Summary of news topics
eBay announced today (5/21/2014) that its database had been hacked two months ago. They recommend that everyone change their password. I recommend that eBay notify its users sooner than two months after the hack.
Links:EBay: eBay Inc. To Ask eBay Users To Change Passwords
Christopher Columbus landed in Central America in 1492 with three ships, the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. Anyone over a certain age remembers this well from grade school history. The Santa Maria, with Columbus on board, hit a reef near the coast of Hispaniola (modern day Haiti). Columbus and his men returned to Spain on the remaining two ships.
The wreckage is the right size and the location matches the descriptions of the event. Further excavation will be conducted, but marine archeologists believe it is the Santa Maria. The History Channel has received rights to produce a television program about the excavation.
Links:UK Independent: Exclusive: Found after 500 years, the wreck of Christopher Columbus's flagship the Santa Maria
Nissan is experimenting with a paint for cars that resist oil and water and even dirt, mud, and dust. It might mean an end to car washing. See their Press Release. It was also tested on snow and sleet.
The paint is being tested on the Nissan Note and will not be standard until further testing. If the tests continue to be successful, the paint might be offered as an add-on.
Most of these links have awesome video:NBC News: Alabama, Mississippi Brace for 2nd Hit as Tornado Toll Reaches 28
The United States expanded its sanctions against Russia on Monday, targeting members
of President Vladimir Putin's "inner circle" and technology that could be useful to Russia's military.
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. These are areas of study that are in demand right now. The U.S. needs more talented people in these areas, since companies are going overseas to find this talent.
The modern, technological, world needs these skills. Technical and scientific solutions to many problems are being sought. There has been a lot of criticism of the educational system in the U.S. and its lack of emphasis on the hard sciences. Part of the problem is that many who are skilled in these areas go into fields other than teaching, mostly because teaching doesn't pay as well.
There is a push to teach computer coding in grade schools. If there are kids with a strong aptitude for tech, this might help them decide to enter that field. Math has always been taught, and kids often hate it. Maybe we need to look at how we are teaching it. Math and science should be exciting.
It depends on your definition of "best:"
The short answer is: truck worse than train worse than pipeline worse than boat. But thatís only for human death and property destruction. For the normalized amount of oil spilled, itís truck worse than pipeline worse than rail worse than boat. Different yet again is for environmental impact (dominated by impact to aquatic habitat), where itís boat worse than pipeline worse than truck worse than rail.
Read the whole article
04/28/2014 10:42 am Link ID: 04282014-152
Matt Ridley has written a provocative article about new energy sources and the technology to use them. He describes technology that will enable us to continue with our advanced lifestyle.
Ecologists worry that the world's resources come in fixed amounts that will run out, but we have broken through such limits again and again.
What frustrates [economists] about ecologists is the latter's tendency to think in terms of static limits. Ecologists can't seem to see that when whale oil starts to run out, petroleum is discovered, or that when farm yields flatten, fertilizer comes along, or that when glass fiber is invented, demand for copper falls.
Ridley says that ecologists think economic growth will use up resources, whereas economist say the growth will discover new solutions. Read Ridley's book The Rational Optimist for more information on his views.
The strongests tornadoes this season ran through Oklahoma and Arkansas, leaving 2 dead in Oklahoma and at least 16 dead in Arkansas. Hardest hit was Mayflower, Arkansas. Mayor James Firestone of nearby Vilonia, Arkansas, said "It's chaos here. Our downtown area seems like it's completely leveled."
The storms are not over. There are warnings in Missouri and Illinois.
The Obama administration on Monday announced a new round of sanctions on Russia over the standoff in Eastern Ukraine, targeting seven Russian government officials and 17 companies linked to Russia President Vladimir Putinís inner circle. The sanctions also will freeze military-technology exports. -- NBC News
President Obama said Monday in Manila that new sanctions would be levied later in the day, and soon after the administration announced it was targeting seven Russian officials and 17 companies linked to Putin's inner circle. -- National Journal
UPDATE: USA Today says six killed in Arkansas
CNN and FOX are reporting at least two people were killed in Oklahoma as a tornado swept through Oklahoma and Arkansas. Heavy storms will be travelling through the Midwest and South. This is the time of year that tornadoes are most possible.
Modern cellphones contain a lot of personal data. In addition to phone call records they contain calendars, photographs, email and even links to financial, medical and travel records.
This device is small and can be carried in a purse or pocket. Useful for long flights, trips or any situation where you don't have access to an electric outlet.
This model can add 2 to 3 charges to your phone, or 200% to 300% of the battery life of most phones. This model has a USB 2.0 port and a Micro USB port.
Other models include the less expensive Jackery Mini Premium Ultra-compact Aluminum Portable Charger 2600mAh External Battery Backup Power Bank. Small Size, High Capacity, Fast Charging. This model costs less and has only a USB 2.0 port. It provides 1 full charge to a cell phone.
