Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

Browsing Posts in Science

Wicked Lasers has introduced what they call The Torch.  It’s a 4100 lumen flashlight that can, literally, set things on fire.

The 4100-lumen flashlight is being considered for the Guiness Book of World Records, and can ignite paper, light cigarettes, melt plastic, and even fry an egg — but only has a fifteen minute battery life.

Combine this with the Department of Homeland Security’s pukelight and you’ve got yourself one hell of a party.

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Last month, twelve different Florida school districts passed resolutions against the teaching of evolution in their schools.

Oscar Howard Jr., superintendent of Taylor County’s School District, and Danny Lundy, vice chairman of the School Board, spoke in accents from that other Florida. ‘’We’re opposed to teaching evolution as a fact,’’ Howard said, adding that his School Board and 11 others have passed resolutions against the imposition of evolution in the school curriculum.

After seeing this happen, do people really wonder why America is falling behind in science compared to the rest of the world?  The growing anti-intellectualism and influence of religious leaders is leading America to lose its competitive edge and respect world-wide.

In learning the Scientific Method, students are taught to gather evidence through observation, as well as using empirical and measurable evidence that is then subject to the principles of reasoning.  Evolution is a fact based on empirical evidence that evolution does happen and continues to happen today.  Evolution, in fact, describes a part of the observable universe into a coherent, logical conclusion.  It uses predictive tools to explain the changes over time.

Evolution happens every single day.  Each new strain of the flu is evolution in action.  Each new breed of dog is evolution in action.

If you want to teach creationism in schools, fine.  Go ahead.  But you can’t throw out the facts of science and evolution as well.  Removing a large portion of science to further your own agenda only creates hostile students and students who cannot think for themselves, instead letting the curriculum decide what they should think.

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After years of ignoring their illegal immigration problems, the EU has finally decided to copy America’s border security measures by fingerprinting all entries and exits from all visitors to the EU.

The measures would ensure more secure borders and prevent visitors from illegally entering Europe, or overstaying the three-month stay given to tourists and EU visa holders, Franco Frattini said.

And how does the EU propose to do this?  At best, they can state that a person has overstayed their visit.  Good luck actually finding the person.

“The electronic register should include viable biometric identifiers,” Frattini told reporters during two-day talks of EU justice and interior ministers. He said visitors overstaying their welcome were “the No. 1″ cause of illegal immigration.

Uh, duh?!  What a great insight.  Illegals come from people overstaying their welcome.    Also, by requiring biometrics, the database they store them in will not be guaranteed safe and a country could circumvent their own laws by asking the EU for a copy of their database.

In reality, what this plan is, is a clear cut case of retaliation against the United States for its actions against EU allies.  It is also frightening in its possible privacy violations.

Such a data system, modeled after one adopted by the U.S., would store 19 pieces of sensitive passenger data for 13 years, including e-mail addresses, telephone numbers and payment details of flight tickets.

Nice.  More databases.  Less security.  More harassment.  On the upside, maybe I’ll get some entertaining telemarketing calls from The Netherlands now.

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Military researchers are researching ways to develop a weapon that will identify and harness the scent of fear.

The military has backed a study on the “Identification and Isolation of Human Alarm Pheromones,” which “focused on the Preliminary Identification of Steroids of Interest in Human Fear Sweat.” The so-called “skydiving protocol” was the researchers’ method of choice.

Pheromones are chemicals released by animals as signals to their own kind: for sex, for territorial marking, and more. They’re often detected in the olfactory membranes. But there’s more to pheromones than attraction. Many animals have an alarm pheromone which is used to signal danger; aphids, for example, use it to cause their fellow lice to flee.

Yay!  The military thinks of us as the equivalent of lice.  The military is probably going down the same road as their previous gay bomb.  They should probably stick with more effective means of fear weapons, such as spreading rumors and false information to make their enemies afraid.

If they manage to get this to work, it could backfire.  Those who suffer from PTSD could flip out and and go berserk.  It could even trigger normal people to go ape shit instead of just fleeing, like they want.  People who are in an intense state of fear do some very crazy and unpredictable things.  Do you really want to mess with people who might snap over something that they can’t control in a situation they didn’t even create?

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As a US taxpayer, you are helping to subsidize the use of genetically modified seeds.  Monsanto, who some believe is the devil incarnate in a corporation, and the Department of Agriculture have an arrangement that gives farmers a break on their federal crop insurance premiums if they use Monsanto seeds.

The deal was made possible when Congress agreed to give farmers a break on federal crop insurance if they planted crops that resist pests and produce higher yields, making them less vulnerable to crop failures, and U.S. taxpayers less vulnerable to large insurance payouts. That, the seeds do.

But environmentalists and green food advocates have long argued that genetically modified seeds may be dangerous in ways both subtle and obvious. Subtle, in that plants can hybridize, introducing human-injected genes (“genetic drift”) into natural ecosystems with unknown consequences. Obvious, in that farmers using herbicide-resistant crops can spray more pesticides, increasing the use of the toxic substances (though the use of crops that grow their own pesticides would reduce the need to spray).

Of course, none of the GM food gets checked by the FDA because the FDA allows it to fall under the “it’s generally safe” category.  So, you get to subsidize GM food that you probably don’t want but have no knowledge as to whether the food you buy is GM or not.  The local farmer is nearly forced into using Monsanto seed because his neighbors all use it, yielding higher results.

The farmer gets the “benefit” of lower insurance premiums and the joys of having to purchase new seed each year from Monsanto as all the seeds are designed to not reproduce.  Monsanto profits and gives a little back to the gleeful politicians in Washington that helped them get to the monopoly that they are today.  Don’t you just love America?

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