Technology in cars is about to get a whole lot smarter

"SINCE Henry Ford turned it into a mass-market product a century ago, the car has delivered many benefits. It has boosted economic growth, increased social mobility and given people a lot of fun. No wonder mankind has taken to the vehicle with such enthusiasm that there are now a billion automobiles on the world’s roads.

But the car has also brought many problems. It pollutes the air, creates congestion and kills people. An astonishing 1.24m people die, and as many as 50m are hurt, in road accidents each year. Drivers and passengers waste around 90 billion hours in traffic jams each year. In some car-choked cities as much as a third of the petrol used is burned by people looking for a space to park.

Fortunately, an emerging technology promises to make motoring safer, less polluting and less prone to hold-ups (see Technology Quarterly). “Connected cars”—which may eventually evolve into driverless cars but for the foreseeable future will still have a human at the wheel—can communicate wirelessly with each other and with traffic-management systems, avoid pedestrians and other vehicles and find open parking spots.”


Oh, just what we need. Millions of people buying into the idea that these “driverless” cars are the safest thing ever! Hunny, let’s get two!

I can just imagine a scenario where sophisticated hackers are able to penetrate the firewalls of said cars and cause the biggest traffic jam ever recorded. Every major city at rush hour shut down as cars ram into each other at ridiculous speeds, killing thousands of people. If this recent iCloud incident teaches us anything, its that no one with technology is safe from an attack. 

IMPORTANT: Pizza will soon cost more

"Milk futures rose to a record as exports by the U.S. climbed amid shrinking inventories of cheese and butter, signaling higher costs for pizza and pastries.

The U.S. shipped a record 17 percent of milk production in the first half, according to Alan Levitt, a spokesman at the U.S. Dairy Export Council. Cheese stockpiles in July dropped 8 percent from a year earlier, and butter supplies tumbled 42 percent, the Department of Agriculture said last month. U.S. dairy costs are higher than world prices, signaling imports will increase, said Jon Spainhour, a partner at Rice Dairy LLC.

“Usually, we use the first six months of the year to build the inventory we’re going to sell in the last six months,” Spainhour said in a telephone interview from Chicago. “People are saying that ‘I know those imports are coming in, but in the meantime, I’ve got to make sure I’ve got enough to get on the supermarket shelf.’ ””


Priorities, people. To be honest, I would not be surprised if this made the majority of Americans very upset. I mean, what American doesn’t like pizza? Terrorist psychos, that’s who. We need a Homeland Pizza Security task force to get this under control ASAP. 


Congressman: “Obama is begging to be impeached”

"McALLEN, Texas – Observing what he could only describe as “chaos on the border” during a midnight tour of the Rio Grande on Friday, Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, concluded, “President Obama is begging to be impeached.”

“For all I know, Obama is preparing to process five million illegal immigrant kids and teenagers into the United States,” Stockman said upon observing border operations near McAllen, Texas.

“He wants us to impeach him now,” Stockman theorized, “before the midterm election because his senior advisors believe that is the only chance the Democratic Party has to avoid a major electoral defeat. Evidently Obama believes impeachment could motivate the Democratic Party base to come out and vote.””


I get what Rep. Stockman is trying to get across, although I would disagree that Obama is “begging” for it. I would use the expression “treading water” instead. This is just what comes with the territory. I mean, for almost as long as I have been alive, I have lived under two-term presidents, all of which had been absolutely hated towards the end of their stint in the Oval Office.

Sure, there is plenty to complain about when it comes to Obama, but I am pretty sure everyone hated Bush and Clinton also at the end of their second terms. Illegal immigration, jobs, partisan gridlock, second amendment, domestic spying, foreign intervention, the list goes on for quite a while with the number of issues Obama has faced. I am not even saying that he has a done a good job tackling these issues; the second term president in recent history always comes out of it looking like a really bad guy.

Alas, at least we have this to look forward to!


Ron Paul and Vladimir Putin: allies at last!

