2019-01-01 00:00:00 ..
2019-03-24 13:20:44 UTC
2019-03-24 19:30:16 UTC
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"Be assured this is just the beginning of the work we'll be doing," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference on Thursday.
[...]Ardern said she expects a new law to be in place by April 11 and buy-back schemes will be established for outlawed weapons.
"Now, six days after this attack, we are announcing a ban on all military style semi-automatics [MSSA] and assault rifles in New Zealand," Ardern said.
She said the man arrested in the attacks on two Christchurch mosques had purchased his weapons legally and enhanced their capacity by using 30-round magazines "done easily through a simple online purchase".
"Related parts used to convert these guns into MSSAs are also being banned, along with all high-capacity magazines.
"In short, every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned in this country," she said.
That was quick.
The text of Article13 and the EU Copyright Directive has just been finalised and it's utterly awful. It is clear what we do now: contact MEPs and get them to vote down the entire package.
Our best bet: The final vote in the plenary of the European Parliament, when all 751 MEPs, directly elected to represent the people, have a vote. This will take place either between March 25 and 28, on April 4 or between April 15 and 18. We’ve already demonstrated last July that a majority against a bad copyright proposal is achievable.
As many as 200 people are missing after three dams operated by the mining giant Vale collapsed in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, releasing a wave of red mining waste and prompting fears of widespread contamination.
At least 50 people died in the disaster on Friday, Avimar de Melo, mayor of the nearby town of Brumadinho told the Hoje em Dia newspaper. “We don’t have any more details because it’s all happening very quickly,” he said.
Brazilian television showed images of survivors being winched to safety by a helicopter after the disaster at the Feijão mine near Brumadinho, less than two hours from the state capital, Belo Horizonte.
Among those missing were 100 mine workers who were having lunch in an administrative area when it was hit by a torrent of sludge and water, said a fire brigade spokesman, Lieutenant Pedro Aihara.
“Our main worry now is to quickly find out where the missing people are,” Aihara said on GloboNews cable television channel.
Videos shared on social media showed houses buried in the mud and local media reported that the nearby Inhotim outdoor art complex had been evacuated though not affected.
The dam collapse came less than four years after Brazil’s worst environmental disaster was caused by the failure of a tailings dam at Mariana in the same state. That dam was operated by Samarco, which at the time of the disaster was half-owned by Vale.
“I don’t have words to describe my suffering, my enormous sadness, my disappointment in what has just happened. It is beyond anything you can imagine,” Vale’s CEO, Fabio Schvartsman, said in an address on YouTube.
He said the company had made an “enormous effort” to make its tailings dams safe after the Mariana disaster. “The whole of Vale will do whatever is possible to help the people affected,” he said.
UK police say they have made two arrests in connection with criminal drone activity at Gatwick Airport, and urged the public and passengers around the airport to remain vigilant. Britain's second-largest airport reopened on Friday after a mystery saboteur wrought 36 hours of travel chaos for more than 100,000 Christmas travellers by using drones to play cat-and-mouse with police snipers and the army. [...] The defence ministry refused to comment on what technology was deployed, but drone experts said airports needed to deploy specialist radar reinforced by thermal imaging technology to detect such unmanned flying vehicles.
A 47-year-old man and a 54-year-old woman, from Crawley, were arrested in the town at about 22:00 GMT on Friday.
Previously: Army Called in Amid UK Drone Chaos (Updated)
Heavy.com reports that there have been a number of email bomb threats sent out demanding blackmail payments in bitcoin. An example of one message follows:
"Good day. My mercenary has carried the bomb (lead azide) into the building where your business is conducted. My mercenary built the explosive device under my direction. It can be hidden anywhere because of its small size, it is impossible to destroy the supporting building structure by this explosive device, but if it denotates there will be many wounded people.
My recruited person is watching the situation around the building. If he notices any suspicious activity, panic or cops the device will be blown up.
I can call off my man if you make a transfer 20,000 usd is the price for your safety and business. Transfer it to me in Bitcoin and I assure that I have to withdraw my mercenary and the bomb will not detonate. But do not try to deceive me – my guarantee will become valid only after 3 confirmations in blockchain."
