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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 113183 times)
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« Reply #8745 on: Jun 29th, 2013, 09:12am »







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« Reply #8746 on: Jun 30th, 2013, 10:42am »

Associated Press

Southwest bakes in 115 to 120-degree heat

By BRIAN SKOLOFF and CHRIS CARLSON
— Jun. 30 12:45 AM EDT

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A man died and another was hospitalized in serious condition Saturday afternoon in heat-aggravated incidents as a heat wave blistered this sunbaked city and elsewhere in the Southwest.

Forecasters said temperatures in Las Vegas shot up to 115 degrees on Saturday afternoon, two degrees short of the city's all-time record.

Phoenix hit 119 degrees by mid-afternoon, breaking the record for June 29 that was set in 1994. And large swaths of California sweltered under extreme heat warnings, which are expected to last into Tuesday night — and maybe even longer.

The forecast for Death Valley in California called for 128 degrees Saturday, but it was 3 degrees shy of that, according to unofficial reports from the National Weather Service. Death Valley's record high of 134 degrees, set a century ago, stands as the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth.

Las Vegas fire and rescue spokesman Tim Szymanski said paramedics responded to a home without air conditioning and found an elderly man dead. He said while the man had medical issues, paramedics thought the heat worsened his condition.

Paramedics said another elderly man suffered a heat stroke when the air conditioner in his car went out for several hours while he was on a long road trip. He stopped in Las Vegas, called 911 and was taken to the hospital in serious condition.

The heat wave has sent more than 40 other people to hospitals in Las Vegas since it arrived Friday, but no life-threatening injuries were reported.

"We will probably start to see a rise in calls Sunday and Monday as the event prolongs," Szymanski said in a statement. "People's bodies will be more agitated the longer the event lasts and people may require medical assistance."

The forecast for Death Valley called for 128 degrees, but temperatures topped at 125, according to unofficial reports from the National Weather Service. Death Valley's record high of 134 degrees, set a century ago, stands as the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth.

About 100 miles south in Baker, the temperature peaked at an unofficial 117 degrees in the road tripper's oasis in the Mojave Desert on Interstate 15. The strip of gas stations and restaurants between Los Angeles and Las Vegas is known by travelers for the giant thermometer that often notes temperatures in the triple digits.

Elsewhere in Southern California, Palm Springs peaked at 122 degrees while the mercury in Lancaster hit 111 — a record.

To make matters worse, National Weather Service meteorologists John Dumas said cooling ocean breezes haven't been traveling far enough inland overnight to fan the region's overheated valleys and deserts.

In Northern California, record-breaking temperatures were recorded in Sacramento, where the high was 107 degrees; Marysville, which sweltered in 109 degrees; and Stockton, which saw 106.

Cooling stations were set up to shelter the homeless and elderly people who can't afford to run their air conditioners. In Phoenix, Joe Arpaio, the famously hard-nosed sheriff who runs a tent jail, planned to distribute ice cream and cold towels to inmates this weekend.

Officials said personnel were added to the Border Patrol's search-and-rescue unit because of the danger to people trying to slip across the Mexican border. At least seven people have been found dead in the last week in Arizona after falling victim to the brutal desert heat.

Temperatures are also expected to soar across Utah and into Wyoming and Idaho, with triple-digit heat forecast for the Boise area. Cities in Washington state that are better known for cool, rainy weather should break the 90s next week.

The heat was so punishing that rangers took up positions at trailheads at Lake Mead in Nevada to persuade people not to hike. Zookeepers in Phoenix hosed down the elephants and fed tigers frozen fish snacks. Dogs were at risk of burning their paws on scorched pavement, and airlines kept close watch on the heat for fear that it could cause flights to be delayed.

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/phoenix-las-vegas-bake-scorching-heat

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« Reply #8747 on: Jun 30th, 2013, 10:46am »

Guardian

Key US-EU trade pact under threat after more NSA spying allegations

Reports in Der Spiegel that US agencies bugged European council building 'reminiscent of cold war', says German minister

Ian Traynor in Brussels, Louise Osborne in Berlin and Jamie Doward

Sunday 30 June 2013 08.39 EDT

The prospects for a new trade pact between the US and the European Union worth hundreds of billions have suffered a severe setback following allegations that Washington bugged key EU offices and intercepted phonecalls and emails from top officials.

