On Hackaday, Shenzhen demonstrates some proof-of-concept “taser-proof clothing” created by adding carbon fiber to the clothes’ lining. The carbon fiber textile can be procured in a variety of forms, including upholstery fabric (58″ wide, $19.50/yard) and peel-and-stick 50cm tape rolls. Shenzhen claims this will work even if the taser’s prongs get to the wearer’s body: “Electric current flows through the carbon tape and not through the human body. Always. Even if the taser’s needle pierced the skin.”
(keep reading at boingboing.net)
A heretofore inexplicable fatal, chronic kidney disease that has affected poor farming regions around the globe may be linked to the use of biochemical giant Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide in areas with hard water, a new study has found.
The new study was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
Researchers suggest that Roundup, or glyphosate, becomes highly toxic to the kidney once mixed with“hard” water or metals like arsenic and cadmium that often exist naturally in the soil or are added via fertilizer. Hard water contains metals like calcium, magnesium, strontium, and iron, among others. On its own, glyphosate is toxic, but not detrimental enough to eradicate kidney tissue.
The glyphosate molecule was patented as a herbicide by Monsanto in the early 1970s. The company soon brought glyphosate to market under the name “Roundup,” which is now the most commonly used herbicide in the world.
The hypothesis helps explain a global rash of the mysterious, fatal Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown etiology (CKDu) that has been found in rice paddy regions of northern Sri Lanka, for example, or in El Salvador, where CKDu is the second leading cause of death among males.
Furthermore, the study’s findings explain many observations associated with the disease, including the linkage between the consumption of hard water and CKDu, as 96 percent of patients have been found to have consumed “hard or very hard water for at least five years, from wells that receive their supply from shallow regolith aquifers.”
(keep reading at rt.com)
Two of the world’s most prestigious science academies say there’s clear evidence that humans are causing the climate to change.
The time for talk is over, says the US National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society, the national science academy of the UK.
The two released a paper, Climate Change: Evidence and Causes, written and reviewed by leading experts in both countries, lays out which aspects of climate change are well understood and where there is still uncertainty and a need for more research.
Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, said:
“We have enough evidence to warrant action being taken on climate change; it is now time for the public debate to move forward to discuss what we can do to limit the impact on our lives and those of future generations.”
NAS President Ralph J. Cicerone said:
“As two of the world’s leading scientific bodies, we feel a responsibility to evaluate and explain what is known about climate change, at least the physical side of it, to concerned citizens, educators, decision makers and leaders, and to advance public dialogue about how to respond to the threats of climate change.”
Carbon dioxide (CO2) has risen to levels not seen for at least 800,000 years, and observational records dating back to the mid-19th century show a clear, long-term warming trend.
(keep reading at businessinsider.com.au)
According to some of the newestEdward Snowden leaks as reported on by Glenn Greenwald on Monday,government spies are infiltrating websites in an effort to persuade public opinion and discredit opposition.
The documents from the GCHQ (the British equivalent of the NSA), titled “The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations,” were given to the NSA and leaked by Snowden. They reveal that the GCHQ is involved, through a unit known as JTRIG (Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group), in “the monitoring of YouTube and Blogger, the targeting of Anonymous with the very same DDoS attacks they accuse ‘hacktivists’ of using, the use of ‘honey traps’ (luring people into compromising situations using sex) and destructive viruses.”
Further, according to Greenwald, “these agencies are attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the internet itself.”
The goals of the JTRIG program are “(1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable.”
They do this through the use of several tactics, as listed by a slide from the documents: “Infiltration Operation,” “Ruse operation,” “Set Piece Operation,” “False Flag Operation,” “False Rescue Operation,” Disruption Operation” and “Sting Operation.”
(keep reading at examiner.com)
Congratulations. You are now the first state actually to pass a bill permitting businesses–even those open to the public–to refuse to provide service to LGBT people based on an individual’s “sincerely held religious belief.” This “turn away the gay” bill enshrines discrimination into the law. Your taxi drivers can refuse to carry us. Your hotels can refuse to house us. And your restaurants can refuse to serve us.
Kansas tried to pass a similar law, but had the good sense to not let it come up for a vote. The quashing came only after the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and other traditional conservative groups came out strongly against the bill.
But not you, Arizona. You’re willing to ostracize and marginalize LGBT people to score political points with the extreme right of the Republican Party. You say this bill protects “religious freedom,” but no one is fooled. When I was younger, people used “God’s Will” as a reason to keep the races separate, too. Make no mistake, this is the new segregation, yours is a Jim Crow law, and you are about to make yourself ground zero.