"It used to be that blaming America for crisis abroad was largely the province of liberals. That folk wisdom appears to be changing—just ask Ron Paul. In the days after the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, the former House member has been quick to attack the West and President Obama for pointing any fingers in the direction of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Just days after the tragic crash of a Malaysian Airlines flight over eastern Ukraine, Western politicians and media joined together to gain the maximum propaganda value from the disaster. It had to be Russia; it had to be Putin, they said," Ron Paul wrote in an editorial Sunday. “President Obama held a press conference to claim—even before an investigation—that it was pro-Russian rebels in the region who were responsible. His ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, did the same at the U.N. Security Council—just one day after the crash!”“


Having Ron Paul on your side is like having George Washington on your side. It doesn’t get more American that that. Granted, we seem to be having a difficult time figuring out if President Obama is from this country or not, so let’s get a Paul-Putin ‘16 campaign trail up and running!

 Seriously, Ron Paul is like the spirit animal of a reinvigorated conservative base in this country. When he comes out and blasts President Obama, people listen

P.S. These two pictures together are incredible

John Kerry: USA “more engaged” in the world than ever before

"Secretary of State John Kerry appeared on all five major network news shows Sunday to re-assert American leadership on the world stage amid two major international crises unfolding in Ukraine and the Middle East.

“The fact is that the United States of America … is more engaged in more places in the world, and, frankly, I think, to greater effect, than at any time in recent memory,” Kerry said on ABC’s “This Week” as he condemned the actions of Ukrainian separatists aligned with Russia and offered administration support for Israel.

“I can’t think of a time when the United States has been engaged in more places, where people are worried not about our — our — our staying, but they don’t want us to leave and they recognize that American leadership is critical,” Kerry said.”


There we have it folks. Secretary Kerry just putting it out there in black and white that it is the job of the United States to police and patrol the entire world, all of the time, on the taxpayers’ dime. 

I mean, there was only one U.S. citizen on the flight that got shot down. I am not saying that a person dying isn’t a big deal; the point I am trying to get across is that we have bigger fish to fry. Like, say for instance, we start by fixing some of the issues here at home. 

Senator Feinstein tells President Putin to “man up”

"Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Sunday urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to "man up" about the circumstances surrounding the downing of a Malaysian airliner in Ukraine.

"This has become a huge human drama, and I think the nexus between Russia and the separatists has been established very clearly, so the issue is where is Putin?" the California Democrat said on CNN’s "State of the Union." "I would say, ‘Putin, you have to man up. You should talk to the world. You should say, if this is a mistake, which I hope it was, say it.’"

Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, spoke to CNN’s Candy Crowley shortly after Secretary of State John Kerry said in a separate interview that it has become “pretty clear” that separatists and Russians were both involved in some part of the shootdown of the airliner that killed all 298 people aboard.

"The world has to rise up and say, ‘We’ve had enough of this,’" Feinstein said. "I think we have to continue with sanctions, and that’s difficult.""


Shots fired, Vladimir! Dianne Feinstein is coming for your ass. Presumably she knows how to “man up” because she is actually a man. She wouldn’t be the first Democratic woman in D.C. to be packing a little heat down there these days.

P.S. Americans love Vladimir Putin.


What is Congress going to do about illegal immigration? Answer: Nothing

"THERE are an estimated 11m-12m immigrants living in the United States illegally, most of them Latino. Many have families, jobs and property, and far deeper roots in America than in their countries of origin. President George W Bush tried to pass a law to regularise their status, but was thwarted in Congress. Barack Obama is faring little better. Last week the president angrily declared that he had given up passing an immigration-reform bill this year, and vowed to do what little the law allows him to alone (as he has with illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children). Why can’t America fix this problem?

Several of Mr Obama’s legislative priorities, such as climate change and gun control, have been killed by Republican opposition in Congress. For a time it looked like immigration reform might be an exception. After Latino voters spurned Mitt Romney’s presidential candidacy in 2012, chastened Republicans realised that alienating a slice of the electorate that had grown by almost one-fifth in the preceding four years spelled political doom, at least in presidential elections. Sure enough, in June 2013 a bipartisan majority in the Senate passed an immigration-reform bill that included an arduous “path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives, though, has proved tougher to crack, despite vague expressions of support from party leaders. The defeat of Eric Cantor, the Republican majority leader, by an anti-immigration hardliner in a Virginia Republican primary on June 10th sealed the coffin.”