The latest reports of NSA snooping on Europe – and on Germany in particular – went well beyond previous revelations of electronic spying said to be focused on identifying suspected terrorists, extremists and organised criminals.

The German publication Der Spiegel reported that it had seen documents and slides from the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden indicating that US agencies bugged the offices of the EU in Washington and at the United Nations in New York. They are also accused of directing an operation from Nato headquarters in Brussels to infiltrate the telephone and email networks at the EU's Justus Lipsius building in the Belgian capital, the venue for EU summits and home of the European council.

Without citing sources, the magazine reported that more than five years ago security officers at the EU had noticed several missed calls apparently targeting the remote maintenance system in the building that were traced to NSA offices within the Nato compound in Brussels.

The impact of the Der Spiegel allegations may be felt more keenly in Germany than in Brussels. The magazine said Germany was the foremost target for the US surveillance programmes, categorising Washington's key European ally alongside China, Iraq or Saudi Arabia in the intensity of the electronic snooping.

Germany's justice minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, called for an explanation from the US authorities. "If the media reports are true, it is reminiscent of the actions of enemies during the cold war," she was quoted as saying in the German newspaper Bild. "It is beyond imagination that our friends in the US view Europeans as the enemy."

France later also asked the US authorities for an explanation. France's foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, said: "These acts, if confirmed, would be completely unacceptable.

"We expect the American authorities to answer the legitimate concerns raised by these press revelations as quickly as possible.".

Washington and Brussels are scheduled to open ambitious free trade talks next week following years of arduous preparation. Senior officials in Brussels are worried that the talks would be overshadowed by the latest disclosures of US spying on its closest allies.

"Obviously we will need to see what is the impact on the trade talks," said a senior official in Brussels. A second senior official said the allegations would cause a furore in the European parliament and could then hamper relations with the US.

Robert Madelin, one of Britain's most senior officials in the European commission, tweeted that EU trade negotiators always operated on the assumption that their communications were listened to.

A spokesman for the European commission said: "We have immediately been in contact with the US authorities in Washington and in Brussels and have confronted them with the press reports. They have told us they are checking on the accuracy of the information released yesterday and will come back to us."

There were calls from MEPs for Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European council – who has his office in the building allegedly targeted by the US – and José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European commission, to urgently appear before the chamber to explain what steps they were taking in response to the growing body of evidence of US and British electronic surveillance of Europe through the Prism and Tempora operations.

Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgian prime minister and leader of the liberals in the European parliament, said: "This is absolutely unacceptable and must be stopped immediately. The American data collection mania has achieved another quality by spying on EU officials and their meetings. Our trust is at stake."

Luxembourg's foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, told Der Spiegel: "If these reports are true, it's disgusting." Asselborn called for guarantees from the very highest level of the US government that the snooping and spying is immediately halted.

Martin Schulz, the head of the European parliament, said: "I am deeply worried and shocked about the allegations of US authorities spying on EU offices. If the allegations prove to be true, it would be an extremely serious matter which will have a severe impact on EU-US relations.

"On behalf of the European parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the US authorities with regard to these allegations."

There were also calls for John Kerry, the US secretary of state, to make a detour to Brussels on his way from his current trip to the Middle East, to explain US activities.

"We need to get clarifications and transparency at the highest level," said Marietje Schaake, a Dutch liberal MEP. "Kerry should come to Brussels on his way back from the Middle East. This is essential for the transatlantic alliance. The US can only lead by example, and should uphold the freedoms it claims to protect against attacks from the outside. Instead we see erosion of freedoms, checks and balances, from within."

Within senior circles in Brussels, however, it has long been assumed that the Americans were listening to or seeking to monitor EU electronic traffic.

"There's a certain schadenfreude here that we're important enough to be spied on," said one of the officials. "This was bound to come out one day. And I wouldn't be surprised if some of our member states were not doing the same to the Americans."

The documents suggesting the clandestine bugging operations were from September 2010, Der Spiegel said.

A former senior official in Brussels maintained that EU phone and computer systems were almost totally secure but that no system could be immune to persistent high-quality penetration operations.

"I have always assumed that anyone with a decent agency was listening, hacking if they could be bothered," he said. "It doesn't bother me much. Sometimes it's a form of communication."

Der Spiegel quoted the Snowden documents as revealing that the US taps half a billion phone calls, emails and text messages in Germany a month. "We can attack the signals of most foreign third-class partners, and we do it too," Der Spiegel quoted a passage in the NSA document as saying.