So does this sound like somebody who speaks English natively? Can you predict where this is coming from? Can you predict what kind of person sent this? Can you predict what kind of mess this is going to create? Who are you betting is really behind this?
Maine's ranked-choice voting will be used in a federal general election for the first time, after previously using it in the primary system.
Update: Democrats have taken the House of Representatives, while Republicans have retained control of the Senate.
Georgia Secretary of State and Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp opened an investigation into the state's Democratic Party Sunday, alleging a failed attempt to hack the Georgia voter registration system.
Explosive devices were sent to former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as to CNN's offices in New York, sparking an intense investigation on Wednesday into whether a bomber is going after targets that have often been the subject of right-wing ire.
A law enforcement official said the three devices were similar to one found Monday at the home of George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist and liberal donor.
[...] The device sent to CNN was contained in a manila envelope addressed to John Brennan, who was the C.I.A. director in the Obama administration and is a harsh critic of Mr. Trump. The president revoked Mr. Brennan's security clearance in what was seen as an act of retribution. The return address bore the name of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida congresswoman who formerly headed the Democratic National Committee.
In a statement, the White House condemned "the attempted violent attacks."
Update 1: The explosive devices have been described as pipe bombs. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says that a device was also sent to his office.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's spokesman has identified the device sent to his office, originally believed to be suspicious, as a thumb drive containing files on the far right group Proud Boys. It does not appear to be related to the explosive devices.
[...] Another suspicious package has been intercepted at a Congressional mail screening facility in Capitol Heights, Maryland, according to CNN. [...] ABC News reported the package was addressed to Rep. Maxine Waters, a California Democrat.
I first learned of GitHub having problems from a story on Hacker News. Since SoylentNews hosts its code there, I was curious as to what was going on. If it was indeed down, I wanted to pass the word on to the rest of the SoylentNews community.
The comments on that story suggested that GitHub read access was working okay (and a very quick check on my part of our code there confirmed that), but attempts to make changes are failing.
Then I took a look at GitHub's Status Page, where I found something even stranger... how they phrased their status messages! Take a look:
22:42 Eastern Standard Time
We continue to repair a data storage system for GitHub.com. You may see inconsistent results during this process.
22:23 Eastern Standard Time
We are continuing to repair a data storage system for GitHub.com. You may see inconsistent results during this process.
22:01 Eastern Standard Time
We continue work to repair a data storage system for GitHub.com. You may see inconsistent results during this process.
21:41 Eastern Standard Time
We are continuing to work to migrate a data storage system in order to restore access to GitHub.com.
21:22 Eastern Standard Time
We continue to work to migrate a data storage system in order to restore access to GitHub.com.
21:02 Eastern Standard Time
We continue to migrate a data storage system in order to restore full access to GitHub.com.
20:43 Eastern Standard Time
We continue to work on migrating a data storage system in order to restore access to GitHub.com.
20:23 Eastern Standard Time
We're continuing to work on migrating a data storage system in order to restore access to GitHub.com.
20:05 Eastern Standard Time
We're failing over a data storage system in order to restore access to GitHub.com.
19:43 Eastern Standard Time
We're investigating problems accessing GitHub.com.
19:13 Eastern Standard Time
We are investigating reports of service unavailability.
19:09 Eastern Standard Time
Seems to me someone on GitHub once spent a little too much time exploring mazes in Colossal Cave. Will they be able to fix the problem before they run out of permutations?
Just weeks after hurricane Florence battered the US southeast with historic rains and flooding, another major hurricane is now bearing down on the Florida panhandle with 145 mph (~240 kph) winds and heavy rains forecast. From Ars Technica:
Hurricane Michael continued to intensify during Tuesday night, bringing an unprecedentedly strong storm to the northwest Florida coast on Wednesday. This is a serious situation for the Florida Panhandle and downstream areas in southeastern Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas.
