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posted by takyon on Friday January 25 2019, @10:22PM   Printer-friendly
from the we're-safe...-for-now... dept.

Senate Passes Short-Term Deal To Reopen Government, With Trump's Endorsement

President Trump has endorsed a bipartisan deal that would end the 35-day partial government shutdown. The three-week stopgap funding measure would reopen shuttered agencies while negotiations continue.

Trump announces deal to lift shutdown

President Donald Trump has endorsed a deal to reopen the US government for three weeks, after a record-breaking shutdown of federal agencies.

But the pact does not include any money that Mr Trump has demanded for a US-Mexico border wall.

See also: Dem senator unveils 'Stop STUPIDITY Act' to prevent all shutdowns
White House: 'Large down payment' on wall could end government shutdown
35 ways the shutdown is affecting America


Original Submission #1Original Submission #2Original Submission #3Original Submission #4

posted by martyb on Thursday January 24 2019, @02:26AM   Printer-friendly
from the With-great-beard-comes-great-responsibility dept.

Philosophers deal with real, empirical, questions! From Quartzy, the ethical question of male facial hair.

Those who believe growing a beard is a personal fashion choice need to reconsider. The bristly facial hair of men is, in fact, the physical embodiment of deep ethical and aesthetic considerations. Henry Pratt, philosophy professor at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, wrote a detailed analysis of such philosophical conundrums in his aptly titled paper, “To Beard or Not to Beard: Ethical and Aesthetic Obligations and Facial Hair.”

Why now: well, it all goes back to the "fool says in his heart" guy, St. Anselm.

In this paper, presented at the January 2019 eastern division meeting of the American Philosophical Association in New York, Pratt considers the premise set out by Saint Anselm of Canterbury, an 11th century philosopher. Anselm writes:

Not having a beard is not dishonorable for a man who is not yet supposed to have a beard, but once he ought to have a beard, it is unbecoming for him not to have one. In the same way, not having justice is not a defect in a nature that is not obligated to have justice, but it is disgraceful for a nature that ought to have it.

The take-away:

However, one surprising consequence of my philosophical work on pogonotrophy is that I now find myself thinking that the choices made by myself and others about what to grow on our faces are actually pretty important. I find myself wondering whether I should worry about the masculinity projected by my beard, and the effects thereof. I also consider whether friends and associates should have the facial hair they grow. But just as it’s a bad idea to tell other parents they’re raising their kids wrong, I think it’s a bad idea to tell others that their beards are wrong. So far.

Other relevant sources:
The Philosophy of Beards: A Lecture Physiological, Artistic and Historical, by Thomas Gowing; 1875;
The Philosopher’s Beard
Beard Taxes!
The Gentleman Lawyer’s Guide to Facial Hair
"Law of Conservation of Facial Hair" still applies.


Original Submission

posted by chromas on Monday January 21 2019, @06:02PM   Printer-friendly
from the identification-politics dept.

Civil rights group marks MLK Day with call for 'Trump card' national ID

A prominent civil rights group is marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day by pressing President Trump to honor his promise to create a national photo ID card for citizens.

Martin Luther King III, the oldest son of the iconic civil rights leader and a co-chairmen of the Drum Major Institute, met with Trump two years ago on MLK Day. During that meeting, the then president-elect endorsed the idea of a national photo ID. This year, the group is calling on Trump to follow through.

William Wachtel, co-founder of the Drum Major Institute, said the group sees the issue as critical to ensuring King's work to remove barriers to voting.

[...] The idea has invited controversy in the past, in particular over privacy concerns. In 2013, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced a measure, the Protect Our Privacy Act, attached to a Senate immigration bill. The Paul amendment sought to prevent the creation of a national ID card, citing worries that it would make it easier for the government to track people. Wachtel sought to ease concerns about such an ID, saying it would not be mandatory and would only be an option for those who sought it.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday January 20 2019, @10:00AM   Printer-friendly
from the just-eat-it dept.

https://komonews.com/news/local/scientists-id-another-possible-threat-to-orcas-pink-salmon

Over the years, scientists have identified dams, pollution and vessel noise as causes of the troubling decline of the Pacific Northwest's resident killer whales. Now, they may have found a new and more surprising culprit: pink salmon.

Four salmon researchers were perusing data on the website of the Center for Whale Research, which studies the orcas, several months ago when they noticed a startling trend: that for the past two decades, significantly more of the whales have died in even-numbered years than in odd years.

In a newly published paper, they speculate that the pattern is related to pink salmon, which return to the Salish Sea between Washington state and Canada in enormous numbers every other year — though they're not sure how. They suspect that the huge runs of pink salmon, which have boomed under conservation efforts and changes in ocean conditions in the past two decades, might interfere with the whales' ability to hunt their preferred prey, Chinook salmon.

Given the dire plight of the orcas, which officials say are on the brink of extinction, the researchers decided to publicize their discovery without waiting to investigate its causes.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Saturday January 19 2019, @01:04PM   Printer-friendly
from the wondering-what-Russia-and-China-are-thinking dept.

