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Source: CBS News
AOL CEO Tim Armstrong apologizes for "distressed babies" remarks
MICHELLE MILLER /CBS NEWS
Feb 10, 2014 7:02 PM EST
For AOL, it was the ultimate instant message -- and the company's CEO got it loud and clear.
AOL is dealing with a national backlash against some controversial comments about the cost of employee benefits.
AOL announced its best earnings in a decade last week. But the news was overshadowed by the explanation CEO Tim Armstrong gave employees about delaying company contributions to retirement accounts.
He blamed higher health care costs and then said: "We had two AOLers that had distressed babies that were born that we paid $1 million each to make sure those babies were OK in general."
"People started asking my husband, 'Isn't that your baby that he's talking about?'" said Deanna Fei.
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It also angered many at AOL, who were disgusted by Armstrong’s examples, and the idea of receiving retirement fund contributions once a year instead of on pay day. Delaying AOL's contributions to employee stock plans would it allow it to keep more cash on hand, but over time could deny employees better returns.
The backlash at AOL was so severe that Armstrong reversed the policy and called the Fei family to apologize.
Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/aol-ceo-tim-armstrong-apologizes-for-distressed-babies-remarks/
Posted by Hissyspit | Mon Feb 10, 2014, 08:55 PM (16 replies)
Intimate Portraits of Bees
Researchers take advantage of photography technology developed by the U.S. Army to capture beautiful portraits of bees native to North America.
Photography by Sam Droege, USGS
Bees are the workhorses of the insect world. By transferring pollen from one plant to another, they ensure the next generation of the fruits, nuts, vegetables, and wildflowers we so enjoy.
There are 4,000 species of North American bees living north of Mexico, says Sam Droege, head of the bee inventory and monitoring program at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
Only 40 of them are introduced species, including the European honeybee. (See “Pictures: Colored Honey Made by Candy-Eating French Bees.”)
Most of the natives are overlooked because “a lot of them are super tiny,” Droege says. “The bulk of the bees in the area are about half the size of a honeybee.”
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Droege and colleagues began to inventory all the bee species in North America in 2001. This was partly because the insects are so important to the agriculture industry.
Posted by Hissyspit | Mon Feb 10, 2014, 05:10 AM (5 replies)
NSA’s Secret Role in U.S. Assassination Program (Former Drone Operator Speaks to Scahill, Greenwald)
Source: First Look
The NSA’s Secret Role in the U.S. Assassination Program
By Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald
10 Feb 2014, 12:03 AM EST 0
The National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes – an unreliable tactic that results in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people.
According to a former drone operator for the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) who also worked with the NSA, the agency often identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies. Rather than confirming a target’s identity with operatives or informants on the ground, the CIA or the U.S. military then orders a strike based on the activity and location of the mobile phone a person is believed to be using.
The drone operator, who agreed to discuss the top-secret programs on the condition of anonymity, was a member of JSOC’s High Value Targeting task force, which is charged with identifying, capturing or killing terrorist suspects in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
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The former JSOC drone operator is adamant that the technology has been responsible for taking out terrorists and networks of people facilitating improvised explosive device attacks against U.S. forces in Afghanistan. But he also states that innocent people have “absolutely” been killed as a result of the NSA’s increasing reliance on the surveillance tactic.
One problem, he explains, is that targets are increasingly aware of the NSA’s reliance on geolocating, and have moved to thwart the tactic. Some have as many as 16 different SIM cards associated with their identity within the High Value Target system. Others, unaware that their mobile phone is being targeted, lend their phone, with the SIM card in it, to friends, children, spouses and family members.
Read more: https://firstlook.org/theintercept/article/2014/02/10/the-nsas-secret-role
Posted by Hissyspit | Mon Feb 10, 2014, 01:56 AM (34 replies)
Source: Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Woody Allen is again denying he molested adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow and is calling ex-partner Mia Farrow vindictive, spiteful and malevolent in an open-letter published online Friday by The New York Times.
