News Bits

Hobbies are healthy:

Drinking alcohol plays role in living past 90, researchers say -
Researchers report that a long-term survey found moderate coffee consumption, not being obese, moderate exercise -- and a drink or two -- were common among participants living past age 90.

"Our devices consume our time and dilute our social interactions":

How Evil Is Tech? - The New York Times
Some now believe tech is like the tobacco industry — corporations that make billions of dollars peddling a destructive addiction. Some believe it is like the N.F.L. — something millions of people love, but which everybody knows leaves a trail of human wreckage in its wake.

Common beliefs about nutrition are often wrong:

Why Everything We Know About Salt May Be Wrong - The New York Times
New studies of Russian cosmonauts, held in isolation to simulate space travel, show that eating more salt made them less thirsty but somehow hungrier. Subsequent experiments found that mice burned more calories when they got more salt, eating 25 percent more just to maintain their weight.

Consumers' personal information is being gathered and sold in some unexpected ways:

Bose headphones spy on listeners: lawsuit | Reuters
But the Illinois resident said he was surprised to learn that Bose sent "all available media information" from his smartphone to third parties such as, whose website promises to collect customer data and "send it anywhere."

Science has lost its way:

Most scientists 'can't replicate studies by their peers' - BBC News
Science is facing a "reproducibility crisis" where more than two-thirds of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist's experiments, research suggests.

The federal government has been seizing land from the states. Lots of it.:

Obama Seized Enough Land and Water in 8 Years to Cover Texas Three Times | MRCTV
In the eight years he’s been in office, President Obama has seized more than 553 million acres of land and water (roughly 865,000 square miles) and placed it under federal ownership and control – enough square mileage to cover the entire state of Texas more than three times over. In fact, the self-aggrandizing conservationist-in-chief has placed more land and coastal areas under federal control than any other president in history, shutting off millions of miles of land to energy production or human settlement, along with shifting it outside the scope of local and state jurisdictions.

Exercising helps you keep your mind sharp:

A Protein That Moves From Muscle To Brain May Tie Exercise To Memory
Researchers have identified a substance in muscles that helps explain the connection between a fit body and a sharp mind.

Your camera is a unique snowflake:

The hidden pattern within your digital camera | Horizon Magazine - European Commission
Professor Enrico Magli, of Politecnico di Torino, is using the compression technology of this project, which was funded with a grant from the EU’s European Research Council (ERC), to streamline the identification of the cameras behind online images.

Unhealthy food is lucrative and pervasive:

Soda Pop Music? Entertainers Endorse Junk Food, Study Finds
Nearly every food or beverage endorsed by musicians who scored a hit in the Billboard Hot 100 Chart in the years 2013 and 2014 is unhealthy, the study found.

We are all unique driving snowflakes:

A Car’s Computer Can ‘Fingerprint’ You in Minutes Based on How You Drive | WIRED
In fact, they found that the data collected from a car’s brake pedal alone could let them correctly distinguish the correct driver out of 15 individuals about nine times out of ten, after just 15 minutes of driving. With 90 minutes driving data or monitoring more car components, they could pick out the correct driver fully 100 percent of the time.

Product designers are increasingly adept at exploiting our minds’ weaknesses:

How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds — from a Magician and Google’s Design Ethicist — Medium
Magicians start by looking for blind spots, edges, vulnerabilities and limits of people’s perception, so they can influence what people do without them even realizing it. Once you know how to push people’s buttons, you can play them like a piano.

The health U.S. care system is far from perfect:

Medical error is third biggest cause of death in the US, experts say | Society | The Guardian
There is no US system for coding these deaths, but Martin Makary and Michael Daniel, researchers at Johns Hopkins University’s school of medicine, used studies from 1999 onward to find that medical errors account for more than 9.5% of all fatalities in the US.

A diet of low-fat foods is a path to poor health:

Whole Milk v Skim Milk: Why Full Fat Is Better for Your Health
Since full-fat dairy products contain more calories, many experts assumed avoiding it would lower diabetes risk. But studies have found that when people reduce how much fat they eat, they tend to replace it with sugar or carbohydrates, both of which can have worse effects on insulin and diabetes risk.

The basic human right to say something offensive is unrecognised by 40% of Millennials:

40% of Millennials OK with limiting speech offensive to minorities | Pew Research Center
Four-in-ten Millennials say the government should be able to prevent people publicly making statements that are offensive to minority groups, while 58% said such speech is OK.

Mobile devices are unsafe to use for Internet purchasing:

New type of auto-rooting Android adware is nearly impossible to remove | Ars Technica
The adware exposes phones to potentially dangerous root exploits and masquerades as one of thousands of different apps from providers such as Twitter, Facebook, and even Okta, a two-factor authentication service.