On an average day, the NSA monitored about 20m German phone connections and 10m internet datasets, rising to 60m phone connections on busy days, the report said.

Officials in Brussels said this reflected Germany's weight in the EU and probably also entailed elements of industrial and trade espionage. "The Americans are more interested in what governments think than the European commission. And they make take the view that Germany determines European policy," said one of the senior officials.

Jan Philipp Albrecht, a German Green party MEP and a specialist in data protection, told the Guardian the revelations were outrageous. "It's not about political answers now, but rule of law, fundamental constitutional principles and rights of European citizens," he said.

"We now need a debate on surveillance measures as a whole looking at underlying technical agreements. I think what we can do as European politicians now is to protect the rights of citizens and their rights to control their own personal data."

Talking about the NSA's classification of Germany as a "third-class" partner, Albrecht said it was not helping to build the trust of Germans or other Europeans. "It is destroying trust and to rebuild that, [the US] will need to take real action on legislation," he said.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that at least six European member states have shared personal communications data with the NSA, according to declassified US intelligence reports and EU parliamentary documents.

The documents, seen by the Observer, show that – in addition to the UK – Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy have all had formal agreements to provide communications data to the US. They state that the EU countries have had "second and third party status" under decades-old signal intelligence (Sigint) agreements that compel them to hand over data which, in later years, experts believe, has come to include mobile phone and internet data.

Under the international intelligence agreements, nations are categorised by the US according to their trust level. The US is defined as 'first party' while the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand enjoy 'second party' trusted relationships. Countries such as Germany and France have 'third party', or less trusted, relationships.

The data-sharing was set out under a 1955 UK-USA agreement that provided a legal framework for intelligence-sharing that has continued.

It stipulates: "In accordance with these arrangements, each party will continue to make available to the other, continuously, and without request, all raw traffic, COMINT (communications intelligence) end-product and technical material acquired or produced, and all pertinent information concerning its activities, priorities and facilities."

The agreement goes on to explain how it can be extended to incorporate similar agreements with third party countries, providing both the UK and the US agree.

more after the jump:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/30/nsa-spying-europe-claims-us-eu-trade

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« Reply #8748 on: Jun 30th, 2013, 10:49am »

Washington Post

Md. student slain in Egypt was ‘trying to make the world a better place,’ friends say

By Dana Hedgpeth and Stefanie Dazio
Published: June 29
Updated: Sunday, June 30, 3:35 AM

Andrew D. Pochter had a natural curiosity about the world and a love of language, and he wanted to work in the Middle East in hopes of pursuing peace and understanding.

Pochter, 21, was killed Friday during anti-government demonstrations in Egypt. He was witnessing the protests as a bystander and was stabbed by a protester, according to a family statement and accounts of friends.

Pochter, from Chevy Chase, was one of three killed and dozens injured in competing demonstrations in the coastal city of Alexandria concerning the nation’s Islamist president.

Active in a Jewish student group at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, where he would have been junior in the fall, Pochter traveled to Egypt this summer on an internship to teach English to Egyptian 7- and 8-year-olds. He also hoped to improve his Arabic. He planned to spend the spring in Jordan, according to a family statement and a close friend.

Pochter’s family said he “went to Egypt because he cared profoundly about the Middle East. He had studied in the region, loved the culture, and planned to live and work there in the pursuit of peace and understanding.”

“Andrew was a wonderful young man looking for new experiences in the world and finding ways to share his talents while he learned.”

Fluent in Arabic, Pochter embraced his Jewish identity but also wanted to learn about other cultures, friends said.

Marc Bragin, Kenyon’s Jewish chaplain, said Pochter approached his Jewish identity, and much of the rest of his life, “with an open mind and an open heart and tried to take in as much as he could.”

He was a member of Kenyon College’s Hillel, the campus’s Jewish group, and was a co-manager of the organization’s house during his sophomore year, Bragin said. Pochter was also going to be a co-manager in the coming school year and planned to live at the house. He was often responsible for coordinating bagel brunches and Shabbat dinners for 30 people.

“He was the first person you would see when you walked in Hillel House,” Bragin said.

Zachary Caputo, 21, who lived across the hall from Pochter during their freshman year at Kenyon, described his dorm room as “an organized chaos,” with tapestries, rugs and knickknacks from his time living with a family in Morocco after high school.

Pochter was also on the school’s rugby team, a member of the Middle East Student Association and a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity.

