Have their weapons improved since ‘Iraq’? … I doubt it.
Last week, rumors began to swirl that Russia would sell Bashar al-Assad missile systems that would allow Syria to fight any NATO or US attempt to impose a no-fly zone. Russia immediately denied it, which of course means that that’s exactly what they planned on doing all along.
The African Union said Friday it will not recognise the victory of strongman Andry Rajoelina, if he wins Madagascar’s forthcoming presidential elections.
Rajoelina, currently the country’s interim leader, had committed not to run in the elections scheduled for July but has reneged on his promise and announced his candidacy.
The island nation has been in political limbo ever since the 38-year-old former disc jockey ousted Marc Ravalomanana in a 2009 coup.
The arch-rivals had both vowed not to take part in the vote — in a bid to break the impasse — however Rajoelina did an about-turn after Ravalomanana’s wife threw her hat into the ring.
“How much hate people are broadcasting online is a little shocking and upsetting,” said Monica Stephens, assistant professor of geography at Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif.
The map is based on tweets that were scanned for hate words that are homophobic, racist or demeaning to people with disabilities.
“I think the words themselves are shocking when you realize how much volume there is,” Stephens added. “We were dealing with over 150,000 times that these words were used in slightly under 10 months.”
NASA officials announced Wednesday, May 15, that the Kepler space telescope – the agency’s primary instrument for detecting planets beyond our solar system – had suffered a critical failure and could soon be shut down permanently.
Scott Hubbard, a consulting professor of aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford’s School of Engineering, served as director of NASA Ames Research Center during much of the building phase of the Kepler space telescope. He also worked on the project alongside William Borucki, the Kepler science principal investigator at Ames and the driving force behind the effort, for the decades leading up to formal approval of the mission. …
… In a conversation with Stanford News Service, Hubbard explained the possible ways that NASA could bring the spacecraft back online, and what planet hunters will do next if that’s not possible.
Today, we’ll look at ragebooter.net, yet another attack service except for one secret feature which sets it apart from the competition: According the site’s proprietor, ragebooter.net includes a hidden backdoor that lets the FBI monitor customer activity.
This bizarre story began about a week ago, when I first started trying to learn who was responsible for running RageBooter. In late March, someone hacked and leaked the users table for ragebooter.net. The database showed that the very first user registered on the site picked the username “Justin,” and signed up with the email address “firstname.lastname@example.org.”
A federal appeals court said Goldman Sachs Group Inc is not liable for having allegedly misled Liberty Mutual Insurance Co about the health of Fannie Mae when it helped the mortgage financier sell stock prior to the 2008 financial crisis.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York upheld a federal district judge’s dismissal of Liberty Mutual’s case, which had been split off from multidistrict litigation over more than $14 billion of stock that Fannie Mae issued in the two years before it was seized by the government on Sept. 7, 2008.
Liberty Mutual claimed it lost $62.5 million from its investment in Fannie Mae preferred stock issued in late 2007, after underwriting documents prepared by Goldman misrepresented that Fannie Mae had enough capital and reserves to handle its $700 billion of exposure to risky mortgages.
In August 2012, U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty in Manhattan dismissed the claims against Goldman, finding a lack of evidence that the bank schemed to defraud or made material misstatements.
The possibilities offered by graphene get clearer by the day as labs around the world grow and test the one-atom-thick form of carbon. Because it is as thin as possible, battery manufacturers hope to take advantage of graphene’s massive surface area to store lithium ions. Counting both sides of the material, one gram would cover 2,630 square meters, or nearly half a football field.
Federal authorities say they diffused a potential terrorist threat with the arrest of an Uzbekistan national who they say belongs to an Islamic terrorist group.
Fazliddin Kurbanov, 30, now faces federal charges in Utah and Idaho for allegedly training others how to make bombs and preparing to carry out a violent offense with a weapon of mass destruction.
The FBI arrested Kurbanov in a Boise apartment complex Thursday morning as part of federal terrorism investigation in the two states. Agents also searched a residence in Boise, but FBI spokeswoman Debbie Bertram would not say if it belonged to Kurbanov.
Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II will formally accept the Republican nomination for governor Saturday, but he’ll stand alone at the top of the GOP with neither the man he hopes to succeed nor his onetime rival for the nomination in Richmond to help him unify the party.
Gov. Bob McDonnell is scheduled to deliver a commencement address at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise in the southwestern part of the state, and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, who ditched his own governor’s bid, has planned a fishing trip in West Virginia.
A federal appeals court has ruled that a recess appointment to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) was unconstitutional in a decision echoing a January case that cast doubt on the legitimacy of the agency’s actions.
In the ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit found that former board member Craig Becker was unconstitutionally appointed to the board by President Obama during a 2010 Senate break.
The decision is similar to a January opinion from the D.C. Circuit that invalidated Obama’s 2012 appointments of three members to the board.
The path to citizenship was not automatic. Immigrants had to pay application fees, learn to speak English, understand American civics, pass a medical exam, and register for military selective service. Those with convictions for a felony or three misdemeanors were ineligible.
This should sound familiar, as it’s quite close to the path and provisions set forth by the Gang of Eight.
Today they call it a “roadmap to citizenship.” Ronald Reagan called it “amnesty.” And he was right.
The 1986 reform did not solve our immigration problem—in fact, the population of illegal immigrants has nearly quadrupled since that “comprehensive” bill.
