Author Archives: Emma

Biometrics to get into ball games

25th July 2017

If you’ve ever had to stand in one of those looong lines to get into Comerica Park, you might have wanted to give the gate attendant the finger.

Well, now you can. Sort of.

The Detroit Tigers are trying out a new system that identifies you by your fingerprints, similar to the newest smartphones, to lessen the time it takes to get through security.

The Detroit stadium is among the first nationwide to get biometric readers. The Tigers debuted the system Monday at Gate A — the main gate across from the Fox Theatre.

More: Little Caesars Arena will have world’s largest centerhung scoreboard

“Once you are in the system, so to speak, you have the ability to enter different venues and perform different transactions,” said Ed O’Brien, the head of sports business development at New York-based Clear, which installed the system. “The way we view our long-term sports fan experience is, you’d never have to carry a wallet again.”

To use the biometric system, you must register your fingerprints, which is free. Registration at Comerica was offered Monday and will be available at a kiosk on game days. To sign up, which takes about five minutes, you’ll need your ID and to correctly answer a series of questions, the company said. You then scan all 10 fingers.

Once your information is in the system, you are good to go, and you never have to register again.

In addition, the ballpark will allow registered users to bring one adult with a ticket and an unlimited number of unregistered children with tickets through the line with them.

The purpose of the exceptions, O’Brien said, is to benefit season-ticket holders and families. As more ticket holders register, the company plans to add more special entrance lanes. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

More: Ford Field’s $100M renovation includes massive video boards

Beyond stadium entry, Clear envisions a world in which people use their fingertips — and eyes — to buy concessions, enter offices and perhaps even start their cars.

In addition to baseball, O’Brien said the company is in conversations with other professional sports arenas in Detroit — Ford Field and Little Caesars Arena — to add the technology.

The biometric reader at Comerica is similar to what Clear uses with the Transportation Security Administration and has installed at airports, including Detroit Metro, to get flyers through security faster.

Clear has biometric scanners at 30 major airports, including those in Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Orlando, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington.

A privately held company that started in 2010, Clear also has technology that scans eyes.

 

 

 

source:http://www.freep.com/story/money/business/2017/07/25/fingerprints-can-get-you-gate/504703001/

Richard Dawkins Event Canceled; views on islam

25th July 2017

According to Berkeleyside, the event in question was organized by progressive radio station KPFA.

Dawkins, a notorious atheist and harshly outspoken critic of all religions, was to appear on-stage and talk about his latest book ‘Science in the Soul: Collected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist.’

Berkeleyside reports that KPFA sang praises for Dawkins and the book – until a number of his anti-Islam tweets came to their attention.

Subsequently, the outlet states, the station sent an email to all ticket buyers that read, “we had booked this event based entirely on his excellent new book on science when we didn’t know he had offended and hurt – in his tweets and other comments on Islam, so many people.”

“KPFA does not endorse hurtful speech. While KPFA emphatically supports serious free speech, we do not support abusive speech. We apologize for not having had broader knowledge of Dawkins views much earlier.”
Putting the sheer insanity of the suggestion that one could know who Richard Dawkins is and not be aware of his hatred for Islam, it’s of course interesting that KPFA took offence with the author’s critique of Islam specifically.

Dawkins addressed that point in a statement.

“I am known as a frequent critic of Christianity and have never been de-platformed for that,” the statement reads. “Why do you give Islam a free pass? Why is it fine to criticize Christianity but not Islam?”
 

Dawkins’ statement goes on to call into question the notion that he has spoken about Islam in an “abusive” manner.

“You say I use ‘abusive speech’ about Islam,” it reads. “I would seriously – I mean it – like to hear what examples of my ‘abusive speech’ you had in mind. When you fail to discover any, I presume you will issue a public apology.”

While no one involved in the matter has mentioned exactly what tweets provoked KPFA, Berkeleyside reports, “a perusal of Dawkins’ recent tweets shows that he comments often about Islam, but he also comments about other religions.”

“Dawkins has sent out tweets and made statements that are critical of extremist Muslims, the female genital mutilation practiced by some Muslim societies, and the requirement that women must wear burkas.”

Apparently that’s “abusive” to progressives.

 

 

source/read more:https://milo.yiannopoulos.net/2017/07/richard-dawkins-berkeley/

Natural disasters less devastating in 2017

18th July 2017

Natural catastrophes worldwide were less devastating in the first half of 2017 than the average over the past 10 years, reinsurer Munich Re said Tuesday, while highlighting the role of climate change in severe US storms.

