Big Brother is Watching What You Eat… And Encouraging You Through a Talking Grocery Cart?

July 19, 2014 by  
Filed under Sci-Tech

This is how WE do it


With the claimed interest in making sure we eat allegedly “sustainable” food, you would think that these food dictators would want to make sure that they used economical means to promote good food. But you would be wrong if you thought that.

Instead, our food masters want to make us vegetarians through extravagant technological innovations.

The concept is bizarre since it is being widely acknowledged that people resent and resist attempts to dictate to them what they should eat. Even children resent it. Adults resent it much more.

According to the Free Beacon,

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is suggesting major changes to grocery stores to “nudge” Americans to purchase healthier foods when they shop.

The agency commissioned an “expert panel” to make recommendations on how to guide the more than 47 million Americans on food stamps into spending their benefits on fruits and vegetables.

The group released an 80-page report this month presenting their ideas, which include talking shopping carts and a marketing strategy for grocery chains that would feature better store lighting for healthier items.

“Most Americans, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants, do not purchase enough whole grains, dark green and orange vegetables, and legumes, and purchase too many items with excess calories from fats and added sugars,” the report said.

“At the same time, the food retail environment is saturated with food marketing messages, including health and nutrition claims and information, advertisements, and promotions for many unhealthy food items,” it said.

For the record, I am skeptical that the USDA knows what it is talking about when it says we need to get more whole grains or legumes, or when it complains about how many calories come from fat. But whether or not I am right, blaming food choices on “advertisements and promotions,” is simply false. We already know that food companies use sugar because consumers want it. I wish they didn’t, but they do.

But having the simplistic notion that food companies simply control consumers, the USDA then justifies the idea that they can control consumers.

The “MyCart grocery cart” would provide dividers for shoppers to make sure they are selecting enough items in each “MyPlate” category, the USDA’s food icon.

“MyCart is a nonfinancial approach that would use behavioral economics to encourage healthier purchases by any consumer, including SNAP participants,” the report said.

The cart would be color-coded, physically divided, and have a system installed so that when the shopping cart reaches its healthy “threshold” it would congratulate the customer.

“The algorithm would group the purchases to classify them using the MyPlate designations and to provide consumers with a message of support or encouragement (e.g., “You achieved a MyCart healthy shopping basket!”),” the report said.

The panel based this approach on a $999,891 government-funded study entitled “Nudging Nutrition,” arguing the research “suggests an intervention of this sort might be successful in modifying consumer shopping behavior.”

So despite the claims of Michelle Obama that women shopping for their families need better information, the truth is that they simply need to be manipulated by bells and whistles.

And how much is this going to cost?

“To accompany the approach, a MyCart shelf tag could be created to identify healthier items on shelves,” the report said. “Consumers could be guided to healthier choices through the use of visual displays and other signage, including ceiling banners, refrigerator and freezer door clings, and shelf talkers.”

The report estimated that implementing the new carts would cost roughly $30,000 for every store. The change would be costly. For instance, Safeway, Inc. would need to spend $40.05 million to introduce the carts at its 1,335 stores in the U.S.

How exactly is that a sustainable way to grocery shop? This seems more like a stimulus project than anything else. We are supposed to spend millions of dollars to invest in technology that probably won’t work.
Read more at political outcast

Chilling new details on cold-storage smallpox

July 16, 2014 by  
Filed under Sci-Tech

Just hours after members of Congress grilled the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about his agency’s mistakes with anthrax and bird flu, another federal health agency provided an update on its mistakes with vials of deadly smallpox virus.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration revealed that more than 300 other sealed vials containing biological materials such as dengue, influzena, Q fever, ricksettsia and other possible unknown viruses were found alongside the six forgotten smallpox vials in the storage room on the National Institutes of Health campus.

The FDA commissioner has asked for a sweep of all cold storage facilities under FDA jurisdiction, said Karen Midthun, director of FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

“The fact that these materials were not discovered until now is unacceptable,” Midthun said. “We take this matter very seriously and we’re working to make sure it won’t happen again.”

Full Article

US government says online storage isn’t protected by the Fourth Amendment

July 14, 2014 by  
Filed under Police State, Sci-Tech

A couple months ago, a New York judge ruled that US search warrants applied to digital information even if they were stored overseas. The decision came about as part of an effort to dig up a Microsoft user’s account information stored on a server in Dublin, Ireland. Microsoft responded to the ruling and challenged it, stating that the government’s longstanding views of digital content on foreign servers are wrong, and that the protections applied to physical materials should be extended to digital content. In briefs filed last week, however, the US government countered. It states that according to the Stored Communications Act (SCA), content stored online simply do not have the same Fourth Amendment protections as physical data:

Overseas records must be disclosed domestically when a valid subpoena, order, or warrant compels their production. The disclosure of records under such circumstances has never been considered tantamount to a physical search under Fourth Amendment principles, and Microsoft is mistaken to argue that the SCA provides for an overseas search here. As there is no overseas search or seizure, Microsoft’s reliance on principles of extra-territoriality and comity falls wide of the mark.