Is there anything more annoying than infrastructure that turns on you? …
… The latest entrant into the scary-infrastructure category comes from a technology that feels like it should be a lot warmer and fuzzier: namely, electric car-charging stations.
In a video recorded at Hack In The Box 2013 Amsterdam and posted courtesy of Help Net Security, Ofer Shezaf, founder of OWASP Israel, talks about the lack of security in these charging stations, which often amount to little more than a computer sitting behind a key-lock panel on the street.
Mathematician Yitang Zhang of the University of New Hampshire, appears to have taken a major step in solving the twin prime conjecture. He’s come up with a mathematical proof that shows that the number of pairs of prime numbers that exist that are less than 70 million units apart is infinite. His proof is currently under review for publication in the journal Annals of Mathematics.
The White House came out Wednesday against legislation meant to protect the financial sector from overly burdensome regulations imposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, saying the GOP-backed bill would impede the agency’s ability to do its job.
Still, a policy statement issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) stopped short of threatening a veto should Congress approve the bill, which is scheduled for a vote this week in the House.
Penned by Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), the SEC Regulatory Accountability Act would require the agency to conduct cost-benefit analyses on any new rules to ensure that the intended results of added regulations are not outweighed by the expense of implementing them.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Wednesday described the leak about a foiled terrorist plot in Yemen to The Associated Press as a “very, very serious” matter that “put the American people at risk,” but he did not remember when he recused himself from the investigation into it, did not put his recusal in writing and never told the White House.
Florida House Republicans last month loudly and proudly rejected billions of dollars in federal money that would have provided health insurance to 1 million poor Floridians.
Quietly, they kept their own health insurance premiums staggeringly low.
House members will pay just $8.34 a month for state-subsidized health care next year, or $30 a month to cover their entire family.
That’s one-sixth of what state senators and most state employees will pay, and one-tenth of the cost to the average private-sector worker, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Samuel Bowles of the Santa Fe Institute and Jung-Kyoo Choib of Kyungpook National University have published a paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences theorizing that farming developed along with property rights. They suggest that the development of property rights caused early humans to farm during a time when it was less productive than hunting and gathering.
Scientists have grappled with the issue of why early humans began to farm during a time when doing so was less productive then hunting and gathering. Studies have shown that the earliest farmers were smaller and shorter than those that continued to find their food in its natural state—most likely due to eating less food. Why would anyone grow food, when it was so much easier to simply harvest food that was growing naturally? Bowles and Choib suggest it was because people began to value property rights.
In a unanimous ruling Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court held that an Indiana farmer had infringed on Monsanto’s patent rights by planting genetically modified soybeans he purchased from a grain elevator instead of the company or its authorized dealers.
Biotech giant Monsanto produces and sells a genetically modified soybean that is engineered to withstand the herbicide Roundup, also made by Monsanto. Farmers who purchase Roundup Ready soybeans must also sign a licensing agreement that allows them to plant the purchased seed in only one season.
The commercial application of MEMS, or micro-electro-mechanical systems, will receive a major boost today following the presentation of a brand new way to accurately measure the power requirements and outputs of all existing and future devices. The cheap and easy to apply technique will be presented for the first time today at the TechConnect World Conference 2013 by a research team from Laboratoire national de métrologie et d’essais (LNE) in France. The researchers believe it will help manufacturers improve product performance, develop new functionalities, reduce energy consumption of mass production, respond to market demands for miniaturization, and increase reliability of MEMS devices around the world.
Forget apples — lifting weights and doing cardio can also keep the doctors away, according a new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute.
The study, published today in the online journal PLOS ONE, followed 86 women, aged 70- to 80-years-old, who were randomly assigned to participate in weight training classes, outdoor walking classes, or balance and toning classes (such as yoga and pilates) for six months. All participants have mild cognitive impairment, a well-recognized risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
The researchers tabulated the total costs incurred by each participant in accessing a variety of health care resources.
But if you study Fannie Mae’s 10Q report, you’ll find that most of the 2013:Q1 reported profit came from Fannie’s decision to recredit itself with $50.6 B in deferred-tax assets. The company’s theory prior to 2008 was that, with all its previous losses, it wouldn’t have to pay much future taxes as a result of carrying those losses forward. Fannie had been counting the taxes it wouldn’t have to pay in the future as one of its main net assets in 2008. When Fannie was taken into conservatorship in 2008, there was a decision that maybe the enterprise would never go back to being a “private” company that owed any taxes, so those deferred-tax assets were written off as a big loss. Now the enterprise is putting them back on the books, as a result of which it claimed a huge after-tax profit for 2013:Q1. So Fannie plans to pay the U.S. Treasury (the GSE’s current owner) a big dividend.
It’s pretty amusing to see how this is getting covered by some of the press. For example, CNN’s headline was Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac to help cut deficit:
U.S. taxpayers will soon reap a nearly $67 billion benefit from the recovering housing market, which will help to shrink deficits and delay the need to raise the country’s debt ceiling.
To translate, you don’t need to worry so much about the outstanding government debt because maybe some day Fannie is going to be a private company again that won’t have to pay taxes for quite a while. Because the taxes that Fannie isn’t going to pay in the future count as an asset to its current owner (the U.S. government), we can now declare ourselves to be better off financially than we were a week ago.
Charts at the link.