Pochter wrote about the Arab Spring protests in an article for Al Arabiya News in 2011. He loved the culture and planned to live and work there.

In the article, Pochter wrote, “At least within Morocco, the people are gaining a sense of how to approach their political and social issues.

“Though time is a factor in how quickly the government will react to these rights and propositions, my host family, like many others, will be on the streets to make sure that their claims and concerns are heard by all parties.”

AMIDEAST, the nonprofit training organization where Pochter was working at the time of his death, issued a statement Saturday: “Those who worked with him in the short time he had been in Egypt remember him for his enthusiasm, compassion and engaging and friendly manner. His loss comes as a shock to his students and colleagues.”

more after the jump:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-youth-slain-in-egypt-was-trying-to-make-the-world-a-better-place-friends-say/2013/06/29/85af4cf8-e0e3-11e2-86b4-4efb8c53d62b_story.html?tid=ts_carousel

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« Reply #8749 on: Jun 30th, 2013, 10:51am »






Published on Jun 30, 2013

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« Reply #8750 on: Jun 30th, 2013, 6:11pm »

Researchers See Through Walls With 'Wi-Vi'

Rachel Kaufman, TechNewsDaily Contributor
Date: 28 June 2013

Want X¬ray vision like the man of steel? A technology that lets you see behind walls could soon be built in to your cell phone.

MIT professor Dina Katabi and graduate student Fadel Adib have announced Wi¬Vi, a demonstration of a technology that uses Wi¬Fi to allow a viewer to "see" a person moving behind a wall. (Wi¬Vi stands for "Wi¬Fi" and "vision.")

Previous work demonstrated that the subtle reflections of wireless inter signals bouncing off a human could be used to track that person's movements, but those previous experiments either required that a wireless router was already in the room of the person being tracked, or "a whole truck just to carry the radio," said Katabi.

The new device uses the same wireless antenna as is found in a cell phone or laptop and could in theory one day be embedded in a phone. The trick is canceling out all interfering signals – Wi-Fi doesn't just bounce off humans, but also walls, floors, and furniture. And those signals are 10,000 to 100,000 times more powerful than the reflections off a human body.

Katabi's wi¬vi sends out two wireless signals, one of which is the inverse of the other. In what Katabi calls "interference nulling," the two signals cancel each other out unless they hit a moving target – such as a human.

"To silence the noise, we change the structure of the Wi-Fi signal so all the undesired reflections cancel," she said.

The device is meant to be portable so, for example, a person worried that someone was hiding in the bushes could do a quick scan for her personal safety.

Wi¬Vi could also serve as a high tech baby monitor or help Superman – or just cops – catch baddies.

http://www.livescience.com/37837-researchers-see-through-walls-with-wi-vi.html
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« Reply #8751 on: Jul 1st, 2013, 08:30am »

on Jun 30th, 2013, 6:11pm, Swamprat wrote:
Researchers See Through Walls With 'Wi-Vi'

Rachel Kaufman, TechNewsDaily Contributor
Date: 28 June 2013

Want X¬ray vision like the man of steel? A technology that lets you see behind walls could soon be built in to your cell phone.

MIT professor Dina Katabi and graduate student Fadel Adib have announced Wi¬Vi, a demonstration of a technology that uses Wi¬Fi to allow a viewer to "see" a person moving behind a wall. (Wi¬Vi stands for "Wi¬Fi" and "vision.")

Previous work demonstrated that the subtle reflections of wireless inter signals bouncing off a human could be used to track that person's movements, but those previous experiments either required that a wireless router was already in the room of the person being tracked, or "a whole truck just to carry the radio," said Katabi.

The new device uses the same wireless antenna as is found in a cell phone or laptop and could in theory one day be embedded in a phone. The trick is canceling out all interfering signals – Wi-Fi doesn't just bounce off humans, but also walls, floors, and furniture. And those signals are 10,000 to 100,000 times more powerful than the reflections off a human body.

Katabi's wi¬vi sends out two wireless signals, one of which is the inverse of the other. In what Katabi calls "interference nulling," the two signals cancel each other out unless they hit a moving target – such as a human.

"To silence the noise, we change the structure of the Wi-Fi signal so all the undesired reflections cancel," she said.

The device is meant to be portable so, for example, a person worried that someone was hiding in the bushes could do a quick scan for her personal safety.