Some 3,200 people lost their lives to disasters between January and June, the German group found — well short of the 10-year average of 47,000 for the period or the 5,100 deaths in the first half of 2016.

April floods and landslides in Colombia that claimed 329 lives were the deadliest single event.

Elsewhere, an April-June heatwave in India killed 264 people, while floods, landslides and avalanches claimed around 200 lives in Sri Lanka, 200 in Afghanistan and 200 Bangladesh.

Disasters inflicted a financial cost of around $41 billion in the first six months, Munich Re reported.

That was less than half of the $111 billion toll in the same period last year, or the average of $102 billion over the past 10 years.

The most costly single event was flooding in Peru between January and March, which killed 113 people and inflicted damage worth around $3.1 billion, followed by Cyclone Debbie’s toll of 12 lives and $2.7 billion in Australia.

Three major storms in the United States, each causing around $2.0 billion of damage but no casualties, made up the rest of the top five costliest disasters.

“The high number of severe thunderstorms in the US is presumed to have been at least partially influenced by a natural climate phenomenon,” the reinsurer said.

Warm water off the northeast coast of South America and a cooler ocean further west created weather pattens making tornadoes and hail more likely in the US, it said.

Twice as many tornadoes struck the US in the first quarter of 2017 as the average for the last 10 years, Munich Re researchers found.

The higher proportion of disasters in the US this year meant more victims were insured than usual.

Around $19.5 billion in damage was covered worldwide — roughly half the total amount — compared with an average of one-third in previous years.

In Europe, flooding in Germany and France caused 4.4 billion euros ($5.1 billion) of damage, around 1.7 billion of which was insured.

 

 

source: https://www.yahoo.com/news/natural-disasters-less-devastating-2017-munich-103904188.html

Australian army to be deployed on domestic soil during future terrorist attacks

17th July 2017

The new system, which has been approved by cabinet and the national security committee, will be announced by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Defence Minister Marise Payne during a visit to Sydney’s Holsworthy Barracks on Monday.

State police will remain the first responders to a domestic terror incident, but will no longer retain sole command of an attack or hostage situation. The military will also be allowed on the streets to support the wider police response, including blocking potential suspects from leaving the scene. Elite special forces would have full legal authority to shoot and kill terrorists.

The fallout from the deadly 2014 Lindt cafe siege in Sydney triggered a year-long review of the so-called callout provisions of the Defence Act amid fears the legislation contained so many legal and administrative barriers it would hinder any swift military response to a terrorist assault in Australia.

It was the first major review of Defence’s contribution to domestic counter-terrorism in more than a decade.

“We cannot afford to take a ‘set and forget’ mentality on national security,” Mr Turnbull said. “We must constantly review and update our responses to the threat of terrorism.”
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Other changes will see army commandos train select state and territory police teams, while Defence will also offer to permanently embed officers within state law enforcement agencies to act as liaisons and advisers.

The Australian Defence Force has two tactical assault groups – one in Sydney and one in Perth – on standby to rapidly deploy to a terrorist attack.

While Defence was prepared to intervene in the Sydney siege and even built a mock-up of the Lindt cafe at the Holsworthy Barracks, it was never asked to get involved. The coroner overseeing the Lindt cafe inquiry found the ADF did not need to be deployed because the complex callout criteria had not been met and NSW Police largely had the situation in hand.

But the coroner did note the “challenge global terrorism poses for state police forces calls into question the adequacy of existing arrangements”.

Under the current system, the ADF can only be deployed if state or territory police believe their capability or capacity to respond has been exceeded. That provision will be abolished under the Turnbull government’s changes, meaning states could request federal help even if they retained control of the situation.

Under extraordinary circumstances, the Commonwealth would not need to wait for an invitation and could make the decision to deploy the ADF.

The system also only allows the ADF to be deployed if the governor-general signs off on a request from the prime minister, attorney-general and defence minister, who all have to agree state forces are incapable of properly responding.

Mr Turnbull said state and territory police remain the best first responders “immediately after an attack starts”.

“But Defence can offer more support … to enhance their capabilities and increase their understanding of Defence’s unique capabilities to ensure a comprehensive response to potential terrorist attacks,” he said.

The changes, which need to pass Parliament, will be discussed at the next Council of Australian Governments meeting.

Mr Turnbull said the new system would better support states in preparing for terrorist incidents and improve information flows between the ADF and police during an incident.