The 78-year-old filmmaker says Dylan Farrow's open letter published last week includes "creative flourishes that seem to have magically appeared during our 21-year estrangement."
At the time of the breakup of their 12-year relationship more than two decades ago, Mia Farrow accused Allen of molesting Dylan. Allen has consistently denied the abuse allegation.
Allen claims in the letter 7-year-old Dylan was coached by Mia Farrow.
Dylan Farrow claimed in her open letter that Allen abused her in 1992 at the family's Connecticut home.
Allen said his letter will be the final word on the matter.
Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/allen-responds-farrows-abuse-claims-letter
Woody Allen Speaks Out
By WOODY ALLEN
February 7, 2014
Last Sunday, Nicholas Kristof wrote a column about Dylan Farrow, the adopted daughter of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow. Mr. Allen has written the following response to the column and Dylan’s account.
TWENTY-ONE years ago, when I first heard Mia Farrow had accused me of child molestation, I found the idea so ludicrous I didn’t give it a second thought. We were involved in a terribly acrimonious breakup, with great enmity between us and a custody battle slowly gathering energy. The self-serving transparency of her malevolence seemed so obvious I didn’t even hire a lawyer to defend myself. It was my show business attorney who told me she was bringing the accusation to the police and I would need a criminal lawyer.
I naïvely thought the accusation would be dismissed out of hand because of course, I hadn’t molested Dylan and any rational person would see the ploy for what it was. Common sense would prevail. After all, I was a 56-year-old man who had never before (or after) been accused of child molestation. I had been going out with Mia for 12 years and never in that time did she ever suggest to me anything resembling misconduct. Now, suddenly, when I had driven up to her house in Connecticut one afternoon to visit the kids for a few hours, when I would be on my raging adversary’s home turf, with half a dozen people present, when I was in the blissful early stages of a happy new relationship with the woman I’d go on to marry — that I would pick this moment in time to embark on a career as a child molester should seem to the most skeptical mind highly unlikely. The sheer illogic of such a crazy scenario seemed to me dispositive.
Notwithstanding, Mia insisted that I had abused Dylan and took her immediately to a doctor to be examined. Dylan told the doctor she had not been molested. Mia then took Dylan out for ice cream, and when she came back with her the child had changed her story. The police began their investigation; a possible indictment hung in the balance. I very willingly took a lie-detector test and of course passed because I had nothing to hide. I asked Mia to take one and she wouldn’t. Last week a woman named Stacey Nelkin, whom I had dated many years ago, came forward to the press to tell them that when Mia and I first had our custody battle 21 years ago, Mia had wanted her to testify that she had been underage when I was dating her, despite the fact this was untrue. Stacey refused. I include this anecdote so we all know what kind of character we are dealing with here. One can imagine in learning this why she wouldn’t take a lie-detector test.
Meanwhile the Connecticut police turned for help to a special investigative unit they relied on in such cases, the Child Sexual Abuse Clinic of the Yale-New Haven Hospital. This group of impartial, experienced men and women whom the district attorney looked to for guidance as to whether to prosecute, spent months doing a meticulous investigation, interviewing everyone concerned, and checking every piece of evidence. Finally they wrote their conclusion which I quote here: “It is our expert opinion that Dylan was not sexually abused by Mr. Allen. Further, we believe that Dylan’s statements on videotape and her statements to us during our evaluation do not refer to actual events that occurred to her on August 4th, 1992... In developing our opinion we considered three hypotheses to explain Dylan’s statements. First, that Dylan’s statements were true and that Mr. Allen had sexually abused her; second, that Dylan’s statements were not true but were made up by an emotionally vulnerable child who was caught up in a disturbed family and who was responding to the stresses in the family; and third, that Dylan was coached or influenced by her mother, Ms. Farrow. While we can conclude that Dylan was not sexually abused, we can not be definite about whether the second formulation by itself or the third formulation by itself is true. We believe that it is more likely that a combination of these two formulations best explains Dylan’s allegations of sexual abuse.”