Processed food is addictive:

Cheese really is crack. Study reveals cheese is as addictive as drugs - LA Times
The study found certain foods are addictive because of the way they are processed. The more processed and fatty the food, the more it was associated with addictive eating behaviors.

Science is severely flawed:

Massive International Project Raises Questions about the Validity of Psychology Research - Scientific American
When 100 past studies were replicated, only 39 percent yielded the same results

If you gain a lot of weight, it's nearly impossible to lose:

Obese men have just a '1 in 210' chance of attaining a healthy body weight - Health News - Health & Families - The Independent
While a significant number of patients were able to lose five per cent of their weight, most regained it after only a few years.
Study: Probability of Obese People Reaching ‘Normal’ Weight < 1% « CBS DC
And, at least 50 percent of patients who managed to achieve a 5 percent weight loss were shown to have regained the weight within two years.

[old story (May '12?)] Navizon IPS (indoor positioning system) and Skyhook are big location-data systems with powerful people-tracking capability:

This Smartphone Tracking Tech Will Give You the Creeps | PCWorld
But what’s really interesting about Skyhook is its ability to profile individual devices--not identifiable people, as CEO Ted Morgan is quick to point out--and know which ones are associated with certain kinds of people. For instance, if Skyhook sees that a device shows up at Wrigley Field four times in a season, it assumes that the person using the laptop is a sports fan. Or if a laptop or smartphone is detected in an airport several times a month, Skyhook guesses that the user is most likely a business traveler.

Large families are out of fashion in Europe:

Germany Fights Population Drop -
Large families began to go out of fashion in what was then West Germany in the 1970s, when the country prospered and the fertility rate began dropping to about 1.4 children per woman and then pretty much stayed there, far below the rate of 2.1 children that keeps a population stable.

We're getting more and more self-y:

Single Americans Now Compose More Than Half the U.S. Population - Bloomberg
Single Americans make up more than half of the adult population for the first time since the government began compiling such statistics in 1976.

Apple's ability to influence its image in the media is astounding:

Seeing Through the Illusion: Understanding Apple’s Mastery of the Media | 9to5Mac
Apple’s public relations (PR) department is probably the best in the world — certainly more impressive at shaping and controlling the discussion of its products than any other technology company.

Internet speeds vary, sometimes not much and sometimes quite a bit:

US Wi-Fi Report July 2014 - OpenSignal
This report takes a look at the speeds available on public networks in the United States; comparing room price to performance on hotel networks; looking at Starbucks’ switch from AT&T Wi-Fi to Google; and finally putting the speeds of various stores’ Wi-Fi networks in context with the cellular speeds offered by national network operators in the US.

Coverage of this story should be interesting:

Intentional backdoors in iOS devices uncovered
He found a service ( that bypasses Apple's backup encryption mechanism and allows attackers to remotely dump data (address book, photo album, voicemail and audio files, geolocation data, accounts configured on the device, and much more) and metadata from the device by request.

Extreme athletics are more and more extreme:

Runner Completes Incredible 584-Mile "Quad Badwater" | Runner's World
Think the Badwater Ultramarathon sounds tough? Lisa Smith-Batchen ran the course four times back-to-back to benefit clean water.

Most people would never guess these statistics accurately:

How Many LGBT Americans There Are Depends On What You Ask - Yahoo News
According to the CDC's National Health Interview Survey, the first broad government survey of sexual orientation, just under 3 percent of Americans identify as gay, lesbian and bisexual. Gays and lesbians make up 1.6 percent of the survey, bisexuals make up 0.7, and 96.6 percent of Americans identify as straight, based on a sample size of 33,557 adults between the ages of 18 and 64.

Oracle doesn't seem to have their priorities straight:

Oracle delivers 113 updates
It's somewhat shocking to see that the top two issues (CVE-2013-3751 & CVE-2013-3774) being fixed in Oracle Database 12 were fixed a year ago for Oracle Database 11. That means that Oracle quite likely knew that version 12 was vulnerable when they released it last June and have left their customers exposed for the past year.

Governments are made up of people. Special people:

How a mayor's quest to unmask a foul-mouthed Twitter user blew up in his face | Ars Technica
Could your town's mayor spark a police investigation into your activities that ends with town cops rifling through your mobile phone, your laptop, and the full contents of your Gmail account - all over an alleged misdemeanor based on something you wrote on social media? Not in America, you say? But you'd be wrong. Here, based on e-mail records provided by the city of Peoria to Ars Technica, is what that sort of investigation looks like.