Former SAS commander-turned federal MP Andrew Hastie has previously said the Sydney siege response demonstrated state police were “not up to the task” of dealing with the unique nature of Islamist terrorism.

“The most lethal means of statecraft resides with the ADF,” Mr Hastie said.

“Contain and negotiating, which was the approach in the Lindt cafe siege, isn’t going to work [in dealing with Islamist terrorists].”

Australia’s terror threat level remains at “probable”, meaning the government has credible intelligence indicating individuals or groups have the intent and capability to conduct a terrorist attack.

 

 

source:http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australian-army-to-be-deployed-on-domestic-soil-during-future-terrorist-attacks-20170716-gxc7gu.html

Tech Billionaires Are Secretly Funding a Plan to Break the Human Race out of The Matrix

16th July 2017

On the southwestern edge of Lake Titicaca, Peru, there is an ancient 23-foot doorway known as the Aramu Muru. Local natives call it the “Puerta de hayu Marca,” the gateway to the lands of the gods and immortal life. Throughout their history, the natives have described people disappearing and appearing at this doorway.

In 1998, purported extraterrestrial contactee Jerry Wills claimed a tall blonde humanoid named Zo taught him how to access Aramu Muru and enter “another universe.” Wills further claimed that Zo illustrated to him how our universe is an experimental simulation within his species’ universe. They built it to understand their own reality, which is itself nested inside a larger universe.

The next year, in 1999, the blockbuster science fiction film The Matrix came out and forever emblazoned into our collective subconscious the idea that our existence is a simulation created by a more advanced race of beings. Incidentally, the film also made long black trench coats, black sunglasses, and my last name all the rage, but I digress…

A few years after the release of The Matrix, philosopher Nick Bostrom published the Simulation Argument, a concise paper entitled “Are You Living in a Computer Simulation?” It presented a trilemma, a mathematical breakdown of why at least one of three provocative scenarios must be true.

“(1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a ‘posthuman’ stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor-simulations is false, unless we are currently living in a simulation.”

The “posthuman civilization” to which Bostrom refers defines a period of time after which humans have merged with technology. This is sometimes referred to as post-Singularity, with the ‘Singularity’ describing futurist Ray Kurzweil’s designation of a society in which humans are post-biological, living synergistically with artificial intelligence.

The Simulation Argument presupposes the development of this posthuman civilization, at which point, Bostrom states, advanced humans or AI might develop simulations of the past in the same way that current scientists create test environments; some of the simulations would likely be for entertainment reasons, as well, in the same way humans currently create video games and movies.

In recent years, a number of high-profile figures have come out to state their belief that we are living in a simulation. Chief among them is tech magnate Elon Musk, who has stated that the video game No Man’s Sky confirmed his belief that someday simulations would approximate reality so comprehensively that they would be indistinguishable from reality. Apparently, he was sitting in a hot tub with friends when he finally converted.

Musk is the CEO and brains behind Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, and OpenAI. In recent years, he has expressed bold plans for his companies that he believes will advance the human race: with Tesla, he wants to spearhead a transportation infrastructure that doesn’t rely on burning hydrocarbons; with SpaceX, he wants to assist in humanity’s gradual extraplanetary migration to Mars; and with Neuralink and OpenAI, he wants to facilitate humanity’s merger with advanced computer technology.

When he was asked about whether humans are living inside a computer simulation, Musk made headlines last year by saying he thinks the chances are one in billions that we aren’t.

“The strongest argument for us probably being in a simulation I think is the following: 40 years ago we had Pong – two rectangles and a dot,” Musk stated. “That’s where we were. Now 40 years later we have photorealistic, 3D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously and it’s getting better every year. And soon we’ll have virtual reality, we’ll have augmented reality….”

 

 

source/read more;http://www.activistpost.com/2017/07/tech-billionaires-secretly-funding-plan-break-human-race-matrix.html

Why Robert Whittaker is destined to become one of Australia’s biggest sports sta


10th July 2017

AUSTRALIA is still getting to know Robert Whittaker — the 26-year-old from Sydney who became the first man from these shores to wrap a bit of UFC gold around his waist in Las Vegas on Sunday.

The nature of Whittaker’s victory in his interim middleweight title bout against physical freak Yoel Romero at UFC 213 — coupled with his exemplary three-year body of work since moving to the 185-pound division — has made him a favourite with MMA fans.

But the former sparky — who can forget about his finances for a few years after pocketing half a million Aussie dollars for one day’s work — has more than enough going for him to become one of the country’s biggest sports stars.