Wi¬Vi could also serve as a high tech baby monitor or help Superman – or just cops – catch baddies.

http://www.livescience.com/37837-researchers-see-through-walls-with-wi-vi.html



Good morning Swamprat cheesy


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« Reply #8752 on: Jul 1st, 2013, 08:35am »

AZ Central

19 firefighters die in Yarnell Hill Fire

By Craig Harris and Michelle Ye Hee Lee
Mon Jul 1, 2013 4:27 AM

Nineteen firefighters, including 18 from the elite Granite Mountain Hotshots of Prescott, died Sunday fighting an out-of-control wildfire in Yarnell, a tiny Yavapai County town roughly 80 miles northwest of Phoenix.

About half of the town’s 500 homes were feared destroyed by the blaze, which began early Friday evening, and by Sunday the fire had spread to 8,000 acres. All of Yarnell and the neighboring Peeples Valley were evacuated.

“We are devastated. We just lost 19 of the finest people you will ever meet,” Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo said Sunday night. “We’re going through a terrible crisis right now.”

It is the worst firefighting tragedy ever in Arizona, eclipsing the 1990 Dude Fire near Payson, which claimed six firefighters. It was the worst wildland firefighting tragedy in U.S. history since 25 were killed in the Griffith Park Fire in Los Angeles in 1933.

Fraijo said one member of the local hotshot crew had survived because the firefighter was not with the other members when they were caught in the blaze, which was caused by lightning.

Mike Reichling, Arizona State Forestry Division spokesman, said the 19 firefighters were found in an area that also had 19 fire shelters deployed. Some of the firefighters were inside their shelters, which are typically used as a last resort to withstand the fire if it overtakes them. Some of the crew members were found outside the shelters.

Officials said 18 of the dead were members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots team. It's unknown which fire crew the 19th firefighter belonged to. The firefighters are part of a team that is typically sent in first to help cut off the fire, Reichling said.

Fraijo late Sunday declined to provide details of how the firefighters died, and he added that additional information would be released at 10 a.m. today.

Juliann Ashcraft said she found out her firefighter husband, Andrew, was among the dead by watching the news with her four children.

“They died heroes,” she said, crying and wiping tears away from her eyes. “And we’ll miss them. We love them.”

The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office was notifying the families of the deceased.

“This is as dark a day as I can remember, with Arizona suffering the truly unimaginable loss of 19 wildland firefighters,” Gov. Jan Brewer said in a statement. “It may be days or longer before an investigation reveals how this tragedy occurred, but the essence we already know in our hearts: fighting fires is dangerous work. The risk is well-known to the brave men and women who don their gear and do battle against forest and flame.

“When a tragedy like this strikes, all we can do is offer our eternal gratitude to the fallen, and prayers for the families and friends left behind. God bless them all.”

Brewer said late Sunday that she plans to tour the area today and could call the Legislature into a special session to provide emergency funding for the victims.

When asked if he could provide any update on the number of homes lost in Yarnell, Fraijo said his attention had been on more pressing matters all afternoon.

“Once we started getting notification of what happened, I lost all track of Yarnell,” he said.

At least 250 firefighters were battling the fire late Sunday, and the force was expected to increase to 400 today, said Reichling, the Forestry Division spokesman.

http://www.azcentral.com/news/arizona/free/20130701yarnell-hill-firefighters-die.html

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« Reply #8753 on: Jul 1st, 2013, 08:40am »

Associated Press

Traffic cameras bring tiny Ohio village to a stop

By DAN SEWELL
Jun. 29 12:50 PM EDT

ELMWOOD PLACE, Ohio (AP) — This little village had a big problem.

Each day, thousands of cars — sometimes as many as 18,000 — rolled along Elmwood Place's streets, crossing the third-of-a-mile town to get to neighboring Cincinnati or major employers in bustling suburbs or heavily traveled Interstate 75. Many zipped by Elmwood Place's modest homes and small businesses at speeds well above the 25 mph limit.

Bedeviled by tight budgets, the police force was undermanned. The situation, villagers feared, was dangerous.

Then the cameras were turned on, and all hell broke loose.

Like hundreds of other U.S. communities big and small, Elmwood Place hired an outside company to install cameras to record traffic violations and mail out citations.

In the first month after the cameras began operating, late last year, 6,600 tickets went out — more than triple the village's population. Before some unsuspecting drivers realized it, they had racked up multiple $105 citations they would learn about when their mail arrived weeks later. Some 70 parishioners, or more than half the congregation at Our Lady of Lavang Catholic Community Church, were ticketed on one Sunday last September.

