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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

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Videographer gets 50 years in animal crush videos (warning disturbing details)

A Houston man has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for cruelty to animals, for his role in filming animal crush videos.

Brent Justice, 54, was convicted and sentenced Monday for cruelty to non-livestock animals. He and Ashley Richards, 25, were arrested in August 2012 after a complaint from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, known as PETA.

Investigators said Justice filmed a scantily clad Richards, sometimes masked, stabbing animals - including a puppy, a kitten and a chicken - as well as chopping off their limbs and urinating on them while making sexual comments to the camera.

Crush videos are part of a fetish culture in which small animals, like puppies and kittens, are tortured or killed for the sexual gratification of observers. Videos of the acts, usually shown online, have been marketed as rituals or sacrifices.


The faces of evil.

The NSA’s SKYNET program may be killing thousands of innocent people

In 2014, the former director of both the CIA and NSA proclaimed that "we kill people based on metadata." Now, a new examination of previously published Snowden documents suggests that many of those people may have been innocent.

Last year, The Intercept published documents detailing the NSA's SKYNET programme. According to the documents, SKYNET engages in mass surveillance of Pakistan's mobile phone network, and then uses a machine learning algorithm on the cellular network metadata of 55 million people to try and rate each person's likelihood of being a terrorist.

Patrick Ball—a data scientist and the executive director at the Human Rights Data Analysis Group—who has previously given expert testimony before war crimes tribunals, described the NSA's methods as "ridiculously optimistic" and "completely bullshit." A flaw in how the NSA trains SKYNET's machine learning algorithm to analyse cellular metadata, Ball told Ars, makes the results scientifically unsound.

Somewhere between 2,500 and 4,000 people have been killed by drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004, and most of them were classified by the US government as "extremists," the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported. Based on the classification date of "20070108" on one of the SKYNET slide decks (which themselves appear to date from 2011 and 2012), the machine learning program may have been in development as early as 2007.

In the years that have followed, thousands of innocent people in Pakistan may have been mislabelled as terrorists by that "scientifically unsound" algorithm, possibly resulting in their untimely demise.



Gastric reflux drugs may be tied to dementia risk

By Kathryn Doyle

Reuters Health - Repeated use of a certain class of drugs for gastric reflux or peptic ulcers was linked with a higher risk for dementia among patients in Germany, researchers say.

The drugs, known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), include lansoprazole (Prevacid), esomeprazole (Nexium), and omeprazole (Prilosec), all manufactured by AstraZeneca.

The current study can only provide a statistical association between PPI prescriptions and occurrence of dementia in the elderly. It can’t prove that PPIs actually cause dementia, said senior author Britta Haenisch of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Bonn, Germany.

“In our analysis we focused on long-term regular PPI prescription for at least 18 months,” Haenisch told Reuters Health by email.



Former UN head Boutros-Ghali dies

Source: BBC

Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the former secretary general of the UN, has died aged 93.

His death was confirmed by Rafael Dario Ramirez Carreno, the president of the UN Security Council.

As an Egyptian, Mr Boutros-Ghali was the first Arab to hold the UN's top position.

He took office in 1992 at a time of increasing influence for the world body following its decisive role in the Gulf War, serving one five-year term.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35590039

Vincent Fort, the No. 2 Dem. in the Georgia Senate, flipped his endorsement from Clinton to Sanders

State Sen. Vincent Fort, the No. 2 Democrat in the Georgia Senate, flipped his endorsement on Tuesday from Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders. He instantly becomes one of the Vermont senator’s top surrogates in the South, where his campaign has picked up support from only a handful of black elected officials.

The Atlanta Democrat made his decision public just hours before Sanders is set to speak at a Morehouse College rally aimed at enticing black voters to give his campaign a second look. Fort, who is also considering a run for Atlanta mayor, had endorsed Clinton weeks ago.

“After months of looking at Bernie’s record and studying his positions on healthcare, Wall Street, predatory lending and the minimum wage, I came to the conclusion that Bernie’s position on the issues that affect my constituents in Georgia the most conform most closely to my positions,” said Fort.

Sanders lost to Clinton in Iowa by a razor-thin margin before notching a 22-point victory in New Hampshire. But he faces a tougher challenge in the South, where polls show Clinton with an advantage over black voters in South Carolina, which votes on Feb. 27, and Georgia and other Southern states that follow on March 1.



Tuesday Toon Roundup 3: The Rest






Tuesday Toon Roundup 2: Replacing Scalia

Tuesday Toon Roundup 1- Scalia

Former President Jimmy Carter wins Grammy Award

Source: CNN

Former President Jimmy Carter on Monday won his second Grammy Award, this time for the audio book version of his memoir, "A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety."

This is the second time Carter has been crowned in the Best Spoken Word Album category. In 2007, his reading of "Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis" won him dual honors alongside Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.

In December, Carter announced he was cancer-free after an initial diagnosis in August.

"My most recent MRI brain scan did not reveal any signs of the original cancer spots nor any new ones. I will continue to receive regular three-week immunotherapy treatments of pembrolizumab," Carter said in a statement.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/15/politics/jimmy-carter-grammy-award-spoken-word/index.html

Bernie Sanders speaks in front of full crowd at Eastern Michigan University

YPSILANTI, Mich. - More than 9,300 people attended a rally held by Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in Ypsilanti on Monday.

The rally was held at the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center.

“If the local government cannot protect those children, if the state government cannot protect those children, than the federal government better get in and do the right thing,” Sanders said about the Flint water crisis.

Sanders got applause for talking about making college affordable and reforming the health care system.

“America must join the rest of the industrialized world, health care for all,” Sanders said.

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