A more expensive model is Jackery Giant High-capacity Premium Aluminum Portable Charger 10400mAh External Battery Backup Power Bank. Dual-Port with Ultra-fast Charging Speed. This model has two USB ports and a Micro USB port.
OMG The first recorded appearance of this acronym for "Oh, my God!" comes, surprisingly, in a letter to Winston Churchill in 1917, from J.A.F. Fisher: "I hear that a new order of Knighthood is on the tapis ó O.M.G. (Oh! My God!) ó Shower it on the Admiralty!!'
04/24/2014 3:47 pm Link ID: 04242014-147
Amazon Prime Pantry allows Amazon Prime customers to have 45 pounds of groceries delivered for $6.00. You can order any sizes, not just bulk, as Amazon describes it "low-priced everyday essentials in everyday sizes, delivered to your home". The service is available in any of the contiguous 48 states.
Adding Prime Panty items to your carts starts a Prime Pantry box. As you shop you will see what percent of the Pantry box is filled, based on size and weight. Pantry Boxes can hold up to 45 pounds or four cubic feet. Each Prime Pantry Box has a $5.99 delivery fee. You don't have to fill your box, but the fee is the same.
Three American medical workers were shot at a hospital in downtown Kabul. A police guard was also shot but survived. Read these news links for more details.
At least two dead in clash between Ukrainian and Russian troops. The Ukraine president, Oleksandr Turchynov, ordered military operations in eastern Ukraine. Pro-Russian protesters seized government buildings and set up roadblocks. Russian President Putin accused the Ukraine government of using its army against its own people.
At least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at a Veteran's hospital in Phoenix, AZ.
The HBO Collection for Amazon Prime Instant Video is arriving May 21.
Enjoy coupon savings without the hassle of clipping. Amazon Coupons showcases coupon discounts from top brands within Grocery, Health & Beauty, Electronics, Home Improvement, Movies, and more. Sign in to see all your available coupons.
Russian planes were approaching Scotland. The RAF scrambled it's planes.
The Netherlands and Denmark, both NATO members, also scrambled jets when Russian bombers approached air space over the North Sea on Wednesday.Dutch scramble jets after Russian bombers approach
150 U.S. soldiers arrived in Poland today. Troops will also be sent to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. About 600 soldiers in all will be rotated in these four countries. The United States says this is to show support for NATO in a region that is close to the troubled Ukraine area.
"Russia's aggression in Ukraine has renewed our resolve to strengthening NATO's defense plans and capabilities," said U.S. Rear Admiral John Kirby.
Lots of deals, not just books. See Today's Amazon Deals
Once again, President Obama has thrown a bone to the extremists in his base, by delaying the Keystone pipeline again. There is no valid reason to stop this. The oil is still coming into the US by rail and truck, which is far more dangerous that any pipeline. And energy independence used to be an important goal for the United States.
President Obama may understand how ridiculous his position is, and he does this anyway, to placate the idiot celebrities who oppose the pipeline, or, the President may be as ignorant as the rest of the extreme environmentalists.
A large 7.5 earthquake struck Mexico, near Acapulco. There are no reports of injuries or damage at this time. Mexico City felt the quake for about 30 seconds.
The quake occurred at 9:27 am local time (Central Time), (10:278 ET).
In 1985 there was a magnitude 8.1 earthquake that killed 6,000 people
An arrest warrant was issued for the captain of the ferry boat that sank near South Korea. 28 people are confirmed dead and nearly 270 are missing. Most of the missing are high school students.
Investigators say that the captain was not at the wheel when the boat capsized. Another man rescued from the ship was a high school vice-principal who was later found hung from a tree. It is presumed that he took his own life.
Automation has created as many jobs as it has eliminated, so far. But there is a growing concern that robots and computers will take away more jobs than they replace. Certainly, the new jobs involved in managing automation are better paying than many of the jobs being replaced, but they also require more skill.
Clerical work was taken over by computers some time ago. Many paper-handlers have had to learn new jobs. But this has also created new jobs in tech support and programming. The bean-counters use Excel instead of ledger paper. They have become proficient in several software apps. People have learned new skills to keep themselves valuable.
Assembly line work used to be considered tedious and de-humanizing. But then it started to pay well, especially in the automotive industry. It was ripe for take over by robots and it has displaced workers. Robots are even doing jobs in the military. And this is expected to increase. The goal is to replace infantry troops with robots. And how will that change warfare? Is there even a reason to have soldiers (robots) shooting at each other, or is cyberwar where we are going. Why shoot at an armed robot when I can mess with its software and make it harmless?
The possibilities are beyond the technology. The social, political and economic issues are just starting to be discovered.
* Moving things with large muscles.
