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Archive → June 4th, 2017

Sweden drops Assange rape investigation

Sweden drops Assange rape investigation

Transparency advocate tells governments to prepare for war

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange warned governments responsible for his seven year self-imprisonment at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to prepare for war as Sweden dropped the rape investigation against him Friday.

Swedish officials issued a statement declaring: “The investigation against Julian Assange is discontinued.”

The prosecutors said their decision was based on the nation’s inability to apprehend Assange in the foreseeable future, adding that they could reopen the case if the transparency advocate returns to Sweden before 2020.

Though Assange’s lawyer declared the dropped charges a “total victory” for his client, Assange remains unable to leave the embassy without the threat of arrest.

British authorities have vowed to arrest Assange for failing to show up for court in 2012.

Meanwhile, despite President Donald Trump’s apparent support for WikiLeaks during the election season, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made clear that the Justice Department is continuing to make Assange’s arrest a top priority.

The transparency advocate left no question about his disgust with the governments working to jail him in a series of comments Friday.

‘Today is an important victory for me, and for the UN human rights system,” he told supporters.

“But by no means does this erase seven years of detention without charge in prison, under house arrest, and almost five years here in this embassy without sunlight”

Assange declared that ‘the proper war is just commencing.”

Source: Will County News

‘Climate science’ isn’t science; it’s religion

‘Climate science’ isn’t science; it’s religion

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The Heartland Institute’s 12th International Conference on Climate Change was nothing like I expected. When joining a group described in pejorative terms as “deniers,” one would expect to see furtive movements and disreputable haircuts, yet the crowd displayed good humor and a welcoming attitude.

Even the dour Washington Post, which sees potentially fatal darkness around every corner, described the event as “buoyant,” which will come in handy if the seas continue to rise on Al Gore’s Titanic-like timeline.

Spending time with climate realists shows an informed observer that what he should be looking for is not spectacular climate disasters visible just prior to his agonizing death. Trying to spot herds of tornadoes tossing Oklahoma into the Gulf of Mexico or perpetual heat waves leaving spontaneous combustion in their wake is simply a waste of time.

The momentous events that drive leftist climate policy aren’t something as mundane as the weather. What really counts are small adjustments to computer programs. Or as Patrick Michaels, director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute, puts it, “He who controls the parameters controls the climate.” Or at least climate policy and how it affects the taxpaying public.

It’s why control-freak leftists are so passionate about the climate. Minute adjustments to confidential computer models produce dramatic disaster scenarios that can only be prevented by massive government control and intervention.

Earlier that morning Kevin Dayaratna, senior statistician and research programmer at the Center for Data Analysis, gave an example of parameter control. The EPA has determined the social cost of carbon is $36 a ton. This figure purports to represent the sum of the net damage across the world of adding another ton of carbon to the atmosphere.

An accurate cost “improves the efficiency of policy” and “putting a price on carbon is the only regulation needed.” But the key word is accurate and takes us back to Michael’s “parameters.”

The EPA price for carbon has been more volatile than Reince Priebus futures under Donald Trump. The cost started out at $21/ton, then jumped to $24 and has now peaked (until the next Democrat takes the White House) at $36/ton.

The price kept jumping not because the damage increased, but because the number was “a political decision.” According to Dayaratna, “The goal was a high price not justified by science.” To get their number EPA bureaucrats cooked the books and based the cost finding on “worst case scenarios” and a world that embraced “zero (carbon) mitigation.”

The EPA’s future featured self–driving Ubers powered by burning wood and a White House heated by dirty coal. The EPA couldn’t even be trusted to follow guidelines for discount rate set by Obama’s Office of Management and Budget. OMB recommended a 7 percent discount rate, but EPA’s calculations used 2.5, 3 and 5 percent, finally setting on the figure that resulted in the highest carbon cost per ton.

Dayaratna’s cost with little adaptation on the part of the government is $18/ton and with extensive adaptation $4/ton.

The difference between the figures is the difference between maintaining your first-world lifestyle or fleeing to Honduras as an economic refugee after the EPA makes modernity unaffordable.

Obama’s lasting legacy is embedded leftist regulations. Even if Donald Trump issues executive orders overturning the EPA’s economy-killing regulation, they won’t take effect because green fanatics will file suit to stop implementation. Their argument will be Trump can’t overturn any of the EPA’s carbon regulations because the EPA has determined carbon is a pollutant. Reversing the “endangerment finding” is the only way to prevent this stalling tactic.

A reversal is only possible if the administration can prove the “endangerment finding” was based on faulty science.

Michaels explains, “The endangerment finding was based on computer models [showing carbon causes warming] and nothing else. If these models are demonstrably failing, the endangerment finding can get thrown out.”

Michaels compared an average based on 102 temperature models with the actual temperature at various altitudes in the atmosphere based over a number of years. The distance between the temperatures predicted by the models and the measured temperature looked like the gap between a husband’s opinion on the acceptable price for a sports car and that of his wife.

“Climate scientists” can’t admit the sensitivity in their models is wrong because then “you admit you’re wrong.” So they continue to use models calibrated to reflect 20th century climate exactly, but break down completely after the turn of the century.