From the Justice Department’s point of view, this law is necessary in an age where “fraudsters” and “hackers” use electronic communications in not just the U.S. but abroad as well. Indeed, the Microsoft account in this case is in relation to a drug-trafficking investigation.

Full Article

C.D.C. Shuts Labs After Accidents with Pathogens

July 11, 2014 by  
Filed under Americas, Sci-Tech

After potentially serious back-to-back laboratory accidents, federal health officials announced Friday that they had temporarily closed the flu and anthrax laboratories at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and halted shipments of all infectious agents from the agency’s highest-security labs.

The accidents, and the C.D.C.’s emphatic response to them, could have important consequences for the many laboratories that store high-risk agents and the few that, even more controversially, specialize in making them more dangerous for research purposes.

If the C.D.C. — which the agency’s director, Dr. Thomas Frieden, called “the reference laboratory to the world” — had multiple accidents that could, in theory, have killed both staff members and people outside, there will undoubtedly be calls for stricter controls on other university, military and private laboratories.

Full Article

Super Volcano is Bigger

July 11, 2014 by  
Filed under Sci-Tech


The world’s authority on Yellowstone’s Super Volcano says it’s more than twice as big as scientists once thought. Does that mean it’s more likely to blow up soon? Penny Preston found Dr. Robert Smith at his home near Grand Teton, and found the answer.

Millions of people visit Yellowstone each year to see its geysers, fumeroles, hot springs, and mud pots. It’s the largest concentration of thermal features in the world. The park sits on top of the world’s largest active volcano. The Super Volcano. Its most recent eruption was more than 600,000 years ago. All that remains is the top, or caldera.

When you come into the Park they’ll give you a map and it has an overlay of the caldera. It’s huge.

The scientist who knows more about the Super Volcano than anyone, Dr. Robert Smith of the University of Utah, said, “Anytime you come to Yellowstone you have to drive uphill. And the reason is this giant plume of magma, is very hot, therefore it’s bullient, low density and it just lifts the surface up.”

Dr. Smith has been studying Yellowstone’s earthquakes and it’s Super Volcanos for almost sixty years.

He pointed out, “And these giant eruptions, supervolcanos if you wish, probably last many, many months, maybe even years.”

Full Article

The U.S. military is not-so-shockingly studying your Facebook and Twitter habits

July 9, 2014 by  
Filed under Police State, Sci-Tech

It should come as no surprise in the era of Edward Snowden that the U.S. military is keeping an eye on your social media habits, but the Defense Department is also funding Facebook-style behavioral experiments on you.

The Guardian reported Tuesday that DARPA, the Defense Department’s research arm, has given millions of dollars to projects that examine activity on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Reddit, Pinterest, and other social networks as part of its Social Media in Strategic Communication program. According to the newspaper, one of the studies involved sending messages to users to gauge their responses. DARPA even looked at Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber’s Twitter accounts to determine how messages spread across the network.

The military also looked at Kickstarter projects. The potato salad crowdfunding campaign would actually make more sense if it turned out to be a government conspiracy.

Full Article

Nine out of 10 users in NSA-intercepted conversations are not original targets

July 7, 2014 by  
Filed under Sci-Tech

We would consider 90% a generous estimation.

Nine out of 10 users in NSA-intercepted conversations are not original targets

06 Jul 2014 Nine out of 10 internet users found in a cache of NSA-intercepted conversations were not the original targets — but landed in the agency’s net anyway. The Washington Post revealed the stunningly high percentage of innocent web crawlers snared in the National Security Administration’s web after a four-month examination of documents turned over by ex-agency contractor Edward Snowden…One analyst described a day’s work: “1 target, 38 others on there.”

Germany arrests alleged double agent accused of spying on Berlin’s NSA inquiry for the U.S.

04 Jul 2014 German authorities have arrested a man identified by media as a German intelligence officer who allegedly passed secrets to the U.S. German media warned that if the man is found guilty, it would be “the biggest scandal involving a German-American double agent since the war,” The Daily Telegraph reported. Federal prosecutors said that a 31-year-old German was arrested on July 2 on suspicion of spying for an unidentified foreign power.

German agent arrested for spying for US

04 Jul 2014 Police in Germany have arrested a man on suspicion of spying for the United States. The arrested man is a German citizen and a member of the country’s own BND intelligence service. German media warned that if the case against him is proved, “it will be the biggest scandal involving a German-American double agent since the war”. It is believed the arrested man is suspected of spying on a German parliamentary enquiry into the NSA affair.

XKeyscore exposed: How NSA tracks all German Tor users as ‘extremists’

04 Jul 2014 The NSA has been revealed to mark and consider potential “extremists” all users of the internet anonymizer service Tor…Searching for encryption software like the Linux-based operating system Tails also places you on the NSA grid, as Lena Kampf, Jacob Appelbaum and John Goetz revealed on the German site Tagesschau. The report is based on analysis of the source code of the software used by NSA’s electronic surveillance program XKeyscore.