He’s clean-cut and classy

Humble origins. Respectful in victory and defeat. Ability to fight through injury. Whittaker ticks every box Australians generally require of their champions.

Hell, he’s even got a southern cross tattoo over his heart if that’s your thing.

He’s not going to excite you with trash talk or make headlines for bad behaviour. And while that may inhibit his pay-per-view potential, it should be an advantage when the corporate world comes knocking.

If the Aussie public is honestly tired of our diva tennis stars it needs to put its money where it’s mouth is and back an athlete who is doing everything right.

He’s as mentally strong as anyone in Australian sport

It’s hard to compare standing toe to toe with a beast like Romero with say, pushing up the steeper climbs in the Tour de France or making a putt to win the US Masters.

But what’s become abundantly clear during Whittaker’s rise to the top is his mental approach to fighting is on par with anyone in the game.

Consider the discipline he maintained to avoid being caught by the creative striking of Uriah Hall. Or the composure he showed to survive an early Derek Brunson storm. Or the dexterity needed to escape “Jacare” Souza on the ground.

But all those performances paled in comparison to what he produced against Romero. After copping a savage kick to the front of an already-injured knee in the opening round, Whittaker was forced to fight another 20 minutes against the most-feared man in the division with limited movement.

After dropping the first two rounds, his margin for error was razor-thin. But he put all that behind him to snatch the third round and then held firm when Romero gave everything in an attempt to win the fight in the fourth. He never looked back. It was inspirational.

He’s only 26 years old

Whittaker joined UFC luminaries like Jon Jones, Jose Aldo and BJ Penn by winning his first strap in his mid-20s.

He needs to knock off undisputed middleweight champion Michael Bisping to cap his rise to the top — but from that point anything is possible.

Producing an extended reign as champion won’t be easy in a division that has treated its belt like a hot potato in recent years. There’s a murderer’s row of potential opponents, including former champions Luke Rockhold, Chris Weidman and the greatest of all-time Anderson Silva, who are all looking for another shot.

But with his best yet to come Whittaker figures to be at the top — or at least very near it — well into next decade.

He’s a complete fighter

The team behind the man known as “The Reaper” — or more recently “Bobby Knuckles” — received well-earned recognition during Sunday’s broadcast.

For the eighth fight in a row, Whittaker came in with a perfect gameplan and executed it to a tee.

His knockout power and submission skills have been evident since the very early days of his career, when his first nine wins all came inside the first round.

But Whittaker has improved with every showing — from the takedown defence Dana White describes as “ridiculous” to the diverse kicking game he used to take Souza’s head off and sap Romero’s energy.

Whittaker always comes prepared, has no obvious weaknesses — and most importantly is bloody exciting to watch. Five of his past seven purses have been topped up by fight of the night or performance of the night bonuses.

He doesn’t have to promote his next fight

Whittaker has already done a lot of the heavy lifting required to establish his career by overcoming two extremely dangerous opponents in Souza and Romero.

 

 

source/read more; http://www.news.com.au/sport/ufc/why-robert-whittaker-is-destined-to-become-one-of-australias-biggest-sports-stars/news-story

Cash crackdown boss floats nano-chips in notes

4th July 2017

THE man charged with cracking down on the “black economy” has revealed how he would like to keep track of your $100 and $50 notes.

Hi-tech nano-chips would be implanted in Australia’s “disappearing” cash under a plan floated by Michael Andrew, the head of the federal government’s Black Economy Taskforce.

Speaking to The Courier-Mail, Mr Andrew said too much cash was being hoarded under pensioners’ beds and stockpiled as a trusted currency in China.

Estimates for the size of Australia’s so-called black economy vary from $23 billion to $50 billion. The government claims tax avoidance through cash payments costs the budget up to $10 billion in revenue, money that could go towards funding welfare and other services.

In the May budget, the federal government announced an extra $32 million funding for the Australian Taxation Office to fund its cash crackdown, which it expects to bring in an extra $589 million in revenue over the next four years.

According to Mr Andrew, who will hand down his final report in October, there should be 14 $100 notes for every adult in Australia but there are fewer than that in circulation. While criminals prefer the $50 note, as the Reserve Bank pointed out in its defence of cash last year, foreign migrants and pensioners prefer $100s.

“You see a lot of Chinese don’t trust their banking system so they like to take Australian dollars back to China,” he told The Courier-Mail. “We’re seeing $100 notes used by pensioners because there’s an assets-based test at the moment and they like to keep a fair bit of cash under the bed.