As of the National Hurricane Center's 9am ET update, Michael had 145mph sustained winds, solidly in the range of a Category-4 major hurricane. Winds along the Florida coast were already rising above tropical storm strength at the time, all but closing the window for further evacuations as the storm nears shore and moves inland later today.
Perhaps most concerning, Michael's central pressure continued to fall during the overnight hours, down to 933 millibars by Wednesday morning. This is an indication of the storm's organization, and with Michael's satellite appearance actually improving as the storm approaches land, some slight further intensification is possible today before landfall near Panama City. If Michael's central pressure falls further, to 930 millibars, it would rank among the 10 most intense hurricanes to make landfall in the US on record in terms of central pressure.
Meteorologists are reacting to the rapidly intensifying storm with some measure of alarm. Mike Bettes, a meteorologist with The Weather Channel, noted on Twitter Wednesday morning that his crew was pulling out of Apalachicola, a small coastal community to the right of Michael's projected landfall that will likely bear the brunt of the storm's winds and surge.
If you are in the path of this storm, please take whatever measures necessary to keep yourself safe.
Senators Collins, Flake, and Manchin had already announced their intentions to confirm Kavanaugh before the vote was held. Senator Lisa Murkowski, who was previously ready to vote "no", agreed to vote "present" instead so that Senator Steve Daines could attend his daughter's wedding instead of being present in the Senate to support Kavanaugh.
Previously: SCOTUS's Justice Anthony Kennedy to Retire
President Trump Nominates Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court
Trump's Supreme Court Pick: ISPs Have 1st Amendment Right to Block Websites
An estimated 60 to 80 fires, 3 explosions, and numerous gas leaks were reported last night in the towns around Lawrence, MA (north of Boston). The incident has been linked to lines operated by Columbia Gas of Massachusetts. Columbia Gas has not released an official cause yet, but MEMA (The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency) and some of the local firefighters have speculated that the cause was an over-pressurized gas line. Columbia was conducting planned upgrades on the lines at the time of the incident. One person has been killed; 25 more have been injured.
I was listening to the fire radio as it happened and it sounded like complete chaos -- it was just the dispatch, but there was not a single moment of silence as they scrambled to get crews to all of the affected areas and coordinate the response across four separate towns (Lawrence, Andover, North Andover, and Methuen.) The local first responders were initially asking residents to shut off their gas lines; this quickly changed to calls for all Columbia Gas customers to evacuate, which then increased to an order for immediate evacuation of the entire area. Overnight police and fire officials were going door-to-door enforcing the evacuation, and it is not known at this time when residents may be allowed to return. The electric service has been shut down to the entire area to limit possible sources of ignition, and officials have stated there are over 8000 homes which need to be individually inspected before the residents can return.
So far, Columbia Gas has not provided any confirmation or explanation of the exact cause of this disaster...but I'm sure we've got some people here who have some speculation to offer...
takyon: Florence is currently expected to make landfall in North Carolina during the early morning or afternoon on Friday. There have been mandatory evacuation orders, but they may be widely ignored.
A category 2 (formerly category 4) hurricane named "Florence" is heading for the eastern coast of the US. This being around the midpoint of the hurricane season, that's not unusual. This hurricane is, however, expected to make landfall much further north than is usual: near the border between the states of North Carolina and South Carolina. As you may recall, Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston, Texas last year with many areas receiving over 40 inches of rain (peak total was 60 inches) over a four-day period. Florence is similar in that there is a high pressure ridge just north of the point of landfall. It is anticipated that this will keep Florence part way over the ocean (picking up additional moisture) and part way over land (dumping copious amounts of rain).
Hurricanes cause damage in three ways: wind damage, storm surge, and rain (flooding).
Let's start with the wind. Recent readings (according to Wikipedia): sustained winds 110 knots (120 mph; 205 km/h) (1-min mean) gusting to 140 knots (150 mph; 250 km/h). (Aerodynamic drag is proportional to the square of the wind velocity. Stick your arm straight out the window of a vehicle travelling at 60 mph. Now take that force and double it. And then double it again. Now imagine that force being applied against something the size of a building. Widespread structural damage is likely.
