« February 2012 | Main

Next stop Michael Phelps: London tube map given Olympic makeover

Simon Rice
Independent

Many visitors pouring into London this summer for the Olympics will arrive at Nadia Comaneci.

They'll need to travel by tube to Simon Whitfield (via Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal) before changing there and heading to Michael Phelps (via Carl Lewis).
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Pesticides linked to honeybee decline

Damian Carrington
The Guardian

The first study conducted in a natural environment has shown that systemic pesticides damage bees' ability to navigate

Common crop pesticides have been shown for the first time to seriously harm bees by damaging their renowned ability to navigate home.
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CEO Pay: Money Well Earned?

Salvatore Babones
Truthout

The 21st century has been a terrible century so far for US stock markets. Adjusted for inflation, all major stock market indices (Dow Jones, S&P 500, NASDAQ, Russell 3000) have been flat or down since the turn of the millennium.

Stock markets in general have been moving sideways since the 1990s. There's been lots of volatility, but not a lot of gain.
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The Myth of Peak Oil

George Wuerthner
Counterpunch

Each time there is a short-term shortage of oil or the price begins to rise, there is talk of running out of affordable oil, an idea captured by the concept of Peak Oil.

Peak Oil is the theoretical point when the maximum rate of oil production is reached and after that time enters into a terminal decline.
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Scientists collaborate with Buddhists: Meditation a big help for emotional issues

KiPnews

Schoolteachers who underwent a short but intensive program of meditation were less depressed, anxious or stressed – and more compassionate and aware of others’ feelings, according to a UCSF-led study that blended ancient meditation practices with the most current scientific methods for regulating emotions.

Teachers who practiced meditation in a short yet intensive program were more calm and compassionate, according to a new study led by UCSF.
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Apple's factories in China are breaking employment laws, audit finds

Juliette Garside
The Guardian

Foxconn pledges more staff and living wage after public investigation reveals long hours, low pay and safety failings

An audit of Apple's Chinese factories details "serious and pressing" concerns over excessive working hours, unpaid overtime, health and safety failings, and management interference in trade unions.
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Why the Right to Water Is Under Attack

Shiney Varghese
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

World leaders are trying to roll back momentum that would instill the right to water as an essential human right.

Last week, even as the world celebrated World Water Day, some countries at the United Nations were trying to remove the reference to the “right to water” from a document that will guide the international development path in the coming decade.
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Organized Money From Cities, Unions and Churches Moving Out of Big Banks

Yana Kunichoff
Truthout

It's getting expensive these days to be a bad citizen in America, if you're a major bank.

A growing number of cities around the country have passed, introduced or drafted responsible banking ordinances that hit big financial institutions where it hurts most - the pocketbook.
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FBI Taught Agents They Could ‘Bend or Suspend the Law’

Spencer Ackerman
Wired

The FBI taught its agents that they could sometimes “bend or suspend the law” in their hunt for terrorists and criminals.

Other FBI instructional material, discovered during a months-long review of FBI counterterrorism training, warned agents against shaking hands with “Asians” and said Arabs were prone to “Jekyll & Hyde temper tantrums.”
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Chocolate 'can help keep you slim'

John von Radowitz
Independent

Far from piling on the pounds, a chocolate habit can help keep you slim, new research suggests.

Just in time for Easter, scientists have announced the discovery every chocolate lover has been waiting for.
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European Parliament votes against ACTA legal review

Iain Thomson
The Register

Quick vote this June could kill treaty

The European Parliament (EP) has voted overwhelmingly not to refer the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) for judicial review, but instead to strike while the iron is hot and vote on the treaty this June.
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Google's Deep Shot patent: It's all about the screens

Christopher Dawson
ZDNet

How many screens do you use each day? Your phone? Your computer? Your second computer?

Your kid’s netbook? A connected TV? A tablet? A refrigerator? (yes, a refrigerator).
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GPs' shares in private healthcare firms prompt conflict of interest fears

Denis Campbell
The Guardian

Doctors' leaders warn situation could diminish patient trust and lead to more NHS services being run by private operators

GPs preparing to take charge of £60bn of NHS funds have been found to have shareholdings in private healthcare firms, prompting alarm about family doctors profiting from direct conflicts of interest.
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Copper cable thieves tracked by new BT alarm system

Derek du Preez
Computerworld UK

The telecoms giant loses millions of pounds a year as a result of cable theft

BT has deployed an alarm across its entire copper network in attempt to reduce the rising rate of cable theft.
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Self-healing plastic mimics skin

John von Radowitz
Independent

A skin-like plastic that "bleeds" when cut or scratched and then heals has been developed by scientists.

The material could provide self-healing surfaces for a multitude of products ranging from mobile phones and laptops to cars, say researchers.
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Kim Dotcom: The US Government is Wrong, Here’s Why

Ernesto
TorrentFreak

For the first time since his arrest in January, Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is responding to allegations in what he calls the “MPAA-sponsored” indictment.