Avoiding saturated fat is an unhealthy practice:

The Questionable Link Between Saturated Fat and Heart Disease -
"Saturated fat does not cause heart disease"—or so concluded a big study published in March in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. How could this be? The very cornerstone of dietary advice for generations has been that the saturated fats in butter, cheese and red meat should be avoided because they clog our arteries.

Under-powered, limited-capability computers are evolving:

LG Chromebase All-in-One Chrome OS Desktop Coming Soon
The Chromebase is an all-in-one desktop that runs Chrome OS. It features a 21.5-inch IPS screen with LED backlighting, 178-degree viewing angles, a 5 ms response time and a resolution of 1920 x 1080. This display is backed by a dual-core Intel Celeron 2955U "Haswell" processor clocked at 1.4 GHz, integrated Intel HD graphics, 2 GB of DDR3L SDRAM @ 1600 MHz, and 16 GB of internal storage.

Your requests not to be tracked are being denied:

Yahoo's Default = A Personalized Experience | Yahoo Global Public Policy
As of today, web browser Do Not Track settings will no longer be enabled on Yahoo. As the first major tech company to implement Do Not Track, we've been at the heart of conversations surrounding how to develop the most user-friendly standard. However, we have yet to see a single standard emerge that is effective, easy to use and has been adopted by the broader tech industry.

China has been having a massive debt-fueld constructin boom for the past several years:

BBC News - Will China shake the world again?
There are no exceptions to the lessons of financial history: lending at that rate leads to debtors unable to meet their obligations, and to large losses for creditors; the question is not whether this will happen but when, and on what scale.

A basic shelter unit costs $5000:

Proposal: "Micro-Cottages" to House the Homeless | San Jose Inside
San Jose may explore the idea of building "micro-housing" tiny, 150-square-foot cottages to house the homeless.

Up until he got punk'd, Donald Sterling had a sterling reputation:

NAACP: Sterling Will Not Be Awarded Lifetime Achievement Honor - CBS Los Angeles
Sterling's award was scheduled to be bestowed at the organization's 100th anniversary gala banquet on May 15.

The first big vulnerabiltiy in End-of-life'd Windows XP quit a whopper:

Homeland Security: Don't use IE due to bug
The U.S. Department of Homeland security is advising Americans not to use the Internet Explorer Web browser until a fix is found for a serious security flaw that came to light over the weekend.

Internet Service Providers are common carriers:

Net Neutrality: A Guide to (and History of) a Contested Idea - Alexis C. Madrigal and Adrienne LaFrance - The Atlantic
Net neutrality is the idea that any network traffic - movies, web pages, MP3s, pictures - can move from one place (servers) to any other place [...] without "discrimination."

Windows XP has joined other operating system of the past:

7 classic versions of Windows and Mac OS you can run in a browser | Ars Technica
Those of us who love technology aren't likely to forget our first desktop operating systems. But the OSes of yore don't have to live only in your memories. [...] [T]here are a bunch of browser-based emulators that show you what the old OSes looked like and let you click on a few things.

Local Latino news publications in Phoenix match the sentiment of the broadcast networks:

Report: Univision, Telemundo skew liberal -
According to the study, Univision's stories tilted left 50 percent of the time, were balanced 43 percent and were perceived as conservative 7 percent of the time, while Telemundo's stories tilted left 54 percent of the time, were balanced 40 percent of the time and tilted conservative 5 percent of the time.

Investment income widely separates the ultra-elite bankers and CEOs from the rest of the one-percenters:

How You, I, and Everyone Got the Top 1 Percent All Wrong - Derek Thompson - The Atlantic
when you look inside the 1 percent, you see clearly that most of them aren't growing their share of wealth at all. In fact, the gain in wealth share is all about the top 0.1 percent of the country.

Big Data reaches into unexpected places:

How Forensic Linguistics Outed J.K. Rowling (Not to Mention James Madison, Barack Obama, and the Rest of Us) Phenomena: Only Human
With computers and sophisticated statistical analyses, researchers are mining all sorts of famous texts for clues about their authors. Perhaps more surprising: They're are also mining not-so-famous texts, like blogs, tweets, Facebook updates and even Amazon reviews for clues about people's lifestyles and buying habits. The whole idea is so amusingly ironic, isn't it? Writers choose words deliberately, to convey specific messages. But those same words, it turns out, carry personal information that we don't realize we're giving out.

Book publishing is transitioning to a new, more distributed model: How to Self-Publish a Bestseller: Publishing 3.0
The distinction now is no longer between "traditional publishing" versus "self-publishing." The distinction now is between professional versus unprofessional publishing.