The scientific solution is to change the “carbon = pollutant” hypothesis since observation doesn’t support it, but “climate science” isn’t science. It’s religion. Which is why the economy’s only hope rests on a carbon atheist in the Oval Office.

— Michael Shannon

Source: Will County News

Bill would end 4th Amendment abuse at the border

Bill would end 4th Amendment abuse at the border

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Close up of a man using mobile smart phone

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Increasing incidents involving unconstitutional searches of innocent Americans’ electronic devices in U.S. border zones have drawn fire from the nation’s civil liberties advocates. Legislation introduced by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul would ensure that citizens’ protections against unreasonable searches survive the technology age.

The Republican lawmaker introduced the “Protecting Data at the Border Act” along with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), with the announcement that constitutional rights “shouldn’t disappear at the border.”

Earlier this year, an explosive NBC News report revealed that the number of warrantless technology searches along the border grew exponentially under the Obama administration. Under the new White House leadership the trend is expected to continue.

From the report:

Data provided by the Department of Homeland Security shows that searches of cellphones by border agents has exploded, growing fivefold in just one year, from fewer than 5,000 in 2015 to nearly 25,000 in 2016.

According to DHS officials, 2017 will be a blockbuster year. Five-thousand devices were searched in February alone, more than in all of 2015. […]

Following uproar over the report, DHS officials have remained tightlipped about the extent of the border privacy intrusions, even evading questions about exactly hat border agents are looking for or gathering during the search process.

The refusal to provide additional information about the likely unconstitutional activity led Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute to file a lawsuit the government to provide internal Homeland Security documents detailing DHS’s justification for the searches and exact information pertaining to the frequency of the searches. The lawsuit also asks DHS officials to explain what agents do with the information they gather from the searches, particularly in cases where they search devices belonging to individuals such as journalists who may have sensitive, but 1st Amendment-protected, information on their devices.

Paul’s legislation would simply end the searches of citizens’ technological devices based on the Supreme Court’s 2014 ruling in Riley v. California. In that case, justices determined that government entities must consider innovation when determining whether a search violates a citizen’s 4th Amendment protections against warrantless intrusion of “their persons, houses, papers, and effects.”

“Innovation does not render the Fourth Amendment obsolete,” Paul said. “It still stands today as a shield between the American people and a government all too eager to invade their digital lives.”

While protecting against warrantless searches, Paul’s bill would allow agents to continue physical examinations of devices to make sure smugglers aren’t using dummy phones and computers to smuggle dangerous paraphernalia.

Here’s a full copy of the proposed legislation:

Related:

Constitution-free zone: Trump’s tough border policy comes with privacy problems

Group sues for answers over government laptop, cellphone searches

DHS UnConstitutional Warrantless Searches Of Phones, Computers Near Border

The Bill of Rights at the border: The First Amendment and the right to anonymous speech

Law enforcement uses border search exception as 4th Amendment loophole

DHS Report Justifies Warrantless, Suspicionless Searches Of Electronics Near Borders

Judge Upholds UnConstitutional Searches Within 100 Miles Of Borders

Source: Will County News

Every innovation starts with imitation!

Every innovation starts with imitation!

“Good artists copy, great artists steal.” – Pablo Picasso

Now, this might sound like a sinful advice to the aspiring entrepreneurs. At a time when innovation, at least the word, is been used, overused, misused, and even abused; dismissing innovation for imitation might sound crazy. But before you write me off, just hear out my argument.

Let me start by asking- how many elements are there in the periodic table? Say 118. Now don’t you think that everything around you is made up of the permutation and combination of these basic elements? Everything! Now, zoom into the atom of a single element. The atom comprises of electrons, protons and neutrons, and these elements differ in one of these constituting elements, one more here or less there. Which means that everything around us is made of these basic elements, and this logic could go on to the level of quarks! Should I say, all of creation is nothing more than the combination of the existing, in newer ways. It is not so much about adding new elements as much about forming new combination of the existing.

The same logic applies to the startup. Since creativity is that of new combinations, innovation starts with imitation. Or, as they say, ‘connecting the dots (albeit in newer ways).’ In the pursuit of being entirely new, one often misses out on the virtues of the existing solutions, and while ‘reinventing the wheel’, you lose out on the precious time. Since time is a vital commodity in the startup game, an entrepreneur is better off looking out for the existing and building on the top of it, versus creating something entirely from scratch.

Remember what Newton very famously noted, ‘if I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulder of giants’. The same applies to entrepreneurs. You should learn to stand on the shoulders of giants, including your predecessors and competitors. But don’t stop there. Innovation has to follow imitation. If you can imitate somebody, the third person can do the same for you, and so on. Hence, you need to top up your imitation with innovation in, at least, some aspect of your business, such as pricing, processes, and customer outreach, amongst others.

OLA, for the most part, imitated Uber, but didn’t stop there. Through services likes OLA Money, and offerings like auto services, shared taxis, shuttles, and outstation taxis, the firm is clearly chipping along. The same is true for Swiggy over Tinyowl, with the former’s value offerings and reach.

To sum up, let’s lower the bar of starting off by looking outwards, and then inwards, which is to imitate before you innovate.

Source: Will County News