Eager to fight back, Dotcom refutes several “nonsense” claims made by the Government. In addition, he shows that Mega wasn’t a big bad pirate haven, but a legitimate service that may have been shutdown for political reasons.
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Israel extends new border fence but critics say it is a sign of weakness

Harriet Sherwood
The Guardian

Doubts grow over the fortified frontiers the Jewish state says are needed as deterrents against terrorism and illegal infiltration

It cuts a steel swath through the stark wilderness where Israel and Egypt meet, glinting in the desert sun as it snakes across barren hills and sandy plateaus.
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Facebook Condemns Companies That Demand User Logins

Caleb Garling
Wired

Facebook has spoken out against businesses that demand Facebook usernames and passwords from their employees and prospective hires.

“In recent months, we’ve seen a distressing increase in reports of employers or others seeking to gain inappropriate access to people’s Facebook profiles or private information.
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Raging hormone disruptors: Common chemicals cause trouble even in small amounts

Sarah Parsons
Grist

The BPA in your water bottle may be even more dangerous than you think.

A major new paper is raising the alarm about low-level exposure to endocrine disruptors, substances like bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates that interfere with hormones in the human body.
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Fury at threat to inquest into police killing

Paul Peachey
Independent

The family of the man whose shooting by police triggered last summer's riots has condemned the watchdog investigating the pre-planned operation for withholding details that could scupper a full inquest.

The family's solicitor said its confidence in the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) was disappearing after learning that material about police decision-making on the day Mark Duggan was shot could not be provided to the coroner in charge of his inquest.
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MI5 puts all 3,800 agents on Olympic watch

Kim Sengupta
Independent

Agents summoned back to UK as total bill to counter London threats rises to £1bn

MI5 is carrying out its biggest operation since the Second World War with almost all of its 3,800 staff mobilised for the London Olympics which will take place amid rising concerns over the possibility of terrorist attacks.
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A question of intelligence

New Scientist

Our intelligence, more than any particular behaviour or anatomical feature, is what distinguishes humans from the myriad other species with which we share our planet.

It is a key factor in everything from our anatomy to our technology.
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More than a third of babies born in 2012 will live to 100, report predicts

Sam Jones and Maev Kennedy
The Guardian

Office for National Statistics says 35% of this year's 826,000 new babies could still be alive in 2112

More than a third of the babies born this year could receive a 100th birthday message from whoever happens to be on the throne in the second decade of the 22nd century, according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics.
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Barclays contactless card users exposed to fraud

Sophie Curtis
Techworld

Barclays "wave and pay" cards store unencrypted data than can be stolen using a smartphone

A flaw has been discovered in Barclays contactless bank cards that could allow customers' data to be stolen and used fraudulently without them even knowing about it.
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At Historic Drug Policy Summit, Guatemalan President Calls for Regional Legalization

Phillip Smith
Drug War Chronicle

In a historic meeting in Antigua, Guatemala, Saturday, three Central American heads of state attended a regional summit to discuss alternatives to the current drug prohibition regime, which has left their countries wracked by violence.

No consensus was reached and three other regional leaders failed to attend, but for the first time, regional leaders have met explicitly to discuss ending the war on drugs as we know it.
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Four Hundred Chernobyls: Solar Flares, Electromagnetic Pulses and Nuclear Armageddon

Matthew Stein
Truthout

There are nearly 450 nuclear reactors in the world, with hundreds more being planned or under construction. There are 104 of these reactors in the United States and 195 in Europe.

Imagine what havoc it would wreak on our civilization and the planet's ecosystems if we were to suddenly witness not just one or two nuclear meltdowns, but 400 or more!
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Total Information Awareness: Sweeping New Surveillance Measures Approved in the US

Charlie Savage
The New York Times


The Obama administration is moving to relax restrictions on how counterterrorism analysts may retrieve, store and search information about Americans gathered by government agencies for purposes other than national security threats.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Thursday signed new guidelines for the National Counterterrorism Center, which was created in 2004 to foster intelligence sharing and serve as a terrorism threat clearinghouse.
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The big blue: Can deepwater fish farming be sustainable?

Clare Leschin-Hoar
Grist

There’s been a closely watched experiment floating and bobbing in the eddies off the Big Island of Hawaii.

Since July, an unanchored pen stocked with 2,000 hatchery-born fish known as kampachi (related to the more familiar yellowtail) has been drifting in the open ocean, tended by marine biologists from the aquaculture company Kampachi Farms.
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Jobseekers who shunned voluntary scheme forced to do unpaid work

James Ball
The Guardian

Mandatory work activity placements imposed on those who did not complete voluntary work experience, jobseekers claim

Jobseekers have been made to do compulsory unpaid work for up to four weeks after refusing to take part in the voluntary work experience scheme.
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Civil servants accused of credit card abuse

Rajeev Syal
The Guardian

National Audit Office report highlights failure to control spending on government-issued cards

Civil servants are abusing government-issued credit cards because of a failure to oversee their spending, according to a National Audit Office report released on Tuesday.
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Special Weapons for Fighting Giants

Robert Weissman
Yes Magazine

Revoke their charters, and other legal tools to hold corporations accountable to our laws.