Could it be any clearer? Mr. Allen did not abuse Dylan; most likely a vulnerable, stressed-out 7-year-old was coached by Mia Farrow. This conclusion disappointed a number of people. The district attorney was champing at the bit to prosecute a celebrity case, and Justice Elliott Wilk, the custody judge, wrote a very irresponsible opinion saying when it came to the molestation, “we will probably never know what occurred.”
But we did know because it had been determined and there was no equivocation about the fact that no abuse had taken place. Justice Wilk was quite rough on me and never approved of my relationship with Soon-Yi, Mia’s adopted daughter, who was then in her early 20s. He thought of me as an older man exploiting a much younger woman, which outraged Mia as improper despite the fact she had dated a much older Frank Sinatra when she was 19. In fairness to Justice Wilk, the public felt the same dismay over Soon-Yi and myself, but despite what it looked like our feelings were authentic and we’ve been happily married for 16 years with two great kids, both adopted. (Incidentally, coming on the heels of the media circus and false accusations, Soon-Yi and I were extra carefully scrutinized by both the adoption agency and adoption courts, and everyone blessed our adoptions.)
REST AT LINK
Posted by Hissyspit | Fri Feb 7, 2014, 09:45 PM (109 replies)
Source: NBC News
Snowden Docs: British Spies Used Sex and 'Dirty Tricks'
BY MATTHEW COLE, RICHARD ESPOSITO, MARK SCHONE AND GLENN GREENWALD, SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR
British spies have developed “dirty tricks” for use against nations, hackers, terror groups, suspected criminals and arms dealers that include releasing computer viruses, spying on journalists and diplomats, jamming phones and computers, and using sex to lure targets into “honey traps.”
Documents taken from the National Security Agency by Edward Snowden and exclusively obtained by NBC News describe techniques developed by a secret British spy unit called the Joint Threat Research and Intelligence Group (JTRIG) as part of a growing mission to go on offense and attack adversaries ranging from Iran to the hacktivists of Anonymous. According to the documents, which come from presentations prepped in 2010 and 2012 for NSA cyber spy conferences, the agency’s goal was to “destroy, deny, degrade disrupt” enemies by “discrediting” them, planting misinformation and shutting down their communications.
Both PowerPoint presentations describe “Effects” campaigns that are broadly divided into two categories: cyber attacks and propaganda operations. The propaganda campaigns use deception, mass messaging and “pushing stories” via Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and YouTube. JTRIG also uses “false flag” operations, in which British agents carry out online actions that are designed to look like they were performed by one of Britain’s adversaries.
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A “honey trap,” says the presentation, is “very successful when it works.” But the documents do not give a specific example of when the British government might have employed a honey trap.
Read more: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/investigations/snowden-docs-british-spies-used-sex-dirty-tricks-n23091
Posted by Hissyspit | Fri Feb 7, 2014, 09:58 AM (151 replies)
Source: Associated Press
Google makes statement about Russian anti-gay law
Feb. 6 2014 11:06 PM EST
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — With the Winter Games underway in Sochi, Google Inc. quietly but vibrantly added its voice Thursday to the chorus of U.S. companies speaking out against Russia's law restricting gay-rights activities by updating its iconic search page logo to depict illustrations of athletes skiing, sledding, curling and skating against a rainbow-colored backdrop.
The company declined to comment on the new Google Doodle that appeared on its home pages worldwide, saying it wanted the illustration to speak for itself. But the logo clearly was meant as a show of support for gay rights and a rebuke of the law that bans pro-gay "propaganda" that could be accessible to minors: below the updated logo appears a two-sentence section of the Olympic charter that reads, in part, "The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind."
"Google has made a clear and unequivocal statement that Russia's anti-LGBT discrimination is indefensible," said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin, whose Washington-based group has been lobbying American corporations, especially those sponsoring the Games in Sochi, to condemn the law signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in July. "Now it's time for each and every remaining Olympic sponsor to follow their lead. The clock is ticking, and the world is watching."