Soon, there was a Facebook page promoting a boycott of the village, a petition drive against cameras, and a lawsuit against the village that threatened to wreck Elmwood Place financially. Four council members resigned. And an atmosphere of distrust and uneasiness hung over a village that traced its roots back to the 19th century, before traffic cameras or even automotive traffic.

"I think Elmwood Place tried to do something, but maybe not in the right way," said Catherine Jones, who brought a chair and small table out of her namesake Southern-style restaurant on a recent afternoon and sat in the sun as she read her Bible and wrote out notes about the verses.

Just last year, she recalled, a pedestrian was hit and killed a couple blocks from her restaurant, near an elementary school. So she understood that something had to be done. But now she is among many small business owners worried that the cameras have given the village a speed-trap stigma.

Few things will rile citizens quicker than getting tickets in the mail, along with photos of their vehicles under a red light. The letters usually inform them they will not be assessed traffic violation "points"; nor will their insurance company be contacted. But they must pay up, or face a collection agency and damage to their credit ratings.

Supporters of camera enforcement say they stretch law enforcement resources, and they usually result in safer driving and thus save lives. Opponents see cameras giving governments a way to grab more money from taxpayer pockets, putting local policing in the hands of remote, for-profit companies, and taking society another step toward an Orwellian state of constant surveillance for misbehavior.

In Arizona, where two large photo enforcement companies are based, red-light and speed enforcement cameras have been a matter of contention for years. Gov. Jan Brewer scuttled a state program that put speed-enforcement cameras on freeways and interstates in 2010 when a contract expired; efforts to ban the devices used by many cities and towns are a yearly fixture in the Legislature.

In February, San Diego followed Los Angeles and Pasadena in dropping traffic camera citations; the mayor said they bred disrespect for the law because residents believed they were meant to make money, not reduce accidents. Legislation to require communities to get state permits before installing traffic cameras stalled this year in Iowa, while a group called Stop Big Brother has been trying to head off cameras in Iowa City.

There are 12 states that ban speed cameras, and nine prohibit red-light cameras.

Yet despite the critics and complaints, camera use is growing overall. The New York state legislature this month approved installing speed cameras in New York City school zones. Communities with traffic cameras, or automated enforcement, have increased more than fivefold across the country in less than a decade, with red-light cameras in 530 municipalities and speeding cameras in 125, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

"There is Zeitgeist in the country right now on privacy concerns, concerns about intrusion; we understand that," said Jonathan Adkins of the Governors Highway Safety Association, which promotes safety nationally through state-level efforts. That group and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an Arlington, Va.-based nonprofit organization funded by auto insurers, say studies show cameras result in a reduction of fatal crashes caused by red light-running, and in reduced speeding in pedestrian-sensitive areas such as school zones.

"What we've seen from the field is red light cameras and safety cameras are both important tools in the safety tool box," Adkins said, adding that they should complement, not replace, law enforcement and should be focused on safety, not boosting budgets.

Holly Calhoun doesn't believe they were about safety in her hardscrabble village.

"Elmwood was just doing it because they needed money," said the manager of Elmwood Quick Mart, which offers phone cards, lottery tickets and Mexican food, and advertises its willingness to accept food stamps.

"People couldn't afford those tickets," Calhoun said. "They can barely afford to pay their bills. It was pretty sad."

Settled by German farmers and laborers who came up from Appalachian Kentucky, Elmwood Place was incorporated in 1890. Like many "inner-ring" American suburbs, it hit its peak many decades ago. Older residents recall bucolic times of moonlit concerts and tire swings hanging from backyard trees.

But outsourcing of blue-collar work made life tougher for many residents, and the village's incomes and housing values fell well below statewide averages. Housing stock deteriorated to the point where you can buy a two-bedroom fixer-upper for less than $60,000.

When William Peskin joined the police force in 1998, there were nine officers. Now the police chief is the only full-time law enforcement officer left. He said concerns grew after accidents around the elementary school; village officials looked into traffic cameras and became convinced that they were the most practical way to make the village safer.

Cameras at the village limits and in the school zone dramatically curtailed speeding once citations started going out, Peskin said. From 20,000 speeders clocked in a two-week trial period last summer, the number soon dropped to a quarter of that.

