Author Archives: Kestrel

Good idea.

Copper Foam Provides a New Way to Turn CO2 into Useful Chemicals

I hope we didn’t spend too much money on this.

A new study reveals that people find the smell of others with similar political opinions to be attractive, suggesting that one of the reasons why so many spouses share similar political views is because they were initially and subconsciously attracted to each other’s body odor.

During the study, 146 participants rated the attractiveness of the body odor of unknown strong liberals and strong conservatives, without ever seeing the individuals whose smells they were evaluating.
“People could not predict the political ideology of others by smell if you asked them, but they differentially found the smell of those who aligned with them more attractive. So I believe smell conveys important information about long-term affinity in political ideology that becomes incorporated into a key component of subconscious attraction,” said Dr. Rose McDermott, lead author of the American Journal of Political Science study.

Harder than a diamond.

Researchers from the Technological Institute for Superhard and Novel Carbon Materials in Troitsk, MIPT, MISiS, and MSU have developed a new method for the synthesis of an ultrahard material that exceeds diamond in hardness. An article recently published in the journal Carbon describes in detail a method that allows for the synthesis of ultrahard fullerite, a polymer composed of fullerenes, or spherical molecules made of carbon atoms.

In their work, the scientists note that diamond hasn’t been the hardest material for some time now. Natural diamonds have a hardness of nearly 150 GPa, but ultrahard fullerite has surpassed diamond to become first on the list of hardest materials with values that range from 150 to 300 GPa.

Harry Reid must be rejoicing.

The Virginia conservative group at the center of the Koch brothers’ far-reaching political network saw its revenue and spending decline sharply last year, the organization’s new tax filings show.

Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, the main policy and funding outlet for the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, collected nearly $57.5 million during the 2013 fiscal year — less than a quarter of the more than $255 million the group took in during the same period in 2012 as it spent heavily to mold the nation’s political and policy debates ahead of the presidential election.

Arrests in Egypt

Egypt arrests Muslim Brotherhood members on terrorism charges

Gas chambers at Sobibor death camp uncovered in archaeological dig

An archaeological dig in Poland has revealed the location of the gas chambers at the Sobibor death camp, Yad Vashem announced on Wednesday.

Some 250,000 Jews were murdered at Sobibor, but on October 14, 1943, about 600 prisoners revolted and briefly escaped. Between 100 and 120 prisoners survived the revolt, and 60 of those survived the war. After the camp uprising, the Nazis bulldozed the area and planted it over with pine trees to conceal their crimes.

Problems in Belgium.

Authorities following “all leads” in possible anti-Semitic attack just as Brussels Jewish Museum following the shooting which killed an Israeli couple, French woman and Belgian man.

Belgian authorities are investigating a possible arson attack on a Brussels synagogue after smoke from the fire injured three people, according to a report by the Dutch news agency Deutsche Welle on Tuesday.

The fire was reported to authorities on Tuesday morning in the Brussels suburb of Anderlecht.

Just as well. They’ve proved to be of little use.

It’s hard to stay informed when no information is provided.

Geez …

Venezuela’s chronic shortages have begun to encroach on a cultural cornerstone: the boob job.

Day by Day

Geez …

The Obama administration announced Monday it will cut off tax subsidies to about 360,000 people if they do not offer proof of their income in the next two weeks.

Officials will send final notices this week to individuals who signed up for ObamaCare with income levels that didn’t match government records. The announcement marks the administration’s first move to tackle the politically charged issue of income verification, which has remained a key GOP argument against the healthcare reform law.

Squeaky clean?

Mark Marmilev, CTO of former digital currency brokerage Liberty Reserve, has pleaded guilty to playing a major role in the operation of the business which became a favourite for cybercrooks and money launderers.

35-year-old Brooklyn, New York native Marmilev was one of seven people indicted when the US authorities seized and shut down Liberty Reserve in May 2013.

The online currency system was described in court documents as “one of the world’s most widely used digital currencies” at the time, and “one of the principal means by which cyber-criminals around the world distribute, store and launder the proceeds of their criminal activities.”

Remember when you fell for that Nigerian bank scam.

Well, your money is still on the move.

A Nigerian IT worker is wanted by police after a major cyber-heist at the bank where he was employed.

38-year-old Godswill Oyegwa Uyoyou is alleged to have brought a team of other conspirators onto bank premises disguised as maintenance workers, and assisted them in accessing bank computer systems.

Once in, they proceeded to initiate transfers amounting to 6.28 billion Nigeria Naira ($40 million, £23.5 million), with the money believed to have ended up in bogus accounts controlled by the gang.

They were apparently in the process of withdrawing funds when their activities were spotted.

To much TV.

A former Georgetown University student who manufactured ricin pleaded guilty Monday to possessing the deadly poison in his dorm room — a turn of events prosecutors suggest might have been inspired by the TV show “Breaking Bad.”

Daniel Milzman, 19, of Bethesda pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District to a charge of unregistered possession of a biological agent or toxin and faces up to two years in prison when he is sentenced Nov. 10.

At what point does it become infringment?

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence is filing a lawsuit against online retailers that allegedly sold ammunition to James Holmes, the suspect accused of the Aurora theater killings.

“The lawsuit alleges that the websites negligently supplied Holmes with the arsenal he used to kill 12 people and wound at least 58 others by failing to use any screening mechanism to determine his identity or intent for the products,” the Brady Center said in a media release, Fox-affiliated KDVR reported.

What is it with the Clintons and documents?

As the House Select Committee on Benghazi prepares for its first hearing this week, a former State Department diplomat is coming forward with a startling allegation: Hillary Clinton confidants were part of an operation to “separate” damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

Jihad trial in Germany.

An alleged German jihadist went on trial Monday accused of fighting for the Islamic State in Syria group, amid calls for tougher action to prevent attacks in Europe by the militants.

In the first German criminal proceedings involving IS, Kreshnik Berisha, a 20-year-old born near the business capital Frankfurt to a family from Kosovo, has been charged with membership of a foreign terrorist organisation.

He could face 10 years in prison if convicted by the city’s superior regional court.

Why are there still some dark areas in Nevada?

Extorting Lloyds.

A 22-year-old with a lengthy history of convictions pleaded guilty last week to charges of blackmail and fraud, after threatening to reveal details of thousands of phished bank accounts if the bank involved refused to pay up.

The man, Lewys Martin, originally from the town of Walmer near Deal in Kent, apparently got his hands on 28,000 sets of account details for customers of the Halifax bank, part of the Lloyds Banking Group.

He then threatened to release the data to the Sun newspaper if Lloyds refused to pay up to the tune of 1 bitcoin for every 10 records he held, which came to just over £200,000 at the time of the offence in May 2013 and at today’s prices would be worth four times as much.

The right idea.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s ongoing deployment of 1,000 National Guard troops along the Rio Grande may be helpful in his second try for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016. The move also continues a distinctively Texan balancing act on immigration that Perry has been maintaining for well over a decade.

The question is whether Perry represents the future of his party on immigration — or whether his nuanced positions on the issue will again become a liability in national politics.

Government’s greatest attribute.

Bullying … for money,

US government “threatened” Yahoo with daily $250,000 fines over user data

A time for satire.

Political satire mocks rituals of Islamic State.

Good idea

It doesn’t actually exist … yet.

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