Author Archive | SpaceNeedle

Google Calls Its Report on Government Takedown Requests “Troubling,” “Free Expression Is At Risk”

Via Google’s Official Blog:

About two years ago, we launched our interactive Transparency Report. We started by disclosing data about government requests. Since then, we’ve been steadily adding new features, like graphs showing traffic patterns and disruptions to Google services from different countries. And just a couple weeks ago, we launched a new section showing the requests we get from copyright holders to remove search results.

The traffic and copyright sections of the Transparency Report are refreshed in near-real-time, but government request data is updated in six-month increments because it’s a people-driven, manual process. Today we’re releasing data showing government requests to remove blog posts or videos or hand over user information made from July to December 2011.

Unfortunately, what we’ve seen over the past couple years has been troubling, and today is no different. When we started releasing this data in 2010, we also added annotations with some of the more interesting stories behind the numbers.

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Mysterious Electric Blue Clouds Appear Again Over the Poles

Writes Jesus Diaz on Gizmodo:

Every year around this time, mysterious electric blue clouds appear over the North and South pole. They are called noctilucent clouds and they can only be seen in deep twilight, when the Sun is below the horizon. According to NASA, “their origin is still largely a mystery”:

“Various theories associate them with meteoric dust, rocket exhaust, global warming—or some mixture of the three.”

They are the highest clouds, located almost on the edge of space at 54 miles (85 kilometers) from the Earth’s surface, in the mesosphere. They are very difficult to observe, but they appear as white and blue tendrils when they are illuminated by the Sun and the rest of the atmosphere is in our planet’s shadow…

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Voyager I Is Close to Leaving Our Solar System

Writes Rebecca J. Rosen in the Atlantic:

Last week, in the corners of the Internet devoted to outer space, things started to get a little, well, hot. Voyager 1, the man-made object farthest away from Earth, was encountering a sharp uptick in the number of a certain kind of energetic particles around it. Had the spacecraft become the first human creation to “officially” leave the solar system?

It’s hard to overstate how wild an accomplishment this would be: A machine, built here on Earth by the brain — and handiwork of humans, has sailed from Florida, out of Earth’s orbit, beyond Mars, beyond the gas giants of Jupiter and Saturn, and may now have left the heliosphere — tiny dot in the universe beholden to our sun. Had it really happened? How would we know?

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24-Year Old Gets Three Life Sentences for Witnessing a Drug Deal

Via RT:

It’s been nearly 20 years since Clarence Aaron was put in jail for conspiring to distribute crack cocaine, and unless President Obama steps in, the 19-year veteran of the American prison system is expected to stay there for a while. A long while.

Aaron wasn’t buying, selling or even touching coke when cops busted the then 23-year-old college student in 1993. Instead Aaron was simply a witness of a plotted crack transaction and associate of the buyer and seller, who, unlike him, pled guilty and gave law enforcement their full cooperation. But despite lacking any criminal record at all, however, Aaron was sentenced to serve three life sentences behind bars for his role in a would-be drug deal. Neither President Clinton nor George W. Bush offered a commutation to kill the lengthy sentence during their combined 16 years in office, and new evidence reveals that there may have been a reason for that.

An investigation launched by the website ProPublica reveals that the Bush White House was never informed of the facts of the case accounted for in a confidential Justice Department review, and that only now are America’s leaders being brought up to snuff as far as what needs to be known in the case of Clarence Aaron…

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Sweden Opens Up Official Twitter Account to Entire Country

Writes Michelle Maltais in the LA Times:

If you had the keys to your country’s Twitter account, what would you say?

Well, Sonja Abrahamsson has caused a bit of a stir with her tweets about Jews from the @Sweden handle.

This week’s vox populi via @Sweden from Abrahamsson has delved into such curiosities as “Whats the fuzz with jews. You can’t even see if a person is a jew,” without intimate examination, she wrote in more explicit terms.

As you can imagine, her tweets have caught some flack and attention. Abrahamsson, who describes herself as “a 27-year old womanlike human being from northern Sweden,” is part of a government experiment entrusting its @Sweden national Twitter account to a new citizen every week…

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The Club Of Rome’s Predictions: How Accurate Are They?

Via DW:

Fourty years ago, the Club of Rome released “The limits of growth.” Now, it has released another look into the future. But how accurate are such predictions?

In its latest publication “2052—a Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years, the Club of Rome takes a bold look into the future. The 66 scientists and economists that make up the club predict—similarly to their first report (“The limits of growth”) in 1972—that the current economic development could soon tip over. But differing from their view back then, they now put climate change at the heart of their study. Their prognosis is mainly influenced by the assumption that a warming of more than 2.5 degrees Celsius is likely: There will be more floods, draughts and climate extremes.

The use of fossile energy is still on the rise. The goal to keep the global temperature rise under 2 percent will probably not be reached, the report concludes.

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Americans Are As Likely To Be Crushed To Death By Furniture As Killed By Terrorism

Writes Micah Zenko in the Atlantic:

[On June 6th], the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) released its 2011 Report on Terrorism. The report offers the U.S. government’s best statistical analysis of terrorism trends through its Worldwide Incidents Tracking System (WITS), which compiles and vets open-source information about terrorism—defined by U.S. law as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.”…

According to the report, the number of U.S. citizens who died in terrorist attacks increased by two between 2010 and 2011; overall, a comparable number of Americans are crushed to death by their televisions or furniture each year. This is not to diminish the real—albeit shrinking—threat of terrorism, or to minimize the loss and suffering of the 13,000 killed and over 45,000 injured around the world. For Americans, however, it should emphasize that an irrational fear of terrorism is both unwarranted and a poor basis for public policy decisions…

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Brazilian Father Claims His Dead Two-Year-Old Son Sat Up During Funeral

Via Nine News:

A Brazilian father claims his two-year-old son, who had been pronounced dead, sat up during his funeral and asked for water.

Kelvin Santos stopped breathing while being treated for pneumonia at the Aberlardo Santos Hospital in Belem, northern Brazil on June 1, OPOVO reports.

He was declared dead at 7:40 p.m. on Friday and his body was handed over to his family who held a wake throughout the night with Kelvin’s body displayed in an open casket.

On Saturday, an hour before he was due to be buried, witnesses claim the boy sat up in his coffin and said to his father Antonio, “Daddy, can I have some water?”

Mr. Santos said at that point “everybody started to scream, we couldn’t believe our eyes.”…

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Occupy Radio: ‘Radio Wars’ Documentary About Sirius XM and the History of Radio (Trailer)

Via Radio Wars:

Radio Wars focuses on the controversial history of satellite radio as it exposes the secret story behind the power struggles for radio dominance. Sirius and XM Satellite Radio were engaged in a heated entanglement before they became one company, and their mutual fight for survival against traditional radio, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and Wall Street, is one of radio’s most epic battles. Radio Wars delves deep into SiriusXM’s conflict-ridden history, from its earliest days to its darkest hour, and questions the motives of those who seek to control radio’s content in the future.

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