Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #14102 on: Jan 4th, 2016, 12:35pm »
Buy Insurance Against Alien Abductions
Insurance is a strange thing. You pay for it hoping that you’ll never need it, but aren’t you glad you have it when you do? Most people have insurance policies covering all of their most important and valuable possessions like homes, cars, motorcycles or boats. In case of loss, theft or destruction by catastrophes like fire, floods, earthquakes, insurance has us covered. But what about alien abductions?
Paid on Proof of Alien Abduction
Don’t worry – there’s an insurance policy for everything. Area51.org has learned that British insurance mogul Simon Burgess started offering alien abduction policies back in the 1990s, and they sold like hotcakes throughout the United Kingdom. Some sources estimate that as many as 4,400 alien abduction insurance policies were sold!
Alien abduction insurance protected people from abduction events and paid out based on proof of alien abduction. Some policies even had provisions to pay more if the abductee, whether male or female, was impregnated by the aliens during an abduction event.
Who would buy alien abduction insurance, you may ask? The most famous policy holders were the death cult known as Heaven’s Gate. Heaven’s Gate cult members believed that the return of the Hale-Bopp comet in 1997 would be accompanied by an alien mothership that would help them escape from doomed planet Earth. The strange beliefs of Heaven’s Gate were even covered by Art Bell on his popular radio program, Coast to Coast AM.
A Tragic End
Unfortunately, in order to join the mothership, 39 of the cult members committed mass suicide. The deceased were dressed in identical black sweatsuits with “Heaven’s Gate Away Team” armbands. Amongst the deceased was Thomas Nichols, brother of Nichelle Nichols who played Uhura on the original Star Trek.
After the tragic death of the Heaven’s Gate cult, Burgess temporarily halted sales of his alien abduction insurance policy, but later resumed sales after the incident left the news cycle. Burgess was well-known for offering other bizarre insurance policies such as protection against virgin – selling an estimated 15,000 policies worldwide.
Burgess has since distanced himself from what he describes as “PR stunts” and sold the latest incarnation of his insurance company, British Insurance, for £25m in 2007.
A half-dozen females hand-picked to stand behind the former president grimaces, scowled and fought off yawns as he spoke in New Hampshire Event was Bill's first solo campaign stump speech in support of his wife's presidential ambitions A mother-daughter pair caught looking apathetic on stage were shocked to learn that they seldom smiled once Bill started talking The 14-year-old girl conceded that Clinton was a 'womanizer,' but brushed it off – although her mom was slower to dismiss concerns about the famous political Lothario making a campaign comeback
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #14110 on: Jan 5th, 2016, 2:16pm »
Data recovered from Gene Roddenberry's floppies—but what's on them?
by Rob Beschizza 5 January 2016
Several years after Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry died, his heirs found a cache of floppy disks. It's taken until now, some 20 years later, for the data to be recovered. The reason it took so long is awe-inspiring: he made his own computers, only switching to commercial products near the end of his life.
The floppy disks were used with the custom computers, but unfortunately one of those computers had been auctioned off and the other one was no longer operational. Roddenberry’s estate sent the floppies to DriveSavers, which spent three months writing software that could read the disks in the absence of any documentation or manuals for the custom-built OS.
But what did they find? They're not saying, yet!
This, of course, leaves one more question: What, exactly, is on the disks? Mike Cobb, director of engineering at DriveSavers, confirmed that they found “lots” of documents. The company will undoubtedly have a confidentially clause signed with the Roddenberry estate, which likely explains why it won’t be revealing what it found. But in a major anniversary year that will see a new Star Trek movie come to fruition, with a new Star Trek TV series premiering on CBS All Access in 2017, there could be some surprises in store.
The custom computer looks wonderful, and very focused upon its word-processing purpose. I wonder how hard it'd be to make a replica (or perhaps an homage, with a Raspberry Pi, a cap-swappable mechanical keyboard, elbow grease...)
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #14114 on: Jan 6th, 2016, 08:33am »
GOOD MORNING FELLOW UFOCASEBOOKERS
Brain game–maker fined $2 million for Lumosity false advertising
By Emily Underwood 5 January 2016 5:00 pm
Lumos Labs, the company that produces the popular “brain-training” program Lumosity, yesterday agreed to pay a $2 million settlement to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for running deceptive advertisements. Lumos had claimed that its online games can help users perform better at work and in school and stave off cognitive deficits associated with serious diseases such as Alzheimer’s, traumatic brain injury, and post-traumatic stress.
The $2 million settlement will be used to compensate Lumosity consumers who were misled by false advertising, says Michelle Rusk, a spokesperson with FTC in Washington, D.C. The company will also be required to provide an easy way to cancel autorenewal billing for the service, which includes online and mobile app subscriptions, with payments ranging from $14.95 monthly to lifetime memberships for $299.95. Before consumers can access the games, a pop-up screen will alert them to FTC’s order and allow them to avoid future billing, Rusk says.
The action is part of a larger crackdown on companies selling products that purportedly enhance memory or provide some other cognitive benefit, Rusk says. For some time now, FTC has been “concerned about some of the claims we’re seeing out there,” particularly those from companies like Lumos that suggest their games can reduce the effects of conditions such as dementia, she says. After evaluating the literature on Lumos's products, and the broader research on the benefits of brain-training games, “our assessment was they didn’t have adequate science for the claims that they’re making,” she says.
As evidence of their product’s value, Lumos Labs cites a recent study in the journal PLOS ONE showing that participants who trained with Lumosity for 10 weeks improved on an aggregate assessment of cognition. “Neither the action nor the settlement pertains to the rigor of our research or the quality of the products—it is a reflection of marketing language that has been discontinued,” the company said in a statement. It also noted its “strong contributions” to the scientific community, including its work with the Human Cognition Project, an online, collaborative research platform, and said those efforts will continue.
FTC’s finding is consistent with two scientific consensus statements organized by researchers at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, as well as a large NIH-funded study of brain-training games, Rusk says. “Basically, we think the most that they have shown is that with enough practice you get better on these games, or on similar cognitive tasks,” she says. “There’s no evidence that training transfers to any real world setting.” FTC has penalized several other companies for similarly misleading advertisements, including Focus Education, which is geared towards children, and Carrot Technology, a training program aimed at improving eyesight, and more are likely to follow, she says.