Let’s go ahead and skip to the last sentence of the article:

"A two-year wait and then a rerun of an old debate may be the best reform advocates can hope for."

Well then! The Economist really paints a dazzling portrait of this hot button issue that has plagued the USA for a while now. What is going to happen is what Congress is best at: doing absolutely nothing!

I wish that I could get away with not getting anything done at my job. Seriously, is there anything better than being a Congressman in the USA? Just fuck around for a couple years with your buddies and try to get reelected, so you can do the same shit all over again! Everybody in Congress just livin’ the dream!

California, still finding ways to piss off the rest of the country, wants to split into six separate states

"Good day, future citizen of West California!

You may find yourself greeted thusly as you head into a supermarket or drugstore in Los Angeles on Saturday morning.

Advocates for Six Californias, a plan to split the Golden State into a half dozen separate states, are holding a petition drive this weekend to get their plan on the ballot in 2016.

The idea is the brainchild of Timothy Draper, a venture capitalist from Menlo Park – or as he hopes to some day call it, the state of Silicon Valley. Draper has sunk $2 million into signature gathering for the proposal. He maintains it will break bureaucratic deadlock in Sacramento (proposed state of North California) and attract more business.

"California has become the worst managed state in the country," he told The Times this spring. “It just is too big and too ungovernable.”“


Love me some Mr. Timothy Draper here. “It just is too big and too ungovernable” basically translates to ”It just is too liberal for us Silicon Valley technocrats and the libertarians scattered throughout.” Fuck it, why not try? The times are a changing.

Texas has a better chance at secession than California breaking up into a bunch of little pieces. My recommendation for everyone that hates the politics in their state is to move. Odds are that if you hate the way your state is governed, there’s another one out there that will more than likely satisfy you. If you don’t mind your state but have issues with the federal government, there are plenty of people that have set up shop in another country altogether.

Do you California, do you.

Chinese taking over NYC while other foreign investors fall behind

"NEW YORK/SYDNEY (Reuters) - For the first time, the Chinese have become the biggest foreign buyers of apartments in Manhattan, real estate brokers estimate, taking the mantle from the Russians - whose activity has dropped off since the unrest in Ukraine and the imposition of sanctions against Russia by the United States.

Wealthy Chinese are pouring money into real estate in New York and some other major cities around the world, including London and Sydney, as they seek safe havens for their cash and also establish a base for their children to get an education in the West.

Reuters asked five of the top real estate brokerages for their ranking of foreign buyers in New York City. The Chinese ranked first in both volume and value of sales in all their estimates. Opinions differed on just how the Russians, Europeans and South Americans stacked up next.

There are no official figures collected on the national and ethnic backgrounds of home buyers because of U.S. fair housing laws, designed to protect against discrimination.

The Chinese interest is mainly a valuation play, real estate experts say. After the U.S. housing bust in 2007-2010, home prices in major U.S. cities fell to levels that made them attractive. While U.S. prices have been recovering, they are still appealingly low by comparison with many other parts of the world.”


The main point left out of this article is that the quality of the Chinese food available in New York City, London, and Sydney is going to skyrocket. Granted, a delivery order of General Tso’s may cost $50, but surely the “China Price” won’t dissuade the Brooklyn hipsters that still ride their parents coattails. 

A little scarcity of wealthy Russians on American soil should also be seen as a victory. Last thing we need is Putin’s friends throwing molotov cocktails on our citizens from their penthouse suites. 

(Source: Yahoo!)

Powdered alcohol set to turn the world upside down

"Putting a can of beer in a brown paper bag is about to look like child’s play. A new product that’s somehow been approved by US regulators makes booze as discreet as a packet of sugar. It’s called Palcohol, and it transforms a shot of vodka or rum into a pocketable pouch of powder. Tear it open, add some water, mix, and you’ve got hard liquor. Considering the age group that Palcohol is going to appeal to, however, the sweet, pre-mixed powders are probably going to be far more popular. To start off, the company plans to make margarita, mojito, cosmopolitan, and lemon drop flavors.

