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

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Agnes Stevens dies at 79; former nun and schoolteacher founded School on Wheels

Agnes Stevens, a former nun and schoolteacher who founded School on Wheels, a nonprofit group that helps homeless children stay in school by giving them tutors, backpacks and other support services, died Feb. 13 in Ventura. She was 79.

The cause was complications from Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease, said her brother, Bill Stevens.

Stevens formed School on Wheels in 1993 after 30 years of teaching elementary school. In two decades it has grown from a one-woman operation to a nationally recognized program with 1,800 volunteer tutors serving 3,000 homeless students a year throughout Southern California.

The tutors come from all walks of life and go wherever homeless children are, from shelters and skid row hotels to doughnut shops, libraries and foster homes. The program provides basic necessities, including bus tokens and classroom supplies, and helps with enrollment and the transferring of academic records. It also has an 800 phone number that enables students to stay in contact with the group despite being constantly uprooted.

One of the reasons Stevens created School on Wheels was to give homeless children some stability.



Tuesday Toon Roundup 4: The Rest




Tuesday Toon Roundup 3: The Bill-o-vator

Tuesday Toon Roundup 2: Good for nothing party

Tuesday Toon Roundup 1: Mr. Terror

Homeless man acquitted after smashing Uber Prius with skateboard

A San Francisco man who smashed an Uber driver’s windshield by hurling a skateboard into the moving Prius was acquitted at trial by a jury that found he acted in self-defense, the city public defender’s office said.

If convicted, 49-year-old Martin Knaak faced up to a year in jail on charges of vandalism and resisting arrest in connection with the Dec. 6 incident in the Marina District.

But testimony from the defendant and cell phone video that appeared to back up his account of the confrontation, led to his acquittal Friday, his attorney said.

“As a crime victim, Mr. Knaak deserved every bit of the police response and protection that would have been afforded to a wealthy San Franciscan,” Public Defender Jeff Adachi said Monday. “What happened to him is a betrayal of justice. Fortunately, his public defender was able to end his nightmare.”


Great, Drones Are Spying on Cell Phone Signals Now

Right now, at least one ad company is using drones to spy on unsuspecting citizens. And it's having a "ton of fun" doing it.

AdNear is self-described as "the leading location intelligence platform." Basically, these data-driven marketers track cell phone signals in order to throw hyper-targeted ads in your face, kind of like the profit-hungry chaos you see in Minority Report. Lately, AdNear's been using a fleet of quadcopters to spy on people's cell phone signals, starting in Los Angeles. The whole program sounds pretty freaking shady, and the FAA probably isn't going to do anything about it.

Before anybody goes demonizing drone technology, note that AdNear has already been using cars, trains, bikes, and people on foot to locate wireless devices and to observe consumer behavior. The Singapore-based company brags that it's already "profiled" over 530 million users this way in Asia. Now, as of this month, AdNear is using DJI Phantom quadcopters for data collection. An undisclosed number of operators are currently testing a new program in the Southland area as part of a larger push to deploy the cell phone tracking program throughout the region.

The company assures that the wireless data collected is anonymous and does not include phone numbers, call data, or any photography. The description of the new drone program does sound pretty horrifying, though:

The usage of drones for location data collection would tremendously reduce human intervention and ease the process of collating data in inaccessible regions. … We are talking a new level of scale all together. …

For us, this means a ton of fun!

A ton of fun!

It's also a ton of bullshit. Do you want some eye in the sky watching you walk into your favorite coffee shop and then tracking you as you head into your favorite fitness facility and then hum overhead while you drink your smoothie on a bench by the beach? These are all valuable data points for companies that might want to know exactly what you're doing when they serve you an ad for a free donut or whatever.



There's a massive new leak of confidential spy files from MI6, Mossad and the FSB

Al-Jazeera has obtained hundreds of confidential "spy cables" from some of the world's top intelligence agencies, in what the news channel is calling "the largest intelligence leak since Snowden."

Documents from Britain's MI6 and Israel's Mossad are included, along with the Russian FSB, South African SSA and the Australian ASIO. (No American intelligence agencies appear to be included.) Al-Jazeera is publishing the leaks over the coming days in conjunction with the Guardian, promising that they will provide "an unprecedented insight into operational dealings of the shadowy and highly politicised realm of global espionage."

The documents date from 2006 to December 2014. They will be redacted before publication and their full contents are not yet known, but reportedly include:

Israel's "true" assessment of Iran's nuclear capabilities.
An MI6 operation to recruit a North Korean spy.
"An assassination plot targeting an African union leader."

The source for the documents appears to be a leak in South Africa's SSA agency, including "detailed briefings and internal analyses written by operatives of South Africa's State Security Agency (SSA)", as well as "secret correspondence with the US intelligence agency, the CIA, Britain's MI6, Israel's Mossad, Russia's FSB and Iran's operatives, as well as dozens of other services from Asia to the Middle East and Africa."


After damage, feds inspect construction at SC nuke plant

Source: AP

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- A special inspection is underway after damage to a nuclear reactor under construction in South Carolina, federal regulators said Monday.

In a news release, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said its representatives are launching a special inspection this week at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station near Jenkinsville, about 25 miles northwest of Columbia.

Earlier this month, the NRC says that Chicago Bridge & Iron workers cut rebar and damaged a containment vessel while drilling into concrete. Officials think the damage was minor but are concerned that it took the contractor a week to report it to SCANA Corp., which owns a 55 percent stake in the new reactors.

The NRC said that inspectors will spend about a week at the site, and their report will be available within about 45 days. A SCANA spokeswoman said that the company had already begun to address the issue and that the public was never at risk.

Read more: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/damage-feds-inspect-construction-sc-161714422.html

Ex-Cop Says Sorry Over Chelsea Racism Incident

A former policeman accused of being involved in an alleged racist incident with Chelsea football fans on the Paris Metro has apologised.

Richard Barklie, who was one of three men police sought after a black man was allegedly pushed off the train by chanting football supporters, has insisted he is not a racist.

Video posted online showed commuter Souleymane Sylla being pushed back onto the platform as some of those on the train chanted "we're racist, we're racist and that's the way we like it".

Mr Barklie, 50, who was a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and a Police Service of Northern Ireland officer, is currently a director of the World Human Rights Forum.

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