Although Google is not an Olympics sponsor, its action came a day after three sponsors of the U.S. Olympic Committee — AT&T, DeVry University and yogurt maker Chobani — issued statements explicitly speaking out against the Russian law.
Read more: http://wintergames.ap.org/article/google-makes-statement-about-russian-anti-gay-law
Posted by Hissyspit | Fri Feb 7, 2014, 03:05 AM (17 replies)
Bright 'Evening Star' Seen from Mars is Earth
Figure 1 Figure 2
Click on an individual image for full resolution figures image
This view of the twilight sky and Martian horizon taken by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover includes Earth as the brightest point of light in the night sky. Earth is a little left of center in the image, and our moon is just below Earth. Two annotated versions of this image are also available in Figures 1 and 2.
Researchers used the left eye camera of Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam) to capture this scene about 80 minutes after sunset on the 529th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars (Jan. 31, 2014). The image has been processed to remove effects of cosmic rays.
A human observer with normal vision, if standing on Mars, could easily see Earth and the moon as two distinct, bright "evening stars."
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed and built the project's Curiosity rover. Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, built and operates the rover's Mastcam.
More information about Curiosity is online at http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/.
Posted by Hissyspit | Thu Feb 6, 2014, 03:32 PM (4 replies)
Moses Farrow Tells People Magazine That Allen "Of Course" Did Not Molest Moses' Younger Sister Dylan
NEW YORK (AP) — Woody Allen's adopted son is defending the filmmaker against accusations that the director molested his then-7-year-old daughter in 1992.
Moses Farrow tells People magazine that Allen "of course" did not molest Moses' younger sister Dylan Farrow.
Moses and Dylan Farrow were both adopted by Allen and actress Mia Farrow.
Farrow's accusation that Allen had molested Dylan came during a bitter custody fight. The couple broke up after Farrow discovered that Allen was involved in a relationship with her oldest adopted daughter.
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The 36-year-old Moses Farrow says Dylan should not go through life with the "false impression" that Allen molested her.
Dylan Farrow calls Moses' comments "a betrayal."
Posted by Hissyspit | Wed Feb 5, 2014, 03:14 PM (134 replies)
@BillMoyersHQ: RT @BruceBartlett: Poll--two-thirds of people believe the government should reduce income inequality. http://t.co/qJ6VPaH7ak
Posted by Hissyspit | Wed Feb 5, 2014, 11:27 AM (7 replies)
Source: NBC News
War on Anonymous: British Spies Attacked Hackers, Snowden Docs Show
BY MARK SCHONE
A secret British spy unit created to mount cyber attacks on Britain’s enemies has waged war on the hacktivists of Anonymous and LulzSec, according to documents taken from the National Security Agency by Edward Snowden and obtained by NBC News.
The blunt instrument the spy unit used to target hackers, however, also interrupted the web communications of political dissidents who did not engage in any illegal hacking. It may also have shut down websites with no connection to Anonymous.
According to the documents, a division of Government Communications Headquarters Communications (GCHQ), the British counterpart of the NSA, shut down communications among Anonymous hacktivists by launching a “denial of service” (DDOS) attack – the same technique hackers use to take down bank, retail and government websites – making the British government the first Western government known to have conducted such an attack.
The documents, from a PowerPoint presentation prepared for a 2012 NSA conference called SIGDEV, show that the unit known as the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group, or JTRIG, boasted of using the DDOS attack – which it dubbed Rolling Thunder -- and other techniques to scare away 80 percent of the users of Anonymous internet chat rooms.
The existence of JTRIG has never been previously disclosed publicly.
Read more: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/investigations/war-anonymous-british-spies-attacked-hackers-snowden-docs-show-n21361
Posted by Hissyspit | Tue Feb 4, 2014, 11:46 PM (11 replies)