Next, there's the Storm Surge which "is produced by water being pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds moving cyclonically around the storm." This would be above and beyond the normal tides for the area. For this storm, Scientists say Hurricane Florence could produce historic storm surge of up to 20 feet (~12 meters). To provide some perspective, tides around Myrtle Beach (near the northern-most part of South Carolina) usually has tides of up to 2.5 feet (0.75 meters). In short, flooding at the coast will be of historic proportions.
And then on to the rain. Expected rainfall totals over a period of four days generally range up to 20 inches — with 30 inches being possible in isolated locations. The general area has already had steady rains over recent weeks saturating the soil. Most of the rainfall will, therefore, not be absorbed by the soil but will instead just run downstream. In the mountains and hills away from the coast are a great many valleys which will further funnel the water and produce major flooding. It gets worse. Tree roots in waterlogged soil will likely give way under the onslaught of the rain and wind; many of which will fall on power lines. Power outages of several days or even over a week can be expected. Temperatures in the area vary around 70-90°F (21-32°C) so expect much food spoilage when refrigerators stop running.
Further complicating things, Hurricane Florence's risks include toxic sludge and lagoons of pig manure. In 2014, about 39,000 tons of coal ash spilled in from a pond near Eden, North Carolina. As of August 2017, Duke Energy had 31 coal ash basins in North Carolina which contained about 111 million tons of coal ash, a byproduct of burning coal to generate electricity. It contains metals including arsenic, chromium, and mercury. The extreme rainfall could cause some ash ponds to overflow and send their toxic waste downstream.
North Carolina is a top producer of turkey, chicken, and hogs. More than 10 billion pounds of wet animal waste is produced annually in the state and is held in lagoons because it's generally considered a safe way to store the manure before it's used to aid crops. Though most lagoons will likely survive the storm intact, there will certainly be some which overflow sending their "aromatic essence" downstream.
National Hurricane Center
NYT: Hurricane Florence's Path: Category 2 Storm Closes In on Carolina Coast
Ars Technica 2018-09-13: Florence is now “only” a Category 2 hurricane. That won’t matter much
Ars Technica 2018-09-12: The Hurricane Florence forecast has gone from bad to worse
Ars Technica 2018-09-10: Hurricane Florence represents a grave threat to the East Coast
CBS News: Hurricane Florence closes in on Carolinas, Virginia – live updates
Washington Post Hurricane Florence charges toward Carolinas with ‘potential for unbelievable damage’
Wikipedia entry on Hurricane Florence
GOES-East Satellite Loop
Earth.nullschool.net: earth :: a global map of wind, weather, and ocean conditions
Controversial new copyright laws have been approved by members of the European Parliament. The legislation had been changed since July when the first version of the copyright directive was voted down. Critics say it remains problematic. Many musicians and creators claim the reforms are necessary to fairly compensate artists. But opponents fear that the plans could destroy user-generated content, memes and parodies.
Are EU citizens ready for the link tax and upload filter?
Also at Polygon.
[Ed addition] Since this story was submitted, Ars Technica posted a story that delves into some of the implications of the new legislation; What's in the sweeping copyright bill just passed by the European Parliament:
The legislation makes online platforms like Google and Facebook directly liable for content uploaded by their users and mandates greater "cooperation" with copyright holders to police the uploading of infringing works. It also gives news publishers a new, special right to restrict how their stories are featured by news aggregators such as Google News. And it creates a new right for sports teams that could limit the ability of fans to share images and videos online.
Today's vote was not the end of Europe's copyright fight. Under the European Union's convoluted process for approving legislation, the proposal will now become the subject of a three-way negotiation involving the European Parliament, the Council of the Europe Union (representing national governments), and the European Commission (the EU's executive branch). If those three bodies agree to a final directive, then it will be sent to each of the 28 EU member countries (or more likely 27 thanks to Brexit) for implementation in national laws.
That means that European voters who are concerned—or excited—about this legislation still have a few more months to contact their representatives, both within their national governments and in the European Parliament.