The last few years have seen a series of corporate catastrophes, for which the perpetrator companies have escaped any meaningful accountability. Big banks and giant Wall Street firms tricked and ripped off homeowners and investors, and crashed the national and global economy.
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The new iPad 3 is jailbroken over release weekend

Jeremy Kirk
Techworld

The third-generation iPad will run unauthorised applications if it is modified

Hackers claimed to have figured out a way to bypass Apple's technical restrictions and install unauthorized applications on the company's latest iPad upon its release last Friday.
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Truth about young people and drugs revealed in Guardian survey

The Guardian

Poll carried out with Mixmag magazine shows reckless behaviour of high-risk drug takers

A fifth of young drug users admit to taking "mystery white powders" without any idea what they contain, according to an international Guardian survey that reveals the extent of reckless behaviour among a new generation of high-risk drug takers.
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Julia O'Dwyer: My son may be a pirate, but I won't have him shipped off to America

Jonathan Brown
Independent

The mother of Richard O'Dwyer, who faces extradition to the US, tells Jonathan Brown why he is a victim of injustice

Like most mothers with children of university age, Julia O'Dwyer paid little attention to what her son Richard was doing on his computer.
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Wikipedia Didn’t Kill Britannica. Windows Did

Tim Carmody
Wired

I have never owned a print edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

After the Britannica company’s announcement that, like the Oxford English Dictionary, it would discontinue its print editions to focus on its online offering, it’s clear that I never will.
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Why Can't You Smoke Pot? Because Lobbyists Are Getting Rich Off of the War on Drugs

Lee Fang
Republic Report


John Lovell is a lobbyist who makes a lot of money from making sure you can’t smoke a joint.

That’s his job. He’s a lobbyist for the police unions in Sacramento, and he is a driving force behind grabbing Federal dollars to shut down the California marijuana industry.
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Why We Have to Go Back to a 40-Hour Work Week to Keep Our Sanity

Sara Robinson
AlterNet

One hundred fifty years of research proves that shorter work hours actually raise productivity and profits -- and overtime destroys them. So why do we still do this?

If you’re lucky enough to have a job right now, you’re probably doing everything possible to hold onto it. If the boss asks you to work 50 hours, you work 55. If she asks for 60, you give up weeknights and Saturdays, and work 65.
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How the UK is handing control of its energy future to France

Jonathon Porritt
The Guardian

'There is no alternative' nuclear advocacy allows energy companies to manipulate UK policy

Aside from the pro-nuclear zealots, most protagonists in favour of nuclear power rely on "there is no alternative" advocacy – because of climate change, energy security, the "lights going out", we need nuclear, the argument runs.
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Anti-Putin protesters targeted by data-wiping malware

John E Dunn
Techworld

Blue screens PCs, overwrites data

Criminals with an apparent grudge against demonstrators opposing Russian President Vladimir Putin are targeting the country's citizens with data-wiping malware, Symantec has reported.
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Movie Theater Snack Scam: Can We Take on Theaters For Ripping Us Off?

Julianne Escobedo Shepherd
AlterNet

Finally, one man is going up against corporate theaters for excessive concession stand mark-up.

Exorbitant fees have been imposed upon American consumers for years, but it seems like only recently have we begun fighting back en masse. (Or, at least, that our fight has made it to the media.)
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Monsanto's Roundup Ravaging Butterfly Populations, Study Shows

Mike Barrett
Natural Society


Monsanto’s Roundup, containing the active ingredient glyphosate, has been tied to more health and environmental problems than you could imagine.

Similar to how pesticides have been contributing to the bee decline, Monsanto’s Roundup has been tied to the decrease in the population of monarch butterflies by killing the very plants that the butterflies rely on for habitat and food.
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3D printer creates nano racing car in minutes

Sandrine Ceurstemont
New Scientist

An intricate racing car four times the width of a human hair has been created in minutes thanks to a new 3D printing technique.

The technology, developed by Jan Torgersen and colleagues from the Vienna University of Technology in Austria, can build up nanoscale structures at a speed of 5 m/s, setting a new world record for this type of high-precision printing.
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Internet voting systems too insecure for US elections, says researcher

Jaikumar Vijayan
Computerworld US

Jefferson warned that the voting systems are far too insecure to be trusted and should be jettisoned altogether

Internet voting systems are inherently insecure and should not be allowed in the upcoming general elections, a noted security researcher said at the RSA Conference 2012 being held here this week.
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Humanity's Growing Impact on the World's Freshwater

Sandra Postel
National Geographic's Water Currents

It takes water to make everything, and the explosion of demand for all manner of products is draining rivers, shrinking lakes and depleting aquifers.

As the human population has climbed past seven billion, and the consumption per person of everything from burgers to blue jeans has risen inexorably, the finiteness of Earth’s freshwater is becoming ever more apparent.
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