* Finely manipulating things with small muscles.
* Using our hands, mouths, brains, eyes, and ears to ensure that ongoing processes and procedures happen the way that they are supposed to.
* Engaging in social reciprocity and negotiation to keep us all pulling in the same direction.
* Thinking up new things Ė activities that produce outcomes that are necessary, convenient, or luxurious Ė for us to do.
Machines have largely taken over the first two skills. And I don't ever think machines will replace the fifth item. Creativity and new ideas don't exist in machines, at least none that I have ever seen. In spite of their speed of calculation, they are really not smart, not in the sense that a creative person is smart.
Societies adapt to disruptive changes. Sometimes, like our present, the changes are happening very fast the the societal norms are playing catch-up. But we have started to anticipate rapid change. I don't see robots taking over and leaving us to starve. We will adapt and not let that happen. The key word is "ADAPT", something a machine can't do without human intervention. ~~ Linda Quinn ~~
04/16/2014 10:48 am Link ID: 04162014-135
Everyone knows this picture. But did you know it is a real place? Read the story behind it.
We used to think our kids were safe at school, but that has been changing in recent years. Today there was mass stabbing. The details are not clear yet, but it''s hard to imagine stabbing 20 people before being stopped.
Mass stabbings are rare. Unlike a gun, it's hard to hurt so many people with a knife. Apparently some of the victims are in critical condition. Information is still sketchy since this event is still unfolding. No word on the perpetrator, or the victims, except CNN is reporting that ages of the injured range from 14 to 60. We will update as needed.
The 77 cents story is so old that I am amazed that anyone takes it seriously. I have heard pundits and reports talk about women making less for the same work. There is NO statistic that bears that out. The only way the 77 cents stat works is with all women vs. all men. And that includes so many variables to make it meaningless.WSJ: The '77 Cents on the Dollar' Myth About Women's Pay
President Obama wants to require businesses to hand over data on pay, broken down by race and gender, to the Labor Department.
Are there any limits to what this administration wants to control? Salary information has always been guarded in private business. It is thought of as a trade secret. Businesses don't want to share this information with other companies because it would be too easy to poach workers.
The President is unveiling this as part of his Gender Pay Disparity program. He is trying to convince the American public that the system is rigged against them and they are victims. Victims need to be rescued, and that's where the Administration's largess comes to save us all.
Salary is a private contract between and employer and employee. Having marketable skills will give a person leverage in the negotiations. Hard work and accomplishment give an employee advantages during salary negotiation. But now, why work hard, why try? If my employer has to send salary information to the government, broken down by race and gender, the all that counts are the raw numbers. This reporting won't show who is a hard worker and who isn't up to speed. There are many factors that create a "good fit" in the workplace. None of this will show up in a report that shows groups and pay amounts. All that employers will care about in setting salaries is what will keep them out of trouble with the Labor Department.
But who is going to fight this? Probably no one.
Ukraine sees demonstations with pro-Russian and Pro-Ukranian citizens. Tensions are strong. There was a fistfight in the Parliament. There are fears of further conflict.
Seems like earthquakes have been in the news lately.YAHOO: Oklahoma?
Were there two quakes?DAILY MAIL: Two Oklahoma earthquakes in a day.
China and Australia have heard sounds that might be the ping from the black boxes.SKY NEWS: Three acoustic signals detected CNN: Searchers race to try to trace sounds detected in ocean
Also in the CNN article: Maylasia government reveals a different flight pattern, around Indonesia. The question is why this information is being announced so late. Are they holding back information? Are they re-analyzing existing data and getting different information?
Take a look at the charts that show that the jobs numbers are largely meaningless when looking at long term trends.The Only Jobs Report Post You Need to Read
The first Friday of each month is when the jobs report for the previous month is released. Today's job report shows that 192,000 jobs were created. But the unemployment rate remained the same at 6.7%.
When counting the long-term unemployed, the unemployment rate is closer to 12.7%, analysts say. And many of these new jobs are low paying jobs that pay around $14.00 an hour. The economy is growing very slowing which is not enough to pull the economy out of the doldrums.
Some analysts blame the bad weather for some of the stagnant results.Bloomberg on Jobs
A little five year old boy was able to bypass a parental control password on his XBox. His Dad had set a password to keep him out of the more violent adult games. But he was able to bypass it quickly. He entered an invalid password, then he entered all spaces, and the XBox let him in.
These kids are growing up with technology and when they are old enough to start companies, the future will be awesome. In the mean time, security holes like this are often found because kids are playing around with the equipment. An adult hacker is trying too hard to find an opening. A kid can just stumble into a security hole. No adult had found this flaw.
Read the article. This kid is not unique. These are the people we will be competing with in twenty years.
You go to the grocery store, and when you look for the checkout counter there is none. Thereís no place to pay for your groceries because you already did.