Apple's stuff is nice, but their effectiveness regarding security leaves something to be desired:

Apple's Developer Center is back after over a week offline | 9to5Mac
Access to the portal was removed by Apple after it was discovered that a breach into the system granted individuals access to the names, mailing addresses, and email addresses of registered developers. Apple confirmed that sensitive personal data such as credit card information and developer passwords were encrypted and secure.
Bebo Blog
Disable F-150 Door Autolock
Your iOS 6 Device Is Tracking You For Advertisers, But It's Easy To Turn It Off | Cult of Mac
New in iOS 6 is two new IDs: IDFA and IDFV. Yes, both IDs still track you, and the IDFA is specifically used by advertisers to collect data on you.
2012/04 Simon Sinek on Vimeo

The "Fiscal Cliff" is a matter of serious concern:

Government shutdown averted but "fiscal cliff" awaits lawmakers in post-election session - The Washington Post
While taking the possibility of a government shutdown out of the equation, the so-called fiscal cliff -- a combination of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes set to slam the economy in January -- still hangs over Congress and President Barack Obama.

The economy is not recovering if the population is growing and the labor force is shrinking:

Discouraged In Hunt For A Job, Many Stop Looking : NPR
The U.S. population is growing. In normal times, the labor force -- working or not -- would be growing too. But these are not normal times, and the labor force is actually smaller than it was four years ago, meaning millions of people who should be there aren't.

Whereas Obama "stimulus" (public-sector investment) is rampant government spending, Bush "stimulus" was government lending... and has been repaid:

AIG's Record Breaking Stock Sale - Deal Journal - WSJ
AIG received a record bailout from the government in September 2008 that swelled to include as much as $182.3 billion in taxpayer support. With the latest share sale, the Treasury and the Federal Reserve have recovered a combined total of $197.4 billion from their bailout of the once-troubled insurer, Treasury said Tuesday.

Corruption is eroding confidence in financial markets:

N.Y.S.E. Settles Regulatory Action on Trading Data -
The improper actions, which began in 2008, ran afoul of safeguards set up to promote fairness in a system known for favoring elite investors. [...] The S.E.C. forced the Big Board to adopt a battery of internal controls and pay a $5 million penalty. While the fine is a token sum for the country's biggest and most prominent trading platform, the action represents the agency's first ever fine of an exchange.

Government is on a spending bender:

Social Security and Disability Payments Hit Annual Records - With Month Left in FY |
the government had paid $3.151 billion more in Social Security benefits in just the first eleven months of this fiscal year than it paid in all of fiscal 2011.

The Democrats are boldly lying more than ever during this election cycle:

Some Obama programs embellished by Democrats
WASHINGTON (AP) Speakers at the Democratic National Convention portrayed President Barack Obama's presidency in glowing terms Tuesday evening, but sometimes left out important details or embellished his record.

The economy is not recovering:

U.S. Incomes Fell More in Recovery Than Recession, Sentier Says - SFGate
Median household income fell 4.8 percent on an inflation- adjusted basis since the recession ended in June 2009, more than the 2.6 percent drop during the 18-month contraction, the research firm’s Gordon Green and John Coder wrote in a report today.

Cheating is rampant... because it usually works:

Obama has millions of fake Twitter followers
President Obama's Twitter account has 18.8 million followers -- but more than half of them really don't exist, according to reports.

The family is still the most important American institution:

What's the single strongest predictor you will die an early death? - Barking up the wrong tree
Children from divorced families died almost five years earlier on average than children from intact families. Parental divorce, not parental death, was the risk. In fact, parental divorce during childhood was the single strongest social predictor of early death, many years into the future.

The Democrats are boldly lying more than ever during this election cycle:

BRUTAL: Anderson Cooper obliterates DNC Chair over her lies about Romney's stance on abortion - The Right Scoop
In his "Keeping them Honest" segment tonight, Anderson Cooper completely exposed Debbie Wasserman Schultz over her lies about Romney's position on abortion.

Increasing government spending will only make our economic woes worse:

A big version of the biggest, most important chart in American politics | AEIdeas
the chart that predicted what the unemployment rate would be if Congress passed the Obama stimulus plan.

"Bush Tax Cuts" have caused the one-percenters to pay a larger tax proportion. Saying the opposite is a lie:

Issues 2012 | The U.S. Tax System: Who Really Pays?
In reality, the people at the bottom of the scale have benefited directly and indirectly from every tax rate reduction dating back to Kennedy’s rate reductions in the early 1960s and through the tax cuts adopted early in the administration of George W. Bush. If those lower rates, along with the Alternative Minimum Tax fix, are allowed to expire, the poor will be burdened even more than the wealthy because the whole economic pie will shrink.
Page last modified on February 20, 2018
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