Former county prosecutor Mike Allen filed a lawsuit against the town. Among the plaintiffs: the Rev. Chau Pham, who said church attendance dropped by a third after that Sunday when so many congregants — including him — were ticketed; David Downs, owner of St. Bernard Polishing for 25 years, who said long-time customers had vowed to shop elsewhere because they had been ticketed; and a Habitat for Humanity worker who was cited four times.

"Elmwood Place is engaging in nothing more than a high-tech game of three-card monte," Judge Robert P. Ruehlman wrote March 7 in a colorful opinion that has heartened camera foes across the country. "It is a scam that the motorists can't win."

The judge said the village was on pace to assess $2 million in six months (the village's annual budget is $1.3 million). Maryland-based Optotraffic, owner and operator of the photo enforcement system in return for 40 percent of revenue, had already reaped $500,000 in about four months.

Used words such as "scheme," ''sham," ''stacked," and "total disregard for due process," Ruehlman declared the village's photo-enforcement ordinance invalid and unenforceable.

Elmwood Place is appealing, and believes it has the law on its side.

"It's unfortunate that the judge doesn't see it as a safety issue," Peskin said.

Ohio courts have upheld camera enforcement in some of the state's biggest cities as a legitimate exercise of local government power; the Ohio Supreme Court heard arguments in 2008 on the city of Akron's speeding cameras and approved them.

Akron began its program in 2005 after a 5-year-old child was killed. Some 3,000 citations in the first few weeks elicited public outcry, and then a lawsuit filed by attorney Warner Mendenhall after his wife Kelly was ticketed. Mendenhall said he found in his research that camera enforcement is often inconsistently carried out, the cameras aren't always accurate, and that in many places, they are clearly used as a revenue booster.

Steve Fallis, the city's assistant law director, said Akron uses the cameras only in school zones, and motorists have visual warnings they are in use. Any net income from the $100 citations goes into a city safety fund, not for the general budget. And there is no fee for an administrative hearing to challenge a citation. Elmwood Place charged $25

Mendenhall, whose wife's ticket was tossed out by the city when she appealed a lack of signage at the time, isn't convinced the legality has been settled. Maybe, he said, Elmwood Place will be the launching pad for the challenge that gets the matter to a higher authority.

"To have this patchwork quilt of laws ... I really would hope that someone would take this on up to (U.S). Supreme Court," Mendenhall said.

Recently, passions in Elmwood Place have cooled a bit. At a June council meeting, fewer than a dozen people turned out.

Taking a cigarette break out back, Mayor Stephanie Morgan talked briefly and reluctantly about the controversy, which she described as "challenging."

more after the jump:
http://bigstory.ap.org/article/traffic-cameras-bring-tiny-ohio-village-stop-0

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« Reply #8754 on: Jul 1st, 2013, 08:43am »

India TV


Secret KGB files and the UFO crash in 1969

[ Updated 01 Jul 2013, 17:51:28 ]

New Delhi: Back in 1969, the Russian KGB rescued a UFO shot down probably by their fighters.

UFO researcher Mark Mauvais says, “Any UFO report from Russia, especially one about a crash or landing, must be viewed with suspicion. One of these cases is the “Secret KGB Files,” which present a UFO crash in Russian, and subsequent recovery. The event, according to the reports, occurred in 1969 in the state of Sverdlovsky.”

Sverdlovsky was formerly Yekatrinburg under the old Soviet leadership. It is alleged that a UFO crashed, and was recovered by the Russian military.

Video film is shown of the recovery, with close-ups of the UFO itself. There was one dead alien found in the craft.

video and more after the jump:
http://www.indiatvnews.com/news/world/secret-kgb-files-and-the-ufo-crash-in-1969--12282.html

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« Reply #8755 on: Jul 1st, 2013, 08:48am »







~

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« Reply #8756 on: Jul 1st, 2013, 09:16am »

.... who brought a chair and small table out of her namesake Southern-style restaurant on a recent afternoon and sat in the sun as she read her Bible and wrote out notes about the verses...

And they say women can't multi-task.

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« Reply #8757 on: Jul 2nd, 2013, 10:44am »

on Jul 1st, 2013, 09:16am, HAL9000 wrote:
.... who brought a chair and small table out of her namesake Southern-style restaurant on a recent afternoon and sat in the sun as she read her Bible and wrote out notes about the verses...

And they say women can't multi-task.