This bill also saddens me deeply. Brad and I have strong ties to Arizona. Brad was born in Phoenix, and we vacation in Show Low. We have close friends and relatives in the state and spend weeks there annually. We even attended the Fourth of July Parade in Show Low in 2012, looking like a pair of Arizona ranchers.
The law is breathtaking in its scope. It gives bigotry against us gays and lesbians a powerful and unprecedented weapon. But your mean-spirited representatives and senators know this. They also know that it is going to be struck down eventually by the courts. But they passed it anyway, just to make their hateful opinion of us crystal clear.
So let me make mine just as clear. If your Governor Jan Brewer signs this repugnant bill into law, make no mistake. We will not come. We will not spend. And we will urge everyone we know–from large corporations to small families on vacation–to boycott. Because you don’t deserve our dollars. Not one red cent.
And maybe you just never learn. In 1989, you voted down recognition of the Martin Luther King holiday, and as a result, conventions and tourists boycotted the state, and the NFL moved the Superbowl to Pasadena. That was a $500 million mistake.
So if our appeals to equality, fairness, and our basic right to live in a civil society without doors being slammed in our face for being who we are don’t move you, I’ll bet a big hit to your pocketbook and state coffers will.
“Our constitutional system, with its checks and balances and protection of rights, has been under attack since 9/11… The Fourth Amendment is near death; and President Obama’s remedies in his speech, are no better than band-aids and aspirin, are in reality even less than that. His speeches seem to be designed and intended only to improve the public’s mood about the way things are and will remain, to restore confidence in a system that does not deserve trust.
The president is showing no signs of being in control of the intelligence community; either it controls him, or they simply are in sync, and in full agreement– he ended up rejecting even the recommendations of his own hand-picked panels. He gives lip service to the problems in his speeches but we know by now the vast difference between his rhetocic and policy..”
~John Cusack 2/17/14 @redditAMA
Researchers at a laboratory in California say they’ve had a breakthrough in producing fusion power with a giant laser. The success comes after years of struggling to get the laser to work, and is another step in the decades-long quest for fusion energy.
Omar Hurricane, a researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, says that for the first time, they’ve produced significant amounts of fusion by zapping a target with their laser. “We’ve gotten more energy out of the fusion fuel than we put into the fusion fuel,” he says.
Strictly speaking, while more energy came from fusion than went into the hydrogen fuel, only about 1 percent of the laser’s energy ever reached the fuel. Useful levels of fusion are still a long way off. “They didn’t get more fusion power out than they put in with the laser,” says Steve Cowley, the head of a huge fusion experiment in the U.K. called the Joint European Torus, or JET.
The laser is known as the National Ignition Facility, or NIF. Constructed at a cost of more than $3 billion, it consists of 192 beams that take up the length of three football fields. For a brief moment, the beams can focus 500 trillion watts of power — more power than is being used in that same time across the entire United States — onto a target about the width of a No. 2 pencil.
The goal is fusion. Fusion is a process where hydrogen atoms are squeezed together to make helium atoms. When that happens, a lot of energy comes out. It could mean the answer to the world’s energy problems, but fusion is really, really hard to do. Hurricane says that each time they try, it feels like they’re taking a test.
(keep reading at npr.org)
Last week, more than 550 groups, representing tens of millions of individual members, signed a letter to members of Congress urging them to vote against a push by President Obama for ‘fast track’ authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a so-called “free trade” now under negotation between the U.S. and eleven other Pacific rim nations.
The week before that, another 50 groupslaunched an energized online campaign called StopFastTrack.com in order to kill the TPP agreement—dubbed “NAFTA on steroids”—that they say “threatens everything you care about: democracy, jobs, the environment, and the Internet.”
But if you watch the evening cable or broadcast news shows, you might not know anything about the TPP—not what it is, not why Obama says it would be good for the country, and certainly not why these hundreds of public interest groups, environmentalists, economists, and labor organizations say trade agreements like this are the source of economic and labor woes, not the solution to them.
According to a new study by Media Matters, over the last sixth months the network evening news shows—including ABC, NBC, CBS, and PBS—have ignored the TPP almost completely.
(read more at commondreams.org)
We’re continuing to see the ability to pay with Bitcoin trickle out into large brick-and-mortar stores in different parts of the world, even when it seems like those stores have not given Bitcoin their stamp of approval. We had many different Subways begin to accept Bitcoin a few months ago, and now you can also use Bitcoin as a payment option at the 7-Elevens and Ghandi bookstores in Mexico. Although these stores are not accepting bitcoins directly, they accept payments from something called the Pademobile wallet. You can link your Coinbase account to this mobile wallet, which allows you to send payments with nothing more than a cell phone number.
(keep reading at cryptocoinsnews.com)