NSAssociate Google begins yanking news articles in Europe

03 Jul 2014 Should Google be the arbiter on what is and is not publicly available on the Web? [Well, we know they do that *daily* with the CLG Newsletter, that's for sure!] What happens when a person’s request to be anonymous conflicts with the freedom of the press? These are some of the questions being raised as Google begins to remove search results in its first implementation of the European Union’s so-called right-to-be-forgotten ruling. The ruling lets people in the European Union submit a form to Google requesting that they be removed from its search results if they feel the information on them is outdated or reveals personal details they want to keep private. A team at Google then determines whether that person’s corporation’s right to be anonymous is more important than keeping that information front and center in its search results for ease of public access.

Alleged Ebola outbreak: US man tested in Ghana

July 7, 2014 by  
Filed under Sci-Tech

A US citizen is being tested for the Ebola virus in Ghana, which has had no confirmed cases of the virus in the current West African outbreak.

The man has been quarantined at the private Nyaho Clinic in the capital, Accra, health officials say.

The virus has so far killed more than 460 people since it broke out in Guinea in February and spread to neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone.

It is the world’s deadliest outbreak to date and there is no cure for Ebola.

The US embassy in Accra said it had been informed that a US citizen was being tested but would not give any more details, Reuters news agency reports.

Full Article

New York Court Strikes Down Cyberbullying Law

July 2, 2014 by  
Filed under Sci-Tech

Ruling Lauds Intent of Legislation, But Sees It as Too Broad, Violating First Amendment


New York’s top court struck down a law that made cyberbullying a crime, in what had been viewed as a test case of recent state and local statutes that target online speech.

The New York Court of Appeals, in a 5-2 ruling, held on Tuesday that the 2010 Albany County law prohibited a vast swath of speech “far beyond the cyberbullying of children,” in violation of the First Amendment.

The court’s ruling could stand as a guidepost for other state high courts hearing challenges to such laws, as well as for states and localities considering criminal penalties for cyberbullying, legal experts said. Besides Albany, four other New York counties and more than a dozen states, including Louisiana and North Carolina, have similar laws.

The Albany law made it a crime to electronically communicate “private, personal, false, or sexual information,” intended to “harass, annoy, threaten, abuse, taunt, intimidate, torment, humiliate, or otherwise inflict significant emotional harm on another person” for no legitimate purpose.

Cohoes High School student Marquan W. Mackey-Meggs was the first to be charged under the law, after the then-15-year-old created a Facebook FB -2.56% page in 2010 called “Cohoes Flame” and posted photos of other teenagers with captions that included graphic and sexual comments, according to court documents. He pleaded guilty, on the condition that he could challenge the constitutionality of the law.

Judge Victoria Graffeo, writing for the majority, described the posts as “repulsive and harmful” but declined the county’s request to uphold the law in a form that would have barred narrow categories of electronic communications, including sexually explicit photographs and private or personal sexual information, sent with the intent to harm.

“Even if the First Amendment allows a cyberbullying statute of the limited nature proposed by Albany County, the local law here was not drafted in that manner,” she wrote.

Despite the ruling, Judge Graffeo lauded the motivation behind the law and allowed that the First Amendment “permits the prohibition of cyberbullying directed at children, depending on how that activity is defined.”

County Executive Daniel P. McCoy said he was disappointed with the court’s ruling but would work with the county legislature to craft a new law that “addresses this decision and preserves our ability to do what we can to reduce cyberbullying of children.”

“Cyberbullying is a serious concern that all communities must confront, but there are better and more constructive ways to address the problem than giving children criminal records,” said Corey Stoughton of the New York Civil Liberties Union, which represents Mr. Mackey-Meggs. “Communities across New York and the nation should take note that criminalizing First Amendment activity is unlawful and does nothing to address the causes of bullying.”

Judge Robert Smith, writing in dissent, said the majority made too much of flaws in the law’s draftsmanship. “The crux of the case, in my view, is whether Albany County constitutionally may do what it is trying to do: to prohibit certain kinds of communication that have no legitimate purpose and are intended to inflict significant emotional injury on children,” he said.

If, as in Mr. Mackey-Meggs’s case, the communications targeted by the law are of no public importance, then New York’s law should be deemed valid, he said.

Air Force prepares to dismantle HAARP ahead of summer shutdown (Admit Project is “Completed”)

June 19, 2014 by  
Filed under Sci-Tech

Air Force prepares to dismantle HAARP ahead of summer shutdown

14 May 2014 The U.S. Air Force gave official notice to Congress Wednesday that it intends to dismantle the 300 million High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program in Gakona this summer. The shutdown of HAARP…will start after a final research experiment takes place in mid-June, the Air Force said in a letter to Congress Tuesday. Responding to questions from Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) during a Senate hearing Wednesday, David Walker, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for science, technology and engineering, said this is “not an area that we have any need for in the future” and it would not be a good use of Air Force research funds to keep HAARP going. “We’re moving on to other ways of managing the ionosphere, which the HAARP was really designed to do,” he said. “To inject energy into the ionosphere to be able to actually control it. But that work has been completed.” Comments of that sort have given rise to endless conspiracy theories, portraying HAARP as a superweapon capable of mind control or weather control, with enough juice to trigger hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes. [It is.]

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