[...] The legislation avoids mentioning any specific technological approach to policing online infringement, allowing supporters to plausibly claim that this is not a filtering mandate. Yet it seems pretty clear what this will mean in practice. Big content producers want to see YouTube beef up its Content ID filtering technology—and for other online platforms to adopt similar strategies. Shifting liability for infringement from users to the platforms themselves will give content companies a lot of leverage to get what they want here.
[...] Balancing fairness to content creators against fairness to users is inherently tricky. Rather than trying to address the issue directly, the European Parliament is simply pushing the issue down to the national level, letting governments in Germany, France, Poland, and other European governments figure out the messy details.
[...] In addition to approving new rights for news publishers, the legislation also narrowly approved a new copyright for the organizers of sports teams. Copyright law already gives teams the ability to sell television rights for their games, but fans have traditionally been free to take pictures or personal videos and share them online. The new legislation could give sports teams ownership of all images and video from their games, regardless of who took them and how they are shared.
This proposal would impose new obligations to hosting service providers, including the removal in less than an hour of the reported content. This proposal trivializes police and private censorship as well as the circumvention of justice. Automated filters, which play a crucial role in the debate for the Copyright Directive, are being held as a key component for the censorship in the digital era.
I thought this article from The Register was interesting; making out that the opposition to Article 13 is dominated by astroturfing led principally by Google.
Article 13 pits Big Tech and bots against European creatives by Andrew Orlowski
Today's vote on Article 13 of the EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market in European Parliament has turned into a knife-edge referendum on whether European institutions can deal with Californian exceptionalism.
[...] The tweaks to copyright liability in Article 13 before MEPs this week have narrowed after months of horsetrading in Brussels – and they don't name names, but they're really about one company and the unique legal benefits it enjoys. That company is Google, and the perks arise from the special conditions attached to UGC [User Generated Comments] that YouTube hosts, which were originally designed for services such as cloud storage.
[...] The battle of Article 13 is remarkable for revealing two things: the extent of US technology lobbying networks in Europe, and the use of tools of automated consensus generation [...] Around 60,000 emails were received by each MEP in the build up to the June vote, while Twitter engagement appeared to be high. [...] But "What looked like grassroots movement from the outside was in fact a classic form of astroturfing – designed to create the appearance of a popular movement," [German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung's Volker] Reick said.
Multiple people were killed in a mass shooting during a video game tournament at a shopping and dining complex in downtown Jacksonville, Florida, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said Sunday afternoon. Preliminary reports say four people were killed of the 11 people who were shot at the Jacksonville Landing, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the incident.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said on Twitter there were "multiple" fatalities and "many" transported to hospitals. One suspect was dead at the scene, the Sheriff's Office said, and it was not known if there was another suspect.
Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida is treating at least three patients that were involved in the gaming shooting incident, Hospital spokesman Pete Moberg tells CNN. All of the patients are in stable condition, Moberg says.
The shooting occurred at the Jacksonville Landing complex during a qualifying event for the Madden 19 Tournament at the GLHF Game Bar, according to the Twitter [feed] of CompLexity Gaming, one of the gaming teams.
Let's try this again. The Parker Solar Probe is set for launch on Sunday, aboard a Delta IV Heavy:
Parker Solar Probe (previously Solar Probe, Solar Probe Plus, or Solar Probe+, abbreviated PSP) is a planned NASA robotic spacecraft to probe the outer corona of the Sun. It will approach to within 8.86 solar radii (6.2 million kilometers or 3.85 million miles) from the "surface" (photosphere) of the Sun and will travel, at closest approach, as much as 700,000 km/h (430,000 mph).
It's the first NASA spacecraft named after a living person (Eugene Parker).
NASA's Parker Solar Probe is set to launch tonight, Sunday, Aug. 12 at 3:31 a.m. Eastern. The launch window is 60 minutes. Watch NASA TV live beginning at 3 a.m. Parker Solar Probe will launch aboard a Delta IV-Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The spacecraft, about the size of a small car, will travel directly into the Sun's atmosphere about 4 million miles from our star's surface, facing heat and radiation like no spacecraft before it.