It’s not hard to come up with ways kids are going to get in trouble with this one, but Palcohol offers a few suggestions on its website (cached) ranging from sneaking booze into places like movie theaters and college sporting events (where alcohol is banned) to sprinkling it directly onto food so teens don’t even have to stomach the bitter alcohol flavor. Just in case you don’t get the idea, the product’s motto is “Take your Pal wherever you go!” The original site, which has now been replaced with a more responsible, updated version, even offered this gem:

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room… snorting Palcohol. Yes, you can snort it. And you’ll get drunk almost instantly because the alcohol will be absorbed so quickly in your nose. Good idea? No. It will mess you up. Use Palcohol responsibly.

The updated site now says that the powder is cut with enough filler to make snorting inefficient. Nevertheless, you’ll soon get to give it a try for yourself. According to government documents dug up by beverage industry blog Bevlog, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has approved the powdered alcohol, and now Palcohol’s founder says that he plans the product to hit liquor store shelves this fall.”


Stop the presses! Powdered alcohol is here! 

Had this come out when I was a teenager I’m sure my parents would have just ended up murdering me. They had enough trouble keeping the real stuff out of my system let alone a little bit of dust to get me nice and fucked up. 

I am going to go out on a limb and say this is going to change our society forever. This is going to be 4loko on steroids; kids and adults alike everywhere are going to be drinking, snorting, and sprinkling this fairy dust everywhere and anywhere they want. I just wish I was still big enough of a degenerate to enjoy it. 


How to piss off Putin and Russia even more than we already have

"IT IS one thing to see Russia’s hand in the disruption in eastern Ukraine, quite another to muster the strength to arm-wrestle it back. Europe says meekly that it will expand its list of Russian citizens subject to travel bans and asset freezes. America, which faces less economic blowback from sanctions, is showing more resolve.

Having targeted senior Kremlin figures, an oligarch and Vladimir Putin’s favourite bank in three earlier rounds of measures, America is preparing to add more of the president’s allies to the list. It has been reported that Igor Sechin, the president and chairman of Rosneft, a giant state-owned oil company, could join Gennady Timchenko, who has called being sanctioned “quite an honour” while admitting it has caused problems for Gunvor, the oil-trading firm he co-founded, because banks are “frightened”. The limited sanctions already in place are having a chilling effect on business in Russia (see page 64). A Treasury official points out that more capital has left Russia so far this year than in the whole of 2013, and that stocks, bonds and the rouble have all fallen. Now the White House has mooted targeting whole sectors, such as financial services and energy.

Finance is the obvious place to start because of the pre-eminence of the dollar, America’s central role in the clearing of cross-border bank and credit-card transactions, and the American-led globalisation of money-laundering compliance. These make America’s unilateral actions multilateral. “Russia is much more vulnerable in finance than we are. Putin knows this, which explains his attempts in recent years to reduce reliance on the dollar in international trade and banking,” says Juan Zarate, a former deputy national security adviser and author of “Treasury’s War”, a book about financial statecraft.”


There isn’t really a word for how incredibly stupid of a move this would be by the White House. It is kind of like the USA is threatening to stab Russia, even though Russia has a gun. What were to happen, for instance, if Russia just decided they didn’t want to use the dollar anymore? We would look pretty fucking dumb. 



Heartbleed bug has me back posting on Tumblr because it won’t stop sending me emails about it

"BOSTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government warned banks and other businesses on Friday to be on alert for hackers seeking to steal data exposed by the "Heartbleed" bug, as a German programmer took responsibility for the widespread security crisis.

On a website for advising critical infrastructure operators about emerging cyber threats, the Department of Homeland Security asked organizations to report any Heartbleed-related attacks, adding that hackers were attempting to exploit the bug in widely used OpenSSL code by scanning targeted networks.