Trump to Hold Second Summit With Kim Jong Un in February, U.S. Says

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will meet near the end of February for a second summit, despite evidence North Korea is advancing its nuclear weapons program.

The White House announced the summit and timing after Trump met Friday with Kim Yong Chol, a top aide to the North Korean leader and a former spy chief.

Trump's decision to go ahead with another in-person meeting -- further elevating Kim's global profile -- underscores the president's confidence that his personal involvement and negotiating skills can change the behavior of recalcitrant regimes in ways that traditional leverage and diplomacy, past U.S. leaders and his own emissaries could not.

Previously: President Trump Tweets about Nuclear Talks with North Korea
President Trump Set to Meet Kim Jong-un at 9 PM EDT (01:00 UTC, 9 AM Singapore)


Original Submission

posted by takyon on Wednesday January 16 2019, @05:46PM   Printer-friendly
from the Why-Not-Re-Referendum? dept.

Brexit vote: What just happened and what comes next?

With only approximately two more months before a default no-deal "hard Brexit," the British Parliament has decisively rejected Prime Minister May's proposed plan for leaving the European Union.

There is a no confidence vote in works which, if successful, will dissolve the government and force another general election.

See also: Live: Latest as MPs debate no confidence vote


Original Submission

posted by chromas on Sunday January 13 2019, @10:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the race-to-disgrace dept.

James Watson: Scientist loses titles after claims over race

Nobel Prize-winning American scientist James Watson has been stripped of his honorary titles after repeating comments about race and intelligence.

In a TV programme, the pioneer in DNA studies made a reference to a view that genes cause a difference on average between blacks and whites on IQ tests. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory said the 90-year-old scientist's remarks were "unsubstantiated and reckless". Dr Watson had made similar claims in 2007 and subsequently apologised.

He shared the Nobel in 1962 with Maurice Wilkins and Francis Crick for their 1953 discovery of the DNA's double helix structure.

Dr Watson sold his gold medal in 2014, saying he had been ostracised by the scientific community after his remarks about race. He is currently in a nursing home recovering from a car accident and is said to have "very minimal" awareness of his surroundings.

Previously: Disgraced Scientist is Selling his Nobel Prize


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Friday January 11 2019, @10:36PM   Printer-friendly
from the what-would-YOU-do? dept.

Got a contingency plan for men with guns showing up at your cubicle and ordering you to re-route traffic to please the government?

Section 606 of the 1934 Communications Act provides for government takeover of wired and radio communication in the event of war or "other national emergency".

I'm not saying anything will happen in the next few days. Trump's state of emergency might be just talk. It might be limited to its stated purpose. It's rare for actual disasters to happen.

You've got a disaster recovery plan (DRP), though. If it's not in the next few days, a "national emergency" problem might show up sometime down the road. Does your DRP cover it?

It's hard to imagine a technical solution. This may require the company lawyer to prepare a [Layer 8] contingency plan in advance.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Monday January 07 2019, @02:34PM   Printer-friendly
from the keep-your-friends-close-and-your-enemies-closer dept.

The New York Times has an article about China's online censorship factories and how they operate. Censors are specially educated accurately in history and politics so that they have mastery over how to spot and eliminate references, even indirect ones, to forbidden topics. Potential employees for censorship factories have to cram for two weeks for a comprehensive exam which they must pass in order to begin work. This education is followed by ongoing training which includes regularly visiting and reviewing web sites normally blocked by the Great Firewall of China.

Li Chengzhi had a lot to learn when he first got a job as a professional censor.

Like many young people in China, the 24-year-old recent college graduate knew little about the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. He had never heard of China’s most famous dissident, Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who died in custody two years ago.

Now, after training, he knows what to look for — and what to block. He spends his hours scanning online content on behalf of Chinese media companies looking for anything that will provoke the government’s wrath. He knows how to spot code words that obliquely refer to Chinese leaders and scandals, or the memes that touch on subjects the Chinese government doesn’t want people to read about.

Previously:
Censorship a Trojan Horse (2018)
Unpublished Chinese Censorship Document Reveals Effort to Eradicate Online Political Content (2018)
The "Great Cannon" of China (2015)


Original Submission

posted by chromas on Friday January 04 2019, @11:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the nah dept.

Should the US hand over Minnesota's Northwest Angle to Canada?

It's a geographic curiosity - a bit of US land at the top edge of Minnesota, disconnected from the rest of the state. The Northwest Angle is known to local residents, people who love to fish - the region is famous for its walleye - and geography buffs. It is accessible by land only through the Canadian province.

Now, someone has anonymously launched a petition urging the US to hand the land over to its northern neighbours. "Make America great by correcting this critical survey error," states the petition posted on 30 December on the White House "We the People" site, which allows citizens to petition Congress on issues that matter to them. The petition is titled "Give Canada back the Northwest Angle located in Manitoba".

The nub of Minnesota state is roughly 123 square miles (318 square km) and is farther north than any other part of the contiguous United States. Living above the 49th parallel, Angleites - as local residents are known - are the northernmost American citizens, barring Alaskans. It can be reached by driving through Canada or by boat across the Lake of the Woods.

Northwest Angle.


Original Submission