand al-Nusra Front fighters joined ISIS in just one week. Civilians are beginning to welcome ISIS as well for the group’s social measures and its tough-on-crime Sharia law. read more
In May, President Obama said American troops in Afghanistan would cease their “combat mission” by January 1. Now, come January 1, U.S. soldiers will engage in “combat operations,” marking the 14th consecutive year of fighting. So much for the war ending.
The only real difference will be the size of U.S. forces. Instead of tens of thousands of soldiers, the U.S. will station only 9,800 to fight al-Qaeda and Taliban militants. Ground forces, manned aircraft and drones may be put to use.
Elonis v. U.S. stems from the conviction of Anthony Elonis, who served several years in prison for posting messages to his wife on Facebook that she took as threats. In one, he indicated his desire to shoot her despite a court order to stay away. A court brief said people “have experienced real-life terror caused by...public posts to Facebook and other social media sites." Elonis claimed he was merely venting and performing “therapeutic efforts to address traumatic events” in his life. read more