Federal regulators also advised financial institutions to patch and test their systems to make sure they are safe.

OpenSSL is technology used to encrypt communications, including access to email, as well as websites of big Internet companies like Facebook Inc, Google Inc and Yahoo Inc.

The bug, which surfaced Monday, allows hackers to steal data without a trace. No organization has identified itself as a victim, yet security firms say they have seen well-known hacking groups scanning the Web in search of vulnerable networks.”


Well well well Tumblr! What a way to get me back on here. Coerce me back into the blogging realm by threatening me with “major vulnerabilities”. Our pets heads falling off! 

Can I call bullshit when they say that the NSA and tech companies had no idea this was going on? What the fuck do these guys get paid to do? I imagine the majority of those folk sit in front of a computer all day and not one of them since the inception of the entire World Wide Web managed to say, “wow there’s a major fucking gaping security flaw permeating the entire Internet, we should probably do something about it!” 

Especially with the track record our federal government and its alphabet agencies have had recently, I will be surprised if any American with half a fucking brain believes what is spewed from their mouths in the coming days and weeks. That being said, I love the name and idea behind Heartbleed because it reminds me of some b-grade sci-fi thriller. 

P.S. Technically the heart is always bleeding, am I right or am I right? 

(Source: Yahoo!)

The most important issue concerning Americans: the economy

"Contrary to ongoing attempts by the administration to refocus the public’s attention on such focal points as guns, an imminent external cybersecurity threat (until it was revealed that the biggest cyber terrorist is the NSA itself), and climate change, the three still remain, pardon the pan, at the cold end of the spectrum when it comes to what issues most concern the US public. On the other end, for one decade and counting, the "top priority" for the US public was and continues to be "the economy", stupid."


Had this poll taken into account the NFL playoffs or Miley Cyrus, the economy would probably be farther down the list. Even still, a round of applause for the American public getting something correct for once.

The “economy” affects lots of the other issues on the list. Citizen feel unsafe about the country, they buy guns. Companies maximizing profits without any regulations, creating climate change. The unemployed doing stupid shit and talking about it on Twitter, they get spied on by the NSA. Somehow the “economy” is the underlying factor to all the stupid shit you hear about in the news and the media.

The economy made us do it. Triple Evil.


U.S. stocks performed ridiculously well in 2013 and it probably isn’t ending any time soon

"U.S. stocks on Tuesday closed 2013 at records, with the S&P 500 posting its largest annual jump in 16 years and the Dow its biggest gain in 18, after positive reports on consumer confidence and housing boosted sentiment on the final trading day of the year.

"It’s been a great year, if you look at it from what the prevailing sentiment was at the beginning of the year, it has surpassed even the most bullish of predictions. It’s the type of year you want to savor, there’s been a nice wealth effect that has warmed people’s portfolios," said Matthew Kaufler, portfolio manager at Federated Investors."


What a difference a year makes. December 21st 2012, here I am thinking the world is ending, turns out it the opposite is true! Stocks at all time highs, Americans so fucking happy, what an idiot I was for thinking the Hunger Games were gonna become real life.

My incredibly educated prediction for 2014: more of the same. The market will continue with the trend of record highs, and the average American will definitely suffer. But hey, Rome didn’t fall in a day, so I might as well keep my tinfoil hat on. 


Scientists investigating global warming in Antarctica get stuck in ice

"They went in search evidence of the world’s melting ice caps, but instead a team of climate scientists have been forced to abandon their mission … because the Antarctic ice is thicker than usual at this time of year.

The scientists have been stuck aboard the stricken MV Akademik Schokalskiy since Christmas Day, with repeated sea rescue attempts being abandoned as icebreaking ships failed to reach them.

Now that effort has been ditched, with experts admitting the ice is just too thick. Instead the crew have built an icy helipad, with plans afoot to rescue the 74-strong team by helicopter.”


I’ll give the scientists the benefit of the doubt and assume they got stuck in the only rough patch of ice in all of Antarctica. Like, what are the odds of getting stuck in ice down there? It hasn’t been that cold down there recently, has it

(Source: Daily Mail)

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