HAL



Good morning HAL cheesy

Women are very good at multi-tasking. grin

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« Reply #8758 on: Jul 2nd, 2013, 10:45am »

I have to feed my hairy little mob and the Husband, who's not so hairy. Be back in a bit.

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« Reply #8759 on: Jul 2nd, 2013, 1:07pm »

Der Spiegel

Spying Scandal: Obama Owes Us an Explanation

By Gregor Peter Schmitz in Washington
2 July 2013

Mick Jagger, 69, might be a father of seven and a grandfather of four, but he can still pull off the role of the eternally youthful rebel. The Rolling Stones recently gave a concert in Washington, just a few kilometers away from the White House. "I don't think President Obama is here, but I'm sure he's listening in," the Stones frontman quipped.

The audience laughed out loud because Barack Obama -- the man who carried so much hope and was long believed to be a very European US president -- has become the butt of jokes. Some view him as the embodiment of the very "Big Brother" once sketched by George Orwell, the dictator who spies on, monitors and controls every citizen without any scruples.

But how much of that is a cliché, and how much truth is there to it? Given the revelations published by SPIEGEL in recent days showing evidence of a US spying program that is directed at European Union institutions, and monitoring an almost inconceivable number of communications connections -- 500 million a month in Germany alone -- you can't blame a person for thinking the worst. Even if Obama has explicitly ensured that Americans needn't fear some kind of "Big Brother," the "3rd Party Partners," as Germany was categorized in top secret NSA documents, are now asking if the same applies to Europeans.

Americans See the Positive in 'Big Data '

In no other country is this question being asked as loudly as in Germany, a country that, through its own painful history during the Nazi era and under communist East Germany, has learned just what an overly curious state and paternalism can lead to. The Germans cherish their privacy and fear absolute control. That's why Facebook's facial recognition software is uncomfortable for us, and the reason that many Germans have had a positively allergic reaction to Google Street View cameras. It's the reason Germans visiting the United States get annoyed when they call a hair salon for an appointment and are asked not only for a telephone number, but an email address and a credit card number too.

Americans have a far more casual attitude about this kind of thing. When it comes to "Big Data," people in the land of think tanks and modern communication tend to think first of the magic and opportunities it presents, rather than the pitfalls. This is particularly true of their president, whose savvy use of data greatly contributed to his re-election in 2012.

Obama recruited the smartest people from Google and Facebook to categorize American voters by up to 500 different personal proclivities. His IT foot soldiers were able to determine their age, gender, education and favorite beer or magazine -- they even data mined their online surfing habits. By hunting voters with algorithms, they were able to create profiles so complex that they could address them in a precisely targeted manner. Obama's election workers knew exactly which doors they needed to knock on in swing states and where canvassing would be pointless. After such a successful election campaign, it is clear that Obama has no qualms about using "Big Data," and that he doesn't perceive it as evil.

Obama Must Speak Openly about Spying

But can Obama really discount our privacy concerns as being merely typically European? Should we just accept the line suggested by some in the US that spying among friends has existed from time immemorial? Will it suffice to clear up these concerns behind the scenes as the first statements made by Obama suggest will be the case?

That would be disastrous. To be sure, we Europeans wouldn't suddenly stop shopping at Amazon, using Facebook to connect or searching the Web via Google. But the scandal nevertheless threatens to create divisions in trans-Atlantic relations. People in Europe already complaining about genetically modified corn from America, for example, may rebel against the planned free trade agreement between Europe and the United States if they also have to fear for their privacy. French President François Hollande is no fan of the treaty and he is already deliberately fuelling such concerns with his sharp criticism of America.

That's unlikely to be Obama's only concern, however. He also needs to be worried about his own "first party partner," the American people. We've already recently seen how the left- and right-wing fringe can come together to demand greater transparency from the White House when it comes to secret drone flights abroad. At the time, they feared that any monitoring apparatus deployed in the short or long-term might eventually be used at home. Similar voices are already being heard this time, and they seem to be further emboldened by the growing anger in Europe.

Influential Time columnist Fareed Zakaria writes that potential abuses of Big Data are "like a scenario from a horrifying sci-fi thriller." "Is that compatible with life in a free society?" he asks.

Obama will have no choice but to speak openly about these programs. The sooner he does it, the better -- for both Europe and America.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/editorial-obama-must-offer-answers-on-nsa-spying-in-eu-a-909019.html

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