“I’m working with the Reserve Bank and Austrac to get a better understanding of where our notes are. Clearly there’s a section of this that is organised crime. One of the options we would have is putting an expiry date on these notes.

“You could put a trace on some of these notes to see where they would go. You can use nano technology to put little chips in so you could then trace it.”

Last year, a report by UBS recommended Australia scrap the $100 note. According to UBS, benefits may include “reduced crime (difficult to monetise), increased tax revenue (fewer cash transactions) and reduced welfare fraud (claiming welfare while earning or hoarding cash)”.

Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm at the time criticised the cash crackdown proposal, saying “the only people who are distressed by the cash economy are the government and the public servants who want to spend taxes”.

“The incentives for a cash economy would be a lot reduced if taxes were a lot lower,” he said in December. “It’s a reaction to the level of taxes we pay.”

Earlier this year, Revenue and Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer defended the move, saying “we don’t believe in a self-help approach to tax reform”.

“We think it should apply and be fairly represented across everybody,” she said. “There are always going to be people who try and avoid their tax, and [for] those in the cash economy it’s much easier to avoid detection.

“This comes at a time where we’re experiencing rapid technological change. A lot of people under 40 don’t really carry that much cash around anymore, but even despite this we have seen an increase in the number of $100 notes in distribution.

“I don’t know too many people who walk around with $100 notes, I certainly haven’t sighted one in a long time, but the point is that there is clearly an issue that we need to grapple with.”

 

source; http://www.news.com.au/finance/economy/australian-economy/cash-crackdown-boss-floats-nanochips-in-notes/news-story/05db2212948c7d02e822532de63c170d

95 Per Cent of Gang Criminals in Stockholm Have a Foreign Background

4th July 2017

Amidst a wave of bloody, gang-related murders in Stockholm, and police warnings that the situation is likely to get worse, a report has found 94.5 per cent of people identified as being involved in the Swedish capital’s violent, organised crime scene have a migration background.

Stockholm has been the site of 552 shootings linked to criminal gangs since January 2011, 46 of which were deadly. Swedish newspaper Expressen reports that the city has seen a “record number of unsolved murders amidst seemingly endless gang shooting incidents” in recent years.

Expressen’s analysis of the situation, which included mapping 192 individuals who police confirmed to be part of gangs in Stockholm and the city’s organised crime scene, uncovered striking statistics about mass migration’s effect on crime in the Swedish capital.

According to the study, 94.5 per cent of people involved with organised crime had at least one parent born abroad. 40.6 per cent of the criminals looked at by the newspaper were themselves born overseas, whilst both parents of 82.2 per cent of gang members were foreign-born.

The report notes the main country of origin for gang criminals was Iraq, but other overrepresented nations which stood out to researchers include Somalia, Syria, and Turkey.

Criminologist Manne Gerell, a researcher at Malmö University, said that “structural racism” is what lies behind the massive overrepresentation of migrants from poor and violence-plagued third world countries in Sweden’s crime statistics.

“Many people who come from other countries and living in deprived areas feel they are discriminated against,” he told Expressen.

Adam Marttinen, an MP for the populist Sweden Democrats, offered a different explanation for the figures, asserting that “irresponsible levels of immigration lead to crime”.

“Other political parties’ indulgence of such policies have enriched organised criminal gangs,” he posted to Facebook, commenting on the Expressen report.

The latest police efforts to map and prevent gang violence, Project Mareld, estimates that between 500 and 700 gang members in 49 different networks are connected to the wave of violence in the city in recent years.

“Criminal gangs can be found throughout Stockholm, in all suburbs. The common denominator with gang members is that they all live in the same area and engage in crime. It is what links them together. Criminals in a specific area form a network,” said Inspector Gunnar Appelgren, coordinator of Project Mareld.

Noting that these 49 networks are currently involved in 17 conflicts in the Swedish capital where the police believe there is a risk of lethal violence, Expressen reports that gang crime is a growing problem across the entire nation.

In the 61 areas they have categorised as “vulnerable”, police say there are around 5,000 criminals who are active in around 200 organised crime networks, in a new report.

“In these areas, criminals rule,” said Linda Staaf, head of National Police intelligence. “In the past, they would shoot people in the leg to intimidate, whereas now, they aim for the head  — to kill.”

 

 

source: http://www.breitbart.com/london/2017/07/04/95-per-cent-gang-crime-stockholm-foreign/