We really don't use cash very much anymore. Most transactions are sets of bookkeeping entries. And we have seen experiments in non-government money, like Bitcoin, or promotional amounts. An article in the New York Times today talks about how likely this will be.
The idea of money without government backing seems strange, but governments haven&apos:t always been the best caretakers of currency. The book The Downfall of Money: Germanyís Hyperinflation and the Destruction of the Middle Class is an excellent description of a government messing with its currency for short term problem solving.
Another book, When Money Dies: The Nightmare of Deficit Spending, Devaluation, and Hyperinflation in Weimar Germanytells the same story. The parallels with the Weimar Republic in Germany, after World War One, with our modern economic policies, are frightening.
Amazon has releases it's waited for TV box. It's called Amazon Fire TV and it only costs $99.00.
It has access to Amazon Streaming Video, Netflix, Hulu Plus and more.
It has voice activation and can include a game console. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can watch your Prime Video on your TV.
There was an 8.2 earthquake off the coast of Chile last night (April 1, 2014). That is a very large earthquake. There are reports of 5 deaths, mostly from collapsing walls. A tsunami warning was confined to the coasts of Chile and Peru.You can read more at:
On April 2, 2014, Amazon will be making an announcement. It is expected to be a Video box that will allow you to your computer content on your television.
It will compete with Apple TV, Roku and Google Chromecast. Google Chromecast is only $35.00. I bought a Chromecast and I can watch Netflix and Hulu Plus, as well as view my Google Chrome browser output. Streaming video on my Chrome browser can be played on Chromecast, but not Amazon streaming video.
I watch a lot of Amazon video. They have a great service that doesn't get the attention is deserves. They have recent TV shows, many the day after they air on network. And Amazon's library includes many recent movies. If you signup for Amazon Prime you will get most of these features for free. The Amazon box will surely offer Amazon streaming video. The question is, what will it cost? There isn't any price information yet, but it will surely be competitive with the other devices on the market.
Amazon Media Event
04/01/2014 1:00 am Link ID: 04012014-116
"If you torture the data long enough, it will confess."
That old conundrum of correlation vs. causation is back again. CNBC had an article that was picked up by several local news outlets, Diet Drinks Linked with Heart Disease, Death. Except, when you read the article, that's not really what it's saying.
The findings, being presented at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology, don't suggest that the drinks themselves are killers. But women who toss back too many diet sodas may be trying to make up for unhealthy habits, experts say.
Oh, so there is a CORRELATION between Diet Drinks and other unhealthy habits. Maybe there is also a correlation between unhealthy habits and the television shows people watch, or the kind of cars they drive.
The women who drank the most drinks were also more likely to smoke, to be overweight, to have diabetes and to have high blood pressure.
Wow, are they saying that the diet drinks caused the smoking, the weight, and/or diabetes?
The news media loves a sensational headline. But in this story the facts to back it up are laughable at best. Statistics are an abused science.
Amazon has been re-defining the idea of a "book" by introducing the "single" and offering "serials". This is based on the idea that an electronic book can be any length. In the past, it was not cost-effective to print a shorter book. Those would be sold to magazines as short-stories.
There are novellas and shorter novels available at the Kindle store. We have all read books that were too long, that seemed to have been stretched out to meet the acceptable length for a published book. A book can now be the optimal length to tell the story.
E-books have created a market for reading material and new authors that wouldn\'t be read if the old hard-copy publishing world still prevailed.
Original music is being developed for online streaming and downloads. And the app market for mobile devices is open to any one with talent and ideas. With opportunites for writing talent being expanded thanks to digital books, I am waiting for great content to watch on my tablet devices. I wish I had more to choose from than season 2 of a sit-com.
If you still aren't convinced that this is one of the worst winters in the United States, read this USAToday article
The predictions of the last several decades, of dooom and gloom because we are not good guardians of mother earth, have all failed to come true. Let's list a few:
What happened to Nuclear Winter?
In the 1970's and even into the 1980's, there were dire predictions that pollution in the air would block out the sun and bring record cold. Growing seasons would be terribly shortened and food would become scarce. As the cold continued, energy consumption would skyrocket, and since fossils fuels were running out, they told us, we were doomed to freeze to death in the dark.
Now, of course, this same airbourne polution is heating the earth. It is trapping the earth's heat and we are heating up. The scary story continues that the polar ice caps will melt and flood all the coastlines.
What about the longer growing seasons that will result from more heat? And warmer nighttime temperatures? Oh, they never mention that. It is all doom and gloom all the time. No matter what the situation, we are all doomed.
What do the environmentalists gain from all this scary talk? Well, it reduces the drive toward innovation and modernity. It allows governmental bodies to control areas of private life that were unimaginable just a short time ago. They are the pied pipers that we need to follow.